Thank You letter to Teresa and the NMH Community Midwives

During my pregnancy, there was one particular visit where I said to my partner: “That’s who I want at the birth of this baby”. All of the community midwives who visited us for every single antenatal appointment in the comfort of our own home were amazing, but there was something about this midwife that made me feel even more confident and reassured that this home birth would be one of the most wonderful experiences of our lives. Continue reading


2nd time mum’s home birth story with the NMH DOMINO midwives

My second pregnancy flew by – with a nearly two year old toddler in tow, I hardly had time to contemplate all of the birth preparation I had so diligently practiced before my first child was born.

I had a fairly quick and easy labour at Holles Street (National Maternity Hospital or NMH) on my first child so my partner and I decided to opt for a home birth for our second baby. My second pregnancy was very typical in that I felt nauseous for the first few months, until I finally did a pregnancy test and realised I had conceived some weeks before. I was still breastfeeding my toddler so I was not getting regular periods at this point. We knew we wanted another baby so we were taking no precautions and letting nature take its course and after only two irregular periods, our second child was conceived. Continue reading

Irish mum’s second birth in the US with midwives

Well as I’d gone early with my first daughter I assumed I’d be the same on my second birth. So 40 weeks came and went and no sign of baba!

I had decided early on I’d go with midwives as I’d seen that film “the business of being born” and I was nervous of the over-medicalised view of birth in America. Through friends I found a lovely midwife group who were very supportive of natural birth and just letting women do what they need to do during labour. I was really keen for a natural birth this time. Even though I had one the first time I was a little worried that this birth could be different and I wanted to do as much as I could to help me achieve this. So myself and my husband did a 12 week antenatal course (Bradley birthing class) and I read loads of inspiring books on birthing. Ina May Gaskin’s book quickly became a favourite. Continue reading

The Birth of Three Sons – or – How I Became the First Direct Entry Male Midwife in Ireland

Viking Boys (1)Many people ask me how a hardened construction foreman, used to barking out orders to the team over the squeal of sheet metal being cut or the pile-driving of skyscraper support columns, could end up in a very different setting, helping women deliver babies. My 25 year old self definitely would not have believed it. Compassion and empathy are not generally a job requirement for a project manager either, another role I have carried out over the years. Continue reading

Exercise and Activity after Childbirth Survey: Research Participation

Today, 42 weeks brings to you a research participation opportunity from the Trinity College School of Nursing and Midwifery. This survey is for women over 18 who have given birth in the last 6 months to 3 years.

IMPORTANT – This is a two part survey:

Part 1 to be filled in between Wednesday, September 25th – Wednesday October 2nd

Part 2 to be filled in between Wednesday October 2nd – Wednesday October 9th (about a week from when you filled in the first part of the survey).

Please read the information below and if you would like to participate, and can commit to taking both parts of the survey a week apart, then follow the online link below. The survey should take approximately 15-20 minutes to complete.

Thank you!!

Information about the Exercise and Activity after Childbirth Survey

Who We Are and the Study Aims:

We are a team of researchers from the School of Nursing and Midwifery in Trinity College Dublin who have designed a survey on women returning to Exercise and Activity after Childbirth. The aim of the Exercise and Activity after Childbirth survey is to help us understand if leaking urine impacts women’s ability to exercise or the type of exercise they do after childbirth.

Why are you filling in this survey?
We want to find out:

– whether you have in the past or currently leak urine

– the frequency and the amount of urinary leakage

– the type, frequency and amount of exercise performed

– the level of confidence and sense of security with sports clothing worn during exercise

Who else is taking part in piloting this survey?

We have invited women, aged 18 and over, with a child/children aged 6 months to 3yrs who have returned to exercise after childbirth and may be interested in filling in the pilot of this survey. All of the women must be able to read and understand English.


Taking part in the pilot involves completing two questionnaires one to two weeks apart. If you decide to participate, your return of each survey means that you have consented to participate.

It does not matter if your responses on exercise, frequency and amounts have changed in the week between completing the surveys. We are simply seeking that you fill the survey out twice so we can gauge if you have noted any change in your pattern of exercise. We also wish to understand whether the questions asked in the survey are appropriate.

If you chose to take part we will ask you to fill in:

Survey 1 at your earliest convenience if you agree to participate.
Survey 2 one week after you have completed Survey 1.

Each survey will take approximately 15-20 minutes to complete. There are no right or wrong answers within each survey. Remember, you are under no obligation to participate at any stage if you do not wish to do so.


Although there may be no benefits to you directly, it is hoped that the knowledge generated from this survey will help us to better understand some of the health problems that women experience when returning to exercise after child birth.


There is no foreseeable risk to you taking part in this survey. If you choose at any time to not take part in survey you are free to do so.


At all times your identity will be protected. Nobody shall be informed that you participated in completing this survey. Information that may identify you will not be used in any paper or presentation resulting from the survey. If you wish to talk to anybody about the survey you are free to do so.

How will you protect my personal information?

– We will keep all the information you give us private and confidential.

– We will give your survey information a unique number (a code).

– We will store your personal details and your code number securely and separately from the completed surveys. They will be kept in a locked cabinet, in a locked office in an area where few people have access. Paper copies of the information you give on the surveys will be identified by your code.

– We will keep an electronic version of the information you give us on a computer. Only the research team will have access to this information. We will use passwords, encryption (special software to scramble the information so it cannot be read) and anti-virus software to protect the information on the computer.

What happens to the information at the end of the study?

We may publish the findings from the survey and may give talks about the findings at healthcare conferences. It will not be possible to identify you or your answers in these publications or talks.

Voluntary Participation:

You are under no obligation to participate in this survey. If you wish to stop participating at any time you are free to do so. You will not be asked for an explanation of your decision and you will not be penalised in anyway.

What do I do next?

Having read the information, decide if you would like to take part in filling out this survey.

If you want to participate, please complete this survey online (link below) when you have a free moment.

You must then fill out the same survey, one week after you have completed the first survey. It does not matter if your responses on exercise, frequency and amounts have changed within the past week. We are simply seeking that you fill the survey out twice so we can gauge if you have noted any change in your pattern of exercise.

If you do not have internet access or cannot fill this survey in online we will post you a FREEPOST RETURN survey pack for you to fill out. (Please contact Marie O’Shea (details below) if you wish to complete a paper version of this survey. We can then post one to the address you provide)

Further Information:

If you need any further information or if anything in this document is unclear, please contact Marie O’Shea at either 01 896 4166 or and she will be happy to discuss any of this information with you.

To take the Survey, click here: :

A second time mother’s home birth

I was due on 27 December 2012 and waited for my so much wanted home birth. On my due date everybody was asking if anything started and really annoyed as it was putting more pressure on me and reminded me of 14 days countdown. I had absolutely no signs of upcoming labour. I started losing any hope for home birth with days passing. On 3 days overdue I woke up full of energy and ridden with period cramps but irregular. They were gone by night time. Next day passed really quietly, no cramps, no energy. Continue reading

Part 1: A VBAC mum negotiates one-to-one continuity of care with a DOMINO midwife for her hospital birth

A succession of events in my previous pregnancies and births, led me to realise the importance of continuity of care. I entered into my 6th pregnancy (4th birth) with much hindsight and was extremely determined to give this birth the best I could offer. My belief is birth is a special event. Our bodies and babies have a profound instinctual ability to orchestrate a cycle of events that gives rise to new life in the world. To enhance and protect this wonderful cycle of events, it was essential I create a support team (ie husband, midwife, doctor) and establish a positive natural birthing environment.  I had total trust in my body and baby (much credit to Ina May Gaskin’s books), it was my support network and environment that required planning. Continue reading

42 Weeks Poll – Epidural: Your Story

The birth stories last week described one woman’s experience of choosing an epidural for her first birth and then opting not to have an epidural for her second birth. We’re interested to hear if you opted for an epidural, or not and we’re interested to know whether you plan to opt for one during your labour, or not. Continue reading

Did you know? – Epidural pain relief and breastfeeding: New research

“The only thing as consistent as birth pain has been the search to eradicate it, pharmaceutically”Tina Cassidy, Birth: The Surprising History of How We Are Born

Pain medications in childbirth have been sought for millennia. Egyptians used opium, the Greeks chewed willow bark and, on a mythical level, Artemis asked Zeus if she could remain an eternal virgin just so that there would be no chance of experiencing the pain of childbirth! Later in history (around the 1850‘s) ether and chloroform became popular medications in childbirth, until it was proven that these anesthetics were transferred to the newborn during labour and delivery. From 1914 to the late 1960‘s, the new fad in pain relief in childbirth was ‘twilight sleep’, or scopolamine & morphine, whereby a woman was rendered completely immobile and/or semi-conscious in labour and childbirth. This method became unfavourable in the 1960’s and 70’s when women began to question their lack of agency in  labour and childbirth. There were also dangerous side-effects to scopolamine (mainly hemorrhaging and transference of medication to the newborn), hence it became an unpopular method of pain relief and its phasing out made way for the most common and effective pain relief in labour and childbirth that is still used today – the epidural. (Cassidy, 2006) Continue reading

A gentle VBAC water birth at home

It was 2am on Tuesday morning, 5th March, and I woke up to cramps. They were very manageable, really just felt like period cramps. After timing them for about 40 minutes, it seemed they were 10 minutes apart. Shortly after that my 4 year-old little monkey woke up and wasn’t feeling the best, so I took him down to his Daddy to mind and got back to bed to rest and keep an eye on the cramps. I wasn’t due until the 8th March, so I still thought that it might have been just Braxton Hicks. Anyways at 6am, they were still going and so I knew I was on my way. I pottered downstairs and turned on the immersion so the water would be ready when it was time to fill the pool. I didn’t want to disturb anyone at this stage as I felt it was too early yet. But by 6.30, they had moved to 4/5 minutes apart so I gave my midwife a buzz and she was on her way. Next phone call was to my sister who we had asked to look after the kids. Continue reading

Research Participation: ‘An Exploration into the unmet demand for home birth in Ireland’.

Eileen Kenny a third year midwifery student in TCD has won a Health Research Board summer student project award. She has devised a questionnaire for women who wanted, but were unable to get, a home birth. It is a thirty question online survey asking where when and why women have been unable to access a planned home birth. Eileen and her supervisor and co researcher would be delighted if any woman who has experienced this to participate by completing an online survey. It is aimed at women who delivered in the past five years – or who are still expecting. Continue reading

A first time mum’s fast labour with a domino scheme

Our first baby was due on Friday 8th February. I had kept pretty active during my pregnancy, I walked, swam, done a pregnancy yoga class, and bounced bounced bounced away on the pilates ball! I also listening to Gentlebirth CDs. I had a fear of hospitals, sickness, blood, needles and honestly didn’t know how I was going to get through pregnancy let alone labour. But at the same time I knew that I would love to have a natural, pain relief free labour. I wanted the best start for my baby and I really wanted to experience labour and feel my baby entering the world. I believe that keeping myself active throughout my pregnancy, informing myself of all my choices and keeping as calm as possible really helped me have the birth I wanted. Continue reading