Mother Nature And Labour Pain Skills

Following is an email I just received from one of my class members who attended her Birth Skills Class in late 2016.

I can’t believe it’s taken me three months to write to you.
I wanted to tell you about my wonderful birth and thank you for the amazing skills I learned at your course and reading your book – I honestly couldn’t have done it without your teaching.

I think the main thing you helped me with was by giving me the tools and therefore giving me confidence. My labour was shorter than my first, but once again my baby was in a posterior position. After having an epidural with my first baby after labouring on my back in agony I just could not get my head around how Mother Nature could give women such strong pain in labour, but seemingly no way of coping with it. After my first baby, I never thought it would be possible or that I’d want to try birth again without an epidural, but inevitably once I became pregnant for the second time I became intrigued about birthing without one.

The first course I did gave me zero skills and seemed to be based on the theory that labour doesn’t hurt and you just need to concentrate, relax  and breathe – what a joke – as soon as I experienced my first labour pains first time around I was completely out of control.

This time around I found my way to your class, and especially following your instruction re posterior births and an amazing midwife, I was up and actively trying to turn her in all the posterior positions you taught. I was 7-8 centimetres when I arrived at hospital and found the stress balls immensely useful from that point. At one stage, I thought ‘epidural’, but I still had tools to try, so I put myself to work and kept going.

Long story short, I had about three contractions in transition, then pushed her out in the all fours position. She had turned from posterior to anterior, unlike my first posterior baby who needed manual rotation by the doctor, as well as ventouse, with a dropping heart rate as I was on my back, and with the epidural in, not feeling anything nor participating in any of it. With this birth I honestly thought I was going to rip those stress balls apart when I was pushing ( my lifesaver), also I was incredibly noisy – screaming and shouting rhythmically and quite naturally – my God it blocked the pain! I felt so self conscious previously about ‘making noise’ but in reality it was so normal, so releasing, so empowering, and the midwives were absolutely fantastic and encouraging about it.  My midwives were so happy to see someone having a go at it, and that they could get involved, and coach me, and help me through it.

I never thought it would be possible for me to be someone who genuinely enjoyed their birth – it still hurt – but I managed to ride the waves of labour pain with that perfect balance of control and surrender – what an amazing and powerful thing that is!

Your course and book empowered me and enabled me to get my head around the pain and understand it, which was what was necessary for me to be able to relax enough to let go, trust, and not be fearful. I am a doctor, and therefore a control freak, and I’ve seen a lot of traumatic births. You helped me understand that Mother Nature gave me all the skills I needed to cope with childbirth, I just had to be taught how to use them.

Our little darling Rose is already three months old!

(Name withheld)

This entry was posted on February 4, 2017.


Isabel attended her Birth Skills class in October 2016.

Here are some notes from her birth report…

‘I was given half a dose of prostaglandin as I was already starting to dilate and then my waters were broken at 8.30am. I went straight into contractions every two minutes and used all of the Birth Skills. Paul had bought shoes just after the class I did with you using the bubble wrap as one of the pain management tools, and they came with big bubble wrap. This was my life saviour despite thinking the bubble wrap was not something I would use!!

I danced, I paced up and down the room, pounded the bubble wrap and counted ‘one two’ hundreds of times. I also focused on an aerial outside the window and focused on Paul’s eyes when the pain got much worse. Paul was amazing at being a coach, timing contractions and telling me to be louder when I was struggling (he read the key parts of your book!) He really helped keep me calm and focused.

After a couple of hours I was 8cms dilated and the midwife called my obstetrician who arrived a few minutes later- I was 10cms and ready to push. Paul reminded me of the coffee plunger technique and baby Henry was born in a few contractions with the help of a ventouse as the cord was around his foot. What amazed me was the lack of pain for the actual birth . I was so focused on pushing and the coffee plunger technique, nothing else hurt. The Birth Skills were amazing. I didn’t use any pain relief and Henry was born only 2.5 hours after my waters were broken. He weighed a healthy 3.9kg, fed well from the start and hasn’t stopped.

I definitely think I would have needed pain relief without the Birth Skills. I wouldn’t have known how to deal with the pain and think I would have tried to sit or lie down more. And I couldn’t believe how the ‘sound’ helped! Like most people I was initially embarrassed but it really worked! And Paul telling me ‘louder’ was amazing.

It was such a special few hours for our family, even the most painful bits! I started to talk about baby number two before we moved out of the delivery suite.

We came home from hospital yesterday after being well and truly spoilt with the amazing midwife care. We are loving family life with Henry Eric Cheshire!


Take your bubble wrap!

This entry was posted on November 8, 2016.

Rosie Born on the First Day of Spring!

Caroline attended my Birth Skills Class in July. Rosie was born on the first day of Spring!

Caroline’s Birth Report began with ‘Labour and Birth was an amazing experience! I can definitely credit this to the Birth Skills Class!’

Let’s see what Caroline is really saying…

“After a couple of days of pre-labour at home (some signs of labour, but no established labour – many women have this), and after a full uninterrupted night’s sleep, I woke up at 6.30am with a few strong contractions at 10 minutes apart. I stayed in bed for as long as possible, then had a bath to see if they would slow down but they increased to 5 minutes apart.

I utilised everything I learned in your class which I didn’t realise that I remembered until I was in the throngs of labour!

Here are some of the skills…I either squeezed or banged the stress balls – usually on the bath or wall. I used the mantra ‘healthy pain’ or ‘baby down’ whilst visualising my uterus pushing the baby down and around and the cervix opening. I said ‘AAAHHH’ and ‘OOOOHHH’ and breathed. I mixed things up for each contraction and found it helpful for my husband to count me out of a contraction saying ’15 seconds to go’, ’10 seconds to go’. etc.

The contractions must have been about 3 to 4 minutes apart when I said we should go to the hospital – 15 minutes from home. A quick spontaneous vomit of the days’s small snacks, and into the car.

In the car I continued to use a heat pack and used the wooded massage tool from the Birth Skills Kit, rubbing it against my thigh or between my hands which really helped distract me from the pain of the contractions.

I was 8 centimetres on arrival at the hospital. I was so happy I was so far along.

The transition phase between 8 to 10 centimetres was the most difficult. I had my husband and midwife massage me, used a heat pack and cold towels, and made sure to drink lots of water and hydralite. I also used the bath a lot and found that this helped to pass the time. Once again the wooden  massage tool was extremely useful again, and sitting on the toilet was my chosen position for much of the time.

Caroline and Rosie Blog.jpg

This took me from first stage to second stage  but I couldn’t tell if the initial sensations were pushing urges or not. I found the pushing the most difficult and really wanted to get the technique right, but it took a few contractions to get there! Using a mirror really helped. After I eventually got the hang of pushing, a little while later our baby girl arrived at 3.07pm.

I was able to give birth without drugs, except for two paracetamol- and the Birth Skills I learned. I also had no tearing which I think is thanks to preparing with the Epino (available at the pharmacy).

Our first few weeks together have been amazing, which I attribute to the positive birth experience  I had. I was on such a high after giving birth that I wanted to have another baby immediately!

I was never scared of labour and very much looked forward to it. I know I was very lucky with my birth experience, but it is amazing how many people say ‘have the drugs’ or ‘get a Caesarean’. I believe that with the right attitude, education and preparation, natural birth is the best option and there is no reason to fear it. You really just have to take one contraction at a time, not think about the last one or the next one. And thankfully, they only last for one minute.”

Caroline finished her report by saying ‘ I believe I can tackle anything now!’.





This entry was posted on October 2, 2016.

May’s Natural And Caesarean Birth with Axel

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Baby Axel, May, husband Chris and big sister Frances

I received an email from May who attended my Birth Skills Class in July. She was hoping for a VBAC, but although it wasn’t to be, it was a great birth. Here is some of what May  had to say…

‘I did everything I could and I am really proud of my body and my baby.

Although I had lots of back pain with regular contractions this time, I reached 8cms with my posterior baby with no drip, and no pain relief (except a bit of gas and air). I could not have done this without the Birth Skills Class, especially the instruction on how to manage a posterior backache labour.

I used the stress balls, blowing breathing, circular hip movements in all fours, a lot of ‘ahh’ sounds, and internal keywords “down, out, turn” throughout most of it. I also rubbed sheets and blankets together,  like we did in class with the bubble wrap – I really liked this technique.

At 8cms my cervix began to swell, my baby was stuck (as with the last birth) and although the midwives were saying they were just waiting to see the baby ‘s head, and he’d be here any moment, after 5 hours it was decided go to theatre and finish the birth by Caesarean.

I have no regrets. I gave it my absolute all and am at peace with how things turned out. Also, my recovery has been faster. Plus, I have an adorable little boy we are all doting on. The doctors and midwives tell me I have pelvic disproportion  and in my case my babies get stuck in a ROP position, so if we have another baby, we will have a planned Caesarean, and I’m okay with that’.

May finished her email with ‘Thinking about the birth as both natural AND Caesarean is a much better way to honour the birth, Axel’s birth,  rather than thinking only about how the baby eventually came out of me.’

May, you did so well, you had a mostly natural birth, with  Caesarean assistance at the end. I love your attitude, and especially as it’s all about Axel! What a beautiful baby!

love, Juju




This entry was posted on August 28, 2016.

Mini Birth Skills Class at Apollo

Lauren at Apollo

It had been a busy week, so today was going to be a lazy city to City to Surf Sunday and my children and I had been to see the Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera Exhibition at the Art Gallery then on to Potts Point for a coffee, then for a late lunch at the Apollo Greek restaurant in Macleay St.

Lauren (above), a friend of my daughters was with a group at another table, has only three weeks to go until her baby’s birth. She told me she has only a few pages left to read from ‘Birth Skills’. Her husband Joe, seated behind us in the photo above, said he is only half way through the  book. We had to laugh as we found time  in between courses and room in between a couple of tables in the restaurant to have a mini Birth Skills refresher class regarding the use of Birth Skills and ‘inhibitions’ and also the use of epidurals.

Hope all goes well, Lauren and Joe… and Joe you have half a book to finish!!!!!!!

Next time I see you at Apollo, you will have your baby in the pram!



This entry was posted on August 14, 2016.

Swiss Cow Bell – Contraction Signal

Just for a bit of fun in last Wednesday’s Birth Skills Class I retrieved a handful of Swiss Cow Bells and gave one to each of my class members to ring to herald the start of practise contractions and the ‘work’ they needed to do in preparation for labour. I also had one, a large one, and rang it loudly to signal the start of the different Birth Skills the women needed to try out during the practical session.  Just a bit of fun… but I hope will stay in their memories to help them to get straight to work when that fight flight reflex kicks in at the beginning of each painful contraction. Anything that helps women avoid the ‘frozen with fear’ state is worth while. Below are two class members Karen with Swiss Cow Bell, and Fiona, taking a break at my Birth Skills class in June 2016.

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This entry was posted on June 27, 2016.