An Imperfect Hypnobirth


Pregnant Woman Meditating - IsolatedWhen we posed a question about Hypnobirthing on our Facebook wall, we were met with quite a positive response from those who used this technique during their births. Our friend Adriana, of UmlaPhoto, was eager to share her experience with you. No two birth stories are ever alike, and we love hearing and sharing the unique experiences our clients and friends have had. Here is Adriana’s story of her daughter’s Hypnobirth.


“When I was pregnant with my daughter Hannah back in 2008, I was determined not to have an epidural. And I have to admit that my desire was driven by nothing more than an extreme fear of a big, giant, needle being jabbed into my spine. That fear was only magnified by  hearing various horror stories, including sticking the needle into the wrong spot in the back, temporary paralysis, and (though pretty minor compared to the others) the effects of the drug wearing out prematurely. It was definitely not for me.

It was one thing to not want an epidural, and an entirely different thing to have a plan on how to avoid it altogether. I did not have a plan. And then I discovered Hypnobirthing. I first heard about Hypnobirthing when it was mentioned at a Yoga class that I was taking through Baby & Me Fitness at the JCC at Bloor & Spadina. It sounded intriguing and just the thing that I needed. As luck would have it, I found out that one of my prenatal fitness instructors at the time (bebo mia COO Natasha) was co-teaching a Hypnobirthing class. I signed up right away.

The classes were wonderful. What I liked most of all was the fact that the classes taught me how to keep calm. I must tell you upfront that I was NOT a happy pregnant woman. Sure, I was thrilled and grateful to be pregnant; I just didn’t like being pregnant. My pregnancy also coincided with a very stressful time in my life, so I was by no means super-calm at that time. However, once I started practicing the daily affirmations and the breathing techniques, I found that I became a much calmer person. This was definitely needed, because we were also in the midst of kitchen renovations and were living with no kitchen for three months.

I went into labor with Hannah one day before my due date. Once the contraction intervals were close enough, we made our way to the hospital. I’ll never forget the drive to the hospital. It was 2am on a warm August night. The drive to the hospital was eerily calm. There was a bit of a mist in the air, and we were one of the few cars on the road at that hour. It made for a quick drive to the hospital. The pain was intense, but I was determined to keep it at bay. I stayed in good spirits by practicing my breathing, as we’d done in class. As the pain intensified, I broke into falsetto singing during my exhalation, much to my husband’s amusement.

When we got to the hospital, the nurses had me lie on a bed so that they could check to see how dilated I was. I was also asked if I wanted an epidural. I proudly declined. I could tell by the look on the nurse’s face that she thought, “Oh, one of those.” I also suspect that she thought that I would change my mind. I was determined to prove her wrong.

While I waited, my water broke. It took me a few seconds to realize what had happened, as I had thought at first that I had peed myself. When the nurse checked me, I was only 2.5cm dilated. They couldn’t send me home, however, because my water broke AND I was GBS positive. Instead, the nurses started me on antibiotics and told me to go for a walk. I didn’t make it very far before the intense pain took over. My husband and I had debated getting the backgammon set from the car, along with the other goodies that I had packed, like playing cards, my pilates ball, and my stack of pillows. All of these lovely items were in the car, which was parked all the way on the OTHER end of the hospital, I might add. Hannah, however, had different plans for me. The pain reached a point where I could barely even talk. I have to admit that at this point, the pain was very strong. So strong that I couldn’t think straight, and my calm breathing wasn’t helping much with the pain. I remember sitting next to my husband, telling him that I didn’t think that I could make it without the epidural. And he said something to me that I’ll never forget: “I know that you can do this. You’ll never forgive yourself if you end up getting an epidural.” He was my champion. He was my strength. I needed that.

My attention soon turned to an overwhelming urge to go to the bathroom. I remember being taught in Hypnobirthing class that laboring in the bathroom was common. I also remember thinking, “Eeew!” Well, there I was, sitting on the toilet. The only place in the world that made me feel like I could manage my pain. And then came pain like I’d never felt before. Think of your worst period pain, and multiply that by 1000. From the bathroom, I cried in pain. My husband came to the door and asked if I needed help, and I said yes. Next thing I knew, a nurse was in the loo, pulling me off of the toilet and onto a bed. I was 7cm dilated, and this was barely an hour after they initially checked me.

The nurses whisked me into a room. It didn’t take long before I was fully-dilated. They asked me again if I wanted an epidural. I’d gotten this far without an epidural, and I wasn’t about to give up. Besides, I found that at that point, the pain didn’t even bother me; all of my efforts were focused on getting that baby out. The next little while was a blur to me. I remember my husband, who had originally told me that he had no intention of peeking under the hood, excitedly telling me that she was crowning.


I did try to breathe the baby down, as I was taught in class, but I ended up switching to “traditional” pushing, as the baby was not moving along originally. Next thing I knew, Hannah was out, and my abdomen just deflated like a balloon (a mighty flabby balloon, I might add). I finally met my baby.


This is by no means a “by the book” Hypnobirthing story. And this is not a Hypnobirthing failure, either. Because when you look at it, the end result was exactly what I wanted, and it was all due to Hypnobirthing. Just look at what I accomplished:

  1. The Hypnobirthing breathing techniques and affirmations kept me calm throughout my pregnancy
  2. The Hypnobirthing breathing got me through my initial labor pains
  3. Hypnobirthing class encouraged my husband to be my advocate/champion. And he was just that, as he encouraged me to keep at it sans epidural even when I wanted to give up
  4. I ended up delivering Hannah naturally


I am so glad to have found Hypnobirthing, glad to have had wonderfully supportive teachers, and most importantly, a supportive husband who helped me get through the tough times in order to ensure that I had the birthing experience I had envisioned.”



Adriana is a lifestyle photographer and owner of ÜmlaPhoto. She lives in Toronto with her husband of 10 years, Ian, and her daughter Hannah, age 4. She is an avid baker, runner, and rock climber, enjoying weekend family outings to the local climbing gym. When she’s not out and about taking photos of the sweet moments around her, you can find her on her blue kick scooter traveling the streets of Toronto.


Thank you so much to Adriana for sharing your story! For more information on Hypnobirthing, check out our Pregnancy Class page or contact [email protected] with questions or to register for our next session.




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