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  1. Our story - Due date came and my partner and I decided to have a 'due date date night' so dressed up and went out for a gorgeous meal. Little did we know as we ate that meal that my waters would break on our return home and I would be giving birth in the same outfit I had worn to dinner!

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    On our return home in bed my partner had me in a fit of the giggles! Initially I thought I had wet myself laughing, shockingly to the pair of us it was my waters breaking! I did not feel uncomfortable at all so planned to go to sleep. Unfortunately my waters seemed green and was told this could be the presence of meconium.

    On arrival I was told immediately that my waters looked to contain meconium, because of this I had now gone from being a very low risk birth to high risk. I was told they needed to get baby out as quickly as possible as there was a chance baby could be "very poorly" inside me. I would be taken to labour ward, attached to a hormone infusion to be induced, my labour would be "managed" by at least one midwife and a team of doctors and I would require continual monitoring. The complete opposite of the water birth in the birthing centre with minimal intervention that I had imagined. My partner was extremely concerned I would become upset at hearing this, but to my own amazement the skills I had been taught and had practiced from the wise hippo programme kept me calm and able to process what I was being told was best for my baby. I had a sudden surge of positivity and thought 'okay lets do this!'

    Before being attached to the hormone infusion the midwife wished to examine me to check both my fore and hind waters had broken, she told me that they had and I was 1cm dilated, the infusion was then started and the rate increased every 30 minutes. I was amazed at how quickly the surges started, they became quite powerful but were manageable using the breathing techniques we were taught in class.

    However within an hour or so the surges became almost constant, with less than a minute between them which made them much less manageable and I started to lose all my focus and felt as if I couldn't go on any longer. I asked the midwife to examine me as I believed that would help me to know how many centimetres I had to go. Unfortunately she told me I was only 4cms dilated, I felt a failure that I couldn't cope with the surges this early on, I was so tired and so asked for help in the form pain relief and received a shot of diamorphine. The infusion was also slowed down as I was having more surges than they had anticipated.

    Within a few minutes of the vaginal examination and the diamorphine shot, I felt something had changed, I told the midwife but she didnt look up from her note writing. She informed me that "baby is making their way down but you are only 4cms and have a while to go yet". I put my hand between my legs and saw blood, I felt different down there too so I parted my legs and asked the midwife "whats that it feels strange?" to which her reply was "OH S**T!” and the emergency bell was pulled.

    I had gone from 4cms to fully dilated in 30 minutes!

    Birthing baby was nothing like I had imagined, I remember thinking as it was happening -all that time and energy I had wasted listening to peoples 'top trumps' of birthing horror stories. My body took over and knew exactly what to do, just as the wise hippo programme tells you! I asked Tom for my earphones and wise hippo tracks and actually laughed, much to the midwife and toms amusement and said "I'm doing it! I can do it!". The midwife took my earphones away at one point and told me I was too relaxed and needed to stop breathing baby down and push so that they could make sure baby was okay, after 2 or 3 episodes of bearing down my beautiful daughter was placed in my arms and the whole world stopped moving because she was so perfect.


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    The paediatricians heard her cries and left the room, I was told she was healthy and not sick from the meconium. Unfortunately on her first feed this changed. Only myself, my partner and a student midwife were in the room at this point, as she fed she turned purple in front of our eyes, my partner went into autopilot (we are both nurses) and pressed the emergency bell whilst vigorously massaging her back, after some high flow oxygen and just a matter of seconds she was crying again. We were told some meconium may have been up her nose and obstructed her airway when feeding. I found the 5,4,3,2,1 breathing helpful when I became anxious. Thankfully our daughter is now a healthy little 11 day old milk monster! The wise hippo teachings have been priceless for me, they made the run up to labour, labour and even anxieties post labour completely manageable and relaxed me, I cant thank you sarah enough!


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    I’d had my heart set on a home birth since pretty early on in my pregnancy, due to a number of reasons I was having extra monitoring and regular scans and appointments and so always felt trips to the hospital were very clinical and created a certain level of stress which I was keen to avoid when I went into labour.
    At 34 weeks my labour was still progressing as low risk and I was able to book in with the home birth team. I started to plan for a water birth and booked a pool to be delivered a day after I was 37 weeks (the earliest you can labour at home)
    I was booked for a presentation scan by the homebirth team at 37 weeks just to check the baby was in a head down position and then we we’re good to go and wait for baby’s arrival.
    So my 37 week scan came and as I assumed it would just be a quick check on baby’s position I went on my own. As the sonographer was running late a midwife in the department said she would scan me to save me waiting. As she started scanning me she said she wanted to do a growth scan as baby’s measurements didn’t look quite right. As I had been having regular growth scans she compared babies measurements to my 35 week scan and said there had been minimal growth, as I was 37 weeks and classed as full term she said that I needed to stay and the safest option for baby was to induce me that night.
    I was completely thrown and in shock, the idea of birthing in hospital filled me with dread let alone the idea of an induction which terrified me that it would create a long, painful and difficult labour.
    I wanted to birth baby with as little intervention as possible using the techniques we had learnt through our wise hippo classes and this felt like it would now be impossible. 
     
    After lots of tears and long a discuss with a consultant I agreed to the induction and left the hospital to return home and pack a bag. I was back ready to be admitted to an antenatal ward within a couple of hours.
    The induction process was started at 10pm on Thursday 30 August with a hormone pessary that was hoped would induce labour naturally while I waited for a bed to become available on the labour ward. 
    Because of the hynobirthing classes I was aware of the importance of oxytocin and that letting the situation keep me stressed would only fuel adrenaline and hinder my labour. My husband and I chatted about how upsetting it was that my original plan had changed but I could still have a good birth if we changed our mindset and embraced the situation, and that ultimately the most important thing was the safe arrival of our little girl. Using the breathing and relaxation techniques we had learnt that’s exactly what we did, I listened to the relaxation mps, practiced my breathing and became excited at the thought of soon meeting my baby. 
    After 30 hours the pessary was removed as it had not induced my body to go in to labour naturally and we just waited for a bed to become available on the labour ward so I could be induced with the pitocin dip.
    At 11am on Saturday 1 September a bed  became available and I was taken down to start the induction process. I was keen to keep the environment calm and relaxing and so we decorated the room with tea lights, set up a speaker to play my own music and even used room spray that I used at home to mask to clinical smell.
    The drip was started at 12pm and as I sat on a birth ball I closed my eyes and listened to the sea of serenity mp3. I breathed through each surge using the 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 count. The intensity of the surges built quite quickly and along with the breathing I used gas and air to manage the pain. It really helped me to visualise the surges as waves as I breathed  through them and blew them away.
     
     
    It was amazing to have my husband encouraging me and using positive affirmations and massage.
    I stayed up right the whole time either on a birth ball or kneeing over the side of the bed, remembering the importance of letting gravity help to bring baby down. 
     
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    I wasn’t perfectly in the zone the whole time and a couple of times the intensity of the surges got the better of me and I was quite vocal, but each time my husband and amazing midwife were able to bring my focus back by encouraging me to breathe. 
    By the time I was fully dilated I was exhausted and I did have some help and coaching from my midwife to birth baby in the final stages, but on the day that was right for me.
    At 17.14 on Saturday 1 September  Oakleigh Grace was born and she was brought straight up onto my chest for some amazing skin to skin. 
     
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    I’m so proud of myself to have birthed my baby with just gas and air using the techniques hynobirthing had taught us.  The whole labour was calm and as baby was being continually monitored I knew her heart rate stayed steady and she was calm. I think this calming environment really is a reason she’s still a really calm baby.
     
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    I truly believe that without the amazing techniques that Sarah taught us I would not of been able to of had such a perfect birth in such a unplanned situation. 
    Hynobirthing really is a game changer it gave me the confidence to trust that my body knew exactly what to do without the need for lots of medical intervention. I’ll be forever greatful to Sarah, Knowing that she was just a message away to answer any questions, offer advice or just to give some encouragement and reassurance is an amazing added bonus to the course.
    For anyone considering a hynobirthing course I’d say definitely give it a try, it really could make a massive difference to your pregnancy and birth.