I found reading birth stories during my pregnancy really helpful in preparing me for labour so I wanted to share my own. I have included details of any practitioners I saw during pregnancy and books I read etc. at the end of the story.
I had always planned for a home birth, as my sister and sister-in-law both had one, and it was an avenue I wanted to take as soon as I found out I was pregnant. I was lucky that my husband, Bill was always on board too. It helped that the home birth team at Kingston Hospital are absolutely fantastic.
I was lucky enough to have a very straightforward and even enjoyable pregnancy. I was able to stay active throughout with lots of walking, swimming, cycling, yoga and HIIT workouts. In preparation for the birth I had reflexology about once a month and then weekly from about 37 weeks. I even taught Bill the key pressure points to work to help encourage a natural labour, and he did a session the night before I went into labour which I am sure helped!
I went to see a chiropractor at week 37 and 39 to check the baby was in the correct position. I read two really good books that I would recommend to anyone on this journey- “How to have a baby” by Natalie Meddings and “The Positive Birth Book” by Milli Hill. I started eating 7-10 dates a day from 36 weeks and drank a cup of raspberry leaf tea every day from this stage too, upping it to 3 cups a day around 39 weeks. We did a hypnobirthing course which I found really informative and incredibly helpful for getting me through the labour, where all I used were breathing techniques and a TENS machine.
We must have sensed something was going to happen as we went to bed really early on 8th. I woke up at 5am on the 9th November- 2 days before my due date, with cramps in my lower belly which were coming about every 15 minutes. I lay in bed breathing through the discomfort and waited for Bill to wake up. When he woke up I told him I thought things were starting to happen. We tried not to get too excited as he calmly went downstairs to start setting up the house and the birthing pool so that it was all ready…not realising quite how long this latent stage of labour would last!
That day we went for a couple of walks, watched Notting Hill, I bounced on the ball, baked some cupcakes and tried not to clock watch. The contractions weren’t getting any more intense or closer together- they were still about 15 minutes apart, so we decided to get another early night after a big bowl of wholegrain pasta and pesto. I didn’t get much sleep that night and woke up at 5am the next morning again.
That morning is a bit of a blur really, but things started to progress around midday. I didn’t really manage to eat anything that day, apart from a concoction made up by Bill of soaked oats, mashed banana, peanut butter and agave syrup. It was the perfect little energy booster for my stomach which wasn't able to keep anything down. We had a good calming meditation playlist going from Spotify, and Bill made sure the atmosphere in the house was lovely and chilled. Lots of candles, low lighting (he’d even boarded up the windows to stop the light coming in!) and nice smells in the diffuser. I started using the TENS machine when the surges got more intense and found this a great distraction. That along with the hypnobirthing breathing was what got me through this whole second stage.
We called the midwife, Sarah at around 4pm and she came over to do checks on my blood pressure, the baby’s heart rate and position and our general wellbeing! She decided it was too early and left us to try and rest in the hope that it would speed things along. I got positioned on the bed in one of the Miles circuit positions, but found it really hard to rest when the surges were coming about every 4 minutes now, and were really quite intense. After about an hour things really hotted up, and I found myself crouched over the end of the bed with surges coming every few minutes and being really quite intense. I think Bill was quite worried that I'd have the baby in the bedroom without the midwife at this point, but Sarah was on her way!
Bill ran me a bath, which I hated as it was so cramped (our bath is small at the best of times!) and didn’t allow me to move with the surges, and then we got downstairs where I paced up and down, stopping for each surge to sway and bend over the nice cold kitchen island. He started filling up the birthing pool at this point, which I remember watching filling up and thinking it may not be ready in time. The midwife- Sarah had now arrived, and this we now realise was the right time for her to come. At this stage I was doubled over the stairs enjoying the cool draft coming down from upstairs. The kitchen had got quite hot by this stage with the pool being filled up. I felt a big click/pop which was my waters breaking and Sarah said it was ok for me to get in the pool if I wanted to. I was very conscious of not getting into the pool too early, so really tried to wait until I’d exhausted all other pain relieving options.
When I did get into the pool the relief was amazing. It was as though the water took away all the discomfort and the anti-gravity feeling allowed me to move into different positions more easily. I was then ready to push. After about an hour and a half of pushing and being able to rest a bit in between, with a lot of encouragement from Bill, our little baby boy was born in the water at 8.45pm! I couldn't have done it without the amazing support from Bill, and the wonderful midwife.
I managed to naturally birth the placenta shortly after, and then it was cuddles with our little Albie in our bed. Unfortunately his breathing was measuring slightly too fast, which can be a sign of infection, so we had to head into Kingston Hospital for check ups and antibiotics. We had to stay in for 48 hours which slightly defeated the whole point of having a home birth, but it made going home even more special and at least we were able to ensure his safety at the hospital. The home birth team from Kingston were truly amazing, as were the team in the hospital. If you have any questions, please get in touch- I am a massive advocate for home births :)
Stephen Hughes at The Octagon Clinic
Natalie Meddings- How to have a baby
Mili Hill- The Positive Birth Book
One for the partners- Pregnancy for men: The Whole 9 Months
Rosie Gray- https://therichmonddoula.co.uk/
Tor Gatenby at https://www.hamptonwickhealth.com/
I went to have a mummy MOT at 6 weeks post partum, where I had my pelvic floor and abs checked and was given lots of useful advice about going back to exercise etc.
Rosie Jacks at White Hart Clinic: https://www.whitehartclinic.co.uk/
I will be off on maternity leave from 22nd October 2021 for the foreseeable future. I will definitely be back up and running once I've had the baby, I just don't know how long it will take. If you would like to be kept in the loop then please join my mailing list for any updates.
I hope you are well, and keeping as cool as you can in this heat! One tip from me to help keep you cool and sleep and night is to keep a damp flannel in the freezer and use it to cool you down during the night. I'm finding this is my saving grace at the moment and it stays nice and cold for a long time! Obviously most important is to stay hydrated during this heatwave too.
What with "freedom day" yesterday, I wanted to give you some updates on how this will affect my workspace:
All the best,
I hope you are well and enjoying the good old British Summer that has finally graced us with it's presence!
I'm heading down to Devon for a week off until 20th June, so will be off my emails until then. It's been pretty crazy since I reopened post lockdown in April so I'm looking forward to a break and to recharge my batteries.
I am now 18 weeks pregnant, so feeling even more deserving of a holiday. Baby is due in November so I will just be playing it by ear in terms of when I can work up until- I'll just have to see how it goes! I will keep updating you via the newsletter though.
Make sure you're staying hydrated and cool in the heat over the next few days.
All the best,
Finally the good news that I've been waiting for! I am able to reopen from 12th April, following the same precautions that I had last year.
Similar to the last lockdown I will only be able to see a handful of clients during this time. The Association of Reflexologists have become slightly more strict in their advice this time round, suggesting that we may need to show a letter from a medical professional if we were to be checked by our local authorities as to why we are treating a client. I will only be able to see clients during this lockdown if they are coming to the Putney treatment room, and if they are having reflexology as part of a healthcare plan for a mental or physical heath problem. Essentially you may have reflexology to prevent putting a strain on the NHS further down the line. This can include for example clients with muscular/skeletal pain, pregnant clients with pelvic girdle pain, or clients in their third trimester to try and encourage a natural labour. It can also include those with stress induced insomnia, depression and/or anxiety. You will need to specify your condition when booking through my online form.
If you have any queries, please don't hesitate to ask!
There have been some changes in the way this second lockdown will affect my business so please read carefully.
I have now joined the CNHC (Complementary & Natural Healthcare Council) who have sought legal advice on whether complementary healthcare practitioners registered with them can remain open under the national restrictions. They have been advised that we are allowed to treat clients as long as you are coming for reflexology for an identified mental or physical health condition or injury that is causing you pain, or having an adverse impact on your mobility or your quality of life. The reason for this is that it could help to support the NHS by preventing hospital admissions further down the line.
I am not allowed to do mobile treatments unless I have received a direct referral from a statutory regulated health professional. The Teddington treatment room will remain closed for now as the access (through the house) isn't COVID-secure, however the Putney treatment room will be open on Mondays, Wednesdays & Fridays.
I will be updating my risk assessment form to include a question to confirm that you fall into the category of clients that I am allowed to treat during this time.
For those of you that we cannot prove the treatment is essential to your health or mental wellbeing, I will be allowed to treat you again from 2nd December- provided the lockdown isn't extended.
Please get in contact if you are unsure and we can discuss further. I hope you can understand these new changes in the rules.
All the best,
Happy November! My monthly challenge for November was meant to be to stop watching TV...I think I may have to put that one on the back burner and do it in a Summer month in 2021. Instead I'm going to do phones off 8pm-8am. I've loved my pescatarian month and have been doing a weekly order from The Upper Scale which I would highly recommend if you're a fish eater. I've tried some great new recipes and will link them at the bottom of the email.
I've had a really busy October which has been great, and I just wanted to thank you all again for keeping up your treatments and respecting my Covid regulations- I know the risk assessment forms can get repetitive if you are having regular sessions but they are important. If you have any feedback or are uncomfortable with any of my regulations, then please let me know. The October refer a friend scheme worked really well and a lot of you took advantage of the great deal, so I'll definitely repeat that next year.
I have had a couple of clients asking if I'm doing the facial massage at the moment, and if I have enough interest in this treatment I will definitely start offering it again. I have to wear a visor as well as a mask to be able to do the facial so if you would be interested, let me know and I will get a visor.
As always, get in touch if you would like to book in at any stage in November. 'Tis the season for hot stone reflexology- so if you haven't tried this yet, book it in! I am allowed to keep working as long as close contact services are still allowed by the government, so unless we went into a strict lockdown again, Retreat 4 Your Feet is open as usual.
Have a lovely day,
Easy Salmon cooked in coconut milk
Sesame & Ginger cod wrap
Fish & Celeriac stew
Whole stuffed roast fish with fennel
Happy October! It definitely feels like Autumn now. I was lucky enough to have 2 amazing weeks off in September. One in Greece celebrating my mum's 60th birthday with all of my family- which was such a treat as it's a rarity that we all get together. The second was a week in Devon which is always a good re-set for me, I can totally relax there reading books, going for long walks and eating good food. So I'm feeling ready for October.
My monthly challenge is to go pescatarian- so lots of fish for me this month. I'm looking forward to getting experimental and trying out some new fish recipes. I'll hopefully have some to share with you at the end of the month.
I'm also doing a referral scheme this month. I will be giving out £10 off vouchers when you come for a session which you can pass on to friends and family, and then when they use the voucher you will get £5 off your next session. So many people are struggling with anxiety, sleep problems and stress during this time so make sure you share the love and give them something that will help.
I know I ask in all of my newsletters, but it would be really helpful if you could leave me a testimonial on Facebook or Google, especially if you feel that treatments have helped you during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Have a good rest of the week.
All the best,
It's official- I am finally allowed to return to what I love doing! After a long wait for the government announcements they confirmed on Friday that reflexologists, amongst others could start treating again, as long as we are adhering to the government guidelines surrounding corona-virus.
Here's what I will be doing to try and prevent the spread of corona-virus:
Get in touch to book your treatment in now...
Georgie created "Retreat 4 Your Feet" in 2011. The blog includes fun facts, personal stories, and general information.