Siblings attending birth

Having my child at the birth.

Is it for us? And if so how can I prepare?

by Sophie Fletcher

I get asked this question a lot, “what are my views on having siblings at a birth”.  An answer to that question is almost impossible for anyone apart from a mother to answer, as only a mother knows her own child and how they may respond to the experience.  Equally important, how she will feel about having her son or daughter there? Will it relax her or will she be anxious about how they are processing the experience?

 

Siblings at birth

Credit: Dancia Donnelly. Birth Photographer, Minneapolis

There is little research, but of the research that exists the majority show that children respond positively to birth and even that there is a sensitive bonding period for sibling and newborn at this stage. This bonding period may be very important for longer term relationships as there is some indication that the initial reaction of older siblings to their baby sibling is a good indicator of what will transpire a year on or may even set the course of a life-long relationship.

I know many women who have had siblings at a birth and the reports are largely positive. Women say that the contractions eased and some of the most intense emotional experiences where when they were holding hands and smiling at their child.

Having your child at the birth can really help releases oxytocin. I love this quote from Danica Donnelly.

I didn’t know you could have a “favorite” contraction but my favorite one was when my 3 year old son climbed up on the bed and held my hand during the contraction and looked into my eyes and smiled at me. I can’t remember if he said anything to me but just looking at his sweet face and knowing that he was loving and supporting me and that he wasn’t scared, but rather excited for baby brother, it made that contraction so easy to get through it almost dissapeared when I looked upon that sweet face.” Danica Donnelly

You can read more about her experience here, but I love the photo above!

I also hear women say that they had planned for their child to be involved but in fact their child slept through and woke up in the morning to climb into bed with them and the new baby, or were woken up just after, or before, baby was born.   What seems to be very consistent is that the child is in the house, with a dedicated carer, grandmother/friend, and carries on with their day in a very normal way, perhaps wandering in for short periods of time, but nearly always being there at the last moments or just after baby is born.

This makes a lot of sense to me.  From a psychological perspective having a sole carer for a sibling takes any what if anxiety away from the mother, but it also maintains a consistent routine for a child during a very transitional moment for them, a time of great upheaval and change.  It also ensures that the child is still close to their mother and conveys the message “there is space for all of us”.   Imagine as a young child being an integral part of the preparation and day that your brother and sister is born, rather than your mother being taken away and then suddenly she’s in hospital with a tiny baby which everybody is cooing over.

If you are having a homebirth you can of course have as many partners as you wish, however children attending in a hospital or birth centre setting is much less common and varies significantly from country to country, hospital to hospital.

Presence at a siblings birth can normalise birth for children, something that lasts a lifetime. I hear lots of women say that being present at their sister or brothers birth created a powerful bond with their sibling, but also helped them see birth as something very normal; a powerful gift for any woman.

Here are some suggestions for preparing, but if you have any suggestions or something that you want to share please do, I’d love to hear your stories! 

Your preparations

Talk to your child and other women who have had a child at the birth

Do your research and make sure you are making the right decision for you and your child

Find a trusted friend or relative who is a dedicated carer for your child during the birth

There are several things that you can do to prepare a sibling for birth

  • Read books about the arrival of a baby brother or sister
  • Talk about birth being hard work and effort
  • Find some videos you can watch together
  • Prepare them for sounds etc

Things that they can do before the birth

  • Listen to baby’s heartbeat during midwife visits
  • Help blow the pool up and fill it up on trial run
  • Help get snacks together for the mum, maybe baking granola bars
  • Design an affirmation board (hypnobirthing mums)
  • Do yoga positions with mum (if they are doing yoga)
  • Spend time shortly before the birth making a birthday card for the baby
  • Involve them in a blessingway (dependent on age)
  • Help decorate the baby’s room

On the day (these are dependent on age)

  • Go for a walk in early labour
  • In early labour make a birthday cake with them
  • They can help fill your drink bottle
  • Perhaps be a photographer
  • Help get cold cloths
  • Hold your hand
  • Cut the cord
  • Help weigh baby
  • Snuggle up with parents and baby afterwards

Websites

http://www.lalecheleague.org/nb/nbsepoct04p178.html

https://www.bellybelly.com.au/birth/siblings-at-birth/

Books

Hello Baby

What Baby Needs

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Grace’s Birth Story

Sarah attended our class in Heanor in July 2016, here she share’s with us the story of the birth of her beautiful daughter Grace.

Grace’s Birth Story

I’m not sure how I came to know about Hypnobirthing, but when I found out I was pregnant with my first baby and started thinking about having a nice pregnancy and birth, I read all about it and knew I wanted to give it a go. In life I’m a pretty chilled person, so felt like it would fit in well with wanting my baby to grow inside a relaxed and happy mummy. I also wanted my birth to be something I looked back on with pride, not horror. I wanted a beautiful experience of birthing my first born.

I attended the workshop and read the book many times, practising and practising my relaxation techniques. If I’m 100% honest, I didn’t religiously do the techniques day in day out, but I certainly did them on a regular basis.

When the time came and I went into labour it was a Sunday lunchtime and I just knew that is wasn’t the usual Braxton hicks. It was actually my due date, too. My latent phase was, unfortunately, quite long! My contractions were manageable and I was using my techniques to breathe through them. They were getting stronger and longer and by Sunday night were around 5-7 mins apart. I couldn’t sleep through them so spent Sunday night on the sofa, listening to my relaxation tracks, and feeling an excitement that I was going to meet my baby very soon.

By Monday late afternoon things hadn’t progressed much. Contractions were all over the place but were really quite long (some up to 2 mins) and were getting uncomfortable, but I felt in control and kept bouncing on my ball, having a walk around, and using my breathing techniques. At around 5pm I had a particularly strong contraction and felt quite wet. Thinking my waters had broken I went to the toilet and I was horrified to see quite a lot of blood. I had had bleeding earlier in my pregnancy and I must admit I did panic and made an emotional call to the hospital to let them know. They asked me to go straight down for a check-up.

As I’d gone in with bleeding all my plans of a water birth were out of the window as the birth centre wouldn’t take me. I was now under consultant care. The doctor examined me and I was 2cm dilated. She then swiftly told me that she was going ‘to get this baby out’! I asked if the baby or I were in any danger. We weren’t. The baby was absolutely fine. She said she’d start me on the oxytocin drip and then go from there. The midwife then said I’d probably need an epidural due to the pain of the induction, so I was devastated that all my plans for a natural birth were unfolding. Remembering everything I had learned from Mindful Mama and knowing that, actually, I didn’t have to just do want was being insisted on, I refused the induction, explained my birth preferences and I was sent up to the ward where I was given until 7am to labour naturally.

By 5am I was 7cm and I was delighted as I knew that I didn’t need the interventions planned. Although I couldn’t use the birth centre, my husband made the labour room very relaxing by dimming the lights, putting on the relaxation CD and I felt very calm and in control. However… I was exhausted as I had now been awake nearly 2 days so I did have some diamorphine to help me get some sleep. I totally regret that decision. In my sleep deprived state I felt I needed it, as I didn’t think I’d get through the next few hours due to sheer tiredness. It made me feel sick, made me feel totally out of it and I was pleased when it had worn off by around 9am. Plus, it totally slowed things down for me, I was still 7cm at this point. Looking back I was doing just fine on the gas and air. I was managing my contractions and standing over the bed to help get into the right position…. If only I wasn’t as tired as I was, I would have continued with just the gas and air.
Fast forward to 2.37pm and after quite a lot of pushing my beautiful baby girl was born. I needed a small cut, but other than that everything else I did by myself and I am so proud.

Grace was perfect. She did a little cry and then was so calm. In fact, she was the only baby on the ward who didn’t make one peep!

If I hadn’t been for what I had learnt on the course my birth would have taken a very different path, one which I definitely didn’t want. I look back on my birth with such pride and I honestly cannot wait to do it all again with baby number two. Hopefully next time I’ll get my water birth!

Needless to say, I always recommend Mindful Mama to all my pregnant friends! Thank you so much for helping me to believe I could have the birth I really wanted, even if it didn’t all quite go to plan.

 

An Unexpected Water Birth

Rita took the one day Mindful Mamma class with Kimberley in 2017, here she shares the story of the birth of her son and how glad she was that he was born in water…

Rita’s sons birth story

As my due date of 1st January was approaching, I was getting more and more determined not to be induced. I planned a natural, unassisted birth and thoughts of any medical interventions totally freaked me out.

I was drinking gallons of raspberry leaf tea and eating 6 dates each morning just as prescribed by ‘google’. I was also walking my dog for at least an hour each day since the start of my maternity leave on 12th December. All to make the baby move down and with intention of going into labour as close to the due date as possible.

My husband has made a note of the first twinges on 30th December around 22.15. I didn’t think much of these sensations as they were more like very minor period cramps; very irregular and inconsistent. Those twinges became more regular at 20 mins apart (although still very weak) on 31st December around 13.00. They lasted for 3-4 hours and didn’t in any way disrupt our day.

In the evening of 31st December, both my husband and I knew that the baby was coming and it’s only a matter of days/hours before things really kicked off.

Having stayed up until just after midnight to meet the New Year- I had a good night sleep. Even if I did experience anything during that night- it certainly wasn’t strong enough to wake me up!

On 1st January we took the dog out for a walk as planned although I opted in for a shorter route as I could feel things starting to progress. We continued with our day as normal, re-checked the hospital bag, installed the car seat etc.

At around 15.00 on 1st January things have started progressing. My contractions were regular and no more than 6 minutes apart. We downloaded the contraction app on the phone and started recording them. They were quite mild between 15.00 and 17.00 however I was still very much aware of them.

At 17.00 we rang the hospital and advised them of the progress. I explained to the midwife that I was keen to stay at home as long as possible and was ideally planning to make way to the hospital when contractions were 2-3 minutes apart. She agreed and asked us to call them again when we were ready to come. At around 18.30 my contractions became closer together with an average frequency of 3.5 minutes. They also became more intense as I was marking them on the app as ‘strong’. I could still continue with the normal tasks, but preferred not to talk during the surges.

At this point, I knew that if things continued to progress as they did, we will be going to the hospital in a couple of hours. I rang my mum and told her that we will be dropping the dog off to her around 20.00 on the way to the hospital (I was determined to stay at home as long as possible and felt that by 20.00 we will have regular and fairly strong contractions every 2 minutes or so)

Just after 20.00 we got in the car, dropped the dog off to my mum’s house and made our way to the hospital. We rang the midwife from the car and advised that we were on our way.

Everyone always describes the car journey as very unpleasant – my journey honestly wasn’t that bad. In fact, I started feeling the contractions slow down and become weaker. It was Sunday and the roads were empty so we reached hospital in less than 20 minutes. I didn’t feel the need to be dropped off at the door so we decided to park the car together and walk to the hospital from the car park. As we were escorted into the birthing suite and my blood pressure/baby’s position checked by the midwife- I was worried that we will be sent back home as my contractions were not as strong as they were prior to leaving home.

Midwife asked us to get comfortable and said she would observe me for some time to understand how far along I was. She also read my birth plan at this time. I could feel my contractions get further apart so the midwife advised that I am still in the latent stage and she would be happy for us to go back home. She also mentioned that as the hospital was not very busy- she would also be happy for us to remain. I was worried that going through the car journey again and coming back to the hospital would make everything slow down again so decided to stay at the hospital, make myself comfortable and get things moving. It took us about an hour to get things going again and by 21.30 the contractions were back to 2-3 minutes apart and quite strong. I was on my feet up to this point, swaying my hips during contractions but was getting quite tired and wondered if I should lie down to get some rest. I asked my husband to put the TENS machine on as I could feel things intensifying.

Up till now I am not sure if TENS really made any difference but I ended up having it on all the way till transition. Lying down made contractions a lot more intense and after 3 or 4 of them, I felt my waters break. Looking at my contraction history on the app now, I can see that I must have reached transition around 22.30. The pain got a lot more intense and I started feeling the urge to push. I also started feeling pressure in my lower back although all the way prior to that it was mainly in my lower belly. At this point i was on my knees on the floor leaning over a stool. I requested the midwife to prepare a bath and also asked for gas and air as I thought that at this stage TENS machine was not doing enough to help me cope.

For some reason the midwife was reluctant to give me gas and air at this stage- she either wanted to make sure I was, in fact, transitioning or she wanted to push me further towards a totally unmedicated birth as per my birth plan. 20 mins later and I was in the tub equipped with gas and air. This made the whole thing a lot more manageable.
From what I remember, I started feeling urges to push around 23.00 as I kept wondering if one hour going to be enough and whether the baby will come on his due date; it felt like contractions became further apart as I felt I was getting a lot more rest in between. I was using gas an air with every contraction and around an hour and a half later. at 00.40 on 2nd Jan, my baby was born.

It wasn’t my plan to deliver in the water (although I never discounted it) but I am so glad I did. The water was very soothing and helped an awful lot.

I transferred onto the bed with the cord still intact and the baby skin to skin. My plan was not to clamp the cord until I deliver the placenta however our cord ended up being too short which made it quite uncomfortable to breastfeed and hold the baby whilst still attached to the cord. We clamped the cord about 20 mins after birth and after it stopped pulsing. I later delivered my placenta whilst still holding the baby on my chest.
I wanted for all baby checks to be done at a later stage to allow my initial bonding with him so the midwife left all 3 of us in the room until 5am to sleep and rest. We had all baby checks done that morning after 5am along with a few stitches that I required for a small tear. We were discharged at 10am that same morning.

I feel extremely lucky that my birth went as planned and am very thankful to the midwife for adhering to the birth plan. I did not want any internal examinations and ended up going through the whole labour without having dilation checked once! I wanted limited presence and talking in the room and can only remember midwife being there for the pushing stage. I was given all the time to help me bond with my baby and didn’t at all feel any pressure to do things I didn’t feel comfortable with.

Jasmine’s Story

Here is another positive story for you mamma’s out there! Thank you Jasmine for Sharing your story.

Dear Sophie,

I would like to thank you! My baby girl is three months now and my entire family is still in disbelief! We have two gorgeous boys whose births were incredibly traumatic and my joy at discovering I was expecting again was overshadowed by my intense fear of giving birth again. I also suffered severe pnd after my youngest boy and was unable to bond with him for a long time. My antenatal visits were awful as my midwife was rushed and distracted and seemed to think I was being silly as I was already a mum. At 14 weeks I began to suffer pgp which quickly became so bad I was unable to walk unaided and life was miserable.

Still unsupported by my midwife and terrified of what lay ahead I felt alone and scared, i began to look into hypnobirthing and bought your book. I religiously listened to the MP3 tracks and adjusted my thinking accordingly.

Soon I realised I was in control of my body and my birth and felt confident I could manage the birth. When I went into labour all my fears vanished and my body took over. My husband and I arrived at the birth centre and 1hour and 13 minutes later our beautiful Belle Evangeline was born in the pool!

The wonderful Midwife there couldn’t have been more different from my antenatal one and her only concern was the pool wouldn’t be full in time and in fact I was helped in before they had finished preparing it! No panic and no pain just sensations of my baby moving down and out into my arms it was truly my most proud moment and it was all down to your book and soothing tracks.

I had been so afraid and so alone and you helped me take control so thank you again! Three months in and my baby girl is breastfeeding, healthy and the happiest little thing! And no pnd! Thank you for showing me my greatest fear could become my greatest success and joy.

Hypnobirthing Helped Me Have the Most Amazing Birth Experience

Keri and Dean welcomed their daughter into the world in June and here Keri share’s her story of the birth.

 
“Giving birth is awful, just take the drugs.” Is what I was told often, unsolicited and in a variety of different ways when I was pregnant. Then when I was asked what prenatal classes I was taking and I revealed that I was taking a hypnobirthing class it was mostly met with polite interest, some genuine from people who were already interested in mindfulness but quite often barely hidden looks of incredulity and eye rolls, I was even asked who would hypnotise me in the hospital?

fullsizerenderBefore I finished work for mat leave I often had really painful stitches in my side when taking a walk on my lunch break. I’m sure there were times when I must have looked like I was in labour as I was rubbing my stomach and trying to casually lean against a lamp post waiting for it to pass. However once I started to visualise dialling down the pain and concentrating on my breathing I was able to continue walking quite comfortably.

The only way I can try to explain it is that it’s like my body knew there was a really strong sensation going on but no longer recognised it as ‘pain’ so just ignored it, this gave me a lot of confidence in the lead up to the birth.

Our baby was born at 18:42 on a Saturday in June but I knew I was going into labour the day before at 05:00, I wasn’t nervous just quite excited and started monitoring the contractions and listening to the affirmations.

When I arrived at the midwife led birthing centre at Leicester Royal Infirmary on the Saturday morning I gave the midwife my notes and preferences which explained I was taking a hypnobirthing approach and what support I would prefer. Which was as little monitoring as possible, limited chatter and not to offer pain relief unless I specifically asked for it.

The midwives were fantastic, they didn’t question it, just accepted it and let me get on with things. I have to say at this point that my boyfriend Dean was my birth partner and he was also an amazing support. I know he had some doubts about hypnobirthing, I’m sure partly due to what he’d been told about labour by those with children and partly nervousness of the unknown. But he knew what support I expected and was unwavering the whole way through.

img_8908In the birth centre Dean made sure I walked around as much as possible, I’d have been quite happy sitting on the birthing ball but walking around kept labour going at a quick pace. He encouraged me to put my headphones in while listening to the affirmations in order to stay focused and applied pressure to my lower back whenever I was having a contraction.

Later in the afternoon I was told it was time to get in the birthing pool, the contractions had been concentrated down my back and the water really helped ease the sensations. Throughout labour I found I could come in and out of my mindful zone quite easily, I could talk to Dean when I needed to and ask questions to our midwife as I found I preferred to know how I was progressing on the occasions I was assessed. Our midwife was quietly encouraging and really made feel that me and the baby were in safe hands.

Once in the birthing pool, the lights were dimmed and I had my relaxation music on, I remember looking up at one point to see where everyone was (another midwife had come in at this point should her assistance be needed) and wondered why no one was speaking and remembered it was what I’d asked for, this for some reason made me laugh and I found myself thinking don’t laugh, be serious everyone is here waiting for you to have a baby. I later found out our midwife had been regularly whispering updates to Dean, letting him know delivery was close.

Since labour began through to delivery, I took three paracetamol, although there were definitely times I felt it was hard going, it just never felt like I needed anything stronger. Dean knew when I needed a back rub and put a heat patch on my lower back to help with the back ache but other than that, much like during my lunch time walks it was like I could feel waves of very strong sensations but they just didn’t register as anything to worry about or the need to medicate for.

img_8909Within about 3-4 pushes our daughter was born, she came up through the water towards me and I all I could think was “this looks a bit odd”, not exactly the overwhelming recognition of perfection feeling I was expecting. The midwife told me shortly afterwards it was because she was born in her amniotic sac or caul which something she’d only seen once before and which Google tells me occurs in fewer than 1 in 80,000 births so maybe it was perfection after all.

The sac was quickly broken as our midwives had seen that the cord was double wrapped quite tightly under our daughters chin, I held her as they had removed it, something that must have only taken seconds but was a time that seemed to last infinitely longer.

Being the first hands she felt touch her newborn skin, and to be the first person she saw when she opened her eyes briefly to try and make sense of her new world is a privilege that overwhelms me with love and complete honour.

I chose to use the birth centre at the hospital because I was aiming for a quite low intervention labour with hopefully as little use of pain relief as possible. I wasn’t trying to be a martyr or hoping for a medal, I just wanted to do my best unaided while knowing that all the benefits of modern medicine were only a corridor away should we need them.

It turned out to be the best decision I made because after aiming for a physiological 3rd stage while our daughter took her first feed, then trying to encourage the delivery of the placenta with a dose of syntocinon and then another direct into the cord while a doctor pummelled my stomach (not too pleasant and not something gas and air did anything to help with) It was accepted that I had a retained placenta.

img_8912This meant that having gone through labour without the need for pain relief, I was now having gas and air and a full epidural but that’s just the way somethings go and fortunately didn’t affect the first couple of hours of our daughters life when myself and Dean were the only two people to hold her, ours were the only arms she was cradled in and the delivery room was our haven. At this point though it was changed to a brightly lit space allowing the anaesthetist and surgeons to swing into action, the fact that they were only a corridor away is something I will always be thankful for.

Hypnobirthing is something I recommend to every woman I know, the empowerment I still feel is not easy to explain but I know it ensured my labour and delivery experience was as stress free and dare I say it enjoyable as anyone could wish for.

Keri

The birth of Jacob

Rachel took our class in Durham in August, here she share’s the story of the birth of her son Jacob and how the techniques she learnt helped her to remain calm and in control of her labour.

Jacob’s Birth Story

Our beautiful son Jacob was born on the 10/10/16 I managed to deliver him completely drug free using your techniques and gas and air.

Many people doubted me when I said I was trying Hypnobirthing but I knew I could do it and will take great delight in sharing our wonderful birth story!

affirmationMy waters broke in the early hours of Saturday morning – 4am, so I listened to my affirmations and trusted my body about when to call the hospital. My husband and I went for a walk in our village, pottered round the house and then even had a takeaway and watched a film during this time. At 10pm we called the hospital and they asked us to come in. They said it was dangerous for our baby if my waters had gone which straight away caused a rush of adrenaline. My husband and I hardly spoke on the way to the hospital and I was very aware this was not the atmosphere we wanted to start our birth with.

The midwife confirmed my waters had broken but that labour wasn’t established and told me to come back at 7am to be induced. I was calm and when we got home I put on candles and my affirmations. I was determined I would not be induced medically as I wanted the natural way and a water birth.

We headed into hospital at 7am on Sunday this time in a calm frame of mind playing music we had chosen to create our own atmosphere and raise our oxytocin levels. When we arrived they confirmed I was in labour and at 1cm. They said they would prepare the pool for us as we wanted a water birth. We were left for a few hours and when the midwife came back she said I was still only 1cm and they would need to use a peccary to help move things along and if it didn’t work then a drip which would mean no to a water birth. My husband and I decided to go for a walk around the hospital car park and he said we needed to stay positive and focus and not be disheartened. This journey was ours and we would not be easy but we could do it if we focussed and changed our frame of mind to a more positive one. We got one of our baby grows out which I used to help me focus.

We went back to the delivery suite and were told I had made it to 3 cm and would need to be put on the drip to be induced within the next few hours and that I couldn’t have the water birth I was hoping for. I was in floods of tears as this was not what I wanted, I called my Mum who had read the hypnobirthing book and she reminded me that I could do it and I just needed to focus my mind.

When they came to induce me they tried 3 times and each time my vein either ballooned or collapsed so they couldn’t get the cannula in. I knew it was my mind rejecting the drip and my husband asked the midwife if they could check and see our progress – we had made it from 3 to 7 cm and didn’t need the drip!!!! Hurrah!!! I then asked for some gas and air to help with the intensity along with my affirmations.
By this point I had been in labour for over 40 hours and they were worried about the baby so gave me some fluids to protect him. We got to 10cm and it was time to push. At 47 hours in I was exhausted but somehow found an inner strength I kept my eyes closed and focussed.
Our baby’s heart rate was difficult to find and they put a clip on his head to monitor his heart beat. I was told I had an hour to push before the doctors came in and again remained calm. I knew I could do it.

After what was an hour and 20 and seemed like 2 minutes the registrar came in. He said he had read my birth plan and didn’t want to resort to a C section if possible but our baby needed help so he would have to assist with forceps. At this point my only focus was bringing my baby into the world safely and so I was given some anaesthetic and they began an episiotomy. I was told when to push and found myself being put in a gown and prepared for surgery. I focussed hard on pushing and kept telling myself I could do it. My husband spoke calmly and gently and told me I was wonderful and we could do this.

Then I heard a voice say, ‘Rachel, look’ – I responded with my eyes closed ‘I can’t’, and they told me my baby was here and safe. I opened my eyes and there he was, lying on my chest looking up at me, calm – no tears and just perfect.

familyThe registrar said my baby was so calm but had turned his head at the last minute and wrapped his cord round his feet. He also said if I hadn’t been as calm throughout the labour I could have put my baby in danger.

It was an intense experience but one that was so amazing and that I couldn’t have done without the help of your book, my husband and Ann Ball from Durham whose class my husband and I went to.

Thank you for empowering woman by proving you can bring a baby into the world as naturally as possible and give them the best start. Hugh Jacob Hutchinson is just perfect and we are so lucky to have him here safely and 2 weeks early!

Thank you again,

Rachel, Jamie and Baby Jacob.
Xxxx

Birth Truly is Beautiful

This is the story of the birth of Huxley who was born in June to Mum Sophie who took our class earlier this year. The title of this post is from Sophie’s own words and something that we strongly believe at Mindful Mamma.

sophie-and-huxleyHuxley’s Birth Story by Sophie Addison

 

On Wednesday I spent the day feeling more and more uncomfortable and went to bed feeling increasingly so.
At 12.30 ish I dreamt that my waters had gone (this was not a dream) when I woke I jumped out of bed and my waters went in a very movie style way!!

My hypnobirthing played a very important role here as adrenaline could of taken over.
I decided to take a shower and listen to some hypnobirthing tracks with the plan of going back to bed however by the time I was out my contractions were 5mins apart and the white horse birthing centre recommend I went in to be checked.
The hypnobirthing music had me in a very calm and centred place before leaving home I felt totally relaxed and serene.

On route to hospital we played the affirmations and by the time we arrived I was in a very calm mindful place.

Sophie in the second stage of labour

Sophie in the second stage of labour

We arrived and were shown to the most amazing birthing room complete with pool, swing ,birthing balls and lots of space.
I was now contracting every 3 mins with increasing intensity however I remained at this stage for the next 16hours !! (My baby was back to back, which I did not know until he was delivered as I had made it very clear if anything like this was to happen do not tell me.)
I used my hypnobirthing music & affirmations to stay focused through out.
In fact when the track ended I would only speak to say to my husband to say “play the lady.” Now a joke between us.
The hypnobirthing tracks played for the full 20hrs and I am totally convinced I would of ended up with intervention if it wasn’t for my calm hypnotic state all thanks to the techniques we learnt on the course.

Eventually (16hrs) in I felt I was nearing the pushing phase and got into the pool where I delivered my healthy baby boy at 19.36 on the 23rd June.

Although it was a long labour I wouldn’t change it for anything. For me birthing my baby albeit intense at times was the most incredible experience of my life.

The skills learnt on the course and listening to the tracks throughout my pregnancy certainly got me through some tough moments. For this I can’t thank you enough.

And I never thought I would say this I can’t wait to do it again!

Birth truly is beautiful. If only all women could believe it. Sophie Addison

 

How I fell in love with homebirth.

HomebirthHow I fell in love with homebirth.

By Sophie Fletcher

Homebirth wasn’t even on my radar when I had my two boys. It wasn’t given as an option, neither my midwife or my friends had mentioned it; it wasn’t something my mother or any of my 5 aunts had done. I just had no thoughts about it, bad or good.

Predictably I had both my children in hospital, and it wasn’t until my path took an unexpected turn that I found myself at a homebirth. At that time I was still training as a doula and it was only the second birth I’d attended.

Stepping into a home where a baby is to be born is a wonder and the first home birth I attended was an awakening of sorts. Here is how it was, on that night.

When I arrive at their home, at 10pm, it is dark. I am struck by the normality of this quiet cul-de-sac in a small town, where everyone is preparing to go to bed, as they do every day, while in the home in front of me I know a baby is coming.  A pocket of something extraordinary amongst all the ordinariness. I feel as if I’ve been let in on a miraculous secret.

I am welcomed in – it feels like stepping into my grandfather’s home when I was a child, on Christmas Eve, when everyone was full of joy. When, us children would be upstairs, quietly listening out for the magic in the air, knowing that someone long awaited would soon arrive.

The mother is upstairs in a dim room, candles lit, just quietly swaying. A smile, a hand squeeze, whispers, a hug. Then a flurry as the pool is put up, the midwife on her way, a father and mother to be – without disturbance – together in their home. Their faces shine in the dim light, a sense of purpose behind the father’s movements as he makes sure everything is ready.

The midwife arrives, the kettle is on, the cake the mother baked earlier in anticipation is shared out. Baby is quietly checked, the steady pattern of the baby’s heart punctuating the stillness, whispering  “I am here, I am here”. The mother gets in the pool, she moves, sways and moans quietly.  No one tells her what to do, no one examines her.  They listen and wait as her contractions rise and fall in her body. The room, her home, her partner, her energy holds her.

She moves out of time – journeys to the stars and back – and collects her baby, embraced by the universe, and returns. Her little girl small, perfect, quietly curled against her body in the dim soft candlelight.

The placenta is born, baby is on her breast, she is snuggled up with her partner in the comfort of her own bed, cup of tea nearby in her favourite mug, radiantly bathed in a birth afterglow. A takeaway has been ordered. Everything has been cleared up, the washing machine is on.  Home life momentarily eclipsed by something extraordinary.

Three years later she will tell her little girl about her birth, and will say,” that is where you where you were born”.  And every time she looks in that room she is reminded that there is magic in the everyday, and that in a home like hers, right now, there is another woman having her baby.”

This is why I love home birth and the wonderful homebirth group I attend. Every time I go I am reminded of women, of what they can do, how they can support each other, lovingly. As time rolls on, babies are born, women move on, but the energy of the room where we hold the group still contains all their experiences and emotions. The group holds us all – whether we have a homebirth or not, we are reminded of what we are capable of, and how we are held with love.

Warm, dark, hushed, timeless, loving, graceful, powerful, comfort, family, home.  These are the words that mean birth to me.

 

 

 

 

 

Introducing Isaac Thomas Morley

Photo 07-06-2016 11 54 23Charlotte attended the Mindful Mamma class with Mia Scotland and here she shares the story of the birth of her son Issac Thomas in March 2016….

Introducing Isaac Thomas Morley, born at 21:35 at Nottingham’s Queens a medical Centre on March 29th weighing 9 lbs and half an ounce.

My birth experience was wonderful and I feel that I’m proof that hypnobirthing can be the difference between a natural and medicalised birth.

I was in the latent phase for about 60 hours with contractions every 10 minutes from the word go, but no signs of things speeding up until the very end. However I was still calm and collected thanks to the focus hypnobirthing gave me and a little help from a tens machine, paracetamol and codeine. In the second day of labour I went to hospital for a check over and was only 1cm dilated, I’d been very sick in the night and I couldn’t keep food or drink down which slowed the labour down considerably. I went home again but instead of letting it get to me, I knuckled down and focused on my breathing and listening to my mp3 tracks. I quietly breathed though each contraction and nodded off between them getting some much needed rest and my husband managed to sleep for a while. Later I started loudly reciting my birth mantras and ‘321 relax relax relax’ through each contraction which really helped. I also did a bit of golden thread breath and loud ‘Omm’-ing which I learnt in my pregnancy yoga class.

Eventually my contractions were around 4-6 minutes apart and I went back to the labour suite. I still couldn’t keep food or drink down so was very dehydrated and had ketones in my urine (another reason why things were so slow)  the midwives popped me on a drip and gave me an injection to curb my nausea. They spotted that I was hypnobirthing straight away and assured me they had seen euphoric hypnobirths many times. I managed half an energy drink, some toast and half a snickers but the ketones were very slow to reduce, but the midwives stayed positive and were really keen so support us as much as possible in our desire for a natural birth. As I had Strep B in pregnancy I was on also an antibiotic drip every 4 hours, I was encouraged to still move about and have a dip in the birth pool with a rubber glove over my canula!

Photo 07-06-2016 11 55 05As the labour was still showing no signs of speeding up the consultants started taking an interest, they descended on us with an intimidating entourage and offered us pethidine to let me rest but we remained calm and pragmatic and after contemplating I calmly refused. In spite of very little sleep I still felt calm and in control using my hypnobirthing techniques and the contractions were still manageable. I was around 6cms and we were told that if I wasn’t 7 or 8 cms when they next checked they would like put me on an oxytocin drip to speed things up and break my waters, even under this pressure I felt calm and it didn’t bother me.

When the midwife checked me next I was just over 7cms and she was adamant that we were going to keep ‘the green scrubs’ (consultants) out of that room! I suddenly started to get the urge to push with my contractions and things started to speed up, the oxytocin drip went unused and by this point I’d ditched the tens machine as I’d forgotten to reattached it after getting out of the pool!

We agreed with the midwife that it was time to break my waters manually and then the active phase really kicked in! There was meconium in the waters, another reason why the birth could’ve taken a medical turn, and he was lying slightly back to back. But we took it in our stride and the midwife got me into all kinds of poses, including sitting on the loo to get him into a better position! We were actually laughing and in good humour!

After what felt like about 10 minutes of pushing (actually a short 2 and a half hours) he was finally here! The contractions didn’t feel painful at this stage, hard work and just really intense and satisfying!  The birthing itself was a burning stingy sensation but once he crowned he was out in a couple of pushes. We were so proud and full of joy to finally see him! Our miracle baby who took 3 years of heartache, anxiety and medical intervention to conceive was finally here with us, and had arrived as naturally and calmly as we felt was possible! It was a beautiful feeling!

The doctors popped in once he was born to check him over due to the Strep B and Meconium, we were kept under observation at the hospital for several days to be on the safe side. He’s now fighting fit and a very chilled out and happy little chap!

Photo 07-06-2016 11 52 52I really can’t praise the hypnobirthing experience and the midwives at QMC enough. What could’ve been an exhausting and emotional labour, which could easily have turned medical was calm and manageable and remained as natural as it safely could. We felt prepared and in control.

The care, support and understanding we received was incredible. I had suffered terribly with anxiety and depression after years of failed fertility treatments, with yoga and meditation being a huge help. When I finally fell pregnant just before we started IVF treatment (!) I knew that I had to explore the mindfulness route to get me through the pregnancy and birth and start to believe in myself and have faith in my body again.  Hypnobirthing was the answer and I had been looking for and I would recommend it to anyone. I had no idea how strong my mind could be and how much I could make positive changes to the way I think and feel until now!

Thank you Mia!

Photography by http://www.nataliejweddings.com

Welcome to the world Leo!

This story, kindly shared by Kyra and James, will reassure those of you who think it’s too late to do a class. Kyra had read the book and listened to the MP3s  but didn’t come on a class until she was 37 weeks pregnant – and Leo arrived just a week later!  He is their first baby and I think that Kyra demonstrates really well how what she learned gave her the confidence to trust her inner voice and let it guide her. Thank you you sharing your story and congratulations! 
LeoIt is now nearly 7 weeks since I gave birth to Leo and I finally have some time to write down how amazing my birth experience was thanks to hypnobirthing and I would really like to share my story with you and those considering hypnobirthing.
At 29 weeks I bought the hypnobirthing book and downloaded the MP3’s which I started listening to at night. I attended a class with my partner James when I was 37 weeks pregnant and this really helped to embed what I had learnt in the book but also gave my partner real confidence in hypnobirthing and allowed him to better understand his role as my birthing partner.
On the night of the 19th April (38 weeks pregnant) I went to bed feeling very tired and with slight backache but thought nothing of it as I was so heavily pregnant. I listened to the affirmations as I fell asleep and focused on my breathing as normal. At 3am I woke as my waters had broken, my partner asked if he needed to call the hospital but I instinctively knew he didn’t need to and told him to go back to sleep. I went back to bed for half an hour but then went downstairs as the surges began and I felt the need to sit on my ball. At this point I didn’t feel the need to listen to the affirmations as I was in a really good place and in control of what was happening.
At 5.30am I woke my partner as I felt the surges were coming closer together and becoming more intense. At this point he got my headphones and I put on the Surges affirmation which really helped me to focus during each surge and concentrate on my breathing, I then continued to listen to the same affirmation right through until I gave birth as I found this one was great for me personally. At 6am we rang my mum and told her to come and get our dog but I told her not to rush as there was time. my partner then rang the hospital and I spoke to the midwife briefly and she listened to me having a surge at which point she recommended leaving within half an hour as we had a 40 minute journey to hospital. I did not feel any urgency to leave the house although the surges were closer together. My partner loaded the car returning to me every time I had a surge so he could hold my hand, that support was fantastic and really helped me to focus on my breathing just knowing he was next to me.
During the car journey I closed my eyes and continued to listen to the affirmation on my headphones. I only opened my eyes twice during the journey and couldn’t believe how quickly that passed, but closing my eyes really helped to shut out all distractions and focus on the affirmation which most definitely helped, and this was a part of labour I was most apprehensive about beforehand.
Once we got to the hospital we went to the birth pool and James explained to the midwife what was happening and told the midwife I didn’t want examining and any other requests I had, she was fantastic and although had never done a hypnobirth before she really listened to my requests and always spoke to my partner and just gave me reassuring looks. I got in the birth pool at 10.30am after arriving at the hospital at 10.10am. At this point I still had my Bluetooth headphones in. At one point I heard the midwife tell James there was gas and air should i need it, this was the only distraction I got and suddenly felt I needed it, however during my next surge I then heard the midwife say to James I don’t need the gas and air and so they didn’t give it to me, I am so grateful for that as they were right I didn’t need it. I only had the gas and air 3 times when I could really feel the baby pushing down but then James took it off me and said I really don’t need it, again this was right because I did feel spaced out when I had it and I had always felt in control before that.  I then told the midwife I felt the baby coming down and at this point I allowed her to examine me and she told me I was ready. James took my headphones off and put the music onto speakers just so I could hear what the midwife was saying to me, I still remained in my zone the whole time as the affirmations didn’t stop and I was only focusing on that and what my body was telling me to do.
At 11.08am Leo Dawson was born weighing 7lb11oz and in the water. It was the most amazing experience and it happened so quickly and I felt so calm and in control, not what I was expecting before reading the book and attending a class. My partner James couldn’t believe how good the experience was and still talks about it now. He was amazing as well because he enabled me to stay in the zone the whole time and knew exactly what I wanted and listened to me all the time, he found the class really helped him prepare for this. My midwife thanked me for the experience and said she loved it and was so pleased to experience a hypnobirth.
Thankyou Sophie for teaching me hypnobirthing, I certainly think it’s because of that I had an 8 hour labour which for my first baby I know is very quick. I will continue to use what I have learnt throughout my life if I am ever in pain.
Thanks again.
Kyra , James (and Leo)
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