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Grow + Gather Birth Stories 

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Two weeks before I went into labour (at 38 weeks), my midwife took a few measurements and encouraged me to consider the idea of being induced. Whilst seemingly healthy, Tom was small and his growth was tailing off which meant that it would be better to have him sooner rather than later. I went into hospital around midday and was induced shortly after. Despite happening in the blink of an eye without time for the pain relief that I had hoped for, never mind a water birth, (“Torpedo Tom” has adopted this nickname for good reason) I knew what to expect as a result of what I had learned from the Zoom sessions with Hailey and Hannah.


I had strong contractions that came on around 1am as a result of the pessary that I had been given and our little French firecracker Tom was in our arms by 4:45am the following morning, ironically also Bastille Day (French National Day which involves huge firework displays across the country).

Tom was taken straight to the neonatal ward as he was slightly congested but following a few days of monitoring and frequent breastfeeding (which came naturally as a result of what I had learnt over the course of the Grow and Gather sessions), Tom was released from the hospital to come home with us. 

I am so grateful for the support and advice offered by Hailey and Hannah at Grow and Gather. Whilst providing me with essential, professional and current pregnancy and birth related information, I didn’t find the sessions overly serious. They were fun, relaxed and allowed me to speak to other soon to be Mums in a similar situation, some of whom I have stayed in touch with following Tom’s arrival. It goes without saying that I would strongly encourage anybody planning their baby’s delivery to look them up!

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Rowan Eilidh Peace arrived 7 weeks ago tomorrow and is a little superstar! Today she had her first bath out of necessity after a puke/poop disaster but she handled it all like a pro. Her carrycot just arrived too so although we've been going out a bit with the sling hopefully we might get a bit further afield from now with the pram.

The birth actually went really well! My waters broke at 7.15pm week 36 day 6 and she was born the next morning at 11.01am. I had her at the birth centre in the pool. They'd given me some painkillers when I went in to get checked on the night of the 12th, then I used the tens machine for the taxi ride back in but after that no pain relief apart from the pool. Partly because I hadn't organised my birth preferences very well and the gas and air message hadn't quite got through Ben to the midwives! By the time we got back in I couldn't speak! Made the classic mistake of thinking I'd have more time! Tried to use my hypnobirthing mindset and I think it really helped. My sister recorded one of the hypnobirthing scripts you sent us and that was really lovely to listen to.

So the birth went really smoothly but her first few days were a bit tough.

I expressed while in hospital and for the first couple of weeks at home and we topped that up with formula. Feeding her first with a syringe and then bottle. Someone from la leche league suggested trying nipple shields to help stimulate her suck reflex and she took to those straight away, which was amazing. Then last week I managed to wean her off those and we are finally breastfeeding unaided. Her latch on one side could do with a little work but is getting better and more comfortable.


She was 5lb13 at birth then 5lb3 when we left the hospital. She has been putting on about 200g a week and was a mighty 8lb2 when weighed last week.


Hope that's not too much information! Thanks so much for getting in touch, it's lovely to report back from the other side! And thanks again for all your support, your sessions really helped us to be ready and in a strong position practically, mentally and emotionally.

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