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✨The Baby Bubble aka. The Golden Hour ✨

✨The Baby Bubble aka. The Golden Hour ✨

This has got to be one of the biggest highs in life EVER!! Who else can remember those moments after their baby was born? You see this little being that you’ve made and grown for the first time.. you smell her little head, watch her screwed up little face trying to look beyond the swollen nose and eyebrows to work out if your baby looks like Mum or Dad.

The couple of hours after Delphi was born was amazing. We were left in the room in skin to skin, with dim lights just to get to know this brand new baby girl. It was a magical time all round as Rob got his hands on a coffee for the first time that night (it was about 5am!). The midwife threw in some toast too so it was pretty much perfect.

I’m under no illusion that it’s always this magical and always this early. After long births or ones that have had intervention, it can be really overwhelming and tiredness can become all consuming. But there will be a time, maybe a couple of hours later or a couple of days, if baby is in SCBU or if you’re feeling shattered where you can enjoy this time.

I did hypnobirthing with one couple who focussed more on this time than the birth itself. She thought to herself that no matter how Birth happened she wanted to do everything in her power to ensure that she got her “Baby Bubble”. She delayed weighing, wanted dim lights and uninterrupted skin to skin. It’s these moments that you could argue means so much more than the birth itself.

This Golden Hour has so many benefits such as helping with bonding, breastfeeding, helping your baby adapt to life in the big wide world. The rush of love can happen now or it can happen in the next few days, never beat yourself up if this doesn’t happen straight away as birth can be overwhelming.

Any pregnant Mums thought about this time and how you’d like it to be?

What was your first couple of hours like with your baby? Join the conversation here.

Photo creds Chui King Li Photography

Laughter and a Supportive Partner- Your best drugs for labour

Laughter and a Supportive Partner- Your best drugs for labour

I don’t know if this was the result of too much gas and air at this point or one of Robs cracking jokes but either way it looks like we’re having a grand old time! Anyone who’s been through labour knows that it’s not all shits and giggles, but a solid birth partner that can bring the funnies goes a long way for those oxytocin levels.

So to all the birth partners out there, who don’t just want to be sat in the corner with their popcorn, remember you’ll be the biggest source of oxytocin in that birth room. Never underestimate your role 💪🏻✨

You may be surprised to know that this is all part of hypnobirthing. It’s not all relaxation and breathing, it’s about learning ways to make you feel great during labour. For me that was this man right there ❤️ some gas and air 👌🏼 and I was on to a winner.

Did you have an awesome birth partner at your birth? What did you find most helpful?

Join the conversation here.

Chui King Li Photography 📸

#Hypnobirthing #BirthLikeABoss #LaughterIsTheBestMedicine

Birth Matters – “I checked in on myself and thought of myself in my elderly years and knew that the captures of one (of four) of the greatest moments of my life would be far greater than any judgement.”

Birth Matters – “I checked in on myself and thought of myself in my elderly years and knew that the captures of one (of four) of the greatest moments of my life would be far greater than any judgement.”

One thing I do quite regularly to check in on myself is think in years to come … what will I look back on this time and think of. On the more morbid days I think on my death bed, what will flash before my eyes. (Heavy for a Friday morning I know!) More often than not for me it’s to do with how much time I spend on TBTBC vs. my family time. A never ending battle for most working mothers I’m sure.

One specific time though, when this deathbed tactic massively helped me was when I was considering getting a birth photographer for my fourth baby. I nearly didn’t do it as I was nervous that some of the other midwives wouldn’t get it. I felt extremely diva ish 💁🏼‍♀️ rocking up to my birth (the place where I will be going back to work!) with a photographer. An imagined fear of being judged. I nearly didn’t do it as Rob openly didn’t get it, he thought I was weird 😆. Anyway, I obviously checked in on myself and thought of myself in my elderly years and knew that the captures of one (of four) of the greatest moments of my life would be far greater than any judgement I would get from anyone else. So I did it, and now thanks to Chui King Li I have one of my greatest achievements in life to look on (which I do on the regs) and cherish for ever. The only regret I have is not doing it with all of them!!

Anyway, my point of this story is that birth matters. The reason why I like looking back on my photos so much was because that day mattered. I brought my baby girl into this world on that day. It was an incredible day. Birth is not just a means to an end. It’s the mark of the end of a pregnancy and the start of being a mother. It’s just as, if not more important as your wedding day that you spend thousands of pounds on and months sometimes years of prepping. In years to come it will be a day that you will remember, you will want to share what happened with your children just as your own mother tells you. Why do you think mothers tell their birth stories so much when they’re together… because it’s important to them. How they felt on that day is important to them. When you’re elderly you will remember your birth and how it made you feel more so than the colour fabric of your baby’s pram or the colour of the walls in the nursery or their first outfit.

Birth is so much more than one day. Birth matters.

Join in on the conversation here.

Get birth ready here.

Monitoring your baby in labour – Your questions answered.

Monitoring your baby in labour – Your questions answered.

So what are my options when it comes to fetal monitoring in labour? Will I be able to move around? Can I use the pool? The answer is often yes!
Intermittent auscultation and continuous fetal monitoring are the two main ways in which we monitor babies during labour.
Intermittent auscultation involves using a Doppler/sonicaid to listen to your baby’s heartbeat for at least 1 minute every 15 minutes during active labour and every 5 minutes when you start pushing. It is a flexible and easy way to check in on your baby during labour and is not restrictive to you in any way. (NB. This is the device your community midwife uses to listen to your baby at your antenatal appointments.)
Continuous monitoring will involve using a cardiotocograph (CTG) machine which will be attached to your abdomen throughout labour. Like the one in the photo. One is measuring your baby’s heartbeat, the top one is measuring your contractions.
If both of these methods are not suitable for you, for example if the CTG machine is not providing your midwife with a clear enough reading of your baby’s heartbeat they may recommend using a fetal scalp electrode (FSE). These cannot be used in the pool. An FSE involves attaching a small clip onto your baby’s head to very closely monitor your baby. FSE’s ensure we are always recording your baby’s heartbeat and are not affected by external factors such as mobilising. You may notice a small scratch on your baby’s head when they’re born but don’t worry, it doesn’t hurt them and this will disappear very quickly.
The type of fetal monitoring that’s recommended for you in labour will depend on whether you and your midwife/obstetrician have deemed your pregnancy to be ‘low’ or ‘high’ risk. If there is a medical reason why your baby may need to have a closer monitoring, then you’d be advised to have a CTG throughout your birth. This may be for reasons such as prematurity, pre-eclampsia, obstetric choleostasis or an induction, to name but a few. These babies have things going on already that may mean they get more stressed out in labour. Intermittent auscultation is recommended for those of you who are considered low risk as your baby is less likely to find labour stressful.
Both a CTG and using a sonic aid for monitoring your baby in labour should not affect your ability to move around, you will still be able to access the pool (they’re waterproof) and all methods of pain relief are still available. Most women worry about being strapped down to a bed when they are offered continuous monitoring, but in Gloucester, there are no cables attaching you to the CTG machines on delivery suite so you can move around as much (or as little) as you like! If you choose to have continuous monitoring of your baby, midwives like to make sure that they do that efficiently. This may mean, adjusting them or asking you to change position so the monitors pick up your baby’s heart rate clearly.
Continuous monitoring was brought in during the 1970s to reduce the amount of baby’s effected by cerebral palsy. However, the evidence doesn’t support that it’s done this. When midwives/obstetricians look at a baby’s heart rate pattern we know that if it is showing no signs of distress then your baby is well. If your baby is showing signs of distress, then 50% of these babies will be in distress, the other 50% won’t. What happens then is that cesareans/interventions are advised. 50% of these are necessary, 50% would not have been. We are continuing to study the patterns of a baby’s heartbeat whilst they’re inside to understand them to reduce the unnecessary intervention from them. You are advised against a CTG if you are low risk for this reason- to avoid the chances of unnecessary intervention.
However, if you are advised to have a CTG but you’d rather not then please discuss this with your midwife. Similarly, if you’d like a CTG but are advised against it, please speak to your midwife.
If you’d like to have continuous monitoring then here are some tips for you to ensure that it doesn’t interfere with your birth…
⚡️Ask for 2 straps to tie to the fetal heartbeat monitor. This will reduce the amount of times a midwife will ask you to readjust the monitor on your abdomen. It also means that you can move around more freely without thinking about it coming loose.
⚡️ If you find the noise is causing you to feel anxious then ask for the volume to be turned down. Baby’s heartbeat in labour can drop. This can be very normal for a baby to do but can cause concerns for you to hear.
⚡️You can ask for the machine to be turned away from you, for the same reason above.
⚡️Continue to move, discuss a waterbirth if that was one of your preferences and most importantly discuss with your midwife WHY you are being advised to be on the CTG and then use your EBRAN to decide if it’s something that you’d like to go ahead with.
If you want to do some extra reading on fetal monitoring and what will be best for you and your baby in labour you can find it on NICE website. If you’re attending a class with ourselves (Mia and Beth) or Hannah we’ll be happy to delve deeper into the nitty gritty too.
Mia and Beth x
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Welcoming baby Delphi- My Birth Story

Welcoming baby Delphi- My Birth Story

I don’t really know where to start with the labour. I could potentially say I was in early labour for a few days, contracting on and off throughout the days and evenings prior to the birth with it not amounting to anything. For the sake of time, I’m writing this whilst the baby is sleeping, and to save your boredom I’m going to fast forward to when it finally and thankfully stepped up a gear. This was Friday evening. The evening started like all the other evenings before, me bouncing on my ball in front of the TV. Rob had gone to football and I was contracting as I usually did in the evenings. It got to 11pm and the contractions were coming regularly. I said to Rob tonight is the night, he rolled is eyes and carried on watching 8 out of 10 cats does countdown, as I’d cried wolf every day already this week. From how ‘stop and start’ my contractions had been this week I had lost all faith in my ability in judging whether it was happening or not. I went upstairs to take a shower and to have a word with myself. I was probably not going into labour at all.

Half an hour in the shower I rang my friend to come over. The contractions were becoming stronger and staying regular, I was still not totally convinced though and prepped her that it may all stop. I rang the birth unit too and said the same to them, “I don’t think I’m in active labour, but I think I may be getting there.” Being a fourth baby, I knew that being in active labour (from 4cms and regular contractions) to having a baby wasn’t going to be long and I wanted to be in the hospital as I bled last time. They invited me in.

This is probably a good time to give you a bit of background. My 3rd baby was born prem at 34 weeks and I lost more blood than deemed normal. So the advice for me was to have my baby on a consultant led unit as I was “high-risk” of bleeding again. I looked at all my options though and chose to go against this advice after having a conversation with the lead midwife on the birth unit. My last birth, I had polyhydramnios, prematurity, a suspected infection and the cord snapped on the placenta all things that mean you’re more likely to lose more blood. This pregnancy, I had normal waters, a normal size baby and was full term so I didn’t have the same risk factors. With this in mind I chose to give birth on the midwifery led unit and I was supported in this choice.

So back to that Friday evening… I was in the shower. I had my birth ball in the shower too. It was on the bath so that I could lean onto it to have the water on the bottom of my back. I used my breathing here that I’d learnt from hypnobirthing. Counting my in breath and my out breath gave me something to concentrate on and kept me relaxed. Things were going great guns, I was calm, comfortable and getting into the swing of the contractions. My friend arrived and so I got out of the shower and myself and Rob made our way to the birth unit.

It was about 00.30 when we arrived to the birth unit. My midwife was Brenda, she showed us into our room Poppy. It was dimly lit and the pool was half full. I again said to a Brenda that I didn’t think I was quite in labour but knew my contractions were getting there. They were coming every few minutes at this point but they felt manageable. She brought me in some essential oils – Bergamot and Frankincense- on a taper and I got back into the shower leaning over onto the birthing ball. Chui my birth photographer arrived at this point. My only concern here I remember was what happens if this all stops, what happens if I’m just in early labour and I’ve got my friend at my house and Chui’s here. I didn’t want to waste anyone’s time! Silly really looking back as it was obvious I was in labour!

I spent a good hour at least like this in the shower. The next thing that happened was at 02.30 when I had my first vaginal examination. I know it was 02.30 because Rob text Emily at this time who was home with the kids. I still wasn’t sure at this point that it was it… I remember saying to Brenda, what happens if I’m just 2cms. If this was going to be the case I didn’t want to know! Brenda thought that would be unlikely and she was right. It’s funny how much you lose your ability to rationalise in labour! As a midwife, I should’ve been able to recognise the signs but I still had in the back of my mind that I may not be dilating at all! I was 8cms. Happy days! I got gas and air at this point which is when all of the fun started.

Brenda filled the pool and I got in. The water was instantly comforting. It was here that I remember really wanting to take it all in. As pregnant mothers, we are so desperate for this moment, desperate to feel the contractions and to know that after 9 months we are finally going to meet our baby. The labour and the birth we prep for, go to classes, pack 3 suitcases for which is more than what we’d take on holiday, we play it out how we want it to be in our minds but the reality is that it’s all done and dusted in a day. That moment in the pool was a nice one, I really appreciated what was going on, that what I’d been waiting for was actually happening that very night. These thoughts were helped from the fact that I was high as a kite too! I actually told Brenda all of this between contractions. She probs thought I was cuckoo!

It wasn’t long after I’d got into the pool that I’d started to transition. I remember saying “I can’t do this anymore!” Whilst thinking that’s a textbook ‘You’re just about to have a baby comment’ whilst uncontrollably pushing. I can’t remember “mooing” here but Rob assures me it happened! This feeling was overwhelming, I had this full feeling, which would have been her head coming through my pelvis. The only thing that helped this feeling go away was to push. All the signs were telling me I was just about to meet my baby and a few pushes later she was born under the water at 03.31. I got to bring her up out of the water myself. Holding her in front of my face, seeing her scrunched up face, feeling her skin, hearing her little cry and knowing that she was here safe in my arms was the most incredible feeling ever.

All went well after – no bleeding!🙌🏼 and we were back home by 7.30 am for when the other 3 children woke up.

There’s a couple of things that I’m so glad that I did.

1. Getting a birth photographer– I felt like a bit of a diva doing this but now I wish that I did it for all of my births. For me, remembering the birth is so much more important than say a wedding day, yet a wedding photographer is something we see at every wedding! The photos that i have are priceless and Delphi is lucky that she gets to see her first moments in the world. Thank you Chui 🙂

2.Hypnobirthing– Through teaching hypnobirthing I have inadvertently been practising the techniques for a lot longer than my 9 month pregnancy and boy did it pay off. Reinforcing that everything in your birth is a choice, learning the importance of keeping your mind calm and how to control pesky negative thoughts like fear and doubt that always seem to enter our minds meant that this birth was by far my most empowering, calm and magical experience. I could live it with such clarity and for me that was I really wanted, I wanted to be able to remember every minute of it and enjoy it! I’ll write another blog on what techniques I used that were most helpful.

3. Writing it down- this little story completes it for me, it’s something else that means I’ll remember what happened that night.

For me sharing birth stories is important. I want pregnant mothers to know that birth isn’t always the fear-filled, ear- piercing shrieks and painful experiences that you see on TV. It can be empowering, calm and beautiful. My births are by far my biggest accomplishments in life. I look back on this birth especially, and it was everything I wanted it to be and I would happily do it all again in a heartbeat.

 

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 on your own time, then you can get our online course.

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

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