Birth Stories

All the following birth stories were submitted by visitors to Natural Parenting UK, like you. They vary a great deal (like births!) from hospital to home, joyus to traumatic. I feel it is important for women to tell their story and be heard. Please feel welcome to submit your own .

UK – Hospital Ventouse Delivery
UK – Detailed story of birth using Hypnosis
USA – Birthing Centre Delivery of baby number 3
USA – Home and Hospital Births
UK – Hospital Birth of Firstborn
USA – Home Birth of Baby number 5
UK – Devon Home Birth of Baby number 5
UK – Welsh Home Birth of Baby number 6
Jamaica – Home Birth of Baby number 6
UK – 5 Deliveries, including stillborn child
Overdue Homebirth using Hypnotherapy

Giving Birth to Ben

I was woken with what I assumed was a contraction at 0500 on Monday 11th November, the pain was similar to a period pain and wasn’t that painful. I laid there for another 25 minutes when I felt another pain so I decided to get up and make some tea and have some breakfast. Matthew was sleeping soundly beside me, I left him sleeping thinking we would be in for a long ride.

I pottered around for a couple of hours, unloading the dishwasher, tidying the kitchen, the pains were not very regular, every 15-20 minutes or so and lasting between 30 and 50 seconds. I made Matthew some coffee and woke him asking him whether he thought today was a good day to have a baby, he smiled and said the thought something was happening as he wasn’t used to hearing me unloading the dishwasher at 0630, it’s not something I’m in the habit of doing.

Matthew got up and we started timing the contractions and writing down the timings, I was managing the contractions well at this point using all the techniques I’d learnt at my classes, being upright was fantastic, leaning over a counter, swaying my hips. At around 9am we decided to give the hospital a call and let them know that I thought I was in labour so that they could pencil us in. Gwen called and asked how I was getting on and said that she’d come and see me around lunchtime.

Gwen arrived and had a cup of tea with us, she brought a student midwife with her and asked me to reconsider about having a student present. We told Gwen that we didn’t mind her being present for the first part of the labour we just didn’t want too many people around when the actual birth took place. Whilst we were drinking tea Gwen noticed that the contractions were actually quite regular and were coming quite quickly. She went off to do her parent-craft class and said she’d be back at 4pm and to call her if we needed anything or if the contractions suddenly got closer together or if I needed some support.

We had some lunch and then got into the spa, which was heavenly, it really helped with the contractions. The midwife said that if it was a false alarm then the spa would slow or stop the contractions, on the other hand if it was the real thing then the contractions would increase, fortunately, they increased. We spent about an hour in the spa and the contractions were getting stronger and stronger and closer together. We had a parcel delivered whilst we were in there, I can only imagine what the driver thought!

The TENS machine was my next step for pain relief and I knew that it would take a while for my own endorphins to get going once we started to use the TENS, so I decided to get out of the water and start using it. I’m not sure whether it actually helped with the pain but it felt really strange which made me think of it instead of the contractions. My labour was very much in my back and I remember wondering whether the baby was posterior, when Gwen came back and examined me at about 1630 and she couldn’t tell which way the baby was lying, I bet Giano would have been able to tell. I was 3cm dilated – fantastic news, she was due to clock off at 1700 and phoned the next midwife who was on call, she was having her dinner and would come afterwards. Gwen asked whether I would like her to stay until the new midwife came and I said yes. The contractions by that time were coming regularly, every 2-3 minutes they were quite painful so I started using the entenox, which did help. I really felt as if I needed some midwife support constantly at that time. With each contraction I was breathing and either standing or on my knees leaning over the sofa. Rocking my hips was a very useful piece of information I learned from the classes as is seriously eased the pain of the contractions.

Jenny arrived at about 1800 and the midwives swapped over. Claire, the trainee also went at that time and Jenny made some comment about it being a shame that she couldn’t stay. I was getting a bit pissed off with the hassle at that point and if anyone else had of asked me about the trainee I think I would have bitten their heads off. Jenny was great though, she was really young, early 30’s, and she reminded me of one of my girlfriends Lulu with her west London accent. I felt very at ease with her, she told me how she thought I was very brave having opted for a hospital delivery and an epidural for her son’s birth. I think Jenny could tell that things were progressing rather quickly because of my appearance and actions. She decided to examine me at 1830 and to everyone’s amazement I was 8cm dilated, now that really was fantastic news as I always assumed that the first stage would take hours and hours. We were all rather excited, by that time Jenny told me to leave my pyjama bottoms off, I thought I would be a bit embarrassed by this but I wasn’t at all, it was time to really let it all hang out. The contractions were very painful at that point and still in my back but my own endorphines were helping tremendously. I can only vaguely remember what was happening, the entenox probably had something to do with it. I felt as if I were in a trance like state, I was also completely detached from the baby I was about to give birth to, all I could think about was getting through the contractions.

Matthew was a complete star, he fed me water and ultrafuel, kept the music playing, burnt nice smelling oils, made sure the candles were burning, massaged my back, made tea for the midwife and acted as a general lean-to for each position I decided to adopt. He suggested different positions for me, gave me loads and loads of encouragement, he was seriously wonderful. We were both a bit worried before the labour started that I wouldn’t want to be touched at all, I’m not one for company when I’m ill but that wasn’t the case at all, in fact physical contact with my birthing partners was very comforting and helpful.

At 1900 Jenny examined me again and found me to be 9cm dilated, she then telephoned the 2nd midwife as she thought that second stage was about to happen. I don’t remember Carol turning up at all I just remember a new lady being there, she was talking me though the contractions, telling me to breath and relax in between. It was really difficult to relax in between contractions as they didn’t seem to give me any break, they went from one straight into another. I tried a contraction lying on my side and it was absolute agony so got back onto all fours immediately. The next couple of hours are a bit hazy for me, I remember having a bath and not enjoying it at all, I was only in there for about 5 minutes and got out again. After quite a bit of consideration Jenny ruptured my membrane I guess it was then that she realised that I had an anterior lip. This is where the cervix doesn’t dilate evenly and there was a bit of cervix stopping Bens head from coming down the birth canal. I think I was also bleeding because I was pushing against the cervix and it was becoming irritated. I also didn’t pass through to the 2nd stage properly, I sort of felt the urge to push but not properly, it would come and go, it really is an all consuming feeling though. I think it was about 2200 when the midwives decided between them that we should go to the hospital. I wasn’t coping very well and was telling them that I couldn’t handle it any more and that I wanted more drugs. The midwives and Matthew had been encouraging me to continue for a couple of hours bit it really was becoming apparent that things weren’t progressing well and that I might not be able to give birth to Ben on my own.

The midwives rang for an ambulance and Matthew started gathering together stuff we would need, thank god I had packed our bags. I moved from the futon mattress onto the sofa with my crotch hanging over the side so as to put on my trousers and the amniotic fluid started seeping out of me. The fluid was completely clear and the midwives had been monitoring Ben all through the labour, he seemed to be fine and not in distress at all, not like his mother! Matthew went out into the street and made sure the ambulance found us, I think that is one of the most awful rides I have ever had, I had my entenox with me but I had to lie on a bed inside the ambulance. Matthew tried to help me but was told to sit down and he was strapped in, I was feeling the urge to push but was told not too as it would just irritate the cervix more. That 20-minute journey felt like hours, all I could think about was the epidural by that time, I just wanted the pain to go away and really didn’t care how they made it go away. I was wheeled into the hospital and upto to the Maternity ward, we had to be wheeled through Bolney ward and I remember noticing a miserable looking midwife sitting at the reception desk. I got off the bed and Jenny took off my clothes and put a gown on me.

The doctor came in and examined me, god that was excruciating, I had to use the gas and air quite seriously. He told us that the baby was posterior and the lip was still there and he thought that I should have a caesarean. The midwives piped up at that point and asked whether there were any alternatives as the baby was not in distress at all. They decided to give me an epidural, wey hey!! And to put me on a syntocinon drip to speed up the contractions, they really didn’t need speeding up as they were off the scale anyway. They would leave me for a couple of hours and because I wouldn’t be able to feel the contractions they should, fingers crossed, clear the anterior lip. If it did clear they would try for a ventouse delivery but would prepare me for a section just in case the ventouse didn’t work.

Finally the anaesthetist arrived, she talked to me about the procedure and to be honest I just wanted to tell her to shut up and get on with it. I had to lie on my side with my head on my chin and be completely still, god that’s difficult when you’re having extremely painful contractions. She got the epidural in first time, it was a strange feeling, the inside of my back felt all cold. I suppose it took about 20 minutes for the epidural to really start working, although Ben decided to start kicking me in the ribs, which hurt a lot. There was also an area in my groin that wasn’t completely numb but I was told that was due to the unevenness of the epidural and that it would go eventually with a top up. Once the epidural started to take effect I was able to doze through my contractions, the pain relief was that great.

Ben was being monitored continually whilst I was on the syntocinon drip, they turned the lights down, Matthew was sitting beside me, holding my hand, he put his head down on the bed a few times but I could tell that he was deeply worried, he kept looking at Ben’s heart rate, which was going up and down, he would have sleepy times and then wake up a bit. The doctor and the midwifes really wanted Ben to be active before they tried the ventouse. After about an hour and a half the doctor came in and re-examined me and to all our relief the lip had cleared and Ben had turned himself. It was now time to start preparing for the ventouse.

I was given more drugs that made me completely numb from just below my breasts, a lady came in and gave me another drip in my arm and shaved me, they also put on ECG pads and all kinds of other stuff which I can’t remember. Matthew had to wear a funny hat and gown. After what seemed like ages we were finally wheeled into the operating theatre. I was really scared and shaking all over, they moved me from the wheely bed to an operating table, I felt as if I was going to fall off the bed. Some chap came into the room and waved some consent form in front of my nose to sign, as if you’re going to read something like that when you are in my situation, it really was quite ridiculous. The doctor seemed to take ages fiddling about down there, I saw what looked like a small orange sink plunger and thought how is he going to get that in there. Once the ventouse was in place I was told that I was going to need to push, by that time I had realised that anything they did wasn’t going to hurt me any more and I relaxed somewhat. A nurse felt my stomach and told me when to push, I could see the doctors arm moving back towards him quite easily and realised that Ben was going to come out with the ventouse, after 3 very hard pushes and contractions Ben finally made an appearance. 0255. He looked rather blue in colour but was absolutely perfect.

Matthew looked for the sex and proudly announced that Ben was a girl? The doctor gave Matthew a funny look and told him to take another peek, it’s a BOY Matthew announced. He had broken down by that point, it was such an amazing moment, it can’t think of it now without tears coming into my eyes. Ben was taken over to the rescussitaire and had some fluid sucked from his mouth, he then cried.
Being a mother is a mind blowing experience and I love it.
The End, or should I say The Beginning!

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Joseph’s Day

“Ohhh, my labour was 52 hours of sheer agony”, “All my good intentions went out the window – I begged for an epidural”, “I could not take any more so opted for a caesarean”,” You will never feel pain like it”. These were some of the experiences I heard when I proudly and excitedly announced I was pregnant. The more I listened to them and the more I read about similar birth stories in the pregnancy magazines, the more I was resolved not to have a similar story to tell. I had always believed that birth was entirely natural, with our bodies specifically designed for it and not a medical process in which intervention has become the norm.

To back this I up, I had always had 2 strong beliefs about birth. The first came from my own childhood in Kenya when I had often heard the classic stories of women giving birth in bushes and then carrying on with their work. The second came from witnessing animals give birth. The proportion in size of their young to their birth canal is similar to humans and yet they are able to give birth with very little fuss and without the apparent pain that women often appear to have or drugs and intervention to deal with this. We know that animals can feel pain (the yelp from a dog when you tread on their tail) so somehow animals are able to control their pain far better than humans during labour.

My thoughts about hypnosis and “mind over matter” really began when a good friend gave birth in a small barn next to her house. It was her first baby and was technically a difficult birth (4 hours for stage 2!). What really struck me was that she had not felt the need for any pain killers as with each contraction her partner would describe somewhere or something they had done together. Effectively her mind was focusing on something other than the “pain”. It was my husband who suggested going on a self Hypnosis course as he in the past he had used of Hypnosis to help with a variety of things. I was a little sceptical in the beginning but decided that it could only help as I was determined to have a natural home birth.

I went on a 2 day course when I was 6 months pregnant. I was the only pregnant woman on the course – the others were there for a whole variety of reasons from fear of presenting to giving up smoking to stress relief. Prior to the course my only real experience of Hypnosis was watching a stage Hypnotist make people act like chickens and eat raw onions. I therefore assumed that there was something mystical about it and that I would close my eyes and would be put in a semi-conscious state in which my problems would be solved. After the first few times I doubted I had been Hypnotised as I just felt very relaxed and was fully aware of my surroundings. As I found out that is exactly what hypnosis is. There is nothing magical about it. It is simply being in a day dream rather than in a conscious state. It is the same as driving a car when you realise that you even though you have been driving carefully, you can’t actually remember most of the journey or reading a passage of a book and finding you can’t remember the story and have to re-read it. That is exactly the same as Hypnosis – you are having a chat with you sub conscious while you conscious is fully aware of what you are doing.

My doubts were blown out of the water when we put the Hypnosis to the test. I went into my ‘daydream’ and told my mind that my left arm would be completely free of pain, bleeding, bruising, swelling and soreness for the next 24 hours. We repeated this several times and then came out of my daydream. The trainer then quickly, easily and PAINLESSLY stuck a large nappy pin through my arm! My amazement was even greater when, after taking photos and oohhing and arhhing at each others arms, he took the pin out of my arm and there was not even a drop of blood! (DO NOT TRY THIS AT HOME – you need to be taught how to safely go into and come out of Hypnosis). I felt amazed and the power of what I had just done slowly began to dawn on me. If I could anaesthetise my arm then surely I could have a comfortable birth without the need for pain killers.

Over the next few weeks I wrote my self Hypnosis script or “programme” for my ideal birth. It included loads of triggers for relaxation such as every time I had a contraction I would feel more and more relaxed, every time my husband held my hand I would feel more and more comfortable etc. I envisaged every last detail including my cervix opening, my baby feeling comfortable and safe, my muscles expanding, holding my baby in my arms etc Once I was happy with the programme I recorded it onto tape with some soothing music in the background. During the last 6 weeks I took myself into Hypnosis every day and listened to the programme I had recorded on my tape recorder. The visualisation was so strong that I would often come out of Hypnosis in tears as if I had actually been through the experience of holding my precious baby. As the day came closer, I got more and more excited and was really looking forward to the birth. I was so keen to find out if the Hypnosis would work and in a way to show others who had doubted what I was doing, that I really could have a wonderful birth.

My first contraction finally came a few days after my due date at 10pm whilst eating dinner in a French restaurant. I had planned for a home water birth and so we excitedly returned home. Since the initial contractions were mild we caught some rest and then at 2.30am things started to happen. We got everything ready for the birth by – we lit a huge fire, the candles, made a nutritious milkshake, made pots of raspberry leaf and nettle tea, put on the soft music as we began what turned out to be a very long labour. I felt so calm and in control and was so sure that the Hypnosis was going to work. Unfortunately my midwife who had been really supportive of my Hypnosis was unable to attend the birth and so another midwife, a complete stranger, turned up to take care of me. She had never been with anyone who had used Hypnosis and was obviously a bit sceptical so insisted that she had gas and air if I needed it. However in my notes, which I read afterwards, she kept commenting on how relaxed, in control and calm I was.

I can truly say that until the last quarter of an hour I had absolutely no need for any pain killers and that my breathing and dreamlike state kept me completely in control. My second midwife arrived after about 6 hours and did not actually hear me speak for 3 hours even though my contractions were 3 minutes apart. My husband would occasionally ask where I was to which I apparently replied “away with the fairies” or “on a beach” – these were images I had used in my Hypnosis. Another amazing “feature” of hypnosis is called time distortion. This is when you tell your mind that things take far longer or shorter than they do in reality (like being in the cinema and it seems like you have been there for several hours rather than just 2). I therefore felt that the time between each contraction was more like 15 minutes rather than 3 and so felt more able to relax and prepare for the next one.

When I was finally fully dilated my midwife checked the babies heartbeat just before I started to push. Very calmly she told us that his heartbeat had dropped substantially and I would need to deliver out of the water. She knew we had to deliver the baby really quickly and suggested that I have an episiotomy. As there was no time for a local anaesthetic we did not even question her advice. This was the first time I felt real pain. I feel that there were 2 main reasons for it – one was that I had not built this into my Hypnosis programme and secondly that I needed the adrenaline from the pain to push my baby out in the shortest possible time. The power and energy I felt was quite remarkable so I believe that the pain really helped me to ensure my son was born safely. Unbelievably Joseph was born just 4 minutes later. He was absolutely fine and within a minute took his first breath, coughed slightly and then looked up at me with calm blue eyes. He did not cry out or seem distressed in any way. We massaged him gently and put him straight on my breast. He latched on immediately for his first drink (and has not really stopped since!). All those who came in contact with him commented on how calm and alert he was. I am sure this was partly due to my constant communication with him in utero and my continual reassurance during the birth that he was safe and soon to have a wonderful cuddle with his parents.

In discussions later with my midwife, she reiterated how amazed she had been at the apparent power of the Hypnosis. She was particularly astonished at my ability to push him out so quickly especially as I had been vomiting throughout the labour and my energy levels were extremely low. At the time I really felt that nothing extraordinary was happening – it was only in hindsight that I realised just how well the Hypnosis had worked. In fact I was so convinced with the potential behind hypnosis that I have since had a career change retrained to become a clinical Hypnotherapist, specialising in Natal Hypnotherapy.

Maggie Howell
01428 712629

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USA Birth Center birth of Gage, 3rd-born

Gage is my third child. My first, Briana Nicole, was born 2/11/92, in a hospital in Chicago. She was born after 26 hours of labor. Anisa Rae was born 6/3/95 in the same hospital, but in the alternative birthing center after 16 hours of labor. We used the shower, a labor bar, nipple stimulation to speed up labor, walking, and a lot of encouragement. I still was not completely satisfied, but in Chicago, there are no free standing birthing centers, and the idea of a home birth scared me at the time.

When I got pregnant with my third child while living here in Dallas, I knew it would be the best birth yet. Practice makes perfect! I researched and found a free standing birthing center only 25 minutes from me. Midwives run it. I knew it was for me after I took the tour. My pregnancy was difficult, but wonderful. After being 2 weeks late with both of my girls, I was pretty sure I was in for a threepeat.

And I was right. Finally, after 13 days of herbs, nipple stimulation, sex (well I didn’t mind the sex so much) and walking, something happened. It was the day before I was scheduled for my first sonogram (for a biophysical). At around 9:30am, I started getting contractions that were more painful than usual, and they seemed to be coming 7-10 minutes apart. I called my midwife and told her that this was probably it, but I didn’t think we’d see a baby until that night. After taking my kids to the park and having some lunch, my contractions were about 5 minutes apart lasting about a minute. This was only 4 hours after my labor had begun. I knew it was time to go.

So, we were on our way ‘¬†until we hit a traffic jam about halfway there. At this point, my contractions were coming every 2-3 minutes and lasting about a minute. I was afraid that I would be delivering the baby on the side of the road. I focused on the clouds ad listened to the radio, all the while breathing slowly. Fortunately, the traffic cleared up, and we made it there.

When we got there, I was dilated almost 5 cm. My mom and brother (who is 13, by the way) arrived shortly thereafter and my brother began videotaping. My midwife checked the baby’s heart rate and it was fine. She then moved me to the birthing ball after several contractions on the bed. The ball was amazing. I felt more relaxed and able to focus on my blossoming cervix. The counterpressure on my pelvic area was wonderful, and my husband rubbed my back like a pro. Within 10-15 minutes, I had dilated to 9 1/2 and my midwife broke my water. She said I could push if I wanted to’ and boy was I ready! My biggest concern, considering I had already had two episiotomies with my girls, was that I would tear. Luckily, my midwives were excellent and helped me take it easy so that I wouldn’t tear and I didn’t. It only took about 10 minutes to push the baby out. My husband caught the baby and they put him on my belly. It wasn’t until he was out that we knew he was a boy since we had not had an ultrasound. He was 9lb. 2 oz., 21 inches long.

After he was cleaned and nursed, my husband gave him his first bath while I rested. After five hours of resting and eating, we went home. All of my births were perfect and were learning experiences, and each bore the most special gifts of my life…

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UK – Hospital and Home Birth

I have two children, an 8 year old daughter and a 2 year old son. My daughter was born in a hospital, I was induced and had my water broken (which I found painful). I also had every drug available. My labour was from morning till night and I think at some point I had every member of staff in and out of my room. My husband was just there and was not very involved by the midwifes, he didn’t even get to cut the cord! I was out of control and didn’t really know what was going on. I spent the whole day flat on my back and couldn’t move around. But when it was all over I considered that I had a good labour and that it couldn’t have been any easier. How wrong I was!!

Well, baby number two 6 years later. I was older and wiser, more focused on what I wanted. I had already decided that I wanted a home birth and no drugs. I was not really sure if I could cope with the pain without drugs but I thought if I was at home I would be more relaxed and would also be unable to beg for drugs. So I went into labour two weeks early. I had been restless in the night and in the morning joked to my husband today was the day. I was having twinges all morning and then at lunch time the contractions started. I told my husband not to call the midwife as I thought they would stop. I walk around my house, just pottering about. Then at one o’clock the contractions got stronger. I just keep moving working through them. The midwife was called and when she arrived I was on the bed. I was already pushing by the time she arrived.

At that time I felt focused and in total control. I don’t think I have ever felt so connected to my own body. I used every contraction to my advantage. I new that the pain wouldn’t end until the baby was out so I just concentrated on pushing and not fighting my bodies urges. 20 minutes later he was born. My husband was the first to hold him and he cut the cord, there was not time for the second midwife so my husband had been hands on through the whole thing and he was chuffed to bits he had delivered his own son! Afterwards I had a bath in my own bath and got in my own bed. The midwife left us all alone and we all snuggled in bed together. I felt wonderful and very proud of myself!!

I had both these experiences in the UK, my doctor strongly recommended that I didn’t have a home birth. But I chose to speak to midwifes about this. Doctors are not present at home births so are not really in a position I feel, to advise on this. My local midwifes attended home births about twice a week and had nothing but praise for them and the benefits to mother and child. I am now pregnant for a third time and I am now living in the Netherlands. Only an hours flight to England but wow, what different attitudes. Hospital births are not the done thing. It is all geared over here to natural, minimal intervention. The best thing is also that after the baby is born for 8 days you have a midwifes assistant who comes to the house everyday to help you, cook, clean, look after other children or if this is your first time, to teach you how to nurse and look after your baby. They have definately got it sorted out over here. I also read a study that says Holland is the safest place in the world to have a baby. Well that tells you something doesn’t it!!

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UK – Traumatic Hospital Birth

It was december and I was a week late. I was really fat and fed up and beginning to think that I would be pregnant forever. I had lots of problems in my pregnancy including high blood pressure, lack of fetal movement and bleeding. I saw the doc when I was due and he said it could be another 2 weeks and asked me to come back when I was a week late and he would schedule induction. I had gone to my appointment with my mother and she asked if we couldn’t schedule the induction now as it would be easier to plan things. He agreed and said I could go in when I was a week late to be induced.

I went in on a monday, had an ultrasound which showed a lot of fluid round the baby and that the baby was going to be small. I was given prostaglandin, attached to a monitor and told to lie down for 20 minutes-in the end I was lying down for over an hour before I was allowed to get up and walk around. Nothing happened.

In the evening I had another dose and had to lie down again. I was monitored again and baby was fine-lots of movements. In the morning I had another dose of gel and again was left on the bed for a long time. I was on a ward with 8 beds in and the whole day women were coming in in labour and going home again a few hours later with their babies. I felt so sad and discouraged being there.

On wednesday I had a day of rest. I wanted to go home but my mum persuaded me to stay in hospital as it would be easier for the doctors if anything happened. So I stayed and cried all day. I had no will to do anything and lay on the bed all day. Every time I was monitored baby was ok. I had a show that evening and was so excited-and then a midwife told me it could be days yet. Thursday morning I had another dose, and again in the evening. I didn’t believe I was going to go into labour and I was so fed up of being there.

Friday morning I had another dose and had some mild tightenings, the doc told me that if I wasn’t in labour by lunchtime I would have to have a c-section. I was sent for another ultrasound and baby was fine. I was monitored again and all was fine. I was told I would have my section at 3pm. About 30 mins before the c-section I had some contractions and I was so excited. I told a midwife and she said they weren’t very strong and not lasting long enough. I asked her to tell the doctor anyway,she said she would. She came back and said the doc said to go ahead with the c-section anyway. My mum said it was just as well as I had been in hospital for ages. Dh was upset but thought the docs knew best. He smoked 3 packs of cigartettes Friday. At 3 they got me ready for my section. I had a spinal and an IV.

The operation was fine. Ela weighed 8 pounds 14oz – so much for a small baby. The pediatrician examined her and said she didn’t look overdue at all. She looked on time. No dry skin and still had vernix.

I was able to breastfeed her but found it hard. I was in so much pain. The midwives gave her bottles. I got an infection in my scar and had to have antibiotics. Ela cried a lot. She had a lot of colic. At 6 weeks my health visitor told me I had to give her formula after breastfeeds as she wasn’t having enough dirty nappies. She refused breastfeeds after that-I pumped for 6 weeks but couldn’t do it anymore. I desperately tried to keep her breastfeeding but she would cry and cry and when I was at my parents house Dad would get annoyed and take her off me and give her a bottle. Once I left the house crying and said “You may as well look after her, I can’t do anything for her-I can’t even feed her”. They told me I was stupid. I felt bad for 14 months when eventually I was diagnosed with depression.

I went back to the hospital and spoke to the consultant which is when I found out that the midwife hadn’t said anything about my contractions and he admitted he may have waited if he had known i had started contracting. He admitted baby hadn’t been in any distress at all. I feel like it was all unnecessary. I should have been at home not in hospital. I feel like my mum betrayed me by persuading me to go for an induction. I felt like my body was broken, that I wasn’t a mother as I hadn’t given birth, just had an operation and had her removed from me. I cried lots after-I am crying now as I write this. I will always have the scars of that operation and for what?? because I was insecure and unsure and I listened to the people I thought I could trust-the midwives and doctor.

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USA – Home birth of baby number 5

This birth, my 5th, was my hardest and most grueling out of seven. My pregnancy was not a good one, as I had to deal with my father being murdered, chicken pox, discovering that my partner had a whole other family that I did not know about until my 6th month. So emotionally and physically I was not in top form! I had such severe edema that I could not even put on shoes, my back hurt so bad I cried almost all day, and just walking felt like my pelvis was going to crack. The baby’s original due date was July 29, was readjusted to August 12, but he wasn’t ready to come out until August 30.

I saw the bloody show at around 5:00 am, but didn’t actually start to feel contractions until around 7. Things progressed rather quickly, the midwife arrived at around 11:00, and discovered the baby was occiput posterior. Not only that, but his forehead was presenting! I was having a hard time bringing him down. Plus he was large. I ended up walking, doing this kind of hula dance, hands and knees, squatting, everything to bring him down and move his head into a better position, for a few hours, with the midwife checking his progress every few minutes. I started to push at about 2:00, but couldn’t get him to budge, his head was too big! More squatting, more hula dancing, the midwife and my mom pushed on either side of my hips in an attempt to widen my pelvis to get him to sink down. Needles to say, my back was excruciatingly painful. Some more pushing, some more manoeuvering. Nothing!

By this time, I was starting to feel as if I would pass out, so my midwife made me some nice tea with lots of sugar. That perked me up a bit, and finally, when I was kneeling on the floor with my head and arms resting on the bed, he tucked his chin in, and started to move down. At last! Daniel was finally born at 5:34 pm, after 10 and a half hours labour. 9 1/2 pounds! I know if I had been in the hospital, I would have probably had a C-section, or at least some kind of intervention that would have complicated things. I had such wonderful support from my midwife and my mom and her friend, who was like an aunt to me, I really think it made all the difference in the world. I believe that if I was in the hospital, I would have given in to pain relief medications and I would not have been able to move around and let nature work at bringing my baby out. Well, that’s one of my stories! Hope you enjoyed it! ~Bless~

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UK- Devon home birth of baby number 5

During three of my five pregnancies I have moved back and forth across the Atlantic. Not the most ideal of situations, but being torn between family and friends has been hard. With number five, family won and I moved back to the UK for their love and support.

I cautiously signed up with a community midwife and requested no doctor intervention. A lay midwife would have been great, but being new to the area and short of funds, this seemed my best bet. I worried how I was going to develop a relationship with this woman who would deliver my child, but tried not to get too hung up about it. I was used to my midwives being almost invisible as my partner Joel, and I worked together to deliver our baby. As the due date drew closer, I felt more at ease with my midwife and worried less that she thought I was a fruity radical mama.

We prepared for the birth at home and secretly hoped the baby would come without much warning so we could deliver it ourselves (I got the distinct feeling however that Joel wasn’t as confident in his ability to deliver the baby as I was ! ). Well, no such luck, my contractions were very mild for the best part of the day, the midwife called out to see me twice, suggested love-making to speed things up (the last thing I felt like doing) and to call her later.

That evening the contractions became very uncomfortable and I tried several positions to get comfortable, none worked. I tried all my old visualisation tricks from previous pregnancies without much relief. I got secretly irritated at Joel and worried that I was hurting more because I was mad at him about something or other, there was probably some truth in that. I eventually decided to just “let go” in the same way you do when you orgasm. That helped. Lots of moaning and flailing and releasing ! Joel called the midwife after we checked my cervix dilation and couldn’t believe that after all my efforts I appeared only 4-5cm (this was a fifth baby for goodness sakes ! I was expecting to pop it out in my sleep ! ). I was starting to panic slightly and was finding it difficult to cope, plus I was getting tired.

The midwife showed up and came upstairs to the bedroom. I was sitting in a comfy chair. In between contractions. I had just told her how I was feeling and then another contraction hit. My waters broke and I felt the baby’s head emerge into the birth canal. I saw my eldest boy wake up and try to run for it, but it was too late, he was going to see it all ! I dropped onto all fours and pushed the baby out in less than 1 minute. Joel cradled the head in his hand ( I was gripping his other arm) and the midwife caught the body.

My children were all present and so happy to have another little baby boy in the family. He was cold and cried. He wouldn’t take my breast, just cried. I had to pass him under my leg to get some slack on the umbilical cord and be able to hold him close whilst we waited for the placenta to deliver. Joel ran a bath for us and after the placenta finally came (it took 3-4 more contractions), we got in the lovely warm water. The baby stopped crying and nursed, heaven. He still loves bathtime ! The light was dim in the bathroom for the baby’s sake, but the midwife examined the placenta by lamplight, explaining every detail of it to my eldest girl. We refused the Vitamin K injection and drops (watch Natural Health for info coming soon on this subject), I just kept him at my breast.

The placenta is still in the freezer awaiting planting, although I occasionally threaten my vegetarian family with it for dinner “the only meat we can eat, as no creature died for it” ! Husband made some good food for me, children couldn’t sleep and stayed up the rest of the night, midwives left us be and baby slept, exhausted.

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UK – Welsh Home Birth of baby number 6

I had a show on the Friday morning and in the past that has always been the start of my 30 hour labour with contractions 3 minutes apart, breathing through them etc until the birth. But this time there was no sign of any contractions, and I kept wondering what was wrong. So when nothing had happened by Monday morning I phoned the midwife who was on call and she reassured me that so long as I could feel the baby moving there was nothing to worry about – it could still be a week before I went into labour. The due date was a couple of days away but on Monday at about 9.30pm I went to bed feeling quite miserable actually because nothing was happening, but then I started to feel uncomfortable and every 10 or 15 minutes I had to readjust my position, and as I didn’t want to wake my son Simon who sleeps in the bed with me I took a blanket and went downstairs.

At 11am I was searching for my book that I have read from cover to cover 100 times which says labour doesn’t have to be painful if you know how to relax properly, and then the book describes which position to sit in to be totally relaxed. Of course no position was working for me, and now the contractions were starting to come at more regular intervals, and I was resorting to my usual method of just screaming into a pillow, and doing the complete opposite of relaxing – just tensing up basically. In my mind I was thinking, Oh no, 30 hours from here where is that going to take us – probably to the middle of the day when all the children are awake. I decided to go upstairs into the bathroom because I kept needing to wee! Also I felt quite unsettled because I still didn’t know where in the house I wanted to actually labour in. I had thought of the bathroom, but then if anyone else, like the midwife needs the loo, it becomes disruptive. The homebirth medical box was in my son Alfie’s, room, the babies’s clothes and towels etc were in the other children’s room, and the chair I had hoped to use was in my room, so nothing was really set up properly.

I then had a very strong contraction and asked dh Chris if he could rub my back, and during that contraction my waters broke which they have never done so early on before. Everything seemed to be going strangely, unpredictably for me, so I said to Chris although I’m no where near giving birth I think we should phone the midwife.

She arrived 40 minutes later, and the first thing I said was “sorry” because I am sure I’m only 2cm and you’ll have to go back home, I just feel a bit uneasy. I was actually 7cm and I did not feel at all like I normally do at 7cm – I actually thought she wasn’t telling the truth and that really I was 2 or 3 cm. Simon then woke up and came into the bathroom with me – just thinking Mum has gone a bit odd again, seeing me every now and then screaming into the pillow, moaning and groaning. Then the pain got bad and I asked the midwife if she had the gas and air, and she said that she hadn’t. So she went to phone the hospital to send some in an ambulance, and also to phone the other midwife, but literally by the time she was back upstairs the baby had moved into the birth canal, and I was saying, the baby’s coming! Chris had to quickly go into Alfies’s room and get the medical box with the midwives gloves and she just had time to catch the baby. I could not believe how quickly it all happened. Sixth time lucky!!!

We called him Nicholas Peter Julian. It was a very beautiful quick birth, makes such a difference I must say after my usual lengthy births, and the midwife let us do exactly what we wanted – it was all totally natural. We had tea and biscuits in the candlelight afterwards. Those moments are so precious, aren’t they!

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Jamaican Birth of Baby number 6.

I was living in Jamaica when 6 of my children were born. My sixth baby was born only 13 months after my 5th. It was such an easy pregnancy! I felt really good, had good appetite, ran around after a little baby for the whole time. I was energetic and healthy.
Sunday morning, I woke up as usual, my partner was making breakfast for the family as usual, (Sunday morning tradition) and I was watching the news and having my tea. I remember having to pee, but I was waiting for an editorial to finish at 9:00. As soon as it was over, I got up to go to the bathroom, and made it as far as the hallway when I felt the baby’s head drop what felt like 6 inches! YOWZA! No pain, but intense, breath-stopping pressure. I yelled for my partner to run and get the midwife ( we had no phones yet)….He came out of the kitchen, kind of confused. “NOW?” he said. “YES! RIGHT NOW! THE BABY IS COMING!” I yelled. It felt like the baby was falling out! I went into the shower, because I had peed my pants, and while I was in there, I felt the baby drop down again. Still no pain, but heavy pressure. I was sure this baby was falling out! I hurried out, went to spread up my bed, put the plastic sheet and old sheets I had washed and ironed for the birth, got the baby’s receivers and clothes, and felt the baby’s head crown. I perched on the edge of the bed, holding her head in my hand, praying for the midwife to hurry!

Fortunately, she only lived a few minutes away, and at 9:16 she came in the door with her kit. She took one look at the baby’s head hanging out, and put her gloves on. She said “Don’t push! Let me get my things out!” I told her I wasn’t pushing ever, the baby was sliding out. She got what she needed out of her bag, and whoosh! Clarissa slipped out at 9:20 am, 20 minutes after I got up to go pee. 8 lbs, 8 oz, 18 inches, the fattest little baby you ever saw with a full head of long, black hair. I could put it in a ponytail. NO pain whatsoever, no contractions, just baby.

The midwife put her on the bed next to me, and I swear that baby leapt to my breast and was sucking within seconds! My midwife said she was in such a hurry to be born because she was hungry! She also sat up at 3 months, crawled at 4 months, and walked at 7 months, she’s an impatient child!

After we got fixed up and cleaned up, my midwife told me that she had had plans to go to the beach with her children, but at the last minute, at 9:00, (just when I went into labour!) she told them to go without her. She instead packed her kit, because she knew I would be calling her. My partner said when he got there she was waiting by the front door. She is very psychic like that, she was the only midwife for 4 districts, and she never missed a birth. That is my goal, as a student midwife, to be that in tune with my mothers so that I can know when they will go into labour with out them having to call me.

Anyway, that was a very easy birth, 20 minutes labour with no pain! But boy, did I suffer afterwards! The after pains were horrific. I cried and hollered for 3 days after. My midwife said it was because my uterus didn’t contract enough during labour, it had to make up for lost muscle action. And my milk came in the same day the baby was born, because she sucked for 12 hours straight. So I couldn’t even lay on my belly to ease the after pains. But I never got engorged breasts, because that baby sucked me dry.
That’s my story!

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UK Birth Experiences

I’m now pregnant for the sixth time, (our second son, my third pregnancy died in the womb at about 16 weeks) so this will be our fifth child.

My first birth was by far the worst, barely 19 at the time, I felt the full wrath of the anti-teenage mum professionals. This left me with a lot of fear and doubts in my own ability to be a competent mother. I was taken into hospital two days after my due date because of slight bleeding. Later that day, I was told that they would induce me in the morning, there was no explanation and no consideration of my feelings. Thankfully, I went into labour spontaneously early that morning, however they still insisted on interfering and because nothing they did was discussed with me, I felt more and more affraid of what they would do next. They monitered me almost constantly, would not let me eat or drink (I believe, unless there is the likely need for anesthetic, women should be able to eat and drink if it is comfortable for them) and one brutal midwife came in the room and with no warning, broke my waters. My son arrived soon after this, he was fine, but I was upset and scared. My response to my treatment at this hospital was to develop bad post-natal depression.

The birth of my second child, a girl, did a lot to counter-act this. This time I chose a home-birth. I came upon some opposition from the doctor, but when I finally met the community midwives, they were great.
On the day of the birth, they popped in and out every couple of hours until labour was well advanced. I recall them sat on the bed about half-an-hour before Kezia arrived, watching Coronation Street.
Everything went well and they left us tired but extremely happy and popped in again the following morning to see how we were.

My third birth was not what either of us had envisaged. At the 20 week scan it was found that the baby had died about 4 weeks before. Because of the length of time I opted to be induced the following day. This labour was by far the longest, nearly 10 hours. He was born amid many tears and then I faced the prospect of going down to theatre as my placenta had not come away. This, I was determined, was not going to happen. Indeed, as they were making final arrangements, I pushed out the placenta. We were treated with kindness, consideration and respect (needless to say this was a different hospital from the one where my first child was born). He was dressed and placed in a basket next to my bed. We received a photograph of him, hand and foot prints and had a naming ceremony performed before we left the hospital. They arranged the funeral and we performed our own service. This undoubtedly assisted my recovery and our ability to accept what had happened and move on. I was never made to feel a failure and he was never treated as an embarrassment while we were there. Sadly this is probably not what all parents in that situation will experience.

My fourth birth was different again. We had since moved house and were (and still are) living 26 miles away from the nearest hospital and help should there be an emergency. For this reason (confidence in hospital staff now sufficiently restored) we opted for a hospital birth. The pregnancy went well and finally one night I stood up and there was a pop and whoosh! I said without emotion, (Oh, I think my waters have gone). (This was about 6.30pm) Ian (my husband) had everything (and everyone) in the car in about 15-20 minutes, about 35 minutes later we arrived at the hospital, all I was thinking about was making a mess of their carpet as I walked to the lift! Things went quickly and at 8.20, only 1hr and 50mins later, Kelly arrived.

My fifth birth was even quicker. Pregnancy went okay up to 38 weeks, when I was told that the baby was breech, I was not prepared to have a c-section or the risks posed by a vaginal breech birth so I tried some positons I’d read about before, such as leaning on your elbows with your bottom in the air (not very becoming, I know). About a week later after a few attempts at this I was sure I’d felt the baby turn back again. It just remained to be proved at the birth. I’d had an antenatal appointment earlier that day and my blood pressure was up slightly, that evening the midwife popped in and my b.p. was up even more, she recommended that I be admitted so late that night we drove down again (I ended up in the same hospital bed as the last time). An examination proved that the baby was indeed in the correct position now. The midwife actually thought they’d made a mistake about it’s position. Nothing happened so my husband drove home with the three children. Then about 1.30am I felt the contractions start, I could tell this was going to be quick, at about 2.00am I walked around to the delivery room. She asked me if I wanted her to telephone my husband, I said no, I’ll wait till after as he’s not going to make it anyway. Sure enougth Louis arrived at 2.40am weighing 9lbs and 3ozs. The midwives were shocked when he was born, because there was a knot in the cord! He had been breech and knotted the cord when he turned back again!
I’m just wondering what will happen this time! As I know from these experiences that each one is different.

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Overdue Homebirth with Hypnotherapy

I often tell my birth story as it is quite unique. I had had one baby in hospital and totally hated it even though the birth was very straight forward. So for my second I decided to go on a Hypnobirthing course.
After the course I was so empowered that I decided to have my baby at home with the least amount of intervention I could and take full charge of the birth of my baby.
My midwife was great but the hospital doctors were not. My baby was overdue and they wanted to take me in to induce me. I refused which I don’t think had ever happened to them before. Despite all the horror stories the doctor told me I decided the risks could happen at any time of pregnancy not just because I was late plus there is no exact date that the baby decides to come out. So with that I returned home.
My baby decided to come 12 days after my due date and the labour started extremely normally. I practised relaxing and felt in control. I had a bath and told my partner to let me know when the contractions were one minute apart. He informed me they had been that for the last hour and should he call the midwife, but I decided I could go a bit longer before bothering anyone.
At 3am I asked my partner to call the midwife as I knew the baby was on its way. Unfortunately she could not get to us for another 50 minutes (although my partner never told me that) I assumed a position on all fours in our spare bedroom and began the second stage labour.
My body knew exactly when to push and when to refrain from pushing and I trusted my instincts to get it right. My son though had decided that enough was enough and arrived at 3:40am with my partner catching him and wrapping him in a towel.
It was amazing and I couldn’t believe that we had delivered our baby with no help, no drugs and no advice from a midwife. The midwife arrived ten minutes after our son was born and was amazed we had done so well. I had no tears and needed no stitches so all my instincts had been correct.
I heard my babies first breath and was worried when he didn’t cry. But after further research found that no crying mean’t he was perfectly happy and content. He stayed awake for two hours just staring at his mum, dad and sister until finally falling asleep.
I am now due to have another baby in November and will again have the baby at home using the same method. But we do feel we should probably call the midwife slightly in advance this time just to be sure.
Amanda Larner

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