“Jo is a fantastic teacher and a wonderfully friendly and caring person. Entering our first Wise Hippo meeting with very little research on my behalf, I was intrigued but slightly mystified by what some may describe as an alternative method of childbirth. As we progressed through the program Jo’s teachings, examples and complete knowledge of midwifery turned the mysterious alternative in to the only truly logical and natural method of childbirth for me and my partner.
This fantastic program was brought to life by Jo and I now feel that I have the knowledge and understanding of childbirth to assist my partner in bringing our baby girl in to the world in the most calm and relaxed way possible.
Whether you are already sold on hypno-birthing or you have had your interest piqued and want to learn more, I could not recommend Jo highly enough. She made the learning process understandable, interesting and manageable and left me and my partner feeling confident, informed and excited about the birth of our baby.
I can’t thank Jo enough for all her help, support, nurturing and amazing wise hippo training.
I originally planned for a homebirth for my second son, but as minor issues such as platelets levels dropping started to occur, I thought a birthing centre would be a good halfway house. I’m not a huge fan of hospitals and so really wanted to avoid going to hospital.
I then ended up going 13 days overdue and was told my only option was to be in a hospital and was booked into be induced the following day. Initially I was very upset and worried about this as I suspected being over medicalised and having interventions that I wouldn’t need.
As luck would have it my waters broke that afternoon! As there was old meconium in the water I still had to go to hospital, however I felt a lot more in control of the situation. I’d been having weeks with bouts of full on contractions (and welcoming them every time) and so when the gentle surges began, I just felt happy and elated! I even went to nap with my toddler – but he kept commenting that I was breathing in a funny way!
We decided that it was best for my mum to take me to Hastings (an hours drive) and for my partner to put our son to bed and then for there to be a switch over. As my previous labour took 8 hours, we felt we had enough time.
Once at the hospital I wasn’t overly confident in the midwife who had no clue what a tens machine was, just popped my birth plan aside, that I wanted the room dark or no pain relief options. The doctor then came in and without examining me or looking me over told me he was going to induce me to speed things up! I told him that I was having contractions and that the babies heart beat was completely fine and so was there really a need for this? After a fairly involved discussion, in which I was told I couldn’t possibly be having contractions as I ‘didn’t look like I was having them’! Wise hippo training! that’ he’d come back in an hour.
I then asked mum to go and relive my partner as I’d be perfectly fine and was left to be in peace for a bit.
Once happy in my own space, the labour suddenly picked up pace and with regular very promising strong surges, but I still felt completely happy and in control. The doctor came back after 45mins and I was examined and told I was 5cms. As I was being monitored my babies heartbeat was completely textbook. The doctor told me he would give me another hour and then still wanted to induce me. My partner still hadn’t arrived by that point as he was stuck in traffic! However I was still completely calm and felt very in control of the situation.
At the same time there was a midwife shift change and the new ladies were far better, incredible, read my birth plan and a really good giggle! My partner still hadn’t arrived, but as we got separated during transfer at my last birth, and I had my first child without him, I just though this similar scenario was hilarious – as did the midwives!
To cut a long story short, the doctor never got back to me as the labour was so swift. The labour was incredibly fast, my partner got there just in time and managed to untangle and put the tens machine on – which was wonderful!
So despite dreading being in a hospital I had am amazing, empowered birth where I stood up for what I instinctively knew was right for Kit and I and did it, pretty much again with just me. The wise hippo programme really helped in so many ways, my pre birth wobbles, having the knowledge and confidence to single handily – whist in labour, politely and effectively argue my case successfully and to be strong, calm and confident through a very fast labour- all without pain relief.
I was also told by the midwives that my rapid labour was called a precipitous labour and that had I been induced it would have had risks in terms of speeding up what was to be an already fast birth. So I am thankful my instincts took over and I stood up for what felt right (as prior to this labour, I was not the type to stand up for what I believed in like that!)
Further to that there are so many tools that I learnt which i use daily – the cloak of protection is used most days and a fantastic resource to combat insensitive comments, or have the confidence to speak your truth carefully and effectively.
I can’t thank Jo enough for giving me the gift of a labour I wanted, I owned the labour, despite being in totally different circumstances. My mum commented that I wasn’t rude to the Doctor, but I had a very ‘this is how it’s going to be’ (provided all are healthy) demeanor!
“Well I have finally gotten around to writing my birth story a mere 8 weeks after birth! My little wise Hippo baby girl was born via spontaneous vaginal breech in hospital.
It all seems so blatantly obvious in retrospect but I didn’t even realise that I was in actual labour until I got to the triage unit! Even then, my brain didn’t really have time to catch up as I was in such a CALM AND RELAXED state of mind and in my special place.
I woke as usual around 8 am and went about my day-even had my 3 rd wise Hippo class with Joanna at 13.30 which was so relaxing. I had had a bit of a gripey tummy throughout the session and one point had to pop to the loo, I just thought I had trapped wind as that’s the sort of sensations I was experiencing so just dismissed them as such, as I’d had similar sensations before(especially as I suffer from IBS). At around 6pm I said to my partner that the tummy ache hadn’t gone, so I was going to put a hot water bottle on myself to ease it before considering dinner plans. I kept needing to empty my bowels so then decided a bath might settle it so I started running a bath. I then started to get what felt like period like cramps and these increased in strength, very rapidly, so I just needed to breathe and focus on my waves of relaxation. At this point I texted Joanna around 1900hrs to say it might be time-so I clearly had an inclination, but somehow was in denial, as now the sensations were now coming every 3 minutes or so. Joanna phoned me and suggested that I get to the hospital; plug in my MP3’s and focus on my breathing and relaxing place and to call triage to let them know we were on our way. Most importantly Joanna advised to definitely not get into the bath! Advice I am so grateful for as the alternative story I could have been telling now would have been very different!
I spoke to triage explained I was 35+5 weeks, what I was experiencing and that I was using The Wise Hippo Hypnobirthing techniques to help. So after pointing at things for Chris to pack for me (no I had not packed my bag that was my job for tonight) we gathered my things and left at 19.30 pm.
The car journey was particularly uncomfortable. The only place was inside my head with my thoughts and visualisations so that’s where I retreated to. It only took 15 minutes to get to the hospital, so I continued to breathe through my surges and focus on getting to my relaxing place and staying there-really immersing myself, imagining as much detail as I could. My surges were quite strong at times-never painful just uncomfortable and one point I felt an urge to push, I told Chris and he reminded me to breathe through it, counting me down 54321 and to resist the urge.
We arrived at the hospital at 19.50 pm; I wasn’t able to walk very far before the next wave of surge came, I just wanted to stop, stand still holding on to my man for support, breathe in deeply and exhale with just as much conviction with each surge. We were offered some wheelchair assistance, which I took gladly. I recall groaning quite loudly as we approached the ward-going guttural with each surge seemed to help minimise discomfort. The triage nurse asked me to get on the bed to be examined, which I point blank refused to do. I recall saying “not gonna happen” and I want to push. So she assessed me standing up and then said “delivery now”. Somehow I still didn’t realise this was it!
Chris whisked me to the delivery suite and I remember jokingly saying I was hoping for a water birth. By this point I was sweating profusely and with some, but not all, realisation that my baby’s birth was imminent, so I literally jumped onto the bed, leant up and over the headboard end, placed my MP3 in one ear, I asked for some Entonox to take the edge off as I’d momentarily lost focus with all the rushing around. I then slipped back to my relaxing place and just went with the flow, completely at ease and relaxed…..this was about 20.15 hrs.
I recall very minimal things about this time, as it was so swift and unexpected; I was completely in my zone. I birthed effortlessly and went with every natural urge of my body and I was considerably CALM AND RELAXED. I lost focus momentarily when I heard the words “breech” but always was able to return to being CALM AND RELAXED. My baby was girl was born 11 minutes from arriving on labour ward. No episiotomy or tears (perineal massage ladies!)and certainly nothing like the waterbirth story I had envisaged – it was an amazing positive and pain free experience and the best that I could have asked for on the day considering the swiftness of the whole thing and that I hadn’t even covered the birthing bit of the course yet ! I was made to feel like a celebrity on the maternity ward and quite the topic of conversation that week: a spontaneous, natural breech in such a CALM and RELAXED manner!
The Wise Hippo Programme really works and I‘ve been advocating my journey to everyone who asks. We are so grateful to Joanna for being such an incredible instructor who helped make our birth story such a wonderfully positive one. The fact that I did so well without having finished the course is a testament to her teaching methods, truly. Thank you so much from us all.”