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My Babies First Year

Baby Jack’s first year

So in a flash my second baby, Jack, turned one. It has gone so much faster than I ever anticipated. He changes before my eyes on a daily basis. I find myself thinking how did he suddenly just start doing that? In this past week Jack has decided he will eat ‘proper’ food he’s moved on from purees – thank goodness I thought he was never going to get there! He is interested in feeding himself and so over bottles and milk. Oh and he’s decided that he wants to try and totter around.

Looking back what would I tell me pre Jack?

The laid back me might not be so laid back. I can quite confidently say first time round I wasn’t a stressed Mum. I’d describe myself as very chilled and didn’t worry – which I know is quite unusual first time round. I didn’t follow a guide as to what Oliver should be doing I just trusted my instinct and chatted to friends. Fast forward to second baby even though I was as laid back I was stressed not about Jack but about this new found life that was a juggling act.

Savour the moments. They go by so much faster than they do first time round. I put it down to not having as much time as I did as a first time Mum. I’ve not been able to savour them as much I find that quite sad.

It’s normal to feel out of control! For a normally pretty organised person I can honestly say I felt so unorganised for around 10 months. I’d get myself in a tizz over silly things but to me they were big deals. Like I couldn’t get on top of an ironing pile. To some this wouldn’t even be on the list of things to do but to me it was a big deal!

You can have as much love for more than one child. I can remember after having Oliver saying to my husband I can’t imagine loving another child as much as I love Oliver. Of course as soon as Jack was born I loved him as much as I do Oliver. They’re both amazing little boys.

Don’t lose your temper easily with your first child. I’m so guilty of this! It’s been a long day, you’re tired and have little patience. Poor Oliver bears the brunt of this. I had to have a word with myself. He was a 3 year old little boy who’s world imploded when this baby arrived. It’s okay that he probably doesn’t understand that you’re shattered when he used to have your undivided attention.

Accept that when you feel a bit stressed it affects your happy life. Don’t just accept that’s how life has to be now. It’s okay not to be okay but you have to ask for help. Share how you’re feeling I guarantee things will feel better immediately.

Feeling a little resentful

You can start to feel feelings you never have – it’s okay you’re not a monster for feeling like that. Finding yourself quite resentful that your other half gets to go to work everyday. I have said many times since having Jack that going to work full time five days a week would be easier. Admittedly not for all jobs working in the NHS, Emergency Services for example. But for my previous job in marketing that would be a walk in the park.

In a probably slightly aggressive tone I’ve been known to say at least you get a pay rise, you get a bonus, you get recognition! Motherhood can feel overwhelming and even more so when you’re having a bad day. You don’t get to close the front door behind you have some time on the commute to work, drink a hot drink, have breakfast and lunch. You can start to feel resentful for that even though they are going to work too. Cut them some slack.

Don’t wish the time away

I’ve found second time around that there’s not the element of surprise like first time round. You’ve never done it before. Suddenly your baby moves on to the next stage and you’re delighted. Its a whole new world.

Unlike second time around for me. Poor Baby Jack Jack I’m constantly preempting the next stage. I’m sure that’s why the time has gone even faster. I can’t believe that 6 months ago I’d started weaning him and now he’s tucking into a range of foods.

Even leading up to his first birthday it whizzed by and I was left thinking the night before. Have I done enough? Created enough memories? Of course I have but you can’t help but worry. I strongly believe it’s not about spending money on a child unnecessarily it’s about creating fun memories and capturing them.

Admittedly I can’t deny I can’t wait for the nappies to be done though!

Would I change anything?

I wouldn’t change a thing. I love my little family. Once I started to have some acceptance and things didn’t seem so foggy life became easier. Sleep, regular exercise, not rushing around every day has massively helped. I’m lucky I have a great husband who is definitely 50% of this team. He helps me see the light and get some perspective even in my meltdown moments!

I have some great friends and we are able to have very honest conversations. That helps when you’re having a bad day because guess what many Mums are going through the same thing.

I love the conversations at the school gate after I’ve dropped my 4 year old Oliver at nursery with some lovely Mums I’ve met there. Mums with one child, others with multiple. One Mum turned to me the other day and said I’m so happy you said that I thought I was the only one feeling like that with two children. Being honest can really help another Mum out.

The lovely conversations I have with one of my best friends Kelly when we’re wandering through the streets of Twickenham and Richmond. How we just both get where we’re coming from. A problem shared is a problem halved.

When I’m not being a Mum of 2 juggling life….

I’m busy helping expectant parents achieve the best birth for them. I offer group and private hypnobirthing classes in Teddington, Twickenham, Richmond, Kingston and surrounding areas in London, Surrey & Middlesex.

Do you have a Pregnant Pal? I offer the £325 group course price for 2 or more couples but in the comfort of your own home.

So to find out more about hypnobirthing  or to book your hypnobirthing classes get in touch – I’d love to hear from you.

Follow me via my blog,  FacebookInstagram or Twitter to keep up to date with all workshops and events taking place.

Ali x

My Babies First Year

I have to give birth again? To a Placenta?! What’s that?

What is the placenta?

I think we take it as a given that everybody knows what a placenta is. Its not true. I know many women who had no idea what it was until they were pregnant let alone that they they had to ‘birth’ it.

The placenta is an organ that is created when pregnant. It attaches itself to the uterus wall during your pregnancy. Its function is to keep mother and babies blood supply separate and to create a link between the two.

So exactly what does a placenta do?

For the functions that your unborn baby can’t do itself it does this for them passing oxygen and nutrients to the baby. The placenta passes waste back into the mother bloodstream to dispose of such as carbon dioxide.

Hormones are produced by the placenta that help your baby develop. It also helps baby be protected against most bacterias protecting against infection.

Any antibodies that a mother already has will be passed on to the baby towards the end of a pregnancy via the placenta. This gives baby immunity for around the first 3 months of their lives.

During pregnancy we are warned about the risks of drinking, taking drugs, not taking certain medication, avoiding too much caffeine. The reason for this is because these are all passed via the placenta to the baby.

So just how does the placenta make its entrance into the world?

During birth education you’ll often hear about the stages of labour. The third stage is when birthing the placenta takes place. Unlike birthing your baby the placenta tends to slide out in most cases but this doesn’t happened immediately. Being in an upright position should enable an easier delivery. Yep just like birth we don’t want to be lying flat on our back!

For a vaginal delivery the placenta can either be delivered physiological or managed (also known as active management). So of course if you haven’t birthed before this may mean nothing! So let me explain.

Physiological third stage

A physiological third stage is where we rely upon the body to birth our placenta. Just as it has the baby. The uterus contracts to birth the placenta when it has come away from the uterus wall. Like birth we need our oxytocin levels to be high for the uterus to work effectively to do this. So Mum & baby having lots of skin to skin & initiating feeding will really help.

The time a physiological third stage can take can vary but you can normally expect for it to take up to an hour. My personal experience with my second son was it took 50 minutes.

If a woman is low risk and has had a straightforward delivery with no intervention there wishes for this type of third stage should be supported.

Managed third stage

This is where your midwife will give you an injection in your thigh quite soon after birth. The drug administered will either be syntocinon or syntometrine. This encourages one big surge to encourage the placenta to come away quickly. With my first son I had this and it took 2 minutes after the injection was administered.

This type of delivery can be given even for the most straightforward birth if this is your wish. It is also encouraged if you’ve needed the hormone drip to speed up labour, have had a forceps or ventouse delivery. These types of interventions could mean your oxytocin levels aren’t as high as they need to be for the uterus to contract effectively.

How is the placenta delivered when you have a caesarean ?

Similar to a managed third stage for a vaginal delivery an injection will be administered to help the placenta come away. The Doctor performing the caesarean will gently tug on the umbilical cord to ensure its come away from the uterus wall before removing it.

What happens to the placenta after?

So once this amazing organ has been birthed the midwife will check that it is intact. This is to ensure it has all come out and the body hasn’t retained any.

If for any reason it has suffered any damage during the delivery or appears to have any abnormalities it will be send away for testing. This is to ensure that your baby isn’t at any risk. Its amazing what they can tell from the placenta.

If there are no concerns you can take your placenta away with you although you should refrigerate within 30 minutes of birth.

10 interesting facts about these amazing placentas…

  • They are an organ
  • The only organ created to be disposable
  • Identical twins may or may not share a placenta
  • Deliver the nutrition that babies need when in the womb
  • They are an unborn babies oxygen supply acting as their lungs
  • Made up of both Mum & Dad as the sperm is responsible for creating the placenta and umbilical cord
  • Develops and functions without being connected to the brain as not connected to the nervous system
  • Has its own endocrine system providing all the hormones for both Mum and baby throughout pregnancy.
  • When the placenta separates after birth it triggers the prolcatin hormone which is the hormone needed for milk production
  • They can be digested

Do you learn more about placentas with hypnobirthing?

Absolutely! As part of my hypnobirthing courses we talk about the third stage of labour. So that you can make an informed decision on how you birth your placenta. If how you choose to birth the placenta then has any affected on other choices you may wish to make such as delayed cord clamping.

Interested in Hypnobirthing and all that is included in a course?

I offer group courses in Twickenham and I teach private hypnobirthing courses in and around London. Including Barnes, Cobham, Hampton, Isleworth, Kew, Kingston, Richmond, St Margaret’s, Surbiton, Sunbury, Teddington, Twickenham, Walton, Whitton and surrounding areas.

Do you have a Pregnant Pal? I offer the £325 group course price for 2 or more couples but in the comfort of your own home.

So to find out more about hypnobirthing  or to book your hypnobirthing classes get in touch – I’d love to hear from you.

Follow me via my blog,  FacebookInstagram or Twitter to keep up to date with all workshops and events taking place.

Ali x

I have to give birth again? To a Placenta?! What’s that??

A Traumatic Birth to a Triumphant Experience

Laura’s traumatic birth to triumphant birth

I’ve had the pleasure of teaching quite a few of my friends over the past 6 months. Out of my friendship group Laura, who I met through my husband back in 2010, was the first that I taught in summer 2018. Laura was expecting her second baby in August. After a traumatic birth first time round I was keen to help Laura as much as I could.

Laura is an amazing family & newborn photographer so we struck up a deal. I was pregnant with my second son Jack when Laura announced her pregnancy. So Laura offered to do my maternity shoot in return for the hypnobirthing course. Who was I to argue with that.

By the time I started teaching Laura my son Jack was then 4 months old. So each week Laura & I would try to time it with our little ones afternoon naps. At the time we lived about 100 yards from one another so I’d wait for Laura’s call that her daughter was sleeping. We didn’t do too bad on the whole. Admittedly Jack did gurgle through a few relaxations!

Reflecting on Laura’s first birth

I knew a lot about Laura’s first birth and it saddened me that she’d had such a traumatic birth experience. One that stuck with not only her but her husband, Jack and her Mum, Barbara too as they’d both been present. I wanted to help Laura work through this as much as I could. I asked to read her birth reflections notes. West Middlesex Hospital had set a birth reflections up for Laura to help her understand what had happened first time round.

Laura had suffered high blood loss first time round resulting in a blood transfusion. The main cause unknown but probably a combination of trauma and uterine. Ultimately this was a concern for her second birth.

Continuity of care

Laura had amazing support from West Middlesex Hospital. Understandably Laura was anxious so she was put under the Daisy Team. This meant she could have continuity of care also known as caseloading. This is shown to have a massive impact of a woman’s birth. Due to my planned home birth i’d be lucky enough to experience this with my second pregnancy so speaking from experience it’s fantastic.

Between the Daisy Team and the Consultant Midwife they worked with Laura to write a birth proposal. Laura had expressed her wish to have a home birth but after closely looking at Laura’s case they advised against this. They did work with Laura to try and have her on the Natural Birth centre but the risk was considered to high. This was due to the previous blood loss. It was advised the safest place to be was the Labour Delivery Suite.

Once Laura knew the reasons behind the teams advice she was happy with the decision. Laura and Jack were given the facts. Resulting in a feeling that they had been made part of the decision making process. They were aware she was going to use hypnobirthing techniques and were fully supportive of this. After suffering a traumatic birth first time round everybody wanted to work with Laura to avoid this happening again so plans were put in place.

The Main event

The day came when everything started for Laura. She’d had a midwife appointment at home that day but was asked to go to the hospital as there were concerns over the heart rate. Once at the hospital everything had returned to normal. Thankfully Laura and Jack were sent on their merry way but not before Jack had tucked into the hospital bag snacks to which Laura told him they weren’t there for a picnic!

Once Laura was back home that afternoon she started to experience tightenings that were becoming more regular. Her waters hadn’t broken which was the same as her previous birth. She took a lie down and used her diffuser with lavender oil. Laura had attended the Essential Oils for Pregnancy & Birth workshop that I host alongside Happy Baby, Happy Me so was putting into practice what she’d learnt. Using her association of the scent of lavender with relaxation.

Laura messaged me to say she didn’t know if it was really it but her surges had become more regular that afternoon. I was due to go to the Chiswick Positive Birth Meeting that evening and as fate would have it it got cancelled at the last minute. I let Laura know I was around if she needed me. Also asking if she had the frankincense oil ready to use in a jar as she wished. Laura had the oil but no jar so I offered to pop down with one and to keep her company whilst Jack briefly popped out.

A little chat sometimes helps

Laura was so relaxed when I saw her. We had a chat. I encouraged her and reminded her of her techniques to use. Unbeknown to me this pep talk – which wasn’t meant to be a pep talk was what she needed. To keep her calm and confident.

Laura spoke to her Mum, Barbara whilst I was there who was on their annual family holiday in Southwold. Laura wanted her Mum with her at the birth again. So Barbara jumped in the car to be with her daughter. It was roughly a 3 hour journey. I kept my finger crossed on this beautiful summers day the roads would be kind and she wouldn’t get held up. Laura’s words to her Mum were its nowhere near as painful as it was last time so I think I’ve got a while yet. To myself I thought it won’t get to that stage that it did before it’ll be different this time round. I could just tell my Laura’s demeanour.

When Jack came back Laura was leaning over supporting her weight against the fireplace working with her body through the surge. She looked really peaceful I was confident she had this. I said to Jack right before I go let me show you some massage techniques. There was laughter and smiles. Nobody in the room seemed afraid of birth. There appeared to be no demons from the previous birth hanging around the room. I left around 19.30 confident that this wouldn’t be another traumatic birth for them. We had a few more texts that evening but I didn’t hear from Laura again after 9pm when her contractions had been roughly 5 minutes apart.

I can’t sleep!

That night I slept so lightly. Every time I woke I’d look at my phone hoping my friend was okay. I got up the next morning and I was completely disheartened. Laura & Jack’s car had been parked outside our house and it hadn’t moved. I thought surely not. Laura’s gone through the night potentially still labouring after everything seemed to be going in the right direction.

At about 8am I heard voices outside – my husband, Jamie was chatting to Jack outside. I rushed outside to see Jack doing a thumbs up sign. In delight he said Laura’s had the baby. It’s another girl Al. I cried. I said but your car hadn’t moved. Jack said Laura had the baby early hours this morning so I’ve been home since then! I was so happy. Jack said he’ll never forget my face when I started crying.

To hear Jack, who had been affected by Laura’s traumatic birth tell me ‘I never knew birth could be so beautiful’ will stay with me forever. He thanked me for what I’d done and how the pep talk had helped Laura. I said it wasn’t me who did that Laura did it. They’d had the experience I’d wanted them to have. Jack told me how amazing Laura was. How she remained active the whole time. Not being phased by being in a more medicalised room but had used it to her advantage.

Welcome Home!

Laura gave birth at 01.31 and was discharged that same day. A completely different story to that previously traumatic birth. Laura messaged me to say.

“Thanks so much for your help, it went so well. Couldn’t have hoped for better. All the hypnobirthing work was amazing and helped so much. The last minute pep talk was just what I needed! I used the pot of frankincense throughout too and that really helped. Thank you so much for all your help and advice!”

Less than 48 hours after Laura had given birth I walked into her garden to see this radiant and glowing Mum. Laura wasn’t the only one beaming, Jack was too. There eldest daughter was running around playing on her scooter. It was such a lovely scene.

Laura’s Mum, Barbara commented about the atmosphere when she arrived at Laura’s house. The candles were going, the music was playing, the lights were dimmed. This was music to my ears. Just what Laura needed to feel relaxed, in her safe place being at home for as long as possible to encourage those high Oxytocin levels.

A women births at her best unobserved in a darkened safe space. Laura had a supportive birth partner ensuring all these things were in place for her. I often use this setting as an example when I’m teaching expectant parents.

Both Jack and Barbara couldn’t believe how different this birth had been. I felt like they had all healed from the trauma they’d experienced first time.

A perfect family of four

This really was a special birth as their baby girl had been born in the amniotic sac. This is so very rare it occurs in less than 1 in 80,000 births. In that birth room there were now 2 females who had been born in the sac as Barbara was too!

I’ve included a few pics of Laura and her great birth team shortly after birth and the days that followed. Laura looking amazing after just giving birth. Laura sent me so many gorgeous pictures i just couldn’t decide what ones to use so i used them all!

Laura’s midwife said ‘she could have birthed in a barn’. Less than a week after giving birth Laura headed down to Southwold to join in on the annual family holiday. So chilled and relaxed with another baby girl in tow to join in the fun that summer. I’m sure you’d agree a complete triumph after a traumatic first birth.

Have you previously suffered a traumatic birth? Or just want to hypnobirth?

I offer group courses in Twickenham and I teach private hypnobirthing courses in and around London. Including Barnes, Cobham, Hampton, Isleworth, Kew, Kingston, Richmond, St Margaret’s, Surbiton, Sunbury, Teddington, Twickenham, Walton, Whitton and surrounding areas.

Do you have a Pregnant Pal? I offer the £325 group course price for 2 or more couples but in the comfort of your own home.

So to find out more about hypnobirthing  or to book your hypnobirthing classes get in touch – I’d love to hear from you.

Follow me via my blog,  FacebookInstagram or Twitter to keep up to date with all workshops and events taking place.

Ali x

Laura's traumatic birth to triumphant birth

Laura's traumatic birth to triumphant birth

Laura's traumatic birth to triumphant birth

Laura's traumatic birth to triumphant birth

Laura's traumatic birth to triumphant birth


A Traumatic Birth to a Triumphant Experience

Laura's traumatic birth to triumphant birth

An Empowering Hypnobirth

Welcome to the World Arthur – An Empowering Hypnobirth

I’ve wanted to share this empowering hypnobirth story that Emma sent me for weeks! Unfortunately a house move and a holiday got in the way. I did take the laptop to Portugal in hope that i’d get some work done. Who was I fooling with a 3.5 year old and 6 month old. The laptop didn’t even get open. So finally on this sunny Sunday morning I’ve got to share it with you. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I did.

Teaching Emma & Tom was such a pleasure and i’m so pleased I got to meet Emma through hosting courses at Gymboree in St Margarets.

Emma & Tom’s Hypnobirth Story

I still can’t believe that Arthur is here, in my arms and feeding as I write this. 7th of August 2018 marked a turning point in my life as it took me from being a woman, to a woman with a birth story and the moment our family was complete. I have two wonderful children already from my partner’s previous relationship so I was no stranger to family life with young children but being able to experience pregnancy and birth is something I will never forget.

Happy New Year!

When Tom and I found out we were pregnant on New Year’s Day we embraced every moment of it. We shared the news with our children, Georgia and William straight away and with close friends and family. Although some found this to be taboo since we did not wait until the ‘12 week mark’, we wanted to share the news and chose to remain positive and enjoy every minute.

I was extremely lucky and had an amazing pregnancy. I loved everything about being pregnant. However, I was always concerned about how I would be during the birth.

I met Ali through my job and found her to be such an upbeat and genuine person. I had heard positive Hypnobirthing stories from others I knew and when I found out that Ali offered courses I jumped at the chance to join hers!

Tom and I only ended up attending two out of the three sessions since Arthur came a month early. This was enough to help me through my birthing experience. Turning a dreaded induction and c-section into a positive birthing story. One that I love sharing as to be honest I just feel like I never hear enough of them. So here’s mine.

35 Weeks Pregnant

My waters broke at 35 weeks and I was kept in hospital for three days before they decided to induce me as nothing had started on its own accord. Since my plan for birth was at the birthing centre and ideally with use of the birthing pool, I quickly came to realise that none of this was going to happen. Ordinarily this would have left me anxious, disappointed and stressed, but the techniques I learned during my Hypnobirthing course helped me stay calm and relaxed and let my body do what it had to.

Using hypnobirthing techniques for an induction

At 10am on the Monday they started the induction process with the gel, by 6pm still nothing had progressed. The whole time I kept using the relaxations I had learned. Tom encouraged me to use breathing techniques to stay calm and manage any discomfort I was having during examinations. The relaxations, breathing and staying active definitely helped me. The midwives could see surges showing on the monitor but I was not in any discomfort. I was finally induced by the drip at 9pm. The hours went by and the drip increased and still our little Arthur was showing no signs of making an appearance. However, understanding the miracle of birth in more detail through the Hypnobirthing sessions, kept me extremely positive and happy to do what I needed. My only requirement was that I did not want an epidural and I can happily say that I got my wish. At 3am I was stung by a wasp in the delivery room too, just to add to it all!

Making an informed decision

With nothing happening after being examined and the rest of my waters being broken, at fourteen hours and only 1cm dilated, Tom and I decided a c-section was the only way we were going to meet our son.

The thought of this during my pregnancy filled me with dread. How would I be able to cope after? Would I be left with an ugly scar? I wouldn’t have a natural birth! However, in the delivery room I felt empowered and nothing was going to phase me. Hypnobirthing gave me the strength to ask the right questions, make the right decisions for me and still feel in control, even though I didn’t deliver the natural way and the way I wanted.

The experience in theatre was like no other. An amazing, positive memory will always be with me as our son Arthur was finally born at 36 weeks. We are so lucky to have him here.

Three weeks later, I am up on my feet like normal, over the moon and enjoying everything about my amazing family.

Still wondering if hypnobirthing only works for a natural birth?

I hope this lovely birth story reconfirms that it’s a misconception that hypnobirthing can only be used for a natural pain relief free birth. This really isn’t the case. Hypnobirthing is about creating a positive birth experience. Asking questions, understanding what you’re consenting to as Emma & Tom did. Owning your birth is a fundemental part of the process. Trusting your body and being heard during pregnancy and birth. Having a caesarean or an induction doesn’t mean that you can’t use hypnobirthing and have an hypnobirth.

I’ve often heard women say ‘lucky we didn’t do that hypnobirthing course. It would have been a waste of money as I had a caesarean’. This really isn’t the case as hypnobirthing teaches you to be in control. If your birth did mean a caesarean was recommended as it was in this case you and your partner would feel calm and in control. Not stressed out by the being told that a caesarean was needed. Which again I’ve heard a lot of women and birth partners say that’s how they felt.

Want to hypnobirth? Interested in booking a hypnobirthing course?

I offer weekend group courses at The Heart, Twickenham as well as evening weekday courses at Gymboree, St Margaret’s.

I teach private hypnobirthing courses in and around London. Including Barnes, Cobham, Hampton, Isleworth, Kew, Kingston, Richmond, St Margaret’s, Surbiton, Sunbury, Teddington, Twickenham, Walton, Whitton and surrounding areas.

Pregnant at the same time as a good friend? I offer the £295 group course price for 2 or more couples but in the comfort of your own home.

So to find out more about hypnobirthing  or to book your hypnobirthing classes get in touch – I’d love to hear from you.

Follow me via my blog,  FacebookInstagram or Twitter to keep up to date with all workshops and events taking place.

Ali x

An empowering hypnobirth