A lovely story from a couple who just had their first baby at home 🏡👶🏻❤️
Just wanted to share that we had a beautiful baby girl weighing 8 pounds 15 at 16:13 23/07/17. Shattered but all doing well and so in love.
She was 12 days over her 'due date' but luckily I'd pushed the proposed induction back for her to come in her own time. Managed to get the home birth we had wanted which is a good job as I don't think we would have made it to the hospital - 2 hours established labour. Might have been all those dates! All the hyonobirthing helped massively throughout pregnancy and the early stages of labour. When the midwife arrived and told me I was 4cm, I had a bit of a wobble as I felt the birth was imminent but she thought it would be another 8 hours or so. Turns out baby was excited to come out and I ended up having her in the bath a couple of hours later.
OK, so time for a guilty pleasure confession. . . I love Made in Chelsea. I have done from the very first day it aired and I will continue to love it until the cast members are wrinkly and grey! (Have any of you worked out that highly edited, staged, 'reality' TV is my bag yet?!)
So as a die hard MIC fan, I was beyond excited and happy to hear that 2 of my favourites, Binky and JP were expecting a baby together.
I waited in excitement to see if they attended antenatal classes and felt assured that they were a switched on couple who would make sure that they were well educated and would make informed choices about how and where they wanted their baby to be born. Fast forward a few months and I saw that indeed they were attending classes, yeesssss! So I sat back and enjoyed the show and looked forward to the announcement of their little bundle's arrival. It came a week or so ago now and on Monday their official announcement (read cute baby pics!) was published in Hello! magazine. And here comes the bombshell. . . I read and read and re-read the all important part about their daughter's birth and to be honest, I'm really not sure how I feel about it! Want to know why?
Now lets remember, as with everything, what Binky and JP may have said in this interview is likely to have been edited and we might not be getting the whole story here. The first thing I read was 'It was a dream labour' Yes, yes, yes I thought, a cool, young, popular couple helping to change the view of birth. And then I read a little further and was to be truthfully honest, a bit surprised.
They revealed that Binky chose to be induced 2 days before her due date. From what was written in the article, there was no medical indication for induction. They said that as Binky can get anxious about things, she wanted to have some control over when and how her labour would start. Now I'll just refer to the NICE guidelines here which state- 'Induction of labour has a large impact on the health of women and their babies and so needs to be clearly clinically justified.' I don't know their view on it, but I personally don't see ANY clinical justification in inducing 2 days before a due date when there are no complications with mother or baby. So, they were being looked after privately and of course when you are paying a fair amount for the birth of your baby, you would expect that your wishes are upheld and if that means being induced when you wish, then so be it. They may have been educated on the risks of induction and they may have been educated on the benefits of their baby choosing their own birthday and if this was the case and they made the informed decision to go ahead with induction then good on them. But I can't completely believe that they would have still chosen this option had they been fully informed by the team who were working with them before their baby's birth.
There was also the added gem of finding out that upon entry to the hospital it was found that Binky was in fact 2cm dilated. . . Her body knew what to do and it was already doing it. . . so why the induction?!
I really am very happy that they chose how they wanted the birth of their baby to be and that they had a positive experience and are happy to share it with the world. And also that they are helping to change the view of birth to a positive one for their many followers. But I would just love to know a little more about the reasoning behind their decisions and would love to be sure that they made confident but also informed decisions about their care. . . For now I'll just have to stick with being incredibly happy for them and wishing them a life full of happiness and love together!
Also, I may eat my words when I watch their documentary tomorrow night and find out more!
Yesterday I spent a lovely morning down at Mamas and Papas in Southampton speaking to lots of parents to be about the powers of Hypnobirthing and what they will gain from taking a course. We do provide a full antenatal course, but I teach many parents who have also opted for more traditional birth preparation too. The difference with Hypnobirthing is that the techniques can be used no matter what type of birth you have and we approach our classes from a different, positive and far more empowering angle than most other classes, leaving you feeling fully informed, excited and confident in the lead up to your baby's birth.
I'm so pleased to announce that as of June, I will be offering monthly VBAC workshops in the Southampton area. With caesareans accounting for around 25% of all births in the UK, there is an ever increasing need for Vaginal Birth After Caesarean education. It is an area not talked about that often and there is a lot of confusion about what is best for mother and baby when it comes to opting for a VBAC or a repeat c section. The Little Hearts VBAC workshop is designed to help women to birth confidently and on their terms. Whether you are choosing to have a VBAC, a repeat elective caesarean or are still undecided, this workshop gives you evidence based information and tips and techniques to help you come to an informed and confident decision as to what is best for you and your baby. You will leave this course feeling prepared for your positive birth experience and knowing how you can work with your care providers to feel empowered and involved in every decision. VBAC workshops are held over 2 weekday evenings in Bitterne Park. Included in the course-
***The next VBAC workshop will be held on Thursday 22nd and 29th June- 7pm- 9.30pm in Bitterne Park. £65 per couple***
The TV highlight of the year which everyone has been waiting for (no, just me?!) is back TONIGHT. . .
ONE BORN EVERY MINUTE returns!
Now I spend a very large portion of my time advising my lovely Hypnobirthing couples to either not watch this program at all or to take it with a very generous pinch of salt. But I have a confession, one that is hard to admit as a person who so strongly believes that we should show NORMAL birth in our media rather than a sensationalised version, that I am completely and utterly 100% obsessed with this program! The thought that it is coming back to our screens tonight is making me go all giddy with excitement and I will without a doubt be as gripped to this series as I have with all the past ones.
Although this time watching the series I will be viewing from a very different perspective. I have loved every single one so far but for very different reasons. I guess I have always had a fascination with labour and birth but more out of morbid curiosity, I loved seeing how much a woman's body could take and felt like I was preparing myself for the very real likelihood that at some point in the future, I too would go through this transformative but horrific experience. The more I watched, the more I convinced myself that yes it would be awful but if this many women before had managed it, then so would I!
A revelation came when I started watching series 7 and 8 shown in 2015 when I was pregnant with my daughter. We had attended our Hypnobirthing classes and I watched whilst remembering what our teacher had told us (they pick the ones which make interesting television). Alongside watching normal birth and couples using Hypnobirthing techniques online, I had a far more balanced view this time round and could see that One Born was not exactly a fair representation of what labour and birth is like for the majority of women.
This year I will be watching not with morbid curiosity, but just in awe of what our incredible bodies do to bring new life in to the world. I will watch knowing that these births have been specially picked because they have twists and turns and high risk pregnancies and inductions and emergency situations and funny moments, not because they show the normalities of every day, run of the mill labours (which in actual fact are more tea and crosswords than flashing blue lights and screaming!) I will be watching with bated breath for those moments when the parents, after 9 months of waiting, finally get to lay eyes on their beautiful baby and cuddle them in and experience that feeling which nothing else compares to. And I will enjoy it for what it is, the miracle of new life being born, but with the added drama necessary to make it interesting, award worthy television.
So I hope you enjoy watching if that's what you choose to do. But just remember, they're making good TV, not good antenatal classes!
The world is waiting with bated breath for April the giraffe to give birth to her 4th calf. Some people have been watching the live stream of April for nearly 4 weeks now and the general consensus from the audience is 'baby will come when it is ready'.
From the moment I first saw that there was a live stream of a pregnant giraffe, I expected the comments to start. You know the ones that we get when we feel like we've been pregnant forever 'are you ever going to have that baby', 'if you go much longer you'll pop', 'you look huge, are you sure it's not twins' etc.
But the one thing I was waiting for was the odd comment about how we should be giving April's labour a helping hand! After all, with 25% of our labours in the UK started by induction and an ever increasing caesarean rate, I didn't exactly expect our medicalised view of birth to stop with us. It wasn't long until I started seeing the comments and here are a few gems which I couldn't help but laugh at-
'I swear if she doesn't give birth soon, I'm going over there and performing a caesarean on her'
'Just wondering, how long will they let her go?'
'15 months? She's probably having complications, help the baby'
'I have to say. . . is this normal? This long of a process?'
These comments are very few and far between but I can't quite believe that we are starting to also distrust that animals know how and when to give birth when they have done quite alright without our assistance in the past.
Why in general though do we trust that animals know how and when they should give birth but we don't trust ourselves? If this was a live stream of a pregnant woman, I can't help but think that the comments suggesting she should be induced, have help, should definitely have had the baby by now, would be coming far more frequently. Of course there would still be people who very much believe in our body's abilities and would be telling everyone to calm down and just wait patiently, but certainly not the majority like in April's case.
Naturally, left to our own devices, we give birth just like any animal does. When our babies are ready, when we are calm and relaxed and feel safe and comfortable. You don't see April worrying that her baby is 'late' or that she needs help to bring her baby in to the world. So maybe, lets all take a leaf out of her book. Lets trust in our bodies and babies and lets also stop putting so much pressure on pregnant ladies. Asking if they have had the baby yet, telling them they are 'too overdue' and that they need to be helped with induction etc. is not going to bring the baby earth-side any sooner, nor is it going to boost their confidence in their body and baby which is actually all the input they really need at this important time in their life!
Oh and April. . . You got this babe!
Now you may wonder what on earth I am on about with this post but I had an amazing chat with my awesome Nannie the other day and thought I had to share!
So my Nan never told me about her experience of childbirth when I was pregnant with Matilda (clearly she didn't get the memo about spreading the positive birth love!) but she shared with me the other day when asking how my Hypnobirthing classes were going. She started by telling me that she had a really pretty good time of it despite everything going a bit tits up. Here is a little idea of how my Uncle's birthday started. . .
My Nan in early labour and my Grandad, had just set off for the hospital in mid December in the middle of a snow storm. A very short time after starting their journey, the car kindly decided to pack up and after a failed attempt at getting the car back up and running and a dash round trying to find someone to help them, they were finally on the way to the hospital in a neighbour's car!
On arrival at the hospital my Grandad was politely told to make himself scarce (this was the 50s) whilst my Nan was shown to a bed on a ward with (in her words) other women making all sorts of funny noises! She was then basically left to get on with it. 'It' being active labour! She described to me that the contractions were a bit painful but not horrible or too difficult to manage. A few hours later when she was checked over by a midwife, they told her she was ready to give birth to her baby and was wheeled away to a birthing room. A few pushes later and out popped my Uncle. Not the kind of first labour and birth you would expect then if our society's media portrayal is anything to go by!
Now bearing in mind my Nan was a young Mother at 20 years old, I was intrigued as to whether she had been fearful of the unknown of giving birth. She said no she had not, despite having no previous experience of watching anyone give birth and no friends who had given birth before her to pass on their stories and knowledge. She had also not taken any form of antenatal class 'We didn't have these classes to teach you how to give birth'. When I asked her why she was not anxious she said she 'read a book' and 'didn't know there was anything to be scared of'. Upon further digging and a while trying to remember the author's tricky, fancy name, she proudly announced it was a book written by Grantly Dick-Read. It turns out that she had read the fantastic book 'Childbirth without fear' published in 1942, which is still popular today. Grantly Dick-Read's observations and theories are the basis of Hypnobirthing. They focus on pysiological birth and the knowledge that when fear is eliminated, natural labour and birth is a far more efficient, comfortable and often euphoric experience.
So my Nan, through the help of this book, learnt all about the natural process of birth, why it is nothing to be feared, how you can help the process to unfold easily and what you can expect.
Due to not being surrounded by stories of birth (both negative and positive) and modern media portrayals of the 'horror' of birth and informing herself of how birth works, this brilliant lady went in to her labour fear free and not with unreal expectations of what birth should be like, dictated by other people's opinions. Without masses of stories and information to process, her thinking brain was out of the picture, enabling her natural instincts to take over and allow her body to birth her baby without interference and as nature intended.
In a way, you could say that my Nan was one of the first women to learn about Hypnobirthing techniques and put into practice what she had learnt. Or you could just go with the theory that I really wanted an excuse to call my Nan a badass! Either way, she did it, and so can you!
A beautiful birth story just in from one of my fabulous couples. Proving that even when things don't go quite to plan, a positive, calm and empowering birth experience is still very much possible.
So, an update for you, I gave birth on Friday 3rd February. I was booked into to be induced that day but by the time I was taken down to the induction ward at 9am I had started having surges (I'm sure this was down to me really not wanting to be induced and I was willing my body to get things started on its own)!
I was taken to the labour ward and by 11am I was at 7cm, the midwife got someone to double check as she was surprised as I was very calm and composed. I gave gas and air a go for an hour or so but found that it just got in the way and didn't really make a difference. Unfortunately baby had his cord around his neck and I couldn't push him out quick enough for the the doctor's liking and ended up having a ventouse delivery. Our son was born at 15.31, weighing 5lbs 11oz; he was 5 weeks early. After delivery the 2 midwifes in the room were commenting on how it was the calmest birth they had witnessed in a long time.
Due to baby's early arrival we had to stay in hospital for 5 days during which he had phototherapy for jaundice but he is now doing well and got to grips with breastfeeding really quickly for someone so small. A couple of days after the birth the midwife from the labour ward came to see how we were both doing and she said again how surprised she was over the speed of my progress during labour and how calm I was during the birth.
We used the techniques that you taught us during the 1st stage and I think this is why I stayed calm despite the birth plan I had prepared being somewhat irrelevant given the situation I found myself in; I tried to breathe baby down in the 2nd stage but unfortunately it wasn't to be. I'm just pleased that we didn't rely on being able to attend the NHS classes to learn all about labour and birth as the early arrival of William meant that we had not attended them, the knowledge that we gained from your course gave us the confidence to ask questions and to be as informed as we could be on what was happening, thank you.
We're spreading the love over here this Valentines Day! All you need to do is go over to our Facebook page and tag yourself in the comments or a friend who's expecting a baby and like the Little Hearts page to be in with a chance. The winner will be picked at random on Tuesday 21st February.
Applicable courses- Saturday AM group sessions and 'Latecomers' 34+ weeks one to one course.
These cakes look incredible. Maybe I should attempt to make one for my next group course!
Emma Batt, Hypnobirthing Mother of one and KG Hypnobirthing teacher.