Sage Femme
"I love that I have such a wonderful precious birth story that will last with me forever" - Jane


Alice's Story

When I learned I was pregnant the only thing I wanted was to have a safe birth. What I had in my mind was a picture of a hospital room equipped with all sorts of medical devices and a doctor ready to intervene if things went wrong. After all, my mum used to say: “Whenever a woman gives birth, partly she is in the grave.” So you can imagine I was very surprised when Nyree said at her first visit: “You and your baby deserve a wonderful birth. You must expect nothing less than a gentle and beautiful experience.”

That’s how my journey as a pregnant woman began. I started to do yoga and watched many DVDs given by Nyree (“The orgasmic birth” a must see). I realised after all that birth is a natural process. Women's bodies have the power to birth naturally and easily. I understood that birth doesn’t have to be hysterical and drastic every time as we see in medical soap operas or as we often hear. Unfortunately we don’t hear good birth stories, however they do exist. I’ve learned that the outcome of a birth very much depends on the mother herself. It depends on how well she is prepared mentally and physically. The most important thing was that I understood that although I preferred not to have pain during labour-it is necessary and that I will experience some pain. From that point I tried to embrace the thought of having pain rather than to try to escape from it. I planned to have Alice in a birthing centre. I wanted a natural birth without artificial hormones, painkillers, forceps, suction etc.

You never know what life holds for you. Things don’t always go the way you want but if you do everything you can, you have the best chance of things going well. People say: “You get what you expect.” I wanted a wonderful birth experience without medical intervention. I wanted a gentle birth for Alice...

The day arrived. My waters broke Sunday evening after 10PM. The contractions were getting stronger every hour. Nyree visited us in the morning. From the regularity and length of the contractions she expected a very long labour. As we agreed before, we stayed at home as long as possible during the labour. I watched television and went for a walk with my husband. Nyree visited us a couple of times during the day. By late afternoon the contractions were very strong. Nyree arrived around 6:30PM. She examined me and she said I was dilated 7-8cm. I was very happy to hear this news. We called the ambulance and travelled in.

We arrived at the hospital around 9:00PM. The staff in the centre were ready for us. I quickly entered the birthing pool. The water was very soothing. I felt very good, very relaxed. We listened to my favourite music tracks on our Ipod. My husband and Nyree were there all the time. I felt very tired. At one point I wanted to have a sleep. The hospital midwife was monitoring Alice’s heartbeat regularly. She was doing very well. I kept saying: “I can do it. I will do it. I can do it. I will do it.” My husband was saying with me: “You can do it. You will do it.” I remember his smile, I remember his lovely eyes. He believed in me and it helped me to believe in myself. Everybody in the room was very supportive.

At 11:32PM Alice arrived safe and sound without any intervention. Just the way I and my husband wanted. I put her on my chest immediately. It was a wonderful moment for both of us. I will never forget it. Then I turned to my husband and said something like: “Here is your daughter.” We both smiled. When the umbilical cord stopped pulsating my husband cut the cord. I exited the pool and delivered my placenta on the bed. Meantime my husband was with Alice.

We left the birthing centre 24 hours after birth ready to start our life us a family!

I had little blood loss and I didn’t need stitches (if you want to know how to escape stitches ask Nyree, I learnt the “secret method” from her). Alice was my first baby and I was 34. Nyree visited us many times after the birth. She made sure I and Alice were doing fine. Her support was very much needed, I felt more than the visits during pregnancy.

If you dream about having a beautiful birth experience then be open, trust your body and nurture yourself. Remember nurturing yourself means nurturing your baby. Ask the help of one of the independent midwives. She will be with you and your baby from the very beginning. She will be there when the big day arrives and she will help you with the first steps as a new mum. I can only say thanks to Sage Femme. Thank you!


Louis' Story

We were extremely lucky to have the services of Sage Femme for the birth of our first child and had no hesitation in hiring them again for our second.

Early on in the pregnancy we had decided that we would hire an independent midwife with the plan to have a home water birth.

James and I always wanted to have our children close together so we were over the moon when I fell pregnant again!

I have to say that my pregnancy was great and seem to whizz past. I always felt very secure, special and cared for by Nyree, Odette and Charlotte. I could have all my appointments at home and I was given so much personal attention. Who could want for anything more? It was the best money we have ever spent and would certainly have them again. It was like having your friends with you.

My first child was very late so I was really hoping the next one would come as close to his due date as possible. Under the guidance of Sage Femme I had been having weekly Acupuncture sessions from about 36 weeks to try and help things along a bit. I was so determined for a home birth this time and had everything ready in good time.

The 19th of May came and went. I did feel slightly niggling but not really anything to suggest that things were underway.

The next morning I carried on as normal and took my other son to his tumble tots class then went out to lunch with a friend. Odette came over after lunch and did a cervical sweep. I told her that I felt sure things were underway so we continued on with the rest of the day.

Late afternoon came and I knew that this was it. I was getting very mild surges and my nesting instinct was going through the roof! My husband took our son to my mothers and I busied myself around the house. Getting all my candles and birthing things ready.

We called Nyree at around 6pm as the surges were around 30 mins apart. It was very reassuring to know that she was only 5 mins away.

By 8.30pm Nyree had arrived and my surges were 5 mins apart. I was using my Tens machine which was fabulous and my husband James was going through our hypnobirthing affirmations with me.

There was an immense feeling of calm and it was so wonderful being at home!

James was busy getting the Birthing pool to the right temperature. I got into the pool at around 10.30pm. The feeling of utter weightlessness was amazing. It was just like climbing into a warm nectar.

At around 11.00pm Charlotte arrived and I knew things would not be too much longer.

I suddenly was very sick and my waters broke at the same time! I was delighted that they were clear and not stained with meconium like at my first birth.

At 12.28am Louis George Patrick arrived! My whole labour was 3 and half hours. I got my beautiful boy and my home birth. It was the most amazing experience! I do have slightly surreal memories too. As the head was crowning the TV was on and it was the Bourne Supremacy . Not the most calming, soothing film to watch!

I would highly recommend the services of Nyree and her dedicated team. The care you receive is amazing, before, during and after the birth. It is always sad to say goodbye when it gets to your last visit! Oh well maybe see them next time!!!!!


Romy's Story

When I fell pregnant with my first child I was delighted but also very anxious as I suffer from a number of very rare allergies, I was very concerned about the lack of continuity of care that is often common with NHS and because my medical notes are extensive I was adamant that I wanted my care to be as controlled as possible for the safety of my child and myself.

We decided that a good option would be to hire an independent midwife who could get to know my medical history well and act as my advocate with other medical professionals when the need arose. I was thrilled that Nyree and Odette took me on as a client.

Throughout my pregnancy Nyree and Odette offered invaluable advice to me, from which hospital would be the most suitable to which were the best vitamins to take - all invaluable. Very early on, after meeting with our consultant, we decided that his advised route of an elective c section was the right decision for us for many different reasons; Nyree and Odette were totally supportive and played a huge part in making that choice a positive and empowering experience. They recommended that we personalise the surgical experience by creating a birth CD and writing a birth plan, things that gave us control over our birth.

Unfortunately I became very ill at seven and a half months pregnant, Nyree arranged with the maternity hospital to receive me in the early hours of the morning and then arrived at the hospital to see us later on, even though I was not in Labour. She stayed for hours and made sure I received good pain relief and quality care, she was outstanding and a very welcome sight at what was an extremely frightening time for us. Thankfully I did not need to deliver early and was able to struggle on to the date for my elective Caesarean date. During this time Nyree arranged for us to meet the head of Midwifery at the hospital so that all the staff would be aware of my complex medical condition, this did a great deal to allay many of the fears that we had.

When the big day arrived I was nervous but also quite curious about what the whole experience would be like. We met Nyree and Odette at 8 am on the Labour ward before I went in for the surgery and they were a hugely calming presence for me, my partner and my anxious parents. At 9am we went through to theatre and after the epidural was successfully set up surgery began at 9.45. The lovely Anaesthetist talked to me and kept me calm and informed as did our amazing Consultant. Everything went perfectly and my beautiful daughter was born just 7 minutes after surgery began. I had a truly wonderful birth experience, the surgical team were outstanding and the whole event was just remarkable, it could not have been bettered, I could even feel my daughter ‘born’ while my favourite song was playing in the background. After my husband had cut the cord and Romy had been weighed and checked she was wrapped in the blanket I had made for her and placed by my head so that I could touch her and be with her while I was stitched up. It was all so calm and beautiful, there was a wonderful moment when Lou Reed’s perfect day was playing on our birth CD and many of the staff were singing along – it really was our perfect day.

As soon as I was returned to the recovery room with my daughter Nyree and Odette were there to greet me and to get us breast feeding immediately – they spent a long time helping us get off to the best possible start and I am convinced that this is why breast feeding my daughter has gone so smoothly, they even taught my husband about positioning so that he was able to be an integral part of the process during the early days when I was recovering, it was something very special to us and I am so very grateful to them for that. My hospital say was very good and Nyree and Odette had arranged in advance for us to have a private room meaning that my husband was able to stay with myself and my daughter during the nights, which was fantastic.

Once we arrived home Nyree and Odette were there every day for the first week assisting with breast feeding, my wound, emotional support and on hand advice day and night. The first few weeks are hard going with a new born but having Nyree and Odette for support helped us enormously.

When I first fell pregnant we were forced to face the small but frightening possibility that I may not have survived the birth and so to not only survive, but to have had such an amazing experience is a testament to the skill, care and professionalism of Nyree and Odette. They put in place everything I needed to have as safe a birth as possible and for that I will always hold them in my heart. I was very happy that I had a C section and I don’t feel that I missed anything by not giving birth vaginally, it was the right birth for me and it was the most amazing experience of my life.

If we were lucky enough to have another child without a doubt we would use Sage Famme again.


Jaspar's Story

My name is Jaspar. I was born on 17th June, 2007 at home after a quick and relatively painless labour for my Mum. I weighed 7lbs.

My full name is Jaspar Ishmael Wigham Hussain. My Mum's maiden name was Wigham, as there were lots of girls in the Wigham family Mum and Dad decided that it would be nice for that side of the family name to carry on with me as a middle name. Throughout my time as a bump Mum had an independent midwife look her so she could avoid the repeat of my big brothers long and painful failed forceps c/section birth.

Here is my birth story that my mum wrote the very next day....

At 2am on the 17th June, 2007 I woke up, I immediately had a contraction, although not especially strong, I got up to go to the bathroom and feel a leaking feeling.

I thought part of my waters may have broken; I went back to bed and checked the time when I had a contraction, they were either 3, 4 or 5 minutes apart, with no set pattern. I didn’t think this was labour starting as I still had 7 days to go until baby was due.

I sat in the bathroom until 3am reading a couple of pregnancy and birth books just to see if I could work out if my waters had broken or if these contractions I was having were indeed the real thing.

At 3am I woke Zelf and asked him to hold my hand to help me relax and remember the time of the previous contraction so we could gauge how far apart and long they were. I also sent my midwifes a text message just to let them know I was having a few fairly painless contractions but more importantly that part of my waters may have broken.

My main midwife was away for the weekend so my back up midwife was my main point of contact. She sent me a text back to say contact her if they became 5 minutes apart – we were timing about 6 minutes on average, so Zelf put on the Tens machine and I tried to get some sleep (we decided even if I just wasted as set of batteries on braxton hicks

(the painless practice contractions) that would stop eventually it would be better to try and sleep) I was mainly using relaxation and breathing through the contractions at this pointI couldn’t get back to sleep though and found myself increasing the intensity on the Tens machine, at 4.50am I went back to the bathroom only to experience a harder contraction that made me realise this was probably labour starting! I started a text to the midwife but as the contraction were approx 3 minutes apart I couldn’t get it written so I called instead, I had to pass the phone to Zelf though as another contraction started and I could not talk through it. She decided it was time to come and see us and left home.

Zelf held my hand and got me to focus on something (the screw on the side of my bedside cabinet!!) and got me to breathe and relax – I was really struggling to relax though as I just wanted to curl up in a ball, yet I knew to ensure that the contractions were effective in helping me dilate I really needed to relax. I even had Zelf call the midwife again to see how far away she was as I was getting a bit frantic

The midwife arrived around 5.40am (it was such a relief when she came in the door – Zelf was doing a great job but I felt so relieved to see her) and decided to check me – I told her that if I was only 3cm’s dilated she needed to lie! (my biggest fear was that when the contractions did hit a strong level that it would take me ages to be ready to push and that I would therefore be unable to cope with the pain) in actual fact she told me that I was fully dilated and ready to push

Basically the stronger contractions that I thought were labour starting were pushing ones and I was fighting the pushing urge!…After being ready to hear 4cm or less I certainly didn’t believe that I was ready to push!

My midwife was concerned that if we set off to the hospital now that I could even deliver in the car or on the stairs so we opted to stay at home and not transfer to the hospital (in fact there was even a birthing pool set

up in the corner of the room that in the end we never filled or got to use!)

My main midwife had decided to leave her camping weekend at 4am and was able to come over. I was so happy to see her I could have cried I had so wanted to have this baby with her there to support me. This meant that I now had both midwifes support and was able to start pushing – with this being my first normal delivery then this was going to be a longer stage for me (as if it were a first baby).

We kept mobile where possible and pushed through the contractions which were strong and regular, using the boost button on the Tens machine. The best position for me though was on our bed slightly on my side.

By now it was 7.30am and Danyal woke up! Zelf settled him in front of the television with his breakfast. I still had difficulty believing that I would not need to go to hospital in case baby was stuck and needed assistance, so when I got to see the top of the head with a mirror I was well and truly convinced!

At 9.20am Danyal knocked on the door asking if he could come and see me!! He waited out side whilst I pushed and breathed on the midwife’s advice and when baby was born at 9.37am we tucked him in a towel covered me up and Danyal was able to come in and meet his baby brother Jaspar.

Zelf was able to cut the cord and the placenta was delivered naturally 15 minutes later, I had no tears and did not need any stitches

To summarise I would say the whole birth was a very wonderful experience, the ‘pain’ I had anticipated did not materialise and the speed of the whole labour was very unexpected. Being able to deliver at home in the comfort of our bedroom was an amazing, exhilarating and natural experience and something I never really believed would be possible after Danyal’s 27 hour failed forceps and emergency caesarean delivery. I have so much to be thankful for to my midwives and Zelf

Link: Jaspers Birth Story


Oliver's Story

We were eagerly awaiting the birth of our first child with huge excitement and felt that we had done all we could to have a calm and healthy pregnancy.

Early on in the pregnancy we had decided that we would hire an independent midwife with the plan to have a home water birth.

Whilst we felt that there are some great hospitals in London it was the actual midwifery care that had alarmed us the most. I also felt that hospitals were a place for sick people and I wasn’t sick so Homebirth was the most appealing option!

We booked in with ‘Sage Femme independent midwifery’ who without a doubt made my whole pregnancy feel so special and their advice and knowledge was amazing.

My due date 27th December came and went. I was convinced our Baby was going to put in an early appearance but I guess he just wasn’t ready.

I was 1 week overdue and getting fairly fed up. I knew that my window for a home birth would only be for another week and then it would be a hospital induction which I really wanted to avoid. I had had a show a few days earlier so I hoped that things would happen.

My midwives suggested that I went for a wellbeing scan to try and avoid medical interference. All was well and the doctor was happy to leave me for another week to see if things would happen on there own. Yippee! I had another week!

Well we tried everything! Hot curries, long walks, nipple stimulation, Cervical sweeps x 3, sex, pineapple and more sex!

This baby was very happy where he was and was in no hurry to join us!

A few more days went by and I felt like I had been pregnant forever. Was this baby ever going to come?

Well meaning friends and family were driving me mad phoning up to see if ‘he had come yet’

I practised my visualisations willing my cervix to open and was sure that he would be coming soon…..

My midwives sent me to hospital for a C.T.G trace just to check that all was well.

Everything was great, but to my disappointment I was booked in for induction the next day.

I knew that we had to do the best for our baby, but the beautiful homebirth I had envisaged was slipping away.

I had one more appointment with our midwives before induction and they suggested that there was one last thing I could try. CASTOR OIL!

This filled me with a little fear as I had heard so many conflicting stories about it but I really wanted to try as I felt that we had nothing to lose.

I took some castor oil with some orange juice mid morning and settled down for a quiet day of T.V and pampering. The midwives had warned me that I could feel sick and have a tummy upset, boy were they right! It took about 3 hrs and everything really kicked in.

I was feeling very mild surges coming roughly every 30mins. But now that it was happening to me I began to doubt myself. Was I going to have this baby? Was I imagining the surges? I phoned up my best friend who had had 3 children and she was convinced that it was starting! My husband James was at work still and I didn’t want to call him home too early as I was told by various people that it would probably be quite long first time round. I decided not to call my midwives until things were hotting up a bit and definitely not to call my mother and mother in law as they would just worry and I felt so calm that I just wanted to be left alone to get on with things!

I watched a couple of movies, hoovered and tidied up then had a lovely bath, shaved my legs, did a facemask and painted my toenails!

The surges were progressing well but I didn’t feel any discomfort at all. Could I really be having a baby? This all felt so easy!

James arrived home at 6pm and in between surges I put on a roast dinner which in hindsight was probably a little ambitious!!!!

My surges were now coming every 15 mins and although things had shifted a gear it was still fine.

Poor James was trying to put the birthing pool up in record time and then I was sick everywhere! I don’t think the poor thing knew what to do first!

In the meantime Odette, one of our midwives had arrived.

She examined me and I was 3 cm dilated. We all set to work pinning my birthing affirmations up around the house and getting all the candles and towels ready.

My waters broke with a huge gush when I was dishing up the roast dinner! I felt the baby’s head drop very low and James started massaging my back and then we did the glove relaxation exercise. We put on my tens machine which was amazing, when the stronger surges swept over me.

I had another gush of water and unfortunately there was meconium in the water. Odette gently and calmly explained to me that I would have to transfer into hospital because of the meconium which I knew could be quite serious. I just wanted our little boy safe now and didn’t care where it happened.

Nyree our second midwife arrived and whist the others were getting everything ready to transfer she examined me and to everyone’s complete surprise I was now fully dilated!!! I had gone from 3cm to 10 in less than an hour. I didn’t have the will to push yet but I think that everyone was a little concerned that the baby was going to arrive before the ambulance!

Luckily that didn’t happen and I shall never forget going over all the speed humps in Highgate to get to the hospital!

When we got to hospital everything happened so quickly. I was very lucky that I had my two fabulous midwives and also an extremely lovely midwife at the hospital who delivered our baby.

My surges had slowed down at the hospital so I was given something to speed them up again. I then began to push which was the hardest but most wonderful thing I have ever done. I was pushing for about 30mins when the doctor told me that if I didn’t get our baby out within the next 2 pushes that I would have to be assisted. Well that was all I needed to give that final push!

Before the birth James vowed that he was not going anywhere near ‘the business end,’he was utterly mesmerised by the birth and he seemed to be looking down there more than the midwife! He was so supportive and encouraging.

Our beautiful baby boy finally arrived on the 9th January at 1.47am and we fell in love with him instantly.


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