Today, this story topped the headlines on BBC News (and made me late for work as I listened intently) so I thought it was time to talk about our plans for the arrival of Baby Mallia.

The Birth. As maternity leave, Christmas and our due date draw ever closer, the birth of our little friend is more and more at the forefront of my mind. We have actively taken an interest in the process of bringing our child into the world over the last 8 months and it’s been an interesting ride so far.

Back in the summer I started devouring Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth and re-reading inspiring birth stories that I’d seen over the previous few years online. B and I knew that we wanted something as natural as possible when it came to labour, but with friends and family birthing in doctor-led hospitals or with drugs and procedures, we didn’t know much about what was involved and how much input we had in such decisions. Reading this book opened my eyes to how glorious an experience birth can be. The more I read, the more I was filled with surprising positivity about something the western world (and a surprising number of people we spoke to) can really cast a negative light on.

B’s hippy-at-heart ways have certainly had a great influence on me over the last 11 years and in our house we believe quite heavily in mind over matter and the power of positive thinking. We’re a pretty happy-go-lucky pair and we truly believe that this attitude has inspired and led to many of the wonderful things that have happened to us over the years. So as I read (and recalled to B) Ina May’s words, and the words of sensational mama’s from around the world and throughout the last 30 years or so, we felt an absolute connection and decided that a doctor-led hospital birth was not for us.

So where to go next? Whilst the home birth stories we read sounded so calm and relaxing we weren’t sure we were quite prepared for that. Probably because of some sub-conscious fear-factor related to the media portrayal of home births or the look of terror and horror stories that met us when we even mentioned it. My best friend had planned to use the Chippenham Birthing Centre near their house for the birth of their daughter (she was premature so they wouldn’t take her in the end) and we knew that it was a possibility for us too, despite it being about half an hour from where we live in Bath. When we spoke to our amazing, awesome and lovely midwife about arranging a visit, the joy in her eyes and voice instantly reassured us that we were making the right decision. She was more than chuffed that one of her couples were thinking outside the box to use what is apparently a small, warm and friendly cottage style hospital run by some of the best midwives she’d met in her 40 years of delivering babies. Our tour is next week and we can’t wait to see the place we hope will become a home from home during those last hours of labour and our first as parents.

So, while we have an ultimate destination sorted we’re drawing on other stories to help us as we birth at home for as long as possible, and as long as we feel comfortable. Plus on Sunday we’re heading to our local community hall and the Bath Homebirth Group (where we’ll hear about the role of birth partners, what to get ready and attitudes to home birth) to prepare us more for what we can expect when it all kicks off and we’re working through contractions, just B and I. Which, with the help of the hypno-birth CD we’ve been listening to and the mantra I’ve been repeating, should help us have the birth we hope and dream of. And with utter conviction, I can say that right now that I have no fear at all. I know that with B by my side and working with the baby in my belly, we can create a magical experience.

ps. I’m fully aware that sometimes things don’t go to plan and that these little people can have opposite ideas to you when it comes to making their way into the world. But for this post, I’m not going to say hopefully or maybe or all being well. I’m going to say this is what is going to happen. Positive thinking – it’s the way forward.


  1. Good on you Nell.
    You have to do what feels right and best for you and your family.

  2. Hurrah for birthing centres! I completely and utterly recommend a water birth, or at least some pain management using the bath. When I arrived 2 ladies had already given birth so I had 2 midwives and a health care assistant all to myself. One of the midwives stayed with me the majority of the time I was in the bath (4 hours!) And for sure, a positive attitude will get you very far indeed. Good luck!

  3. Nell you go with positive thinking - that alone gives you a good start. I have had four births and all were different, partly because the babies are all different but also because of the places we birthed in. My best experience was without doubt was at home - but was a confident birther by then! The birthing centre sounds good - good luck with your visit x

  4. support you a 100% lady, look forward to hearing how the visit went! x

  5. Hello Nell. I somehow made it to your blog...congratulations on your pregnancy! It sounds like you've made the best choice for you and your baby...and that's the most important thing. Blessings for a beautiful birth. Nicole x

  6. You are in a fabulous place - full of faith and willing to surrender to the journey, whatever it may be.

    Something for B to remember as a support person: "Nell, you CAN and you ARE doing it." - particularly helpful in transition.

    Also, inhale LET, exhale GO

    Lotsa love, I'm getting so very excited for you x

  7. Ah Nell...You and B should be very proud of what you've done so far to prepare for the birth of your little one. It means that no matter how it all unfolds you've done all you can to arm yourself with knowledge to support your baby in the best possible way...

    Something that I thought helped me in the birth was the thought that 'every breath brings me closer to my baby'...and remembering how wonderful (in a miraculous sense) those labouring moments are...

  8. I live in Chippenham and we had our baby boy this July, we started off in Chippenham Birthing Centre but ended up at the RUH as I wasn't dilating quickly enough. When Noah was born we went pretty much straight back to Chippenham and the midwives were fab. When I made the decision to go to Chipps for my labour I asked my MW if needing to go to Bath would be awful and she said that it would just become another part of my labour; she was right. I would recommend going wherever you are happiest and should you need to go to Bath the MW's will make it happen as soon as they even suspect a problem. The midwives at the RUH were also incredible so it really wasn't a problem, the only downside of going to the RUH was being separated from my husband for the journey (although as it was 5am it wasn't for long).
    I hope that helps! Good luck! :) Amy xxx
    Ps, we are also using cloth nappies and are finding it no problem at all, we have 20 Bum Genius V4's with poppers.

  9. Oh Nell. I wish I had your positive attitude my first time around. I had NO idea what I was doing. It's all about breathing through each contraction and knowing that each one is bringing you one step closer to your baby. Looking forward to hearing how to visit goes. xx

  10. All sounds wonderful Nell! I loved the birth centre experience. Sounds like you're int he right headspace for a positive labour and birth journey x

  11. Hello! I just discovered your blog and wanted to say you're making the most wonderful birth plans. I gave birth to my son in a birth centre in April this year, and it was the most incredible experience. It meant so much to me to have midwife-only care during my pregnancy and labour, and we were able to have a calm, quiet, natural birth.

    Have you done yoga before? I found slow, yoga-style breathing (four or five breaths per minute, not that I was counting during labour!) was hugely powerful and allowed me to breathe through my contractions. If you have access to a bath or birthing pool, use it if you feel like it - the pain relief is amazing.

    All the best for a safe and wonderful birth.

  12. Hello Nell - the place where you and B have chosen to have your bubba sounds amazing. No matter what happens, you will have a beautiful birth and your baby will be born the way it wishes to be born.

    It's funny because here in Sydney (or at least in our nearest hospital) the birth centre is incredibly popular. I tried to book in when I was 12 weeks and I was number 130+ on the waiting list! So we are having our baby in the hospital as CNN does not feel confident about getting there in time if necessary during a homebirth. We are also bringing positive thoughts and open hearts to the process and hope to have a natural, intervention-free birth - just in a different environment.

    I hope your birth partner class went well - it was a huge focus of our general childbirth class and it was so empowering for both of us.

    All the best,

    M xx

  13. Hi Nell! What a lovely post and oh how I remember all those same thoughts and feelings you have going on right now... I had my first baby nearly 6 months ago now (where does it go?!) and I had him at home. We live in London and were in the care of the homebirth team at Queen Charlotte's. I worked hard during my pregnancy to do everything I could to have my homebirth by following Gowri Motha's guide to pregnancy and doing hypnobirthing. Homebirthing can be amazing and you can do it as a first time mum but whetever you decide to bring your little one into the world as long as you have a good supportive team around you (I had amazing hubbie and midwife and doula) you stand a very good chance of having your natural birth. Our bodies are made to do it :) good luck xo

  14. I've had three relatively easy births. My first was just under 8 hours with no drugs, my second just under 3. Contrary to what people think, a fast labour is not always the best. I felt out of control and a little scared. When I got pregnant with my third I panicked a bit. I didn't want to go through that again. But, after talking to a midwife friend and after reading a bit I calmed down and opted for a water birth. It was amazing. As was the mantra I picked up from a yoga book (read the book, didn't do the yoga!!) But remember this phrase. "This pain is a good pain, this pain is bringing my baby to me" - I guess it helped me feel calmer.
    Home births are not so big in Australia (I was born in Holland where home births are the norm). Anyway, I opted for birthing centre and it was lovely - and I was home four hours postnatally. I think ultimately you have to realise that birth is something you have to be open minded about - but by sounds of things you already know that. I hope it all goes super well and that you have much, much fun with your little babe :)

  15. Nell, it sounds like you have it all planned so beautifully and you sound so serene when you speak of your birth plan. I'm sure that you and B will have the birth you wish for. Positive thinking, as you so rightfully say. Big hugs to such a wonderful mama-to-be xx

  16. Hello! You are certainly in the best possible mindspace for labour!!

    I think a birthing centre, or a home water birth, both sound fantastic. Neither of those were an option in our little outback town but I ended up spending most of my labour in the bath at home then quickly went to the hospital for basically the delivery only...and it was fantastic, much better than i had expected.

    In the end I don;t think it matters that much...your body will do what it needs to do and you won't even notice where you are for much of it.

    Soudns weird to say enjoy it...but..well..try to!?