The Birth of Poppy – Australian Birth Story by Sarah Hoffman

We have a beautiful birth story to share with you this week from Sarah Hoffman. Like many women, Sarah was fearful of childbirth… until she discovered She Births®. She put everything she learnt during the course into practice and “had the most amazing fearless and painless birth experience.”

It’s interesting that Sarah notes that people said she was ‘lucky’ to experience the birth that she did. But it’s definitely not as simple as that! Tough cards can always be dealt on the day but Sarah educated herself, put in the hard work of preparing both body and mind and had a great team around her. It’s the same in all areas of our life, and absolutely applies to birth.

Sarah sent us a lovely thank you note, but we wanted the juicy details – scroll down to read the full story!

“I just wanted to say a huge thank you! For as long as I can remember I’d always had a massive fear of childbirth and when I fell pregnant I was petrified – I remember at the first doctor’s appointment telling them that I wasn’t a hero and that I would be taking all the drugs I could get!

After lots of googling I came across She Births® and I was intrigued. I started to believe that maybe I could have a natural, positive birth experience. Before I attended your Weekend Course I went through all the online resources and started to prepare for the birth. The course itself was incredible and I left feeling really inspired. I did everything you advised and it really paid off!

I gave birth to my beautiful daughter Poppy on 17 August. My labour was 6.5 hours from the first contraction to when I got to hold her in my arms – I only just made it to hospital in time – literally with 15 mins to spare! So I didn’t get the water birth I had envisaged but it didn’t matter – I had the most amazing fearless and painless birth experience.

She Births® completely changed my thinking on childbirth and opened my eyes to a whole new world. I’m still in awe of what I achieved and what all women can achieve if they get educated, believe in themselves and trust their bodies.

Through She Births® I was put in touch with (your new She Births® Educator on the North Shore) Ellen Turchini who became my Doula – she was amazing and I feel so lucky to have had her on my birth team. I’m forever grateful to you for helping me experience my greatest achievement to date. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.”


Love and gratitude,
Nadine xxx


How did you prepare for birth?
I started preparing for birth quite early in my pregnancy. For as long as I can remember I had a fear of childbirth, so when I first found out I was pregnant I was slightly petrified and just assumed that I would take all the drugs available. However, as I started researching and getting educated I decided I wanted to attempt a natural birth – but I knew that in order to achieve this I would need to eliminate my fears (I learnt that it’s the fear that creates the pain!). We are bombarded with horror birth stories from friends and the media and so I realised that I would need to shut those out and surround myself with more positive stories. I started listening to a podcast which shared amazing birth stories, I listened to birth affirmations and I did lots of reading which normalised the birth process and helped me to overcome my fears.

After we signed up to She Births® I started going through the online resources – watching the birth videos and reading the notes. I followed everything that we got taught over the weekend course – I got acupuncture, saw an osteopath, had massages, listened to the meditations and visualisations and drank lots of raspberry leaf tea! I also stayed fit and healthy throughout my pregnancy – I walked lots and did regular prenatal yoga and reformer Pilates which definitely helped!

I viewed labour as similar to running a marathon – if I wanted a positive result then I would need to prepare both physically and mentally just like I would if I was training for a big race. Some people say that I was lucky to have the birth that I did but I don’t think that’s entirely the case – I really wanted a natural birth without interventions and so I worked hard for it. I’m just so grateful that it paid off!

How did your labour start?
I never had any signs that labour was approaching, there was no show, no water break, no cramps and no Braxton hicks. I woke up at 1am with contractions lasting about 45 seconds and coming 3 minutes apart. Although they were regular and consistent they were very mild so I just assumed it was probably the start of pre-labour which could go on for days! I didn’t want to wake my husband Chris if it was indeed a false alarm so I headed to the living room and used a heat pack and tried to get some rest. At 4.30am I woke Chris, spoke to my Doula Elle, had a hot shower and then got the tens machine working. Elle arrived at 5.15am and confirmed I was in labour (I was still questioning whether it was the real deal!) and that we would be meeting our baby today!

How did you bring your baby into the world?
Just before 7am I had a couple of contractions that were really intense – I lost focus, swore during them and doubted myself. At this stage I thought I was probably only a few centimetres dilated and wasn’t sure I would be able to manage hours more. Prior to these the contractions had been very manageable with breathing, movement and massage. Immediately after those intense contractions I had a strong urge to push. We then realised that I was a lot closer then what we thought – it was a mad rush to get out of the house as we hadn’t finished packing the hospital bag!

There was no way I was sitting in the car so I got in the boot on all fours and spent the 10-minute trip trying to resist the need to push. When we arrived at the hospital I literally ran into the birth centre (looking like a mad woman with just a t-shirt on and no shoes!) and climbed onto the bed where they checked me and confirmed that they could feel the head and that I could start pushing. I remember telling the midwife that I wanted a water birth but was told that there was no time! At 7.35am, after about 10 minutes of pushing little Poppy entered the world – I’ll never forget that amazing moment!

Who supported you throughout labour and the birth, and how?
My husband, my mum and my Doula. I had always wanted my mum to be present at the birth and luckily by coincidence she happened to be staying at our house the night I went in to labour – otherwise she would of missed it entirely. Although unfortunately she actually ended up missing the birth as she was parking the car! I tossed up with the idea of getting a Doula throughout my pregnancy but after attending She Births decided I definitely wanted one. I found Elle through She Births which was great as it meant she was familiar with the She Births principles. Elle was a huge support not only to me but also Chris – I know he is very grateful that she was there!

What most helped you throughout the birth experience?
Blissful belly breaths and strong massage – both tools that we learnt at She Births®. Also, just the presence and support of my birth team.

Describe your birth in 3 words:
Surprising. Beautiful. Empowering.


Photo by Erica Massingham

birth of poppy story
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