Rosie and Paschar – a positive birth story

Rosie and Paschar – a positive birth story from The Daisy Foundation

So my very own Daisy Baby was born at 10pm on Wednesday evening. I had a little boy – Paschar and he weighed 8lbs 7oz, perfect in every way. Here is our birth story for those that are interested! xx

I had been having quite strong braxton hicks for a couple of weeks and my due date (27th) came and went so on Tuesday I went to my midwife appointment where I was offered a sweep which I declined and I also declined booking an induction at this stage, prefering to wait and see what happens and not wanting to have a date looming in my head. Baby was happy and so was I as I jovially said goodbye to the midwife and we made a joke about seeing each other on Wednesday night as she was on call and that would be perfect but baby was to come in the evening so we could all be tucked up in bed by midnight, making things nice and civilized! Little did we know what would actually happen!

As I drove away from the health centre I felt a Braxton hick but this time there was a twinge in my back – “Baby I think you were listening” – with my previous labours I always had sensations in my back. But when I got home I felt nothing more and so me and my hubby made the most of a peaceful evening cuddled on the sofa.

Wednesday morning I got up to get my son ready for school as usual and had another Braxton hick/Contraction with the back sensation – it was back and I noticed I felt different – when I got the sensation I felt all dreamy/smiley and chilled. I carried on my morning having a lovely time playing tea parties with my 3 year old daughter and my contractions continued about one every half an hour – and each one I had gave me this wonderful dreamy sensation – and at the same time I started to feel more and more exhilarated knowing that this was the very start of my journey – looking forward to meeting my baby!

At lunch time I arranged that my mum would take my children to sleep at hers for the night, stating to her things have definitely started but it will probably be tomorrow or even the day after. By 6pm they were slightly closer together about every 20 mins and the sensation was more powerful – so I began to use my centred breathing and took the opportunity to rotate through each one – visualising my babys head massaging my cervix. This definitely was me putting the foot on the accelerator (Daisy Birthing Ladies will know what I am talking about!) as my contractions picked up intensity and pace. My hubby asked if I was ok after I breathed and rotated through one and I looked at him feeling all melty and said “yes I feel amazing” and it was really true – I felt calm, powerful, excited and loved up – oh and starving hungry! At 7.30 my contractions where 10 mins apart (still not considered established labour) but as they were powerful I asked my hubby to just call the hospital and let them know that things had started just so the community midwife team were aware – but it probably won’t be for ages. 10 mins later the community midwife phoned and asked if I wanted her to come now or if she had time to eat her dinner – I laughed and said oh no definitely eat – I’ll phone you when I need you, to which she replied oh no I will eat and be with you in half an hour just to see how things are going. When I got off the phone I said to my husband I felt bad getting her out so early – he said he thought he might start to fill the birth pool!
I was starving so in between contractions I was stuffing my face with my mums homemade pizza – delicious! The midwife arrived at about quarter past eight and I had migrated down to the kitchen by then where I popped on my Daisy Silver Lake music, and resting my upper body on the worktop continued to dance and breath through my contractions – relaxed and chatting in between. I had asked that I wasn’t examined unless there was a medical reason, instead prefering to just listen to my body and the midwife was brill about this – instead she just watched me, after little while she said I am just going to call the other midwife to come – I thought this was all so premature as was so chilled out I really did think I would end up keeping them waiting for ages!


My contractions were becoming much more frequent and powerfull now. So I got onto my yoga mat on all 4’s and used my escalator breath and my husband put counter pressure on my back as I rotated through them – this worked so well and I visualized myself climbing, climbing, climbing and then as the contraction eased my whole body eased and that total blissed out feeling returned. As I chilled between contractions my poor husband was wrestling with the hose and pans of water trying to get the pool filled.

The second midwife arrived at about 9 and took over sorting the pool allowing me and my hubby to work together – he was amazing, breathing with me and gently massaging me we really were working together for this little baby. By 9.30 I started to shake and feel teary – I thought I know this feeling!! Luckily there was just enough water in the pool and it felt amazing to get in – releasing the tension, cozy and safe just what you need when you are in transition!

After I got in I had a chilled out few minutes – my rest and be thankful and thankful I was – but also a little impatient – I wanted to meet my baby! Soon I was back in the swing again with big powerful contractions, each one I could feel my baby easing down and out. There was no denial this was hard hard work but it felt amazing and so powerful to be in control of gently nudging my baby out. And he came out so gently that my waters didn’t break! Paschar Kennedy was born in his membrane sack at 10.03pm on Wednesday 29th May 2013 – it was such an amazing and special experience!

I would recommend a Daisy Home Birth to anyone and would like to thank my husband, the two brilliant Borders Community Midwives and all at Daisy for helping Paschar and I have such a brilliant experience. Xx

Sarah & Alma – a positive birth story

Sarah & Alma – a positive birth story from The Daisy Foundation.

First of all, I can’t thank you enough for the training. I’m crying as I type this. Probably just hormonal but I honestly wish everyone could go to these classes. I would not have coped with birth and would have been doped up to my eyeballs if I hadn’t known what was going on. So here goes the story for the page:

‘At about 3 am on Saturday morning I was awoken by my first contraction. I stayed awake but lying down to see if anything else happened, by about 7 am, I was having one every 15 minutes or so, so I knew then that this was something. We went downstairs, cooked breakfast, got my toiletries and bits into the car. Then took the dog for a walk for about half an hour. By the end of the dog walk (about half 11/12 )I was having contractions every 5 minutes.
I rang the hospital then, they didn’t want me to come in, suggested a bath and some paracetamol. So I did these things, felt ok but after about 2 hours I was getting fed up. Rang again they suggested waiting another hour or so. In the end we only went in at about 5 when I thought I really couldn’t cope (little did I know!). I was examined, found to be 1cm with a nice thin cervix. Gutted! Had to go home. I live 50 minutes away from the hospital so it was an excruciating car ride home but I insisted we get mcdonalds to cheer me up. I got home and immediately started feeling a lot worse. I couldn’t stay on the ball. All fours was the only place that I could cope with even though I knew I shouldn’t be in cruise control yet. I started getting sick (what a waste of money that mcdonalds was), and after about an hour and a half of this, Scott had to call the hospital as I could barely speak through contractions which were coming every minute. They still didn’t want me to come back in but he said that I just was not coping at home so they allowed it. Got there and went into a lovely room. The midwife watched me for about 20 minutes and said that she thought every second ‘contraction’ wasn’t a contraction but rather naughty baby having very big wiggle after each contraction with her shoulders. As all my pain from contractions was in my groin, bottom and pelvis (rather than high up) I couldn’t tell that my uterus wasn’t tightening on these ‘second contractions’. I had never heard of this so was quite shocked but that is why she said that I had still only dilated to 2-3cms when I’d been having such frequent contractions. She then suggested that I wouldn’t be in active labour for quite a long time still so why not have some diamorphine so I could sleep. I had said I didn’t want this in my birth plan but after a sensible discussion she said it would be well clear of my body by the time baby was ready to come out meaning that it wouldn’t make baby sleepy or interfere with Breastfeeding but would just give me the relief I needed to lie down for a bit and rest for the long journey ahead. This worked for about 2 hours and although I couldn’t sleep when there was a contraction, they did slow down a bit and I could have a nap in between. My husband could also nap and not have me squeezing his hand after each contraction.
When this started wearing off the midwife suggested a bath, they are trained in aromatherapy at Gloucester so she put bergamot in it to relax me. It was wonderful to start with. Scott and I were watching lord of the rings on his ipad and he helped me breathe through contractions.
After four hours in the bath I really felt I need to be in a better gravity position and potentially getting some gas and air so I asked to be examined. I was 4-5 cms! The magic number! Suddenly I could go in the birthing pool and get gas and air. This was at 6 am. We were moved into our last big room, really nice. The daisy music went on and stayed on till the end. The minute I got in the pool I knew it was the best idea. The gas and air was really helping. I could be squatting and on all fours comfortably without holding my own weight. The warmth of it was lovely too. For about half an hour I even let Scott have a nap as I felt so jolly. That soon wore off haha! I had a twirl for some energy in between contractions. After about 4 hours I was examined again. I was only 6 cms. The midwife said that this wasn’t unusual for first time births but I was still disappointed. She offered to break my waters but as I was two weeks overdue she explained to me that there was 80% chance of meconium in my waters and if that did happen then I would be taken out of the pool down to the delivery unit. I really didn’t want this as I felt the pool was my only sure fire coping method right now. So we decided at length not to break the waters and carry on even though it meant my dilation was slow and the pressure was immense. But after 20 mins back in the pool my waters went in a shot and were clear so we got to stay in the pool. At about 12 (40 mins after my waters breaking) I felt on about every third contraction the need to push. The midwife said I couldn’t be dilated enough so I needed to fight the urge. But after about a half an hour (12:30) she said well if you feel you need to then do push (she said she had noticed that each contraction now needed a push element), but if your baby isn’t born by 1pm I’ll examine you and then we’ll know more. Well! At about quarter to suddenly 2 midwives rushed in and they started heating the pool temperature up and I was told baby’s arrival was imminent. The pushing phase only lasted about 25 mins as she was out by 12:54. I pushed in an upright seated position with my back against the pool side, I used a combination if the ouuut breath and a moo. I think I just started shouting in a low voice out eventually!!! I only had the head sliding in and out in the canal about 3 times and then her head and body came out in one big whoosh! She was brought straight onto me and kept in the water and they allowed my cord to stop pulsating (about 10 minutes). She gave a small cry initially for breathing but then was quiet. Scott got to tell us the sex as her whole body was in the water the midwives couldn’t see. When we could cut the cord she was handed straight to Scott for some skin to skin with just a towel covering her back. She then was given to me about 5 mins later once I was out of the pool and lying down as she was already rooting. We stayed with her suckling for the next hour and 40 minutes! Scott was ringing relatives but couldn’t tell them the weight as she wouldn’t stop feeding to be weighed!! We didn’t mind, I was just so happy at how well she had adjusted to the outside world. After her first 5 mins of suckling that stimulated enough of a contraction that the placenta plopped out in one big gush. I didn’t need the injection in the end.
I had a small tear but midwife said it was fairly minor and good considering how quickly she came out (raspberry leaf tea in action here??). Another interesting point on due dates: when our girl came out she was completely covered in vernix still. The midwives said they never see 2 week overdue babies with that much vernix on them… So they said the dating scan must have got it wrong as she was perfect. Apparently they also normally get very stressed and her heart rate only went up in the last 15 mins when her head was being squashed (fair enough).
Our gorgeous little girl’s name is Alma Kathleen Denise Harrison and she weighed 8lb9oz.

I know this is probably the longest story ever but I thought it might be of use to some first time birthers out there as it is so complicated and I think all the details are important, if they can help anyone! It’s really hard learning to trust your own body when you have never laboured before. The decisions you have to make while in pain are very hard but the daisy classes really helped to let me have that clear head to have that ‘easy’ birth. No birth is easy, all the decisions are hard, but daisy gives you the confidence to roll with the punches and remember that your body was designed for this and to not be afraid. Thoroughly recommend the couples workshop too, Scott kept me on track when I really needed it or when my vocalisations got too high or my breathing too fast. He was fantastic but he did need to know what the best way to labour and I would not have conveyed that properly to him without the couples workshop.
Also, I know this isn’t relevant to most people in this group but gloucester hospital could not be faulted! Beautiful rooms with great lighting, en suite. The midwives were fantastically trained. No one told me to get on my back or told me how to breathe. Maybe that’s because I knew what I wanted and that was clear, but they were thoroughly supportive. ‘



When birth doesn’t go to plan

When Birth Doesn’t Go to Plan – A positive Daisy Birth story by Gemma Bray

Part 1

I am having a C-Section tomorrow. That’s a sentence I never expected to write!

As I sit down to write this my head is spinning (My section was only confirmed to me about an hour ago) so please forgive me if this is more of a stream of consciousness rather than an ordered account of my story so far!

I am a 34 year old Daisy Birthing Teacher and Doula from Sevenoaks in the UK. This is my third and last pregnancy and for the last few months I have been diligently planning and looking forward to my perfect home birth. I have been slowly stockpiling extra towels, preparing my kids for what its like to be present at a birth, organised my own doula, had pro photos done each week to create a stop motion video to timeline my increasing bump! I was even in the process of organising a photographer to be at my birth. (Hi Janet, Emma and Hannah!) So I had it all planned, all my ducks were in a neat little row.

But you know what they say.. Life is what happens when you are busy making other plans. So at around 34 weeks at a routine community midwife appointment it appeared that baby was breech. No problem I thought, I can turn him there’s loads of time! As the weeks went on I started putting into practise everything that I knew that could help baby get into a head down position. You name it, I did it!

Handstands in the swimming pool (I am not the most graceful person so I went at 7am on a Sunday morning to keep embarrassment to a minimum!)
Breech tilts on an ironing board
Forward leaning inversions
Cold peas on the top of my bump
Music at the bottom of my bump to entice him down
Talking to him
Visualising him head down


But the scan at 35 weeks showed he was tranverse and then at 37 weeks he was oblique. Go to hospital they said… your baby is not in your pelvis and you are at risk of a cord prolapse if your waters go, they said. I was in hospital for 2 weeks prior to the birth of my baby. I missed my little boys so much! This was not how I wanted the last few days of my pregnancy to be.

My dream of a home birth was looking less and less likely but a little part of me really thought that baby would turn. Thing was I started to panic, how can I be a doula and have a baby by a planned section, would people judge me? I started to think that maybe I was not fit to be an antenatal teacher or a doula and that by that logic my career was over – this was awful and I started to feel depressed. I didn’t want a vaginal breech birth. I didn’t want a vaginal birth at any cost, if my baby was breech I wanted a c-section. I couldn’t help but feel that this meant that I was not a true champion of birth.

I reached out to my fellow Daisy teachers and friends who worked in the birth world (of which I am lucky to have many) and I want to thank each and every one of them for the support they gave me when I was coming to terms with my new birth plan. In particular I want to thank Lucy who really was there for me to sound off to when I needed it most.

My hospital stay was pretty depressing. I was still coming to terms with the rising possibility of a section but at the same time was being told that at any time baby could turn. So my mind was in a total muddle. At 38 weeks they offered me an ECV and I thought that as I had tried everything else it would make sense to try this one last thing. I could then say that I had done everything in my power to turn him. But it failed.

IMAG0355That was the worst day. I cried… a lot. I was horrid to my husband (I love you Mike).

So here I am in hospital, in my very sexy compression stockings, coming to terms with the fact that this baby will be born via a section.

In less than 24 hours I will be holding my baby. I am so excited about that I can’t even describe
it! And I know his birthday already, that’s pretty cool! I am trying hard not to forget the end
game here and that is that I am going to have another beautiful son. I am focusing on that. I
don’t want to think about the painful recovery or the operation that I will have to go through,
the fact that my baby’s microbiome won’t be seeded and that breastfeeding might be harder or that there is a higher chance of my getting post natal depression…. and all the other negatives
that go hand in hand with a c-section.

I want my birth to be positive.

I am lucky I have had weeks to slowly come to terms with having my birth plan changed. I have had the luxury of time to get my head around having major surgery other c-section mums aren’t as lucky. They sometimes only get minutes as they are getting rushed down for an emergency c-section. I have asked all the questions I can think of …. walked through what will happen countless times in my head so I am mentally prepared. We have planned to have the curtain dropped at the birth, delayed cord clamping and skin to skin.

I am thankful for this.

Part 2

So little Ben Bray is earth side and has been for the last 3 weeks. (Happy 3 week birthday little man!)


I had my elective c-section three weeks ago and my body and mind have just about recovered enough for me to sit down and write this concluding part of our birth story.

I am going to be really honest with you because I think its vitally important that we talk about c-sections and that we talk about them in an honest and matter of fact way. We talk about vaginal births all the time. So not why not sections?

A c section is not an easy option. Recovery hurts both mentally and physically. I have had three babies and this was by far the hardest birth out of the three. I guess a section is one of those things in life that you can never truly understand or identify with unless you have had one. I had no idea.

To all the section mammas ….. Respect! I salute your bravery and selflessness!

The day of the section was pretty surreal. I remember being very hungry because I had been nil by mouth since the night before and I would have given anything to have had a piece of toast or better a bacon sandwich! I was fourth of the list which meant I was last and would be taken down to theatre around lunchtime.

The morning was a blur of consent forms, consultants, midwives administering pre op meds and anethesatists all wanting to talk to me and get me ready for the birth of Ben. There was no way I could take all of this information in, so I found myself just nodding and signing forms. The risks of a section are pretty intense, I tired to block them out … by watching Judge Rinder!

This was a completely different ritual to the slow build up of contractions that I had thought would signal the impending arrival of my baby. There were no contractions, no period pains, no waters breaking or careful filling of the birth pool. No candles or Silver Lake playing and my boys were at home and I knew they were worried.

It was a short walk to the operating room where I was greeted by an all female team, all smiling, all happy and it was actually quite fun chatting to the people who would help me give birth. My Daisy breathing came in very useful during the administration of the canula, the catheter and the spinal! It was very overwhelming.

What else do I remember? It was fast!! I asked if they had started but by this time baby was almost here.

I heard them say.

“Hello baby”

That is my most vivid memory. The consultant said it with such tenderness that it made me sob instantly.

But the curtains didn’t drop I didn’t have skin to skin and I just saw him sail over my head – I saw the white cord cut and clamped and a beautiful head of red hair. I don’t know why they didn’t drop the drape, I had asked them as they were putting it up. I had told most of the people I had seen that morning that I wanted it dropped. Ben was healthy, there was no reason why not. I will never forget the image of him being carried passed me. It replays in slow motion in my head whenever I think about it. It makes me cry when I talk about it. He needed me and I needed him at that moment but we weren’t together.

They asked me why I was crying. I said I was relieved he was well but I wanted to hold my baby.

I wanted to hold my baby boy.

I wanted to count his little fingers and toes. I needed to feel him against me and feel the rise and fall of his breath. I wanted to see him in all his freshly birthed state…. I wanted to to say hello.

My husband who had been sat by my side the whole time went to the table to cut the rest of the cord and took him from the midwife and brought him back to me. Ben was placed by my head but I could only see his right eye.

I got the most awful neck ache straining to see all of him whilst they finished off in the theatre. That really sucked. I wasn’t the first person to hold my baby. I think I was about fourth in line, after the consultant the midwives and my husband.

When they wheeled me through to recovery I set about making things right in the best way I knew how. We had our skin to skin, we breastfed whilst I ate chips and drank tea. He was gorgeous and healthy and latched on straight away. I was so proud of him. He had coped with his rude awakening so well. I had my little boy he was perfect and he was safe.

I would do anything for my children I would die for them and at that moment knowing he was safe was what mattered. Nothing else. The drips and monitors I was attached to thankfully faded into unimportance as we connected.

There started a 24 hour solid feeding party where Ben only want to to be held by me. (perhaps he thought it was pretty sucky too that our first cuddle was delayed so he was making up for it!) and he fed and we bonded so incredibly well that night whilst hubby tried to snatch as much sleep as he could on the hospital floor.

I wouldn’t let Mike leave, I like to think I am quite a strong resilient woman, but I felt so vulnerable that first night. I couldn’t be alone. I needed someone to protect me. I couldn’t even reach over to lift my baby. I am pretty sure this was instinctive. I couldn’t move so I needed to make provisions to make sure my newborn was safe, Dad stepped up!

Later that week I ran a bath turned off the bathroom light and lit a candle. Mike brought in Ben and lowered him into the bath on top of my tummy. It was magical and extremely healing to feel him relax into the water completely. We lay there listening to SilverLake and I spoke to him about how I had planned for his birth to be gentle like this. I cried big silent tears.

When I was ready Mike came to take him and dry him. I looked down at my tummy and his cord and the cord clamp were lying on my belly. It seemed very poignant and beautiful. That bath helped to cleanse my mind a little.

People have asked me since how I feel about things. If I am honest its a mixed bag, I have lots of feedback to give people who I came into contact with me on my journey (some good and some not so good!). But I have my little man. I am healing well both mentally and physically.

I no longer feel like I am not a valid contributor in the birth world. On the contrary, I feel I am in a great position to support mums. I have had three completely different types of birth – I am the same woman but I have had a different experience each time!

Daisy Birthing classes are inclusive of all birth choices and I am proud to be part of such a supportive group of women. I drew on so much of their knowledge and leaned on them when I needed it and I am looking forward to repaying the favour to other mums as they negotiate their birth journey when I return to teaching and my doula work in the Autumn.

Sometimes no matter how much we prepare the universe has a different plan. Even if it seems like the odds are in our favour you might be part of the unlucky few. 97% of babies are the right way round at birth. Ben was one of the 3%. Someone has to be!

We have a saying at Daisy … “you can’t control the waves, but you can learn to surf.”

And I think that sums up my journey perfectly. With the tools from Daisy and the peer to peer support Ben and I surfed our way through it together.

I have my baby and he is very loved

… and in case you were wondering, I hold him all the time now!