time flies when you're being a mum

Childbirth tagged with 'birth story'

How do you get a baby out? Well, there are about a million different ways to do childbirth and this aims to cover as many as possible!

29 Jan, 2014

This is the fastest Birth Story in the west! Laura’s fast labour story is short but sweet and I’m praying that if I have another it will be similar. I dedicate this to Kate who is due in a few weeks and had what Lauren describes below as a “long, uncomfortable labour” – take hope, Kate, that this could be the same for you second time around! xxxx

Lauren’s Fast Labour Story

My second son Daniel was born on 17 December 2010; according to his dating scan he was a week late, but my midwife and I both calculated my due date to be the 16th, so I reckon we were bang on! My labour was so fast its actually a very short story! After planning a serene water birth, complete with a moving playlist, ready prepared on the iPod, the entire thing, from first twinge to having baby in my arms, lasted 90 minutes.

I woke up at 1.40 am with contractions coming every 20 seconds! But because I could talk through them and walk around, I was convinced I wasn’t in established labour! I rang the hospital who advise me to come in so they could check. I rang my mam who got a taxi up to our house, so that she could stay with my eldest son.

We hopped in the car to go to the hospital but all of a sudden the contractions got stronger. My husband took the hint and when I felt the urge to push, he had to zip through a red light completely panic stricken!

We got to the hospital, me still apologising that I probably wasn’t in ‘real labour’. A quick internal showed I was at least 7cm, to my delight, as I knew anything from 4cm onwards bagged you some pain relief! My husband asked about the water birth and the midwife laughed in his face, saying “by the time we’ve filled the pool that baby will be here!”

20 mins of puffing on the gas and air and 2 pushes later, out popped Daniel, with no need for any stitches, at 3.10am!

I feel that it’s very unfair that some women have to go through long, uncomfortable labours, and others get quick ones: however, I have managed to reassure lots of anxious first time mums to be with my lightening quick birth experience!


Thank you so much Lauren for sharing your super and super fast labour with us!

Did you have a long first labour followed by a fast labour with your second? Do leave a comment below and give us all some hope!

For more birth stories click on to the Labour and Giving Birth Collection.

26 Jan, 2014

This is a wonderful story from Helen, who is actually an old school friend of my best mate! She got in touch after my 2nd blog birthday to say would I like her pre eclampsia birth story. But of course! I’ve not had any pre eclampsia stories as of yet and actually know very little about it despite one of my mummy friends being very poorly with it, and therefore, first out of all of us to give birth.

This story in itself is not without its scary bits but a really touching part of this story is the role of Helen’s mum. I don’t think I really got what my mum sacrificed for me until I became a mum. Now I see everything from the mum’s perspective! Pre eclempsia can be a very serious and potentially life-threatening condition so hearing about Helen’s mum sitting outside the delivery suite, wringing her hands and worry about her own baby as she goes through this monumental event, really made me get something in my eye! Without further a do…

Pre eclampsia – Helen’s Birth Story

My pregnancy wasn’t straight forward in the first few weeks. We found out I was pregnant at only 2 weeks and then I had some bleeding – cue lots of scans and checks right up to when I was 10 weeks when I was finally told things looked fine. Just in time for us to tell family over Christmas.

Everything else was fine until a Wednesday night when I was 35+6 weeks. We’d been to our local community antenatal class that night where we’d met a few other couples who were expecting and I had had a funny pressure type pain in my tummy since the afternoon. It felt like a stitch. I could feel something hard pressing on my tummy, which felt like a head. It didn’t subside but I went to bed hoping it would pass. I woke at about 3am with it feeling worse, and had to take quite deep breaths to cope with the uncomfortable feeling. I knew it wasn’t labour, but something wasn’t right. We decided to ring the birthing centre, as at the antenatal class that evening the midwife had stressed that if we were at all concerned about anything just to ring and speak to someone.

I was told to bounce on my birthing ball, have some paracetamol and a hot drink, and to call back in an hour if it didn’t pass. It didn’t so I called back and they told me to come in to be checked out. We put a few random bits into my half packed hospital bag, and got into the car to go to the hospital.

We arrived and it was really quiet. We were taken into a corner room of the birthing suite and left for a few minutes. Then I got a migraine, which was quite strange. I hadn’t had a migraine for about 2 years. I used to suffer from the eye disturbance which then makes me feels sick, so I knew I was having one. When they took my blood pressure, it was apparently really high, partly due to the migraine I thought? The next minute I remember I was taken to a different birthing room with my own midwife who stayed in the room with us to keep an eye on me. I was given some medication to bring down my blood pressure and checked every 15 minutes but it didn’t come down. I saw a few different doctors over the morning then later that day was admitted to the antenatal ward to be monitored.

I thought when I went in that I would be back home that morning, and back to work, but the many doctors who came to see me told me I had early pre eclampsia, and that I wouldn’t be going home unless my blood pressure came down. If it didn’t come down, the only way to protect me and the baby was to induce me. Bit scary as I still had 4 weeks to go!

Pre eclampsia, I have now learned, is caused by the placenta not working 100%. It puts pressure on mum to keep it working to supply the baby, but it can then have an effect on mum and her body; it can damage organs and eventually harm the baby too. So it was quite serious. I really wanted to just go home but there was no way they were letting me. And, actually I felt very safe and quite calm knowing I was in the best place.

My urine sample showed protein as well, another classic sign of pre eclampsia. Over the next couple of days daily blood tests showed different things were happening to my body. On the Sunday it was clear my kidneys weren’t functioning properly and my blood pressure had gone even higher. It wasn’t controllable by the drugs they were able to give me on the ward so I was sent up to the birthing suite. I saw a doctor and was given a stronger drug to control my blood pressure, which worked after an hour or so. The doctor then told me that he thought it was best to just deliver the baby as they hadn’t been able to stabilise my blood pressure. He actually said they’d induce me, but I then had to point out that baby was breech. Without checking he just said ok, we’ll book you for a c section then. He gave me a steroid injection to help strengthen baby’s lungs, and I was sent back to the ward. I then sent my (very tired) husband home around 8pm to get some last minute things we hadn’t managed to sort.

They woke me early on the Monday, with more blood pressure checks and blood tests. Then my husband arrived laden down with more bags, baby’s things and more birth stuff for me. At 9am the doctor came around to tell me that actually my consultant (who I’d never met) had decided that whilst my blood pressure was back down, they would prefer to wait as long as possible. And whilst I was stable they wanted to keep baby inside. If I could get to 37 weeks, that was safest for the baby. It was frustrating but I knew it was for the best. So I was booked in for a section on Friday 22nd June.

My poor husband was shattered so I sent him home, and the next couple of days were similar. My husband had to work if he wanted his full 2 weeks paternity leave and I just sat in the hospital waiting for Friday! Other mums and the odd baby came and went from my room, I was ok. Just very bored and my blood pressure was still high.

On Wednesday 20th June I was woken up early. During the doctors rounds they told me not to eat as they had decided that I would probably have the c section that day. Bit of a shock! My mum had arrived the day before so she was at our house cleaning, tidying and filling our freezer ready for baby’s arrival. She even admitted to cleaning our internal doors with jiff to give them a good clean (wasn’t aware they were so bad!). It was great for me knowing she was there, looking after my husband and making sure he was fed, but she didn’t impose and left us to it.

I hadn’t eaten all day. At 5pm the anaesthetist came to see me, then I was taken down to the small post trauma delivery ward, where they monitor difficult cases very closely, to get ready.

We managed to meet our midwife who looked after me throughout the operation and just about managed enough time to discuss that we didn’t know the sex of the baby and would like to find out ourselves, and that I’d like skin to skin contact once baby was born – that was it. I walked into theatre and sat on the bed. They inserted the epidural and then I lay down. Nicky was all scrubbed up and sat by my head. And they began!

My mum was also in the waiting area. As much as we are very independent and really didn’t want any family around, it was so nice to have her there with us. She was very considerate and kept out of the way, conscious we wanted to do this together. But she told me she was very, very worried about me and was there as my mum, rather than new grandma, to make sure everything was ok with me. And obviously a great support for Nicky too.

There were about 10 people in the theatre, which was unexpected! Plus two students observing the two surgeons delivering my baby. Everyone was really friendly and keen to put us at ease. It happened quite quickly, following a running commentary for the students, and I could feel lots of pulling and tugging inside which was a strange sensation. They then told us the baby was about to be born and lowered the curtain to we could see. They lifted the baby underneath its arms so we could see. Immediately we noticed his scattering of red hair, then we noticed he was a boy!

They whisked him over to be cleaned up and checked, all was fine, and they placed him on my chest under my gown so we could have skin to skin contact for a while. It was very emotional. Surprisingly we both felt quite calm throughout, more nervous than anything. Nicky then got some cuddles whilst they sorted me out. I quickly felt light headed and dizzy, turns out now that was the 1litre of blood I lost, which made me feel extremely out of it. They took me through into recovery and to be closely monitored. Nicky was with me and we had an hour or so together with mum popping in for 10 minutes to see us as well.

pre eclampsia - Helen's Birth Story

Baby Oliver

At 11ish Nicky was sent home and I was left to sleep. Oliver was fast asleep. Born three weeks early, he really wasn’t ready to come out. It turned out he had a low temperature and had to be taken off and given some formula to up his blood sugar levels, which were also low. I really wanted to breast feed but at that moment I didn’t waver I just wanted him to be OK so if formula would help, I didn’t mind. We were both doing great and were sent home on the Saturday evening.

Oliver is now nearly 19 months. I love this age as he is becoming his own little person. I always thought I would never want him to get bigger, but I honestly think having a child just gets better and better every day. Seeing them explore new things and learn to talk is just wonderful – I absolutely love this age. He is the spitting image of his dad, with a bit of his shyness but personality wise takes after me – extroverted, completely knows his own mind and what he wants (consequently very head strong at the moment!) and struggles with being told no!

We are actually expecting our second baby now, due 29th May. Apparently pre eclampsia second time around is less likely, though they don’t know why. But I am being very closely monitored to make sure pre eclampsia doesn’t develop again. I’m planning on starting my maternity leave 4 weeks prior to my due date, so I am a bit more prepared if anything happens.

I don’t know if I’ll have a c section again this time around. I have a bicornate uterus, which is basically heart shaped. The surgeons told me Oliver’s head was stuck fast in one side and that they wouldn’t have been able to turn him via ECV if they’d tried, and that also if I have another baby it’ll probably also be breech. I am not adverse to another c section and am preparing myself for that inevitability again, but will cross that bridge if and when we come to it.

We never really found out what the pain/ache in my tummy was!

pre eclampsia - Helen's Birth Story

Cutest elf in town – I recon he’d get on well with mine given that scrap on his nose and digestive in his hand!

Thank you, Helen!! And congratulations on number 2! Fingers crossed the stats are right and there’s no pre eclampsia this time xxx

Did you have pre eclampsia during your pregnancy? Did you have to be induced earlier?

08 Jan, 2014

When I started asking for birth stories, I never thought in my wildest dreams that I would get so many! It started with people I haven’t met – I guess it’s easier to send your story to someone you don’t know! But thanks to the confidence of strangers (and a little bit of coersion on my part), my friends have started to send them too! I recently got a message from, Rachel, saying “Would you like me to write up my birth story with Maddy. The ‘baby arrives on due date by emergency c section and then you realise she is a baby with Down syndrome’ story?”

Rachel and her husband have been friends with my parents since before I can remember. They helped look after my brother and me as young children in Oxford – for a while they lived next door (or down the road – I forget!) and they would take it in turns to pick me up from ballet. Apparently I would always complain that whoever got me was not who I wanted! How rude. One of my earliest memories of being with Rachel is saying “when are you going to have a baby? I’d like someone to play with.” Little did I know how close to the bone that probably was.

I never underestimate how personal and intimate a birth story is and I am thrilled and deeply honoured that Rachel would be willing to write her story for me to share on this blog. Maddy’s birth was very much a shock for Rachel and her husband. Firstly, their precious and much longed for baby would arrive in the world in such a scramble but then, secondly, they would quickly discover that Maddy had Down Syndrome. Despite the shock and fear surrounding Maddy’s arrival and what the future may hold for a baby with Down Syndrome, Rachel’s story is full of hope. 5 years on Maddy was and is still a beautiful gift. (more…)

Laura's Birth Story

05 Jan, 2014

Laura’s story starts 5 weeks before baby Kate was born when she was diagnosed with Obstetric cholestasis. Now, I had a blood test for Obstetric cholestasis towards the end of my pregnancy because I was suffering from the mega itch. I’d heard you can get itchy when you’re pregnant but I had no idea it was also a symptom of a serious illness during pregnancy. There I was moaning to my midwife about my nightly itch fest and before I knew it she’d stuck a needle in my arm to test my blood! Turned out my itchiness was just a bubble bath I wasn’t used to (ironic as I was taking more baths to sooth the itching!), but Laura wasn’t so lucky. She explains what Obstetric cholestasis is perfectly so I won’t spoil it, here’s Laura’s Birth Story… (more…)

23 Dec, 2013

This is a great Forceps Delivery story from Elaine, who tells it in a very jolly manner (she warns at the beginning that that’s just how she is!) but if you stop to think about what she actually went through – an emergency forceps delivery within 30 mins of being in hospital – you’ll realise that this was quite a shocking experience that Elaine and her partner went through, not least because she was told and believed that her entire labour had been Braxton Hicks!!

Thank you for sharing this incredible story, Elaine! xxx

Elaine’s Forceps Delivery

I’ve been trying to put this story into words now for several weeks, and each time failing miserably. I’m sorry if it seems that I’m making a joke the whole way through, but that’s just how I am!!

I had a completely normal pregnancy, sickness up until I was about 19 weeks, then heartburn constantly that started as soon as the sickness went, which was delightful! I got sent for a growth scan at 32 weeks, as the midwife was concerned that baby was going to be on the large side. As I am 5’1 and my partner is 6’5, this wasn’t a massive shock to us, but after having the scan I was SLIGHTLY concerned to be told that if she continued growing at the rate she had been, by my due date she would likely be around 10 and a half pounds. Ouch.

Thankfully, all the conversations I had with the Tiny Human asking her not to be huge paid off, and my waters broke on Sunday 5th May at about 12 o clock.

As a bit of background information, after attending all of our anti natal classes and several discussions (arguments), my partner and I had decided to have the baby at the local hospital, which is ten minutes walk from our house and has a small birth centre. I was concerned in case the baby was overly large, or if there were any complications, as Tiverton hospital, as lovely as they are there, will only take you if you are incredibly low risk. They don’t have the resources to deal with any complications or anything other than a minor tear, they also won’t deal with births before 37 weeks. But, as it is close to us and our family, and offers breastfeeding support, I finally agreed to put my fears aside and try a water birth. This plan was completely scuppered when my waters broke, as the Tiny Human wasn’t actually due until 29th May. That made me 36+4. Balls.

After phoning the birth centre at around 5 o clock (my partner works nights and by that point had only managed 4 hours sleep), I was told to make my way to Exeter hospital which is 17 miles away. Double balls.

When we got there, I was put on the monitor for 20 minutes as I had been having pains coming and going, enough to make me take paracetamol and catch my breath slightly, but not the screaming agony I’d been led to believe I would be in! After taking a picture of my belly, because up until that point we didn’t actually have one (I know, I’m rubbish), I was given an examination, which basically involved the midwife leaning in my general direction. There was no physical contact, which I found slightly strange to say the least! She said I was only having Braxton hicks, and I would definitely know when I was in labour.

Now, I had been having Braxton Hicks for the last month. These were NOT them. The relief on my partners face was indescribable when he realised that we wouldn’t be taking a baby home in the next few hours! I pointed out to the midwife that if I had to come back in at three in the morning in full blown labour, I was not going to be impressed, but she just smiled and said she’d been doing this for a long time. Hmmmm.

After returning home and having dinner, the pains were definitely getting worse so I took myself off for a bath then decided to have a lie down because I was sure I was going to need to save my energy!

My heavy breathing woke my partner up at 1 am. He kept desperately telling me that ‘It’s just Braxton Hicks!! The midwife SAID!!!’ The one thing he remembered from the anti natal classes was that the hospital wouldn’t want us to go in until I couldn’t talk through a contraction – anyone who has ever met me will know that it takes more than that to shut me up!! I decided at that point that if he wouldn’t phone the hospital, I would make enough noise so that the neighbours would! I was milking it. Well and truly.

Don’t get me wrong, it was definitely hurting by this point, but still not enough to convince either of us that birth was imminent. Finally he gave in and phoned Exeter back, who informed me that I MIGHT be in early labour, and to ‘pop’ down if I was concerned.

After a fairly painful at journey, with contractions every 3-4 minutes at this point, we arrived at Exeter to be seen to by the truly wonderful Nicky and student midwife, Charlotte. It was at this point that my wonderful partner (he’ll kill me for this) said to me ‘If this is how you cope with Braxton Hicks, how are you going to cope in actual labour?!’

Poor Charlotte had the task of examining me, and as I said to her ‘If you tell me I’m only two centimetres and have to go home again, I will HURT you!’ She replied, ‘Oh. There’s a head.’

Action stations then. Gloves were put on, and I was told that if I felt ready, I could try a few pushes. I politely informed the midwife that before that happened, we could try a few drugs, as the paracetamol I’d had about 7 hours beforehand were wearing off. I was given gas and air, but after a several pushes nothing was happening except baby’s heart rate was decreasing.

Enter the lovely Tariq (I have no idea what his surname is, but he was brilliant), who scanned me and said baby was stuck as she was facing sideways and they were taking us to theatre. Best case scenario would be turning the baby with forceps, worst case would be an emergency Caesarian.

Another side note here I’m afraid. All throughout my pregnancy, I had a massive fear of the dreaded ‘salad tongs’. My partners biggest fear, was me having a c section and being laid up for weeks while he had to go back to work. It’s debatable at that point, who was more terrified, but I was going to theatre regardless so we just had to suck it up.

Once in theatre, I was given an epidural and hooked up to various different drips and monitors. Quite a different experience from the soothing water birth I’d had in mind. Instead of low lighting and no one really at the business end, I had floodlights, stirrups and a medical team of 14 people milling about. Smashing. I’ll be honest, as planned by the wonderful anaesthetist, I felt nothing. I asked after a couple of pushes if the baby was going to be here soon, and my partner looked at me in shock and said ‘The head’s out!’ It was at that point I had meltdown. Shock well and truly set in, and all of a sudden, I was lying in an operating theatre, legs akimbo, sobbing. To distract myself, I looked up and… Big mistake. I had a birds eye view of EVERYTHING the surgeon was doing. They don’t tell you that in the classes.

Luckily, baby Kaitlyn was born at 5.45am, 2 and a half hour after we arrived at the hospital. She weighed 6lbs 13ozs, and apart from looking like she had gone ten rounds with Mike Tyson from the forceps, she was fine.

I, however, managed to well and truly disgrace myself by being violently sick minutes after being taken to the post natal ward. This turned out to be a blessing in disguise, as we found out the next day that Kaitlyn had high jaundice and needed to have light therapy for several days, so we ended up in a private room complete with shower.

Five days later we came home. Kaitlyn is now seven months old, and is the happiest baby you could ever meet. Even if she is already nearly as tall as me!!

Forceps Delivery

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