My husband and I shared reservations about going to a hypnobirthing class, but decided to try it after one of our friends had recommended it. As I was nervous about it I sent Zoe a few emails before we signed up and she was so helpful and understanding and didn’t think any of my concerns or questions were stupid which gave me a lot of confidence in joining the class.

The classes were really well lead, with only three other couples so it didn’t feel overwhelming. We had things explained in a gentle manner that didn’t make you feel panicked about what was to come, and the whole process was geared towards birth being a completely natural and normal process which was reassuring and soothing. Both my husband and I had our eyes really opened about what birth could be like – that it didn’t have to be a screaming, painful, traumatic experience and instead it could be calm and gentle and something you are in control of.

The breathing techniques we were taught were really helpful and my husband really appreciated the parts of the classes that were focussed on the fathers role as a advocate and support rather than a helpless bystander. We were also given really great information about what to do when the baby actually arrives!

I started having contractions on 24th December, and didn’t have my baby until the 27th! It was a long process that would have been physically and mentally exhausting for most people. But I used the techniques that Zoe taught us, myself and my husband both stayed really calm throughout the entire process, we went for walks, we cuddled, we talked, we breathed and massaged and kept gently mobile. When we went into hospital at 10am on 27th I was already 8cm dilated, the midwife looked at me very strangely and said ‘do you want some gas and air?’

My labour lasted 12 hours and throughout the entire experience I didn’t have any pain relief, not even paracetamol. It wasn’t out of some sort of gritted teeth refusal because I didn’t want to ‘give in’, it was honestly because I didn’t need it! The midwives said to my husband they were finding it difficult to coach me because I didn’t need any help and they couldn’t tell when I was having contractions. They hooked me up to a machine in the end and they were looking at each other and saying ‘she’s having a contraction right now’ and then looking at me with confused expressions!

I had to have a c section after 11 hours in the hospital as our baby was in an awkward position and had got stuck. This was the worst nightmare for me, the one thing I was really afraid of during my pregnancy. But I didn’t feel afraid, I was accepting, I was calm, it felt absolutely fine. I didn’t feel that I’d failed in anyway and the cesarian was the most beautiful experience I’ve ever had. Zoe’s hypnobirthing classes prepared me and my husband for labour and birth and gave me the tools I needed to be calm no matter what happened. Through 11 hours of labour in the hospital, with an oxytocin drip for two of those final hours bringing on very strong contractions and being told to have a cesarian and all the other potentially stressful scenarios that ensued, both me and my baby never got into distress. And I owe it all to hypnobirthing! I even still use the techniques now to stay calm when I’m getting stressed. So it’s not only helpful during labour and birth but for the rest of your life too.

Zoe was a really lovely presence to have during and after the pregnancy. She gave me a one to one session to help with my anxiety and even after our baby was born she stayed in touch and gave us much needed support and advice.