It was an honour to walk alongside Kirsty as she prepared to birth autonomously outside of the system. Kirsty began her journey meeting with midwives, but quickly reclaimed her power, choosing freebirth. Here she shares her story of how she ventured to the depths of her soul to meet her baby, enduring a 6 day labour.

“I don’t expect anyone to make it through this whole story, though you’re welcome to if you’d like. For me, typing it out felt important as an exercise of processing and healing. 

  • This is a long birth story because my labour began on a Tuesday, and Ronan was born on Sunday.
  • I am a single mum, so my doula (the fantastic Sophia Crawford) was my main birth partner.  
  • This was my first baby, conceived after a previous loss. 
  • I planned a freebirth at home with Sophia’s support. While not technically a ‘freebirth’ in the end, I don’t give the midwives any credit for the eventual safe appearance of my son. 
  • To prepare, I followed lots of freebirth accounts on social media. I fully educated myself on physiological birth, retraining my brain to see birth not as a medical event. Birth is a natural occurrence that occasionally needs medical support. 
  • I also greatly thank Sam Gadsden and her freebirth group + course on Facebook. As well as The Normal Boring Freebirth podcast, and Kemi Johnson for her content! These resources and others like them were very loud in the echo chamber I created for myself in the lead-up to birth. They were so helpful. 
  • I invited my wonderful friend Lizzie to be at any or all of the birth. She had a 15-month-old, so she weaves in and out of the story. 
  • My aunt (Claire) in Ireland also provided support from afar as we are very close. She is/was mine and the baby’s next of kin. 
  • Sophia was with me for all five days (what a legend). She received moral support via phone and social media from Claire and various other doula’s in the Bristol/Southwest network! Thank you to Daniella Dean, Alix Thorpe, and Sam Gadsden. 


Over the weekend before labour started, I’d had pretty regular ‘twinges’ during the day. I continued to walk my dog daily. I’d take him on big hikes up hills, along rivers and streams to try and keep things consistent. Hills were becoming more challenging, and I was getting more breathless but moving felt good! For reference, I’m 5ft 4 and a size 8-10, so my bump felt disproportionately huge. I felt like baby was trying to claw his way out; his movements were so big!

I was expecting a decent-sized baby as I was born at 9lb 4, and we’ve had the odd 10lb baby in our family. I’d had regular ‘niggles’ over the weekend and surges in the evenings that tailed off by morning. By Monday evening, I had relatively frequent and intense but manageable surges, but by midnight things seemed like they’d tailed off again as they’d done previous nights, so I went back to bed and focused on getting sleep.


I woke at about 4.30, and things felt like they were starting again. The latent phase of labour had meant that things had stopped as daylight came around for the past few days. I found it frustrating, but despite this I think I’d done a good job of surrendering to the process. 

I managed surges in my living room, dancing, singing to Ronan, leaning over my ball, and breathing to music.

I messaged Lizzie at about 5am and asked if she could come today. I’d been alone for a few days and needed some distraction. At 7.30am, I updated Lizzie to say that I thought the baby was trying to get into position as he was incredibly active with each surge! It’s interesting looking back on my text messages to see that I’d known from the start he wasn’t in the easiest position to make his way down.

Surges continued into the day, so I let Sophia know, and Lizzie and her little girl came for the morning. While they were here, I used my ball and ignored the surges. Lizzie said she might be able to come back later if things continued. When they left late morning, I decided to get some sleep and said I’d let her know if anything changed. 


At about 1.30pm, I updated Lizzie to let her know they were ramping up. I then texted around for someone to come and walk my dog. In planning, I’d thought I would probably like to continue walking him in early labour, but I didn’t feel I could do that with the strength of the surges. Lizzie returned around 3pm for a couple of hours. We layed on my bed together in a mixture of quiet and chatting as surges came every few minutes. When Lizzie left, I organised for Sophia to come. While waiting for Sophia, I managed surges in my living room, dancing, singing to Ronan, leaning over my ball, and breathing to music. I felt really calm and excited to meet my baby soon… 🤣

I felt this process was sending me to the depths of my soul and would be healing. I was right.

At about 6pm, Sophia arrived, but things seemed to slow as the evening went on. So much so that we could eat and watch a few episodes of Friends. We put the slowing down to the change of energy with Sophia arriving. I anticipated things would restart again if I got into bed, so Sophia decided to sleep on the sofa while I got some rest. I left Ralph (dog) downstairs with Sophia and went to bed.


Things ramped up again when I got to bed. By 4am Wednesday, they went up a notch further. I’d created a nice nest space in my bedroom with dim lights and a large quilt folded on the floor. Sophia set up the oil burner as I’d chosen to burn lavender and frankincense. Ralph assumed his position by my side. We spent the morning here, and surges built in intensity again. Lizzie joined us at around 8am for a couple of hours, offering love and words for Ronan, and again in the afternoon for a couple of hours, when I moved downstairs for a change of scene.  

During the morning session in my bedroom, I felt quite emotional. I had the first of a few emotional releases over the next few days. By 3pm downstairs, I was making noise and having long, intense back-to-back contractions. My body was working so hard as I was leaning into and managing the surges with my breath and movement. I spent lots of time in a squat position on my living room rug (which is where Ronan was eventually born).

Baby was still very active with each surge, and I felt really confident he was ok.


I was feeling into my body and moving intuitively, and I found myself lunging a lot to the right to create space in my left hip. So I told Sophia; ‘I feel like the baby is in my hip; something there feels sticky.’ I’d also been asking Sophia to hold my bump up for me as this relieved a lot of the pressure in my hip and made surges feel more productive. Sophia could feel what I was feeling, that baby was very active still with each surge, and I felt really confident he was ok. He was such an active baby in the womb, so his movements were reassuring. 

Although I knew he was head down, I felt he wasn’t in a position to easily make his way out, so we tried some gentle biomechanical positions to encourage him out of my hip. The side-lying hip release made surges feel so much more painful and intense. By about 8pm, I felt tired from the length and strength of surges. My cervix felt irritated and my womb was really tired. Sophia suggested I get in the bath to try and become more comfortable, which felt exactly what I needed.


In the bath, surges seemed to stop completely! In hindsight, I probably should have just stayed there and let my womb rest, but in the moment, I didn’t want to be experiencing no surges, so I quite quickly got out of the bath in the hope they’d re-start; however, nothing would bring them back that night. It was like my womb was saying ‘no more for now,’ as it regularly did over the rest of the labour. At about 11pm, I decided that I shouldn’t be ‘trying’ to get my body to do anything and we should call it a night and get some rest. I was tired, and my back was also in pain, spasming on one side.  


I woke up at 4am after 4 hrs of broken sleep. My womb had had her rest, and strong surges were building again. Throughout Thursday, I had surges build twice to the very ‘active labour’ stage of back-to-back incredibly long and intense surges, only to die off again after several hours of mooing. At one point, I really felt like this couldn’t possibly slow down again as surges were so intense and required so much focus on my breath to manage, but after a couple more hours, it felt as though nothing was changing.

I began to feel exhausted, a bit frustrated, and I really felt I needed to lie down and again like my womb needed a rest/refuel. Upon lying down, the surges quickly tapered off. It was like a switch had been flicked, and labour completely paused! Sophia and I were shaking our heads, almost in mild amusement. I remember thinking my cervix must be dilating as I’d passed bloody mucus throughout the day and thought I could feel it stretching. I also was sure my waters hadn’t broken yet.

The support and encouragement I got from Sam Gadsden’s Freebirth group was great. What was happening was normalised, and I felt armed to continue to trust the process and ride out the rest of the labour.


Later in the afternoon, Sophia had been with me for 48 hours. Surges were now back as short, intense bursts more spaced apart that I could rest through. I wanted to call Claire (my aunt) for a sense check. She is an osteopath, and I was hoping she could suggest something for the stalling and the baby’s position in my hip, which I felt was causing the spasms in my back and were now really bothering me.

Claire helpfully suggested that the only thing I could do was maybe take some paracetamol for the back pain so I could relax and get some sleep and trust the process and my intuition, and baby would be here soon.

Sophia had also been encouraging me to continue to trust my intuition, which felt so hard the more tired I became, and the more surges stopped, so this is exactly what I needed to do and hear from Claire. I decided to take Claire’s advice and get some rest and suggested Sophia go home and get some rest too, a change of clothes, shower, etc. I also wondered if a few hours to myself might change anything.


For the rest of Thursday evening, I laid in bed, having short surges that felt like every 2 or 3 minutes, and they were strong but still much shorter and less intense than earlier in the day. The paracetamol helped, and I put a post on Sam Gadsden’s Freebirth group while lying in bed. I just hadn’t encountered a story like mine in my prep for this freebirth, so I wasn’t prepared for such frequent stalling of very active labour.

I asked for people to share similar stories if they had them. The support and encouragement I got from that group was great. What was happening was normalised, and I felt armed to continue to trust the process and ride out the rest of the labour. I messaged Claire to tell her I was resting and that I felt this process was sending me to the depths of my soul and would be healing. I was right.

FRIDAY: 40+4

During the early hours of Friday am, I became agitated as the paracetamol wore off, and during surges, my back was really going into spasm again, so I couldn’t get at all comfortable. Sophia returned at 6am to find me on the toilet and quite distressed by my back. She ran a bath and massaged the pain away for me until I could eventually lie back. Surges ramped up to once again become very regular and very strong. It was daylight, so thanks to Sophia’s suggestion, I put on my eye mask, put in my earplugs, and went into the zone. Sophia sat next to me, just watching my bump. I remember hearing her words of encouragement and the odd ‘wow’ as she could see the strength of the surges and the baby’s big movements.

This continued throughout the morning, and the surges felt big, long, and productive. By late morning/lunchtime, I decided I needed to move, so I got out of the bath and moved into my spare room. 

I set myself up in the corner of the room, swaying to my music. Sophia was out of the room, probably preparing me food or letting out the bath, and I felt really weary. This is where I had another big emotional release. I got an overwhelming feeling that my nan was with me and sobbed. I sobbed out fear, frustration, and grief. Then I remember Sophia’s arms wrapping around me from nowhere as she held the space for me to let out my emotion. It felt really good to let it out.


As I regained my composure, the surges remained strong, and my waters started to trickle. I remember feeling like I was roaring, bent over the bed/standing, and rocking through almost back-to-back surges now. Sophia asked if I’d felt to see if I could feel anything, so I did. It felt like the sac of waters were bulging at my cervix.

After a couple more hours of massive surges, I felt my womb and myself become totally exhausted again. Lying down had sometimes brought me relief throughout labour. So I moved to side laying in the hope it would give me some moments of less intensity. Surges were still strong but became really spaced out in this position, and I got almost complete relief in between them again, enough to order more coconut water from Deliveroo, much to Sophia’s amusement.

I think I must have gone through about 10 litres of coconut water from this point onwards by the time he came out, as it’s all I could stomach. While it was tempting to stay upright to continue on, and it felt confusing that surges died off so much when I laid down on my side, I felt like I needed to rest and refuel before continuing. It had been an intense and long day.

Ordering more coconut water after days of intense labour… as you do.


It was now evening on Friday, and I decided to get back in the bath. I was beginning to feel frustrated again now. Not because I was worried or didn’t trust the process, but because I was tired and concerned for Sophia if it went on for days more and that my family would begin to worry as they hadn’t heard from me for a few days. I didn’t want the pressure of people knowing I was in labour and the added task of setting boundaries for their concerns.


In response to my post on Sam Gadsden’s freebirth group, someone shared some meditations on releasing during labour. Sophia suggested I do these in the bath. During these, my surges really slowed further. I surrendered to the meditation and became aware I was sobbing after a time. I’m talking proper snot bubbles and ugly crying as Sophia rested a hand on my arm. When I came round from my tears, I felt I’d shifted something and like I was going to be sick, and I was. My emotions have always been delicately tied to my physical state, so I saw this release as normal and felt better afterwards, but everything in my body had almost completely stopped. 

Rather than overthink this, I eased into the process further, renewed from my sob. Sophia and I went downstairs, we ate, watched friends, chatted, and I bounced on the ball. It was now late Friday night. Sophia rested on the living room floor, me on the sofa.

Sophia and I worked together in the months leading up to labour. At some point, I mentioned to Sophia that I didn’t want a c-section because I suffer from adhesions (scar tissue sticking together). I have lots of bowel adhesions from previous surgeries. During my pregnancy, I’d been referred to a consultant at 16 wks because I’d previously had a LLETZ treatment to my cervix to remove abnormal cells. I was just under the criteria for needing consultant-led care. Still, they decided to refer me anyway without my consent. But the point is, I’d previously had minor surgery on my cervix, and I suffer from adhesions.


Sophia and I rested in the living room in silence for a while, and I breathed through surges and tried to get some rest. Shortly after midnight, we began talking. Sophia mentioned that she had been looking into the evidence for whether scar tissue/adhesions can prevent a cervix from dilating and found this possible. She asked me if I thought there was any chance this might be what was going on for me. I was open to considering anything causing such established labour to stop and start. 


We discussed how I would feel about midwives checking my cervix to ensure it was dilating and ruling out scar tissue. While I felt confident this probably wouldn’t be the case, once we had discussed it, I knew the niggle wouldn’t go away until I got checked. Sophia called the home birth team and invited them to come. They knew my plan was a freebirth, so they asked what I would want from them. I said one VE to check my cervix and the baby’s position if possible and that the bag of waters was bulging. I just wanted confirmation of what my intuition told me: that my cervix was dilated, and he was tilted into my hip. This is exactly what they came to do. 

One midwife said she couldn’t believe I was sitting on the ball, holding a completely coherent conversation and advocating for myself whilst almost completely dilated.

They arrived at about 5am. I had put together a specific birth plan for any medical intervention, which the midwives mostly followed, minus the odd boundary push I deflected. When they arrived, I was in the bath. Sophia asked them to read the birth plan, and they came in to meet me and discuss again what I wanted. 

During their checks, I didn’t really have surges, I remained very calm and advocated for us clearly. The first midwife asked permission to palpate to check the baby’s position. She noted that it looked like my bladder was very full as there was a large bulge over my pubic bone and asked the second midwife to come in and confirm. I felt I’d been going to the toilet whenever I needed it but noted I’d not been for a while! As per my birth plan, I reminded them I wouldn’t consent to a catheter and spent quite some time trying to wee. Eventually, I emptied my bladder and moved downstairs for my cervix to be checked. 


The midwives said they’d like to listen to the baby before and after the VE, which I agreed to as I knew he was fine. He was. The VE confirmed I was pretty much ‘fully dilated’ (the midwife said she couldn’t feel any cervix), with the baby’s head right there in his bag of waters, and the midwife told me that she thought the baby was slightly tilted into my left hip. I declined more monitoring and everything else they offered, apart from allowing my bump to be measured, because I was mildly amused that they thought taking a measurement at this stage would be useful. 

Overall this visit from the midwives was positive for me as it boosted my trust in myself and my intuition.

After they had completed their checks, I sat bouncing on my ball, and one midwife said she couldn’t believe I was sitting on the ball, holding a completely coherent conversation and advocating for myself whilst almost completely dilated. I thanked them, told them I felt empowered to continue alone as the baby was fine, and asked them to leave. They did. 

Overall this visit from the midwives was positive for me as it boosted my trust in myself and my intuition. They confirmed everything I felt. Newly energised, Sophia and I did some more gentle biomechanical stuff to try and encourage baby out of my hip. I’d gone to the depths of my soul, emotionally released multiple times, physically released with vomit.  I felt like his position was the only thing preventing him from coming, and at this point, although I was feeling level-headed, I was tired! 


Within a few hours of the midwives leaving, the surges slowly started to pick up again. Lizzie came back for support, and I moved back to the spare bedroom, able to chat between surges until about 11am when I needed to lean over the bed and commence roaring. 

At about 11.15, my waters went with a gush, Hollywood style, completely clear of meconium. Sophia seemed pretty elated, and I remember her looking at my crystal clear waters and saying, ‘No distressed baby here!’ It felt like a massive milestone. I felt excited that something new was happening, and then my surges completely stopped. All I could do was laugh. Lizzie had to leave again, and I tried to keep my oxytocin flowing. I danced, rocked, expressed colostrum, bounced on my ball, and listened to music. Nothing much happened. It didn’t seem like surges were going to return anytime soon. Once again, my womb felt like she was asking for rest. I felt a mixture of amusement and exhaustion, but I knew baby was fine as he was still doing his usual river dance.


During the next few hours, nothing really changed. We spent some time pulling cards from my animal spirit cards, one each for Sophia, Ronan, and me. We couldn’t quite believe how perfect for each of us the cards were. Sophia pulled the Elk, which read about providing ‘underlying support and stability.’ I pulled the Frog, which read about clearing, healing, and using water to release! Ronan’s card was the Lamb, which read:

The lamb is the bearer of an important message…Lamb energy is the honest guidance you hear from an old friend, a young child, or sometimes a surprising stranger. Though the lamb’s message may channel through another person, the wisdom resonates within you. It will repeat and reverberate until you listen. Approach this gentle creature with utmost patience and reverence”…  

Lizzie came back around 3pm. She pulled a spirit card too, and pulled the Crow, “spiritually strong and watchful.”  At 4.30, Sophia left to refuel, and shortly after that, Lizzie left again. I got some sleep by myself as I had a feeling I’d be in for an intense night once my womb had recharged. 


While I was asleep, the midwife that had performed the VE early this morning called Sophia. Sophia told them baby wasn’t here yet but that my waters had broken. Despite our calmness and the fact my waters had only broken a few hours ago, they immediately began to ‘voice concern’ about malposition, risk of haemorrhage due to length of labour, tired womb, etc. When Sophia told me all this, I was really cross, firstly because they called in the first place when I had specifically asked to have no more engagement from them, and secondly because they called Sophia, not me. But what made me most angry was that the midwife said Sophia would be liable if anything happened. Of course, Sophia and I knew this was totally untrue and unfair.

I reassured her that while a freebirth is what I want, I wouldn’t be putting myself or my baby at risk. If there was any sign of distress at this stage, I’d call for midwife support.

I felt very happy to continue on and like things would be ok. My waters had broken, and my womb needed another break before the final push. I felt really unhappy that the midwife was involved. No matter how much you prepare for their fear and coercion, it’s so difficult to hold your ground once a concern has been voiced. All I wanted to do was focus inwards and stay tuned into my intuition. I now felt forced to sense check all of their fears, go over the evidence, and return to a place I felt I could trust myself because the midwives clearly didn’t trust me. I felt like my bubble had burst a bit. Not because I believed what they said but because I felt I had to be in fight mode rather than in a place of surrender.


At 8pm, Sophia came back to talk to me. She was honest that she was running empty from 4 nights of very little sleep. Her little girl had been upset that she was leaving again, for the 5th night in a row, and understandably pretty upset from the call with the midwife. She’d been a total rock to me over the previous days. At this moment, her humanness was really appreciated as she let her tears of exhaustion come.

I reassured Sophia that the decision to freebirth was mine. I acknowledged that without a partner, this is a lot for one person to support and said I wanted her to go home and sleep. Sophia was concerned about leaving me alone, and I reassured her that while a freebirth is what I want, I wouldn’t be putting myself or my baby at risk. If there was any sign of distress at this stage, I’d call for midwife support. I promised that if baby came while she slept, I’d call midwives to oversee my 3rd stage in case of bleeding, and I reassured her that I was still here, not because I was stubborn but because I genuinely felt baby would come at home eventually and safely and that medical intervention would get in the way of that.

I also suggested that I try and find some support for her/a second doula in case this went on for much longer, as I didn’t expect her to continue to be my only consistent support anymore. Sophia left feeling much lighter to get some sleep and asked me to call her back if things ramped up.


When Sophia left, I decided to try to get an emergency call with Sam Gadsden. I felt frustrated by the midwives and needed a fresh perspective and encouragement that I was making sensible decisions after such a long week. I also knew that if Sophia was going to tap out, it was Sam I wanted as my second.

She told me to have a low threshold for bleeding but encouraged me in my choice to continue to freebirth.

Thankfully, Sam was home and agreed to have a Zoom with me, and she was amazing! I’d been posting on the freebirth group intermittently. Sam said she expected me to be on my knees and was fully prepared that she might need to encourage me to seek intervention, but that upon speaking with me, it was clear I had loads of fire left in me and that I didn’t look like someone who’d been in labour for 5 days. Sam validated everything Sophia, and I knew about how unfair the midwives’ call to Sophia was and my choice to stay home without midwives present. She told me to have a low threshold for bleeding but encouraged me in my choice to continue to freebirth, providing some helpful suggestions. 

While talking to Sam, I was standing, rocking my hips from side to side, and began to feel the need to focus on my breathing as surges returned. Speaking with her put me back in my power and helped me to relax. Sam said she’d be able to tap in for Sophia tomorrow if needed, though I think we both knew it wouldn’t be, and she sent me on my way to continue. 


It was now about 10pm, and the next two hours were amazing. I remember somehow forcing a banana down and feeding the dog. Then I danced, swayed, breathed through surges, and felt baby dead central, moving lower. I hung off the banisters in the hallway to support my weight, knowing that today was the day he would be here. Hanging off the banisters made things very intense. I was finding it difficult to focus on my breath, so I called Sophia, and she said she was on her way.


Sophia arrived shortly after midnight to find me folded over the sofa in the living room, mooing through surges, and instantly got about supporting me, reminding me of my breathing. I became really hot and was very uncomfortable & no longer felt relief from lying down; this made things feel much more intense. I asked Sophia to run a bath and remember feeling I probably wouldn’t make it upstairs, but somehow I did! For the first time, the bath didn’t give me any relief. I couldn’t lie back, so I was on my knees in the water. Sophia pointed out that my bladder looked very full again, and I realised I’d not needed to wee or been for a wee in several hours. 

Once I became aware of how full my bladder was, it felt like the baby’s head was hitting it with every surge, and this was why I was so uncomfortable. I tried so hard to empty it in the bath and toilet. Sophia suggested we call midwives to empty it if I couldn’t. I protested, but she reminded me that I had promised I wouldn’t put myself or my baby in harm’s way and that continuing to labour and drink with such a full bladder could cause damage to my bladder (she was right, it’s not the same!).

Reluctantly, after a long time trying to empty it and discussions with Sophia, I agreed that it would be sensible to ask the midwives to come back to empty my bladder. Far from a serene scene with me breathing through the now very intense surges, I was pretty distressed at this stage and really wanted the help to wee! 


Two midwives arrived at 3am, and the first midwife came to see me in the bath after reading my birth plan. I reiterated that I only wanted my bladder emptied, nothing else. I just needed relief from the now excruciating bladder pain. 

Somehow I made it to my bed. The midwife used an in-out catheter and relieved my bladder of a lot of wee! I instantly felt more comfortable, got back in the bath, and breathed. Now I could lie back and really wanted to just get back in the zone and allow the opportunity for oxytocin to flow again.

I had decided over the past 24 hours that I might call midwives when Ronan arrived to do the paperwork + monitor my bleeding etc. I thought he would be here soon, so I agreed that they could stay away from me/in another room unless I asked for them.


The midwives kept calling Sophia out of the bathroom for various concerns and requests that seemed to be coming from the hospital. They were obviously getting pressure from a consultant as despite the boundary I’d set, one of them came into the bathroom and offered me a conversation with a Dr, to which I made my annoyance clear and told her to go away. I felt I was being treated like there was a lot of concern for the baby and had to dig my heels in that I was tuned into him. I knew he was ok and I didn’t need to speak to anyone. Sophia had to be quite firm with them that if they didn’t stop asking things of me, I’d likely send them away, which seemed to work as they went quiet.

I hadn’t come this far to risk strangers’ hands pulling him from me.


Being in the bath brought so much relief, but surges had become like gentle waves. My womb felt so tired again, and I became aware that I was drifting in and out of sleep. Sophia was slumped over the edge of the bath with her eyes closed too. It was a nice moment of team calm, but I remember thinking, “If these surges don’t pick up again with so much external fear surrounding this birth now (from the NHS), I’ll end up being heavily pushed into intervention and really having to fight.” This thought gave me a kick. I hadn’t come this far to risk strangers’ hands pulling him from me, and I remember focusing on how much I wanted my hands to be the first to hold him.

As tempting as it was to sleep, I didn’t feel it was safe to do so anymore, so I asked Sophia to please get my eye mask and put drum and bass on downstairs, loudly! My plan was to tune into some music that would energise me and block out the rest of the world, and this is what I did. 


10 minutes later, I was hanging from my banisters again, drum and bass blaring with my eye mask on. Surges were picking up again, and I could hear Sophia in my ear saying, ‘Yes, Kirsty’! It was finally happening; he was moving down!

Looking back now, what happened next was obviously just my body transitioning. I felt an overwhelming need to be on my knees and suddenly felt like Ronan was between my legs. I also suddenly felt a pretty overwhelming need to know Ronan was ok. For the first time during labour I felt worried. I crawled to the living room and grabbed a hand Doppler I’d been gifted, but never used, and tried to listen in.


Sophia suggested that since they were here and I wanted to hear him, I let the midwives do this instead so I could focus on my breath. I agreed, and she went to relay my request. The midwives were in the room from this point, but their presence is and was a total blur. I remember pushing Midwife One’s hand and doppler away the second I’d heard a few seconds of his heart. He was fine. I shouted at her twice more. Once to please stop telling me to push, as per my birth plan, especially when I wasn’t having contractions. Then again when she started laying out towels and gloves. My birth plan clearly said no to these things. I remember looking up and seeing the gloves and saying something like, ‘Don’t touch my baby; I’ll catch him myself,’ to which she cleared away the offending items!

I wished the midwives weren’t there but didn’t have the presence to remember that I could ask them to leave the room again. 

After I heard Ronan’s heartbeat, I ‘pushed’ to the background drum and bass for another two hours or so. I felt most productive in a squat on my rug, back against my sofa. I remember I couldn’t feel any pain; everything felt numb. It felt like my womb was almost asleep, and my roars were what was pushing him down and keeping my her awake.


I couldn’t hold my body up easily anymore; my legs had fallen asleep. Sophia held my weight from behind so I could focus. The midwives told me they could see the top of his head. It felt like it took ages to keep it from disappearing back up after each surge. My feet were numb from being in a squat. I moved to lie on my side on the floor, but here surges instantly began to slow down. My womb had had enough and was taking me moving as a signal to stop and rest. I knew that I would have to get back up and keep roaring to keep her awake!

I heaved myself back into a squat, Sophia holding me up from behind again and roared, and roared. It was working, the midwives told me he was coming, but I knew. I suddenly felt an overwhelming urge to be naked and ripped off my top. They told me his head was out, and then turning. Then with the rest of his head all in the same almighty moan, I felt the weight of his body leave me as it flopped out onto the rug.

He screamed his bright pink head off before my hands scooped him up to my face. Sophia and the midwives hugged. Sophia cried tears of delirious joy as I sang to my son the song I’d sung to him every day for the last 9 months without realising I was doing so. 


At my request, the midwives immediately left the room and recorded an Apgar score of 10 at birth. Despite the NHS’s mistrust of my intuition and ability to feel my baby, he was fine, as expected.

I settled back onto the sofa with him, where we enjoyed 7 hours of uninterrupted skin-to-skin. Thanks to Sophia keeping the midwives out, I established breastfeeding, and enjoyed quiet visits from Lizzie and Alix Thorpe (doula). Alix had offered support to Sophia and me during labour. She agreed to be here with Sophia during the 3rd stage. Alix bought her baby boy, tea and tincture to help release my placenta. She supported Sophia in holding a calm and sacred space for me.

It felt incredibly special to sit in peace, 3 mothers drinking tea and soaking in oxytocin. 

Ronan was weighed about 24 hours later. He was 9lb 2 then, so I assume he was bigger at birth. From the start, he was bright-eyed, strong and engaged. We are 7 months into our life on the outside together. I feel proud every day of the fight I endured to bring him earthside at home.

Especially for first-time mums, having a freebirth or a homebirth feels like a constant battle against the system’s deep mistrust of variations of normal in pregnancy, physiological birth, and lack of ability to make birthing women the highest authority in their labours.


Ronan’s birth was not how I imagined it. Without Sophia’s support to prepare and the support of her and the other wonderful Doulas that rallied around us to get us to the end, it could have gone very differently. It tested every aspect of my being and called for so much surrender in preparation and practice, which I now realise was the perfect initiation to motherhood.”

If you would like support navigating the system or would like support during your wild pregnancy or freebirth, tap here to book a call with me.



Originally, Jade planned to head to the birth centre to have her baby, but after putting the time into learning about the birthing process and talking it out with her partner, they chose their home as their safe space to bring their baby boy into the world. Below, Jade tells the story of her wonderful home birth.

“Throughout my due time, I spent my days waiting and wondering when my baby boy was going to join me earth-side. As much as I tried to stay positive & be patient, I was so uncomfortable. I knew that as soon as I reached 42 weeks I’d be pressured for an induction & I feared my choice to birth at home would be threatened.


I’d been experiencing a dull, period-like ache on and off for about week, particularly at night. On the 30th September 2021, 13 days ‘overdue’ at 6am, I felt my first surge. I felt so excited and kept repeating to myself “I am going to meet my baby today!” My surges were sporadic & lasting around a minute. I was adamant I was getting this baby out today, so went downstairs to bounce on my birth ball.

I had a routine midwife appointment booked at 11am, but wasn’t sure whether to attend as I was pretty certain labour had begun, albeit slowly. We spoke to the midwife who explained it would be beneficial to go in so that they could check my blood pressure etc. My partner drove me to the midwife hub. During our time there my surges died down and I felt as though things had stalled. I’d done lots of preparation with my doula during pregnancy around the physiology of birth and the birth space; this made me realise, first-hand, that your environment and comfort play such a huge role in labour progressing. 


When we got back home around 12pm my surges came on thick and fast. I started timing them at this point and they were between 3-5 minutes apart, some lasting up to a minute & a half. I called my sister & doula, Sophia. She said she’d be with me within the hour. When she arrived we spoke to the community midwife team. We thought it was best to give them plenty of notice that my labour had begun, as I had received a couple of calls during that week warning me of staffing issues. I did not want lack of staff to be a reason for transfer. The midwives said they would be with us at 5pm. I moved from the ball & spent the next couple of hours knelt over the back of my sofa. My partner fed me coconut water and rubbed my feet, Sophia set up the birth pool and got the birth space ready. My mum arrived shortly after this. 

I got into the pool around 5pm, before the midwives arrived about an hour later. I was using my breath to stay focused as I wasn’t getting much of a break between surges. Sophia saw the midwives into the kitchen and asked them to read my birth preferences. They asked me if I was happy to be examined and have all the routine checks. Sophia reassured me that I didn’t have to consent to getting out of the pool for this, but I felt happy for them to check everything was progressing as it should be. I struggled with getting out of the pool, but being monitored re-assured me all was okay. I was back in the pool in no time. The midwives then proceeded to sit in the next room to leave me and my birth partners alone.


The night started to draw in, the surges were getting more and more intense. An hour after the midwives arrived I asked for gas & air. After a few minutes I realised it wasn’t working for me; it was effecting the rhythm of my breathing, so I continued without it. 

At this point I was completely in my zone. I trusted that things were progressing as they should and really felt that I didn’t have long left. I kept repeating positive affirmations in my head.


At around 11.30pm I started getting the urge to push at the end of each surge. My birth partners offered gas & air again, I accepted. I managed to get into a flow with it this time as it helped ease the sensation of each surge. I was able to relax in between. After about an hour, I noticed I was passing large blood clots. The midwife reassured me that I needn’t worry. She offered to assess me again and explained that pushing before I was fully dilated could cause my cervix to tear. I was happy to be assessed, for piece of mind, so consented to another examination. This meant getting out of the pool again – it was even harder this time! I felt weak and I didn’t want to leave the water.

My midwife confirmed all was well – I was fully dilated! I returned to the water & continued to push with each surge. Another hour passed and I started getting impatient and tired. As I placed my hand under the water and into my vagina to feel for progress, I felt a small, soft bubble. I was certain this couldn’t be my baby’s head because it felt too soft! The midwives reassured me it was. Knowing that he was so close to entering the world, gave me so much motivation to go on. 

In amazement, I shouted “the head’s out, the heads out”! I leant back slightly, as his entire body was born..

Another half an hour passed. I was feeling a lot of pressure in my bum and after what felt like a long second stage, I was feeling exhausted and frustrated. My partner, Sophia & my mum were all so supportive, encouraging me to keep hold of my positive mindset. At 1.58am, with one giant push, my baby’s head was born. In amazement, I shouted “the head’s out, the heads out”! I leant back slightly, as his entire body was born so quickly. Nobody realised he was in the pool with me! 


I reached down below me to catch my baby and just held him there under the water for a moment. Stillness after the hardest thing I had ever done. We all stared at him, in awe. I felt a rush of relief and shock through my body as I gently lifted him from the water and onto my chest. It was an amazingly, slow transition for him, just as I’d wanted. He didn’t scream, he cooed and nestled into my chest. It was magical.


I leaned back against the side of the pool. I wanted an undisturbed third stage, so left him attached to his placenta, which I had not yet birthed. The pool was full of blood so the midwives asked me if I was ok to get out of the pool to birth the placenta, as it is easier for them to monitor blood loss. I didn’t mind moving, as long as the cord remained in-tact. My birth team helped me get up; climb out and sit semi-reclined on the sofa with my baby still attached to me. As I sat there, Sophia and the midwives told me they could see the placenta sitting just inside my vaginal opening. With one push I birthed it, with ease, into a bowl. An unplanned lotus birth! So amazing and so quickly after I had birthed my baby. I felt relieved that it was over and that the surges would now die down. I just laid there holding my gorgeous, healthy baby boy in my arms. 

The midwives left us alone to enjoy the rest of our golden hour. Sophia supported me in getting baby onto my breast. Shortly after, my partner cut the cord and had his first cuddle. I was amazed to hear my perineum was in tact, but due to a very slight tear on my labia I had a couple of stitches. 

It was such an amazing experience.

Sophia made me a bagel and a nice cup of tea. I felt weak but was buzzing with adrenaline. My mum helped me into the shower and then they both got me into bed. My partner brought up our brand new baby boy and got into bed. It was such an amazing experience. I feel so grateful that everything was well and I had the home birth I wanted! I couldn’t have done it without my amazing birth team.


Sophia worked with me through my pregnancy to prepare me for birth, teaching me things that I would never have known, making me feel comfortable and informed about my choice to birth at home. She supported me during my birth and has been my absolute rock through my postpartum period. I am in awe of her passion towards her work and I know that my birth would have gone very differently without her by my side every step of the way. I would highly recommend to everyone to hire a doula, they are invaluable. It is so important to have that extra layer of support at such a vulnerable time.”

Do you have a positive birth experience you’d like to share?

If so, please email me at



“Just as a tree grows
best when rooted firmly in the earth, so can a pregnant mother feel strong and capable when supported by a
sisterhood of nurturing

April Lussier

A Mother’s Blessing, or a Blessing Way, is an intimate gathering for a pregnant woman and her closest female friends and family members, to celebrate her transition into motherhood. Unlike a baby shower, which is often about showering the baby with gifts, a mother’s blessing is about honouring the mother; celebrating her and her journey. It is an opportunity to shower her with love and well wishes, but most importantly nourish her with support that will continue through her fourth trimester. 


Evolving from a traditional Navajo Ceremony, the spiritual intention behind this shared space is to honour the expectant mother, celebrate sisterhood and welcome a new baby to earth.

As the tradition has evolved, so have the activities involved, but would mostly include:

  • Offering words of support for the new mother and baby. 
  • Pampering the mother throughout the day.
  • Celebrating her body with belly painting.
  • Sharing positive birth experiences.
  • Providing a dish for the freezer to help during those weeks after birth. It may be the organiser of the ceremony invites guests to start a meal train in support of the new family post-birth. 
  • Crafting dreamcatchers together to hold the group’s hopes and wishes. 
  • Bringing an object of significance to add to the centre alter. Perhaps a crystal, flowers or a candle.
  • Weaving flower crowns together to wear throughout the ceremony and take home with them afterwards.
  • Writing or illustrating affirmations onto stones.


One of the most significant rituals that takes place during a mother’s blessing is the tying of the red thread. A ball of hemp/string is passed around the group and tied around each of the women’s wrists. The thread joins all the women together, representing the lineage of ancestors that came before them; the matriarchal line. The thread will be worn in support of the pregnant mother, until her baby arrives earth-side, when the thread can be removed. 


Each guest is asked to bring along a bead to be included on the birthing necklace. Each bead symbolises womanhood and transformation and represents the guests wishes for the mother and baby in labour and birth. During the ceremony the beads are strung together, the necklace to be hung in the birth space to give strength and focus during her labour. 


Another wonderful keepsake for the guests and symbol of support for the expectant mother is a blessingway candle. Each woman will be gifted a candle to take home with them at the end of the ceremony, which they will light when labour begins. They can leave the candle to burn throughout the duration of labour, sending their collective well wishes for both mother and baby.

There are many ways to mark the day and each ceremony is individual to the woman herself. Some women choose to only include some of these activities, whilst others incorporate many more. The magic of joining together to show up for the expectant mother is that you get to send her on her path to motherhood surrounded with the support of loving friends. 

Have you ever attended a mother’s blessing ceremony? Share your experiences in the comments.




During her pregnancy Ellie invested time in preparing for her birth, enrolling on a hypnobirthing course, which led to her feeling confident and excited to birth her baby. Since becoming a mum, Ellie has trained and a Hypnobirthing and Antenatal Teacher to share her wisdom and encourage others to take control of their birth. You can find out more about her and her amazing courses here.

Below, she shares the story of her daughter’s arrival at 39 weeks.

“Since doing my hypnobirthing course, I felt confident heading into my birth. I even felt quite excited. I finished work and started maternity leave 2 weeks before my official “due date” and had spent the past week washing baby clothes, folding and putting them away (and re-folding and re-putting away – god knows why?!), batch cooking and general tidying and pottering. 

I woke up on April 6th 2016 to a message in my NCT WhatsApp chat, that the second baby of the group had been born overnight. My feelings of happiness for my friend were quickly overshadowed by jealousy and intense impatience. When was my baby going to come out? Looking back – this was crazy, I was still a week from my due date! (With the hindsight of both of my birth experience, impatience is definitely one of my signs that something is afoot – baby is having ideas.)

I went about my day as normal, pottering away and cooking the final few meals to put in the freezer. The only thing that I had noticed that day was that my Braxton hicks had completely stopped. I had been having quite a lot of Braxton hicks in the week prior to this day, but I hadn’t felt any all day. This only made me think that things had slowed down and I would be waiting sometime before my baby made their appearance. Little did I know!


That evening we went to meet my friend and her partner for dinner. As soon as I got out of the car, I felt a twinge. I ignored it. A few minutes later I felt another. I ignored that one too. These twinges continued, coming every few minutes and I continued to ignore them and carried on with my dinner and catching up with my friend. I didn’t let on to anyone what I was feeling and carried on chatting away and munching on my Nandos. 

About an hour into the meal things felt to have ramped up a bit and the sensations felt more like tightenings now. I also had the distinct feeling that I was going to poo myself. However, whenever I went to the toilet nothing happened. I eventually told Joe what I was feeling and he suggested we go home. But I hadn’t had pudding yet so I wasn’t leaving! We leisurely finished our meal and said goodbye to our pals and drove home.


Once home, I got into bed hoping that I would fall asleep. However, my surges were still coming fairly frequently (between 3 and 4 minutes). They were also getting more intense so I decided to get out of bed and spend some time on my birth ball, bouncing on it and then kneeling on the floor and leaning over it. 

I found the bath absolutely amazing! The feeling of the warm water was incredibly comforting…

It had now been about 4 – 5 hours of experiencing surges which had been fairly frequent from the start. Their duration was getting longer and the intensity continued to gradually increase. I decided I wanted a bath and Joe ran one for me. I found the bath absolutely amazing! The feeling of the warm water was incredibly comforting and I felt completely relaxed with just candles for light and joe stroking my arms when I was experiencing a surge. I started using my breathing techniques with each surge which I also found incredibly soothing.

Sometime later, Joe rang the birth centre to let them know that I was experiencing surges and thought I was in labour. I spoke to the midwife who listened to me breathe through one of my surges. She asked me if I felt I was handling the sensations and I told her that I was. The breathing and the bath were helping me through each surge. So she advised us to stay at home. Fine by me!

I continued to relax in the bath but after some time I started feeling like I wanted to move around so I went back into my bedroom to bounce on my birth ball and listen to my hypnobirthing relaxations. Joe had lit some candles in the bedroom and turned the lights down really low so it felt lovely and calm. 

Over the next couple of hours, my surges started to get a bit closer together. I was having one every 3 minutes (almost on the dot) and they were lasting for just under a minute. I started to get a bit worried about getting to the birth centre on time! I remember being told that this is when we should ideally head to the birth centre, so Joe called in again. Again, I spoke to the midwife who asked what the surges felt like. I explained that I was handling them fine with my breathing techniques and going between the bath and my bedroom to bounce on the birth ball. The midwife told me that I would ‘know’ when to come in and to try to stay at home for as long as possible. So I continued to do my thing, relaxing in the bath until I felt the urge to get up and move around.


By about 4.30am, I decided I wanted to go to the birth centre. So Joe called again to say that we intended on coming in and they agreed that this was sensible since we had already called twice before. I got dressed and Joe called my mum to ask her to drive over (she was my second birth partner).

The car journey was peaceful driving through Bristol in the dead of night. We saw a fox cross the road ahead of us just after we set off from home and for some reason, I took this as a positive omen. 

We got to the birth centre at 5.50am and we were showed to our gorgeous room. Cossham Birth Centre is incredible. I call it the “baby hotel” because that’s exactly what it feels like. Our room was beautifully spacious with dim lighting, a double bed, a gorgeous pool and an en-suite bathroom. As soon as I got into the room, I had the urge to take my clothes off and walk around, stopping and swaying and leaning on Joe when I felt a surge. 

My midwife asked me if she could do a vaginal examination and I politely declined. I asked if I could get into the birth pool and the midwife told me that I couldn’t unless she could examine me to confirm that I was in established labour (grrrr!). I still didn’t want an examination so we filled the pool up a little bit so that it felt like a bath and I continued to breath through my surges.

I kept feeling like I needed to do a poo so I spent some time in the toilet. Whilst I was sat there, I felt the sensations change to an incredible pressure inside bearing down on my bum. This caught me off guard and I called for the midwife who came in to check on me. She asked again to perform an examination and this time I agreed as I really wanted to be in the pool. 

Sometimes dilation happens like that – very gradually and then all of a sudden just snaps back like an elastic band. 

She told me that I was 5cm dilated. I remember feeling quite disappointed at this. I had been experiencing sensations for about 11 hours at this point and they felt to be getting really intense. I had hoped I would be further along. 

The midwife suggested that I try walking around which could break my waters which she told me could help ease the feeling of pressure I was feeling. She also offered me some paracetamol (even though I had asked in my birth preferences not to be offered any pain relief unless I asked for it – second grrrrr!). Despite this, I took them. Looking back I’m not even sure why, as I had been handling the sensations fine with my breathing alone. 

I continued to pace the room leaning on Joe for support until, fairly soon after, my waters went. At this stage everything ramped up very quickly. I felt I needed to stop moving and get settled somewhere. I wanted to be upright so I decided to kneel on the bed leaning over the back of it. I was feeling the urge to push. 

My midwife asked to examine me again and, reluctantly, I agreed. She told me I was 10cm and that baby would be here very soon! She also explained that sometimes dilation happens like that – very gradually and then all of a sudden just snaps back like an elastic band. 


I got back into my position on the bed (since we wouldn’t have time now to fill the pool up). With each surge, I felt my body instinctively moving the baby down. During this second stage, I could feel my baby’s head moving back and forth. With each surge I felt them move right down but then, the wave would pass and the baby’s head would retreat back inside. I found this incredibly difficult and it was then that I started to feel myself coming out of my relaxed state. I started exclaiming that I couldn’t do it. But with the next surge, my baby’s head was born and on the next, the rest of her followed.

It was one of the most amazing experiences of my life. My proudest achievement.

Poppy was born at 7.50am (just 2 hours after arriving at the birth centre) on 7th April 2016 to two delighted parents and an ecstatic grandmother.

It was one of the most amazing experiences of my life. My proudest achievement. I was left feeling like Superwoman and like I could do absolutely anything and I genuinely believe that, had you asked me to, in that moment I could have.” 

Do you have a positive birth experience that you would like to share?

If so, pop an email over to, I’d love to hear from you.




Join me as I share my first birth experience. I feel so fortunate to have achieved the birth that I wanted, but now refrain from saying how ‘lucky’ I was and instead acknowledge the time and effort I put into educating myself during pregnancy. I worked hard to achieve my positive birth experience. I knew what I wanted, explored my options and informed myself so that I was prepared in the event that things didn’t go to ‘plan’. Read my full story below.

“I was 6 days overdue. Although I tried not to hang everything on the due date, as it came and went I immediately felt impatient and more eager than ever for things to get going. I tried everything to get labour going – long walks, bouncing on my birthing ball, sex.. but nothing worked! On the 5th day, my partner, Jack, made me an extremely hot curry for dinner. I have no idea if the baby was always planning to make an appearance the following day, but its nice to think that he got things moving!

That night (around 12.30am) I woke with a dull ache at the bottom of my back, which felt very much like period pains. By 2am it felt like a surge of pain and I was sure I was experiencing contractions, so I woke Jack. We started timing my contractions from this point and they were only lasting about 30 seconds, but coming quite regularly (between 3-4 minutes). We spoke to a midwife at the hospital, but decided to stay at home for a little while longer.


By 8am my contractions were regular and lasting a minute each. It was important to me that I laboured at home for as long as possible. I felt comfortable there and the last thing I wanted was to be sent home from the hospital for not being in established labour. I felt as little travelling as possible was best to keep my labour moving. We finally headed to the hospital at 10.30am and at this point I was already grateful to have my mum there as an additional birth partner – Jack drove, whilst she sat in the back of the car with me and massaged my back the whole way to the hospital. I remember feeling a rush of excitement as we left the house to go to the hospital. It was actually happening! The journey to the hospital was about 25 minutes and throughout I just fixated on my breath, going inward and tuning into my body, instead of worrying or thinking about the journey.

Three generations emerging.. grandmother, mother, daughter on her way.

Upon arrival at the hospital I was asked if I wanted a VE. At this point I was intrigued to know how far along I was, so consented to being examined. I was told I was 5cm dilated. This was the first and last VE I had during my labour, I didn’t feel it was necessary to at any other point.

I wanted to be left to labour on my own with my chosen birth partners during the first stage.

I was adamant I wanted an unmedicated birth, with the exception of gas & air, so made it clear to my midwife that I didn’t want to be offered any pain relief. They moved me to the birth suite at around 12.30pm, where I waited for the birth pool to be prepared. During this time I laboured bent over the bed, moving with each contraction. My midwife popped in and introduced herself properly at this point, but I had stated on my birth plan that I wanted to be left to labour on my own with just my chosen birth partners during the first stage, which she totally respected, leaving us well alone and just coming in occasionally to listen in to the baby’s heartbeat. I hated this every time! I really didn’t want my tummy being touched during labour. At the time, despite all the prep that I had done, I was not aware I could decline this. Knowing what I know now, I wouldn’t have consented as it made me so uncomfortable. Always remember you don’t have to consent to anything you don’t want to do. Your body, your choice. 


Just before I got into the pool I made the decision to start using gas & air.  Up until now I had used breathing techniques and massage to cope with my surges. I requested the room be made as dark as possible as I was feeling extremely sensitive to bright lights. I felt grateful they made this happen, closing all curtains and turning off the lights, leaving only the lights from the birthing pool to light the room. As I got into the water, I felt so relaxed. I was drifting in and out of consciousness, in between contractions, sitting up in the water. After I had been in the water for an hour or so (timings become a bit blurry by this point), my midwife asked me to get out of the water to empty my bladder. This is where I suddenly felt the urge to push. I think getting up and out of the water encouraged baby to move down further. Shortly after getting back into the pool, my waters broke and all contractions blurred into one. I remember thinking that I was never going to get the baby out.. ah transition!

This was the hardest part and the only time throughout that I had a negative thought. It felt like I was pushing forever! Every time I felt baby’s head move down with a contraction, it would go back up again when I stopped pushing! 

At 5.10pm our baby was born and immediately placed onto my chest. I was in awe of my body and this tiny person that had just arrived earth-side. Jack was sat behind me, leaning over my shoulder, when he announced to me that we had a baby girl. I couldn’t believe it; I was overwhelmed, grateful and so proud of us both.

After delaying for as long as the hospital would allow, Jack cut the cord and I moved out of the water quite quickly after for the third stage. It was here, on the bed, where Elba – our new baby girl – fed from me for the first time. She was amazing, latching straight away! Breastfeeding was everything I imagined it would be. I felt that instant bond between us.”

Do you have a positive birth experience that you would like to share?

If so pop an email over to, I’d love to hear from you.



There are many benefits to birthing at home, but it is still often seen as a controversial choice. 

Despite many believing it’s the more risky choice, birthing at home completely supports the physiology of birth. Those that choose to birth at home have a much higher chance of achieving a natural, physiological birth with much less chance of medical intervention. According to a systematic review and meta-analyses by The Lancet (2018) the outcomes for babies being birthed at home (by those who intended to birth at home) showed no difference to those birthed in a hospital setting and for the mother, the outcomes were improved in a home birth setting. 

It is apparent that intervention in birth leads to more intervention, and you could say that the transfer from your home into the hospital is the first intervention for most birthing people. To leave your home, a place where you are familiar, safe and unobserved, to enter into a bright, sterile hospital surrounded by strangers is disturbing the process, no matter how smooth the transition goes. 


You have the undivided attention of your community/independent midwife as unlike in a birth centre or labour ward, you are the only birthing person around. 

Partners can become more involved; being at home gives you the opportunity to be more intimate (which supports the physiology of birth) as your home enables you to have more privacy. 

Should you choose to, you are free to have siblings assist your birth.

You have the freedom to move about your home, exploring different rooms, finding comfort on the bed, in the bath, in a pool, etc. Being in your own home means you have the freedom to alter the birthing space, creating the perfect environment to support a physiological birth. 

You are at much less risk of infection as your body has already built up a tolerance to the bacteria in your home, creating antibodies to protect you and your baby.

You’re free to eat and drink whatever and whenever you choose during and immediately after labour. 

You have choice who you welcome into your birthing space. In the hospital, people (health professionals, hospital staff) are free to come in and out without warning, interrupting the natural flow of labour. 

It is much less stressful than the logistics of travelling to hospital, worrying about traffic, sorting parking, finding the labour ward, waiting around in Triage, being told you “aren’t far enough along” only to be sent home to do it all over again in a couple of hours. Of course this isn’t the case for everyone that goes to hospital to birth their baby, but it is very common. 



There are a few simple things you can do to support and protect your hormones during labour, to ensure your labour progresses as it should. 

Oxytocin (the love hormone) is what makes your uterus contract. When oxytocin is released in abundance, you will experience longer, stronger and more effective surges. It is important to protect the environment in which you are birthing because oxytocin is a shy hormone. If at any point you do not feel safe, protected, undisturbed or unobserved, your oxytocin production can be effected and in-turn, your body will produce heightened levels of adrenaline, causing labour to stall. This is our bodies way of protecting us from harm whilst birthing our babies. 

Things to consider when preparing your birthing space:

  • Lighting – Low lighting encourages privacy, encouraging you to feel safe and unobserved.
  • Temperature – Warmth supports the production of oxytocin.
  • Smell – Scented candles/essential oils in a diffuser can enhance a feeling of calm.
  • Music – What sounds help you to relax?
  • Water – Being immersed in water can calm us. Perhaps the use of a pool or bath.
  • Who are you welcoming into your space? Do they bring the right energy? 

Below I have created a list of comfort measures to support you during your home birth. These are not all essential but will help you to cope with the process of labour:

  • Hot water bottle for early labour
  • TENS machine
  • Positive Affirmations to stick around your birthing space
  • Create a playlist that will help you feel calm and focused
  • Candles or fairy lights
  • Food & drinks prepared ready when you need
  • Birth ball to keep active and help labour progress
  • Essential oils to use in a diffuser, in the bath or in a massage oil
  • Other complementary therapies; herbal/homeopathic remedies
  • Flannel or ice pack
  • Birth pool and accessories
  • Lip balm

Once again, these aren’t essentials just practical tools to assist your labour.

  • Plastic sheeting to protect floors, sofa and beds
  • Soft coverings such as old sheets or towels
  • Extra old towels 
  • Bin bags for rubbish and washing
  • Flannels and hair ties
  • Container (bowl or bucket) in case you are sick
  • A straw for your drink 
  • Food/drinks for partner/midwives/doula
  • Camera 
  • Maternity notes and birth plan to hand to midwife upon arrival
  • Packed Birth Bag – in case you need to transfer


Consider things that you may need as soon as baby arrives. 

  • Blanket for you and baby
  • Post-birth food and drink to restore energy levels
  • A change of clothes ready to put on after a bath/shower
  • Clothing for baby 
  • Nappies
  • Cotton wool
  • Maternity pads
  • Large comfortable underwear

In the UK home birth is an option for all, including those with more complex pregnancies. It is important that you choose to birth where you feel safe and you can make that choice by researching and informing yourself, basing your decision on facts.

Are you planning a home birth? If there is anything else you’d like to know, if so please feel free to leave me a comment below.




Kim is a first time mum who had her baby in the Birthing Centre at 40+5 weeks. During pregnancy she had planned to have an elective cesarean, but after using hypnobirthing she completely changed her attitude towards birth and went on to have a gentle, water birth with the support of her husband. Her words at the end covered me in goosebumps, as I can relate to that same feeling of meeting my babies for the first time.

“At 5 days overdue I was beginning to feel a little fed up with being pregnant… feeling massive and uncomfortable! The past few weeks had been 30 degrees plus so life was hot! Finally, on Saturday evening, I went in to latent labour. I had a backache that was helped with a hot water bottle but struggled to sleep as waves of sensation were beginning in my lower tummy and surging round to my back and distracting me. The feeling was coming regularly every 5 minutes or so. My baby was extremely active and having a good wiggle about! However, despite feeling surges, they weren’t particularly painful, more like an ‘intensity’ and though I couldn’t sleep much, I didn’t feel pain or panic. I used my rainbow relaxation hypnobirthing track to get some decent rest and managed to doze a little.

The surges continued through the night but the intensity and frequency didn’t really change so the next morning I called the hospital and they agreed that it sounded like early labour – they advised me to call back in when things had progressed a little more. Annoyingly, the surges actually eased off and disappeared for a few hours that morning and I was dreading a false start. However, a little walk to the coffee shop seemed to get things going again. I could feel a lot of pressure from the baby so walking home again was comically slow! The surges came back with more intensity by the evening, beginning at 5 minute intervals again, and the hypnobirthing calm breathing I had learnt really had a chance to help.

I still wouldn’t describe it as painful at this point but did have to use my focus to breathe through the surges of intensity. We were expecting a long process, so tried to distract ourselves by watching TV, I even made a muesli from scratch so our cupboards were well stocked!

As the surges became stronger and I needed to focus more on the breathing and relaxation strategies I decided to have a bath, which instantly relieved some of the pressure I was feeling. Craig timed my surges and rather suddenly we found they were coming less than 3 minutes apart! Craig called the hospital and they said to come on in. Luckily there was no traffic at this time of night so the journey only took just over 10 minutes, but I had 5 or 6 contractions on the way – which were less comfortable in the car! Sitting down definitely increased the intensity so I decided to walk around to the birth suite rather than take a wheelchair so getting from the car park to the room took as long again! I think staying mobile was one of the main factors in keeping things moving and helping my baby along. 

“My body totally took over
and I could feel the natural expulsive reflex kick in.”

Our room on the Mendip Birth Suite at Southmead had been prepared fantastically well – low level lighting, relaxing music on, fairy lights around the room (which I only noticed after the birth!) Our midwife was amazing and I think a little surprised to discover I was already 5cm dilated as at this point I was calm and relaxed- I had to focus and breathe through the contractions but they were still manageable. The midwife filled the pool and as soon as I got in, things really began to speed along. Almost immediately I entered the ‘transition’ phase and at this point began to struggle quite a bit more. My body totally took over and I could feel the natural expulsive reflex kick in – it was an utterly overwhelming feeling to feel your body taking charge regardless of the psychological need to stop it happening! Certainly at this point I found it much harder to focus on the breathing techniques, but Craig really came in to his role at this point and supported me with encouragement and touch. He was a great advocate for me and discussed pain relief, which I was of course too late for by now, so I only had gas and air. Craig kept reminding me how to breathe it for the best effects and the sound of the air through the pipe was great at helping me slow down the breath again.

I had some surges where I could distinctly feel the baby come down and then go back up – the midwife explained everything that was happening and reassured me this was ok and was in fact helpful for my body. When the baby eventually crowned and her head was out I could feel her looking around the pool, the most surreal and fantastical moment of the whole birth – a feeling I will never forget, and then with the next surge she was born in the birth pool. She came straight to my chest and I burst in to tears.

From our arrival at hospital the birthing process had been less than 3 hours and I had only been in the birthing phase about an hour and a half, most of the time in the pool. We had not even had time to put the Stephen Halpern relaxation music on or the rainbow relaxation track! From the re instigation of the surges on Sunday evening my active labour had been only 10 hours. I have no doubt that my calm approach had helped things progress quickly and the breathing techniques made the surges far less ‘painful’ through most of the process. I could not deny the overwhelm of the birthing phase but am amazed at how my body just knew what to at this point and how quickly the whole process was over and how well I had been able to cope with the majority of the birth.

“We knew each other already!”

Meeting Eadie for the first time was the best experience of my life – from that very first second of looking in her eyes, I could see another soul looking back at me. Not a baby, but a human spirit. That was not something I had expected – we knew each other already! 

(Another important note – Craig had been helping me with perineal massage over the previous weeks and the midwife was astounded to report that I had only grazes with no tears and no need for stitches. So though it was not sexy, I would definitely recommend this practice as well ladies!)”

If you had a positive birth experience that you would like to share, I’d love to hear from you. Please send your story and any pictures you’d like to include to