Throughout my pregnancy I started reading lots of books about empowering myself to have a positive birth. I found that the more and more I read the more I discovered that the overly medicalised stance on birth was taking away from the natural systems our body has in place to allow us to birth positively. I read in to Hypnobirthing and asked in various facebook groups about who they would recommend. All recommendations looked good but seemed to be out of my price bracket for something that I was still slightly sceptical about whether it would work for me or not. I started a local aquanatal class and got so much from the positive birth conversations after the pool sessions. These always had a set focus but also allowed us to ask questions in an open and friendly environment. Joanna was great, very knowledgeable and supportive. All the women had different birth plans in mind e.g. epidural, c-section, no pain relief. The focus was on informed choices to ensure a positive birth for each individual. Everyone felt able to share their view without any judgement. When I discovered that Joanna also did a Hypnobirthing course that was fairly priced I jumped at the chance. She came to my house on 5 occasions and each session had a set focus. We discussed what the birth would entail and as she worked within the hospital I was planning to give birth she was able to share with me lots of information about where to go and what to expect in the birthing rooms. We also went through the Little Birth Company’s Hypnobirthing tracks and relaxation and breathing techniques. I listened to the Hypnobirthing tracks every night before going to sleep and also when having a bath. I would more often than not fall asleep and not remember anything about the tracks but Joanna assured me it would all be going in! Joanna helped me write my Positive Birth Preferences which allowed me to feel autonomous in my labour. My husband and I had made informed choices and looked into all possible outcomes to ensure that our voices were heard in all eventualities. We had planned for a waterbirth with Hypnobirthing as the only form of pain relief. I was due on the 6th January but on Christmas day just before the big family Christmas lunch I had a bloody show and knew that things had started moving along. Over the next couple of days I had tightenings that became progressively stronger. By about 6pm on the 27th December I knew that I must be in labour as they started to become more intense. I was still chilling out at home and bouncing on my ball while watching my favourite movies. My husband started to time the contractions and they were coming stronger and quicker. About 8.30pm I started listening to the hypno tracks to help me focus on my breathing. I turned the lights down and smelled my lavender while listening to the soothing tracks. When we realised that the contractions were 2 minutes apart we decided we should go to the hospital. When I arrived they examined me and told me that I was 9cm dilated and so could go straight to the birthing pool. The water was lovely and warm and really helped me to relax. The midwife turned down the lights and my husband laid out the electric candles and lavender pouch and played the Hypnobirthing tracks. My husband and mum reminded me to breathe and relax through every contraction. I was in the pool for an hour and 20 minutes before my son was born. It was a very calm and positive birth just like we had planned. The Hypnobirthing allowed me to stay focused and in control without the need of any other form of pain relief. I would highly recommend Joanna’s Bumps and Birth Hypnobirthing course and I know that I would not have had such a positive birth experience without her support.