Where do I even start with sharing with you how unbelievable the birth of our beautiful baby boy was. Being our first baby I had No idea what to expect and whether my birth plan would even happen or not. But what I did know was that we couldn’t wait to meet him and I would do everything in my power to make it a positive experience.
Having thought all along that I was going to go well over my due date, due to everyone telling me that the baby looked like he was was still very high, I was not prepared for what was about to happen, a week early!!
I remember feeling a strong period pain around 2am on the morning of the 24th October 2018. I wasn’t sure at this point whether it was the start of something or weather it was braxton Hicks. But the pains continued to come in waves to the point where I needed to go downstairs and sit on the sofa. I didn’t wake my husband until around 7am, when I told him I thought my surges had started. He was so excited. I phone my parents and some of my best friends to tell them and also phoned the MLU to let the midwives know that they had started. They told me to phone them again when they were between 3 and 4 minutes apart. However, they then stopped completely around 8am. My chiropractor Rachel who was also going to be one of my birthing partners came over and said we needed to go for a walk to get things moving again. So off we went on a 3 and a half mile walk around the village, and the baby felt so low by this point that I was happy to get back to the house. Surges started again and became a lot more powerful. I found being on all fours, leaning over my gym ball was the most comfortable position for me, using my hypnobirthing techniques and breathing through each surge. I had two of my best friends at the house with me, trying to get me to eat and drink and keep an eye on me while my husband got things ready to go to the hospital.
I phone the midwives again when they were a few minutes apart. They asked me to come in but warned me that they may send me home again if I’m in the latent stages.
Bags packed, we got into the car to go to the hospital. I think I went through all emotions on that journey. Scared, excited, nervous, all while trying to keep calm and breathe through each surge in the car.
We arrived at the hospital around 5pm. The surges were coming thick and fast and the midwife was trying to take my Blood pressure in between surges, obviously leading to it being very high. I was told that it was so high that I would have to go to Glangwili Hospital. This news broke me, I was so emotional and cried. This wasn’t in my birth plan, I didn’t want to go. I asked the midwife if everything else was okay and she said yes, so after she saw how upset I was she decided to run me a bath to calm me down and said she would re take my blood pressure once I had relaxed a little.
I was on all fours leaning over a gym ball, rocking back and forth through each surge while the midwife ran a bath. Then I felt an all mighty powerful surge and my waters broke all over the floor, It was a crazy sensation, what I can only describe as a huge water balloon filled with warm water popping inside you. My husband shouted to the midwife who then checked me and I we 5cm dilated at this point. She said we would skip the bath and I was able to go straight into the water pool. My husband called Rachel and told her what stage I was at, so she made her way to the hospital.
Rachel arrived and helped set up the birth room like she knew I wanted it. She brought her diffuser and lavender oil and put some Calming music on and dimmed the lights to a nice relaxing purple shade. I got into the pool at around 6.10pm and at this point the surges were so so powerful, the feeling is just indescribable. I went straight onto all fours ensuring my pelvis was as wide and low as possible, leaning my arms over the side of the pool. My husband was in front of me, comforting me and passing me the lavender oil to sniff on while Rachel was behind me putting pressure on my back in the correct places to help me through each surge. The midwives left the room and told us to let them know when things were moving more.
Then there were a few insanely powerful surges and I hit a point where I wasn’t even sure I could continue, but with my husband by my side and Rachel ensuring I was continuing to breathe properly through each surge and keep my back low and my pelvis wide, I kept telling myself that each surge was bringing our baby boy closer to meeting us. It was so empowering. I remember this next part like it was yesterday, the crowing of the babies head; the surge was so powerful that my whole body quivered and I struggled to make a full breath out, I knew I had to stop myself from pushing, but just needed to breathe through it and let the babies head emerge on its own, then I felt it. The most insane feeling. I said, “that’s the babies head”. My husband thought I had lost it and was almost certain that it wouldn’t be true. He looked at Rachel who checked and replied, “yes that’s the head. You are doing amazing charl. Nearly there.”
My husband went to get a midwife who was even more shocked than he was. They came rushing in but I didn’t know what was going on and who was actually in the room at this point. I just knew that I was so so close to holding our baby. The next couple of surges were another level again and then it happened. I heard the midwife say, “Charlotte you can reach down now and grab your baby,” so I reached down and felt my babies body for the first time under water and pulled him out of the water and onto my chest. I’m getting emotional just writing this now. I will cherish that moment for the rest of my life. I turned around and sat in the pool with him on my chest. Tears ran down my face, my husband put his arms around us and kissed us both. Tears ran down his face and we just looked at each other in amazement for a few seconds. This was our little boy.
I remember looking over at Rachel and the two midwives in the room, they were all congratulating us and saying how amazing I was for doing it. If I could bottle that feeling and take it with me everyday I would.
Archie Roach Neill was born at 6.58pm on the 24th October 2018.
Having skin to skin and getting him to latch on to receive the “golden…..” – the colostrum was my main priority so we stayed in the pool together for a little while and as I wanted optimal cord clamping we waited until the umbilical cord went white and I knew the baby has received all of the goodness from His blood first. My husband then cut the cord which was another amazing memorable moment. I got out of the pool with some help and midwife reminded me that I still needed to deliver the placenta. This could take up to 50 minutes after the birth so I sat up on the bed with Archie on my chest and I remember feeling another surge coming on. I had no idea what to expect I just rememeber thinking, oh god not another one. I passed Archie to my Husband who also then enjoyed some skin to skin while I went on all fours on the bed. The placenta was delivered with no issues, again another crazy sensation, not painful at all but I couldn’t believe the size of it. I was fascinated by it all.
We spent the next hour just the 3 of us in the room, having all the skin to skin and just taking in this incredible experience together.
I will never be as proud of myself and the incredible female body as I was that day. And I will always be eternally greatful for having such an amazing husband and father to our baby boy. I also owe a huge thank you to Rachel who I couldn’t have done it without and to all the midwives at Withybush MLU who helped with the birth and the couple of days following the birth, allowing us to stay in hospital until I felt comfortable and ready to go home. We were made to feel like royalty and they couldnt do enough for us. We are extremely lucky to have such an amazing facility here in Pembrokeshire.
To all the mummies who have brought a baby into this world, I salute you, and to all the mummies to be, you’ve got this mumma!!
Thank you for taking the time to read the most precious story I will ever share.
The things I would absolutely recommend doing when pregnant to help prepare you for labour. As this was my first pregnancy, I didn’t have a clue what I was doing or should have been doing to prepare myself for labour. All I knew is that I wanted a water birth if possible. I had heard a lot about hypnobirthing and how it has helped so many women gain control throughout their labour. So I bought a few books, the main one that helped me was Mindful Hypnobirthing by Sophie Fletcher. Link below:
I read this and started using the hypno tracks everyday from quite early on in my pregnancy. Sometimes I would fall asleep before she finished her first few sentences, other times I’d hear if all to the end, but I knew that subconsciously I would be taking it all in and I knew if I nailed the breathing techniques then they would be able to help me at all stages of labour. This whole hypnobirthing process made me excited and i was ready to feel empowered by giving birth.
I also started some pregnancy yoga at home, simply following some YouTube videos and I found this time even if it was 15 minutes really helped me switch off and relax my whole body.
Finally, but most importantly to me was that I went to see a chiropractor who specialises in pre and post natal and I honestly cannot sing her praises enough. So much so that she actually came into the hospital as one of my birthing partners and it was the best decision I’ve ever made. Pembrokeshire chiropractic clinic – Rachel Herbert. Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pembrokeshirechiropractic/ was who I used and I still receive treatment from her now. She not only adjusted my body so that the pain I was having in my pelvis went completely but she prepared me physically and mentally for labour, I learnt so much from her that I would never have even thought about, and I truly believe she played a huge part in enabling me to have the birth that I did. So if there is one thing you spend your money on before the baby arrives, it should 100% be this!
I look forward to sharing my birth story with you all 😘
For years and years, fitness has been my passion. The feeling after a good work out is very hard to top and was one I craved on a reglar basis. Not only did releasing those endorphins make me feel on top of the world no matter what mood I was in, but it made me realise that I was in control of my body and I had the power to change it through diet and exercise. As a result, I was always relatively happy with my Physique. Then suddenly, I was growing another human and my body began to change day by day and I had to let that happen. I was extremely lucky with my pregnancy and didn’t have any morning sickness (thank god, not sure I would have coped with that) and can honestly say that once I embraced the fact that my belly was going to grow and grow, I began to love being pregnant. It still baffles me to this day how incredible the female body is and I became fascinated with the ‘Baby Centre’ app that I downloaded which kept me up to date with how our baby was growing and had the answer to a lot of questions that were running through my mind on a daily basis. One thing I did do was listen to my body. At first this was hard as I was always so used to being 100 miles an hour, and although I continued exercising as I had been, I decided to really slow down in my 2nd trimester and I stopped doing my classes (RikaShake – a high intensity rebounder class and Rikaflex – a routine based dumbbell work out) as I was starting to feel really uncomfortable doing a lot of the moves. So I just started some yoga at home following some YouTube videos, concentrated on my breathing in preparation for labour and started walking more. My bump grew quite fast and people used to comment on ‘how big’ I had got, which is exactly what a pregnant woman wants to hear right? 😂 I didn’t have any weird cravings, I just wanted a LOT of food which I guess isn’t too much of a change from how I was before I was pregnant. 😂 And I decided that, for once in my life I wasn’t going to worry about watching what I eat, I was going to ensure I gave our baby the nutrients he needed but also wanted to be able to enjoy my food and eat what I wanted to when I wanted to. So to all you mummy’s to be reading this, I hope you truly embrace your pregnancy because although 9 months seems like a lifetime, It really does fly and I really do miss my bump now. Big hugs.Charlotte xoxo
For years and years, fitness has been my passion. The feeling after a good work out is very hard to top and was one I craved on a reglar basis. Not only did releasing those endorphins make me feel on top of the world no matter what mood I was in, but it made me realise that I was in control of my body and I had the power to change it through diet and exercise. As a result, I was always relatively happy with my Physique. Then suddenly, I was growing another human and my body began to change day by day and I had to let that happen. I was extremely lucky with my pregnancy and didn’t have any morning sickness (thank god, not sure I would have coped with that) and can honestly say that once I embraced the fact that my belly was going to grow and grow, I began to love being pregnant. It still baffles me to this day how incredible the female body is and I became fascinated with the ‘Baby Centre’ app that I downloaded which kept me up to date with how our baby was growing and had the answer to a lot of questions that were running through my mind on a daily basis. One thing I did do was listen to my body. At first this was hard as I was always so used to being 100 miles an hour, and although I continued exercising as I had been, I decided to really slow down in my 2nd trimester and I stopped doing my classes (RikaShake – a high intensity rebounder class and Rikaflex – a routine based dumbbell work out) as I was starting to feel really uncomfortable doing a lot of the moves. So I just started some yoga at home following some YouTube videos, concentrated on my breathing in preparation for labour and started walking more. My bump grew quite fast and people used to comment on ‘how big’ I had got, which is exactly what a pregnant woman wants to hear right? 😂 I didn’t have any weird cravings, I just wanted a LOT of food which I guess isn’t too much of a change from how I was before I was pregnant. 😂 And I decided that, for once in my life I wasn’t going to worry about watching what I eat, I was going to ensure I gave our baby the nutrients he needed but also wanted to be able to enjoy my food and eat what I wanted to when I wanted to. So to all you mummy’s to be reading this, I hope you truly embrace your pregnancy because although 9 months seems like a lifetime, it really does fly and I really do miss my bump now. Big hugs.
So finding out we were pregnant has got to be up there with one of the most amazing feelings we’ve ever experienced together. That little stick has a lot to answer for 😂 I rememeber the day so well because we had really heavy snow in Pembrokeshire which very rarely happens. I felt a bit funny going to bed and somehow just had a feeling that something was changing. I woke the next morning and went straight to the bathroom and took the test without telling my Robbie who was downstairs making breakfast without a care in the world. I remember seeing this thick line and having to read the instructions over and over again just in case I was seeing things. IT WAS POSITIVE!! I went downstairs and shouted to my Robbie to come and see something. I asked him if he was ready for what I was about to tell him and then I think I jumped up and down while telling him for what felt like an age. He couldn’t believe it and we spent a few minutes just staring at each other taking it all in. Even though it was very clearly positive, I wanted to be sure so sent Robbie out in the snow to get another couple of tests. And there it was…. 3 tests confirming what we were so hoping for. We were having a baby!! I just couldn’t wait to tell our nearest and dearest, it felt like waking up as a child on Christmas morning x 10. The emotions that run through your body in that moment, from pure happiness and excitement, to surprise and fear. Suddenly, it took over our minds and our whole lives revolved around making sure we were ready to become parents and welcome a tiny little human into our world. And so the journey begins.
To be continued….
Thank you for taking the time to read this.
Welcome to my blog. I wanted to create a space where I could share some real truths about myself and the experiences in my life, in the hope that someone reading may be able to relate and find the information useful in their lives.
Let me first introduce myself to those that are yet to get to know me. My name is Charlotte Neill and I am a daughter, a wife, the owner of two fur babies, a new Mummy and the founder of Aspire Fitness Wales. I have the most amazing family and friends around me, and am a strong believer in karma. What you give out you will receive. Myself and my husband Rob became the proud parents of a beautiful baby boy Archie in October 2018.
Now let me take you back to where my fitness journey started…
I have always had a passion for health and fitness; from a young age I played sport and I fell in love with the feeling it gave me during and after. Not just that, but the social side of fitness, being surrounded by people with a common interest who want to work together to bring out the best in each other to succeed.
Taking PE for GCSE many years ago now and being lucky enough to have two brilliant, passionate teachers, was what really ignited my love for sport and led to me wanting to be a PE teacher. I went on to complete an A level in PE and also achieved a 2:1 BA Hons Sport and Physical Education degree at Cardiff Met Uni in 2012. Having then got a job as a teaching assistant in a local secondary school, I applied for a place on the PGCE course to pursue my dream career (or so I thought) as a PE teacher. However, after spending a year working in the school, I decided that becoming a PE teacher was not what I wanted to do anymore, but knew I still wanted to have a career in health and fitness. This was when I did my Level 3 personal training and started Aspire Fitness in 2013.
This was when the hard work started. Still working full time in the school, I built up a small part time fitness business, running classes in the mornings and evenings. This continued for the next few years and I was just loving being in front of a group of people who wanted my help to improve their own health and fitness.
Fast forward to 2017 with many ups and downs on the way, and many moments of doubt in my own ability, I knew I needed to find something new. Something that had not been done before in Pembrokeshire. This was when I discovered RikaSystemz. http://www.rikasystemz.com/
I saw the owners of RikaSystemz doing a demonstration of one of their classes called Rikashake (a 30 minute high intensity class on a rebounder) at the Body Power Show in Birmingham. I remember thinking, “oh my gosh, I NEED to do this.” Their energy was electric and I started to feel this fire in my belly. I decided on that day that I was going to go for it. I bought a Franchise that week and have not looked back since. Having never ever been on a rebounder myself, it was a daunting prospect that soon I would have to be in front of a class full of people looking like I knew what I was doing. But with a lot of practise and dedication, it soon became second nature and I was well and truly addicted.
Rikashake continued to grow and I then introduced Rikaflex (a 30 minute strength and toning class using hand weights) which gave my clients the variety that they needed.
We continue to grow and we have created the most amazing community where women of all ages, abilities and sizes feel comfortable coming to exercise, surrounded by women who build each other up and celebrate each others success.
The future is bright for Aspire Fitness and we would love to welcome you into our RikaFam.
Thank you for taking the time to read this.