Thursday, 9 December 2010

Rosie's birth of Coco

Hi Karin. Just to let you know that we had a lovely baby girl on Tuesday 23rd of November. She is called Coco Tui and weighed 6 pounds13oz. Had a really good day of early labour during Tuesday. Very calm all helped with your god-send breathing techniques! End stage was very quick, felt the head coming on the way to hospital and Coco made a surprise arrival outside the lift on the way to the labour ward! We were tucked up at home 4 hours later. Thank you so much for your classes, they were such a calming part to each week. I will miss it!Good luck to the rest of the girls. Rosie

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

well done Kendra and Matthew! proud parents to Aoife

Hello hello!
And finally I am able to update you on the arrival of Aoife Bethany Byrne, born on Monday 15th November at 7.15 pm - some 3 days after you kindly came over and some 17 days late.
To cut a (very) long story short, she was born by emergency c section.
But the long version:
I had been to the hospital on the Saturday for a check up, and they were happy with all the tests. On the Sunday, I went back again because she had been very quiet, and I was worried. It turned out I was in the very early stages of labour and was having contractions. On some of the contractions, her heart beat was dipping, but nothing of any undue concern. So we decided to give her chance to come out of her own accord, but booked an induction for 1230 the next day just in case things had not progressed.
Contractions continued throughout the day and evening, but stopped at night, or basically whenever I wasn't moving around.
The next morning, M and I got up very early and went for a long walk to get things moving again. I was having much stronger contractions, ones that stopped me from doing anything, but still clearly early labour.
We got to the hosp for 1230, told them we thought I was in labour, and were shown to our room, where my waters promptly broke. HA! So I avoided induction after all! I won! Things then picked up and was I moved to the labour ward. Unfortunately, I was still getting the dips in the heartbeat, even when stood up, and my waters were very very pooey. They started to make concerned noises, but let me carry on to see what happened.
I managed to get to 9cm dilated by tea time without any pain relief at all, not even gas and air! (you would have been proud of the vocalising and breathing!) and the midwife said that she had been a midwife for 10 years and that, as a first time mum, I was the most in control she had ever seen, and that she was very impressed. The consultant came in when I was having a contraction, and asked Matthew what pain relief I had taken - when he said none, she gave a look of total surprise and was equally impressed! Obviously I was oblivious to all this mind you - all I could do was focus on the contractions, as I was not getting that much of a rest in between, and the only place I could be other than on my back (which I had refused to do!) was be stood up leaning on the bed so that they could carry on monitoring.
Sadly, baby's heart beat kept on getting dangerously low after each contraction, and the waters were getting more pooey, so they did the head prick test, which came out unfavourably, so was whipped into theatre before any damage was done. They said that they could have let me carry on labouring for the last 1 cm and pushing, but because they didn't know if that would take 1 hour or 3 hours, it was just too dangerous and risky. I can't really argue with that - I gave it my best shot!
So we are now back home, getting on with coping with a slightly invalid new mum and a new baby! We are starting to get used to each other, and breastfeeding is improving, so I am beginning to settle down and find out what it is I am meant to be doing.
Anyway. Hope thats enough detail for you! Its cathartic to get it all down actually. Having the surgery meant we found out I only have one working ovary and fallopian tube, so I can be more forgiving of myself if/when we try again for another.
Matthew and I would love to come in and tell our story (I'll try to keep it brief) but I have no idea when yet. Matthew has Thomas every other Weds eve, and I now can't drive for at least 6 weeks, so our opportunities are more limited. But I will be in touch and we can sort something out. I want to tell your ladies you can be stubborn and stick to your guns if you want to.
So, thank you thank you thank you for all your guidance and support through this. I am sure had I not been to your class I would have been induced earlier, still had a c-section (due her to her positioning and heart beat issue) and would have felt really shit about the whole episode. I did it my way for as much as I could, and I know that I did my very very best.
I'll shut up now, this is a too-long email!
Many thanks
Kendra xx

Martina's baby girl has been born

Hi Karin,
Katie Alanna Down was born 3 min past midnight on 20 November at home. Her weight was just below 4 kg. I had mild contractions all Tuesday night which stopped in the morning and started again on Friday evening at 6 pm. They were quickly getting stronger and when the midwife arrived after 10 pm I was already fully dilated. Shortly after my water broke and the pushing started. It was a fantastic experience to have had a home birth which was very different to my first difficult birth with Isabel. We did lots of chanting which really helped to cope with the pain.
I had acupuncture with your husband 3 or 4 hours before the contractions started on Friday which I believe helped the get the contractions started again after they had stopped previously.
Could you please pass the news to Richard. He wanted to know if the treatment worked or if we needed to book another one. Thank you.
Thank you for all your classes, support and help. They were a great help.
Best wishes

Monday, 22 November 2010

Mette's birth to Frej

Dear Patricia
I am very happy to announce that I had a little baby boy Frej Sunday at 21:44 he weighing 5.15lb and measured 48cm.
It all happened very fast. Sunday morning i had some ache but put it down to the baby engaging. However by 13:30 it felt more regular and started to time the aches, by 15:00 it was 10 min apart but i was not in any discomfort at this time. Spoke to the on call midwife who said she would come and see me later that afternoon. I was still comfortable and cooked dinner for the family when suddenly things started to be a bit more uncomfortable the midwife then came around 5-6 o'clock and confirmed my belief that i was having contractions.
Things slowly started to become stronger and arrived to hospital at 20:40pm with me being in discomfort at this stage and confusion between my partner and the midwife I ended up in the labour ward but in the room with the pool so I was quite happy as this was my main priority. I had my temperature and blood pressure checked and was examined everything was fine and I was 8cm at this stage but my water was still intact. I then walked from the bed to the pool and my waters broke. I got into the pool and had gas and air only. I was very much in control of what was happening at this point and the midwife left me to give birth. My baby boy was then born at 21:44 so all in all very fast. I had a natural third stage and the cord was left until the placenta was delivered this gave me time to have nice skin to skin cuddle in the water. When I was out of the water I had a shower and then a nice cup of tea while having skin to skin and feeding Frej everything was nice and peaceful.
I now have two lovely children who is born on the same day and in the same room :)
The birth is everything I could have wished for it was fast, calm and quiet.
I stayed in hospital overnight and was home again monday morning we have now had our first night at home and so far look like i am blessed with a happy and content baby (long may this last).
I would like to thank you for everything I have learned at yoga without this knowledge I dont think I would have been as informed or actively involved in the planning of my birth.

Thank you so much for your help. Mette xx

Fabulous couples course

What a lovely day we had on the couples course in Exeter yesterday - such a lovely positive atmosphere - I truly enjoyed spending the day sharing the magic of birth with you all and wish you all the very best for your journeys into parenthood.
Here's some of the feedback:
"All fab! Loved practising positions for various stages, partner support and I now have more confidence in me to give birth and for him to support me! Thank you." Sonia and Guy x
"I feel positive and confident again and it was useful to learn birthing positions as a couple so my husband can be more involved in the process"
"I/we found the course inspirational :). An opportunity to be correctly/instinctively/lovingly 'informed' and it has allowed me to feel very confident and to believe in a way which was previously absent. Thank you Karin :)" Ros and Eddie
"Very positive experience. Great to bring my husband along to learn what I've been learning over these few months. Not rushed - great to ask questions. Great biscuits!"

...what more can you ask for...
Thank you.

The birth of Noah

Hi, We have a baby!! Noah, born 9.56am
15/11/10, 8lbs 4.  The birth went really well, was booked in for an induction on the Monday morning, started labouring Sunday night, so just missed it :-), I used the TENS machine Sunday night, decided to venture to hospital at 6ish Monday morning, was already 5cm, arrived at hospital at 7am, he was born at 9.56am, very quick pushing stage, amazing experience, breathing in for 3 and out for 6 got me through and had a bit of gas and air too!, all was fine, had a few deep tears, and due to my "medical condition" lost quite a bit of blood, but feeling on the mend already, just getting our heads around this breastfeeding thing, the next chapter!

Thank you so much for all your support during the pregnancy, it really helped me feel more relaxed and confident to have as much of a natural birth as possible xx
Much love
Annamai, Ronan and Noah xx

Thursday, 11 November 2010

Fire Walk


We lovely Birthwise ladies have always said we would do anything and everything we could to help women have the best birth experience available to them. And now we are being asked to prove it!
We are going to literally walk over hot coals as part of a fundraising drive by Birthing Wisdom to raise money for the African Birth Collective

We are doing the fire walk on December the 5th in Dartington, Totnes, and are looking for sponsorship.
There are several ways you can sponsor us. If you have a paypal account you can sponsor us using the paypal button on the Birthing Wisdom site here.
This account is used by all the fire walkers so if you use this method you will have to forward the conformation e-mail you receive from paypal to the person you have sponsored.
Our e-mail addresses are, or Patricia-

If you don't have a paypal account you can e-mail us with your details and sponsored amount, and we will fill out a sponsor form for you and let you know when we have completed the walk (or chickened out!!) so you can forward a cheque or postal order to us.

You can also donate directly through the Birthing Wisdom site.

If you are able to make it to the fire walk itself, all cheering/ encouraging/ wincing/ laughing will be greatly appreciated. We really hope as many people as possible will get behind this event, and help us to support the important work of the African Birth Collective and everything Olivia of Birthing Wisdom is hoping to achieve.

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

We did it! Harrison Anthony George Dunbar born 10/10/10!

Hello Patricia I wanted to send you an email with huge thanks for all of your advice and support over the last 5 months - and to bring you and the yoga girls news of our new baby boy Harrison who was born (to his Daddy's HUGE pride!) on 10/10/10 at 0434 and weighing 7lbs 11oz - not bad for an overdue baby! He's long but not huge - was born at 41 + 3 weeks in the end. I felt so prepared for labour thanks to your classes and very very calm when it happened. I had an induction booked for today (Tues 12) and was so upset at the thought of it happening like that, I became a bit inventive! Tried all your advice, homeopathy, etc etc and nothing was happening so on Thurs the midwife did a sweep - I was very unsure if it was the right decision but had waited a week and refused and felt it was better than the drugs on induction. Nothing happening so on Friday night was in two minds about coming to class again as normal but decided to use the time to take on your last bit of advice and try acupuncture! I went to Cathy - she was amazing - did one session at 7pm Friday which brought on a big show straight away and a few Braxton Hicks (which I hadn't had any of previously) that night. Saturday morning and it had all died down again so I stimulated the labour needle she had left in my ear and they started up again - I went for another top up session with Cathy at 11 and the contractions strengthened into the real thing! Went out for lunch with contractions every 5 minutes which were intense but not terrible but headed home at about 3 as it felt like things were stepping up. Laboured at home using hypnobirthing and yoga (both brilliant) until 6pm when we went to hospital already 5-6cm dilated! Admitted straight away and spent the next 8 hours in stage 1. The hypnosis was incredible and (I never expected this) did most of stage 1 with just TENS and hypnosis in total silence! Used the ball too and tried to move around but actually found it quite hard - although standing and leaning helped with the pain. The midwife thought I'd be done by midnight but his positioning WAS an issue (just as you said!) which slowed things down so they broke my waters at about 2 as only progressed to 7cms. Then used birthing pool and did transition and the birth in the pool within 2 hours with gas and air (which wasn't that great but distracting!) He came out posterior after all! which explained why things didn't progress brilliantly, but I cannot praise the midwife enough (Kathy Moore) - she read my birth plan and created total calm and reassurance the whole time. By transition I was yelling for drugs after all! but she pretty much refused me meaning the whole birth was natural with no intervention at all. They said it was really busy but I felt like the only person on the ward and feel incredibly lucky. I'll stop my boring story now! but wanted to say a huge thank you for helping me feel so prepared and confident and excited about the whole thing. The yoga was absolutely brilliant in the run up to the birth and although I wasn't as active as I had expected (because it made me feel a bit odd during labour - probably because of the positioning) I had a clear idea of how to help him progress and what to do to stay active. Please send my love to all the girls and hope to see you soon Jess

Monday, 11 October 2010

Jo's last minute home birth to 3rd baby Theo

As you know we ended up changing our planned place for birth from Bracken to a water birth at home and with yours and Davina's help, we managed to arrange this! Within 24 hours of deciding on a home water birth we had managed to transform our conservatory into the birthing room with the hired birth pool from Davina set up in place! By the time I had finished the room, I felt very tired and had a bloody show. I had been losing bits and pieces of my mucus plug for about a week with lots of Braxton Hicks! By now I was a week over due! My community midwife has never been the kind of midwife I would recommend or want to deliver my baby and even now she was the only negative factor in the whole shift of birth plans. She was not encouraging of our plans and although she did organise the home birth paperwork, she kept reminding us that it still might not go ahead. I had to repeatedly chase up the home birth box to be delivered. My CM also told me that there would be no available pain relief and that there was no Entonox, but this was not what I was told by the lovely CM we had come round to assess me when I was in the latent stages of labour! However, I was woken up at 3am by vague period type pains on Thurs 23rd Sept. I went to the loo and realised I had had much more of a show and with that, contractions started to come about every 15/20 mins but they weren't really very painful. So I put on my TENS machine and tried to rest until morning. I got up and showered and phoned my CM to inform her that things had started. She sent a lovely CM round as she was busy in clinic and I was told I was 2/3cm dilated but that baby needed to move to a slightly more favourable position before labour would really start so I spent some time on my birth ball and on all fours. By just after lunchtime the contractions intensified and my CM turned up and examined me. She is not very gentle and I knew I must be around 4-5cm and was feeling ready to get in the pool as my TENS machine was beginning to not provide enough relief from the pain. I was trying my best to relax and breathe through each contraction and had some relaxing birth music on but I knew it was time for the warm water to relieve the tension I was feeling. However, on rough examination my CM told me I was still only 2-3cm and 50% effaced which I knew was inaccurate as I had already examined myself just before she got there! Maybe it was the anxiety she created that made me clam up! Tony also didn't like her attitude. We knew she was on duty until 5pm and desperately did not want her to be here to deliver our baby, so we were both relieved when she said she would leave us to it for a bit but that I should not get in the pool yet as I needed to be at least 4-5cm before I could do so or I would risk stopping or stalling labour. After she went, my contractions ramped up another gear and I began to get tearful as I was not coping well with the pain. So after about an hour I examined myself and could feel no thickness to my cervix so knew I was totally effaced and guestimated that I was about 5-6cm dilated. So I got in the pool which instantly relaxed me and I found I could cope better with the contractions and could zone out in between each one to get some much needed rest. By now I was vocalising through my contractions to enable me to cope. It was just Tony and I and Tony was very supportive but had to spend much time regulating the pool temperature to keep it constant.

We realised I was at transition stage when I started talking rubbish and crying! We waited until after my CM's shift finished before phoning labour ward to ask for a midwife. They called one out to us but we had to wait for her to get here. I was wanting Entonox by now but was just about coping. I was starting to feel the urge to push and so in between contractions, examined myself and knew I was fully dilated and could feel baby's head at the top of the birth canal. My waters were intact and I could feel the membranes around baby's head. I remained as calm as I could and Tony told Labour Ward I was starting to want to push. They said they would send a second closer midwife but if he thought delivery was imminent, he should phone an ambulance so the Paramedic could deliver the baby. I continued with the urge to push getting stronger with the next few contractions. Finally the door went just as I had a really powerful contraction and I told Tony I needed the Entonox quickly! Just then I pushed hard and baby's head crowned and I told the midwife..... "his head's crowning!" The midwife rushed in and told Tony to prepare to catch the baby whilst she scrambled around her bag to fetch out some gloves. Baby's body shot out with the next push (all in same contraction) and the midwife just managed to get her gloves on and grab him, brought him to the surface of the water and removed him from inside the intact membranes. He immediately cried heartily! The time was 6:24pm. Meanwhile I was in complete shock and crying and shaking all over. The midwife hadn't even had a chance to introduce herself and said to me, "you were hanging on to him until I got here, weren't you?". To which I replied "yes, I think so". Relief flooded my body as I realised he was fine and we had done it without any drugs or medical intervention.

The midwife said how lucky it was for baby to be delivered in his water sac. I felt sick and shaky due to the speed of delivery and how touch and go it was that the midwife was going to make it in time! But within a couple of hours I started to feel better. Baby latched on straight away and fed for an hour in total. He weighed in at 8lb 10oz with a head circumference of 35cm and a length of 51cm. He was perfect but we couldn't decide on a name and at almost 48 hours old, we finally decided on Theo Jamie. I escaped with a very minor tear so no need for stitches despite the speed of his delivery!

So there we go!!!!! We are recovering well and Tony was and is great - really stepped up to the mark and I can recall him standing there expecting to have to catch his new baby son, like a goal keeper with hands outstretched and a look of concentration and fear right across his face! He said it did not bother him in the slightest to watch Theo coming out into the world, whereas, he's never wanted to be down "business end" before with our other sons! lol

I wanted to say thank you for all the advice and support you have shown both Tony and myself through the classes, couples workshop and texts/phone calls. The homeopathic remedies came in handy too, as did the lavender facial spritz, Rescue Remedy and I found Tony blowing cold air on my face helpful!! I truely think we made the right choice in the end for our birth experience and much of that was due to your advice and guidance. The recommended books were also an excellent reference. As it happened, when I was in labour, I would have been turned away from Musgrove due to how busy they were and transferred to another hospital had we not opted for a home birth!! Little Theo had it all planned out for us and waited until we had all our plans in place before making his special and extremely memorable appearance in this world!!

I have attached a photo of our new baby son and look forward to coming along soon to tell his birth story to the Taunton yoga class and for you all to meet him.

All the best.

Jo x

Friday, 8 October 2010

A Birth - baby Aidan Daniel Sothcott

Receiving the call on tuesday 21/09 from Bristol was the most crazy thing. The day we had been waiting for, the day that we were prepared to meet our baby boy for the first time. They told us to make our way there for 12.30 that afternoon and so we hurried around the house packing the last few bits and jumped in the car. A journey has never taken so long (or so it felt) and the whole way I put myself into my bubble and tried to regulate my breathing - no singing along to Robbie for me!

We arrived a little late and to our dismay, told by a midwife that they were really too busy and it may be a while before the induction could be started. However, 5 minutes later another midwife appeared with some rubber gloves and a pessary and told me to lay on my back! Baby was monitored for about 20 minutes and we were then left for the day. I began to feel definate cramps but was told that it was just pain from the drugs and so she inserted another at 8pm. After an hour, I was curled up in pain, breathing forgotten and crying my eyes out. I managed to forget everything I had been taught.

At 2am it all stopped and I was thrilled to get a little rest.. then I realised that it had stopped completely and our boy wasn't going to arrive anytime soon.

Wednesday, a stronger gel was inserted but still no luck other than small twinges.

The doctors decided to break my waters at 2.45am meaning minimal sleep for all of us (mum stayed with Dan and I until I had shown signs on progression).

I was settled with a little gas and air for the VE and breaking of waters as it was so painful due to my cervix not playing ball. The waters, however, should definately have been called rivers as there was the biggest explosion!

After 2 hours of walking around the delivery suite, there was still no progress so the Syntocin was inserted at 6am. This got things moving very quickly and the TENS was soon on. With the midwife trying to push the epidural saying that the two things "go together" I was determined to do it my way and declined, using a LOT of sounding and the TENS going up and up. I was having contractions hard and very close together, usually coming in pairs but still only 2cm dilated yet fully effaced.

At 1pm it all got a bit too much using only the sounding so I had the epidural. Gas and air helped me again to stay still and breathe through the contractions. I was immediately calm and sat in the upright position from the relaxation exercise practiced in class for the rest of the labour.

An hour later, things began to go downhill.. Baby's heartbeat had slown down to about 50 and into the room came an abundance of midwives, doctors plus the senior. She then decided to perform a FBS and did so, while finding out I had become fully dilated in the last hour and easily feel my boy's full head of hair. They then took no time in urging me to push. Dan came back in the room having grabbed a cup of tea while the on call team for my baby were made aware that he was going to be arriving soon.

Dan and a student doctor held each of my hands as I spent the next hour and 15 minutes pushing (the senior using the ventouse). The "newborn emergency stabalisation team" were in the room as he was delivered and immediately handed to them.

I can truly say that hearing the words "I'm so sorry, we can't start your baby's heart" was the worst moment of my entire life. I dived under the bed sheets while Dan continued to watch them work at him. After 20 minutes the machines kicked into action and there were huge sighs of relief filling the room. From the worst moment, came the best moment and after another hour, we were allowed to see our beautiful baby boy in NICU.


Thursday, 7 October 2010

A Birth - baby Effie Welch

Lyn’s Birthing Story
According to the sonographer my baby was due on the 16th September 2010. The date duly arrived and departed with no sign of bump putting in an appearance and having seen my midwife who desperately wanted to do a cervical sweep I was determined that this baby was coming out with as little medical interference as possible. I spent the weekend eating copious amounts of fresh pineapple, drinking raspberry leaf tea, having sex and smiling nicely at everyone who suggested that castor oil was the way to go!

I was delighted when on Monday morning I had a definite 'show' and spent the day gazing aimless at the fish tank whilst bouncing on my ball, all plans of going shopping forgotten whilst fielding phone calls and text messages from everyone asking if anything was happening (sixth sense seemed to have kicked in among female friends and relations!) Lack of food in the house resulted in us having to make a trip to Tesco, where I wandered aimlessly until at the checkout I had my first proper, unmistakeable contraction. I spent the rest of the evening leaning over my birth ball and slowly the contractions built during the night until they were coming regularly every 30 minutes. As dawn approached I began to get slightly longer gaps of about 45 minutes followed by 3 contractions which were closer together. Dan and I decided that he would go to work on the proviso that he wasn’t too far away and could drop everything if needed. The contractions continued with this pattern through the morning, and after a phone call from Josie advising that I went back to bed to help my hormone levels increase. That is exactly what I did. I spent the day watching chick flicks, and attempting to sleep but in reality doing little more than shutting my eyes.

By the time Dan returned from work the contractions were much more consistent and powerful at about 15 minute intervals. Dan cooked me tea and massaged my lower back while I continued lying over the birthing ball. By 10pm the contractions were 10 minutes apart and I decided I wanted to put on the Tens machine. I had it on level 2 as anything higher was highly irritating, but in all honesty didn’t do too much to help ease the pain.

At 11.30pm the contractions were approximately 7 minutes apart and taking my full attention, looking through the notes from the couples workshop we had attended

Dan thought I was probably in the deciding phase. By this point I was trying really hard to control my breathing and Dan was being a rock and trying to calm me down and encouraging me to remember what we had been taught in class and at the workshop.

At 12.30am on Wednesday with regular contractions at 5 min intervals Dan phoned the hospital. After talking to the midwife through a contraction she announced that I was probably only in the early stages of labour, at most 2 to 3 cms dilated, and that this could continue for another 24 hours! Her advice was to take 2 paracetamol and go to bed! At this point I do remember uttering the words "If this is only early labour I want a c-section" I was convinced I was actually further along.

Within the hour my contractions were 2 -3 minutes apart and we phoned the hospital again, we were told to come in before they phoned back to say they would send the on- call midwife to see me. As I wanted to stay at home for as long as possible this seemed like a good idea, although whilst waiting for her to arrive Dan started to believe we would be having a home birth! Pat arrived at 2.15am mid contraction (by now I was sounding through each one) and did an examination only to discover that I was actually 7-8cm dilated and maybe we should head to hospital fairly sharpish! She phoned ahead and arranged for us to have a room with a birthing pool and then we all headed up the bumpy lane to the hospital, having warned Dan that I wouldn’t sit in the van quietly and she would follow us just in case we needed to stop on the way!

Knowing that I had got to this stage with very little pain relief gave me a real boost and boded well for the natural birth I wanted. I was really excited and positive on my arrival at hospital that felt I could do this and that meeting bump was going to be happening sometime soon! With everything going to plan, and monitor showing that we had a very chilled out baby I quickly progressed to 9cm dilated and got into the pool. The warm water and the gas and air was working wonders and I was feeling really positive and empowered at 4am I had urges to push, and at 4.40am I was told that my waters had broken and baby would be with us shortly.

5 then 6 o’clock passed but still no sign of the baby. Monitoring via the Doppler showed she was still very relaxed and her heartbeat absolutely fine. At 7am I reluctantly got out of the pool, as contractions had slowed down again and I knew that gravity was going to help me deliver my baby so got myself into a kneeling position using the back of the bed for support. It was at this point I decided to tell the world that gas and air was fab and memorise the sign on the bottom of the bed during every contraction. I can’t remember the exact words now although I assured everyone at the time I definitely would but it was something about removing bits of the bed before moving it!

8am brought a midwife change and at 9am after another examination I was told I was still only 9cm dilated and that my waters hadn’t broken and that this was stopping me from dilating fully.

She also began to question whether bump was actually back out as she had a feeling that it was back to back. Waters broken I continued in the forward kneeling posture in the hope that making a hammock would encourage bump to move around. 10,11, 12.00 o’clock passed and contractions had died off slightly but baby was still very chilled. Jane the midwife did another examination only to find I was still only 9cm dilated. With very little sleep for 36 hrs I was exhausted and running low on energy despite Lucozade glucose tablets and snacks.

Jane my midwife was aware of my birth plan and respected it but advised it maybe time to try something else in order to help me get bump out sooner. After consulting with another midwife they advised Syntocine and an epidural (my biggest fear) I knew that this would mean that baby needed to be monitored continuously. I really didn’t want to give in but had nothing left to give. I was petrified of the epidural but Dan talked me into it and supported me whilst the epidural was administered. Fortunately he had been investigating different forms of induction and knew that I would really struggle without the relief from the epidural.

I was really surprised by my epidural as I had expected not to be able to feel anything, but I was aware of the consistency of my contractions and could still move my legs which meant that when I was told at 2.30pm I was fully dilated and could begin pushing I was able to get myself into several different positions on the bed where I was able to bear down etc despite the wires and tubes attached to various bits of me. Jane was really supportive of this and chased bump around with the monitoring equipment as best she could.

4pm saw another midwife change and I was really pleased that it was Josie one of the Ilfracombe midwives that I had seen during the course of my pregnancy. She came in with a fresh boost of energy and enthusiasm which really helped lift my spirits. After an hour and a half of pushing there was still no baby. Baby’s head was visible but not shifting and I was exhausted. After consulting the doctor it was decided that a ventouse delivery was required as baby was most definitely back to back. By this point I was in my own little bubble and was only vaguely aware of what was going on around me all I knew was that I was going to meet my baby soon and that this time it would actually happen! The world and his neighbour seemed to enter the delivery room at this point and I remember being told that it all depended on me to listen to instructions. Apparently I was told the ventouse delivery was a 50/50 chance and I had to put everything I had into getting this baby out next contraction I pushed with all I had left.

At 5.32pm, 48 hours after the contractions started, I had my beautiful daughter Effie weighing 9lb2oz with a 38.5cm circumference head in my hands plus an episiotomy cut and third degree tear and it didn’t matter a bit!

It wasn’t the delivery I had hoped for by any means but I wouldn't change the experience I had for the world. I learnt so much about myself and Dan and I'm really proud of the fact that I managed to get to 8cm dilated at home with no pain relief. I stayed calm and relaxed and knew what was coming so was prepared for the next stage of labour and knew how to help myself by using different positions thanks to classes and the couples’s workshop.

I am so thankful that Dan and I attended the couple’s workshop as Dan took everything on board and researched everything. As a result he was the best birth partner I could have wished for, and his support was what got me through.

I also like to say a huge thank you to Josie and everyone in class for all their words of wisdom. I learnt so much from you all and I know that if I hadn’t attended active birth classes, I would have given in and ended up demanding a caesarean probably on Monday

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Lighting a Candle

I have a space in my house where I light a candle if I know of a woman in labour who needs thoughts and support. If my boys see a candle lit there, they will ask after the woman and her baby, and we will often send thoughts and love to them as we sit down to eat.

In class we talk about lighting candles, and very often a woman will send a text or e-mail to her friends from the classes when she goes into labour, and they will light candles for each other.
The act of lighting a candle focuses our attention and awareness on our friend's labour, and allows us to bring a physical representation of our support and solidarity into our homes.

Many women have said that they thought of the candles burning for them in their friends houses, and that it gave them strength and comfort in labour.

Tandi Update

Despite contractions building up yesterday they stopped shortly after midnight. Tandi was able to get some rest, and they will try again this morning.

Tuesday, 21 September 2010

Thoughts for Tandi

Please can everyone spare a few thoughts For Tandi, Dan, and their baby boy. They went up to Bristol this morning, and at the time of writing this, she had had prostin about 3 hours ago, but apart from a few niggles, not a lot happening. She has been in regular contact via text today, so I will post again if I get updated.

They have got a mountain to climb, and Tandi knows that she has the thoughts of all the women she has been at class with, and all their support behind her. If you get a moment over the next few hours and days, please just send your positive thoughts to her, imagine how relieved you will feel when you hear how well they are both doing, and think of how honoured we will all be when we finally get to meet her strong little boy.

I have lit a candle for them, and will continue to do so whilst I am at home and able, until I hear that they are both safe and well. Their little boy has so many obstacles to overcome, I am sure we can all find a little space in our thoughts for him.

If you want to send messages to Tandi and Dan, please leave them as a comment to this post and I will pass them on.

love, Josie

Friday, 27 August 2010

Mothers Cuddle Brings Baby Back To Life

Amazing story about an Australian Mum who's body warmth and breast milk revived her premature twin boy whom the doctors had pronounced dead.

Wednesday, 25 August 2010

Rhiannon's birth Story

Congratulations to Rhiannon and Doug on the birth of Robert David McLean

Hi Patricia here is my birth story for you.

Started having regular contractions every 10 minutes from 23.30 20th Aug for five hours, breathed through them, then managed to get some sleep, waters broke at 8.15, forewaters only, some niggly contractions followed but not regular, sat on ball. Took some arnica and pulsatilla and mild contractions approx every 5 mins. Phoned BBC and were asked to come in as regular and waters broken, stayed in for an hour then sent home (4cm, thinning cervix and softened), contractions more intense but still 3-5 mins apart. Would have preferred to stay at home for a bit longer anyway so quite happy! Taken pulsatilla, caulophyllum and arnica, keeping moving, waters clear. Once home went on ball then into shower as contractions intensified, moving, hip circles, vocalising, contractions now 1-2 mins apart, lasting 1-1.5 min, rang bbc, closed so go into labour ward, got midwife we knew, walking from car park got things going after car journey. Contractions starting each min, intensified again, on all fours, leaning over chair, vocalising, using homeopathy kit, got to panicky point so used aconite, felt like transition so midwife asked for exam, agreed, only 6 cm, midwife estimated maybe another 8 hours before birth, tried some more felt starting to push, felt couldn't cope with that much pain, losing focus, on all fours crouched on floor, asked for pain relief, discussed with Doug, tried gas and air, couldn't breath/vocalise so stopped, asked for diamorphine, injection at 1755, was able to move to better position, kneeling on bed, gravity working, felt lucid and focus returned, pushed and felt I knew exactly what was happening, robert david mclean born at 1840. midwife said was a treat seeing normal birth!

Baby unwrapped cord from neck twice, passed through legs for me to hold skin to skin, cord left to stop on its own then clamped, I cut it as was short again. Had synometrin for placenta as started bleeding a lot. Breastfed while placenta being delivered.

I felt I made the right decisions for me to have a good birth experience. Couples workshop helped, Doug massaged my back throughout and breathed with me, knew the homeopathy kit and techniques, very lovely and supportive, stuck up for birth plan and helped me hang on without pain relief for as long as possible!

Baby was alert and responsive straight away, and fed well immediately.

Thank you so much, Rhiannon, Doug, Will and Robert

Wednesday, 18 August 2010

Emma's Birth Story

Congratulations to Emma and Adam on the birth of their first baby Isaac: Here's their story:

I really wanted to thank you for every thing you did to help us

prepare ourselves for the birth of Isaac - it was an incredible and

joyful experience. Isaac is beautiful and very loving baby - and is

settling well into this world. He is now 5 days old and is feeding

well, sleeping in the day but still finds the idea of nightime a bit

alien but who can blame him! So... my birth story! It may seem quite

short as my labour cetainly was.

On Sunday at lunchtime I started to get some cramps, I had had quite a

few in the week before so was unsure if they were contractions, I also

had been trying to turn Isaac round, baby spinning website was great,

so I was unsure whether this may be a helping hand to get him to move.

However, I thought I would continue with the day and went to do the

weekly shop where the contractions became more noticeably in gaps of

about 5 minutes. Quite funny when I ran into so many people I know

asking me when the baby was due...soon I thought! Got home made

flapjacks and then a roast dinner.I then had a bit of a show with some

blood. By the time I was finishing food I had to stop what I was doing

during contractions and convinced myself this really was going to

happen. I rang Bracken and said i was fine but warned them I would be

in later. I couldn't eat much and got in the shower/bath and Adam made

sure last bits and pieces were ready. Contractions continued to get

stronger but remained 4-5 minutes apart from start to finish. I was

going to get out of the bath to see whether the contractions

escalated, they did! I was doing my stuff on the ball but by about 9 I

had a strong feeling of needing the loo but when in the bathroom

thought the loo is too small and got in the bath and my waters broke

in the most explosive style. We rang and warned bracken we were on

the way and got me into the car. I have to say this was a bit nerve

wracking bit for me getting to the hospital. The breathing techniques

we learnt had become so imbedded in my experience that despite the

pain, I seemed to know exctly what to do. I also appreciated the

vocalising experiences from the class as I am usually a bit self

concious but the noises flowed and allowed me to communicate with Adam

without having to engage in conversation. On arrival at 11pm l I met

the midwife Eleanor - she read my birthplan, asked me where I had been

introduced to active birthing and when I mentioned your name she said

she knew you and said to just follow what you had said, what I had

learnt and she made Adam and i feel empowerered and able to be fully

involved in the birth. She gave me an internal then asked if I wanted

to feel the baby's head! Birth imminent she filled the pool and I

crawled around on the floor and did a combination of deep and shallow

breathing and a hell of a lot of vocalising - although painful and

amazing and I have to say again a joyful experience. Once in the pool

I politely asked whether I could have my baby!! and Eleanor said yes.

She then sat in the corner and left me to it. I did know what to do,

when to relax and when to push. I found it so strange that I knew I

was ready as my mouth was wide open and my body was then doing the

pushing instinctively. His head came out and I was then elated and I

could feel him wriggling. He came out 'superman style' with one hand

out but I managed to avoid a tear. This stage took 20 minutes! Adam

picked him up and then Eleanor and another midwife helped hand him to

me and we had our first cuddle.He was born at 12.17am (1hour 17 mins

after our arrival!) They helped me out of the pool and put him on my

stomach and we helped him to my breast to feed. He latched on and I

looked at him - a truely wonderful experience. The placenta wasn't

rushing out so eleanor give it a gentle pull that initiated a

contraction that birthed the placenta. She put it in a bowl next to

Isaac.Adam later cut the cord. We were then left alone, brought tea

and toast. We were then asked if we wanted to stay in for the or go

home. We both decided immediately to go home. I had a bath and they

gave Issac a quick look over then we got dressed, put our unopen bags

in the car and took our little boy in the car and drove him home. The

whole birth was phenomenal and the most amazing time of my life -

thankyou so much for giving me the confidence to really experience his

birth and to for us to have such a fantantic time meeting my boy!

Friday, 13 August 2010

A Birth - Baby Ithan Saul Hancock

In his mothers words;

Ithan Saul Hancock 31st of July 2010

I woke up at 7 in the morning, despite having been up half the night with Rosa, my teethy two year old. I thought that I felt a tiny pop but thought I’d probably imagined it as Ithan wasn’t due for another 10 days.

 I tried to go back to sleep and drifted a bit but started to feel like the baby was poking me really low down and so decided to get up and make tea. When I got out of bed I noticed a small wet patch and started to wonder if baby might on his way.

I wrote my diary for a while wondering if it was really happening and cursing the fact that we had decided to start decorating the dining room the day before so the house was total chaos. Not the lovely clean tidy environment I’d imagined giving birth in at all!

By 8.30 the poking feelings had turned into definite period type cramps and I had to go to the loo for a huge pooh so I thought it really must be happening and I’d better wake Gareth up and tell him the baby was on his way. As things were still really quite mellow I didn’t feel any urgency as my labour with Rosa had been about 14 hours, the first 6 or so were fairly relaxed.

 However by halfway through Rosa’s breakfast I was starting to find it hard to concentrate and the contractions were definitely getting stronger. Gareth phoned the hospice, where we had arranged for Rosa to be while we had the baby and they were great and said they’d get her room ready, bring her straight in.

 I phoned the labour ward and had a chat with them and they said they’d find someone to come out . None of us thought there was any rush though as I could still concentrate enough to make sense during contractions.
 They said the midwife might be a while but that sounded fine as I thought it might give us some time to sort our chaos out.

 G whisked Rosa off and although she had been quite amused by the noises I was starting to make I was relieved as it meant I could fully concentrate on the physical and what was happening. I went and sat on the loo again and it all reached another level of intensity.
 I started sounding and it really helped my breathing and to focus on thinning and opening. I felt so much more aware of the process this time and of everything we had learnt both in the hypnobirthing and the active birth classes. Last time I felt like the hypnobirthing fed in and really helped but it was on a subconscious level. This time I felt I was consciously drawing from what I knew.

I decided to get in the bath. I thought it would help and if it slowed things down a bit it wouldn’t be a bad thing either. G came home as I was trying to run the bath and helped me into it. He then did a super human high speed hoover and tidy. I was feeling like everything was going on very low down and I was really starting to push.

Gareth had been timing my contractions and said that when he’d started they’d been 30 seconds long and three minutes apart and the gaps just got smaller everytime until there was barely a minute between them. I felt they were coming in waves the whole morning but the sets were definitely increasing and getting closer together. I was using the sounding more and more, I surprised myself by how loud I was, mostly using ooooh! and AAAAH! As my surges got deeper and intensified so did my voice. It really felt like I was using my voice to push and squeeze downwards.

G had to give me a lot of support to get out of the bath. I had to hang off him every time a contraction came and there wasn’t much time in between them. Eventually we made it into the sitting room. I felt so happy when I saw it, I think I hadn’t really been able to imagine giving birth in there as we had had to go to hospital at the crucial moment last time.
 Gareth had made it really lovely, or so it seemed to me. It was clean and uncluttered and everything was covered in throws and towels.

 I think my only moment of anxiety had been at the beginning when I realised it was really happening and the house was such a state. I couldn’t even really sit down anywhere let alone imagine giving birth. I felt huge relief and love for him. All of this in the blink of an eye between fast and furious surges.

I asked Gareth to sit on the sofa and I knelt on the floor resting on him in between and braced by him during contractions. By this point I was really roaring, proper effective pushing with my whole self. My voice was deep down roaring him out. I said to G at that point it felt fierce, I think that describes the physical sensations really well but I felt fierce too.

 I needed to sit back for a moment and I leant my back against the birthing ball while kneeling with my legs apart. This was really intense and when I put my hand down I could feel his head. It was amazing and so exciting. I wasn’t at all bothered that the midwife wouldn’t be there. I didn’t feel like I needed anyone else.

 I felt a bit stuck in that position so we went back to the sofa. From then it was maybe two or three more pushes and I felt his head be born, it was the most wonderful and satisfying feeling. In a strange moment of clarity I saw the midwifes car pull into the drive. Another push and he came out with a splash onto the floor, he started to cry straight away .

 Gareth got out from under me and picked him up in a towel. I was stretched forward, panting on the sofa, everything felt like it was in slow motion. G told me he was a boy and I kept saying hello baby without moving, he asked me if I wanted to hold him but I needed to just stay where I was for a moment.

The midwife knocked on the door and G shouted for her to come in. She came into the hall all of a bustle saying sorry she was late, traffic etc. and she came into the room and said oh my god you’ve delivered! It was perfect timing as far as I was concerned as she was able to do check him out and make sure my placenta came out completely, which it did without the need for the third stage injection.

Ithan and I had lovely naked cuddles for quite a while until the cord was cut after the pulsating had stopped. He didn’t feed straight away but nuzzled around lots and I felt elated and so very lucky. I had a tiny tear but it didn’t need stitches so by lunchtime the midwife had gone and we were eating scrambled eggs on toast and wondering if it had really happened!

Thank you so much for helping me to have an amazing birth experience. I will treasure the memories of Ithan’s arrival for ever. The classes empowered me and meant I felt confident and in control and was able to trust my body and my baby completely.

Saturday, 7 August 2010

Callum's birth

Baby Callum arrived 1st June, so 11 days late. I’m sure the Clary sage and the reflexology points worked because as soon as my sister had finished massaging my feet the contractions were reasonably strong and regular! Thank you for your help and advice and I’m so glad I came to the classes it made a huge difference!

The birth went well, I started on Bracken and then got moved up to the labour ward as Callums heart beat was racing. After lying on my back for an hour with a monitor strapped nice and tight to my belly, they decided all was well and I got moved back to Bracken.

Things were going well until my waters broke and there was old meconium - which apparently is normal with an over due baby. The midwife on Bracken wasn’t happy so I was sent back up to labour ward. I was quite far on at this point so the move was not appreciated!

On labour ward they insisted on me lying on my back with the monitor strapped to my belly. They couldn’t get a good reading of the baby's heart rate so the strap was getting tighter and tighter! I requested to go on all 4s, but the midwife wasn’t convinced as they couldn’t get a reading with me on my back so thought they wouldn’t be able to get a reading on all 4s either.

At 9am it was shift change, so my 3rd midwife (not keen on 1st one, liked 2nd one and was concerned about who would be my 3rd midwife) Both of us were delighted when Eleanor walked in : )

Eleanor took off my monitor straight away got me off the bed and I gave birth on a birthing stool within the hour. Not the water birth I wanted, but it all worked out in the end. The breathing, the birthing positions and the couples workshop definitely enhanced our experience and gave both Robin and I the confidence we needed for an empowering birth. Thank you for your help advice and support throughout my pregnancy - I would definitely recommend active birth sessions to expectant mothers.

It was a great experience and I’m looking forward to doing it all again : )


Congratulations to Clare and Malcolm on the birth of Jasmine

Just to let you know how the birth went . . . . . .I spent as much

time at home as possible. We were the only ones in Bracken (luckily).

The midwife who I think you know - the one who is knowledgable about

aromatherepy - Jane was with us (along with a student) for

the first shift overnight and then Jill took over the following

morning with another student. Jane was more laid back and was fine

about me not wanting any internals etc but Jill was much more time

conscious and as soon as she came on shift basically said that she

accepted I didn't want to have an internal examination but that I

should know it was difficult for her to know at what stage I was at if

I didn't!! She also checked more frequently the baby's heart rate.

After being at Bracken from 11.30 pm on the Tuesday night at about 10

am on the Wednesday I had a really strong desire that I needed to empty

my bowels - I had already done this earlier on and felt that it was

probably what was holding things up. I went with Malcolm to use the

toilet (just off the room with the birthing pool) and after a while

Jill came into the birthing pool room and said that she was going to

deliver the baby and that she didn't mind where she did it - even if it

was in the toilet! I realised later of course that the desire to empty

my bowels was in fact the baby!?! The bean bag I had been using and

cushions were then brought into the pool room and Malcolm suggested

that I go in the pool for a while - they filled the pool up and I went

in. It felt lovely and in this position Jill was able to establish

that I was fully dilated. Unfortunately, I think the water meant my

contractions slowed down - I was in the pool for about 1 1/2 hours. I

got out and went back into the original room I had been in. Jill once

again expressed concern that she felt she really needed to do an

internal examination to see what was 'holding things up'. I agreed as

I was feeling very tired by this stage. She established that the

baby's head was slightly turned so we then tried squats and also used

the birthing chair. As things still did not progress we then

transferred to the room with the bed in it and I climbed on and put my

legs in the stirrups. I felt utterly exhausted at this stage but it

was not long until they could see the head. Jill encouraged me to use

the vocalising effort internally in order to help with the pushing. I

did this as much as possible and eventually birthed the head. I put my

hand down and could feel her head and a lot of hair and a mirror was

brought in so I could see her. It was incredible. One last effort and

she was born. We didn't know the sex but discovered together and were

delighted. Jasmine was placed straight on my chest as I had requested

in my birth plan and I felt really tearful and so happy.

I used my birth ball a lot and found the breathing techniques excellent and did lots of vocalising too!

Malcolm was a fantastic support. I spent a night in Bracken ward which

was really nice as there was only one other new mum on the ward so it

was really peaceful. We came home the following day.

It took me a couple of weeks to get to grips properly with

breastfeeding. I even went back into Bracken ward (when Jasmine was

about a week old) and Jane spent a couple of hours chatting to us and

giving me lots of encouragement (which is I think what I really needed)

and confirmed that I was feeding well and that Jasmine's latch was

fine. I am really pleased that I have perserved with it because it's

fine now.

I just want to say a massive thank you. I gained a great deal from

the Monday evening classes and really valued all your knowledge, advice

and input. I really feel that the birth experience I had was excellent

and I feel that is down in the main to the classes and your teaching.

Also, Malcolm and I really enjoyed the couple workshop in Exeter and feel that it prepared us well for the birth experience.

Jasmine is an absolute joy to have and we are over the moon.