photo by Sarah Stirk
"I have felt incredible energy and life force through my body, and I have really been reborn a happier, healthier, and more confident person. I have learned that I can choose to focus on the darker side or the lighter side of all that is around me. I choose the lighter side and have the discipline to keep it up."
Ina May Gaskin, Ina May's Guide to Childbirth
Ina May Gaskin, Ina May's Guide to Childbirth
Hi Louisa, I meant to tell you that I had a gentleman stop me on the street on the way to yoga to ask if I'd recommend your classes to his wife who is newly pregnant. Of course I said a most definite 'yes' to this, I couldn't recommend them more highly. I wanted you to know how much I value attending the classes, I really do feel they have made a big difference to my general wellbeing during the pregnancy and will hopefully be invaluable throughout labour!
[A few weeks later…]
I'm very happy to let you know that we gave birth to a little girl - Felicity - on Thursday 5th June at 00.55am after a surprisingly fast 5 1/2 hour labour. She weighed in at 7lb 11oz, a bit bigger than expected! I started having mild pains on Wednesday evening, but I thought nothing of them. These very quickly escalated to strong contractions 5 mins apart by 7pm, at which point the Golden Thread breath and some 'soooooing' became very useful. We arrived at Queen Charlotte's Birth Centre around 10.30pm when my contractions were one every two minutes. I spent around an hour in the pool, and right towards the end I got out and onto the birthing stool where I pushed Felicity out in 2 pushes!! All in all I feel I couldn't have asked for better birth, and all my worries and anxieties seem so silly in retrospect. I found everything I learnt in yoga so useful, and even one of the midwives remarked on my flexibility!! I wanted to let you know how valuable I found your classes, so thank you!.
Just wanted to say that I would never have managed my crazy and unorthodox homebirth had it not been for the breathing and yoga techniques I learnt from you. Thank you so much. Your teaching meant that my baby had a calm and peaceful entrance into the world in spite of the presence of three ambulance crew and a slightly panicked partner!!
I wanted to write to say a big thank you for your yoga classes this term. I didn't know quite what to expect but they quickly became one of my favourite hours of the week - a quiet time to really focus on my baby and de-stress from the battles of work. I learnt an enormous amount from you about relaxation, distancing myself from pain and breathing. I started to look forward to giving birth to see what my body was capable of doing. As it turns out, baby was lying breech for the final few weeks of pregnancy. The day after our final yoga class, my waters broke with gusto at home and so we made our way to hospital. We decided that, due to a variety of factors, we would prefer to have a Caesarean section. This then all happened very efficiently - from my waters breaking at 8am, our beautiful baby boy was delivered at 2.33pm in theatre. Whilst he was three and a half weeks early and didn't exactly follow our natural birth plan, he is absolutely fine and charming the socks off everyone already - we're besotted!
(22 months later...)
For my second baby, I really wanted to try to achieve the vaginal birth that I had envisaged in my previous pregnancy. I attended pregnancy yoga again with Louisa from early on and did a short hypnobirthing course with Kemi; both of which I found tremendously helpful. I discussed my birth plan with a VBAC specialist midwife at QCCH who was very supportive. One Wednesday morning I woke up feeling different; I had period-type pains in my back and I was having Braxton Hicks. The surges became quite intense quite quickly and I was convinced that my baby was on her way soon. We made our way to hospital. After an intense and challenging labour, I birthed our beautiful daughter into the pool. I couldn't believe that I had actually pushed a tiny human out of me! It has been absolutely amazing bringing our baby home and welcoming her into our family. I genuinely can't imagine how I would have experienced birth without all the positive education I received from Louisa and Kemi and the support of my midwife and husband on the day. THANK YOU Louisa, you are truly amazing.
Hi Louisa, Just wanted to let you know that little Erin is here, 7lbs 1oz; water birth as planned and just gas and air so I was super chuffed. Also no tearing which I was frankly amazed at, double bonus! :) Huge thanks again for the yoga moves, which I used extensively on the bean bag before transferring to the birthing pool, and definitely helped Erin get into a great position ready to meet the world.
My little boy (Daniel) came on 14th December, 12 days early. 7lbs 9oz. A lovely surprise for us as we had imagined waiting through Xmas and new year for his arrival. My waters broke suddenly on the Friday night, much of the next day was spent at home letting my contractions build with a few too many trips to the hospital in between. In the end I got to the hospital ready to push (crossing my legs in the car!) and he was out within an hour by 1am Sunday morning. The yoga and breathing was enormously helpful, and helped me stay positive and determined during some of the toughest moments. In the end it was a very straightforward labour and the midwife was very good at listening to my preferences, delayed cord clamping and the natural placenta birth.
I would say my birth experience started when I joined your excellent yoga group. Before yoga I had a very different perception of birth; thought that I would be going into the hospital, having an epidural as soon as I walk through the door, letting the doctors take over, and telling me what to do. After the first two classes with you, one being when Kemi [midwife and hypnobirthing teacher] came in to speak to the group, my thought process completely changed and I realised I had a lot of learning to do and could gain a lot more from this experience.
Jascha was born at 3.25 yesterday morning 9 days overdue weighing 8lbs 8ozs after an active labour of just 6 and a half hours! We went to hospital (as advised by triage over the phone), I was examined and was 3cm so sent home as expected, but contractions were already very strong and close together. Back at home I laboured on all 4s, and rested as much as possible in child's pose between contractions. At about 2.30 I decided I needed some rest and so we headed back to the hospital with a view to having pain relief, however when we went to the birth centre they examined me and I was fully dilated and ready to go! They quickly filled the pool and 20 minutes later Jascha was born! I can't believe what a good experience I had for my first baby's birth. I would like to say I was lucky but I put it down mainly to how physically and mentally prepared I was from all the yoga and hypnobirthing. As I said to you before I left, I really did trust my body to birth my baby. Thanks so much for your help with inspiring confidence. The breathing techniques and freedom to use sounds to help with the pain really helped too. I would say I had exactly the birth I wanted. Lucky lady eh?!
Sorry I wasn't able to make yoga this last week - we were busy getting to know our incredible baby girl - Lena Emilia who was born last Saturday weighing 3.5kg. We had a pretty amazing birth experience, my contractions began in the early hours of 8th and continued at home until the morning of the 10th (which was a bit of an endurance test!) when we were finally able to go into hospital. They ramped up massively upon going into the birthing centre and just 5 and a half hours later Lena was born without too much trouble into the water. Somehow I managed the birth on just gas & air, which I didn't make use of until the last few hours, and lots of breathing techniques, which my husband was amazing at reminding me about. I can't thank yoga enough for a few key things that helped me through the birth- breathing through the contractions, positions like being on all fours and tilting / rocking the pelvis, and trying to keep the pain in perspective as something that had to be there and was helping the baby to be born. The whole labour process, whilst painful, happened in a very natural way and no part of it was rushed, meaning I didn't tear or need to be cut and my placenta was delivered naturally very soon afterwards. I couldn't have dreamt it would go so well and I'm feeling remarkably well (if a little exhausted from lost sleep!). I even managed an hour’s walk today! Lena is doing amazingly on exclusive breastfeeding and has already regained the small amount of birth weight she lost over the first couple of days. Anyway, I hope this is useful for you to share with the group and I look forward to coming along to postnatal yoga very soon!
Our beautiful baby boy Hector was born in a water pool at 7pm on 22 June, 6lb 1oz. The birth was great - we'd been doing Hypnobirthing which with your yoga got me through it and kept me very relaxed throughout. My waters broke at 3.50am I went in to be checked at the Hosp request at 9.30 which stopped everything but I managed to get my oxytocin back ( stroking my cat and walking really helped amongst other things) and I went back in at 5.30/6pm 10cm dilated and ready to push (had already started pushing at home) and he was born into the water pool at 7pm. We managed to have delayed cord clamping and a natural 3rd stage - placenta arrived after 38 mins. I used a lot of yoga moves, especially when on all fours, which came instinctively: moving my middle round in a barrel, circling hips etc. The 'soo' breath was good, as was vocal deep 'ahhhh' breathing. I'd love to join your postnatal class to hear how all the other births went!
On Friday afternoon I had a little girl, she is called Florence Catherine and she was 6 pounds 13. I just wanted to thank you as all the advice, and classes you gave really paid off. I had the natural birth I had planned with no pain relief at all and it was a relaxed affair all the way to the pushing stage. I didn’t go to the birthing centre until I was 9 cm dilated which meant I only had 4 hours of labour in the centre as spent most of my time at home breathing through each contraction.
Overall, the birth was two hours from start to finish. I had no tearing, which I attributed to the yoga classes, pelvic floor training, breathing exercises and a water birth. Thank you, Louisa! Also, I would highly recommend the Chelsea & Westminster birth centre as the room was like a five star hotel with the latest birthing amenities: mood lighting, a huge birth pool, and a double bed, which we slept on until the next morning. When we woke, the midwives brought us tea and toast and there was no rush for us to leave. Great birthing experience!