First time mum Sarah gave birth to her 10lb 3.5oz baby boy ‘with just a few puffs of gas and air’. I love how she was straightening her hair in labour and how she remained calm by using her breathing techniques and with the help of her birth partner Leo.

A photo of an adorable big baby


Leo and I had completed the Wise Hippo 4 week course with Deborah at 34 weeks pregnant. Leading up to the birth I had been using the MP3’s regularly.

Once I was on maternity leave I found myself getting more anxious about the birth and decided that once a day I would take the time to listen to an MP3 and then used the birth affirmations while in the shower or washing up. These really helped to keep my anxiety at bay.

I was starting to really want the birth to hurry up and arrive the closer I got to my due date, which was 20th March.

On Thursday 16th March I woke up feeling no different at all, but felt the urge to go on several walks that day and bounce on the ball when at home!


By 2pm I thought I had had a few surges but didn’t read too much into it.

I walked to meet Leo from work and on the walk back I told him that I thought something was happening.

That evening the surges started coming around 7pm. My mum and step dad were over for dinner and I was happily eating spaghetti bolognese whilst bouncing on the birth ball.

Every so often I’d pause, get on all fours on the floor and breath through a surge. I still didn’t really think I was in labour.

After dinner I ran a bath, this seemed to pass some time and by the time I’d got out the surges were coming more regularly, my mum started timing them.

They were getting more intense, I knew we would have to get to the hospital soon so started to get ready. I was insistent that I needed to straighten my hair before we went. I was doing this then would throw the straighteners to my mum when I had a surge, get on all fours again and breath through it, then go back to sorting my hair!!

By this point I’d only been having regular surges for a few hours but they were becoming more intense and coming every 2 mins and lasting 55 seconds. We called the hospital and made our way there.


When we got to the hospital I was examined. We were told that I was 3cm and should go home. I was struggling with the pain from the surges, but said to Leo that maybe I should go home and have another bath. Leo could see that I was in a deal of discomfort and told the midwife that we were going to stay.


I’m so glad he made the decision and am pretty sure that as he was more informed about labour from Deborah’s classes he was able to be confident with making decisions that were best for me.


We went into a room on the Rushey ward, the surges were getting really bad and just didn’t seem to let up all. The midwife came in and offered me some paracetamol which I took.


I found laying on the floor and rocking helped with the discomfort. I did find that at one stage I was really struggling to cope and control my breathing. This is where Leo took control and started to talk me through the breathing, he used the soothing strokes up and down my back and talked me through each big breath.


This really helped and although discomfort was still there having my breathing under control made such a difference. I laid on the floor and tried to breath through each surge. Occasionally Leo used the pressure massage on my lower back to help. Leo also set up my phone near me and played the MP3 “sea of serenity”, with this I found that I calmed down and for a split second fell asleep.


As soon as I was completely relaxed my waters broke.


Leo went and got the midwife who wanted to see the colour of my waters. Unfortunately there was meconium in them and I was moved quickly to the delivery ward to have the baby’s heartbeat monitored.


At the time I remember thinking that this is everything I didn’t want in my labour, being on the delivery ward and having to be on my back strapped to a machine. But I knew this was the right thing at the time and didn’t panic at all. I went with the flow and stayed calm remembering one of the birth affirmations from the MP3 “I trust that my baby and body know what to do”.


Once I got to the delivery ward I was offered some gas and air, as soon as I was on the bed I felt the urge to push. The midwife examined me and said I was 10cm and could start pushing.


This was only 2 1/2 hrs after arriving at hospital and we were all shocked with how quickly I had dilated. The midwife took the gas and air to stop it distracting me and I began pushing.


I pushed for 2 hours in total, it honestly didn’t feel that long, but throughout the midwives were amazing and really helped. I knew my baby wasn’t coming out quickly.

I tried moving onto all fours and leaning over the bed but it wasn’t helping. Eventually I was encouraged to put my legs in stirrups (again something I was really against happening) and found this to help.


As I reached the 2 hour mark of pushing the midwife said that if I didn’t get the baby out in the next few surges then they would have to make a small cut to help the head come out.


I was convinced that my pushes weren’t making any progress, but Leo assured me that he could see the tip of the head and that our baby was coming.


The midwife gave me some gas and air whilst she made a small cut, with this the head was born and with the next push our baby was born.


He had the cord wrapped around his neck twice so was checked over straight away, the room was calm and I was not panicked at all.


Ethan George Ashton was born at 3.23am on 17.3.17 weighing 10lb 3.5!!


The midwife told me after the birth that as the cord was wrapped round the neck it was making it difficult to push him out.


A photo of a big baby, newborn Ethan weighed 10lb 3.5oz when he was born


Ethan was perfect and after being checked over for a few minutes he was put on me for skin to skin. Whilst I was being stitched up Leo was able to have skin to skin with Ethan too, which was lovely.


The birth was much quicker than I ever expected, and the surges were more intense than I had expected, but I was able to go with the flow and trust that I had the right birth on the day.


Deborah’s classes really helped give Leo and I tools to use during the labour. Leo was amazing and I felt so safe with him and really believed that he knew what was happening and what was best to help me.


I’m so proud of myself for getting through he labour and giving birth to our scrummy big boy with just a couple of puffs on gas and air!


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