A Calm and Empowered Birth: Marie and Eden’s Story

Marie enjoyed a calm and empowered birth after attending Daisy Birthing classes in Derbyshire with Katie Halliwell.  Here, she shares her wonderful birth story…

“Anyone who knows me will know that the thought of carrying a child and giving birth was somewhat terrifying.  So you can imagine my surprise when one June morning, after an adventure holiday with friends had led me to believe I may pregnant, a test came back positive (along with three others!!).

As a theorist, I started on my mission to use this as an opportunity to learn.  Through my research, I came across Daisy Birthing and Katie Halliwell.

Daisy was offering the support to have a positive birthing experience, but provided the tools for a natural experience to cope with the different stages of labour.  This was unique in a minefield of information.  I knew I wanted to treat the birth of our baby as a natural experience – which was ironic as before I fell pregnant I felt it the most unnatural of states for me to be in!

I walked nervously into my first Daisy class and knew instantly it was meant for me.  Katie was super nice and so knowledgeable and passionate I just knew I was in the right place.

The term simplified the birthing experience and empowered me to make some brave choices to give birth to my first at a midwife unit.  A home birth was also a possibility but for my first baby, my husband and I decided against it.  It was the support of Daisy that empowered that decision and gave me confidence to explain to worried family that a hospital was not my first choice of birth location.

The fears of birth were stripped away one by one.  I was equipped with the tools I needed to go into labour: safe in the knowledge that no matter what the outcome I was birthing our baby positively.

Shortly after 1am on the 25th January (my due date), my labour started.  On the 26th January at 1:05am, I breathed our son into the world.

I say ‘breathed’ as this is what I did.  Using the tools of Daisy and my yoga knowledge, I stayed in a calm and positive state and trusted that my body knew how to birth our baby.  Through understanding the different stages, I gave birth without any pain relief into water in a squat position.  I then held our son for 40 minutes whilst the cord pulsed for him.  It was the most wonderful magical experience of my life and one I will never forget.

I could write so much more about the whole birth and I will happily if any one wants to read or listen!

I know this sounds ideal and it was perfect and as my birthing preferences outlined.  However what I hadn’t planned was losing a litre of blood (post partum haemorrhage).  Despite feeling fine, as a precaution I was transferred to hospital and our son was then admitting to the NCIU as he was struggling to breath.  The cord time had proved to be life saver in so many ways as was my precaution transfer.  We remained in hospital for a week and whilst he was treated for a possible infection that never was, I expressed his milk whilst he was on oxygen in a ventilator.

None of this formed part of the plan, but it proved where nature and medicine compliment themselves.

The whole experience not just some parts were positive and I look back now in awe of the whole thing.

Without the knowledge and support of Daisy (Katie) I would not have had the tools needed to be empowered to follow the natural path, and the ability to embrace the clinical parts a positive as well.

I will remain forever humbled and grateful and in awe of what I (and women) are capable of achieving.

“The universe is change; our life is what our thoughts make it” Marcus Aurelius”

Thank you so much for sharing your wonderful story Marie.  To find your local class, head to  https://thedaisyfoundation.com/find-a-class/

A Wonderful, Positive Birth Story: Raphaela and Nina

Raphaela attended 2 terms of Daisy Birthing in Bebington on the Wirral with Tracy McGinn.  Here she shares her wonderful, positive birth story...

“I just would like to thank you for the amazing 12 weeks that helped me immensely in building the confidence I needed to give birth to my baby girl.

Nina was born at 12:01pm on 27th January, normal delivery, only on gas and air as pain relief.  It took 3 hours from the time I got to hospital to when I gave birth to Nina.  As you said during class, everything we learnt and practiced during the course would stay in our head during labour.  I could literally hear your voice saying: “you feel calm, you feel in control.”  The breathing techniques helped me in every step of the way to overcome each contraction.  The midwives said that my breathing was amazing.  And of course, with the OUT breath, and in all fours on the bed (a position I never thought would be one to give birth in before doing the course), Nina was born.

It was the most amazing experience to feel so in control of my body, knowing exactly what to do during all stages of labour.  I could never have done this so well without what I learned with you.  I am forever grateful, Tracy.  I wish you all the success and that you continue helping people as you helped me.  Raphaela xx”

Thank you so much for sharing your story Raphaela!

Daisy Birthing weekly classes combine gentle yoga based movements with antenatal education, breathing techniques, relaxation and birth hypnosis to enable you to work with your body when your birthing day arrives.  These fabulous women only classes provide a supportive environment in which you can make friends and feel your confidence growing as your pregnancy progresses.  To find your local Daisy Birthing class go to https://thedaisyfoundation.com/find-a-class/

Katy’s Birth Story: Pregnant and Prepared?

For some people the idea of ‘preparing’ for birth seems a little strange, and this was certainly the case for Katy.  Now a Daisy teacher herself, she shares her journey of how she went from being unsure about the reasons and benefits of ‘antenatal classes’ to becoming pregnant and prepared…..

Pregnant and prepared?

When I found out I was pregnant with my first child, I was elated.  It hadn’t been an easy journey, but there it was – the blue line on the stick……  Oh, and the nausea……but I was (we were) over the moon.  I hadn’t done much reading around pregnancy or childbirth, but assumed that as long as I was where I needed to be (the hospital, in my mind) surrounded by midwives, doctors and drugs on the day of my child’s birth, everything would be ok.  I thought that there wasn’t much else I could do to prepare for the big day.  Yes, I signed up for an antenatal class – but I think that was more to meet friends than actually learn anything.

Fast forward a few months and my son arrived safely (in a hospital) but I was left feeling quite affected by the whole experience for some time.  I was lucky and the birth wasn’t particularly traumatic, but I had felt completely out of control of both the situation and my own body.

Pregnant….and prepared!

Several years on, following 2 miscarriages and a lot of sickness, we happily announced that we were expecting our 2nd child, a daughter.  After a lot of heartache and pain, I had started yoga to try to prepare my body as best I could for a successful pregnancy.  Once I fell pregnant I was keen to continue with the yoga classes and found a local antenatal yoga class run by a midwife.  The classes were a perfect way to escape, once a week, from my busy everyday life and soon became a regular part of my routine.  I attended the classes from around 16 weeks of pregnancy (once the sickness had subsided!) until 39 weeks. 

When I went into labour the following week, my body seemed to instinctively know what it needed to do.  I knew which positions felt comfortable, and when offered a bed to lie in, I politely but firmly refused.  I took some towels out of my bag and quietly went back to the comfortable (upright) position I had been in at home, on the floor.  Looking back I may have looked quite odd, going to ground as soon as I got in the room, but I was in my labour bubble and I knew where I needed to be.  This time around I had the confidence to go with my body and what it was telling me.  My daughter arrived not long after we arrived (much to the midwife’s surprise), in a (relatively!) peaceful, calm and controlled environment.  I felt completely in tune with my body and what it was doing and was positively buzzing afterwards.  My daughter was so content that she latched on and was feeding within 15 minutes of birth.

Daisy classes

At the time I didn’t know about the Daisy Foundation, nor did I know all the reasons why what I did 2nd time around would help me.  Knowing all I know now about active birth (and why lying on your back isn’t likely to help you); why breathing is so important (and vitally how to breathe at different stages of labour); what your body is doing in labour (and how to help keep things moving along) … I want to tell the world!  Every woman should have access to this information so that they too can have every chance at the birth that they want and deserve.

Daisy Birthing classes are so difficult to explain until you’ve been to one.  Yes, they include yoga-based movements, all specifically designed to help with common pregnancy problems: indigestion, puffy fingers, swollen ankles – and help your body prepare for its birthing day…..but they include so much more than that.  The antenatal education that we share with mums-to-be is delivered in small bite-sized chunks – just 15 minutes a week.  However, every week I see the penny drop and women saying ‘why don’t all women get told this stuff? It just makes so much sense!’.  YES!  And yet there is more: the classes finish with a beautiful relaxation segment. Time-out for ladies to relax, connect with their babies and prepare their minds for their forthcoming birthing day.  And the classes are as much about preparing the mind as preparing the body, which is absolutely right.  How you think or feel about something and your thoughts can have a very powerful effect on your body.

If you are expecting a baby and would like to prepare for your birthing day, please have a look at our ‘Find a Class’ map to find your local teacher. Classes are just as suitable for 2nd or 3rd time Mums as they are for your 1st baby.  Daisy Birthing classes run throughout the country in 6 week terms, each class lasting 1.5 hours and are for ladies only.  Suitable from 14 weeks of pregnancy right through to the arrival of your little one, classes can be adapted and are supportive of all birth choices. 

How lovely to see that Katy’s experiences led to her becoming a Daisy teacher herself!  Thank you for sharing your story Katy x

A Positive Induction Using the Power of the ‘Out Breath’

After attending both Daisy Parent and a term of Daisy Birthing with Tracy in Cheshire, Louisa felt prepared for her positive induction.  However, she was still taken by surprise with the speed of little Harrison’s arrival!  Here she tells her story….

A positive induction

I was induced on Thursday at 40 weeks at 4.30pm with a pessary and labour started from this.  I started getting pain around 11pm and decided to sleep through them which I did until 2am.  This was because the midwife had said the pessary can cause very bad period pains which aren’t necessarily contractions.

When the pains started getting worse around 2am I didn’t actually think they were proper contractions at this point as they were only low down in stomach.  I was tired still so decided to lay down on my left hand side then just after 3am my water broke whilst lying down.  The midwife wanted to monitor baby’s heartbeat.  All was good and she examined me and I was 6cm dilated so she said she would call down to labour ward to get me moved.

A speedy delivery!

Whilst she was out of the room the pain suddenly sky rocketed and I really needed some pain relief (all I had so far was some paracetamol at midnight).  It had got so bad Keith had to buzz for them.  When the midwife came back in she could see how much pain I was in and asked me if I felt like pushing which I did.  She quickly examined me again and in the space of about 10mins I was fully dilated and she could feel his head!  Several more midwives arrived and they discussed if it was safe to move me which they decided it wasn’t.  Soon after our little man was here!!!  Harrison James Kelly, born Friday 25th August at 4.34am weighing 8lb 8oz.  With no chance for any pain relief!  Keith was very impressed that I managed to use the ‘out’ breath when pushing.  This was the breath that got him out.

It wasn’t quite how I thought it would all happen but it got him here quickly and safely and the main things we wanted happened: immediate skin to skin and an hour’s plus of this in a dim light; delayed cord clamping and a physiological third stage.  Breastfeeding is going well too.

Thank you again for the classes.
Best wishes
Louisa & Keith

Thank you so much for sharing your wonderful story! Daisy x

The Power of the Body: Luiza and Sofia’s Amazing Birth Story

Here we hear the amazing story of first time mummy Luiza, who planned a c-section but baby Sofia had other ideas….leaving Luiza marvelling at the power of the body.  Her story is told to her Daisy teacher Pippa.

A Wonderfully Calm and Positive Birth!

Here we hear from one of our own Daisy teachers Jilly, about her calm and positive birth – a world away from her first experience of birth with her son…

“I honestly cannot thank Daisy enough, as a mum, for giving me the tools and the confidence to achieve the most amazing, healing birth!  I had a 3rd degree tear with my son and didn’t have the best experience so I was so determined to have a completely different birth the second time round.

Empowered to make choices

I went to my scheduled 41 week midwife appt. on Mon 25th July.  I had been getting irregular contractions for the previous few days and earlier that morning had a bit of a show so I thought things were heading in the right direction but not imminent.  At the appointment my blood pressure was raised so they sent me to Barnet MDU and warned me that I’d likely be admitted.  I started mentally preparing to fight for my wishes as I was desperate for my birth to be at Edgware Birth Centre.

We were monitored for an hour, my blood pressure went down during this time so that was fine but both our heart rates were too high.  Hers settled into a nice pattern after a while so they sent me for a walk and to eat.  I went back on the monitor for another hour and both our heart rates had settled.  They could see I was having quite regular contractions at that point from the trace but I knew they weren’t that big.  Although I was using my centred breath throughout them I could have held a conversation during them if I needed to.  I was just trying to focus on reducing my heart rate and relax so I could go home!  A midwife persuaded me to have my cervix checked before I left (with the promise of coming back in two days for a blood pressure check) so I could gauge how quickly I’d need to call in when contractions got stronger.  Several midwives suggested a sweep several times, which I declined as I felt that things would happen by themselves.

A calm, active labour

At 9pm I was 1.5cm but my cervix was still 1cm long and quite firm, so I was convinced that nothing would even progress that night, which actually I was thankful for as I really wanted some sleep!   We got home at around 10.30pm and I tried to go to sleep but my contractions were getting stronger.  I made my husband put the TENS machine on about 12am with the vain hope I’d still sleep (they were coming every 5min or so) but I was struggling by that point to use the centred breath through them.  Once the TENS machine was on I felt much more in control.  I realised that by giving up on sleep, getting up, putting on my Daisy music (through headphones so as not to wake my son), moving around, doing gentle rotations, leaning forward during contractions and using the Escalator Breath things felt a lot easier.  By 1.15am Paul made me phone the midwife as contractions were coming every 3min and really strong but I was convinced I was ages away still.  As an on call community midwife was coming directly to Edgware from home they’d told me it was better to call early.  The midwife said that she would leave immediately and meet us there.

The power of breathing

At 2.30am I was at Edgware, my blood pressure and our heart rates were perfect and my cervix was 2-3cm dilated, soft and completely effaced.  The midwife gave us a choice to stay or go home as she’d already filled up the pool.  Luckily we chose stay as I couldn’t even make it down the corridor to help fetch our bags from the car as everything had just ramped up even more!

I was coping fine with the TENS machine and using the Escalator Breath, although I had started gravitating lower towards the floor with each contraction so I thought I was nearing established labour by about 3.30am.  The midwife disappeared at this point to hurry the other two midwives (one student).  However, I didn’t click that anything significant was happening as I was still laughing about how hungry I was in between contractions, but never having enough time to actually eat!

A slow, calm, natural delivery

The midwife had suggested using the pool for delivery to avoid another bad tear like I’d had with my son.  At this point she had mentioned using the pool a few times so I got in.  She could obviously tell I was close, if I wasn’t I would have got out and gone back to using the TENS as I didn’t actually find the pool that comfortable!  I kept instinctively pushing during contractions so I told the midwife and she said go with it as it was either my waters bulging and about to go, or it was the head.  Before I knew it two other midwives and my second birth partner had arrived and they started setting everything up for the baby’s arrival.  Once the midwife managed to persuade me to open my legs to have a look she told me it was the head and to keep following my body.  I’d be using the Out Breath near the end of every contraction rather than all the way through as we specifically wanted the delivery to be as slow as possible.  It was amazing to be able to listen to my body the whole way through labour but particularly during the delivery stage.  To slowly allow baby to descend using the Out Breath the way I felt I needed to, and to feel baby wriggle around when she was releasing her shoulders was so bizarre.  It was nothing like the controlled pushing from my first labour! The delivery was so calm that she was born in her sac!

Evie was delivered at 4.25am on Tuesday 26th July 2016, weighing 8lbs 3oz, so very quickly from start to finish but it was exactly what I wanted and a world away from my first birth and we were home as a family of 4 just 12hrs later!”

Thank you so much for sharing your wonderful calm story Jilly!  Love Daisy x

The Power of Breathing, Movement and Positive Affirmations

Today we hear the story of Daisy teacher Jenny’s positive birth where she used the power of breathing, movement and positive affirmations throughout her labour.  Prior to becoming a teacher herself, Jenny attended three terms of Daisy Birthing classes in Belper and finished about a week before having her baby Georgia.  Georgia was born at 2:40am Sunday 20th December weighing 7lbs 10oz at Derby Birth Centre.

Membrane Sweeps

“I’d had a sweep on the Monday which although favourable led to no more than a few cramps and part of my show.  I was booked in for a second sweep on the Friday in the hope of getting things moving.  Friday morning came and I had some blood on wiping but thought nothing of it having had part of my show earlier in the week.  The midwife, however, was concerned as it wasn’t particularly ‘mucusy’ so sent me to the pregnancy assessment unit to get checked out.  After half an hour on the monitor and an examination from the doctor it was determined that it was just part of my show and that I was 1cm dilated but my cervix was still 3cm long and posterior.

​So I got my second sweep.  About 1pm, whilst on the monitor I noticed that I was starting to get quite regular braxton hicks but wasn’t expecting it to come to anything.  Back home the tightenings continued so I bounced and rotated on my gym ball, practised my breathing and made sure we had wrapped up all the remaining Christmas presents!  The braxton hicks became stronger throughout the afternoon to the point where by around 7pm I was able to definitely tell the start and end of each so I started to time them.  They were around 7 minutes apart and lasted 30-40 seconds.  Over the next few hours this intensified again until about 4am, when at 4 minutes apart each lasting a minute, I contacted the birth centre and decided to go in.

The Power of Breathing and Movement

Unfortunately, when I was examined, I was only 1-2cm dilated with my cervix 1cm in length so I was sent home.  The trip to hospital had slowed my contractions so I was able to get a couple of hours broken sleep.  I woke on the Saturday still having contractions but they were a lot more irregular, though lasting around 45 seconds each.  The intensity meant that I was having to breathe through each one.  I spent the day watching films (an American Tail and Elf being my favourites), dozing whilst propped up on my left when I felt tired, and rotating on my ball and moving around when I had the energy.  I even threw in a camel walk for good measure!

At 7pm I had a very strong contraction and lost some blood.  This was a lot more than I’d ever seen before and it was red so I went back to PAU to be checked again.  Baby again was fine and my contractions could be clearly seen and were about 5-7 minutes apart.  On examination I wasn’t actively bleeding so it was again just part of my show.  My cervix was now 2-3cm and fully effaced so heading in the right direction.

Back at home I settled on my ball to watch strictly come dancing but quickly found that I couldn’t concentrate as the contractions were getting more intense.  After a further hour where the contractions were at the point that I was crying out each time, despite being relaxed and listening to my relaxation CD, I decided to go back to hospital as I felt I couldn’t cope with it anymore and needed further pain relief.

The Power of Positive Affirmations

The journey to the hospital was not a nice one but thankfully there wasn’t too much traffic and before I knew it I was crouched in the corridor of the labour ward having another contraction.  They’d definitely ramped up and were coming every 3 minutes and lasting 90 seconds.  I said to the midwife that I needed more pain relief so she agreed to examine me as if I’d got to 4cm then I could have stronger stuff.  During the examination the midwife looked up, surprised, and said “oh! Do you want to guess how far along you are?”.  I just shook my head, worn out at this point, but extremely relieved when she told me I was 7cm.  I was immediately given the gas and air and started to feel a lot calmer.  The next 50 minutes passed by in a blur of breathing and rotating through each contraction.  Ray was speaking my positive affirmations and relaxing phrases to me, and I felt a real sense of peace and enjoyment.

Breathing the Baby Out….

Then suddenly my body pushed.  It was the strangest sensation and one I had no control of: my body just knew that’s what it needed to do.  I buzzed for the midwife who said “well if you need to push go ahead” whilst settling back on a chair.  With the next contraction the feeling was even stronger and I launched myself forwards from the position I was in on the edge of the couch, towards Ray who was kneeling in front of me.  I think I scared the poor guy but I just needed to be closer to the floor and on my hands and knees!  I could feel her every movement as I pushed downwards.  It was all a bit of a blur at this point but I do remember shouting out a swear word, saying “I can’t do it” and mooing a lot!  Seems my Daisy ‘out’ breath was also a natural instinct.  I also distinctly remember smiling as I knew I’d meet my baby soon.  The midwife had to break my waters as I was starting to birth them.  But very quickly afterwards Georgia made an appearance after 10 minutes of pushing.

I was handed her through my legs and stared in wonder at this perfect little creature that I’d just pushed out!  We left the cord to finish pulsating before Ray cut it and between the two of us we then had at least one hours skin to skin with her.  She was so alert from the start after showing us the power of her lungs when she was born.  I delivered the placenta without intervention: the midwife recommended the injection but I pushed out the placenta before she was able to give it to me.

All in all it was an amazing experience.  I felt so powerful!  I’m proud of how Ray and I got through it together and Georgia is the most wonderful gift at the end of it all!”

A Calm, Positive Water Birth – Elouise’s Story

After sharing her lovely positive induction story last week, Elouise returns today to share the story of her relaxed, calm water birth with her second child.  This experience ultimately led to her becoming a Daisy teacher herself…

Any mummy of more than one child will tell you I’m sure, it’s certainly no picnic growing another human whilst trying your best to keep the one(s) outside your womb alive.  Glowing?  Radiant?  Afternoon naps?  No.  Knackered?  Pale?  Sick?  Yes!  Although I had managed to achieve the birth that I wanted when I gave birth to my daughter, people were so quick to state “Ooh you never have two births the same” or “you’ve had your straightforward birth”.  Yes, two births are never the same but does this mean that one has to be negative and one positive?  Surely if I could achieve the birth I wanted the first time around I could also achieve it the second time around?  Cue Daisy Birthing.  I needed a weekly dose of Daisy Birthing and I needed it quick!

A Daisy Birthing Sanctuary

This time round that weekly dose of Daisy was served to me by the very lovely Charlotte Collins in the desirable leafy village of Lymm.  These classes soon became the highlight of my week.  My sanctuary.  My time to switch off from that busy class of lively six year olds, from those piercing cries of a teething baby and from those anxious thoughts about soon becoming a mummy of a toddler and a newborn.  This was my time to simply relax, focus on me and my growing baby and just breathe……heaven!

Nine blissful classes later I found myself tucking into a tuna baguette and chips at a local garden centre with my mum and dad.  It was a beautiful sunny Wednesday in June 2016 and there I was, huge and four days over my ‘due date’. How on earth had this happened?  With the surprise early arrival of Luella, I was convinced her sibling would surprise us in a similar way.  But no: there was no way he was giving up the place he had made his home for the past nine months easily.  So there I was on that sunny Wednesday afternoon in the garden centre waiting for my mum and dad to pay for the lunch I had just devoured when an elderly lady walked straight up to me and asked “Can I?”.  She was referring to my bump and whether she could touch it.  Now my usual response to this would be “Hell no” but she was so smiley and sweet that I heard myself reply “Of course”.  The lovely lady proceeded to rub my bump and simply uttered the words “Just Beautiful…Just Beautiful…”.

Staying calm past 40 weeks..

That touching scene kept replaying in my mind as I drove to a reflexology session I had booked the previous day.  Although I had had a positive induction experience when having Luella, I really wanted labour to start more naturally this time.  With being past 40 weeks I knew that it wouldn’t be long before medical inductions would soon start to be offered.

A blissful hour later and I was driving home from my reflexology session with those two simple words ‘just beautiful’ going around my head once more.  Not because I was thinking about that sweet old lady in the garden centre but because it was the only two words that best described that heavenly reflexology session I had just had.  I went to bed that night feeling positive, calm and relaxed…

So there I was, almost 40+5 days pregnant fast asleep, when I suddenly woke at 2am with that familiar ‘gush’ like feeling.  It was reminiscent of that cold Saturday November night when Mark Wright had whipped his shirt off!  My waters had broken – not quite like Niagra Falls this time but enough for me to quickly ‘google’ whether I was in fact in labour and make that call to the midwife.

By the time my mum and dad had arrived from a nearby travel lodge to take care of Luella, I had started to experience some period like cramping which definitely confirmed I was in labour.

A calm and relaxed water birth

We headed to the hospital where in the car I started to hear Charlotte’s soothing voice repeating the phrase ‘relax the jaw to release the pelvic floor’ and I knew instinctively to relax and just breathe.

We arrived at the hospital by 3am and after a short period of monitoring, centred breathing and telling the lovely midwife all about Daisy, I was examined and was 5cm dilated.  I asked if the birthing pool was free as I had been toying with the idea of using the water to help me relax and to my delight, it was. I got changed and as elegantly as I could (not very!) climbed into the pool.

Wow, I couldn’t believe what a difference the water made! My body felt much more relaxed and I just felt more supported when trying various positions until I found one that felt right and it allowed me to ‘rotate to dilate’ with ease.

Once again, I found myself in my own ‘birthing bubble’ for what seemed like minutes but was a few hours.  During this time I listened to my favourite music, puffed on my gas and air, repeated positive affirmations over and over again and discovered that there was another use for a sieve other than just getting lumps out of flour.  It wasn’t long before I felt that uncontrollable urge to bear down. Similar to the birth of Luella, this again was the toughest part of my labour but having the support of the water this time meant that I could keep upright and work with gravity.  After a lot of encouragement from my other half, the midwives and using every ounce of energy I had left in me, oh, and a pair of shoulders getting stuck  (the drama queen) my gorgeous baby boy Levison Oakley was born.  8lb 10oz of pure loveliness born at 8.30am, exactly eighteen months to the day his older sister was born and just like that sweet old lady had said, he was just beautiful…

A desire to support other mums-to-be

I was completely in love and not just in love with another little human being but as cheesy as it sounds, completely in love with Daisy.  Yet again it had empowered me to achieve the birth I wanted.  I felt calm, relaxed and in control.  I had well and truly turned right at that crossroads in my life and was heading down that road at full speed to become a Daisy Birthing teacher and support other mums-to-be in the fantastic way that Charlotte had supported me in my birth journey….

Kate and Esme – A positive birth story

Our ‘Kate and Esmé – A positive birth story’ is shared as told to Kate’s Daisy teacher Carrie.

“Esmé Elizabeth Rose was born 03.03.17 9:47pm weighing 7lb 9.5oz at Cossham birth centre. So as you know I’d been getting random on off contractions for a number of weeks which was partly due to a uti & I think my body was generally gearing up for the big day…

Last Friday the big day came as we were on our way out of the door for mine & hubby’s birthday meal at 6:20pm when I had 1 random very strong contraction which came from nowhere & lasted around 45 seconds, it was hard to talk through. 3 minutes after that came another then 6 minutes after the first. I said to Sam ”probably another false alarm, they’ll die off I’ll call Cossham to tell them on the way to the restaurant”… I was mistaken.
Cossham advised me to go in immediately as I couldn’t speak at all through them at this point!

When I arrived at Cossham (todler in tow as Mum was on her way to get Ethan) they had the birth pool ready with candles. They quickly assessed me where at this point contractions were 2 in 5 minutes lasting a minute, I was surprisingly only 3cm but continued into the pool for pain relief. I had my Daisy music playing, rotating my hips to dilate in the pool & using my Daisy breaths through each contraction. I used the sides of the pool to lean over through each contraction & at the beginning of the pushing stage I used my favourite breath (the out breath) until i did a last minute turn into a seated position with my feet up on the sides of the pool & breathed Esmé out into the world only 3 hours after arriving at Cossham! I had no pain relief at all! She is perfect & doing very well. Her big brother loves her”.

Thank you to Kate for sharing with us!
Daisy x

The homebirth story of my third child

A homebirth story from a Daisy Foundation Teacher:

“This was my third pregnancy and I was hoping for it to be my second homebirth. I’d given birth at home to my daughter Greta, 3 years ago and had actually also planned to birth my first child at home 5 years ago. With that labour I did start at home but then chose to transfer to hospital part way through. That’s another birth story for another time but suffice to say that I valued that time I did spend at home early in that labour and it inspired me for my next. I’ve noticed how much our local Trust, BHRUT, has progressed in terms of helping to ‘normalise’ homebirthing and indeed in some aspects, even promote and encourage it though I do think that it’s important that women are reached earlier on in their antenatal care with good quality information on their choices for where to give birth as homebirthing takes a fair bit of planning and emotional preparation, in my view.

The birth of my second child, Greta, at home had been a positive one; at around 4 hours all up, a good deal shorter than my first rather lengthy labour. It was the birthing experiences of Avaline and Greta that actually inspired a complete career change for me as in 2013 I trained as an active birthing educator and the Daisy Birthing classes that I now teach were to play a hugely beneficial role in my third birthing journey.

As well as preparing physically for the birth of my third child, I felt there was much to be done emotionally and I was mindful of the need to manage my own expectations and be aware that although G’s birth had gone ‘to plan’ that may not necessarily be the case this time round. Whilst planning for a homebirth, I ensured that I gave due consideration as to how and what I could do to remain connected to the experience should I need to be in hospital, possibly even facing something as ‘unexpected’ as a c-section. I’d learnt from my first labour as well as my own teachings in Daisy Birthing classes that having a flexible mindset was vital to me maintaining a sense of control throughout and how pivotal that sense of control is to the whole experience.

My husband and I took some time out of hectic family life to get away for a night (our ‘babymoon’!) to talk through and write down our Birth Preferences and ended up compiling some fairly detailed notes for our caregivers to read through. In this birth ‘plan’, I tried to cover different angles, such as being in hospital rather than at home and I found this process in itself empowering and helpful to dispel some of my own fears of a more ‘medicalised’ birth.

Both of my daughters had arrived [so called] ‘late’ so I was fully expecting the same this time round and felt far more relaxed about this prospect than I had been previously, as in the past I had felt a considerable amount of angst caused by pressure ‘the system’ placed on the need to be routinely induced beyond a given timeframe. I had also previously been told I ‘wasn’t allowed’ a homebirth if my baby was overdue by more than 10 days whereas this time I felt better informed and knew that of course, the choice of where to give birth was mine to make. This time round I was fully prepared and confident enough to trust my instincts and do what felt right for me and my baby and was ready to wait out baby’s arrival if need be. I also believe that pressure for induction could have a physiologically limiting effect on my body and paradoxically inhibit the very hormones that were needed to allow my body to release baby so feel it may not have been a coincidence then that, without worrying about all of this, my labour started just one day after my estimated due date!

I had no inkling the day before that labour was near and had been telling everyone how I was settled in for another week or two’s wait! On the Monday night, I woke (as usual throughout the latter part of my pregnancy) to pop to the toilet and noticed my mucus plug had come away but knew that whilst having ‘a show’ could mean labour was imminent, it could also still yet be some time to go, so I tried to go back to sleep. I dozed off and on but found myself a little more restless than usual. Some hours later, still in bed, I started to feel the odd ‘period pain’ type twinge (hello, old friend) but nothing worthy of stirring my sleeping beauty of a hubby beside me.

The next morning we got up and were having breakfast with the girls and the occasional twinges continued, stopping me in my tracks enough so as to give us a clue that this could be IT. There were still lengthy breaks in between of half an hour or so and in terms of intensity, gently holding my five year old daughter’s hand was all that I required to get me through them. Hubby had by now called my parents who came round after breakfast to get the girls and sort them out on their school runs. I didn’t feel having siblings present for the birth would allow me to fully relax and focus and in any event the girls had school and were looking forward to the opportunity for a ‘sleepover’ at nanny and gramps’ house!

With the girls gone, hubby and I were now able to start setting up ‘homebirth mode’ and do so at relative leisure, with my contractions still feeling fairly moderate and infrequent. I even questioned whether this really was ‘It’ and hoped we wouldn’t be needing to pull up all the plastic sheeting on the floor and deflate the birthing pool without putting them to use that day! Of course, we weren’t to know that our baby would be born around 6 hours later!

By the time we had the room set up as we wished I was feeling tired from my lack of sleep that night and so had a bit of a nap on the sofa bed that was now set up in our living room. When I woke, my husband suggested we go for a stroll around the block, knowing that this might help my labour gain some momentum (his Daisy Daddy training kicking in!). As we walked, I started to feel my contractions intensifying, which I found exciting as any doubts I had about whether baby was actually on its way started to dissolve. I found it helpful to just pause from walking and focus on some of the visualisations and repetitive movements along with the centred breathing technique I teach at Daisy classes.

Once back at home, I told hubby to call the midwife. From here I felt I progressed quite rapidly. I felt excited yet calm, focused on the task in hand and very powerful. Soon, three midwives had arrived, one of whom was a student who I had given permission to be there. I requested the midwives read my (rather detailed) birth plan upon arrival and sensed they would be supportive and respective of my wishes, giving my husband and I the space we wanted to embrace this intense and emotional time of our journey together.

As my sensations became more powerful I found myself calling upon other elements from my own Daisy classes and the knowledge and understanding of what was going on and why it felt as it did ensured that I felt completely calm, capable and in control. I had indicated a preference for minimising internal examinations, ideally only having one to assess baby’s position and had this, being told I was around 4-5cm dilated. I then decided to have a few puffs on the gas and air and found that it just helped me avoid ‘overthinking’ things as I’d started to do at this stage. Hubby popped some lavender oil on a hanky and I found it refreshing to inhale this between my contractions.

I continued to call upon the ‘toolkit’ of practical and emotional elements I’d picked up from Daisy Birthing and around 10 minutes after my examination started to feel a sense of pressure (just like needing to do a poo, which I did try first of all!) and this made me consider getting in the birth pool. The midwife mentioned that the water might slow down my labour progressing but also made it clear that the choice was entirely mine and I felt so attuned to my body that after the next contraction I was certain that this where I wanted to be. And so, into the wonderful pool (kindly loaned free of charge by BHRUT to homebirthing mums in our area) I went and almost instantly felt my body’s natural expulsive reflex kick in – the water had given me the freedom to relax and quite literally RELEASE (without fear of doing something on my kitchen floor that I’d reprimand my dog for!). I yielded to my natural urges and simply used my breath (thanks again to the wonderful Daisy birthing classes I teach that had helped me trust that ‘out’ breath that came so instinctively as being so effective). Hubby commented afterwards that he noticed at this time that I made some unusual noises that he recognised as being significant from our previous labours and he was right as within a few exhilarating minutes I announced to all that my baby’s head had been born! I loved the fact that the child I had grown for nine months inside me was now entering the world and it was my hands that gently embraced her as she emerged into the water. I lifted her out and into my embrace as she took her first ever breath. It was a moment I will never forget and as I brought new life into our world I felt so vibrantly alive myself that words cannot explain this feeling.

My husband proudly announced that we had our third daughter ad we named our little girl Constance. We were both so proud and in awe of her being born in such a calm and gently way, in our own cosy home, filled with love and happiness.

I’d expressed a preference for delayed cord clamping and a physiological third stage and after several minutes relaxing with Constance in the pool, chose to move onto the bed where we were enshrined in our cosy blankets. I was aware of the importance of keeping adrenaline levels low for this stage of my labour and felt calm and relaxed but nonetheless, when after a while the placenta hadn’t been birthed, I decided to have the injection and ‘manage’ the third stage as I wanted to avoid needing to transfer to hospital if at all possible. Shortly afterwards, the placenta made an appearance and the midwives kind of faded again into the background whilst we gazed at our little creation, enjoying skin to skin with her, putting her to the breast for her first feed and embarking on the next chapter of our journey with her.

My pregnancy and birthing was over; I could break out the pate and blue cheese to celebrate but also reflect on how fleeting a phase in my life it had been and resolve to enjoy every hectic, crazy moment that was to come with my new arrival alongside my other two daughters! What an amazing, emotional and positive experience my labour had been; something I felt proud of and will never forget. I bristled when a visiting midwife a few days after the labour asked me “who delivered your baby?” meaning which midwife – it was me that delivered my baby!! But I do feel thankful to have had such a supportive and confident team of midwives there at the birth as they also helped to empower me with their support throughout and believe that this, coupled with my own very thorough antenatal preparation were the main reasons my birthing was such a positive experience.

Some women write their birthing story as part of a cathartic, debriefing process; I feel blessed to be writing from the viewpoint of wanting to preserve the vivid clarity of the moment, knowing that the detail, the full colour version will soon be somewhat displaced by the crazy, hazy, blurry days of motherhood (perhaps more so than ever this time round with three children under 6!). I do hope though that sharing this story might inspire other expectant mothers; maybe to consider homebirthing and to perhaps do so earlier on in their pregnancy, but in any event to hear how wonderful childbirth can be. The best things in life are worth working hard for and for me, much of that preparation took place before the big day itself”.

Story told by:

Lynn Zanatta teacher for The Daisy Foundation Havering

Tel. 07549 009 834

Email lynn-zanatta@thedaisyfoundation.com


A positive birth story – Baby Zain

A positive birth story – Baby Zain, born in hospital at 39 weeks…..

Just to let you know, I had baby yesterday at 4pm weighing 8 Ibs 4- the little pudding!!!


Labour wasn’t as bad as I thought- my waters broke at 11.30pm the night before (although didn’t realise it was my waters at the time!) then had contractions through the night but managed to get plenty of rest and sleep through some of them. The following morning, using all the useful techniques, centred breathing and eventually escalator breathing and positions from the classes, I coped with the contractions at home until they were approx. 2-3 mins apart lasting 40-60 seconds! Arrived at hospital at 2.30pm to discover I was already fully dilated!!

With a little help from gas and air, I was only pushing for around half an hour and then out popped our chunky monkey!! Also, he had moved from posterior to the ideal anterior position by the time labour began. The midwives were congratulating me on how well I coped with the pain being fully dilated by the time we reached hospital, but I have to say a lot of it was down to what you taught me in your classes! So thank you so much for helping me to have a calm, easier than I ever imagined labour!!

As told by Zane’s Mummy to her Daisy Teacher Charlotte Collins

Kate and Zachary – A positive birth story

Kate and Zachary – A positive birth story from The Daisy Foundation

(Tunbridge Wells classes with Anna Hayes) 2015

“I’m delighted to announce the birth of Zachary, born yesterday weighing a whopping 11lb 4oz! It was a brilliant experience and proof that natural, intervention free birthing is the way to go, even if your baby is huge!

I started having contractions on Easter Sunday, at 8 days overdue. I’d had several pre-labour signs in the week leading up to this, including losing my plug on Thursday and a very upset stomach on Saturday. My contractions started at 11pm on the Sunday after a good bounce and rotate on the gym ball. At first they were 10 minutes apart, rapidly sped up to 3 minutes apart but then spaced back out a bit – I found out later this was because he was a bit posterior at first. I managed at home using the centred breath, and found it most comfortable to be standing and leaning forward on to the bed or the kitchen counters, swaying my hips from side to side. I had a bit of paracetamol, and at around 5am we decided to go to the hospital.

Kate D Zachary

The midwife in triage examined me and said I was 4-5cm, so they sent me to the delivery suite. I managed to get one of the rooms with the birthing pool, though it had just been used so was only starting to fill when we arrived, so I continued to stand or kneel up and sway, leaning forward over the active birthing couch. At around 7.15am they still hadn’t got me in the pool, and I was starting to struggle with the contractions. They let me get in soon after this but the contractions were so intense that it didn’t feel as though it helped much so I started the gas and air as well. I didn’t realise but the intensity was because I had dilated very fast and was in transition – though my next cervix examination wasn’t due until 9.45! I felt the urge to start pushing almost straightaway in the pool, and my waters went somewhere around this time as well. At about 8am they asked me to get out of the pool, as my first baby had a shoulder dystocia and they didn’t want me to deliver in the water just in case. They encouraged me to kneel on the floor and lean forward over the couch. I didn’t use the out breath as I had the gas and air in my mouth, but made sure to keep exhaling and making noise. Zack was born at 8.10am with no shoulder dystocia. The ‘ring of fire’ was intense, but despite him being 11 lb 4 oz I didn’t even tear! He had crowned a couple of times in the pool before being born, so I think this helped to stretch everything out. I had delayed cord clamping while I held him in skin to skin which was lovely, and delivered the placenta naturally. The only downside was that I had a significant haemmorage after delivering the placenta so spent the rest of the day in HDU, but the doctors and midwives were brilliant and it didn’t mar the experience for me. It was the birth I had wanted and so lovely after my difficult first.

Thank you so much for all the techniques and breathing practice, it all helped a lot! ”


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

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!


Natasha’s Positive Birth Story

Natasha Burgon – My 7.5 Hour Labour – Birth Story

Our baby boy Alexander Burgon was born 16th February 2015 at 7.41am weighing 8lbs 4oz at UHW in MLU.

When I found out I was pregnant my twin sister immediately recommended the Daisy Birthing course to me, due to her own positive experience only 9 months earlier.

I practice yoga regularly, therefore I was keen to learn more and attend the Daisy Birthing course, to understand how correct breathing and movement could help during pregnancy and labour.

I began Daisy Birthing in October 2014 (due date 12th February 2015) with a view to attend 2 courses (12 sessions). After a positive first 6 classes my husband was keen to also learn the techniques to help me through my labour, therefore we also attended the couple’s workshop in late November. The couple’s workshop really helped my husband to understand what I had been practicing and learning in my sessions. It also gave us great information on the birth stages and what to expect and when.

I carried on practicing the Daisy Birthing exercises and breathing at home after the second course up until I went into labour. At every scan and check-up throughout the pregnancy I was told Alexander was in the correct position. I firmly believe that the exercises positioned him correctly.

I had felt tightening’s in my stomach the evening before around 10pm which I initially thought was the baby moving. By 11pm these ‘movements’ appeared to have got stronger and I knew it wouldn’t be long before I went into early labour. At 12.30am my waters broke I alerted my husband and told him to phone through to the MLU at UHW to let them know. We were told that being our first baby that to expect a long labour and to call back at 10am with the intention of going into hospital at 12pm to be checked. Within the hour my contractions had started and were consistently 5 minutes apart and around 30 seconds long at which point I began the 8 and 4 breaths and attached the tens machine. My husband ran me a bath which I used for around 10 minutes however, the contractions remained strong and of the same intensity for the next 2 hours. I rotated on all fours whilst using my birthing ball for support and listening to the ‘Daisy CD’ whilst continuing the 8 and 4 breaths. The contractions grew stronger over the next few hours and by 5.00am my husband made the decision to take me into hospital, we arrived at the MLU at 5.30am where I was examined and was told that I was fully dilated at 10cm. I requested the birthing pool to be used for pain relief and the birth. After 10 minutes in the birthing pool I had the urge to push, I had very little gas and air during this time as I felt it dried my mouth and prevented me from breathing correctly. After 45 minutes of controlled pushing along with deep long ‘out breaths’ our baby boy was born into the birthing pool and into my arms with skin to skin contact immediately. We waited for 15 minutes before my husband cut the umbilical cord once it had stopped pulsating at which point our healthy, beautiful boy was passed to my husband. I had the injection to deliver the placenta which took around 15-20 minutes.

Giving birth was such a positive experience for me, it was so much better than I could have imagined. I felt calm and went with the natural rhythms of my body and flow of labour using only ‘Daisy’ breathing and movement, the tens machine and birthing pool as pain relief and a small amount of gas and air at the end.

I had a very calm and smooth birthing experience and I truly believe that the breathing techniques and exercises helped the baby into the correct position and aided his smooth transition from womb to world! I will certainly recommend ‘Daisy Birthing’ to all friends so that they too can have a positive birthing experience.

A lovely positive birth story from Natasha, a Daisy Birthing Mum, who attended classes in the Cardiff area with Daisy teacher Laura.

To find your own local Daisy Birthing class – go to our FIND A CLASS area

A positive birth story

A positive birth story – one amazing daisy birthing mummy Fay and the birth of baby Nova – thank you for sharing it with us!

Nova’s due date was Sunday 12 Oct. Phil and I already have two children so we kinda know the drill about labour – twinges, false starts, backache, ‘period pain’.

It started when I woke up abruptly at 5am on Sunday with a steady trickle of amniotic fluid. We called triage at Jessops just to check about infection policy. They wanted us to come in, but we declined. I wasn’t in labour, just wet. I had a lovely hot shower and decided to look for the purple line (sure enough, it was there!) Things went pretty steady throughout the day with period pain like cramps and general soreness at the base of my back. We decided to go for celebratory sushi in town.

Things started kicking off properly at around 6pm (after a lovely long nap) so we decided to get the co-sleeper cot down from the loft and assemble it (yup, we’re that organised). Once done, we had some tea – all the while my contractions were gathering pace and intensity. We set up the lounge for Nova’s arrival – a squishy waterproof playmat (sorry kids!), my lucky birthing t-shirt and a heap of towels. By 8.30pm, we called triage at Jessops to request a midwife. All the time, Phil never left my side. He constantly told me he was there and that soon Nova would be here I began seriously relying my Daisy breathing techniques to blow the pain away – not once forgetting to breathe and relax as much as I could. By 9pm the midwife hadn’t arrived and the only pain relief I’d had was two paracetamol and lots of breathing. After another call to triage, they told us a midwife was on her way. At 10pm Angelina arrived and after a quick exam, told me I was 4cm and in active labour.

I remember growling a lot when I breathed out, feeling very primal on all fours, almost roaring. Phil never left me, not even to put the kettle on. I hung on to him as he held me – I’d never felt so close to anyone before.

By 10.30pm I requested the diamorphine. I felt shattered and achey (being on your hands and knees, no matter how squishy the playmat is, takes its toll). Unfortunately, as soon as Angelina gave me the injection, I felt Nova coming. After two pushes she was out! However, 10 mins later the diamorphine kicked in and I was struggling to get a grip on reality and keep my eyes open! Nova arrived on her due date at 10.40pm weighing 6lb 13oz and latched on to my breast immediately! “

nova born

Written by Fay (seen here in her lucky birthing t-shirt!), Mummy to Nova (Daisy Birthing Sheffield)

Beautiful daughter Aurelia Rose Dias was born yesterday!

Hello Sara, I won’t be at Mondays class as our beautiful daughter Aurelia Rose Dias was born yesterday!

I was induced on Tuesday after concerns of reduced movement. By 5.30am Wednesday my waters broke and I was examined to find I was between 7-8cm dilated which they couldn’t believe. No pain relief whatsoever at this point just some deep focused daisy breathing. I was then taken straight to delivery suite where I was delighted to find the gas and air which was such a help. I managed to experience the birthing pool as I had planned which was lovely with the daisy cd playing throughout. Baby got a little too comfy so I got out of the pool towards the end and by 14.22 she was born.

The midwives were hugely complimentary and asked if I had done any breathing classes! I wanted to send my sincere thanks as the breathing techniques were what got me through the labour.

I can’t recommend the couples workshop enough as Andrew was the most supportive birth companion I could have wishes for. He kept me focused on the breathing techniques, reminding my to loosen my jaw and to rotate to dilate! So the information clearly sank in and he did me proud.

We are in love with our gorgeous daughter and can’t believe she’s ours to keep!!

Thank you once again and good luck to the other ladies, Teresa x