Serenity Births

Empowering Education

Due to personal circumstances, as of December 2021, we have decided to take a break. This is not because we have lost our passion with what we do, that will always remain. However, I have had to evaluate and prioritise a lot of things due to our personal situation as a family and unfortunately I am finding it very difficult for Serenity Births to currently be a part of that.

I would like to take the opportunity to thank all of our clients and customers over the past 2 years, we have even made some amazing friends out of it. But this is not forever, we will review the situation by June 2022. Thank you again for all of your support, we are wishing you all the very best for your positive birth.

If you would like to find your nearest Wise Hippo teacher, you can do this HERE.

You can still purchase sensory bottles and calming pebbles from us here HERE.

Sally O'Connor
Course Facilitator

My name is Sally and I am a Certified Wise Hippo Birthing Instructor, 3 Step Rewind Practitioner and Training Hypnotherapist. I have worked in health and education since 2006 and experienced my Wise Hippo hypnobirth in 2015.

Whilst pregnant, it quickly became apparent how much people just LOVED to share with me their "horror" stories - no one ever came to me to tell me of their positive birth experiences. Antenatal classes I attended just spoke of pain relief and I did not find them very informative or helpful. Thank goodness for The Wise Hippo!

The Wise Hippo taught me that birth is a positive and natural experience. If animals can birth easily, then why can't we?! To me, the teachings of The Wise Hippo just made sense. Without these teachings my birth experience would have been a very different one, but instead I was calm, confident and in control. In fact, the student midwife with me described it as "the most empowering and informative birth" she had been to.

Needless to say, when the opportunity arose for me to train as a Wise Hippo Instructor, I could not pass it up. It is always an honour and a privilege to support mums-to-be and their birth partners to have empowering, positive, informative, calm births and to achieve the right birth on the day.

Take a look at My Birth Story.

Since completing my accreditation, my passion grew to wanting to support women who had unfortunately experienced what they would describe as a traumatic birth. It was shocking to me that around 30% of women would describe their birth experience in this way. This is when I trained as a practitioner to deliver the 3 Step Rewind technique. This is a safe and effective technique which alleviates the feelings associated with trauma. Not by forgetting about the event, this is important, but allowing you to reframe your experience so you respond to it differently.

Passions continued to grow and I am now working towards a Diploma in Hypnotherapy. We now also provide workshops on Rebozo techniques (you will find authentic Mexican rebozos from San Cristobal de las Casas in our shop), Pregnancy Relaxation and Informed Birth Planning as well as our Wise Hippo taster session - Relax, Breathe and Birth.  We now also produce a range of sensory products including sensory bottles, sensory rice and calming pebbles.

What is Hypnobirthing?
Hypnobirthing is a variety of techniques used to enable you to, at a moment's notice, engage in a period of 'trance', or deep relaxation.
We all go in and out of trance every day, for example, have you ever driven home and then wondered how you got there? Or perhaps, you've found yourself daydreaming occasionally? This is trance. It takes us away from what is happening in the here and now, our subconscious takes control, our mind become distracted and we are 'elsewhere'.

The Wise Hippo Birthing Programme offers a complete antenatal education programme that will build confidence and create belief in nature's way of birthing.  There is no reason why most women cannot give birth normally and naturally.  The Wise Hippo will give you the tools and techniques to deal with any curveballs, to be able to remain emotionally in control. You can make sure that you ask all of the right questions of your medical caregivers, so that you fully understand all of the decisions that you make, which means that you will be able to look back on your baby’s birth no matter how it turns out on the day and know it was right for you and your baby. 
Read through some of our Testimonials from some Wise Hippo mums, or take a further look at The Wise Hippo Birthing Programme.
My Birth StoryMy Birth StoryMy Birth Story
I originally heard about Hypnobirthing through mutual friends of my instructor. I went along to the taster session to find out more, where surprisingly to me, my partner took to it in an enthusiastic way!
We planned a home water birth, but as our pregnancy ticked past our 'due date', we faced some hurdles. We were adamant not to be induced as we were confident our baby would know what to do instinctively; I was '42 weeks' (on the GP estimate) when I went into labour. We accepted the option of daily monitoring to ensure all was well due to how far along we were in our pregnancy and attended on the two days before I went into labour, which in the midwives words was “textbook”. There was no reason in our eyes to jolly him along given he was found to be happy and well.

I started feeling strong, regular surges at around 1pm on the Tuesday afternoon and started listening to the Wise Hippo MP3s.  My partner arrived home from work at 2.30pm when it was obvious to him that I was in labour! We called the hospital to let them know.  I’m guessing it was not as obvious to the midwife as it was to us due to my being calm and relaxed on the phone. I declined to go to the hospital for monitoring as I did not want to risk missing out on our home birth.
The midwife and student (who we got to know fairly well) arrived at around 4.30pm at our home. The student had attended a training session with our Wise Hippo instructor previously so had taken everything on board, respecting all of my choices and decisions (even referring to the contractions as surges). It appeared I was having extremely strong surges very close together and my baby’s heart rate was remaining at 180, this was not changing with the surges so the midwife expressed her concern to my partner (without instilling any panic it has to be said). I worked through the “BRAINS” tool that I'd learned, and decided that hospital would be the best thing if it meant having a happy healthy baby, be it at home or not. The fact that it was ultimately my decision helped me to remain calm. When the ambulance arrived the midwife was very diplomatic about getting me there as quickly as possible when asked if she felt they should put the blue lights on.
So far I had no pain relief, I was not offered any as I did not request it – this was part of my birth plan as I felt I would know if I felt the need. I continued with my breathing through surges and picturing my calm, relaxing place.  Due to the extremely bumpy ambulance ride, it was extremely difficult for me to get into a comfortable position, so I did have some gas and air, but this was my decision. I think the paramedic was surprised I could still crack a joke too.
Once at the hospital, I agreed to be monitored before being given all the information to make a decision as to what to do. I still expressed my wish for a water birth at this stage. My baby was still appearing to be in some distress, so I agreed for them to break my waters (I was 4cm dilated at this point). I was told that they appeared to be infected with meconium, so due to concerns for my baby, I agreed to an emergency caesarean.
I still remained calm about the situation, because I knew it was in my baby’s best interest and that I had ultimately made the right decisions.  I expressed to the paediatrician that skin to skin contact was very important to me and he agreed that if all was well he would, of course, honour this.
Jack Dexter was finally born at 10.18pm on 10 February 2015 weighing 8lb 3 ½oz. They took him to intensive care as he needed help to breathe for a short time – actually a good thing as otherwise he would have taken in more of the infected fluid into his lungs.
I was able to see him at midnight for the first time, a slightly strange feeling given I did not feel I had “given birth” to him. NICU were wonderful, they constantly kept me fully informed and even gave me cloth dolls – one to keep in my top and the other in Jack’s incubator, so I was reassured he had my scent with him. This really helped me to bond further with him as I was on another ward. They helped me with expressing milk, when I was able to transfer to a wheelchair later on that afternoon, I took some to him and they helped me with breast feeding – the first time I was able to hold him. He was a natural, I was so proud.
After 2 days in intensive care, Jack was well enough to stay in a cot in my room, although still under NICU care. Due to complications from my epidural, I had to lay completely flat for a couple of days. It was difficult for me to see midwives changing my baby, but they were very good in that I did not feel like they were taking away any “control”.  They were very reassuring. Breast feeding was becoming more difficult but I used breathing techniques through it as I knew it was in his best interest, especially being that he was poorly, and it was one thing I always said I would never give up on.
On the Sunday it was time for home. It was an emotional moment knowing we were walking away as a family. Jack still continues to thrive; he is very calm and content. He have faced some hurdles together, but he takes it all in his stride. We have an extremely close relationship.
The Wise Hippo Birthing Programme made me more aware of what our choices were so I felt more in control, had I have not felt like this, it could have been a very traumatic experience. I  sometimes question what was it that happened so quickly to change everything, but actually, that’s irrelevant. The right choices were made and I have a happy, healthy and strong little boy.