Let’s begin at the end…Oliver was born at home, in a warm birthing pool and his first hours were spent in the place where he will grow up, in the arms of his mummy and daddy.
At the beginning of our pregnancy we would never have envisaged that we would have the amazing home birth that we did. We are first time parents and our approach was thar babies were born in hospital.
Then we were fortunate enough to complete a hypnobirthing course with Natalie and this changed everything we thought we knew. We were very open to the idea of hypnobirthing, having embraced fertility acupuncture and ways to reduce stress while we were trying to get pregnant.
Originally we were anticipating a group course but were fortunate enough to end up ‘one to one’, via Zoom, with Natalie Stoker, which we would highly recommend. We both enjoyed the course immensely and learned a huge amount about the whole pregnancy and birth journey, in particular, all the choices and options that we as parents had open to us that we honestly knew nothing about.
This included the importance of creating the right birthing environment which was continuously emphasised and a great deal of the time was spent learning about how to achieve this.
We were able to do the ‘homework’ together as well as listen to the mp3 recordings about lowering anxiety and having positive mindsets. Doing all of this brought us closer together and my husband found it made him feel as if he had a real role in the birth and he learnt that he was more than just a hand holder.
Working with Natalie was just brilliant. She is extremely knowledgable and honest with her advice and training. As the training went on we found that we had new friend in our lives and were sorry to reach the end of the course, such was our enjoyment of it but also the important part it played in giving us confidence boosts after each session. Natalie even visited us after the birth to meet us and baby Oliver, which was wonderful after having only ever seen each other on line.
When we started our NCT course we really realised how much we had already learned from Natalie and we were both grateful we had done more training than just the NCT course.
Fast forward a few months along in the pregnancy and thanks to the course, we had written a birth plan and had a clear idea of the birthing environment we wanted – comfortable surroundings, low light, as little stress as possible and a water birth.
At our 36 week midwife appointment the midwife surprised us by suggesting we consider a home birth. We were a low risk pregnancy and she thought we were a good couple to go for it. At 36 weeks this was quite a late decision to make but when we talked about it, we realised that what we were hoping to be able to have at the midwife led unit and/or hospital was already in our home. This also echoed everything that we had learned from the hypnobirthing course about managing stress by creating the right birthing environment. A home also meant that we had a greater chance of a water birth as hospitals only have so many pools – ticking off that source of anxiety. Thanks to the hypnobirthing course, we had the confidence to make the decision to go for the home birth and made contact with the home birth midwife team for our area.
And so to the big day itself…on the day of the birth the waters broke at midnight and then we had a few hours while the contractions slowly started. I was able to use the hypnobirthing training straight away, listening to the recordings in bed to help me relax before things started to move along.
By early morning I was in the birthing pool with my husband holding my hand while we went through some of our positive affirmations. We closed the blinds to make the room darker (no lights as it was daylight) and we had cushions, a birthing ball and a sofa covered in sheets so I could change position and get out of the pool if I wanted to – all to keep relaxed. As things progressed I was able to use the breathing techniques we had been taught on the course and my husband was coaching me through the breaths. The final stages of labour were actually quite fast and with the midwife in control and plenty of deep breaths with gas and air our beautiful son was born in the pool and was placed straight into my arms for skin to skin bonding.
Thanks to the course, we knew our birth plan and the midwife had a copy so we were able to do delayed cord clamping and my husband cut the cord when the time was right, he also announced that our baby was a baby boy.
Oliver, his mummy and daddy then spent their first few hours as a family together in their home, cuddling on the sofa. Oliver was able to feed quite quickly and we spent the time just getting to know each other.
The whole home birth was just amazing and it would absolutely not have happened if we had not done the hypnobirthing course. The training gave us such an understanding of what we could do, how we could do it and how important it was that we did things the way we wanted to because of the impact this would have on our birth. The fact that we were able to have things as relaxed and low stress as possible can only have helped make the birth as smooth as it was.
I believe the fact that I was looking forward to the labour and so relaxed about the birth, is what made Oliver come when he was ready at 39+5. I truly trusted my body to give birth to my son when I was ready and trusted my body knew what to do, which it did, all courtesy of our training.