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:
Natalie Sullivan, 32 (third baby).
25th of June 2020, which is actually my eldest child’s birthday.
Cravings during pregnancy:
Mandarins. Same as in my first pregnancy.
I would say anxiety.
Biggest concern about birth was:
I had pre-eclampsia with my first pregnancy, and placenta abruption with my second so just generally I was very anxious as soon as I got to 37 weeks that something would go wrong. My complications with my previous pregnancies came about on the day that they were born so this was a high stress time for me. The weeks prior to 37 weeks were always really enjoyable and I loved being pregnant.
Ideal birth plan was:
I had always dreamt of a water birth however was always unable to have one due to the complications mentioned above. So my dream was to finally have my water birth. However I was also aware that birth plans can go completely out the window so it’s great to have an idea of how you would like the birth to go but not to hang onto it too much.
Hours in labour:
I had tightenings for at least three weeks before she was born and quite a few times thought they could develop into labour. The night before she was born they had increased quite a bit. I woke up in the early hours of the morning with my bloody show. I called my midwife to let her know it had happened and she thought I would go into labour quite quickly, however I continued with regular tightenings well into the next day. I actually didn’t really go into proper labour until about midday when my midwife met me at hospital to give me an internal to assess how I was going. I think it had a lot to do with my anxiety and as soon as she did the internal and confirmed that I was 6cm dilated, my body relaxed and let itself actually properly progress. It was really hard for us to say that I was already in active labour because at this point my tightenings were still extremely irregular and at different lengths. So I was definitely not textbook labour but was in labour at the same time.
How we went from wombmate to roommate:
Read Natalie’s full story on her blog here.
Most vivid memory during labour:
There was a moment during transition where I felt like I wanted to give up a little. My waters still hadn’t broken and I felt as though if they were broken for me it would speed things up so I was discussing with my midwife whether this should happen. She obviously thought I could continue as I was however I was getting a little desperate and didn’t want any pain relief so were searching for anything else. My husband gave me a pep talk telling me to get my head back in the game! He said that if I got my focus back she would come really soon. After he did that I moved from LA in position in the back to on my knees and she literally flew out of my body! I was in complete and utter shock.
Most amusing/interesting moment during labour/birth:
Probably that my husband felt like it was appropriate to stop at the hospital canteen and sit down for lunch when I was in labour!
During labour/birth, I definitely did not expect:
I’m slightly embarrassed to say that it is probably that I did a poo! I remember as she was coming out I said I’m pooing! Previously my husband had never seen me poo in labour before haha!
A myth/misconception I believed prior that I now don’t is:
I don’t really have one, I believe that I’ve always had a good understanding of pregnancy and childbirth. If anything I probably built it up in my head to be worse than what it was.
Baby’s name, birth weight and date:
Rosie Belle Sullivan. 17th of June 2020. 7.4 pounds (my smallest baby).
Baby’s name was almost:
Time spent in hospital post birth:
Just four hours. With my first I had to stay in for five days because of my pre-eclampsia. Second I stayed in for six hours. So four hours was our record!
Best tip/trick you received for those early days:
I did this really lovely thing with Rosie where we went home from hospital at 4 hours old and then pretty much stayed in darkness in my bedroom for the next 48 hours. It was magic. We had time to transition her to the outside world slowly. It was so dark and quiet. I loved it.
Top 3 lifesaving items for a newborn:
I really wanted Rosie to meet her siblings the day that she was born however my husband convinced me that they should stay at my mother-in-law’s for the night and meet her the following day. I am so glad he suggested this! I was able to keep Rosie in a quiet room for at least 24 hours with the curtains drawn and have everything be very relaxing for us. It was such a beautiful transition to out of the womb.
If you could go back and speak with your pregnant self, what would you say?
I know how hard it is for you to get through the final weeks of pregnancy, but you just have to be brave and have faith that everything is going to be ok.
If you could speak with yourself during labour, what would you say?
I honestly did so much self work during all of my pregnancies that I feel like I was very in tune with myself anyway, and always spoke to myself. I use a lot of visualisation and was always encouraging myself through birth.
If you could speak with yourself on day 3 of having a newborn, what would you say?
It’s okay to accept help.
Any words for first time mums-to-be nervous about their own upcoming birth?
I would highly recommend looking at doing a calm birth or Hypnobirthing class. I did one before all three of my births and they hands down created the beautiful experiences that I had. Even for my first labour where I had pre-eclampsia I was able to draw on so many of the skills that I had learnt during my converse lessons.
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!