This is Katy.
Katy is our BabyNatal teacher from the Newcastle area and runs BabyNatal and Infant First Aid classes through her business Calmer Parenting Newcastle. An ex Geography teacher, Katy is now an antenatal educator and mum to two gorgeous young children – a boy and a girl. Katy’s little girl is only a few months old, and today we talk to Katy about the recent birth of her daughter and about how being a Natal teacher has given Katy the confidence to explore her options and achieve the birth experience that she wanted.
Q.: First of all Katy, many congratulations on the safe of your baby girl from everyone here at The Natal Family! When you had your son you hadn’t trained with The Natal Family yet, whereas the birth of your little girl comes some time after working as a BabyNatal teacher. Did you find that overall being an antenatal educator impacted the way you experienced your pregnancy, labour and birth this second time round?
Katy: “Yes, completely! Through teaching BabyNatal classes I feel that I have achieved great confidence, especially by learning how to explore my options and the choices available to me. This is even truer for me because I chose to attend MummyNatal classes with Amy to best prepare for the birth of my daughter. Without my training, my 40-weeks-plus-5-days appointment with the midwife could have gone very differently!”
Q.: “Why, what happened at that appointment?”
Katy: “It was in the most part really positive because my midwife is fab and always listens to me, but because I had ‘officially’ gone over my due dates, she had to follow protocol and book me in for an induction. My NHS Trust has a policy of offering ladies the option to be booked in for an induction between 41 and 42 weeks, due to the research around the changes in the functioning of the placenta after 41 weeks. They generally prefer to book you closer to 41 weeks than to 42 weeks.
Since the start of my antenatal care I felt that my pregnancy had been dated one week ahead of what it actually was, so on the day of the appointment, although I was measuring 40 weeks and 5 days, I personally believed that I wasn’t even 40 weeks yet. I had discussed this with my midwife before, and we talked extensively about my reluctance to be induced.
During that appointment she explained that I could be booked in for an induction so that I had a slot if I wanted it, but that I would be able to change my mind at any point up to them starting the induction. Because she was so respectful of my wishes, she said that in view of my feelings about induction and my thoughts on my due date, she would book me in for exactly 42 weeks.
This made me feel a lot better about everything, because I knew that I still had options and time for labour to get started naturally.
Q.: “It’s great to hear that you had such a wonderful, respectful midwife who took your feelings and wishes into account. Was your induction appointment booked for 42 weeks then?”
Katy: “In the end it was, but when my midwife phoned up to book my induction, she explained to the person at the other end of the phone why I wanted it at 42 weeks, and that I MIGHT opt not to have the induction on that day after all. The person on the other end of the phone clearly didn’t think this was a good idea and asked if I had been informed about the risks of taking this decision.
This is the point when I really felt grateful for having the background information and the confidence to make an informed choice, as well as for having a midwife who listened to me and treated me like an individual, with my own unique circumstances. Had I been in a similar situation before my training with The Natal Family or before attending a MummyNatal class, I feel that perhaps I would have been scared into changing my mind and opting for something that I wasn’t comfortable with. I know that the conversation with the midwife would have really played on my mind, and this would have potentially had its own set of implications for my birth experience. I think it’s absolutely great to experience first-hand the difference that the Natal classes and workshops can make!”
Q.: “That is so amazing to hear Katy. One thing is talking to expectant parents and to prospective teachers about how great our courses are and about the great, positive influence that they can have on people, but another thing is experiencing this through your own personal journey! So, tell us, did you get to the point where you had to accept or turn down the induction?”
Katy: “No, not at all! I woke up in the early hours of the day when I was officially 41 weeks, and I just had this feeling that I might go into labour that day. I was booked in for a sweep at home on that day anyway, so I went ahead with that, and almost immediately I could feel that things were beginning to happen. At that point I became pretty sure that I wouldn’t get to 42 weeks!”
Q.: “That just shows that you were right to go with your intuitions Katy! Although you had given birth before and you knew so much about labour and birth, did you find that what you learnt during the MummyNatal classes you attended was useful?
Katy: “Of course! To cope with the sensations, I decided to start using my birth ball, as practised in the MummyNatal classes. When that didn’t feel as comfortable anymore, I decided to try water and spent some time in a warm bath. Once I got out, I went back to the birth ball and decided to use the TENS machine. I must say that the mindfulness and meditation techniques that I had practised during my MummyNatal classes were really helpful for me in terms of dealing with early labour at home. By the time I was ready to leave for the hospital I was using some of the breathing exercises and mantra meditations that I had learnt with Amy during my MummyNatal classes to help during the contraction – this worked really well for me!”
Q.: “And how did things progress for you? How did you find the birthing environment at the hospital – was it a comforting environment for you?”
Katy: “Most definitely! Luckily the room that we were given in the birth centre (or midwife-led unit) had a birthing pool and a birth ball, which was great, so I could continue to use the birth ball as I had been at home. Once I settled in (after realising that I was in the same room where I had previously given birth to my son), I continued to use a combination of the birth ball and MummyNatal breathing and mantra meditation along with standing and leaning on the sink while swaying from side to side. Being in a familiar and calm environment really helped me to feel relaxed and at ease.
Q.: “This is so amazing to hear, Katy. So, would you say that the birth of your daughter was a positive experience?”
Katy: “Of course it was! Once I felt ready for it, I asked for gas and air (Entonox) and decided to make good use of the birthing pool that we had in the room. Once in the water things moved very quickly – our baby girl was born just 45
minutes after getting into the birthing pool and only 2 and half hours after I started on the gas and air. My labour was significantly shorter the second time round, and I think that perhaps this was also due to the techniques that I had learnt in MummyNatal classes, which helped me feel relaxed and in tune with my body. Once again, a great demonstration of how the Natal classes really work!”
Thank you for sharing your journey with us Katy! Yours is such a great, empowe
ring story, which shows just how much of a difference informed choice can make and how finding ways to remain calm, relaxed and in tune with your body by using the mind-body connection that we explore in MummyNatal can really help you achieve a positive birth experience, whatever that may look like for you and your baby!
Thank you again and enjoy being a mum-of-two!