honest birth story
Labour & birth

My honest birth story

Right from the very first contraction, Jennie Dennehy shares an honest description of her son’s birth.

It started with a sweep

I went along to my scheduled hospital appointment on the 18th December and by this stage I was four days overdue. I was told that the maximum I could go over was ten days, which would mean me getting induced on Christmas Eve! That was something I didn’t request in my letter to Santa…

Fortunately, the sweep seemed to have worked. On the journey home from the hospital I started getting mild cramps, which I hoped was the very early stages of labour. It was time to make sure my hospital bag was ready to go and I also took the opportunity to have a shower and wash my hair. I didn’t know how long it would be until I got another chance to have one!

I also decided to pose for another picture of my bump. I was in no mood to stand around smiling at the camera, but I knew I’d regret it if I didn’t.

Home work

I decided to go to bed and try and get some rest but the pains were getting worse. So in the early hours of the morning I went downstairs for a bounce on my birthing ball; to hopefully speed the whole process along. I got my husband to help me set up the tens machine and began using that and I flicked on repeats of Keeping up with the Kardashians. I needed something light and fluffy to distract me.

When the contractions got worse and closer together we decided to head to the hospital. I kept going back and forth about whether to go or not. This meant that my husband was caught deflating and inflating the birthing ball over and over because I wanted to bring it with us. Looking back, it’s quite funny but at the time nothing was going to make me laugh.

We parked near the hospital and I closed my eyes for a few minutes before heading inside. I’d downloaded some so-called soothing music but in the end I listened to some Emeli Sandé, which was equally as relaxing.

Still early days

I went in to be assessed, however when they checked me I was only one centimetre dialated. What! All that pain for one lousy centimetre. They told us that there was still a long way to go and that we’d be better off at home, so off we went. I was feeling exhausted. I did my best to rest and then a couple of hours later (after some more inflating and deflating) we headed back to the hospital. My waters broke en route so I was left sitting on a soggy car seat for the rest of the journey – lovely!

I was assessed again around midday. Unfortunately, I was only a couple of centimetres further along. By this time I was desperate for some form of pain relief. I was told that the only thing I could have was pethidine and although this wasn’t in my birth plan I decided to go ahead. I was then transferred to the ward. I didn’t find the pethidine helped much with the pain, but it certainly made me more relaxed and very drowsy. The main thing that helped was the tens machine and I found it was a great distraction.

The baby is coming

Four pm is classed as meal/rest time in the Coombe. As I was still on the ward my husband was asked to leave and he went down to the coffee shop. The thing is, not long after I began to feel the strangest sensation that I needed to push. I remembered a woman on One Born Every Minute describing the same feeling late on in labour so thought I better ask to be re-examined. After checking me again I was eight centimetres. It was time to summon my husband back quickly!

My first concern was that the baby could be made drowsy by the pethidine, as I’d only had it a couple of hours earlier. My second concern was that I was too far along for an epidural. I would have to rely on gas and air only – eeek. Fortunately, there were no complications and I was so relieved when my healthys baby boy was delivered at 18:14 pm. I’ve heard people describe their labour as a beautiful experience. I wouldn’t describe it that way. You get a beautiful baby at the end of it, but the experience is anything but!

honest birth story

You can follow Jennie’s blog at  Mummy Vs The World, or find her on Facebook here

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Homebirth in Ireland
Post-birth recovery
Maternity options in Ireland


Q My son is 18 months old and has just started saying his first words. It is an extremely exciting time in our house and my husband and I are eager to encourage his speaking as much possible. What advice would you give us on how we can foster this without bombarding and confusing him?

AThere is nothing better than hearing your baby begin to talk. All the hard work you have put in over the last two years is coming back tenfold.
Toddlers will vary significantly with ability and speed of which they talk however a guide would be about 50 words by 2 years of age. The most important thing to watch for is that your baby/toddler is cooing and babbling and begins to string sounds together like “Mama/Dada” They should have a wide range of speech sounds and like to imitate you and things they hear.
There are many ways that you can promote Speech and Language development at home:
1. Slowing down your own speech and taking time over conversations with your little one. Every day is a new experience when you are 18 months, nappy changes, bath time, baking a cake brings endless opportunity for you to interact and offer new words for them to hear and repeat. Make eye contact, smile and use exaggerated tones to keep things interesting and fun for your tot.
2. Review the toys that you have on offer to your tot and ensure that they give plenty of open ended play opportunities. Role play is a wonderful way to allow children to take the lead. Kitchens with lots of plates, cups and pots. Fill the pots with dry pasta and allow your child to cook and serve you. Playdoh, painting, gardening and sandpits are also great for allowing your child to take the lead and babble about what they are doing. Read plenty of books together and point and allow them time to answer any questions that you ask.
3. Limit screen time. Overuse of televisions and iPads do not give your child opportunity to interact in a two way manner.
4. Ask your child lots of open ended questions “What’s that?” “Where are we?” Point at things they know the answer to for boosting confidence (Car/ Car, etc.) When they don’t know the answer, explain it to them. Limit baby talk and speak clearly with good pronunciation, remember you are the teacher and they will copy you.
If you are concerned about your child’s speech and language development, be sure to speak with your GP or developmental Health Nurse. They are very skilled at understanding the difference between speech delays and spotting something that may require professional attention.
Enjoy watching their little brains absorb the world around them and listen to what they have to say. It won’t be too long before they won’t stop talking to you, asking “Why Mummy/ Daddy?” every 5 minutes….


Home birth in Ireland

Sophie Brigstocke, Director of Nurturing Birth, answers you questions and debunks some home birth myths.



Q. I’m would like to start an exercise programme that will benefit my emotional health as much as my physical health, but I don’t know which type of class would be best. Should I consider choosing from yoga, pilates, tai chi, or could you recommend a class, please?

A It’s great that you have decided to get into exercise. The benefits to you are going to be great. You’ll sleep better, have more energy, better skin, reduced stressed, not to mention all the amazing physical benefits of your clothes fitting better, and looking healthy, trim and toned! My advice to you would be to try them all. Even if some don’t offer pay-as-you-go sessions, if you get in touch directly with the instructor, they will almost always let you try it out first to see if it’s for you. All of the above things that you mentioned are great for mental health, so it really will be a personal preference as to which you go for. On top of the classes you mention, all forms of exercise will give you great mental rewards so consider the not so obvious interval training sessions, bootcamp, and circuits too, as you will also feel on top of the world after a class like that.