full moon in the clouds
Doulas, News, Uncategorized

Saturday send out 📫

full moon in the clouds

Happy Saturday! And happy full moon weekend 🌕This snow full moon will be the first super moon of the decade and we’re certainly feeling her energy! Despite that, we hope you’re able to have a relaxing peaceful weekend.

It’s that time again. Here’s our Saturday Send Out 📫. Grab a cuppa and get cosy…

What we’ve been up to

It has felt like a really productive week this week. Working on various funding applications, facilitating groups and connecting with wonderful women. It seems like winter hibernation is still calling lots of us and the need to turn inward and rest is still great. But the beautiful sunshine and blue skies over the last few days has certainly given us a new energy as the season begins to change.

Lori and Elle with the Community Champion at Asda in RochdaleElle and I had a huge surprise this week as we were asked to go and collect a cheque from Asda in Rochdale. We knew we were part of their recent green token giving but had no idea how we had done or how much we had won. We could not believe it when we arrived to find that not only had we won, but the amount had been doubled because we were in store over Christmas! This money will help us to set up a free pool hire service that will sit alongside our existing Holding Space service – accessible pool hire with valuable emotional support to help you prepare for and debrief your birth. We are super excited so watch this space!!   

Questions for the doulas

Favourite Ed Sheeran song?

A: ‘You need me’ because I know all the words and it’s great to rap really loud in the car!
L: Depends on which mood I’m in. I like singing ‘Gold Rush’ 
E: I’m a big fan of the brief silences between his many songs

Hufflepuff socksWhich Harry Potter house would you be in?

E:  I don’t know, the only thing about Harry potter I like is Wizards Unite.
A: Hufflepuff 
L: Hufflepuff for sure! Never part of the cool crowd but patient, loyal and all about fair play. Elle won’t play but I think she’d be Ravenclaw; so wise with a sharp wit and love of learning. 

How have you been looking after your mental health?

L: Reaching out for help when I’m struggling and reminding myself that the hard days won’t last forever.
E:I just bought myself a PlayStation Now subscription, so my mental health is taken care of for the next year.
A: Getting lots of fresh air and taking time to myself.

Do you consider yourself and introvert or an extrovert? 

A: Introvert definitely.
L: Highly introverted!
E: The introvert-est.

Are you usually early or late?

E: Don’t think I’ve ever been early, except by accident.
A: I would much rather be really early than a minute late
L: As much as the people pleaser in me wants to be early, I’m often running late!

Lori lying down with two dogsAre you a cat or a dog person?

L: An animal person?! I love dogs 🐕 but I have so much love for my childhood cat Teddy.
E: Getting dogs has made me appreciate cats more.
A: I’m more of a cat person because I love their independence, but Elle’s dogs are winning me over.

What’s coming up

Next week we’ll be diving deep into planning and preparation for exciting projects we’ve got in the pipeline. Hopefully connecting more with our volunteers and keeping the productivity flowing!

It’s our monthly home birth group tomorrow morning for anyone interested in home birth. Whether you have questions or want to share your story, you and your family are welcome. There will be biscuits and brews and toys for any little ones who come.  

The Wild Mothering Circle will hopefully be meeting again on Friday. We’re looking forward to reconnecting with this sisterhood after a couple of cancelled meets! If you are a woman who wants to be part of this village we would love to see you there.

wild mother circle details home birth south manchester details

This Friday there is also an event inviting those who have used maternity services in the last couple of years to talk about their postnatal experiences. This is part of the work to improve maternity services in Greater Manchester. Sadly our little ones have an inset day so Elle and Lori won’t be able to make it but you can reserve your space here

How can you help at the minute?

women in a birth pool hugging her husbandWe are keen to get our pool hire service off the ground as quickly as possible. If you have a pool or any accessories that you would like to donate, they would be hugely appreciated. Our first pool Nell was donated by a wonderful family after their beautiful home birth, and has already been used by two other families 💕.

Are you a Jigsaw Homes resident? If so you can vote for our community project on the Jigsaw Rewards website. Your votes will help women and their families in Miles Platting and surrounding areas to access much needed support around pregnancy, birth and beyond.

As always we’d love to hear from you so tell us how you’re doing and what you’ve been up to. If there are events you’d like us to share, or there’s a topic you’d like us to shine a light on get in touch

Lots of love,

Amy, Elle & Lori x

silly faces

naomi's positive vbac
Birth, Birth Story, Doulas, Uncategorized

Naomi’s positive VBAC story

Naomi contacted us recently about sharing the birth of her second baby Amelie. Her son Dylan was born by caesarean but second time around she planned for a different experience. With the support of Amy, she had the positive birth she had wished for and we hope that Naomi and her story inspires you as much as she does us.

For the previous two weeks I had been getting lots of braxton hicks and had lost my complete mucous plug, but was determined not to get my hopes up about going into early labour as I went a week overdue with Dylan and I found it so hard waiting. I tried to keep in my head that I would go overdue this time too so that I wasn’t disappointed. I went to bed on the Tuesday evening and had absolutely no signs of labour except from my bump had dropped quite low throughout the day (I was 39+2). I slept so well and got a full 8 hours sleep.

naomi in the pool with gas and airMy alarm went off at 7.45am to get Dylan up and ready for nursery, so I snoozed and got him up at 8 and Ben got in the shower. I shouted through to Ben in the bathroom because I got such a big pain in my stomach but wasn’t sure what it was as I didn’t think I could get such a painful contraction with no build up. He carried on showering and I found myself bent double over our bed breathing through 4 contractions in 10 minutes with poor Dylan watching me wondering what was going on! So I shouted Ben again and he got out of the shower and got dressed and took Dylan downstairs.

I called maternity triage who could hear how regular my contractions were and how much pain I was in and they said to go straight to the birth centre there and then. So Ben called Dylan’s nursery to warn them we were on our way with him and that he’d not had time for any breakfast.  I called my doula Amy to let her know we were on our way to the birth centre, she said she would leave and meet us there. I also called my mum as she was supposed to be having Dylan while I was in labour but I asked her to come and see her granddaughter being born instead as luckily it had fallen on a nursery day!

We all got in the car for the most uncomfortable journey and we were so lucky that it was half term so there was hardly any traffic bearing in mind we were driving towards Manchester city centre in rush hour! When we got near to nursery I was in so much pain I said to Ben don’t take Dylan to his room, just drop him in the office and get back to the car quickly, I felt like the baby was coming soon.

naomi giving birthSo 10 minutes later we arrived at the birth centre and Amy my doula had just arrived before us. The midwives took us into the most gorgeous room with twinkle lights, soft waterfall sound effects and a big projector on the wall with waterfall videos, it was so relaxing. They got me on the futon to examine me and she said that I was 4cm dilated, fully effaced and my waters were bulging. She said I could get straight in the birthing pool and have the gas and air which I did. I forgot how amazing the gas and air is… the hallucinations! And the warm water was so soothing on my back.

I remember at one point feeling a bit panicky about my scar rupturing and asking the midwife if I was showing any signs of scar rupture. And then I panicked that the baby would get stuck like last time and asked her if the baby was back to back like last time. She answered no to both questions and reminded me that this was a different birth and to trust my body.

Amy made me 3 cups of tea which I downed in the pool, and we all had a laugh that I was alternating between gas and air and cups of tea (fab combination by the way!) Like Dylan’s birth, Ben was the official gas and air holder and my friendly face for when I was in crazy amounts of pain. Then as things were ramping up my mum arrived which I was so glad about. She was holding a cool flannel on my head and it was just generally soothing to have my mum there. I felt so safe surrounded by the people I chose to be at my birth and it was so completely different to my poor experience from Dylan’s birth.

Naomi, her partner and her newborn babySoon after my mum arrived my body started to push involuntarily. I didn’t need to be examined, I just knew that I must be fully dilated and my body knew what to do. I looked down between my legs as I thought I had pushed the baby’s head out but it was actually part of the sack full of waters that hadn’t burst yet, so surreal to see!

At this point the midwife used the Doppler and couldn’t find baby’s heart rate so very quickly her and the second midwife said I needed to get out of the pool immediately. I was so worried as it was like history repeating itself, they had to get me out of the pool as an emergency when I gave birth to Dylan.

As I got out of the pool I could feel her head crowning and the midwife could obviously see it too as she put her hand between my legs in case the baby came out! As soon as I was out of the water the pain was so intense as the gas and air had worn off and I had no other kind of pain relief in my system. I laid on the futon and begged for the gas and air but everyone was more focussed on the baby coming out so I didn’t get my gas and air back!

The next contraction came and I pushed so hard and her head was born, then one more push and she was in my arms crying! The sense of achievement straight away was just incredible and  I still can’t believe that I achieved a vaginal birth after so many professionals told me I couldn’t do it.

I also specified in my birth plan that I wanted a physiological third stage which I’m glad about as the placenta came naturally around 10 minutes later. We waited until the cord had stopped pulsating completely and Ben got to cut the cord this time which we were so happy about.

amelie

My doula Amy managed to get some amazing photos of the labour and birth which I’m so happy about as we only got one photo of when Dylan was born. I honestly feel like I would do it all over again, I’m so thrilled I got the birth I wished for all along. 

A perfect example of how listening to your intuition alongside the support of a trusted team who believe in you and your body can lead to a birth on your terms, despite the doubt of professionals. You are amazing Naomi! 

man and women with newborn baby in the bath
Birth, Birth Story, Doulas, Uncategorized

A healing second birth – Part 2

We’re back again with the next part of this inspiring birth story. Here Jess shares her experience of the last weeks and days of her pregnancy and the beginnings of labour!

Jess with her toddler and breastfeeding her newborn babyEden’s birth story Part 2:

Every evening for over a week I’d get these annoying period type cramps. Once I even had a contraction. I’d also get these strange nerve pains that would make my legs feel numb, quite scary when I first experienced them. I’d have to do a low squat & breathe through them. Anyone witnessing me doing this as I walked around Tesco must have thought I was in labour! 🤣 In fact someone once asked me if I was okay!! All these things were uncomfortable & annoying but I took them as normal late pregnancy issues & tried to let go and enjoy our last days as a family of three.

For a few weeks I felt the need to slow down and conserve energy. We had help from family so I was able to spend time connecting with baby, resting, meditating, writing, nesting & batch cooking. Looking back I think these quiet times helped lay the foundations for the birth we were to have. Some dear friends put on a mother blessing for me & I made a birth altar in my bedroom with the affirmation art they made for me & other things I cherished.

I also met with my doulas, Greater Manchester Doulas, a few times and generally talked about how things had been. They were my true antenatal care, they listened with no agenda & made me feel valued. The main thing that kept coming up for me was not knowing the midwife who would attend my home birth. Everything I’d researched about the smoothest & safest way to birth was for the mother to be undisturbed so she can tune into her own body. So the idea of having someone there who knew nothing about me & who I’d never met before seemed bizarre and scary. I hadn’t had good experiences with my midwife team so had no faith that they would respect or even consider the importance of the energy or atmosphere they’d bring. So I decided we’d contact them late on in labour & ask them to stay in another room unless needed. I dared not tell any of the midwives this was our plan as I couldn’t face the barrage of questions and scare mongering that would have been bestowed on me so late in pregnancy. (Continued in comments)

Jess sat with her toddler breastfeeding her newbornInstead I wrote a birth plan and Ben and my doulas agreed to speak with them when the time arrived.

As the days rolled by and the baby got lower and heavier in my pelvis and the cramping and nerve pains continued, I began to get cabin fever. The day of Eden’s birth I was so grumpy and restless, like when you have an itch that you can’t quite scratch. Looking back this must have been a result of a hormonal surge in my body preparing for labour. I spent the day on my own and slept a lot. I had the urge to make a really nutritious and carb heavy lunch which is unusual as we tend to eat our main meal in the evening. The restlessness grew stronger as the day went on. I text a few friends and made a plan to meet up the next day with Luca in tow. I had no idea how I’d physically manage to wobble around a park with a toddler at nearly 42 weeks pregnant, but that feeling of needing change was intense! Later that evening Ben persuaded me to go for a walk with Luca and our dog Tilly. Walking any distance would set off the nerve pains so I wasn’t always up for them. It was a beautiful sunny evening and after our return, still feeling fed up, I decided there was only one thing for it…. a glass of wine! Well, this certainly got the baby moving! He started somersaults and pushing right down into my pelvis and generally having a dance party!! 🤣

Luca’s bedtime came round and I lay with him and fed him to sleep while Ben went to get us both food. While I lay there I began to realise the period cramps that I often experienced in the evenings were coming and going in more of a pattern than before. Not wanting to get excited I didn’t allow myself to think this could be the start. At this point in my pregnancy I was genuinely considering the idea that I might be pregnant FOREVER!! 😆 Luca went to sleep easily and we ate takeaway and chatted. Ben suggested watching TV but I didn’t fancy it. I felt an energy in me stirring, a really subtle shift of consciousnesses where half was busy somewhere else, perhaps preparing and paving the way for the journey I was about to take, while the other half was here, in the now. I knew I wouldn’t be able to concentrate on much. I was in the ‘doing’ phase of labour: also the ‘denial’ phase where it’s actually obvious things have started but you pretend to yourself it hasn’t!!

newborn baby breastfeedingWhen Ben asked how I was I told him the cramps where coming and going but not to get his hopes up as they would probably fade away. I could talk quite easily through them. It was about 9pm and the surges were probably every 20 minutes (although I wasn’t timing them and had no intention to start doing so either; I wanted to just stay in the moment). I suggested we got an early night incase things stepped up but by the time we’d sorted the dishwasher etc it was 10pm before we went upstairs. I told Ben to sleep in Luca’s room as I wanted him to get as much sleep as possible and not worry about disturbing him. At this point I was also really craving to be by myself.

To be continued…

Part 3 coming soon! In the meantime follow Jess and her wild adventures through motherhood on Instagram @these_adventures_of_ours

amy elle and lori
Doulas, Funding, News, Uncategorized

Saturday shout out 📣

Happy Saturday! It’s finally the weekend and the end of the longest January in existence. We’re all relaxing after a long week and hope you are too.

It’s that time again. Here’s our Saturday Shout Out. Grab a cuppa and get cosy…

What we’ve been up to

A couple of wonderful interviews reminded us of why we do what we do, and how much connecting with women feeds our souls.
We facilitated three free community groups this week, and we’d love to see them grow.

Also Amy drove inside a building for the first time (with a jolly Elle inside)
and Lori got stranded with a flat tire (with a less jolly Elle inside).

We enjoyed our first few days of working together as a team, and had our first slumber party!

Questions for the doulas

Top three bands/singers?
L: Lizzo, Stormzy, Beyonce.
A: Eminem, Ed Sheeran, and McFly.
E: Bjork, Weezer, Panic! at the Disco.

Movie you’ve watched more than any other?
L: Harry Potter. Maybe Stealing Beauty… So cheesy, but I used to be obsessed.
A: Definitely Harry Potter, and Avengers: End Game.
E: The Princess Bride.

All time favourite TV shows?
L: Gilmore Girls, Grace and Frankie, Game of Thrones (before it ended the way it did – still haven’t forgiven the writers for ruining it).
A: Friends, Scrubs, and Gilmore Girls.
E: Adventure Time, Mr Robot, and Scrubs.

What’s on your bucket list?
L: Getting fat exploring Koh Phangan and having a beach house so we can be awesome old crones together like Grace and Frankie.
A: There’s a lot of things on my bucket list! Mostly visiting countries I haven’t seen yet, and skydiving which is too expensive and scary, but one that will be ticked off soon(ish) is converting a van into a camper so I can travel more.
E: Getting a scooter.

What’s coming up?

Next week is all about funding. Some deadlines are approaching, and we’re meeting face to face with a funder for the first time.

On Thursday we have our first Free Birth Meeting of the year. It’s so important that women know about all their options during pregnancy. Especially if you’re thinking outside the box for your birth, it’s so reassuring and inspiring to hear the tales from the women who did the same and had a beautiful time.

The Wild Mothering Circle is now open to all women, because if we want to see a village built in our lifetimes, it needs to be made up of women of all ages and stages of life. We meet every Friday afternoon so come along and be part of this growing sisterhood.

On Saturday we’ll be taking part in a flash mob to raise awareness of how the systems women rely on for support are often the systems that make our lives difficult in the first place.
You may know the video from Chile which spread over the world. Watch the powerful anti-rape demonstration in its original language here.

A week today it comes to Manchester. Anyone is welcome to take part, but full details have not yet been confirmed. Feel free to message us about this.

How can you help at the minute?

We have a few suggestions this week!

We have just started writing our antenatal course which covers as much as a regular one, but focuses on human rights in pregnancy and childbirth.
We got partial funding from Lush, but we are £1000 short, and are looking to raise the rest by crowdfunding.
Here’s a link to the Just Giving page Lori made last night. We’ve never tried crowdfunding before so would really appreciate your support with this!

If you haven’t selected us as your chosen Local Cause with the Co-op, there’s still plenty of time.

Share your story with us for National Storytelling Week. It can be about anything, and as short or long as you like. What’s important is that it’s yours.

Thank you for supporting us and having our backs, it makes such a difference to know we aren’t doing this by ourselves.

Lori, Amy & Elle x