Share Your Birth Story

Actually MummyLast week Mummy decided to write my birth story. And she asked you to write yours too. If you have one already, please link up using the Linky tool at the end of the post. I will tweet every new link-up. If you haven’t written yours yet, but would like to, you can link up any time you like. We are open to new links for a year!

Please include in your post a link to this post, and the badge if you can, so that people can find their way here to read and comment on other people’s birth stories. You can link as many times as you like; I know some people have written their birth story in stages, and others have written for more than one child. That is fine – link them all. If you have friends who you think would like to link their stories, or who would like to read a handful of these posts, please let them know. And finally, if you are not a blogger, but would like to join in, email me here and I will post it and link it for you.

GG’s Birth Story (written by Mummy):

I didn’t have an easy pregnancy, but then who does? Suffice to say that after much intervention, unpleasant drugs, IVF, two early miscarriages and many, many tears, we finally met a brusque but incredibly knowledgeable man at St Mary’s hospital in Paddington. A specialist in recurrent miscarriage and Polycystic Ovaries, he quickly gave us a very simple plan, which worked straight away. His name was Dr Raj Rai. He made me cry, but he gave me my children.

By this time I was a paranoid wreck, and did not cope well with the little bleeds that came, on and off during the first 20 weeks. Convinced we had cheated fate and were not meant to have a child, I imagined the worst the whole way through. The state of my head probably did not help when it came to my birth experience.

"The Bump"

Let me start this post with a controversial, but heartfelt declaration:

The NCT are careless, thoughtless, and naive.

I have some positive things to say about the NCT, and I know that my experience of them is not necessarily shared by others, but they did nothing whatsoever to prepare me for this birth. They did, however, introduce me to other expectant women, who have since become close friends, and for this, I am grateful.

NCT mistake number 1: Think of giving birth as a magical experience, which will bring you and your partner closer together. Pack your hospital bag with candles, music, romantic underwear (yes, they said that).

I was sharing a coffee with my NCT group the day before my due date. We were excited for K, who was due that day. Everything ached. Afterwards I did a supermarket shop, purchasing items we had been told we might need for our time in labour: chocolate, juice, water, sandwich ingredients,champagne (yes, I really thought we would need it) and pork pies (I had cravings). As I went home I had period pain.

NCT mistake number 2: You will know when you have a contraction. It is like no other pain you have experienced. It will bend you over double, then it will be over and you will feel fine.

I had that dull ache all day, and into the evening. At 7pm I had a show. I called the hospital. They said I sounded like I was having mild contractions and to come in when they really got going….

NCT mistake number 3: A nice warm bath will relax the contractions and ease the pain so you can stay longer at home.

At 10.30 I still wasn’t sure I was in labour so I got in the bath. Bang! A contraction. A searing, raging pain of a contraction that did not stop. My husband called the hospital. They wanted to speak to me but I could hardly breathe, let alone speak. We drove down the motorway to the hospital with me kneeling in the back, arms wrapped around the headrest, head jammed against the rear window, wailing.

NCT mistake number 4: Your body knows what to do. Rock, moan, breathe your way through the pain. Pain relief is not ideal for you or the baby, and you do not need it if you get into the right frame of mind.

I don’t need pain relief, I don’t need pain relief, I don’t need pain relief……get me an epidural now! I am given gas and air and examined. One centimetre. I am taken to the labour ward and hooked up to the machines. There is no anaesthetist at the moment, hang in there. More wailing. Why doesn’t the pain stop, I was told I would have time to breathe and recover in between contractions.

NCT mistake number 5: Take great care over your birth plan. It is your passport to the kind of birth you want.

Here’s my birth plan, here’s how I want this labour to go, please help me have the experience I was told I could plan for. Ok we’ll just put it over here whilst we examine you. Oh 7 centimetres! It’s going very fast, that’s why she’s so stressed.

NCT mistake number 5: You need to be in an upright position to give birth. Do not lie on your back – the baby needs your pelvis free to open.

I need to stand, get me off the couch, I need to be on all fours, at least let me get onto my knees. No, you need to be on this couch, lying down so we can help you push. Where is my epidural? No time for that now.

After one contraction lasting 3 hours solid GG is born. I did it, with nothing but gas and air! I rock! I never got that epidural, but I am so glad now. How great am I? I had a baby with no real pain relief. I am a superstar!

‘Erm, you have a lot of tears. We’re going to need to give you an epidural so that we can stitch you up’….. πŸ˜•

My beautiful girl…

I had a very fast birth; the contractions began, and followed each other with no break, for 3 hours. Let me tell you, a fast labour is not necessarily a better labour. It was frightening, I was out of control, and it was nothing like I had been led to believe. My labour with my second child was completely different, but when I heard a woman wailing in the next room I panicked, crying, and requested an epidural. I feel I let my son and myself down with that action – I know I didn’t need that epidural.

No-one could have predicted the shock and fear of that first labour, but I believe that if I had been given realistic expectations I may have handled things better. I do not blame my NCT teachers, but I do think that by painting a blanket picture of a birth that is natural and positive, by proclaiming that women’s bodies and their babies ‘know’ what to do and can manage it for themselves, the NCT is acting naively.

By not getting the birth I was brainwashed to expect, I felt like I got something wrong. No woman deserves to feel inadequate after the birth of her first child, but I did – because of the expectations I took away from my NCT classes. Women died in childbirth. They still do on occasion. It is natural, yes, but not every woman will experience the labour and birth that the NCT promote. I will hazard a guess that not many of the posts linked here will showcase such a birth story. I hope I am proved wrong….

Link up, grab the badge from my sidebar, then go and have a read:

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71 thoughts on “Share Your Birth Story”

  1. Ha – I only had gas and air the first time round- difference was labour lasted round two hours from first contraction to delivery and she only weighed two pounds! Well done to you!
    I have to say I’m not big on encouraging women to be in pain needlessly – when I had an epdidural after many hours second time round, I relaxed, was able to talk to the nurses and joke while I very very very very slowly dilated enough to give birth. I think it took 16 hours maybe more. SO long anyway that they gave me an epidural because they were going to give me an emergency C section – in the end I had my second child naturally before a theatre came free for the surgery!

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  2. After my labour and birth I swore that I would never do it again, now I want another baby and the whole trauma of labour has been forgotten (well kind of)

    I couldn’t imagine a 3 hour labour like yours, well done for gettig through it with just G&A.

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  3. My first labor was 35 hours followed by complications that lead to surgery.

    My second labor was 19 hours after 4 days in slow labor!!

    Would happily do it all again though – hopefully a little quicker next time though πŸ˜‰

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  4. I’ve been there 3 times – the longest labour three and a half hours – the shortest two. All very different. Number one, text book. Number two, a nightmare. Number three magical.

    Like you, no time for pain relief for any of them, not even gas and air.

    Good, bad, whatever the labour it really is true that it’s all worth it in the end.

    (and yes, you do rock!)

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    • I think it is worth remembering that no two labours are the same, even for the same woman – I didn’t realise that, which is why I made mistakes with my second. Thanks for that comment πŸ™‚

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  5. Very honest post.
    I suspect every birth story is an individual one.
    My first labour in my opinion lasted 3 days when baby got in weird position but I did not hate it at all. Second one I hated completely and third one was an emergency c-section.
    I am laughing at the idea of anyone presenting childbirth as a romantic encounter.

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  6. Great idea. So many mums go into labour with either unrealistic ideals or awful fears. You must have been terrified during your first labour! Knowledge is power I say (and the ability to relax and go with your body – which I acknowledge is easy to say if your pain relief is actually working!). One thing that puts me off a second is my fear that Sod’s Law says it won’t be as “good” as the first…! I posted my story as a guest post a few month’s ago so hooked up a linky for you!

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  7. Thanks for this. I have added mine. I was in a similar position- just a bit of gas and air then an epidural for the tearing. Joy!

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  8. OOh love reading birth stories. My first was wonderful started at home ended at hosp but all under my control and home 6 hrs after giving birth. My mum took some amazing photo’s of eldest crowning. Twins were a c-section which was not what I wanted but sometimes you do what is best for babies. Not an unpleasant experience. In fact kinda funny and this time OH caught it on video. So have a great record of both births πŸ™‚

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  9. Well done with your labour, sounded eventful to say the least. My 2 labours have really been quite uneventful – My first saw my waters brake in Tescos (not a big flood, I made it to the toilet) and I continued to shop and put it away, whilst my husband walked the dog before popping over to the hospital. I was induce 2 days later and went for the epidural as I couldn’t get the hang of the gas and air and it was too painful πŸ™ !!
    I blogged about my second birth where I was in full blown labour whilst eating a McDonalds and despite my best efforts for getting morphine gas and air was all I had. However I loved being able to get up and have a shower after given birth.
    A friend of mine told me prior to having my babies, remember you get no extra thanks or reward for being a marta, take the drugs and enjoy the experience πŸ™‚

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  10. blimey your labour was a bit umm well horrid by the sounds of it!! 3 hours is very fast indeed which `i guess makes the pain a lot more intense whereas although mine was a `LOT longer I didn’t feel the pain was that bad but then if i had all that condensed into 3 hours like you did, i think i would be telling a different version of how bad the pain was!!
    I think you did brilliantly. i also think that actually we women are bloody amazing when you think what pain our bodies can actually withstand
    thanks for sharing and starting this linky xx

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  11. Poor you. I’ve been through it 5 times and each was different. First 3 in England and last 2 in France. I have to say France was better (the birth experience anyway). 1st was fine but painful (my husband has the fingernail gouges in his hands to prove it), 2nd was undignosed breach (a bit scary), 3rd had to be induced 2 weeks early due to cholestasis, 4th and 5th were brilliant thanks to an epidural (80% of women have one in France). I’ve blogged about my last birth experience although it wasn’t really the birth so much as the whole pregnancy and how I felt having a girl after 4 boys. I will do a birth story (or 5) one day – just got to get through NaBloPoMo first! lol

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    • I have heard that in France it is the mother who they look after first. Compulsory pelvic floor physio training afterwards I hear? Now that would have been great for me πŸ˜‰

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  12. Three hours? Wow – no wonder the pain was so intense. Between my waters breaking and having an emergency c-section, I had no labour pain or any other discomfort – maybe that’s why the doctor said it could take about 17 hours if I had a natural birth!
    My friend had her baby here (in Lagos) earlier this year and all the nurses were ‘egging’ her on – saying she should have an epidural, and that she wouldn’t be able to handle the pain because she’s an ‘oyinbo’ (white). She was in labour for 2.5 hours and had just gas and air!

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  13. fast births are not fun are they – and I personally think epidurals ROCK! Love em as you can see from my birth stories!
    Although I didn’t get involved with the NCT until after the birth I think you’re probably right, I think their attitude to birth is way too fuzzy but I do think they are great at teaching breastfeeding (although they can get on their high horses about this too!)

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  14. Have now entered as promised – you’ve read it before I know as it was on a collection on BMB blogposts about Christmas.
    For me Amelie’s birth and Christmas will always be intertwined. So this is having a baby at 28 weeks and being bluelighted to a hospital 50 miles away because there are no free intensive care incubators in London. Fun fun fun! Still we lived to tell the tale which was not a foregone conclusion! So at least there’s a happy ending x

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  15. Such a great idea for a linky! I wrote both my birth stories on my blog, I’ve linked up to Noah’s because it’s the nicer of the 2 – Isla’s was 3 parts long, and was pretty horrendous! Love reading other people’s birth stories.

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  16. Brilliant post – I never did NCT and so glad now as my first birth experience was nothing like how they describe it. I did feel a bit traumatised first time around – if I thought it was supposed to be all natural and lovely then it’d have been even worse.

    What on earth are the sexy lingerie for at the birth? To mop your sweating brow?

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    • NCT think of it as a special bonding occasion at which you will want to feel your best. I remember being very worried about respect and decency – well before I cast off all my clothes and decided I couldn’t care less who saw what!

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  17. Mummy’s totally with you on the NCT! Great for meeting people in a similar position, but very rose-tinted in their promotion of birth!

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  18. I was so excited to see on twitter that there were a bunch of birth stories all linked together in 1 place! I love birth stories! But as I read this post and then the comments below it I started to wonder if maybe I wouldn’t fit it!?
    I had a beautiful birth at home without any pain relief and have lots of friends who have so I know it’s not a myth πŸ™‚ Having said that, I don’t judge anyone who does have pain relief or a hospital birth – each to their own I say and I imagine each mummy has done their research and chosen what is right for them.
    So I linked in my birth story anyway and am desperately hoping you won’t judge me after having read all of the above opinions on pain relief. I still wanted to join in the birth story fun! πŸ™‚

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    • I am so glad you joined and of course no-one will judge you! The thing I am loving about this is that there are not two stories the same, even with the same mum. And the lovely stories just help to remind us of the end goal and how lovely it is to have our children!

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  19. Thanks for the opportunity to link up. There is no NCT here in Spain. I don’t think anything could really have prepared me for the reality of childbirth. x

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  20. Also another good tip that the NCT don’t mention is make sure you have working brake lights on the car before you do a midnight dash to hospital.
    We forgot this and ended up being pulled up by the police. Firstly they didn’t believe K when he said we we on way to hospital as I was in labour, until PC stuck head into our car and saw me groaning and moaning. Secondly K then had to spend 10 mins filling in stupid paperwork before we could carry on. Grrrrr

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  21. There is a masssive difference between what you are told to expect at antenatal and the reality – it really does set your expectations totally out! Well a healthy baby at the end is the important thing (which doesn’t very sadly happen for everyone). Loved linking up my home birth story!xxx

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  22. Ah I really enjoyed reading your story. I had writing about my births on my Day Zero List and seeing this has given the motivation to tick that one off. I can’t wait to come back and read some other stories when I’ve got a minute. Thanks for hosting!

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  23. Thank you so much everyone for sharing your stories. They have been inspiring to read, and I have been overwhelmed by your openness and honesty. Please do visit each other, I have read them all and I can promise you some breathtaking reads πŸ™‚

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  24. Your first birth sounds very like mine, but I had a better experience with my NCT classes. Nothing I read prebirth told me my contractions might start off really close together (or joined up) and that they would stay this way. Then again the midwives weren’t prepared for this or how quickly I would dilate as a result so I’m guessing it’s the exception rather than the rule

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  25. And the lovely stories just help to remind us of the end goal and how lovely it is to have our children! Mummy’s totally with you on the NCT!

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  26. Oh my! Yes they do spin some rubbish in those leaflets, I was screaming for drugs with my second but I had to do it with gas and air and then a shot of morphine which hadn’t kicked in until after she was born. Labour can be such a long, drawn out process but I’d never wish to have a quick labour, I like being in control.

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  27. Sorry lovely, I managed to add my blog post, but then typical child interrupt and didn’t manage to post. Well you know how much the NCT likes me – NOT! But I agree, and I’m not a fan of hypnobirthing either.
    Max arrived in 4hrs, which was a hell of a shock and meant no time for pain relief. I screamed so bad I couldn’t speak for a week!
    Willow was a steady relaxed 7 hrs, and I chatted throughout with the midwife and doula in my lounge and didn’t need pain relief.
    Can’t believe one person can have such different experiences!

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  28. I was totally put off by NCT after hearing from some friends that they ‘romanticise’ labour – as much as I wanted to believe it was true I knew in my heart of hearts it was impossible!

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    • Oooh brilliant! Yes I have put the link into the Pregnancy section of Love All Blogs but I’m a bit worried that we’ll have some very scared pregnant bloggers if they read all of these!

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  29. That’s some story! And based on your last comment, I’d love to see all these birth stories on one site divided into types, you know ‘home births’, ‘horror stories’, ‘happy endings, middles and starts’, ‘I had a lovely midwife’ etc etc lol

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  30. Oh wow, what a crazy ride that sounded! I am absolutely with you re the NCT, and posted in December about the whole pursuit of natural birth on a pedestal when a colleague told me about her sister’s birth story who almost died in labour. It utterly changed my perspective, especially as I’d beaten myself up for months after my first labour ended in an emergency section, so felt I’d failed.

    The point of a birth story is the outcome at the end! The baby, in degrees of wrinkled up cuteness, and mama, exhausted, slightly more destroyed, and a whole heck of a lot more aware of how powerful she is at the achievement – of growing an entire person for 9 months and then getting it out of her body at the end! Hurray! And frankly, there should be a National Pain Relief Public Holiday – if men had babies, they would only ever have one, and they would all be delivered by section! Birth stories are just amazing.

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    • Lol! I would love to see a Man go through pregnancy and labour – and breastfeeding for that matter! Can’t believe you have written up your birth story so quickly – well done!

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  31. Done it as threatened! Now to spoil the party a little.

    My wife works for the NCT so I can tell you for a fact that the course content is down to the individual teacher, who is a contract freelancer and not employed by the NCT. There is no standard course content or length it is entirely down to the A.N.T. within some fairly loose guidelines. We have one teacher in our area who does ‘birth art’ which makes me want to throw up but another who is pro-choice and gives ‘only the facts’. The sad thing is actually you get no choice in what type of teacher you get.

    Anyway have a read of mine and see JUST how unromantic birth can be…..

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  32. I would echo slightlysuburbandad’s point that NCT classes are down to the individual teacher. We’ve done two rounds of classes, one for each of my wife’s pregnancies, and seen both ends of the spectrum. It’s definitely awful when you attend and meet the type who only tells you how wonderful it all is – and their view is clearly the result of the fact that they were just lucky in that they had a more straightforward labour.

    Voluntary breastfeeding counsellers, as distinct from the NHS paid sort, exhibit the same problem. A woman who is lucky enough to have a pain and problem free breastfeeding experience (the exception rather than the rule) has an evangelical experience and decides to share that joy by counselling others, trying to explain that it’s all natural and lovely.

    Both labour and breastfeeding are completely individual, personal subjective experiences, just the way no two people are exactly the same. Anyone who doesn’t acknowledge this shouldn’t really be teaching an NCT course.

    http://thebrightondad.wordpress.com

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    • Brilliant take on it Brighton Dad! Someone who can’t deal with the broad spectrum of difficulties and emotions should not be let loose on naive new parents at all! I suppose we’ll never really get what we need, given that the NCT is run by volunteers and the NHS have no dosh!

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      • Agree completely – what I should have added is though there are faults I can find with the NCT (and often do) I’m impressed by what they achieve across the country with the resources they have.

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