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Abi’s Birth Story

Abi’s Birth Story

My husband and I started The Bump to Baby Chapter online course when I reached the third trimester. The course was fantastic and really helped us to feel knowledgable and informed about labour and birth and helped me have such a positive birth experience despite it being very far from what I thought I wanted.

I had decided that I would love to have my baby at my local birthing centre and I had my heart set on a water birth, essential oils, relaxation tracks playing etc and we were really looking forward to this. However at 36 weeks, I was put up to high risk as my baby’s growth had slowed down so I needed consultant check ups, extra scans, 3x weekly CTG monitoring and a possible early induction. This was frightening and completely changed my birth plan and meant I’d need to deliver on the labour ward at the hospital. I was initially upset about this but used my EBRAN and affirmation tools to see this as a positive decision where my baby and I would be in the safest hands. Thankfully the baby’s growth didn’t tail off further and the consultant was happy for me to go into labour spontaneously. 

When I was 40+2, my Braxton hicks that I’d been having suddenly started to become quite painful and I also had my show. My husband and I realised that this was probably it and baby would soon be arriving. The contractions were lasting 40 seconds or so and coming every 6 minutes, and they stayed this way for the next 24 hours at which point they were much closer together and were pretty strong. I went into hospital to be checked and was only 1cm so was told to go home and rest. This was disheartening but I had lots of hot showers, had my tens machine on full whack and breathed through each contraction using the techniques from the course. I must have spent hours in the shower as it gave me so much relief. Another 24 hours later, I was exhausted and the contractions were coming thick and fast. By this point, I could barely focus through them so we phoned the labour ward as I’d decided after 48 hours of contractions at home, an epidural was for me. They told us to come straight in and to my relief, I was 5cm and could make use of the amazing gas and air. It really helped me regain control of my breathing and focus through each contraction. As the anaethetist was in theatre, I also had morphine which somehow allowed me to doze off between contractions so I could recoup some energy. I was so focused and in my birthing zone, I totally didn’t care for a water birth etc. and was so happy with the gas and air. By the time the anaethetist was free, I was ready to push and within the hour, our baby girl was here. My body truly took over at this point! The midwife recommended an episiotomy to get baby out quicker but I wanted to try one last push myself and I was able to birth her naturally which was amazing.

Despite my birth being totally different from my initial plan, I still had the most amazing birth experience on the labour ward at the hospital. The midwives were absolutely fantastic and you would not have known a pandemic was going on!

The course really did enable me to enjoy my birth and make informed choices beforehand and throughout and I am absolutely amazed at what the body can do! The Facebook group has also been so supportive, as have Beth’s regular Q&A sessions. I dread to think how I would have coped with such a long labour without hypnobirthing and I am so grateful now that I can reflect on my birth with such positivity! 🙂

Want to know about ways to have a great birth?

You can get all the information from our award-winning, midwife led, hypnobirthing and antenatal classes but ONLINE with The Bump to Baby Chapter’s Hypnobirthing and Antenatal Online Course. Videos, checklists & a support group to get you feeling excited and confident for birth.

Positive Cesarean Birth – Emma’s Story

Positive Cesarean Birth – Emma’s Story

Emma Litchfield Birth Story – Unplanned ‘elective C – Section’ -Hector Andrew Litchfield

 

I just want to start this Birth Story by letting you know that you can have a positive birth even if it ended up being something you never even imagined.  

My story starts 6 days before Hector arrived – it was a Friday night and I had a day of reduced movements- this was the second time this happened and so I called the Triage ward at Gloucester who told me to come in to be monitored– we knew the drill. So, I grabbed my notes and me and my husband, Henry, made the 40 min journey to Gloucester.  

 

And of course, whilst we were waiting, our little man was having a party in there but we knew it was still a good idea to go ahead and get check and I am so glad I did. 

Everything was perfect on the monitor and we were able to go home but we needed to come back in for a scan early next week- both of us questioned this as everything was fine and I don’t really like being messed with but the midwife explained to us that it was to check that the placenta was still functioning as reduced movements can be a sign that it is working as well as it could be. 

My scan was booked in for the Tuesday so again we made the trip to Gloucester and I remember distinctly laughing during the drive there that I bet he would be dancing on the screen- what a cheeky baby! It would be nice to see him again at least.  

 

We got to the scan and about 30 seconds in the sonographer comments ‘Oooo, He’s breech!’. 

 

At 39 weeks which was such a shock especially as at my midwife appointments they were sure he was head down and 3/5th engaged. 

So, we were sent up to the triage ward- I was in utter shock and started to really worry as I know my friend had a breech baby and ended up have a C-section which was something I really didn’t want, I spent time in my 3rd trimester visualising my birth and practicing hypnobirthing techniques and was hoping for a water birth with minimal intervention . 

 

We were met with a surgeon to go through our options which were 1. to have an External Cephalic Verson (ECV) to try and turn him so I could have a natural birth and if that didn’t work to decide to carry on with a breech birth which could be tricky to get the right team on to support me or to have an elective C-Section. 

 

After a what felt like hours and a huge amount of upset and tears, I decided to go for an ECV the risks to our baby were low and I really wanted a natural birth. On a side note the tears were not helped by the fact I hadn’t eaten since 7am and now I couldn’t eat in case the team needed to perform an emergency C-section after the ECV!  

 

We were able to go home before the ECV was performed so we made sure we had everything we might need so a bag for me the baby bag just in case he arrived after the procedure- and then headed back in. 

When we arrived back at the hospital, we were met by such a lovely midwife team who really helped to relax me, made me laugh and made sure I felt comfortable. They also felt the bump and were totally baffled– he felt head down! 

 

I had quite an audience for the ECV as I don’t think they get many 39 week pregnant women in for one so I had two surgeons and a trainee doctor in with me as well as a midwife- who was brilliant in talking to me whilst the procedure was going on and holding the gas and air for me- she was wonderful. 

 

The procedure itself is painful but worth it even if your baby doesn’t spin. It feels really wrong especially as we spend all of our pregnancy trying not to knock our bumps but at one stage I had two people pushing up and down on my bump trying to get him to spin- they gave it two tries but in the end it was just too painful to keep going but as soon as they stopped the pain stopped immediately. If I was in the same situation in the future, I would hands down have the procedure again. 

 

Both myself and Henry had both decided that if the ECV didn’t work that we would go for an elective C-Section- so it was really easy once I had made a decision to go forward with it. 

 

Again, the team were great- they talked us through what would happen and we booked a date – 6th February 2020- a Thursday. 

 

It felt really surreal knowing the date of our baby’s birth rather than waiting for it like the other Mum’s in our TBTBC group – we spent the evening having dinner (hurrah!) and chatting through the day. It was a long chat, where I felt sad and disappointed that I couldn’t get the birth that I wanted, Henry was brilliant and listened to my thoughts and confirmed that fact I grew our little man and he would be arriving safe is an achievement in itself and a C-Section was still a birth. We ended up chuckling that we were so grateful that Bunty, who ran the Cirencester TBTBC, took us through what a C-section would involve so we felt less intimidated and before we left to come home from the hospital she came and found us  to show me the operating theatre and the recovery room so I would be familiar with it when we came back in. 

 

What happened next is something that I hope wold never happen to anyone else but sadly in the early hours of the Wednesday Henry’s Dad died. It wasn’t unexpected but it was a shock that it happened the day before his grandson was born- so where we were meant to have a day for us to get our head around that fact I was about to have major abdominal surgery and welcome our baby boy into the world it was now a day of grieving and making sure my husband was ok. Henrys family came over to ours for the day so we could be together. Henry messaged Bunty to let her know what had happened and to find out if we could book a private room- again the Gloucester maternity midwifes were incredible they made sure we had the space after the birth to have the privacy we knew we  needed and I cannot thank them enough.  

 

We both actually slept well the night before which was down to just being emotionally exhausted but also because as I was going to sleep, I used the breathing techniques from my hypnobirthing course and it really helped calm me. I think I subconsciously used the techniques all through that day to keep me calm.  

 

The next morning, I was a bag of nerves – I don’t like being messed with or having operations and I knew the recovery would take its time I felt quite scared and excited at the same time. To say I was a roller-coaster was an understatement but I kept myself busy- cleaning the house one last time! And Making sure everything was set for when we arrived home.  

 

We were told we would be last on the list and so we didn’t need to go in until 11am however when we arrived, we met with our surgeon, Sophie, who then told us we could go now! Which was much better for me as I then had less time to worry. A Midwife came and got me and showed me where to get dressed and I was then walked down to the operating theatre – it all felt quite surreal.  

 

Sitting on the bed receiving my epidural and spinal I was really nervous and used the breathing techniques to help calm me – the team were so lovely and there was a real excitement and positive vibe in the operating theatre – they seemed just as excited as me to meet our little boy. We had our playlist playing and some mini electric candles which made everything feel just that bit special. 

 

I used my calming techniques throughout the whole birth and it was really lovely having Henry by my side. The surgical team also seemed to really like our playlist and were singling along and dancing to it- you really could forget that you were in an operation. 

 

Hearing Hector’s first cry was the best (he was born to Elton John , Benny and the Jets) and he came straight to my chest so we could have a cuddle. I felt pretty tired and so the team then took him to be weighed and checked over whilst I had a little nap. Hector was born at 12.31pm a mere 1 hr 30 mins from when we arrived. 

 

The reason why I put the Elective C-Section into air quotes as the title to this birth story is because I would never say that I feel that I elected for my C-section once the ECV was completed and failed we felt that it really was the only way to move forward safely however even if I didn’t choose to have it, it was still a positive experience. I was given the respect and time to make my decisions about the procedure- to have the drape up, to have a playlist and to have skin to skin straight away, our surgeon was great, she really understood it wasn’t my preferred method and made sure everything was a perfect as it could be. I was also given the space to be nervous without being judged and was treated with such warmth and kindness from the midwives and the surgical team – I will never forget and am so grateful to them. 

 

Beth’s course was so useful especially around the different types of birth. The course helped us immensely and we didn’t even know we were going to need to know all about C-sections! I cannot recommend this course enough! 

 

Hector’s middle names were after Henry’s Dad ‘Andrew’ and also his Great Grandad ‘Percy’ who was born on the same day. 

Thanks so much TBTBC!

x

 

If you want to know about ways to have a great birth, how to stack the odds in your favour to get the birth you want and feel calm in all births then…

You can get all the information from our award-winning hypnobirthing and antenatal classes but from the convenience of your own home and on your own time, with The Bump to Baby Chapters antenatal and Hypnobirthing  online course.

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

 

Kimberley’s Positive Birth Story

Kimberley’s Positive Birth Story


I would like you all to meet my little Oliver, who arrived 6 days late, today at 11.41am! He is 8lbs 6oz and 53cm long!


I definitely did not have the labour I thought I would- quite the opposite in fact, but I wanted to share the positives I am taking from it, thanks to Beth and all the team at TBTBC ❤️


Contractions started on Thursday morning at 5.30am, every 8 minutes or so. This was after my failed sweep on Tuesday, followed by a bloody show on Wednesday. I telephoned the birth centre where I was planning on giving birth, and was advised I was likely in very early labour, and to see how things went. The contractions waxed and waned all day. I used an app to time them, and they always ended up finishing without progressing, despite bouncing on my ball and going for a power walk.


Fast forward to 7pm that evening. The contractions started up again, and started feeling a little more intense. My partner and I joked about what would come of it, convinced they would stop. 8pm rolled around, and as I relaxed on the sofa, I felt a pop and a gush of warm water. Suddenly reality hit that our baby was finally on his way! We telephoned the birth centre and were told to make our way in.
Feeling quietly confident, I was gutted to learn I was only 1cm dilated. Loaded with dyhydrocoedine, I was sent home and told to relax in the bath. I stayed in the bath for around 3 hours. I used my breathing techniques from the course, and snoozed inbetween contractions. Then something changed. Baby seemed to do a big movement, and the pain shifted to my back. I was suddenly in agony and could hardly catch my breath. In the end, my partner telephoned the birth centre again to tell them I wasn’t coping and needed to come back. The car journey back to the hospital was awful.


When I was examined, the midwife was delighted to tell me I was now 4cm dilated and now in active labour but baby’s heartbeat was too fast. I was sent down to triage to be monitored without my partner, and the anxiety started to kick in. Re-examined, I was told I was actually 2cm dilated, baby was now back to back and that’s why the pain was so intense. Panicking, everything I learned on the course (or so I thought) went out of the window. I finished off 2 cylinders of gas and air with little relief, crying out for my partner and someone to help me. But somewhere in the back of my mind, I knew there were still choices to be made, and despite birth preferences, the plan had always been to do what I needed. I plucked up the courage to ask for an epidural, despite it meaning I would have to birth on the delivery suite.
Once the epidural had been administered, I completely relaxed. I was able to nap, take sips of water, laugh and joke with my partner and actually get excited about labour.


Our little boy’s heart rate continued to fluctuate, and it seemed to be every time I had a contraction. I had only progressed 1cm in 5 hours post epidural, and was warned that baby’s heart rate may be a cause for concern and a section may be needed. I used the tools from the course to stay calm. I told myself ‘if that’s what my baby needs, that’s what needs to happen’. I was given the hormone drip to see if things could be sped up, bypassing the need for a section. A clip was placed on baby’s head to improved the monitoring.
Baby’s heart rate continued to misbehave, and I was determined as long as he was safe, it didn’t matter how he arrived. All of a sudden, I got a sharp pain in my right side and back. This coincided with a big drop in baby’s heartbeat, que doctors flooding the room, preparing to whisk us off to theatre. Because I was having pains, and fearing my epidural had started to fail, I was reexamined by my midwife. As she exclaimed ‘his head is nearly out, he’s on his way!’ I burst into tears. I was psyched up for a section, when there was no need.


I started pushing at 11:28, and at 11:41, our Oliver made his entrance into the World. I had to have stitches for a 2nd degree tear, and I have a graze- but apart from that I’m feeling on top of the world. My epidural wore off about an hour later, and I was soon in the bath, eating toast and drinking tea.


So as well as sharing my news with you all, I just wanted to share my story. Despite the scary moments, the pain, and the change of plans… I was able to stay focussed, accept the change of plans and also ask sensible questions using EBRAN. And that’s thanks to Beth, this wonderful group and the amazing work done by this team.
Thank you everyone, and Good Luck with your journeys ❤️


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.

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.