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Katrina’s Birth Story- Cesarean during the Coronavirus

Katrina’s Birth Story- Cesarean during the Coronavirus

I had my daughter Eliza Ivy on 9th April 2020 – I elected for a caesarean following my previous induction and emergency caesarean under general anaesthetic with my now 26 month old daughter CiCi.

Throughout my pregnancy I thought I would have a VBAC – I wanted to experience going into labour the natural way and to feel my waters break and so on… Given the current COVID-19 pandemic, I started to feel panicked and decided that an elective caesarean would be the right choice for me. My husband also needed to look after our 2 year old so it became a reality that I would need to undergo the surgery alone. I was terrified and couldn’t sleep the night before. When I thought about it practically, I calmed down but it was the thought of not having my husband to hold my hand that made me quite emotional.

When the morning arrived, everything was calm – virtually tranquil. The ward, despite not being empty felt quiet and the staff at East Surrey Hospital were kind and reassuring. I was determined to breastfeed this time round after struggling and ultimately giving up the first time. So in I went with my colostrum syringes ready to store in the fridge. When it was my turn to have my baby, despite everything being explained to me, I will never forget the range of overwhelming emotions I felt in such a short space of time. Fear, relief, discomfort, ease, panic, calm, worry, joy, adrenaline, elation…

Ahead of time, the midwife in the surgery team offered to play my choice of music and to take any photos/videos I would like. In the end, my anaesthetist FaceTimed my husband so he could see my daughter being carried over the drapes – this was a new experience for us both as we had not seen our first daughter so soon after the birth. My midwife helped me downstairs to meet my husband and daughter – she took her time and didn’t rush us. This really made our reunion post birth so special.

I had skin to skin with my daughter and she fed from me straight away – our breastfeeding journey has been strong for nearly two weeks and I feel so lucky to be able to manage this time. I think that the pandemic has given me the blessing of time so that I am not rushing feeds or worrying about getting too much done at home. I’ve been able to recover at a steady pace and after he initial two days, it’s got easier each day. It’s not easy with a two year old, especially when she wanted to be carried and I can’t because of my wound but we’ve been making a conscious effort to make sure CiCi has lots of special time as well as fresh air and park visits so she doesn’t feel left out.

After my first birth which was challenging, painful and frightening, I felt so much more calm and in control this time round. I wanted to share my story with other mums to be who might be feeling quite anxious and unsure about their births. It might not be exactly what you imagine but the NHS staff are with you every step of the way 🤍

Thank you to Katrina for sharing her positivity with her birth story during this pandemic. For more birth stories click here.

Liz’s Birth Story – Unplanned Homebirth

Liz’s Birth Story – Unplanned Homebirth

Whilst I think I did a pretty awesome job of staying relatively stress free in my second pregnancy (one of the MANY lessons learnt from my first), the one thing that was bothering me was the logistics of labour with a three year old to look after. I am a firm advocate of the ‘it takes a village’ approach but we live three hours away from family, and it’s all very well considering good friends to be part of your village in daylight hours … but who really wants to be woken up at 3am because my waters have gone?!

I finished work a good 4 weeks before my due date, ever resentful that Baby Number 1 came a week early and I never got the week on a sofa with Netflix promised me by everyone who talks wistfully about maternity leave. If Baby Number 2 arrived in a similarly keen fashion, I was determined that all my nesting would be done AND a good solid five days of Netflixing would have been had.

I was 39 +1, the nesting was done, the Netflixing was being had hard, and we’d spent the day in Pittville Park with friends. It had been an active day and I felt good. The evening was uneventful, and I’d gone to bed about 10.30ish I think.

I half woke up at about half midnight feeling a little bit twingy. In that way you do when you really don’t want to wake up, I just tried to ignore it, get comfy and go back to sleep, and probably dozed like that for 40 minutes or so. Realising I wasn’t really asleep, I went for a wee in the hopes that would make me more settled. I think this woke me up properly and, sitting on the loo, I realized that I really was feeling quite uncomfortable. I was getting the bad period pain tightenings that I’d managed to forget all about from three years previous, but suddenly felt all too familiar. Balls. This was EXACTLY what I didn’t want, middle of the night labour and the worry of whether we needed to get a friend out of bed. Hopefully it would either die away a bit, or just rumble on for a good few hours uneventfully and no one would need to be called. I think this is what they call wishful thinking.

I woke my partner Alex at 1.40am ish, explaining that I thought things were happening and I’d appreciate his input. I think he could tell from my face / huffing and puffing that it was the Real Deal and we decided I’d call my friend and ask if we could drop our little boy round with her on our way to the hospital. She was fantastic, she’d been keeping her phone near her in bed in case I did call and was immediately mobilized. We know from phone records that I called her at 01.56 and we spoke for 1 minute and 37 seconds (this makes this blog sound like a true crime podcast).

Alex started getting stuff sorted; my hospital bag for the car, notes, Teddy’s things for nursery the next day, so that we could grab Teddy as the last thing and go. Everything is a little bit fuzzy here memory-wise, but I know I felt the need to be on the loo and suddenly everything was feeling very much pressurey in the old baby evacuation area. Hmm. Interesting. I was fairly sure I might be having a baby a little sooner than I’d hoped.

I called for Alex, trying really hard to use a tone of voice that was the right sort of urgent, without wanting to worry him, and also not wake a three year old. I was successful, he appeared. I wasn’t really able to do much talking, but I didn’t need to. He asked me if I needed an ambulance. I remember really wanting him to make that decision, but I nodded. I really, really hoped that was the right call. I’d be mortified if paramedics walked into my room and told me I was 3cm dilated and to pull myself together.

Alex disappeared off to make the call. He went downstairs, I think so he could concentrate on making sure he told them the right things. This is really when things started moving, and – without being too happy-clappy – where I really began to learn just how amazing bodies are. Or women’s ones at least! From this point on, my body just took over completely, it knew what it needed to do. I sort of crawled from the en-suite to the bottom of my bed (grabbed a towel, well done me), and just sat on the floor, legs akimbo, doing some super deep breathing and just letting everything do what it needed to do. I’d refreshed myself about birth at from TBTBC antenatal course and am a huge convert to hypnobirthing, so I knew that my body knew what it was doing, me getting in a flap would only get in its way so I might as well let it crack on.

I was vaguely aware of Alex coming up the stairs talking to 999 dispatch, saying something along the lines of ‘No, no I don’t think she’s giving birth yet, there’s definitely no head …’ *clocks me, clocks the action end* … ‘oh no wait, I can see the head’. Cue a high speed round of Finders Keepers (do you remember that, with Neil Buchanan?) where Alex reappears after what seemed like 10 seconds with every towel we own, a shoelace (don’t ask) and a safety pin (definitely don’t ask). I am pushing with every contraction now, and vaguely aware that it’s pretty awesome that Alex is helping me have a baby (turns out he wasn’t, 999 instructions are to keep your hand over the exit and encourage baby to stay exactly where they are).

Phone records show that at 02.19 I text Fi to tell her the front door was open (she’d text once she’d woken up properly to say she’d come and get Teddy, Godbless her, rather than us going out of our way to drop him off). The first responder paramedic arrived about 02.25 and was such a lovely energy walking into the bedroom. I couldn’t open my eyes, or really be part of what was going on, but I definitely registered him as having a brilliantly in-charge attitude. He was super chilled and all ‘Oh brilliant, we’re having a baby!’. He had the gas and air already out in one hand, and after asking me if I’d had it before, handed it over for me to suck on. I sucked once, hard, then feeling another contraction sweep through me, pushed hard and out flew Baby Number 2 at 02.30am, catching everyone slightly off guard.

Brilliant things that happened in quick succession soon after:- Alex gets to tell me that we have a squawking, pink baby boy, with ten finger and ten toes- Fi arrives, a bit worried at the sight of the response car, and does the best comedy double take ever when she walks into my room – Two more paramedics arrive in an ambulance, and everyone gets very giddy about the first Paramedic, John, delivering his first ever baby – I know everyone says it, but the minute the baby was out, I was completely back in the room and the pains of labour were immediately forgotten. I was giddy at what had just happened, and with only 15 or so minutes of pushing, I didn’t have any of the fatigue at all that you’d have with 2 hours of pushing.

We were incredibly lucky that the baby was totally healthy, and the placenta delivered easily soon after, I completely appreciate that an unplanned homebirth might sound scary or be a bit more complicated. But to be sat in bed with our new baby boy, being made tea and toast by Fi, 2 hours after I’d first woken up with some early aches, was an absolute dream. We are incredibly lucky that we have that story.

And Teddy? Slept through the whole thing. Slept through my moaning and groaning on the bedroom floor. Slept through three paramedics writing notes outside his bedroom door. Win.

Fi went home after an hour or so. What a champ. The hospital couldn’t free up a midwife to come out to us, so the paramedics drove me and the baby in to be checked. Alex stayed home to get Teddy up, took him to nursery (telling him I was at work), then came to pick me and the baby up from hospital. We’d spent a few hours in the delivery suite in Gloucester being incredibly well looked after and eating more tea and toast. Baby was a bit cold, because our bedroom window had been open while Alex looked for the first responder and because of the ambulance ride, but other than that everything was perfect. We were home by lunch, to have a few hours to ourselves before Teddy came home to be greeted by his new baby brother.

Great things… friends who get out of bed at 2am, make you tea and toast for a couple of hours, then go home to their own 2 children and a full day of work

Great things… paramedics, 999, midwives and the NHS

Great things… Rug Doctors for putting bedroom floors back together.

If you want to know about ways to keep calm during your birth, ways that you can stack the odds in your favour to have a great birth and techniques that you can start practising now in your pregnancy to prep for birth, then you can get all the information from the convenience of your own home on your own time, by accessing our online course.

An online course put together by UK midwife, Beth offering both hypnobirthing and antenatal education, which has helped women across the globe feel confident and calm during their birth.

Jessica’s Birth Story

Jessica’s Birth Story

 

After a positive first birth with my daughter in America (my husband Mark and I relocated to California for a couple of years, where our daughter was born – yay dual citizenship), I was keen that my second birth would be another one to look back on with fond memories. I decided to sign up for antenatal classes with TBTBC, despite having “done it before”, for a couple of reasons: I wanted to find out more about labour and birth on the NHS after a pretty medicalised experience in the US; I wanted to give hypnobirthing a go, and I *really* wanted to make friends with people who’d have babies at the same time as me, as I know the 4am WhatsApp chat is invaluable, particularly during the early weeks.

 

 

 

Our antenatal classes with Beth were excellent, even my skeptical husband who wasn’t convinced we needed to do them second time around was won over… perhaps by the beer and donuts at Baker and Graze! Although I think some of the other people in our class thought I was slightly unhinged as I would tear up at any mention of the moment where you first hold your baby – pregnancy hormones are real!

 

 

 

A combination of feeling more confident in my own decisions second time around (seriously, look into the statistics on the safety and positives of a home-birth, you may be surprised!) and the great support and advice from Beth led us to decide that we would plan for a home-birth, with a hospital bag packed just in case.

 

 

 

My first labour was very quick (under an hour and a half from start to finish), so another one of the reasons I wanted to plan for a home birth was that I couldn’t face the idea of giving birth in the car on the way to hospital. I also knew the importance of a comfortable birthing environment to help labour progress and after doing *a lot* of research I decided that the safest place to give birth, for me and our baby, was at home.

 

 

 

My due date came and went, but thanks to the positive mindset gained from TBTBC hypnobirthing class I was feeling relaxed and knew my baby would come when he or she was ready. I was also much more relaxed about the thought of labour occurring at any time as the birthing pool was all set up and Mark had a list of things to do when I went into labour… and the snack cupboard was fully stocked for the midwives!

 

 

 

The morning I went into labour I felt different to how I had been feeling for the rest of the third trimester and I was convinced that it was the day we’d finally meet our baby. I was so convinced that I phoned my in-laws and arranged for our daughter to go to them for the weekend, just in case something happened. Thankfully my mum was also staying with us so it was reassuring to know if I did go into labour that our daughter would be well looked after and I could concentrate on birth without the added distraction of a toddler. Having had such a quick labour the first time, on the advice of my midwife I called the maternity unit at the first sign of contractions – in my case it was like very mild period pains – and Mark started filling the birthing pool.

 

 

 

Our midwife arrived shortly afterwards and after taking some details, sat quietly and unobtrusively making notes while I laboured on the birthing ball. I was glad that I called them early because although my contractions weren’t regular, they were definitely getting stronger and I felt that it wouldn’t be too long before things really got going.

 

 

 

Having not had any pain relief for the birth of my daughter (they don’t use gas and air in America for birth – but strangely you can use it at the dentist – and I didn’t even have time to consider an epidural due to my quick labour), I wanted to use more natural methods including a birth pool to manage the contractions. However, I was advised not to get in the pool by the midwife as I had some bleeding and although all the other monitoring was normal, she wanted to keep an eye on any more blood loss which would be harder to do in the pool with the water. This was a good opportunity to use my “BRAIN” as we’d been taught during antenatal classes. I decided that although I wasn’t worried about the bleeding being a sign of anything wrong, I was managing the pain of contractions well enough without the pool and I was keen to keep the midwife happy and avoid her recommending we go into hospital for monitoring so we agreed with her recommendation and the pool remained unused. Using all the hypnobirthing techniques we’d learnt with Beth, I managed the pain by using breathing techniques, movement, sniffing essential oils and listening to affirmations (just reading this makes it sound so hippyish, but it really can work!). The pain was intense but manageable and at no point did I feel that I couldn’t do it – it helped that I had done it once before. Having said that, I read the notes my midwife made during labour and she used the word uncomfortable to describe how I was feeling… it was definitely more than that!

 

 

 

After about 45 minutes I really felt things change and knew it was time to push. The midwife stayed back and let me do my own thing and go where I wanted which I hugely appreciated – she also put in a call to her colleague to hurry up as home births are usually attended by two midwives! The only time I was really aware of the midwife was during the examinations and I was happy labouring by myself. At birthing class we talked about labouring women being in one of two categories: those who like company and those who would rather be alone – I’m definitely the later! I decided that I didn’t want to know how dilated I was in case it wasn’t much and I would have found it demotivating, the only time we found out was when I felt ready to push and the midwife checked that I was at 10cm.

 

 

 

After the sensation of contractions, feeling my body push was really satisfying. In our birth plan I’d written that I didn’t want coached pushing and I was happy to let my body do what it needed to naturally. I also had a lovely few minutes (or at least that’s what it felt like to me – my husband said it was more like 20 seconds!) break in between my contractions at this stage just before delivering the head where I could catch my breath and get really excited that in just a couple of pushes we would meet our baby and finally found out if our daughter would have a little brother or a little sister.

 

 

 

An hour after feeling the first “proper” contraction, our beautiful baby boy Arthur was born. The moment the midwife caught him and passed him up to me was just as amazing as I’d remembered from the first time. I needed a couple of stitches, which were genuinely more painful than labour and birth, but being able to have them done on the comfort of my own sofa with our baby having skin to skin with his dad more than made up for it! The endorphins kicked in and I felt like a superhero for days.

 

 

 

 

 

 

A couple of hours after they had arrived and with all our observations done, the midwives left and Mark and I had brownies and a glass of champagne to celebrate – definitely a perk of giving birth at home!

 

 

 

For any one considering a home birth, I would highly recommend it – I think it was the single most important decision I made for a positive birth and labour. Having a homebirth is relatively unusual, so expect some raised eyebrows if you mention it to anyone. This is where being armed with facts really helps, not only for your own decision making but also to quickly shut down any unwelcome “helpful comments” you may receive. I feel very lucky to have had such a brilliant experience and now two beautiful children.

 

 

 

Having said that, wherever you give birth it is possible to have an equally brilliant experience. It is such an important thing to be able to feel like you’ve made informed decisions and the best choices along the way for you and your baby – doing an antenatal classes like TBTBC really helps with that and will hopefully allow you to look back on your birth positively.

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you want to know about ways to keep calm during your birth, ways that you can stack the odds in your favour to have a great birth and techniques that you can start practising now in your pregnancy to prep for birth, then you can get all the information from the convenience of your own home on your own time, by accessing our online course.

An online course put together by UK midwife, Beth offering both hypnobirthing and antenatal education, which has helped women across the globe feel confident and calm during their birth.

 

Anne’s Birth Story

Anne’s Birth Story

In the evening of Monday 13th January, 6 days before my due date, I felt a few twinges along with mild cramps and instantly felt a mixture of excitement and nerves that this could be the start. Everyone had predicted that my baby would be early and with him measuring 2 weeks ahead I thought this must be it. Following our hypnobirthing class and everything we learnt at our weekly antenatal classes we made everything cosy with our oil diffuser, candles and playlist I had created. By 11pm I decided to go to bed and hoped that I’d be woken in the night or early morning with contractions. I woke up the next morning and all of the cramping from the night before had totally disappeared so I told my husband to go into work as normal and that I’d call him if anything happened. This continued for the following 7 days- every evening thinking it was all about to happen followed by nothing the next morning. I had started to think that it was never going to happen when our due date of 19th January came and went.


At my routine 40 week midwife appointment on Tuesday 21st January I asked for a stretch and sweep to see if this may start things off for me. I had read many horror stories about the procedure but decided to put on a brave face and give it a go! I can honestly say that I barely felt anything and it was over in less than one minute. I was very pleased to hear that I was around 1-2cm dilated already and my cervix had thinned – a relief that the week of on and off mild cramps hadn’t been pointless. My midwife warned that I may experience some bleeding and have some period pain like cramps that evening due to the procedure. She booked me in to have a repeat stretch and sweep for 4 days later as she said often the first doesn’t necessarily result in going into labour. I went home and spent the evening on the sofa in my pyjamas with cramping as she had warned me of. The following morning, on Wednesday 22nd January, I woke up at 4am with what felt like braxton hicks contractions like I had experienced each evening so far. But this was different, it was the morning and I just had a feeling inside that this was it. Maybe the stretch and sweep had worked after all and that the cramping the evening before had been the start.


I decided to take a hot shower whilst my husband slept and to take it from there. By 6am I woke my husband to let him know and told him that I didn’t think he’d be going into work. We started to time the contractions as they felt quite frequent and realised that they were around every 6 minutes and lasting around 30-60 seconds. The TENS machine I’d hired worked brilliantly to ease the contractions. After calling into the birth unit we were advised to stay home as long as possible so spent the morning bouncing on my ball, keeping mobile around the house and making sure we had everything ready to go. At 11am my waters broke which was a huge shock to me as everyone I knew had told me that theirs hadn’t gone until near the end. I cried in this moment as I think it finally sank in that this WAS it. We called the birth unit again and they told us to go in.


On our way into the hospital I felt excited and calm rather than scared and I can honestly say this was purely down to all that I had learnt through hypnobirthing. Positive mental attitude! I continued to use the TENS machine and to time contractions as we arrived and were shown into one of the lovely rooms. We were hesitant to set everything up as planned as knew we’d be moving into one of the birth pool rooms later on. For the next 6 hours I walked around the room and used the TENS for relief which really helped. I couldn’t bare to sit or lie down through contractions and remember my feet starting to ache from being stood up for 12 hours. My husband used the essential oils to give me a lovely foot massage and we set up the oil diffuser.
By 5.30pm the contractions were getting very intense and close together and this is when I started to panic and worry about how I’d cope with minimal pain relief as I had planned. The midwife examined me and I was upset that I was only 3-4cm after over 12hours.

I was moved to the poolroom and the warm water was relaxing and the gas and air gave me a new focus. The contractions were very intense and strong by this point but I remained calm and focused on my breathing. From this point onwards I was in another zone and barely talked to the midwives or my husband (which is very unlike me to be quiet!). I had no concept of time passing nor did I think about how long might be left, I just took each contraction one at a time.


By 8.30pm the midwife asked me to get out of the pool to try to go for a wee as I hadn’t for hours. I was scared to leave the comfort of the pool and gas and air but managed to get to the bathroom with the support of my husband. After 20minutes of trying the midwife advised me that I would need an in/out catheter. I got on the bed in the room and from this moment onwards I can only describe the rest of labour as a total ‘out of body experience’. I don’t know if it was my body’s way of coping with the pain or the gas and air but I remember feeling as though I was watching someone else give birth and that I’d have to do it for myself afterwards. They decided to examine me whilst I was on the bed and were surprised to find that I was fully dilated. As soon as I got back in the pool I had an urge to push and just went with what my body was telling me. The midwife went around to the other side of the pool and noticed that I had already pushed the head out in that first push! I pushed again twice more immediately after and our beautiful son Jenson was born. Within 4 minutes of getting back in the pool he had been born. 21.55pm, weighing 7lbs 3oz. It was nothing like I had imagined, I don’t remember feeling any pain or stress at all with the pushing stage of labour and it felt completely natural. My husband picked our baby up out of the water and handed him to me, it was magical. He cut the cord and then took baby for skin to skin whilst the midwife helped me out of the pool to deliver the placenta. This happened right away on the bed and again I don’t remember feeling any pain or discomfort at all. After a final examination, the midwife was shocked to find that I didn’t even have a graze! I honestly believe that it was due to using all of the techniques from hypnobirthing that I was able to deliver my baby so naturally and easily as I just went with what my body was telling me. I feel very fortunate that everything ‘went to plan’ but am confident that I would have been able to cope if the situation had changed or had been different. I look back on my birth experience as it being positive and enjoyable rather than something to be scared about or something to just have to ‘deal with’ which I never thought my I’d say. Having my husband attend the hypnobirthing and antenatal classes with me enabled us to work as a team throughout pregnancy and labour and I couldn’t have done it so easily without his a support and encouragement.

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

You can get 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. 

Group courses – Hypnobirthing classes in Cheltenham. We do antenatal classes too in Gloucester and Cheltenham.

Lorna’s Birth Story

Lorna’s Birth Story

If anyone could read minds then mine would have been clogged with all sorts of negative thoughts about labor and what could potentially happen (of course always thinking the worse, I’m my own worst nightmare) My mind was so clouded with “what if’s” I knew it wouldn’t be long until I work myself up that much that I would start to panic about giving birth and the stress this could put on me and our baby.
Having all the social media channels, I came across this group “The Bump To Baby Chapter” I thought I’d read a couple of posts and do a bit of research myself before I sent that first message asking for support and what I could do to prevent all my stresses and anxieties during labor, and what types of deliveries would work best for me being so anxious.


Before I go on, I was determined to have a C-Section because in my head, this was all smelling of roses and would be over quickly, no pain, no fears!! We all know that’s not the case but as my mind was filled with that dreaded anxiety, it was leading me down the wrong path!!


Moving on.. TBTBC offered me the chance to do their online course which contains all sorts of advice and support about labor and how to control your mind and body during labor, what happens and so on. I watched the first video and I was HOOKED, I must have watched 10 videos that morning and started to make metal notes about all the things I can take from these videos and use during my labor. I finally started to feel somewhat more positive about labor and I would walk around the house saying “I can do this” rather than “I’ve changed my mind, I don’t want to give birth”


Don’t get me wrong, I did have my moments where I had a right toddler tantrum about labor and everything that could possibly go wrong but instead of fearing it and keeping all my thoughts to myself, I started to talk about it, like ALL THE TIME to my partner “she’s in there now and she’s got to come out one way or another” “I want every pain relief going, I don’t want to feel a thing” I soon realised that, I wasn’t scared of the actual labor, I was scared of the pain and possibly tearing and then having to be stitched.. but then I was quite happy to have an epidural to numb me from the waist down.. crazy right!?


On the morning of Friday 24th (around 10am) I lost my plug, now, I’ve never seen “the plug” before and I can honestly say I must have sat there staring at this for almost 5 minutes thinking what it could be before I shouted my parter saying “baby is coming” of course, he ran to the bathroom probably expecting water all over the floor and be their panting like shown in the movies…. not at all.. his response was “ok, what do you mean” “I’ve lost my plug, I think! I’ll have to google it and look at images” it was definitely my plug!!


At that moment we looked at each other in complete shock (like I haven’t just been pregnant for 9 months and about to have a baby, but more like what on earth do we do now) My mind froze and so we wait until my waters break!?.. hours later still no water and no contractions.. I had no choice but to carry on with my day. My partner stayed at home because I knew I was going to be in labor within a few hours..how wrong was I?? Friday passed like it was a normal day, I was frustrated because I thought, as soon as your plug starts coming away, your waters would follow, then the contractions and I’d have our baby in my arms come tea time.


Saturday 25th at 4am I started to get these pains, I can only describe as really heavy period cramps that kinda make you take a deep breath for a minute.. to my surprise I didn’t panic I just went to the toilet and got back into bed still half asleep.. I then had another and then another. I left my partner asleep and casually started to record what time these pains were happening, how long for and how far apart. (I can’t believe how casual I was about this, I would just fall asleep in between each one like nothing was happening) after a good couple of hours, I started to realise that these “pains” were actually contractions and coming every 15-20 minutes lasting a minute and I should wake my partner.


We both sat there in bed recording and making note for a little longer before we called the labor ward to inform them of my progress. Each time I had a contraction they were getting stronger so to me, I was ready to go into hospital and getting somewhat excited. We called the labor ward, they asked me about my contractions and what I’ve done for pain relief.. amongst all the excitement, i hadn’t taken any painkillers. The ward said “keep recording, try and stay at home for as long as possible as it’s better for you and baby.. we want to hear that those contractions are every 3-4 minutes and lasting anything from 1-1.30 minutes” My reply to my partner was “I’m not having our baby in the car that’s ridiculous”!!


By this time it was 7am and I already felt like I had done a days work and ready for bed again!.. we made the call to my mum to make her way to ours (who lives in Tewksbury).. 12pm still no sign of baby! 2pm.. yup still no sign however, my contractions were fluctuating from 7-10 minutes and 3-6 minutes.. we called the ward to update them and again they said they needed the contractions to be regular at 3-4 or for as long as I can last at home. By this time I was trying absolutely anything and everything to help me along, I took a bath, I used my ball, I used my partner for support and positions.. we all even played cards to try and focus on something else rather then the contractions. I was determined to do this as calmly and for as long as possible.


Saturday passed without any sign of baby and waters. Contractions were a steady 7-10 minutes apart but it was me this time who decided to stay at home.. I don’t know what came over me, I just didn’t want to go in to hospital yet! It was like I knew that it still wasn’t time. We got into bed and saw the night through.


Sunday 26th 7am, I was woken up by these almighty pains, I did the same thing, recorded the contractions and waited 2 hours for them to be consistent. 10am we called the ward and said “we’re coming in” I couldn’t continue at home anymore as I was in too much pain to do it alone. When we arrived at the hospital my midwife checked how far along I was… 2cm!!! In nearly cried, I hadn’t just done nearly 30 hours of contracting to be told I’m only 2cm!!! I was utterly knackered and didn’t know what to say.


We stayed at the hospital, waiting and using the bed, the bath and the aromatherapy oils (these are great by the way, so relaxing and comforting) I also ate whatever I wanted for more energy. 6pm Sunday evening, there was still no sign of my waters or baby making an appearance any time soon.. I was checked again and FINALLY I was 4cm.. this may not seem like much of a progress but when you get told you can now have alternative pain relief, like gas an air, you most definitely see it as progress!!!


A couple of hours later, I really started to struggle and I started to feel a panic attack brew.. I tried to hold it for as long as possible before I asked for an epidural. The midwife did another check and told me that our baby was back to back and this is why my labor is very drawn out. I still asked for the epidural as I knew I wouldn’t be able to continue without one, even knowing the risks the epidural can bring I still wanted one. I was determined to keep my panic attacks at bay and continue doing what I was doing.


By the time I had the epidural it was 8pm and I was so, incredibly thankful for being able to have one. I was proud for going this long and being so calm, I thought I’d be a nervous reck having panic attacks and crying, I really did surprise myself and having this feeling really encouraged me through-out the rest of my labor. As soon as I had the epidural I was able to get a couple hours sleep and we even got a couple of episodes of friends in (the epidural is THAT good)

Around 3am Monday 27th, our midwife confirmed I was now 10cm and in the next hour I’m able to start pushing, the relief on all of our faces was one to capture.
When the pushing started at around 4am, we soon realised that there was a minor complication (this was not down to the epidural by the way) our daughter was still back to back but becoming a little distressed, I had been pushing for almost 2 hours with very little progress. The midwife had a chat with a consultant and despite his best efforts to turn her and encourage a normal labor, we made the decision to have a ventouse delivery, this is what was advised and so we went along with it. I was cut to help with the delivery and after hours of pushing our beautiful baby girl Amelia Rose was born at 06:43am weighing a healthy 7lb 3oz. I was given the injection to delivery my placenta as I was so tired they advised this would be far easier, I was stitched and through everything I still hadn’t shown signs of panic attacks like I thought I would do.


I couldn’t thank the midwifes and consultants enough, I even think I said at one point “I’m sorry if I was loud”. I would most definitely have another child despite the length of the labor and the troubles with Hyperemesis during my pregnancy! It just goes to show how much being pregnant and going through labor changes a women and it’s true, your mummy instincts really do kick in at the right time.

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

You can get all the information from our award-winning hypnobirthing and antenatal classes but from the convenience of your own home on your own time with our online course.

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

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.