The Birth of Buddy Middleton

The Birth of Buddy Middleton

After keeping everyone on their toes and arriving 10 days late, Buddy wasn’t hanging around when he finally decided he was on his way!

By this point, I’d tried everything. And I mean EVERYTHING, but this baby didn’t want to seem to shift. Curry, pineapple, clary sage, long walks, stretch and sweep, even ‘the deed’ – you name it, I’d done it! I was so desperate to avoid induction (although I felt comfortable that I knew what would be happening, and I could be in control if that is what it came to) so I was over the moon when I went into labour spontaneously – to the point I cried when I woke my husband up to tell him I thought things were happening!I’m convinced that the fact I had gone to bed that night resigned to the fact this baby wasn’t coming of its own accord is what sent me into labour. My body finally relaxed because I let it.

Anyway – hold on to your hats! This is a fast one!

I woke up Sunday 22nd Sept morning in the early hours, around five to 4, not really sure what had woken me. After hearing my husbands terrible snoring (no change there!) I assumed that’s what had woken me up so I moved myself over to the spare room to try and get some sleep, because let’s be honest when you’re the size of a whale sleep isn’t exactly forthcoming so you’ll take all you can get! Before I even shut my eyes once in the spare room I had a wave of period type pain, which I thought was strange, having not had one niggle or inkling that little one was on their way on previous days. I put it down to wishful thinking, but clocked the time just incase, and tried to go to sleep. After all, even if this was the start, I thought I’d have hours of irregular contractions. I should atleast try and rest before it all started kicking off. HAHA funny what we tell ourselves and then look back on.

Half an hour passed, with 3 contractions in that time, I thought I better wake up my husband and things really seemed to be on the move already. I thought I’d then take the opportunity to go for a wee – a big help to keep labour progressing as I learnt in antenatal. I didn’t want a big old bladder getting in the way of this baby coming out! That’s when I noticed I was wet – so I guessed my waters were leaking. No big gush of waters like the movies! I hadn’t even noticed! Contractions felt like they were coming thick and fast, without much let up. My husband suggested I have a shower to try and help me relax, and so that I was atleast ready for the day of we were to be doing a lot of walking and waiting around. I did enjoy the shower, but all my contractions were up front under my bump, not in my back at all, so it wasn’t quite the relief I was hoping for. By this point it was 5am. My mum was going to be my second birth partner so I rang her to let her know things were moving, and moving fast, so she came over straight away and was with us by 5.30am.That’s when we called the hospital as my contractions were coming every 5 minutes and were lasting a minute long. I wasn’t prepared for such a fast progress, it took me by surprise that’s for sure!

The lovely midwife on the phone asked us to make our way in as we were about a 30minute drive away, and they could examine me and see how I was doing. Finally the moment had come to grab my strategically packed bags and notes and head out the door.

The car journey is still a blur. I think I sent the most of it ‘mooing’ on the way, and lifting myself off the seat as I didn’t want to be sat down. Not a very helpful passenger! I do remember telling my mum if I got to the hospital and was only 4cm dilated I was having an epidural for sure! A stark change from my chilled water birth I had imagined for myself.

We arrived at the birth unit at around 6.30am where our lovely midwife Yazmin met us and took us into a side room where I could be examined. It took a little while to be examined as my contractions were coming fast I didn’t want to be touched or confined to lying in a bed. Yazmin was great, let me do my thing. It was when I asked for some gas and air she let me know I had to have an examination first to check I was in established labour. After a (impressively quick) examination she told me I was 8cm dilated one side of my cervix but only 6cm the other side, so to help the shorter side dilate quicker to lie on that side for a little bit. Baby’s head was at a slightly tilted angle so was pushing harder on one side and not the other. But bloody hell, 6-8cm dilated. I couldn’t believe it! I was gladly sucking on the gas and air by now – a welcome relief! Although it didn’t take the pain away, it took me away from the pain. That’s the only way I can describe it. It’s a real out of body drunk kind of feeling, but you know exactly what’s happening, and you’re oddly OK about it all. You just know you’ve got ride the waves. Then my body just took over. I wasn’t asked to push, there was no momentous announcement of hitting the magic number of 10cm, my body decided it was time to push and that’s what it did. I apologised over and over to Yazmin, worried I wasn’t supposed to be doing it. But she reassured me all was OK, to just go with it and see how we got on. I told her I had wanted a water birth, when in reality I think I knew as much as she did there was going to be no time for that now.

Everything then started to move at what felt like super speed. Whilst pushing, baby wasn’t feeling too happy about it. It’s heartrate was dropping with every push and wasn’t picking up as quickly as it should. Yazmin explained this to me, and asked that I be moved from the birth unit to labour ward – cue the panicked tears from me! Which then also resulted in tears from my husband and he NEVER cries! I remember now what we discussed in antenatal and it really does ring true – labour ward isn’t second best to the birth unit, they just have more stuff in their cupboards! And as I was possibly going to need some assistance to get baby out sooner rather than later, that was the best place for me to be. However I can’t say I enjoyed clambering onto a bed mid labour to be wheeled to the lift! Ha!

I continued to push whilst on the bed in the lift, determined to get this baby out on my own. Yazmin came with us, which I will always be grateful for, for that continuity and support. Once on the labour ward, the sister of the ward came to help deliver me (along with a reem of other people who just seemed to fizzle into the background for me) and thankfully I’d managed to push baby far enough down on my own that I didn’t need forceps or vontouse. All that was needed was a small episiotomy to help the head be born. And all this time, pushing really does feel like one big poo!! You really can’t imagine it before, but then when it’s happening you understand what everyone’s been talking about!

When I was pushing the midwife told me to reach down and touch the baby’s head. That was most bizarre – warm, wet and squishy 😂I’ll never forget that!

And then there HE was. A boy! At 7.25am, all 8lb 3ozs of him – 3.5hrs from start to finish! I couldn’t believe the speed of it!
Although I didn’t get the water birth I hoped for, I didn’t end up with the natural 3rd stage I hoped for, I didn’t even get to eat the snacks I had packed for myself, I wouldn’t have had it any other way. I in no way feel cheated out of a birth I imagined, as the birth I got ended with my boy in my arms and nothing trumps that!

If you want to know about ways to have a great birth then…

You can join our Hypnobirthing classes in Cheltenham. We do antenatal classes too in Gloucester and Cheltenham.

If you want all the information from our award-winning hypnobirthing and antenatal classes but from the convenience of your own home on your own time, then you can get this with our online course.

Check out our series of YouTube videos on how to make your birth better. 

Creating An Ideal Birth Environment

Creating An Ideal Birth Environment

Your Birth Environment – Why is Birth Environment So Important?

Have you ever noticed how much you act from your environmental cues.

Your Mum pops over with a plate of cookies and she leaves them on your dining room table. You weren’t hungry, but now you’re eating a cookie.

You walk into a garden centre at Christmas time and smell the candles of cinnamon, frankincense & winter berry and it immediately gets you feeling excited for Christmas.

You see water by the tills at the cafe. You’ll feel thirsty looking at it. There’s juice in the fridge but you’ll choose the water as it’s right there. The next time you go there, there’s juice at the tills, you pick up the juice without giving it a second thought. You choose what’s in your environment.

If you see a chair you’ll sit on it. If there’s no chair you won’t even notice your legs are tired.

If you walk into your lounge do you pick up the TV remote? If you walk into the kitchen do you open a cupboard or wipe a side?

What do you do when you walk into work? How do you act in that environment… do you always put your bag in the same place, or automatically click the kettle on, warm up your computer or open your notebook. Do you bite your nails on the way there, call your partner on the drive home? What do you do as a result of walking into your work environment?

We are the products of our environments and respond to the cues that surround us. We respond either internally, like the feelings of excitement when we smell Christmas candles or externally by sitting on a chair that was placed in a room.

BOTH these reactions matter in a birth environment.


Just stay off the bed

If you see a bed, you’re more likely to get on it. If you see a floor mat, you’re more likely to sit or crouch or lean on that. If there’s a counter, you’re more likely to stand next to it to lean on it.

Why does this matter? If you’re upright in labour (or basically any other position other than your back) then the research shows that

– Your labour time is significantly shorter.

⁃ Your less likely to have an instrumental (forceps or ventouse) birth by 23%

⁃ Your 29% less likely to have a cesarean.

⁃ Your 21% less likely to have an episiotomy.

Your environment matters. The environment could be as subtle as a low bed or a high bed. A low bed- you’re more likely to get on to lie down. But, one of the hospital beds set to the highest setting you’re more likely to lean on it. Leaning on the bed compared to lying on the bed could make a massive positive difference to your birth.


Sight, smells & sound of a hospital.

If you walked into a room where there were bright lights, clinical smells and white coats. How would this make you feel? Often our bodies pick up on these environmental cues without us even being aware. Especially, when usually the only time we are surrounded by white coats & clinical environments are when we are ill and we visit the doctors, or visiting a poorly relative in hospital. It’s not usually associated with fun times.

Ever heard of white coat syndrome? It’s when your blood pressure rises only in a clinical setting. You don’t often know that you feel nervous, but your blood pressure is raised in the Drs. But if you do your blood pressure at home it’s normal. It’s thought that between 15-30% of all raised blood pressure at the Drs is because of white coat syndrome. This is your body picking up on environmental cues and saying “May Day! May Day! Someone’s sick” without you even being aware that it’s happening.

So why does this matter in birth?

⁃ If your body is feeling stressed then it’s signalling that it’s not in a safe place to have a baby. So labour can stall and intervention can be advised, plus it becomes more painful as pain is stronger when you feel stressed.

Some simple ways to make your body respond better to your birth environment- especially if it’s in a hospital or birth unit environment. This right here is nest building at its finest…

⁃ Turn off the lights. Dim lights are more relaxing than bright ones. Fairy lights and tea lights (although your hospital may only allow battery ones) are great for providing that magic.

⁃ Bring a familiar or relaxing smell. Think essential oils or nothing says familiar like your own pillow. Anything that doesn’t make you think you’re in a squeaky clean hospital.

⁃ Bring some things that make it feel more homely. Your pillow, comfy clothes, maybe a photo or picture or even a string of them like in the above photo. I’ve known women to bring bunting in made of photos or affirmations.


⁃ Music- having some music on will not only remind you of happy times and make you feel all zen, but it can also drown out the noise of a bustling hospital or other labouring women next door.

You can pack all this stuff in your hospital bag and let your birth partner know that this is the plan. He/she can then be in charge of dimming the lights and setting up your room to make it homely.

Lastly, knowing how important your environment is, really consider where you’d like to give birth. Your home is going going to give you all the relaxing cues as, it’s your home, it’s your familiar, and that’s a good thing to feel when you’re giving birth. If a midwife led unit or a consultant led unit is chosen/advised for you then think about ways that you can make your environment as comforting as possible. Also think about what’s on offer and whether that’s something you want. If you don’t want an epidural then don’t choose to birth somewhere where it’s on offer. It’s like the cookie analogy- if it’s on the menu where you’re giving birth then you’re more likely to choose it. If it’s not, then it won’t even enter your mind.

Your environment is so important for your birth. You can be a product of your birth environment, or it’s architect.


If you want to know about other ways to have a great birth then…

You can join our Hypnobirthing classes in Cheltenham. We do antenatal classes too in Gloucester and Cheltenham.

If you want all the information from our award-winning hypnobirthing and antenatal classes but from the convenience of your own home on your own time, then you can get this with our online course.

Check out our series of YouTube videos on how to make your birth better. 


Things To Celebrate From 2019

Things To Celebrate From 2019

2019 was my third year doing The Bump to Baby Chapter and it was a wild one. Wild like in this above photo wild, surviving the nights, managing 2 young children at home, writing blogs and scheduling emails at 2am with a baby on my boob, or walking around with her on my shoulder whilst teaching an antenatal session… you see, wild!!! The groups who I have taken Delphi to when she was just 6 weeks old and those who I was pregnant when teaching to those who were due the same time as me, will always be a memorable part of my life. You see TBTBC is a massive part of my life and sometimes this year, my mama life and my TBTBC life had to merge in more ways than I was use to.

Teaching antenatal classes in Gloucester at The Roastery.

Despite this or, maybe, because of this, it has been the best year yet. We’ve grown our community of new Mums and Dads, started new things and made some wonderful friends along the way.

So other than getting a newborn to sleep with a 3 year old in the house, here are some of the (less astounding) achievements of 2019.

1. How can I not start with welcoming baby Delphi into the world- my fourth and last baby. Her birth was amazing, like super amazing. Not because it was free from challenges but because I just felt so calm and in control of my choices throughout pregnancy and my birth. As well as a beautiful baby and a family that is now completed, I also got some incredible birth photos too thanks to Chui King Li. I’d recommend to anyone to take photos of your birth.

2. Speaking of new editions… we’ve welcomed 5 new midwives to the team this year to cover my maternity leave. That’s Mia, Bunty, Hannah, Sue and Oli who have been amazing this past year. I would not have.been able to keep a family of 4 children a float and TBTBC alive without you wonderful midwives keeping the ball rolling. And of course, Debbie, who is always keeping the plates behind the scenes spinning.

3. With new midwives comes new possibilities…. We’ve branched out to The Roastery in Quedgeley and Jacks Cirencester this year. Meaning that we are now spreading all our midwifey knowledge and helping parents further afield to get prepared for birth and their baby. This makes me want to do a little happy dance 💃🏼

4. Speaking of further afield… We have now launched an online course which means that women all over the world can feel better prepared for what to expect in labour and what to do to stack the odds in their favour to get a great birth. This course has been purchased across the globe (insane I know 😳) in Hong Kong, Australia and the USA. 🤯

5. The launch of the post natal courses. Some amazing things have come from these courses like the awareness created for PND from mother Laura. The amazing work of Helen who is a sleep wizard and Olivia, a cranial osteopath who helps a lot with baby’s that are struggling with the adaption to the outside world. Both Helen and Olivia have taught me and lots of mamas this year so much about babies. Like why they don’t sleep and reasons why they might’be colicky/Refluxey. I can’t wait to continue these courses into 2020.

6. Lastly is the blog, whilst it hasn’t been as active as I would have wanted- the blog is often the plate that comes crashing to the ground- it has had over 35,000 visits this year from readers across the globe. Educating mamas on pregnancy, birth and the newborn time was my goal when I started this little venture, and thanks to this little blog I’ve managed to reach more than I could have ever managed. We have also landed ourselves in the Top 10 UK Midwife Blogs too which is amazing.

I really couldn’t have survived this year without having such an incredible team – the midwives, Debbie and our lovely venue owners. Most importantly though, thank you to all those who have come to an antenatal class or hypnobirthing day with us. Thanks to those who have purchased an online course, who have wrote a blog for the site or came to a buggy walk. Thanks to those who have shared a post, commented or told a friend about us. You guys keep the cogs on turning over here as the community that you create is so uplifting, supportive and empowering 💥 👊🏼🙌🏼💥👊🏼🌟💥 so THANK YOU for supporting me so that I can keep on supporting you ❤️😘

Happy New Year to you all … now let’s have a drink 🥂

If you’re a pregnant mama and want to get involved in our Great Big Bump to Baby Chapter community then head over to the website for how.

What we can learn from the 3 Wise Men about visiting after a baby.

What we can learn from the 3 Wise Men about visiting after a baby.

Managing visitors after having a baby…

Christmas time is a time for lots of family and friends to visit. Having a baby brings even more reasons for visitors as everyone wants to meet your new arrival, plus you want to show off the new tiny, beautiful human that you’ve created.

It’s one of those things though that looking back, Mums often say that they wish they took it slower or managed visitors a bit better. So here’s some of my top tips for managing visitors. I’ve put a Christmas spin on it as everything is better with a festive twist.

  1. Be clear on times and who. Mary would have been sat there trying to get to know the baby she’s just birthed and in walked 3 Kings. Now I don’t know about you but in the presence of kings I would be worried about whether I would be leaking blood through my PJ bottoms or if my nipples were on show in front of a King. Both highly likely scenarios after having a baby. When you want to sit their with your boobs out trying to figure out breastfeeding, stay in your PJs all day with a disheveled mum bun or when you want to just have a nap when baby is sleeping, it’s good to know exactly who’s coming over, what time and when they’re leaving too.

2. Don’t be afraid to ask for things. Lots of people when planning their visit ask to see if you need anything. Rather than being polite and saying no and then ending up with Gold, Frankincense and Myrrh., ask for a certain size of baby clothes that you need, or ask for a lasagne if you’re struggling to find the time to cook. I bet Mary wished that she had an easy meal to cook for the next few weeks rather than some Frankincense to carry home on her donkey.

3. Let people do the things… You’ve just had a baby. You’re job is to enjoy your baby, get to know your baby, feed, cuddle your baby and rest up. This comes first over entertaining 3 wise men. It shouldn’t be up to you to be making the teas and baking the cakes. Get your friend and family to make the tea and more so, Mums and Mother In Laws are always happy to put the washing away or unload the dishwasher!

4. Make use of the visitors too. If your family is coming over for the morning and you know they’re going to want to cuddle the baby, don’t be afraid of using this time to take a shower, get yourself dressed or even take a nap. You can’t pour from an empty cup after all so looking after no. 1 is important.

5. If it all becomes a little overwhelming have a safe space in your house where you can go with your baby. You could always take the baby upstairs to feed so you can get a little time out or space. Having a baby is busy and over Christmas especially it can be that bit more hectic.

6. Don’t be afraid to say no. Even if your guests are Kings, Wise and are from afar. You and your baby are the most important beings at this moment and if you don’t want someone visiting or holding the baby, then it’s ok to say no!

Have a conversation with your other half before baby arrives to see if you’re on the same page when it comes to visitors. It’s one less thing to think about when baby gets here.

What are your top tips for managing visitors?

For other Christmassy birth and pregnancy blogs, you can read why Christmas Tis Tbe Season To Have A Baby or How Mary Bossed Her Birth.

Photo creds @monetnicolebirth

Sarah’s Birth Story with Baby Bea

Sarah’s Birth Story with Baby Bea

I’d like to start with how truly terrified I was. I couldn’t quite wrap my head around how my baby was going to come out.. from there! You know? Even after my husband and I attended The Bump to Baby Chapter classes, I felt informed, prepared & excited… but completely terrified about the pushing & birthing part. I pictured myself at home, waters breaking, contracting at home in my bath by candlelight, a quick trip to the hospital & a couple hours later holding our baby girl.

Nope – instead I was 10 days late, I didn’t get the birth I imagined, it was not natural (as hoped for) and very long but AMAZING. My baby girl was born a healthy 7 lbs 9 oz after a whopping 3 days after my waters broke. By 28 hours in established labour from being induced, my body was exhausted & I had no energy to push. My baby was helped out by forceps & an episiotomy with 2 final pushes. I can honestly say, in the moments leading up to that my body just took over & the adrenaline kept me going. It was completely out of my control & with every contraction I was a step closer to meeting our daughter. I felt empowered and strong & honestly loved having contractions.

I had an epidural which I could top up every 15 minutes using a button… I felt in control of the pain & stopped pressing the pain relief so by 9cm dilated, my epidural had worn off. And the pain of my babies head lowering was intense. My anaethetist quickly helped me manage the pain again & before I knew it, I was pushing. I remember telling my husband she was coming… that urge to push is REAL. You just know! Again it was empowering to feel that I just instinctively knew what to do, it was very primal. Shortly after I was holding my baby on my chest & didn’t feel a thing or notice what was going on around me, I just looked at my babies tiny hands, counted all her fingers & toes & watched my husband look at us both in amazement. She was here & the whole experience was magical. I remember looking at my husband and loving him more in that moment than I thought possible, I was so thankful to him for giving us such a precious little life. We made her, together – it’s magic! If you’re reading this at 2am (like I did) reading birth story after birth story, watching birthing videos on YouTube… stop worrying. Don’t stress. You will AMAZE yourself. Trust your body. Trust your partner and midwifes to support you. You’ve got this!

You can read more birth stories here.