Parents I have supported share their experiences with you.
I reached out to parents who put their trust in me to help them prepare for birth and here are some of their remarkable birth stories. Remember, birth is miraculous however it happens and should be celebrated.
Zoë and Dave
Archie Andrew Longford-Brown was born at 9:20am on 30/06/23 weighing 8lb in St John’s hospital.
Birth was the absolute complete opposite of what we planned. I had planned for a relaxed water birth in the Birth Centre but I ended up needing to be induced which lead to an emergency c-section due to an obstructed labour.
Despite Archie's birth being very different from what we had envisaged, we both came away feeling positive about the birth. We stayed in control and made the best decision for baby.
I’m so grateful we did Joy's birth prep class. It prepared us for what happens during c-section and I felt I was able to relax a lot more knowing what was going to happen. It would have all been a total shock without understanding what happens.
The day before I was induced, I messaged Joy in a bit of a panic as this wasn’t what I’d been planning. Joy sent over some updated hypnobirthing scripts which were invaluable. It helped prepare me for the change in situation.
Archie is a very happy baby and we are so grateful to have had Joy's support to help prepare us for his arrival.
Claire and James
We were excited, nervous, and a little anxious, knowing that our little one was on the way. James and I had attended Joy’s antenatal classes together, learning techniques to cope with the impending labour.
As the contractions began, we decided to stay home for as long as possible. I used the relaxation techniques we had learned trying to stay focussed on my breathing and I found that swaying from side to side holding onto the back of the kitchen chair really helped as did bouncing on my birth ball. James tried to stay calm too.
We managed quite well at home, kept our focus, and used the strategies we had practiced in class. The trust and connection we built during the antenatal sessions were really helpful and just knowing what was happening made it easier to manage.
Eventually, it was time to make our way to St. John's Hospital in Livingston. The car ride felt like an eternity and I tried to get comfortable on the back seat. I listened to my playlist but it was hard not to get distracted. When we arrived at hospital things got easier. Labour seemed to take ages, but we both tried hard to stay as calm as possible. The hospital staff were great and guided us through the process. Gas and air was amazing and I loved being able to use the birth ball. Movement really made a lot of difference.
James was great. He stayed close by and was very encouraging
Eventually after what felt like forever our baby boy entered the world. The joy and relief was overwhelming and I couldn’t believe I had done it!
Looking back, we both agree that Joy’s classes had not only equipped us with practical tools but had also fostered a sense of teamwork and understanding. James felt more confident in supporting me and we really felt like we were a team.
Louise and Stewart
As a first time mum, I was feeling pretty overwhelmed with the whole birthing process… I had heard lots of different stories and experiences over the years from other people or what I had seen on TV, but I had never really thought about what it would actually be like to give birth and it made me feel really nervous! Joy’s birth prep class was exactly what myself and my husband were needing a few months before our due date. The class opened our eyes to understanding lots of different things, from birth to baby, and I felt much more confident in the weeks leading up to my due date. Joy introduced me to hypnobirthing (one thing I had never explored before and I found this very relaxing and useful in the lead up to the birth as well as when in labour).
Our birth didn’t go as we had “planned” (but after Joy’s class we were open to the fact that things may not necessarily go as you expect). We ended up having an emergency c-section with our baby, Ella. I can honestly say if it weren’t for the birth prep class, I know I would have been a nervous wreck! We done a great session on c-section in Joy’s class and this brought to life an operating theatre within the room, to get a feel for what an emergency c-section experience can feel like with lots of medical staff about. When I was getting taken into theatre for Ella’s birth, I knew exactly what to expect so I was not feeling scared or overwhelmed about the magnitude of the process.
I never thought I would have a c-section but Joy’s class equipped me and my husband with the knowledge we needed for in the moment. Although a c-section was not what we had “planned”, I can honestly say that I felt more confident and calm in the lead up to the birth and the experience itself.
Ella was born happy and healthy and we are really lucky to have had the prior knowledge and support to make us confident and calm for her birth.
Abby & Simon
I woke up the morning after my due date with very subtle cramping feelings in my tummy. Thankfully it was the weekend and Simon was off work, so we spent the morning at home listening to music and trying to relax. As the day went on, the cramping got stronger but didn’t seem to find a pattern or rhythm so by the time evening came, we decided to try and go to bed and get some sleep.
By the time the morning came, things were definitely on the move and my contractions were getting closer together. Simon used the Freya app to time them whilst I bounced on my ball with a TENs machine on and focussed on the visualisations that we had practiced in class. I found the ice-cube one really effective in helping me try and maintain a calm breathing pattern.
We made the decision to head into hospital that evening. The journey was not very comfortable, but I kept my TENs machine on and we listening to the playlist we had made in the car. When we arrived, I was told I was 5cm dilated and I was admitted to the Birth Centre.
As labour progressed, I definitely felt more sensations in my lower back than my tummy. Simon helped with sacral pressure and back rubs which helped and I was definitely more comfortable standing and leaning.
Our midwife was lovely, and the room was really comfortable. We used aromatherapy and gas and air and I opted for the pool which was amazing. All through it, Simon helped me by being calm and when I was having a contraction, he made sure I focussed on my breathing. In between contractions he poured warm water over my shoulders and helped me relax.
Our baby girl was born in the pool, and I was able to have skin-to-skin and Simon cut the cord. He was able to have skin-to-skin as I had to get out of the pool for the placenta. Nothing felt rushed at all.
We had a really positive experience despite the early part of labour seeming long. It felt like it was taking forever to ‘get going.’ Joy’s course prepared us with ways we could work together at home to stay calm and comfortable and I had much more trust in the process even though it was long. Simon also felt like he was able to help and just having knowledge of what was happening and what our options were made it easier. Joy's course definitely helped prepare us for different outcomes and eventualities and gave us both confidence.