I’m totally honoured to be able to share this positive birth story with you all. Katy contacted me after reading my post Thoughts on Birth. She says it inspired her to share her story. She also had this to say:
“The whole time I was pregnant I was extremely excited at the prospect of giving birth. Everyone I met thought I was nuts, and, more annoyingly, wrong to be positive about the idea of labour. A lot of people gave knowing looks and smirks as if to say JUST YOU WAIT UNTIL YOU ACTUALLY DO IT..!”
So here, in her own words, is Joshua Stanley’s birth story (and what a testament it is to having a positive attitude and approach to birth):
My due date was the 4th of November, moved from the 11th of November after a 12 week scan showed the baby to be “too large” for my dates. My dates were pretty crystal clear accurate as we’d used fertility treatment, and not to put to fine a point on it, I knew exactly when we’d conceived. My midwife wasn’t too fussed about that detail though, and the revised date of the 4th was kept to.
The 4th was a Tuesday, and I went for a sweep at the surgery. My midwife (who was really lovely) tried valiantly to stretch the membranes, but I was tight as a clam. She said she wouldn’t be surprised if I went 2 weeks overdue, given how unready for labour I was. I felt pretty disheartened by this, as I didn’t know anybody with a good labour story that started with them being massively overdue, but went home to watch numerous episodes of Teen Mom in order to lift my spirits.
Wednesday arrived and I’d been reading The Guardian’s “Perfect” recipe series. That wednesday the featured recipe was for the perfect grilled cheese sandwich (maybe all the cheese would tempt baby out?), which set me into overdrive. I walked (maybe the walk will encourage baby out?) a three mile round trip to my local shop to collect all the required cheese and sourdough bread, then went home to make the world’s most awesome sandwich. My husband came home and we ate leftover chilli burritos (maybe spicy burritos would smoke baby out?), and caught up on The Walking Dead (maybe the scary zombies would terrify baby out?).
As I toppled my massive pregnant carcass into bed around 11pm, I heard a pop. I instantly knew it was my waters breaking, so I waddled to the bathroom. I shouted for my husband, who genuinely thought I was joking. I was annoyed at his low opinion of my comedy skills. I rang the hospital and they said to keep an eye on the waters for meconium, and to give them a call back if there was any blood.
We were both too excited to sleep, so went downstairs to watch The Lego Movie. About 10 minutes into the film, I started with the TENS machine, as I could definitely feel something going on. By 00:30 the movie was off and my husband ran me a bath, lit candles, and I sent him to bed. I set up the contraction timer on my phone and tried to relax into the labour. At 1am I checked the app and it showed that I was contracted at the rate you’re supposed to go into hospital at (I can’t remember exactly what this is – 3 in 3? 2 in 3? something like that). I shouted for my husband, and we had a debate about whether to go to hospital. I vehemently did not want to drive there and then be sent home. I rang them and they did not sound like they wanted me to come in, given the short amount of time that had elapsed, but it was getting to the point where I was aware that we didn’t know what we were doing at all.
We got in the car for an horrendous 15 minute journey, including a detour because my husband is really terrible at directions. I had all the windows open and was on all fours in the front passenger seat, like a crazy person.
When we arrived in hospital it was 2am, and the midwives took us into the most amazing room I had ever seen. It was like a spa, with an enormous birthing pool, dimmed lights and en suite bathroom.
The midwife got me onto the bed for a check.
I was at 1cm.
She and my husband both looked at me like I was a lunatic.
I got down off the bed and cringed in the bathroom, feeling like I was in full labour, but baffled because I knew people who walked around completing every day tasks at 1cm dilated, and I felt like I needed an epidural.
The midwife told us to go home and I refused. Luckily my husband must have seen a crazy look in my eye, because he advocated for me really well – we were moved to a side room, and I was given a shot of Pethedine at 4am. The midwife said she would be back to check my progress in another 4 hours, at 8am. I don’t recall the Pethedine doing anything to my pain levels, but it really focussed my mind. I lay on my side, in the quiet, dark room, and held onto my husband’s jumper with both fists and my eyes closed. It seemed like no time at all had passed, but in reality it was 5:55am, and I felt the urge to push.
I said to my husband… um… I feel like I need to push and I don’t know what to do. He volunteered to take a look, and I pleaded with him not to, as it’s not the type of thing I think a marriage can survive. Nevertheless, he did go down the business end. “OK..” he said, extremely calmly “…I’m just going to pop outside to the midwives, as I can see the baby’s head.” Then he left (very quickly).
As soon as he left the room I felt the strongest sensation to push, so I just did (rookie mistake). I have never been more terrified or elated in my life when I looked down and saw my baby’s face staring up at me, blinking away. Apparently (I have no recollection of this) I then started screaming loudly that the baby was coming, and at that point my husband and several midwives ran into the room. Almost simultaneously I felt another urge to push, which I did (why!?) and my baby just arrived in an instant. As I was still lying on my side, the midwife grabbed him and flipped him onto my chest, an 8lb, bloody wet bundle.
It was amazing.
The entire pushing stage of labour had lasted 30 seconds, and it was the most insane time lapse of my life.
The after effects were not great – 3rd degree tearing due to the lack of assistance during the pushing stage, but I can accept a few stitches when the experience is so overwhelmingly positive.
I don’t blame the midwives for not being there during the labour – who would expect someone to go from 1cm – fully dilated in 2 hours, with minimum fuss?
Nevertheless, I’ll be having a home birth next time.
How incredible is that??? First time Mama delivering her own baby! If you’ve enjoyed reading this story please let us know by leaving a comment – that would be awesome. And if you’d like to share your positive birth story please email firstname.lastname@example.org – it would be an honour to publish it.