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'Why I hired a professional photographer to live stream my baby's birth to 45,000 people'

Watch: 'I live streamed my birth to 45,000 strangers - it’s not scary or gross'

A woman has shared why she chose to live stream her birth to 45,000 people and paid for a professional photographer to capture the special moment.

Siobhan Miller, 37, from Torquay in Devon, wanted to give birth to her fourth baby at home surrounded by her friends, family and children, as well as strangers watching on YouTube.

Having previously hired a professional photographer for the birth of her third son, Ailbe, now seven, she decided she wanted to take things one step further and film her next labour.

As a hypnobirthing teacher and owner of the Positive Birth Company, Miller says she wanted to show that birth isn’t "terrifying" or "gross" and can actually be “euphoric”.

She set up a camera in her living room which filmed her breathing through contractions on a birthing ball and broadcast it live to 45,000 people.

But, due to a lack of midwives, Siobhan had to rush to Torbay Hospital, South Devon, to welcome her daughter, Fionnuala, now one, on September 17, 2022, weighing 8lbs 5oz.

Siobhan Miller chose to live stream the birth of her fourth child. (Siobhan Miller/SWNS)
Siobhan Miller chose to live stream the birth of her fourth child. (Siobhan Miller/SWNS)

"I desperately wanted to normalise birth," she explains of her decision to live stream the intimate moment.

"Most people are terrified of birth.

"Some people think it is back-to-back pain for many hours.

"But it’s a contraction and breathing and then maybe you eat or breathe before another one.

"It can be the most wonderful day of your life."

Miller found her first birth with son Oisin, now 16, "traumatic" after she had an induction and he had to be pulled out using forceps.

"It was terrifying and left me feeling really incapable," she says.

Miller with her friends and family during the livestream. (Siobhan Miller/SWNS)
(Siobhan Miller/SWNS)
Miller with her friends and family during the livestream. (Siobhan Miller/SWNS)

When Miller fell pregnant again seven years later, she wanted to have a different birth experience and researched hypnobirthing.

After a quick home birth she welcomed Arlo, now eight, in December 2014 and described the experience as the "polar opposite" of her first birth.

"I felt euphoric," she says. "I felt like a superwoman – and that feeling lasted."

Following her positive experience Miller trained in hypnobirthing and launched her company in 2015.

Miller, a hypnobirthing teacher, wanted to show that birth isn’t 'terrifying' or 'gross'. (Siobhan Miller/SWNS)
Miller, a hypno-birthing teacher, wanted to show that birth isn't 'terrifying' or 'gross'. (Siobhan Miller/SWNS)

She went on to have a water birth in a birth centre for her third son, Ailbe, in March 2016, opting to get professional photos to record the moment.

"I had an amazing day [for the birth of her second child] but I had no photographic record of it," she says.

"My only regret was not having a single photo.

"When you get married you have a videographer and photographer.

"But when you give birth, it is not common.

"People think it is a bit disgusting.

"Now my son looks and can see himself being born.

"It’s very special."

Although Miller laboured at home, baby Fionnula was born in hospital following a shortage of midwives. (Siobhan Miller/SWNS)
Although Miller laboured at home, baby Fionnula was born in hospital following a shortage of midwives. (Siobhan Miller/SWNS)

For her last baby Siobhan decided she wanted to have video footage of the moment and chose to live stream it.

"I feel confident because I’ve given birth a number of times," she explains.

"Everything we see depicts birth as traumatic, but it's a skewed portrayal and a change of mindset can be empowering."

Miller started having contractions in the evening of September 17, 2022, and had a birth pool and lights set up before switching her camera on.

She also paid around £300 for a photographer to take photos during the labour.

"I thought at any point I can switch it off," she explains.

"I had a few friends, and my kids were there."

Miller's daughter, Fionnula, meeting two of her big brothers. (Siobhan Miller/SWNS)
Miller's daughter, Fionnula, meeting two of her big brothers. (Siobhan Miller/SWNS)

Miller says she actually "forgot" people were watching and laboured for an hour and 20 minutes before making the decision to go to Torbay Hospital for the birth.

"No midwives were available and I felt the baby was starting to come," she explains.

While she was unable to continue the live stream at the hospital, Miller gave birth to her little girl in a birthing pool at 10.07pm.

"I was disappointed not to have a home birth, but the birth itself was really lovely," she says.

"It was a shame the live stream had to come to an abrupt end, but I got to show people how positive labour can be. I wasn't screaming. I wasn't terrified.

"They just missed the finale."

Additional reporting SWNS.

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