Antenatal Classes, Birth Preparation Essentials, Birth, Baby & Family, Janine Smith, Latest posts

A birth story…

A mum who has asked to stay anonymous sent me a message about the birth prep session we had years ago. It has made me beam and it sums up exactly why I do what I do – my birth prep is beyond just the information, it is about being assertive and saying what you need because that matters…

“I’m not sure if I ever told you but I do talk about this still and I really appreciate the birth preparation session you provided for us.  I think people sometimes think these sessions are for first time but we came for our second pregnancy as we’d had quite a gap and I wanted to be prepared again.

In a nutshell I had a super easy, super speedy first birth with my first son.  When I was pregnant with my 2nd son, one of my good friends (who has also had an easy first birth) had an induction and a terrible experience with her 2nd birth.  I was preoccupied with this when we came to the birth preparation session and I found your advice so very helpful about trusting myself, trusting the process, being confident to ask questions and also to assert what I wanted.

I wrote a solid birth plan and while I wasn’t able to follow any of it to the letter (probably a rare thing) I did manage to ask questions and assert and if I hadn’t I think it would have been very different.

My birth story isn’t particularly special but it was quite scary and it would have been a lot worse without the birth preparation.

My waters broke (on my due day) I went in when I thought I was the same stage as with my first birth (so 8cm dilated when I presented).  However this time,  despite being in absolute agony much worse than the first time, when I got to the hospital I found I wasn’t even really dilated.  The immediate response was to settle me in, and give me some induction drugs to speed it all up.  I had the confidence to refuse them and the nurses were a bit surprised but great they said ‘Ah ok see how you go for a couple of hours.’

So, in the 2 hours or so I went from not being in labour to all 3 stages of labour in less than 30 minutes with both me and the baby in distress, hooked up to monitors etc etc.  It was touch and go and the doctors wanted to do a Caesarean but my midwife held them off and let me try and he was born in a rush and is thankfully absolutely fine.

I still dread to think what would have happened if I’d just accepted the induction drugs to speed things up when I arrived. 

It sounds like such common sense ‘trusting myself, trusting the process, being confident to ask questions and also to assert what I wanted’ but when you are in agony and scared, that is the first thing to go I was grateful to have had the time and space to discuss, prepare and plan with my husband in a safe place so we were able to try as much as we could to stick to the plan.

I am a huge fan of birth preparation and would encourage anyone to take the time to get ready mentally for the challenges of birth.”


This is beautifully described how effective good birth preparation can be – after many years of working with expectant and new parents, I am passionate about better preparing women and their partners for the reality of birth. This doesn’t make it easy – childbirth can be a tough gig, even when it is straight-forward – but being at the centre of your care, to say what you need, to ask questions is powerful.

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Just get in touch to find out how I can help you prepare for the birth of your baby.

Janine | Birth, Baby & Family
A specialist in pregnancy, birth and early parenting