It all began whilst walking my hyperactive rescue dog, Annie.
I was 38+2, and was convinced my little man would be late. I had had a rough pregnancy, with hypermesis the entire time, PGP and Bell’s palsy, so of course thought my suffering would last forever!
Whilst bending down to pick up my dogs tennis ball, I felt a tiny bit of fluid come out. “Oh no! I’ve just peed myself!” I thought in a panic. Went home and changed and didn’t think anymore of it. Until it happened again! Adamant that I wasn’t peeing myself, I called the midwives at about 11am. I booked myself in for a test at the MLBU at 10pm to see if it was my waters breaking!
My husband was away with work, and didn’t want to worry him so didn’t bother to let him know incase it was a false alarm, as he was a 3 hour drive away.
However, whilst watching Winterwatch (I’m such a nerd, but I love it!) I started to lose my mucus plug. So at 8pm I had to phone my husband and let him know that the baby is going to make an early appearance!
My husband got home just before I had to leave to go to the hospital to check if my waters had broken. Got to the hospital at 10pm and right enough, my water had broken. I wasn’t really getting any contractions at all, so I was booked in for an induction at 11am the next day.
Upon getting home at 12am I decided to go for a bath as I felt totally gross! Husband went to go get some sleep and left me to it.
Then all of a sudden my body was pushing. It came out of nowhere! I couldn’t stop myself! I shouted out that I was pushing and to call the midwives, and my poor husband got in to such a panic! The midwives sent an ambulance to our house as I could barely move as the contractions were every 2 minutes and so all consuming. My husband dried and dressed me, then we waited by the front door for the ambulance. It felt like a life time! I was so convinced I was going to give birth to my baby inside my pyjamas! I remember so vividly on my hands and knees on the stairs in the hall, and looking over to my poor dog who is nervous anyway. She was so petrified and her eyes were like saucers. I felt so guilty that she had to see me like this and had no idea why! Finally the ambulance showed up, my husband wasn’t allowed in with me so he had to drive himself to the hospital. I was given gas and air, but it made me feel so sick that I refused any more.
I got to the MLBU and I remember asking for my music to be put on; the only thing I wanted in my birth plan was for my son to be born to my music. Didn’t happen! I transferred from the ambulance bed to the hospital bed, pushed twice and out came little Cameron at 1:35am. No stitches, no pooing myself, nothing! I had gone from no contractions at all, to having a baby in an hour and a half.
The first thing I remember seeing were his tiny little hands. I couldn’t believe how small and fragile he was. I had been told my entire pregnancy that he was going to be a big boy, yet here he was on my chest weighing a tiny 6lbs exactly.
He is now nearly 7 months old, and I can honestly say he is the best thing to ever happen to me.
Laura’s Birth Story
I found out I was pregnant very early in to my pregnancy. Very early. I remember going for what I thought would be close to 12 weeks, but no, I think I was around 5 or 6 weeks. I felt slightly crushed to be honest. I was going through a hard time already, my so called mummy friends turned on me, and abandoned both Logan and I, which at the time was devastating, I didn’t understand why, but now I’m glad. I now have the best friends anyone could think of. But back then I was also struggling with constant nausea, which is so debilitating, and now I had what felt like a lifetime till my 12 week scan, to know everything was going to be okay. Finally it came and seeing the squiggling baby on screen confirmed I could actually already feel her! We shared our news, after Logans preschool had already found out, as he’d got excited, and then the wait for the next scan came. I got bigger a lot quicker second time round, your body remembers being pregnant which is just kind of amazing. The nausea did ease once I was in the second trimester and I started to enjoy myself. Guessing the gender of “Jelly” (Logan named her!) before the scan is always on everyone’s minds. So many ways to “tell”, but my cravings were different this time round, with Logan it was pom bears, and salty stuff. With Taya it was sweet stuff, particularly frozen yoghurt. I know everyone just wants a healthy baby, but the urge to have a girl was very overwhelming at times, so when the 20 week scan I was on tenterhooks as the sonographer tried to make this wiggly awkward baby open her legs! Finally at the end just before they gave up theu were certain they saw girl bits! Happy is an understatement. In between my 20 week scan and birth I got to have a 3D scan, which is such an amazing experience, even though we didn’t get the greatest shots as she had her hands over her face, and was hiding tightly up against the placenta. Amazing all the same.
Kiba had always said he didn’t particularly want to be at the birth, and I respected his decision, not all men do, and I felt he’d be better with Logan. With Logan I had Kiba and my mum as support, but for Taya I asked my sister Sophie. She was thrilled. I was planning for a water birth at the midwife led birthing unit, a part of the hospital in case things went wrong, but more homely. I had a lovely midwife throughout pregnancy, and as things went on I got more and more excited about our new arrival. My due date, and zoo trip, came and went. On the 10th July we were invited out for a fish and chips lunch, it was lovely, but I was having more Braxton hicks than normal, however I didn’t think too much about it so carried on the day. Logans bedtime came, and as I was getting him ready the contractions started. I used breathing techniques to try and carry on in case they came to nothing, but soon came to the conclusion that this was it, that there was no point putting Logan to bed. I took him downstairs and told Kiba she was on her way. I phoned up the MLBU when contractions were 5 minutes about, which wasn’t particularly long after I had started! After explaining I was 45 minutes away and had to drop off Logan/pick up Sophie they told me to head to mums and then wait there until they were 3 minutes apart. They were 3 minutes apart as I got to mums.
With Logan at mums, Sophie and I in the back of the car, Kiba drove us to the hospital. If you’ve been a labouring woman in the car you know that it is the longest drive you’ll ever experience in your life. You’ll get every red light possible. You cannot get comfortable at all. Anyway, we finally got there, Sophie and I took it slowly up to the MLBU, Kiba met us up there with our bags, and I asked him to stay, although I knew what are plans were. He left and the midwife wanted to do my observations, weight etc, but I got the sudden urge to push, so she decided to take us over to the birth pool. By this point I was in my “zone” I can’t say I took any notice of the people around me (I never noticed the student midwife!) or my surroundings, I think the room may of been a pink colour? They had the lights dimmed, and the pool ready. I’m sure I got in in just my bra, but it annoyed me, so I took it off. I went with my bodies urges and pushed. I remember panicking a bit as Taya never stopped wiggling. I couldn’t remember Logan doing so, so it was a bit of a shock and didn’t feel great to be honest. I remember Sophie with a flannel. I remember encouraging words. I remember I’d taught myself to repeat over and over “I can do this” while I pushed, and it helped, it really did. I held my breath through the worst pain. I liked to duck my head in the warm water, it felt calming. Shortly before the crowning I felt my waters pop. Such an odd sensation. Then came the crowning. For anyone who doesn’t know, this is when the head starts to come out. This is when most mums panic a little, myself included, only briefly before I remembered I could do this, and this meant she was close. Crowning is also the worst pain personally. Your vagina is a ring of fire. You can then feel your own baby with your hands for the first time, but this is a weird sensation personally, something I don’t think I can describe.
A few powerful pushes and she was out. My beautiful baby girl was here. The euphoria of that moment is truly indescribable, a moment you can never, ever forget. I’d love to witness it, not just live it, it must be magical, maybe one day I shall. I was granted my golden hour, skin to skin cuddles, and breastfeeds, in the water. Sophie phoned Kiba, he had only just got home with Logan, 45mind after he’d left us! Others were informed, as I birthed the placenta naturally and got to have delayed cord clamping, both things that I was worried about as they hadn’t gone well with Logan (I shall tell you his story another day) but it all seemed to go so smoothly. I’d done it completely pain relief free, I didn’t think I’d be able to, but I did, and in the water! Dreams come true! From first pain to her arrival it was between 3 and 4 hours. Time is fuzzy now.
We then moved back to the other room, Taya was weighed (7lbs 8oz) etc, and then it was my turn to be checked down below, you know, to see how it had coped. By the midwifes grimace, and the “Oh…” I knew it hadn’t fared well. I’d torn. I was swollen, very swollen. The midwife admitted she wouldn’t be able to do the stitches so went in search of a surgeon. I forgot about it as I cuddled my bundle of joy. Then the surgeon came in and I got an even bigger grimace and another “Oh…” and by this point Sophie was interested and asked if she could have a look, she’d just watch me give birth so why not? “Oh…” So it turns out I was in a bit of a mess down there. The surgeon said she’d try but it could be tricky with the swelling. I was given gas and air to cope. Now, I’ve never done drugs, but oh God, I’m guessing that’s what it’s like on drugs. Everything goes out of focus, I can’t see anything, can only just hear things and I go silly. I’m sure it was hilarious. It was still painful for me though. She did her work and said she’d come check later. Fast forward through more cuddles, breastfeeds, sisterly chats and bonding. Surgeon comes back and there are even more grimaces.
It turns out that the swelling had caused her to stitch me up wrong. Yea.. So, my options were to have her cut it and retry with gas and air but keep perfectly still (apparently I kept jumping with the pain before…), or, have a spinal and go to theatre to have it done. It was a horrible decision. I didn’t want to leave my baby and end up staying in. However I didn’t think I could cope with the gas and air again. I’m sure I cried. In the end I chose theatre. I knew Sophie would look after Taya. I am terrified of needles, but again I used my mantra of “I can do it”. We headed down and I coped surprisingly well with having the spinal. I suffer with anxiety around people I don’t know, but they were all very nice. It felt very, very odd not having control over my legs. A new surgeon came in and started work, commenting on the uniqueness of the situation, apparently. She then found a problem from the stitching after logans birth! So she offered me a “designer vagina” in her words, and I accepted. Once it was finally over and I was wheeled on to the ward I had to ask where Taya was, I started to panic a bit as I spent a good amount of time without anyone. Then she came, with Sophie, with Kiba, Logan and my mum. I was gutted. I’d missed both Kiba and Logan meeting Taya for the first time, something I was so excited for, and I still feel sad about now.
Everything went up from there, I healed well, and I manged to get breastfeeding established. We’re now at 2 years of breastfeeding, I couldn’t be prouder. These 2 years have gone so quickly. I often think of both my births. I love birth. I love to read about it, see photos of it. I’d love to witness it in the flesh. I’d love and hope to train as a doula, to support women to get the births they want. If I could I’d relive it all again, as despite the pain it truly is beautiful.
Emma’s Birth Story
I really enjoyed my pregnancy and made sure we has lots of trips the cinema, meals out and a final holiday abroad. I did pregnancy yoga, a hypnobirthing course, and attended NCT classes. I felt prepared, but I was convinced my little boy would be late. After all first births are always late, aren’t they? I soon found out that this is not always true.
At around 3am on my due date I remember waking up feeling a wet trickle down my leg. I thought I’d wet myself in my sleep (it wouldn’t have been the first time in the pregnancy unfortunately!) and tried to go back to sleep. But the trickle kept coming and I started to feel the odd cramp. I still wasn’t sure whether I was in pre labour, but as the cramp feelings started getting stronger I realised I was actually having mini-contractions and that the trickle might have been my waters breaking. By the time it got to the afternoon I remembered something from my antenatal classes about having to give birth within so many hours of waters breaking in order to avoid infection. I thought it was about time to give the delivery suite a ring. I remember a rather patronising midwife telling me that it was probably discharge and to just stay at home (nothing to do with the delivery suite being full I’m sure…). So I stayed at home slumped over my birth ball, watching Madagascar, trying to eat. Overnight I even managed 4 hours of sleep broken every so often by a contraction – lucky me!
By the morning, my contractions were coming fairly frequently and we were now convinced that the trickle was not discharge but had actually been my waters breaking. My partner was much more insistent on the phone to delivery suite about it than I had been the day before and they wanted me to come in straight away. At 10am (31 hours after my waters broke) I got to the desk with my notes then was swiftly told to labour away in the waiting room as everywhere was full! After about an hour I was moved to my own room on the antenatal suite, a consultant came to see me and told me they wanted to induce me because of the time since waters breaking and the risk of infection (I was right! I had been paying attention in my antenatal classes!), but they had to wait until a space became available on delivery suite, so I was left to labour away. My contractions became more intense and closer together – contractions felt like food poisoning stomach cramps but a hundred times worse. I agreed to internal examinations as I was desperate to know that all my effort so far had not been in vain! After a few hours my lovely midwife told me I was 9cm dilated, but that she didn’t quite believe it because I was very quiet and didn’t seem like I should be that far gone – those hypnobirthing classes did come in useful after all! Finally at 6pm I was transferred onto delivery suite and was told by my midwife that if I could get to 10cm dilated I could try and delivery the baby naturally without the induction. Unfortunately, the consultant didn’t agree and they wanted to induce me straight away with the synthetic drip. I was so tired by this point, and I’d heard that the contractions were going to be worse with the drip (is that possible?), that I opted for an epidural.
The epidural was a mixed experience for me. I was incredibly relieved that I didn’t have to feel the pain anymore, but I do believe the pain was quite protective as it puts you in a bit of a bubble. As soon as epidural took affect ‘shit just got real’ as they say and the reality of the situation really hit home – ‘I have just been in pain for the last 39 hours!’ ‘I’ve had strangers putting their hands in very private places!’ ‘I am going to have a baby!’ Arghh! I then entered the pushing stage and was told by the midwife when to push which was basically like really straining to have a poo (my pelvic floor has not been the same since). After 2 ½ hours of pushing and getting nowhere the consultant started to get a bit twitchy and wanted to get the baby out. I was told that I was going to have a spinal block and be wheeled into theatre, they were going to try with forceps to deliver the baby, but it might end up in c section. I was so tired and desperate to give my baby a cuddle I really truly no longer cared how I gave birth (so long birth plan!).
I remember being wheeled from my lovely low lit calm room to theatre with its bright lights and lots of scrubbed up medics I had not met before. I remember one of the obstetricians having a strange
conversation with my partner about what he did for a living. It all felt very surreal. The next thing I knew it was 12.04 am and my son Alex was being held above me, he had been successfully born by forceps delivery, and it was like the last traumatic 45 hours had not existed! I felt a mix of raw emotions that ranged from happiness, relief, wonder, amazement, pride, and an overwhelming desire to try and do the best for my little boy. Unfortunately I did not have skin-to-skin straightaway afterwards as I had requested and I had to wait until they stitched me up and wheeled me back to my room to have that first cuddle that had been driving me on through the labour. As soon as I was back in my room I took the swaddle off the midwife had wrapped him in and breastfed my little one for the first time.
A few days later we got a call from my GP that Alex had tested positive for Group B Strep on a swab test, I’m guessing the delay from waters breaking to birth may have contributed to this. As Alex was displaying no symptoms the doctor thought it was best just to observe him but take him straight to A & E if any symptoms appeared. Not what a new first time mother wants to hear! Fortunately he was absolutely fine, but I realise that this isn’t the case for many babies and I fully support the campaign by Group B Strep Support to make testing mandatory on the NHS for pregnant women.
Looking back I realise that my birth story does sound pretty traumatic, but I came away from the experience feeling fairly positive. The reason for this is that the care I received from my midwives and my anaesthetist was amazing. I felt they really cared about mine and my baby’s wellbeing and they included me and my partner in all the decisions along the way – apart from the last bit in the theatre, I felt in control and respected throughout. Even though things didn’t go how I would have wanted them to, this is still my birth story and I feel very proud of it, and I can’t thank the midwives enough for being part of it.
Katrin’s Birth Story
My story starts three days before my due date in January. I’d had tea with some Mummy friends and we all marvelled at the snow and how much we’d had that morning. I’d been having headaches, really horrible ones all around my head/up the base of my skull, and wasn’t relishing the idea of driving to a shop in the snow to get my husband’s birthday present for the next day.
But off I toddled (or waddled) to the car & set off, only to be about a mile from home when someone crashed into the back of me. It took me a full 2 seconds to realise what happened but when it dawned on me I carefully got out onto the icy road to see a young girl standing behind my car, with a look of horror on her face when she saw that she’d crashed into a heavily pregnant woman!
We swapped details and I spent the rest of the day, with the horrible headache, on the phone to insurance people & emailing contract whatnots back and forth. Little did I know this was to be my last day of ‘freedom.’
I woke up at 4am for one of my nightly toilet trips. I couldn’t get back to sleep but at around 5am, when I rolled over, I both felt & heard a POP. I tried to convince myself that maybe the baby had moved in a funny way but when I felt the trickle I knew…there was no denying it, I had felt & heard the same pop when in labour with my eldest. So the first thing I said to my husband on his birthday wasn’t anything birthday related, it was “My waters have gone!!” He quickly emailed the Orange Grove Clinic to say he wouldn’t make his birthday massage as his wife was in labour (I had pre-warned them, just in case) & started to put my hospital things in the car.
I hadn’t had any contractions yet but rang MLBU to say my waters had gone. They advised paracetamol for the headache that I still had, & to rest. I messaged my folks in the Midlands, who were on standby to come & look after my 2.5year old, to say go, go, go- this is not a drill! But not to panic because I wasn’t having contractions. They did start but I just kept breathing through them, practising for when the big ones came later.
The next part went in a bit of a blur. Our childminder arrived to take care of my eldest until my parents arrived. The contractions weren’t very regular or evenly spaced, only a few were quite long, so MLBU were still happy I was at home. I started to feel like they were getting quite long & close together so I thought we should probably set off & just “popped for a wee”. Then BAM!
My body was pushing. I had no control of it. I shouted my husband (who had been putting my suitcase in the car) to phone an ambulance. They said to get me off the toilet. I didn’t want to move. I was helped onto the floor onto all fours. They said I needed to lie on my back. I didn’t want to move. I was helped onto my side then my Mum & Dad arrived! (Record timing from the Midlands to Norwich) My Mum was handed the 999 call as they’d told my husband to go and get some string & a safety pin (??) Mum, bless her, was told to have a look- just what you want, right? There was “no head yet” I heard her say!
Thankfully the paramedics arrived 5 mins after my parents, much to my Mum’s relief. “Before we get intimate, my name’s Steve, and this is Mark” said one of the paramedics. Mark asked Steve if we were “On a roll” (going in the ambulance) or “Staying & playing” (baby coming now) With one look it was decided we were definitely “Staying & playing”. I was so relieved as I did NOT want to move!
Two bottles of gas & air consumed and a couple of pushes then POP, head, POP, shoulders and body.
She was here. A 9lb 2oz baby girl. My bathroom floor baby. 😍
Tea & toast all round (the hospital things were brought back out of the car) and homemade soup & a galaxy ripple for my lunch in bed. Brilliant.
I never did get my husband a birthday present but I did birth him a child, so I think he was ok with it. Many people who I’ve told the story to think the car crash the day before she was born prompted the slightly early arrival, but I guess we’ll never know…maybe she just wanted to share her Daddy’s birthday, to be a forever reminder that his house is now dominated by wilful women.
I will never tire of telling this story, bodies are amazing 😊