Real Birth Journey: Valentina Capri

Birth. It is the most incredible, indescribable, unpredictable and miraculous occurrence. Bringing life into the world is an experience that is personal and precious beyond belief. Each delivery is different to the next, and yet I feel that despite the varying differences it is something so special it can actually bring us altogether. I’m pulling together a range of real birth stories to share in the hope of expanding our knowledge and expectations of birth, and to dwell in the wonder that is the gift of life, in the countless forms it may arrive in!

Name & age at birth:
Hayley Berlingeri, 31

Due date:

Cravings during pregnancy:
None other than the cravings I have every other day if my life – JUNK FOOD!! Maccas, HJ’s, KFC! 🤤 

Worst symptom/s:
None!!! I felt better than I’d ever felt in my whole entire life!!

Biggest concern about birth was:
The pain. I was utterly petrified of the pain. The thought of being ripped to shreds from the inside out was terrifying!

Ideal birth plan was:
Wake up at 9am, drive to hospital, utter two little grunts, and a baby pops out. 😝

Hours in labour: 
My water broke at 10pm while we were out at dinner for my friends birthday. Although, I didn’t actually know my waters had broken. I thought I just did a little wee wee in my knickers, as that had become a rather frequent occurrence. So I just kept on eating my dim sims and Peking duck, and even ordered a sticky date pudding for dessert. But then when I crawled in to bed at around midnight, I started getting lower back pain and it suddenly dawned on me ‘I DIDN’T WET MY UNDIES!! I’M HAVING A BABYYYY!!😳’

Early the next morning the contractions started to feel like a nasty little sprite was beating up my belly on the inside, so I (well, I wish I could say I rushed to the hospital but, no….) rushed to do a fake tan and heat up my curling wand!!! (Who the eff does that?!?! First time mums only????!!😝🙈) Anyway long story short, after mildly labouring all night, then preening  and pampering all morning, I got to hospital by 11am, pushed for what felt like 27 days, then had my baby doll in my arms by 4:47pm that afternoon. So all up around 16 hours of labour.

How we went from wombmate to roommate: 
I was planning to try and get by with just the gas. But it wasn’t doing a whole lot in the ‘shark-ripping-my-body-open-from-the-inside-out’ pain department. And as I was sucking on the nozzle, I heard the lady in the birthing suite next door let out one earth shattering moan that sounded like a giant cow being hung, drawn and quartered, and then she screamed so loud that window panes in my room literally smashed to pieces! (ok, ok, I exaggerate slightly..) and I thought HELL NO!!! So I buzzed for my midwife and ordered an immediate epidural. 

Most vivid memory during labour:
I just couldn’t believe how long it was taking! It felt like the never ending story!!! 

Most amusing/interesting moment during labour/birth:
I was SO scared of the pain that I kept telling my obstetrician little fibs that I could feel pain so she’d up my epidural meds! Which meant I couldn’t feel a thing. Which then meant I was pushing all wrong. Which then meant I couldn’t get her out. So the nurse brought in a mirror thinking that it might help me push better if I could see what was going on down there. The second I looked I screamed ‘WTF??!!!!!! What makes you think I’d want to see this??!!!’ And a few pushes later, again screamed, ‘WTF??!!! What is THAT???!!!!! IT’S A RAT!! IT’S A RAT!!!’ To which my OB replied, ‘ohhh darling! That’s your baby’s head! That’s what happens when you marry an Italian!” 😝 #hairywogbaby 

During labour/birth, I definitely did not expect:
That after giving birth to a human, I had to then give birth to a giant, bleeding beef steak!! (placenta)

Baby’s name, birth weight and date:
Valentina Capri Berlingeri, 6 pounds 5 ounces, 8.9.13

Baby’s name was almost:
It was always Valentina.

Time spent in hospital post birth:
5 days (3 days in hospital, then 2 days in their hotel stay program) 

Best tip/trick you received for those early days:
Don’t read any books! Ditch the birth plan books, the labour books and the newborn books because they all say different things and do nothing but confuse the hell out of you!! Sure, take a pinch of advice from here and from there, especially from brave warrior goddesses who’ve been down the treacherous path of motherhood before you, but find your own feet, in your own time and find your own groove with your baby. The rest will follow.

Top 3 lifesaving items for a newborn:
1. Pram capsule to go from car to pram and back again without waking the tiny tot.
2. A feeding chair that is COMFY! Don’t worry what it looks like, just worry what it feels like! (I made that mistake first time round!) because you’ll be spending three quarters of your life in it.
3. A cook/cleaner/laundry lady/night nurse – although I had none of these, they sure would’ve come in super handy at the time!

If you could go back and speak with your pregnant self, what would you say?
Sleep. Just go to sleep. All day. All night. At 3pm for a nanna nap. Just sleep whenever you want to and whenever you can. Because the second you squeeze that thing out if your body, you’ll never sleep like that again!

If you could speak with yourself during labour, what would you say?
Don’t lie about the epidural.

If you could speak with yourself on day 3 of having a newborn, what would you say?
Darling, this is the easy bit. If you think newborns are hard, brace yourself because in two years, this squishy little angel turns into a toddler and you won’t know what’s hit you!!
But in all seriousness I’d tell myself to just ‘be’. To just slow down, embrace these new, scary days. Love every moment no matter how daunting, because in the blink of an eye it’s over, and a tiny piece of your heart will forever grieve those precious first days. They are so fleeting. 

Any words for first time mums-to-be nervous about their own upcoming birth?
You can’t plan anything. Not a thing. It will happen just how it’s going to happen, and you can’t control any of it. So just accept it, surrender to it, believe in it, and go with it. Come what may. 

If you have a birth story you’d like to share, then please get in touch and let’s start the conversation and continue celebrating this incredible life changing event!

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