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    Feed. Change nappies. Coax baby to sleep. Repeat.
    One of the great contradictions about the first weeks of being a parent was that while it was one of the most joyful times of my life, it also felt a bit like being on a hamster wheel of routine, with very little chance of taking a break to get some perspective.
    So when one of the women from my antenatal class at TheBumpWA encouraged me to sign up for the “Early Days” course, which started when my son was eight weeks old, I thought of it as a way of making sure we got out of the house, got a break, and met a few other mums.
    It turned out to be all of that, and more.
    On the first day, the facilitator asked us to break into groups and share something about ourselves that in no way related to our babies, pregnancy, or parenting.
    I was at a loss. Everything that popped to mind was baby-related. The other women in the group seemed to be having the same problem. We all eventually scrounged up something to share, but it was a good way of jolting us back into ourselves. It was a gentle reminder that while my son was my new top priority, if I was going to be a good parent, I needed to take care of myself too.
    This seemingly basic icebreaker was much like the rest of the class– no heavy-handed parenting advice, just a little help in getting conversations started… and once we started talking, it was hard to put on the brakes. Many of the mums often stayed over an hour after the class wrapped up.
    With nine mothers whose babies were around the same age, the class was small enough to allow us all to get to know each other well and felt safe enough to be honest about our experiences. It was reassuring to hear that other mothers were having the same struggles as me. Waking up every two hours at night? I wasn’t alone. A baby that hates tummytime? Join the club.
    The most valuable part of the course didn’t have to do with what we discussed as much as it did with how we discussed. Conversations about parenting can sometimes feel like navigating a minefield, with deeply held beliefs about what is best for children making it difficult to listen to other points of view.
    The ground rule for the class was to be encouraging rather than judgmental– to resist the temptation to be smug when things were going well for us, and to ask for help when there were bumps in the road rather than being insecure and self-pitying.
    And perhaps most importantly, to bring a sense of humour and have fun.
    Sure, we aired a lot of frustrations– there was a lot of lamenting about sleepless nights!– but we were also able to laugh at our foibles and delight in others’ successes.
    During the course of only a few weeks, we watched each others’ children grow bigger, develop the same behaviours, like suddenly discovering that they could roll over, begin to interact with one another, and show us glimpses of their personalities.
    Thefacilitators fostered a sense of community that helped me make it every week, when my son was being fussy. It helped that refreshments were served, including the best clotted cream scones I have ever tasted!
    Our group represented relatively diverse parenting decisions on everything from whether to use cloth nappies or disposables to co-sleeping to vaccinations, differences that often helped fuel learning rather than tension. One mum was practising “elimination communication”– a form of early toilet training– something that a number of us had been curious about, but didn’t know much about.
    The facilitators often had research and anecdotes from years of experiences at the ready, but we also learned to tap into each other’s’ parenting wisdom. As a group, we had a wealth of knowledge on everything from baby swimming classes to chiropractors to how to keep a dummy in a baby’s mouth.
    The ground rules for the class have affected the way I approach conversations on parenting generally. It’s helped me with the delicate balance between being secure and confident in my parenting decisions, and being open to new ideas.

     

  • Reading together

     

    • Up The Duff: The Real Guide To Pregnancy Book by Kaz Cooke, 1999.  This will appeal to you if you want a light-hearted look at pregnancy, birth and babies.

     

    • Men At Birth by David Vernon 2006.  Full of stories written by men, for men, about their birth experiences.

     

    • Hello Baby by Jenni Overend & Julie Vivas, 1999.  Read how one family celebrate the birth of a baby at home with warmth, honesty and joy.  A beautiful book.

     

    • Optimal Foetal Positioning by Jean Sutton & Pauline Scott, 1996.  Suggests ways to help align the baby in utero in the maternal pelvis before labour starts.

     

    • The Business Of Being Born by Ricki Lake and Abby Epstein , 2007.  This film interlaces intimate birth stories with surprising historical, political and scientific insights and shocking statistics about the current American maternity care system.

     

    • Expecting Adam:  A True Story of Birth, Rebirth, and Everyday Magic by Martha Beck, 2000.  A story about a couple’s second child who has Down syndrome and what they learned and unlearned.

     

    • The Pink Kit by Wintergreen & Common Knowledge Trust, 2007.  A multimedia kit includes tips on how to prepare your birthing body; childbirth skills using information from women of different cultures, religions and socio-economic backgrounds.

     

     

  • Pregnant woman in cozy jumper reading about child birth

    • Birthing From Within by Pam England & Rob Horowitz, 1998. An in-depth focus on birthing and self. An excellent read.

     

     

    • A Labour Of Love: An Australian Guide to Natural Childbirth by Gabrielle Targett, 2006.  The book covers topics such as: preparing for a positive birth experience, planning ahead, siblings at birth, being physically fit, special pregnancy issues, the power of pregnancy and labour hormones, and pain relief.

     

    • 25 Ways To Awaken Your Birth Power by Danette Watson & Stephanie Corkhill Hyles, 2004.  This book and CD cover visualization, affirmation, breathing exercises and relaxation as preparation and inspiration for the body, mind and spirit.

     

     

    • Birth Skills by Juju Sundin & Sarah Murdoch, 2007.  This book, based on the classes taught by Sundin, a well known physiotherapist and childbirth educator in Sydney, will help pregnant women understand what is happening to their body during labour, particularly dealing with pain.

     

    • Childbirth Without Fear: The principles and practice of natural childbirth by Grantly Dick-Read, 2004.  Explores the emotional journey of childbirth, offering reassuring and confirming reflections of your ability to birth and trust.  An old and fabulous classic.

     

    • Gentle Birth Choices – Book and DVD by Barbara Harper, 2005.  Very soothing, spiritual guide to birthing that helps parents to plan a meaningful, family-centred birth experience. The DVD blends interviews with midwives and physicians and shows six births, including water birth, home birth, and vaginal birth.

     

     

    • The Water Birth Book by Janet Balaskas, 2004.  Based on 15 years of working with water births, the book is packed with inspiring stories.
  • Celeste’s Story

    On the 24th April, our beautiful baby girl, Felicity was born via a successful VBAC at 13:27pm in Joondalup Private Hospital. A tiny 3.08 kg and 50 cm long.

    Celeste and Felicity

    So here is how the birthing experience went…

    I was 1.5cm dilated on Thursday evening when Margo examined me. She performed a stretch which got me to 2.5cm. She didn’t do a sweep because she thought I wasn’t ready enough. A stretch and sweep was scheduled for Tuesday the following week instead. She had said the baby probably wouldn’t arrive over the weekend and also she was off duty as well.

    By 2:00am Friday morning contractions had started and I went into hospital at 7:00am when I felt I needed more support. I tried the gas and air and the bath initially for the first couple of hours but it got quite painful as she was posterior though once they did an examination she managed to turn easily. I was given the choice to have an epidural as I had gotten to 4 cm and was told I probably had another 6 hours or more left of that intensity of pain so I took it and it helped me to rest and relax a bit.

    Once I had the epidural though I dilated really quickly and was ready to push a few hours later. Margo was there with me when I got the epidural and when I was pushing which was a great support. They needed to put an internal monitor on her head because they wanted to make sure she was safe as they couldn’t pick up her heart beat consistently on the wireless monitor.

    They stopped the epidural when i was ready to push so I could feel the sensation but everything was still quite numb. I got to watch her being born with the aid of a big mirror and I only got a second degree tear which occurred naturally. I got to feel her crowning and felt her head. Andrew helped pull her out and I got to hold her and feed her and we also got to do delayed cord clamping.

    Weighing and measuring got done later in our room after we both had cuddles.

    I was on cloud nine!

    Everything went so well and without any complications. Most importantly I asked questions when I was scared or unsure of something and everyone listened to me and respected my birth wishes. The recovery was a bit painful at first but quick. And as a bonus I got to go home after a couple of days.

    Felicity does have a tongue tie so breastfeeding has been difficult but that is getting snipped.

    Margo even visited me to offer her congratulations and see how I was the following day when she said she was going to be off duty. That made me so happy and grateful. And something that completely blew me away was that the midwife I had (and this time I only had 1 instead of 3) was the midwife that was with me when I was having my son Hudson at Glengarry 2 years ago. So it helped having a familiar face. Andrew and I are so happy things happened naturally and successfully and we have a healthy mum and baby. Now I just have to work on my poor pelvic floor muscles!

    Special Message to Mary Lou (Midwife / Childbirth Educator) You were a great support to me and my husband in the planning and preparation of our birth wishes. Thank you! You helped empower us with knowledge and choice – two of the most important things!

    For more information or to book onto one of our VBAC classes call the office on 94986033 or Vaginal Birth After Caesarean

     

  • Mother support each other

    Motherhood can be a challenging and isolating experience. For a first time mother, the process of accepting this new life as normal can be a difficult one filled with fear and devoid of confidence. But there is hope in a group of people all facing the same problems at the same time: a mothers’ group. You should join one, and here’s why.

    • FOR SUPPORT

    Some women find it helpful to be a part of a group with babies of a similar age, who are going through the same experiences, who live in the same area and are just as lost as each other. Statistics show that new mothers with a strong support network are less likely to experience depression after birth. The simple act of talking to someone else about the struggle can be an amazing gift, and one that changes lives.

    • TO LEARN

    A mothers’ group is a community based upon motherhood, common struggles and the benefits of face to face human connection. If you’re a first time mother it’s only natural to be unsure of many things about parenting and raising a baby, and Google can only tell you so much. By being with other mothers who’ve done it before, or are in the same uncertain shoes, you can swap stories about dodging food bowls, fighting midnight battles and find out that yes, this is how it’s meant to be.

    You will learn that children are different, and that your style of motherhood is a different. Whether it’s with a visiting midwife or another mother, the simple act of talking about those differences can be the first step to accepting within yourself that your style of motherhood is perfectly alright.

    • FOR A CONNECTION

    A mothers’ group is about being a mother, and the power of this common connection should not be overrated. Friends who aren’t parents may not understand the trials of being a new mother, and that disconnect can drive you away from them, or be enough to prevent you from turning to them from help. Or, simply, when you see your single friends you just might want to gossip and catch up on a world far removed from nappies and teething.

    But those in a mothers’ group are all in the same position and are sharing experiences at a similar stage in life. This sense of unity brought on by a commonality can create a bond that builds trust and comfort, and gives you someone to turn to when the stress is high and the self-confidence is low.

    • AND FOR A REMINDER THAT EVERYTHING’S OKAY

    Sometimes it’s all about realising that you are doing your best to cope with your new life, and that sometimes you hate the stress and the fatigue and the tension, and that’s okay. Every day has its challenges, just as every life and every family does, and sometimes all you need is to see a group of mothers with the same fears and know that, yes, this is motherhood, and everything is okay.

    TheBumpWA runs  Bumps to Bubs and Beyond Bubs groups every Friday between 10 am and 12 noon at Cockburn. Call us at 9498 6033 for more information.

  • lauren18 crop

    Photography: Cathy Britton

    The work of midwives in all settings is valuable and impacts on the lives of many woman and children worldwide. Midwives teach, care for families, and positively impact upon a mother’s childbirth experiences. But what exactly is an average day for a home-birth midwife?

    The truth is that every day is different. There isn’t a midwife that goes to sleep after a work day knowing that her next will be the same. There are schedules, timelines, appointments and check-ups. There is a flow, there is routine, but when a woman goes into labour life becomes organised chaos in which they excel.

    Caring for women in the home differs from a clinic or hospital setting. A home-birth midwife must learn about the home and those in it. She must check the setting for the birth, educate the family and ensure that the basics are present and everything is safe.

    The first job of a home-birth midwife might be to reassure the expecting mother that her decision is a wise one, that a home-birth is just as safe for a low-risk woman as a hospital, and in many ways can be more natural and relaxed than the pressure of a hospital. And after that, there’s a structured process to follow. Initial meetings, routine checks and preparation talks lead up to birth day.

    The joy of being a home-birth midwife is being part of the journey. Over the term of the pregnancy a bond is formed, a trust built, a union created. For a new mother there may be apprehension, nervousness, and fear about the coming birth, especially when removed from the safety net of a hospital. And so a midwife is involved from the start, informing a mother, walking by her side until the day of birth.

    At that moment there is kindness, compassion and respectfulness. There’s strength, empathy, and empowerment. And there’s intuition to know when to act, what to say and what to control. Everything joins to create a setting of comfort and safety in which to bring new life into the world. It’s a tribute to, and a continuation of, the ancient art of midwifery.

    The best outcome from midwifery is a happy, healthy baby from a happy, healthy mum, and proper care doesn’t stop at the birth. Some mothers tend to focus on the birth, and so a home-birth midwife must then press the importance of what comes next, of the joys, challenges and reality of becoming a parent, and in doing so empower families to grow and blossom.

    But it isn’t a job without challenges. There are the obvious: being woken in the middle of the night, dealing with stressed patients, long hours and uncertain times. There are the practical and legal challenges that limit the realistic care abilities of a home-birth midwife, and there are the effects on a midwife’s family personal life. Forever waiting by the phone a midwife needs an accepting family of her own who understand that her women come first. For when that phone call comes, she needs to be free to drop everything, to go and to be with the mother. And for some midwifes, that means sacrificing their own personal experiences for the good their patients.

    But it’s a job that many midwives cannot do without, and for some it’s much more than a job. Through their work they help many women see giving birth as a normal life event. Through their reassuring presence they demystify birth, reducing the fear of the moment, and forever change a family.

  • Baby teething crop

    Is there anything cuter than a baby’s smile when they have their first tooth?

    Or anything that inspires as much relief as seeing that smile after the discomfort of teething?

    Most babies will start getting teeth between 3 and 12 months and new teeth will continue to come through until the age of three years old.

    No matter how old your baby is when they start getting their teeth, it can be an uncomfortable process for your little one, resulting in irritable moods, disrupted sleeping patterns and general restlessness.

    But there are ways to combat it successfully and come out smiling on the other side.

    Tips to soothe an unsettled teething baby

    Try giving them something to chew on like a teething ring, or teething toy – even a soft flannel will work. For extra pain relief, cool down the items in the fridge to help numb your baby’s swollen gums. Just make sure you can supervise them while they are chewing to make sure they don’t accidently choke.

    If your baby is old enough you might be able to use a teething gel for their gums if they aren’t coping. But if you can’t, or you’d prefer not to use a teething gel, rubbing a clean, cold finger across your baby’s gums will temporarily help ease the pain.

    How will my baby’s teething affect breastfeeding?

    Nursing on the breast is not only your baby’s way of feeding, but also a source of comfort so it is likely that they will want to keep breastfeeding throughout their teething period. Even babies who have started on solids may want to feed more frequently when teething as a way to soothe their discomfort.

    But all babies are different and some have a harder time with teething than others. If your baby has particularly swollen gums, it may be too uncomfortable for them to breastfeed and they will go on a nursing strike that can last a few days. Rest assured, it will only be temporary, and once the teething period is over, your baby’s feeding habits will go back to normal.

    If your baby’s gums are swollen, try massaging them with a cold finger before feeding to ease their discomfort. Try not to use a teething gel around feeding times as they numb your baby’s gums and tongue making it difficult for them to suckle properly.

    Once your baby’s teeth come through they may start to bite down on your nipple whilst feeding. To discourage them from doing this, try carefully slipping your finger into their mouth to gently break the suction when they start to chomp down.

    If you’re having ongoing problems, see a trusted lactation consultant who can guide you through the teething process.

    Should I get them to start eating solids?

    Just because your baby is starting to get teeth does not necessarily mean you need to start weaning them off breastmilk. The decision to wean is a highly personal choice that is different for everyone.

    However, if you do want to start introducing solids, giving them something cold to chew on – such as pieces of chilled apple, or carrot – can help soothe the mouth at the same time.

    For further questions…

    If you have any more questions about breastfeeding,  call us on (08) 9498 6033.

  • Ideal age gaps between siblings?

    If you’re planning on having multiple children, you might be thinking about the ideal age gaps between siblings to enjoy a harmonious family life. But, is there such a thing?

    There are no rules to planning a family, and different families are as unique as the personalities that make them up. However, there are some considerations you may want to think about when it comes to planning your family.

    Toddler on kitchen counter with family in background cropped

    Your Health and Wellbeing

    There are a few factors to think about when it comes to assessing your health and wellbeing. If you’re considering having a child soon after your last pregnancy, you might like to think about how quickly you recovered after your last pregnancy and the physical stress that another pregnancy might put on your body.

    If you had any complications during your last pregnancy, or labour, it’s a good idea to seek medical advice from a trusted medical professional about how long you should wait before falling pregnant again.

    Are you able to nurture a new pregnancy as well as breastfeeding your baby? Both activities demand nutrients from the mother, so it’s important to carefully consider nutrition and what is needed to sustain two babies, as well as yourself, without compromising your health. If you have any concerns about fertility you may not want to space out your children over a few years when that might make it harder to fall pregnant again.

    Your finances

    Children are expensive, there is no doubt about it, so it’s a good idea to think about family income and budget when thinking of adding another child to the family. While every family’s ‘comfortable budget’ will look different, things like taking extra time off work, additional day care fees, and medical expenses might impact your household cash flow quite significantly.

    You might even find yourself considering purchasing a bigger car, or larger house to accommodate your growing family. These large assets can have a big impact on day-to-day life and may also influence your decision.

    Your family dynamics

    There is as many opinions as there are people on whether or not having children close together increases their companionship with each other. Children who are close in age may more naturally become friends during their younger years, whereas children who are further apart may have a more hierarchical relationship.

    But equally, it may not work that way. Your children have their own personalities and the potential to fight with each other, or be best of friends, will vary from day to day (or hour to hour) no matter how big or small the age gap is between them.

    The pros and cons

    Having babies close together might condense your total years of parenting, but might also make the process more intense as you raise children who are at similar developmental stages of their lives. In the early days, this might mean more sleepless nights, intense days as you juggle two wholly dependent infants, and more consecutive time out of the workforce.

    However it might also make it easier to reuse clothes, keep them both occupied as they play together on activities that suit both of them, and the reduction of overall years in active parenting which might be especially helpful for older parents.

    On the other hand, spacing children apart by a few years (or more!) will increase the total years in active parenting, but will allow for some breathing room between each one. You can go back to work between maternity leave blocks, if that’s something that’s also important to you. You also might be able to get back to better sleep patterns after those intense months of night-time feeds.

    At 2 or 3 years old, an older sibling will be a little bit more independent than their infant sibling, and won’t rely on you for quite as much. They can walk beside the pram, occupy themselves a little bit more when you have your hands full, and will be less reliant on your breast milk.

    However, it might also increase the likelihood of sibling rivalry and they might be more reluctant to play together, particularly when one child can’t do as much as their older sibling. It will also spread out the years of active parenting which may not be ideal for you, depending on your plans.

    The final word

    It really is up to how you and your partner feel about how a new baby will affect your lives and family. Your priorities will determine whether having another child soon after the last will be ideal for you, or whether it would be preferable to wait.

    There is no right answer but, whatever you decide, your family will be just the way it was meant to be all along.

     

  • Mother and daughter
    Before I was a MumI slept as late as I wanted and never worried about how late I got into bed. I brushed my hair and my teeth everyday.
    Before I was a MumI cleaned my house each day. I never tripped over toys or forgot words to a lullaby. I didn’t worry whether or not my plants were poisonous. I never thought about immunizations.
    Before I was a MumI had never been puked on – Pooped on – Spit on – Chewed on, or Peed on. I had complete control of my mind and my thoughts. I slept all night.
    Before I was a MumI never held down a screaming child so that doctors could do tests…or give shots. I never looked into teary eyes and cried. I never got gloriously happy over a simple grin. I never sat up late hours at night watching a baby sleep.
    Before I was a MumI never held a sleeping baby just because I didn’t want to put it down. I never felt my heart break into a million pieces when I couldn’t stop the hurt. I never knew that something so small could affect my life so much. I never knew that I could love someone so much. I never knew I would love being a Mum.
    Before I was a MumI didn’t know the feeling of having my heart outside my body. I didn’t know how special it could feel to feed a hungry baby. I didn’t know that bond between a mother and her child. I didn’t know that something so small could make me feel so important.
    Before I was a MumI had never gotten up in the middle of the night every 10 minutes to make sure all was okay. I had never known The warmth, The joy, The love, The heartache, The wonderment or the satisfaction of being a Mom. I didn’t know I was capable of feeling so much before I was a Mum.

     

  • pregnant and coughing

    Pertussis, also known as “Whooping Cough” is a highly contagious bacterial disease that is easily spread by coughing and sneezing. It commonly causes bouts of severe coughing that can last for months. Pertussis infection can be especially severe in infants under 12 months of age, causing breathing problems, pneumonia and sometimes death.

    WA Health is currently funding pertussis vaccine for all women in their third trimester of pregnancy.

    Pertussis vaccination works in two ways:

    1. It helps to protect the mother by reducing the risk of the mother catching whooping cough and passing it on to her newborn baby. Parents are a common source of whooping cough infection for children under 12 months old.
    2. It helps protect baby. Babies born to mothers who have had a pertussis vaccine in pregnancy have higher levels of antibodies against the disease than babies whose mothers were not vaccinated.

    Find out more on the WA Health website.

     

  • We hear so much about what we should and should not do when we’re pregnant. With so many opinions coming at us from different directions, some days it can make you want to take a short walk to the couch and call it a day.

    But getting out and staying active is good for you and your baby. Provided you act with the appropriate care to your body, there are some really great benefits to be gained from exercising during your pregnancy.

    pregnant woman in pool

    Benefits of Exercise

    Exercise during pregnancy can help moderate weight gain, even out the effects of fluctuating hormone levels, improve back pain, help you sleep better, help you maintain a good level of fitness and muscle strength so that your body can recover well after delivery, and can also prevent the onset of Gestational Diabetes (or help treat the condition should Gestational Diabetes occur).

    As a general rule 30 minutes per day on most days of the week of light to moderate exercise is beneficial for pregnant women. Even if you have not been active before your pregnancy, you can still reap the rewards by starting to exercise when you’re pregnant. Take it in small steps and build up to the recommended amount over time so that you don’t overexert yourself.

    A changing body means changing limitations

    In general, if you are a healthy woman who has exercised before her pregnancy, and is experiencing no complications, you will most likely be able to keep up with your exercise routine provided you feel comfortable.

    But there are many physiological changes that you will go through during your pregnancy and this may change how you participate in exercise as you progress through your pregnancy.

    Things such as:

    • change in centre of gravity
    • weight gain and change in body shape
    • loosening of ligaments and joints
    • increase in resting heart rate
    • decrease in blood pressure
    • weakening of the pelvic floor muscles

    can all affect how well your body can perform exercises that you did before you were pregnant.

    These changes can make it harder to keep your balance, for your body to handle ‘jerky’ movements or sudden changes in direction (like netball), and for your body to take strain in certain parts of your body.

    Importantly, whenever undertaking any exercise – listen to your body – it is often very good at telling us when something does not feel right. If you’re feeling exhausted, light-headed, dizzy, or experiencing pain or vaginal bleeding at any stage – stop and consult a healthcare professional.

    Low to moderate exercise is recommended

    Some good exercises to try are:

    • Brisk walking is a great cardio exercise that is easy on the joints, whilst still being a moderate form of exercise (provided you don’t stroll).
    • Swimming is wonderful because it alleviates most of the effects of gravity, making it easier to be active. Just make sure the pool isn’t heated too-high as this can have a negative effect on your unborn child. Not to mention making you uncomfortable or dehydrated.
    • Aquanatal classes make good use of the low gravity conditions that are present in water to help pregnant women be active whilst alleviating pressure on the back and joints.
    • Cycling is fantastic exercise that can be done at a light to moderate level. The changes to your body during pregnancy can affect your centre of gravity and your balance. If you are feeling a bit off or lightheaded, ride a stationary bike indoors to avoid nasty falls.
    • Pregnancy Yoga and Pilates are great strength and conditioning exercises for the body and can be easily adapted for pregnant women. Visit a practitioner that is properly qualified and experienced in teaching pregnant women as they will know how to adapt the exercises for your body. Avoid hot yoga while you are pregnant.
  • Women birthing on the Community Midwifery Program are overwhelmingly positive about their experience of birth, even when things do not going according to plan:

    Here is Madelyn’s story:

    Happy Health Baby Paige

    My birth story was completely not what I had imagined but it taught me that you cannot control everything and that the only thing that is important is that you and your baby are happy and healthy at the end of it.

    Ever since finding out I was pregnant I was dead set on a natural as possible birth, at home with my hubby Paul, birth pool, candles letting my body do the work. I spent my pregnancy going to Hypno birthing classes, learning how to relax into the surges and trust my body to do its thing. I was Zen with a capital Z.

    Then my due date came, and ten more days after it and still no baby. My mum, who had flown over from New Zealand had to extend her stay. I alternated between good days and bad wondering if my some women just never went into labour naturally. I had had five stretch and sweeps, ate currys, pineapple, nipple stimulation, acupuncture; everything I could think of and I didn’t feel any closer to meeting my baby. I referred back to my Hypno birthing which helped to keep me calm and to trust my body.

    Late Monday evening I began to have low pains in my abdomen and wondered if this was finally it.

    I went to bed, quietly excited but after two hours of the same waves at 15 minute intervals I woke Paul and we lay in bed together, enjoying our last moments as just the two of us. The surges came stronger and stronger through the night. Around 1 am I felt a small trickle of fluid run down my leg as I got up to go to the loo, then two hours later I had my bloody show.

    We decided not to wake my mum just yet but spent the night watching TV with candles and set up the birth pool as my surges got stronger and closer together. In the morning my midwife Sue Ann came over to check me as my surges were getting to 5 minutes apart. I was so excited at how well I thought I was coping, surely I must be about 4 cm by now. Nothing. Not even 1 cm dilated. I was gutted. I had an appointment booked anyway at my domino hospital that morning for a scan and trace to check on baby’s health so we decided I would go along to that and see if we could get any answers. The scan didn’t tell us much and I was then strapped up to trace the baby’s heart rate for a couple of hours. Sue Ann noticed that the baby’s heart rate had elevated from that morning but the on call doctor seemed not too bothered by it. After a few hours it was decided I would be sent home.

    As Sue Ann started to leave I was hit by a huge surge and felt a gush of liquid coming out of me, thinking it was my waters I had her called back and we saw that it was a lot of bright red blood, that kept coming every time I had another surge.

    Consultants were called in and before I knew it there were a number of doctors around me. Still in my Hypno birthing calm phase I thought they were students and was continuing to joke with my husband and mum while the doctors and Sue Ann discussed the plan of action. I didn’t realise how serious things were getting until one of the doctors put an IV into my hand and they started to wheel me to the labour ward. Then the word Caesarean was brought up and I was terrified. My waters were broken to see if that would get me dilating which, combined with my fear sent me into painful surges that I was struggling to get through.

    I was still only 2 cm and my baby’s heart rate kept dipping with every surge. Within the space of about 45 minutes I went from getting ready to go home to being prepped for a Caesarean.

    Sue Ann was amazing at talking my through my surges and keeping me calm. She was very vocal and took charge with making sure my wishes were heard. Although I couldn’t have delayed cord clamping, she made sure Paul was the one to announce the sex of the baby; a beautiful little girl.

    Within minutes she was on my chest and didn’t leave my side for the rest of the night. If Sue Ann wasn’t there, making herself heard, I’m not sure if we would have had those things which were very important to us. In the end Paige had the cord tight around her neck and a placental abruption, so we were in the right place at the right time.  Even though I didn’t get my home birth I dreamed of, far from it, as soon as Paige was in my arms I didn’t care. Our bond is amazing, and I credit that to Sue Ann making sure what we could control we did, and the rest just makes for a good story.