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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

5 Reasons You Should Consider A Homebirth

5 Reasons You Should Consider A Homebirth

I get it… Homebirth isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. But since the speculation of Meghan Markles plans for a home birth, it has come into the lime light. From the many magazine articles on this with people throwing around their views on Homebirth, it’s highlighted what we as a culture think about women and their capabilities about birth. That for birth, we need to be in close proximity of a doctor, you know “just in case.”

So let’s look at what the research says…

Before we look I need to highlight that this research compares the types of birth looking at where women PLANNED to give birth and then what actually happened in their births. (This is important to distinguish so people reading this don’t think, well DUH of course there’s going to be no cesareans at home 🙄)

Also we’re looking here at women with no “risk factors” so women who have no complications, totally straightforward etc. and that’s in ALL of these groups. All “low risk” women but all women who have had a baby before.

So, you’d think that comparing these women there would be the same amount of instrumental births or cesareans in each birth setting right? As surely, the amount of babies needed to be born with intervention are the same in each group.

Wrong!!!

Here are the stats…

Per 1000 births.

Women who had a Vaginal birth (without assistance)

Home- 984 vs Birth unit- 967 vs. Obstetric 927… That’s a 57 more vaginal births happened at home than in a consultant led unit,

Epidural

Home 28 vs. Obstetric unit 121… That means that 93 more women choose an epidural when it is readily available.

Episiotomy

Home 15 vs Obstetric unit 56… An extra 39 women had an episiotomy (a cut to the perineum used to help baby be born quicker when is thought baby is in distress)

Cesarean birth

Home 7 vs Obstetric unit 35 … Only 7 women were transferred in for a caesarean birth compared to 35 who were already on a consultant led ubit. And remember, these women ARE NOT on a consultant led unit for any reason as we are comparing women with no other factors involved.

Instrumental birth

Home 9 vs Obstetric unit 38… 9 women would have transferred in to hospital for a instrumental birth.

So are you thinking… WOW it sounds more dangerous at home as surely those birth statistics should be fairly similar so all those babies would have missed out on being born quicker when in need. Well, if we look at the most important one to consider, what about the babies.

So when looking at serious medical problems for baby per 1000 births.

Home 3 vs Obstetric Unit 3 (for second or more time mothers)

So baby’s of mothers (who have birthed before) who are “low risk” are no safer during birth in a hospital than at home.

Even when compared to a birth unit, home always comes up trumps for less intervention. So looking at those stats.. look at all those unnecessary interventions that occurred purely from being in an area where there are obstetricians around.

This could be potentially for two reasons…

  1. You are more relaxed at home, your labour progresses more efficiently, you require less drugs because of this and baby gets optimum blood supply. This all happens because you are MORE RELAXED.
  2.  Hospital culture. Doctors are less familiar with “natural birth” as they are asked to come to births usually when things are deviating from the norm, which means they are more likely to advise that interventions happen when sometimes not totally necessary.

These findings have been published by NICE and there’s a really interesting table here that compares birth units too. There is also a table that compares all the stats but for first time mothers as remember all the stats above are for mothers who have given birth before.

https://www.nice.org.uk/guidance/cg190/resources/choosing-place-of-birth-resource-for-midwives-msword-248730877

So if there wasn’t quite 5 reasons above, here are 3 more bonus reasons to consider a home birth…

1. Home is a familiar environment. For some people home is where they would feel safest and more comfortable/relaxed, meaning that there oxytocin would be higher. Higher oxytocin means more effective contractions and higher endorphins (bodies own morphine)

2. You don’t have to stick to “hospital rules” you can light candles if you want to light candles, you can have the room exactly how you like, fill the pool with fairy lights etc. without having to lug your Mary Poppins bag into a hospital.

3. It means you don’t have to travel whilst having contractions, or sort out childcare, or worry about going into hospital to be advised to go back home if you live far away. Or worried about giving birth quickly on the journey. Your midwife comes to you, taking any logistic worries out of your hands.

Have 1 conversation about home birth with your midwife, if it’s not for you then at least you’ve had the option and made the choice. You never know, it may for you be a great decision.

Anyone had a home birth before? I’d love to hear any tips that you have for anyone worried about the logistics of a home birth.

Making choices and how to lead these types of decision making conversations (such as where is best to birth your baby) with your health care team is something that we look at on the Hypnobirthing with Antenatal Ed. Online DIY Course. As well as preparing you with techniques to avoid wanting an epidural (as you definitely can’t have one of these at home!). If you are booked in for a birth in a hospital then you can also learn ways to make your environment more homely and techniques to distinguish if interventions are truly necessary on the Hypnobirthing with Antenatal Ed. Online DIY Course.

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.

 

High Risk vs. Low Risk

High Risk vs. Low Risk

Keeping with the pregnancy labels theme I want to know what you all think of the terminology ‘High risk vs low risk’ and have you been labelled one of these in pregnancy?

I remember doing my midwifery training and a friend told me that her sister was having a baby and she was told that she was “high risk”. My friends words were… “High risk of what exactly… becoming ill? A cesarean? Having a Stillbirth??” And this really stuck with me. What are midwives or doctors actually saying when we say this term?

Because even though you may fall into a category that may increase your chances of an intervention happening, you still can’t really say that the risk of that intervention is HIGH. It may be higher than others but for lots of things it’s still more than likely going to be very low. Take a VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean) as an example, you’d fall into the high risk category and be advised to have your baby on a delivery suite where Drs are present. But your chance of having a cesarean is between 25 and 28% which is only slightly higher than the uk average and the main risk is the scar rupturing which is in fact a 0.5% risk. A risk that I’m not saying should be ignored but carefully considered when weighing up all of your options.

If you have a raised BMI you could be classed as high risk, “too” young or “too” old, existing medical conditions the list goes on. My point is not that these characteristics go unrecognised but the classification and terminology used is improved. I wonder if telling someone in their pregnancy they fit a certain risk category what effect that has on their decision making during birth and the anxieties that brings during the pregnancy. We’re saying that the one category is free from concerns and will lead in a healthy birth, where as the other category will be filled with problems, potential complications and managed medically, often without considering a holistic approach. The term “high risk” gives reason to worry and encourages choices to be made from a place of fear and risk adversion.

Risk is not just about statistics and numbers it’s about a women’s experiences, her perceptions, thoughts and beliefs. Risk is subjective. One woman’s risk of a cesarean is another woman’s first choice. The risk of a stillbirth will always feel higher to a pregnant mother who’s had someone close by experience the heartbreaking effects of this, should the mothers feelings of risks be ignored in this situation if she fits the “low-risk” pregnancy category?

Words are everything in pregnancy. It’s as much about what we think we say as to what’s actually interpreted.

Photo creds Little Cheltenham