Rachel & Theo

I attended K’s course when pregnant with my second child, and after having a really traumatic first birth – despite the fact I thought I was prepared (had done another hypnobirthing course which was lovely – but sadly in no way practical given hospital protocols etc)

The course was AMAZING. And the midwife (Kemi) was more than amazing.

The evidence- based teaching and especially Kemi’s support (she ended up doing a phone call debriefing me on the awful first birth and my options for birth #2) led to me deciding to have a home birth and hiring a doula.

Long story short: I ended up having the most truly incredible birth experience, in utter calm, in my own home, without a midwife as it happened so smoothly (they didn’t get to me quickly enough as I didn’t think I was very far progressed, as the pain was so manageable and I  was so calm!)

I delivered my son by myself in a birth pool in my sitting room, accompanied by my partner and doula. By the time the midwives got to us I’d also had a natural 2nd stage and was sitting on the sofa with Theo happily latched on (and placenta in a mixing bowl I subsequently had to throw out as it was too weird to mix cakes in anymore!)

My whole labour went like this:

7pm older child went to bed

8pm sitting in garden drinking glass of prosecco – waters broke

8.10 had shower and changed clothes, called doula and midwife, told  midwife not to bother coming at the moment as wasn’t in labour

9pm decided twinges might be labour and told my partner to blow up and fill birth pool

9.30 doula arrives and we breathe together

10 get into birth pool but everything very low key, practising my breathing and visualisations

10.45 chat to doula about whether we should phone midwife, decide still a way to go and we will leave it another half hour or so

11ish suddenly realise baby’s head is here and have massive panic attack – nooooo! Midwife isn’t here! Who will deliver the baby? I can’t do this!Doula tells me to calm down and stop saying ‘no’, but say ‘yes’ instead. Also tells me I’m perfectly capable of catching my own baby. Midwife gets emergency call to get over quickly.

11.19 Theo born after 3 pushes. Cuddle and relax in pool.

11.40sh still in pool and placenta delivered (was intending to get out but it all happened quite quickly!) Comedy DIY exit from pool with placenta in aforementioned mixing bowl carried by partner, all 4 of us troop over to sofa. Theo latches on.

Just before midnight midwives arrive.

The whole event was amazingly, fantastically brilliant – but even more so after such an awful first birth experience.

Oh also, have to tell you, my best/worst hospital moment was when I went in to see the supervisor of midwives at the RFH, who told me I should be induced at 38 weeks because I was so old and therefore my placenta would pack up early.

I had talked to Kemi about this, and read up on it as they also tried this tack with my first child (who I had at 43).

I said: there’s no evidence that placentas degrade any faster in older mums.

My placenta is as old as my baby (in fact, slightly younger). It’s not 43 years old, it’s 8 months old, and I’m looking after it.

He said, ah that’s a really sweet way of thinking about it, if you really want to tell yourself that. And he PATTED MY KNEE.

He subsequently emailed me the paper by the RCOG about induction in older mothers… which does actually state there’s no real evidence for placenta degradation in older mums, but that it’s a theory & further research needed.

Honestly, what the hell?

Other than that he was a really nice man and did end up fully supporting the home birth, possibly as I wrote him an 8 page birth plan with multiple footnotes citing NICE guidelines.

But the knee pat and the use of the word ‘sweet’ I don’t forgive!

Please can you pass on my utmost thanks to Katherine for her amazing course. In particular, the focus on arming people with the knowledge to argue back when protocol says you ‘should’ or ‘must’ do certain things. I was 45 when I had Theo, via IVF, and my goodness the hospital didn’t want me to have a natural home birth!!! I used all the evidence (AIMS, evidence based birth, Cochrane reviews etc) and I did it the way I wanted to. And it was so easy!!

And most of all, could you forward this email to Kemi? She utterly changed my beliefs about the system and how I could do things my own way, and believe in my body knowing best. I would never have had a home birth without her. She took my first birth trauma by just listening to me and hearing my story, and she made me feel I was strong enough and able enough to take a different approach second time round. Thank you Kemi from the bottom of my heart – you are a truly amazing woman and I will always remember what you did for me, to the day I die.

Massive thanks to you all. Amazing course – you have created real joy for me where there was such pain and anguish and fear before meeting you.

Rachel 2017

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