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I started going to pregnancy yoga when I was about 4 months pregnant and continued right up until I gave birth. I loved taking time out each week to relax and bond with my baby, as well as prepare myself physically and mentally for labour and birth. It soon became one of my favourite times of the week!

I also attended Jennie’s hypnobirthing course at the studio and felt that yoga complemented this perfectly and gave me a dedicated time to focus on breathing and visualisation techniques.

Baby boy was due on 16/6/22 which also happened to be the day pregnancy yoga was on but I booked onto the class anyway - babies never come on time… or so I thought!

On 14/6/22, my waters went at home. I was very calm and rang the birth centre to see what I should do next. I had hoped to give birth at BBC but it was unfortunately closed that evening so off to Burnley we went where the midwives confirmed that my waters had definitely gone. They also booked me in for an induction 24 hours later in case I hadn’t gone into spontaneous labour by then due to the risk of infection. I knew I had to be flexible and adapt to the situation but I wanted to try to avoid induction so, when we got home, I did everything I’d learned from yoga and hypnobirthing to try to bring labour on naturally.

Over the next 24 hours, I had a bath, watched Friends, bounced on my birthing ball, went on walks, did yoga and tried not to worry about the 24 hour deadline as I knew this wouldn’t help me to encourage my body to release oxytocin. I began to feel pains similar to period pains but these were irregular and I was able to manage them quite easily at home so I felt I wasn’t in established labour when the time came to return to Burnley for the booked induction. I was even managing to nap through them half an hour before we had to leave and I was disappointed that things didn’t appear to be progressing.

In the car, the contractions became more regular and, when we arrived, baby and I were monitored and I was examined. I was amazed to find that I was 5cm dilated and was admitted straight into the birth suite. Despite the doctors wanting continuous monitoring of myself and baby, I was able to advocate for myself thanks to the information I’d gained from yoga and hypnobirthing.

The midwives ensured I had a pool room and wireless monitoring so I could have an active birth and use all the techniques I’d learned. My husband and amazing midwife quickly set up the room with dimmed lights and relaxing music. I got straight into the pool. For the next few hours, I laboured in the pool using the positions I’d learned from yoga, managing contractions with golden thread breathing and visualisations. I focused on surrendering my body to the sensations.

Once I’d got to 8cm dilated, I tried gas and air as the contractions were becoming more intense. However, I felt this got in the way of my breathing so after a couple of contractions, I abandoned it and, with the amazing support of my husband, put all my energy into focusing on breathing and relaxing through each contraction.

Before I knew it, my contractions seemed to slow, giving me more rest time in between. I suspected this might be the transition phase and I was right! I could feel my body bearing down. Soon, the midwives could see baby’s head and we were so excited to be so close to meeting him! I allowed my body to do what it needed to but, after around 30 minutes of pushing, the midwives became concerned about baby’s wellbeing. I was pushing with all the strength I had but baby wasn’t budging! In the end, I had to get out of the pool and had an episiotomy as the doctor suspected that baby might be on the bigger side. It turns out, he was just adamant that he wanted to come into the world with his hand up by his head like superman!

With a lot of support from my husband and the midwives, and the biggest push of my life, he was placed onto my chest for some precious skin to skin and I couldn’t believe he was finally here! At 1:01am on 16/6/22, Ezra Thomas Bibby arrived right on schedule!

Thanks to Tessa and Jennie, I had a calm and relaxed labour where I felt confident and empowered despite some bumps along the way. I didn’t get the water birth I’d hoped for but I look back on my labour and birth with so much positivity.

I’m so grateful to Tessa for giving me such invaluable tools which made my labour such a positive experience. I would recommend pregnancy yoga to any and everyone!

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