Hello lovely mummas. You've probably found my blog because you've already had a baby or are pregnant or are wanting to be pregnant! I remember being pregnant with my first and watching all the One Born Every Minute shows (with my husband), reading all the hypnobirthing books and basically obsession about how I was going to get this baby OUT!
I found that all too often people were quick to share their “horror” stories, so I've made it my mission to share my positive birth stories, yep, I have two! Due to being a serial over sharer, I could write for days, but I know you're busy so will try my best to just cut to the interesting (and hopefully helpful) bits.
I think it’s worth mention what I did to prepare for my first labour because perhaps this is why I had such a good experience. I was fit and healthy leading up to pregnancy, maintained regular exercise, didn’t gain too much weight, read a hypnobirthing book (the CD wasn’t for me), went to pregnancy yoga where I learnt about breathing and used an EPI-NO (Google it) to help prepare my perineum for the inevitable stretch. But most importantly, I had a positive and strong mind, I trusted that my body could do what it was designed to do and I didn’t let any fear enter my mind during labour.
London (UK), 7 hours total, drug free, water birth in a midwife led birthing centre.
My daughter was born in the UK, London. I had a straight forward pregnancy and my care was 100% midwife led which is the norm under the free NHS services. I stayed fit and healthy, exercised 5 times a week, didn’t gain too much weight (although I had a huge bump), did pregnancy yoga, read loads of “how to” books including a hypnobirthing book. I went into this pregnancy with the mind frame that I was preparing for a marathon.
At 41 weeks on the dot my labour started with a pop and a light gush of water at 4am. Light cramps low under the bump started shortly after and by 7am I was tipping my hat to those who suffer from period pains every month, because I don’t and these cramps were starting to hurt. I made the obligatory call to the midwife led birthing centre where I was registered to birth at and was told to stay at home until my 3pm 41 week appointment that was already scheduled. The midwife assured me as a first time mum these things take all day which was consistent with the information we were given in our antenatal classes.
But within an hour I was doubled over the kitchen sink unable to move or eat my breakfast and was trying my best not to wake the surrounding neighbours in our inner-city flat. My husband was starting to look a little uneasy and suggested we call the midwives again to confirm this was “normal” because I wasn’t experiencing that lovely “rest” period between contractions we were told to enjoy. The midwife still wasn’t convinced and after confirming I was still a first-time mum I should definitely stay home until 3pm, but if we were concerned for the baby to head into triage for a check-up.
After 45min of timing contracts my husbands app alerted us to head to the hospital because my contractions were 1min long every 2min. “But it’s too early!”, I stated between ooo’ing and moaning. Thankfully my husband made the call and ordered the taxi (yes, a taxi) who would thankfully allow me into their cab and drove us the 15min journey, in peak hour London traffic, to the hospital.
We headed straight to triage as instructed and after three brutal contractions in the 10 meters to the triage desk, I was turned around and told to head straight to the birth centre, quick smart! The midwives took one look at me and rushed to start running the water in the birthing tub. I was given a catheter to help empty my bladder as I hadn’t been able to use the toilet since contracts started and after a quick check was told I was 5cm and good to get into the pool. Yaasss half way and it was only 10am!
Getting into the warm water was the best feeling and I immediately knew this was the right place for me to give birth. Shortly after entering the tub I started to push, and push and push. The pushing stage lasted a long time for me however I trusted in my body and used my breathing techniques I had learnt in yoga. I do remember reaching transition phase because I started to say things like “I can’t do this anymore, it’s too hard”. So my ever helpful husband suggested the gas and air. The midwife wasn’t happy but got it set up for me. Two puffs later it had slowed my contractions down so I threw it away and 2 pushes later I had finally birth the head, which is such a great feeling of relief because in one more contraction it would be all over.
At 12.20pm (well before 3pm!), my daughter was born and guided up from the water and into my arms. This is truly the most incredible experience and words just can’t describe the feeling of holding your baby for the first time after such an intense and painful experience. The second-best feeling is finding out the sex of your baby after 9 months of waiting, she was a girl!! And weighed a hefty 8 pounds 12 ounces (3.98kg).
I chose not to have the injection to deliver the placenta and after handing bub over to dad the midwife helped me delivery the placenta within one easy push while still in the birthing pool (I’ve since been told that’s a big no no in Australia). I’m helped out of the pool and onto the bed where baby is returned to me for her first breastfeed and for the midwife to check out “the damage”. And there isn’t any!! Yep, I just birthed an almost 4kg baby without even a graze and without drugs. For anyone wondering how that is possible, Google “Epi-No”, I’ll say no more.
Sunshine Coast (Australia), 2 hours total, induced, drug free, water birth in a private hospital with an OB.
My second pregnancy was a lot different to my first. We moved country, I struggled to exercise regularly (because now I have a 2 year old!) did a few weeks of last minute pregnancy Pilates, suffered from pelvic pain and ate WAY too many ice lollies. Baby was also breach for most of the pregnancy and after much deliberation we decided to try an ECV (manual turn) at 37/38 weeks to turn the baby into the correct birthing position (head down). This was successful and I was all set to have another water birth.
My son was also in no hurry to arrive and by 41+5 weeks and after a failed sweep, we made the call for me to be induced. Even though I was not in labour and had no signs, I was already 4cm dilated (thanks Emma) so was able to try induction via breaking of waters. So at 8.15am my OB broke my waters and we were told to go for a walk to help things along. My contractions started 30min after that during our walk so we headed back to the hospital. I remember saying to my husband during the walk that we better hurry because I feel like I need to poo!
After many stops to “ooo” through contractions we made it back to the hospital by 9am and let the midwives know it had started. The midwives were amazing and were ready for me to have another fast labour so were very diligent in monitoring and staying nearby. They also started filling the pool straight away and by 10am I was easing myself into the pool as my OB walked in the door.
The warm water offered me about 1min of pain free relaxation and then the contractions intensified so rapidly I was continuously contracting and started to push. In fact, my body gave me no choice but to push, even if I didn’t want to, it was so intense I was uncontrollably shaking the whole time. I didn’t remember labour being this painful the first time! The pushing stage only lasted 15min before the head was born and on the next contraction the baby got stuck as he had his arm up to his face, so I was asked to stand up, I said no I can’t, so the OB and the midwives lifted me up as there was a risk the baby would try to breath under water if touched too much. So there I was standing with most of the baby out but having to wait for a second contraction to get him all the way out. That was really uncomfortable and I yelled at my OB to “just pull him out already”!
At 10.16am, my son James was born and I got to again experience the most amazing feeling of holding your baby for the first time. And in that moment, my husband and I knew our family was complete and that we never ever wanted to give birth again!
Once the cord stopped pulsing, James was handed to my husband for skin-to-skin time while I was helped out of the tub and onto the bed. Baby was then returned to me for his first breastfeed and I delivered my placenta naturally. The OB confirmed I had again gotten away with only a light graze (thank you again Epi-No). While I enjoyed a shower James weighed in at a whopping 9 pounds 2 ounces (4.16kg), but to me he was tiny.
So after two amazing, fast natural, drug free births, my advice to expectant mums is to stay as fit and active as you can, stay away from the horror stories, don’t let the fear in, build a strong focused mind and to trust that your body can do the job it was born to do.
About Mummy Couture
Hey there, lovely mum! I’m Emily. I’m from Australia and I’m a mother of two small, energetic children. I started Mummy Couture when I was eight months pregnant with my second baby as a passion project to block the “baby brain” we pregnant mums invariably endure. After giving birth, I fell in love with kimonos as they flattered my post-baby body and I felt beautiful again. I started creating my own kimonos, refining my designs with new colours and patterns. I have also added non-toxic silicone jewellery to my range so you can match your mumma jewels with your favourite kimonos. Mummy Couture is dedicated to every mum who wants to feel amazing in her own skin!