Who am I? I thought one baby was hard and now I have two. Two humans to look after day and night, twenty four hours a day. Two little people with completely different needs who just want me. ALL THE TIME!
Who am I? I birthed a second human only 72 hours ago. I am exhausted, sleep deprived in a way I could not think was possible and still have to get up and look after two tiny humans.
When do I get to rest? When do I get to be me? But wait...who am I?
I don't know who I am anymore. I remember learning that I might get the baby blues at three days postpartum but this feels different. I can't remember who I am anymore. I know I'm a mum...but who was I before this?
I have these tiny people to look after and I love them so much but I have lost myself. I can't remember anything past them. What I like, what I eat, what I read, or where I just want to go. Who am I? I love being a mum. I grew and birthed these two amazing boys but I want to know WHO I AM. Where have I gone? I feel scared not knowing this. Almost like I woke up and I disappeared. Like an episode of Black Mirror but I can't see an ending to the episode. I feel different. I'm not sure if it's good or bad or any type of emotion. I just feel like I want to cry. Cry and sleep...sleep what's that? Nothing makes sense and I can't understand how I am feeling. Immense amounts of love but also a huge concoction of sadness. Why is this happening? I'm happy but I'm sad. A mixture of emotions that shouldn't mix together right?
Who am I...
Please tell me that I will know the answer to this one day. To be me again, if that's even possible. Will it be the old me or new me? I don't care I just want to know who I am.
My new normal.
That's what this is.
One day I will know who I am.
Old, same or new me.
I will be ME.
Day 10 of no arrival.. feeling like it was never going to happen and would be induced on Easter Sunday so I had my mind set on that date!
Thursday evening watching game of thrones🤪 bouncing on my ball.. went to bed as normal.
I started waking a few times needing the toilet and felt the odd period pain but thought nothing of it. 2.45am my body woke me up so quick, forced me out of bed to get to the toilet, as I stepped in the bathroom the biggest gush ever!!! I was like what have I just wet myself!?! Turned the light on and it was my waters but the waters was a yellow/brown colour so I knew straight away baby poo’d in me. I stayed calm and was so bloody excited thinking my baby could be on the way! Woke calum and he was as calm as ever and rang the hospital they said to come in. I had a quick shower and got myself ready and we headed to the hospital with high hopes of coming home with our baby. Midwife and doctor checked over my waters, I got transferred to labour ward as the poo was at a high risk so straight to be monitored to check baby was okay.
Midwife told me the good news was I wouldn’t be leaving here without baby but then was told I was un able to have a water birth as they needed to monitor baby till he arrived. I started to worry and get upset not being able to have a water birth. 6am come round quicker than ever and I was put on the drip to speed labour up as baby was getting a little un happy. 7am come and contractions started coming fast and painful!! Calum was so calm and kept me relaxed and positive minded that we was going to do it. The midwife said to me ‘I’m going to honest with you the drip is a lot more painful so if you want any other drugs then do what you feel comfortable with’ to me I was actually happy she said it and didn’t fake it to me because it gave me time to set myself up and stay calm which I totally did and can say I rocked labour and would do it again!
Calum was counting me in and keeping me in the zone the whole time. I screamed out once and didn’t do it again as it took so much energy out of me!! Back in the zone and pushing started honestly I’ve never felt pain like it but I told myself I can do it and I will!!
Midwife was amazing the support and positive vibes she showed me really got me through it. We was getting to the stage where I was totally drained and his head kept going back in . Contractions were around 8 in 10 minutes and felt like I couldn’t keep up!!
Midwife told me we need to get baby out now as he was getting more stressed out I kept pushing and felt like nothing was happening.. she told me I know you can do it and said I’m going to give you 2 more pushes and if baby isint out I’m going to need to cut you I thought no way!! And in those 2 pushes our little bundle of joy arrived at 10.22am
Calum crying holding my face saying we’ve got a beautiful baby boy you did it I’m so proud of you has to be the best words I’ve ever heard. The midwife said to me my god how did you do that on just gas and air you super mum!!
I felt so proud of myself and it honestly has to be all the breathing techniques, relaxing scripts and everything you taught me Azeeta!!
I cried writing this because it was the best experience of my life!!
Mums to be really need to be told how good labour can be and it isn't as daunting as it’s made out to be.
Rachel and Calum did my 3 hour workshop and Rachel did lots of women only sessions and drop ins to keep in the zone. Amazing story!
Doula, hypnobirthing teacher, NCT teacher, massage therapist and mindful breastfeeding practitioner.
Hi lovely, I’m so sorry I haven’t been in touch. So I’ll try to keep it short but this will be a shortened long read lol.
From when I spoke to you last time over txing when I think I hit rock bottom with the whole situation I was desperately struggling to deal with or come to terms with baby being breech when I had been told all through the pregnancy baby was in the correct position, all was well and good.
It all went from being so natural, calm and patiently waiting for baby to come, to then it being so medical and scary, I couldn’t believe we found out 7 days before the due date baby was breech!! I didn’t have anytime at all to mentally prepare myself or even try to fix anything,
All of the last week of that pregnancy was hospital visits, scans, stress, an unhappy little Theia, (no doubt an unhappy newborn in my tummy too with all the poking and prodding) and poor Charlie used up every single one of his holiday days for the year, so after coming to terms with the fact baby was not willing to turn, after the two ECVs and me hanging upside down on ironing boards and sofas i contacted the local chiropractor to see if I could get them to help align my pelvis and perform the Webster’s technique on me but it something that needed to be done over a 6 week period or sooner for the real benefits to show! My other issue was, I had been given a time limit, I had until the 30th this month to get baby or I was scheduled in for section, this was the very thing I didn’t want for so many reasons, this was exactly what I was avoiding!
I called the hospital and informed them I was refusing the section, reason being that baby and I were perfectly healthy and fine and the only reason I was put in for a section was because not many ladies opt for a natural with a breech,
and I opted to go natural......🏼, i also said to them I’m requesting a sweep also, they gave me an appointment the next day to discuss with a doctor because they don’t mess around with a breech they like to allow a breech to start labour naturally, but I knew with Theia it was the sweep that made her come when I was over due and I 100% knew my body was ready for this baby to come out so I knew the sweep would be what was needed (I hoped)
So the next day at 11 I met with the doctor and thanks to my lucky stars he agreed to do it, I was so happy!!!! I won’t lie either he did try to scare monger me too and say usually it’s the other way round and people are usually scared of the vaginal rather than the c section like I was 🤷♀ I knew in my mind what I wanted and I wasn’t going to change it either.
After the sweep I went home after and waited it out. I was feeling the usual strong Braxton Hicks but they was definitely more in a uniform pattern as the day went on, I told Charlie and Cheyenn my sister to be on stand by. At around 2am this one contraction woke me up with such a slap my toes scrunched up! I got up started walking about doing my breathing and with every other contraction it was even worse, they were only like 8-9 minutes apart but they were bad boys, then I lost my plug completely, just how I did when I went into labour with Theia. I absolutely knew it was game on! I got Charlie up, called Cheyenn and called labour ward and because I was breech they said to come straight in. So off we went to Harlow and we were put into an assessment room first where I had all my obs done. Cannula preparation for any emergency’s, the team were introduced to me, about 5 of them 🤷♀🤷♀ I honestly just thought at that point (f off) but I suppose it something they have to do.
I had my lavender spray with me, my coconut water and lucozade, my eye mask, I was breathing away I had the amazing morphine shot in the butt and I turned the lights off and zoned out 🥴🥴🥴🥴
The lady examined me and said I’m still 3cm which worried me, but contractions were still gaining and getting closer, eventually I got moved into an actual labour room, which was so big, light, white and clinical, I didn’t like it at all it was horrible, the bed was in the middle and next to it the baby resus table. By that point i got my gas and air 🥴🥴🥴 I was happy and I had the best midwife ever with us, I had a little cry coz it was so strong and powerful and she checked my cervix again and I was 8cm by then, I was getting them urges to push, but had to not push yet so i had to ride it out and resist the temptation to push, every time I had a contraction I’d slip my eye mask down, boost the tens machine and sniff my lavender spray and zone out till it passed.
I was sat at an awkward angle hanging off the bed with one leg on the floor and the other bent back on the bed, so I pushed myself to the side and pop went my waters literally all over Charlie and the midwife LOOL my waters were brown with meconium, they said it was ok baby had already done the poo and not to panic, so I switched my position on the bed and said I’ve got to push, I was kneeling over the back of the bed with my butt on show to the world, I had a few people come in the room at that point, one to resuscitate the baby if needed, one to help me or if an emergency section was needed etc, the urge to push was strong I said I can’t not push , so i did with literally every might of me, I felt the baby coming down, then I heard the midwife say to Charlie look can you see, see the bum, awww it was the best thing I heard, it was all down to me to get my baby out safe and sound now, I pushed and pushed and kept feeling the baby kinda go back up, I worried about this too but I just kept pushing, I felt a contraction come and I’d wait for the peak and push again and then I felt more of the baby come out, then I felt the movement, it was one leg flopped out, I pushed and the other leg flopped down and out, then the little body, then one arm at a time then I felt the head, ooooooooooh boy I felt that not so little head come down, that’s when I thought shit this is the part where baby can get stuck, so I pushed till I almost exploded my own eye balls out and out popped the baby 🥰 YAYYYYYYYYYYY, i heard the cries almost instantly Charlie was crying, I couldn’t see what was going on because I had my back to it all, I couldn’t hold the baby because the cord was too short, (this was why baby was breech) they had to prematurely clamp and cut the cord, just before that happens Charlie had told me in my ear we have another GIRL YAYYYYYYYYYY I was elated, my little Theia has a very own baby sister, which she was saying allllll along bless her!!
After the cord was claimed I got my skin to skin, and saw how much this little lady looked like my other little lady, it warmed my heart and I felt so relieved she was safe and I was safe and we made it!!!!! Baby Harriet mailer arrived at 11:37am weighing 7lbs 13oz big bubba compared to my little Theia, she was only 6lb 11oz the midwife said she wished the whole birth got filmed lol it was a good one!! All the people that came in and out were for experience or wanted to see a breech baby coming into the world lol Over night some of midwifes came round to introduce themselves and let us all know to ask for help anytime, and as I was explaining my birth ect she informed me she already knew, all the staff over the following 24 hours had been briefed of me coming in in their hand overs, (felt like a celebrity lol) I’m the breech lady I said 🤣
Ahhhhhhhh but what a hard and brilliant birth it was!!! I had to stay on the birthing unit so Harriet could have obs for 12 hours, Theia and Harriet got to meet each other a few hours after, she’s such a great big sister, she’s so helpful and not fazed much, I’ve struggled with the changes more than any one, I felt bad for Theia like she was having her home taken over, I didn’t want her to feel unloved or anything, so I’ve been a bit emotional about that, Harriet literally sleeps, eats, poop and sleeps some more lol she’s great!!! Such a little beaut!!! I’ll send you over a few pics of the day. xxx
I learnt also that if the breech isn’t turning then to leave them B, they maybe can’t, like in my case because the cord was short, or it’s just the fact they are happy in that position for what ever reason.
Thank you so much!! I am honestly so proud how this birth eventually planned out! It couldn’t have gone any better! Honestly Azeeta if it wasn’t for your classes my breathing techniques my focus and my zoning out wouldn’t of happened and they were the very things that got me though this birth.
Huge congratulations to Lauren on her amazing breech birth story. Huge thank you to everyone at Harlow Hospital, Princess Alexandra maternity, for being so instrumental in this positive birth story.
When a baby is born it can be a truly surreal moment. You may have spent hours or days in labour and your hormones have gone through a roller coaster ride you have never experienced before. But anything and everything seems to disappear once they are here.
You see them, they see you.
The moment is completely alone. Just you and your baby. You can not see or hear anything else. The oxytocin floods in like a river that has burst its bank. It takes over your entire being and you both float into the air in a rhythmic dance of love just between you two.
You get into your position for rest and you basque in each others beauty. You take in all the minute details making sure you take it all in. You have been dreaming of this moment for 9 months and you are going to memorise everything about them right this second.
You just look at each other.
The world stops.
It is just you and your baby/babies.
Sometimes we don't get this moment straight away. It could be hours, days or even months later before you get to really connect together in this unique meeting. That is okay! When it happens take it, be in it, basque in it and run with it.
Take in all the smells, the movement and the love.
Oxytocin has the power to change the world.
Doula - Hypnobirthing
After a bleed on Sunday the 23rd December 2018, I went to Lister hospital to be checked out. After being monitored and my lady garden being examined I was advised to be induced. The doctor was great but not very informative.. Another doctor followed in to explain some more. I was moved to a ward where the induction would happen. James went home to get me supplies to entertain myself. However after being examined again, I had already dilated 3cm. The first option of induction couldn't happen and I was advised that the next step would be to break my waters, I was relieved as I didn't really want to be induced.
I spent the night on the ward and I sent James home.. The chairs were awful!! That night a lady came onto the ward also at 3cm, she did incredible and left the ward about 5am at 8cm...i didn't sleep much that night. I was on this ward for what felt like an eternity, on Christmas eve night I was feeling quite anxious and didn't want to spend Christmas day waiting around when I felt okay. James asked a Midwife to come and speak to me and she came bearing good news.. There was a room for me, down to the consultant led unit I went.
My wonderful midwife Lucy asked me if I had a birth plan, I panicked and said no.. Which was true, I hadn't written one but I just didn't know how to talk at that moment!! When she returned I told her that actually I had done a hypnobirthing course, would like a pool and minimal pain relief unless I asked for it .. She said if a pool came available we could try and nab it.
My Midwife Lucy was wonderful.
Then the fun started. I was hooked up to monitors to check all was okay before my waters could be broken. Babies heart rate was high and they eventually put me on a drip to hydrate me, this seemed to help.
Lucy examined me and broke my waters at around 10pm. I was examined not long after and was at 4cm. I had begun to use my hypno birthing techniques, I was solely concentrating on my breathing. I wanted to be more active but my body felt so weak and I kept getting severe shakes. The pain was quite bad in my back; Lucy checked and said baby had turned slightly and was a bit back to back.. We rode it out and thankfully baby turned again.
James kept my water and juice topped up.. He says he felt useless but actually he couldn't have been any better, he knew I needed space and every now and then he reminded me how well I was doing. I was on another planet. Another hour passed and contractions were increasingly stronger and more frequent. By now the Christmas songs on the radio were doing my head in and I didn't want to hear about rudolph anymore, I asked James to put Ben Howard and it sounded wonderful!
Lucy examined me again- I was 5cm. It felt like forever. The pain was really stepping up and I felt like I wanted to scream. I asked Lucy when gas and air could come into play.. She said now if I liked! I was at the point where I thought I can't do this.. Maybe I do need more pain relief. But I never voiced this because deep down I didn't want these thoughts responded to. So I took gas and air and by god I've never experienced anything like it.
Within another hour I was 7 cm. Lucy was back.. She said to me "you won't remember half of this".. So true but I remember her saying that and her kind face and words of encouragement telling me how well I was doing. By now I didn't know what time it was and Lucy was right.. I barely remember anything.
I was stood over the bed for over an hour and Lucy asked me if I wanted to have the baby standing up, I didn't plan to and felt like a change so moved onto all fours on the bed. I was in this position for some time too.. When it came to it I puuuuushed and I screeeaaammed and I apologised for my profanities. By this point my calm and quiet breathing patterns were out the window but "relax your jaw" echoed throughout and I did still try and breath through it (...using gas and air). Lucy told me to really use my energy to push into my bum. "oooh babies got dark hair!" Lucy said. The baby was really nearly here!!
Baby wasn't coming round the bend so Lucy and Sheila (a senior midwife who came to join the party) told me to turn onto my back, after a few more pushes and a lot less screaming out baby came.. they plonked baby on me and I couldn't believe it. After a minute or so Sheila said "do we know what we've got?!" with all the excitement we hadn't even checked the gender!! James looked.. I had just given birth to a gorgeous 8lb15oz ginger baby boy.. Definitely not dark hair Lucy! At 6:06am on the 25th December 2018. I was in awe, I couldn't believe what had just happened. Not long after the salvation army were walking the corridors playing Christmas music, it was so surreal but so magical. The best Christmas ever !
Darcie did incredible! I love that throughout she just heard the echoes of my voice :) She did a 6 week womens only hypnobirthing course with me and we always kept in contact. This story is so moving as it shows the power of hypnobirthing, the power of listening to your body but the most important thing was that she went with her body and didn't fight it.
Thank you Darcie for sharing!
Azeeta Nielsen x
Jaxon Hughes born 14th November 2018
After my first son was born by emergency c section following a long induction I was apprehensive second time round.
I longed for a VBAC but had also made the decision that should I have to be induced I would opt for an elective c-section instead.
I completed hypnotherapy sessions in the lead up to the birth of my second son and found it helped keep me positive and relaxed. I had a birth plan for both eventualities - VBAC and elective c section.
I went 12 days overdue and thus went in for an elective c section on 14th November 2018. This experience couldn’t have been more different to the emergency c-section with my first son. I felt in control and listened to throughout. The staff followed my birth plan which included - having the ECG dots on my back so that they wouldn’t get in the way during skin to skin; having the IV in my non dominant hand; ensuring my baby was born calmly and gently (through the sunroof) with the drapes down; delayed cord clamping and skin to skin nearly immediately. I also had a play list on with all my fave songs.
I may not have got the VBAC I longed for but I still had a very positive experience and the oxytocin was flowing.
This wonderful image by Brenda Baar did the rounds today on social media. I saw it a while ago when I googled Maslow's theory to see if I could find anything interesting for an NCT exam and I came across this beauty.
So many women forget about themselves in birth. It is a passage for you and baby together, not alone as separate entities. So why do so many of us say it's just about the baby being okay but no mention of yourself? Even sometimes saying you don't matter...
Of course a healthy baby matters. There is no mother who doesn't believe this but why are you not included too? YOU MATTER! You have needs too. Imagine a birth where you fulfil your hierarchy of needs? During my antenatal classes I always talk about feeling protected, nurtured and heard. To not be an outsider looking in on what is happening but to be present, completely involved and surrounded by trust. I've heard so many stories of what should have been a traumatic birth by textbook standards but the woman walked away having a positive birth because of all these factors being ticked. How amazing is that?
Research has shown that unrealistic expectations for labour isn't usually the common force behind PTSD after birth, which some believe is, but is linked to how you are treated:
"...one study looked at this question directly and found that a difference between expectations and experience in the level of pain, length of labour, interventions and level of control was not associated with PTSD symptoms. However, a difference between expected support from health professionals and the level of care experienced was predictive of PTSD symptoms (Ballard, Stanley et al. 1995; Ford and Ayers unpublished). It therefore seems that women are not necessarily traumatised by the events of birth not happening as they expected, but are affected when the care they receive does not match their expectations." (City University of London, 2012)
So, looking after the woman has a huge purpose. Not only because it's reasonable but because it's logical. The far reaching impact goes beyond birth if your needs are not met. All the needs are not always met and you can have a few or all, it can interchange. But meeting the majority would be incredible, no matter what birth, just by changing the way women are looked after. Language is so key here and a lot of positive changes are being made but we have a long way to go. But they are changing...
Alive. Health. Trust. Autonomy. Heard.
A hierarchy of needs that truly matters.
Becoming a mother brings on a whole world of new emotions.
Adaptation, change and transition.
We spend so much time preparing for birth and keeping our pregnant bodies healthy that we forget the world after that. There will be a baby, your life will change and there will be a transition. Just like birth there can be highs and lows but babies don't need much. They need love, milk, warmth, cleanliness and clothing. They just need you!
Postnatal care in this country is pretty low but you can find your tribe and there are support groups springing up everywhere. Spend your first week or two at home. Enjoy that time getting to know each other (yes they are getting to know you and vice versa), but then once you start venturing out start talking to other mums and build that network of support. Being able to say "my night was crap eh" is a form of everyday therapy and guess what...you are not alone. You may feel like you're alone in the middle of the night when you are up six times and feeding for 30-45 minutes a pop, but you are not.
You transition when you become a mother. It feels like you have lost your old identity and are in a bit of a limbo land. You don't have to lose her...you can gain someone new. When researching motherhood I came across a lovely notion that I think all new mothers should take heed of. You become a blend of your old and new self. Do not lose the old you but instead bring that old self into the new self. You are not lost! Become someone new without losing her. Mothers just become even more powerful because your new identity is powerful. You transform! This can feel quite scary at first but, just like birth, let go. Welcome this new change in identity and become her. It may take some time before you feel settled again and THAT IS OKAY.
Experiment, learn and embrace.
Highs and lows I will embrace you.
Bring on the new normal.
"Well that was speedy - so fast in fact I had back to back contractions and she was with us before 9.30pm last night! We're very happy to have our Matilda safe and sound with us - thanks so much for your support and of course wonderful massages xx".
Mummy didn't actually do hypnobirthing with me but had pregnancy massages and we had a lovely connection so started asking me for advice. We spoke throughout before her induction and Matilda arrived unexpectedly fast. Mummy dealt with it amazingly! She was nervous about an induction but we spoke about the process and how to keep relaxed and make sure she used the BRAIN model; safe to say it went brilliant.
This is Matilda all grown up and mummy just came back to start massage treatments again which is such a joy for me.
"I was induced at 41+5 and was extremely excited but also apprehensive as I had been quite poorly at 38 weeks. After three days in hospital I had my waters broke and started the oxytocin drip. Contractions started soon after that and I used my breathing techniques to control the surges. After four hours I asked for G&A and quickly reached 10cm. I pushed for 2 hours but was unable to give birth myself so needed some intervention. Finally my little boy arrived after 6 hours of active labour and a forceps delivery. I used the techniques that Azeeta taught me and only had gas and air to help with the surges. I had some further complications at the end of labour but I wouldn’t change it for the world. My little boy arrived at 42+1 weighing 9lb 14oz."
Lee and Cat were my very first hypnobirthing couple. What a fabulous couple to have! Jack is now 8 months old.
Lee also left me a beautiful review:
"Azeeta is friendly, professional, and also very supportive...but she was also there for us outside of the course. If we had any questions or concerns she was also there and happy to help us along this journey as new parents. The hypnobirthing sessions really helped my wife and I stay calm and relaxed during the Labour, even when things didn't go quite to plan. We are now both proud parents of our little bundle of joy and were glad to have the support of Azeeta, can't recommend her enough."