real birth stories
Labour & birth

Real birth stories

Every birth is different … three mothers share their amazing birth stories.

1. No more head down

“I had an unsettled nights sleep and woke at 6am with a few little pains. I stayed in bed, but couldn’t get comfortable. After about an hour, I started to time my pains. My contractions were every 1.5 minutes, but I wanted to stay home as long as I could. At about 10:30am I told my partner I needed to go to the hospital.

We got to the hospital and at this point, I was 4cm so they brought me straight to the delivery suite. However, before I was to get the epidural the nurse informed me that baby had moved back up, no more head down. So I was unable to get the epidural and had to bounce on the birthing ball to try get that baby to move back down. I used gas and air if and when I needed it, and it was all very relaxed.

Eventually, after a few hours, baby decided to come back down. My midwife called for my epidural. By the time it was administered, I had the urge to push – the midwife said I wasn’t fully dilated but she checked again and with that, my water broke. A few pushes later and my son was born. All my waters hadn’t gone before so he literally came out on a wave!

I was quickly sat up and the cannula was removed as the epidural hadn’t had time to even work. I had a wonderful labour and felt totally in control and relaxed throughout. Seeing the little person always makes it so worth it.”

  • Kacy Downes

2. Polyhydramnios

“I had struggled with high blood pressure from 29 weeks and was hospitalised twice with it. Coupled with this, I had polyhydramnios (which is excessive levels of amniotic fluid) and I had a suspected large baby on board. At 39 weeks, during a routine check, my blood pressure became very high. A decision was made to induce my labour.

A short while later, I was given my first dose of prostaglandin gel and asked to remain lying down for 30 minutes, after which I could take a walk. When the 30 minutes were up I went for a walk, but I felt more and more pressure on my back and abdomen. Minutes later, they went and this time I was left in no doubt as I saw first hand exactly what polyhydramnios meant!

I began to dilate very soon after my waters broke and I was transferred to the labour ward. The contractions were coming quick and fast with very little break in between them. A clip was placed on my baby’s head for closer monitoring as she was becoming distressed. I dilated from one to ten centimetres in two hours. Baby’s heart rate was still erratic and it was important to get baby out as quickly as possible.

It took just ten minutes to push my beautiful baby daughter into the world. She was perfect and beautiful, all 9lbs 1oz of her.”

  • Jen Hogan

3. ‘Her head is out..’

“On March 7th 2016 at 3am I woke up with a contraction, not a Braxton Hick, but a real contraction coming in a wave of gripping pain. I felt another contraction 20 minutes later. This carried on until the morning and I told my partner Neil to go to work, as they were still 20 minutes apart and I thought they might stop.

At 9am, I dropped my son Kyle to school and as I was walking out of his yard, I grabbed onto a wall pillar as I was unable to walk with the pain of another contraction. I called my mum and I told her I’d keep her posted. By 10.30am, my contractions were now five minutes apart. By 10.45am, I was draped over the bath as the contractions were getting really intense and I felt extreme pressure.

I called my mum at 11am and half an hour later she arrived to drive me to the hospital. I made it just to the end of the stairs and I was on all fours on the bottom step. My mum called an ambulance at 12pm. We arrived to the hospital at 12.25pm. As soon as I spotted the midwife I said I need an epidural. Of course, there was no time, but I felt I needed one to push her out.

The midwife examined me and I was 10cm. Neil and my mum were right by my side. Neil said, “We are going to meet our baby really soon.” “I know honey..” I said. “No, Laura her head is out…” Neil replied. And with one more push (at 12.31pm), our beautiful Briar Rose was born weighing 7lb 4oz. ”

  • Laura Doyle

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ASK LUCY

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….

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Ask Allison

Q My sister-in-law and I both work three-day weeks and we help each
other out with child minding on our working days, which up until recently has worked out really well. Between us, our kids are aged between five and nine years – the problem is that it’s now become quite apparent that we have very different parenting styles. I prefer my two daughters (seven and nine) to have a structured day. For example, in my house, we have allocated times for television and iPads, etc. My sister-in-law, however, lets the kids run loose after school – homework is ignored and my kids end up wired after eating sugary treats all afternoon. I am considering looking at after-school childcare for the kids, but I’m worried that this is going to cause a family argument. Is there a diplomatic way that I can ask my sister-in-law to introduce some discipline into her child-minding days? It certainly doesn’t do her two kids any harm when I am minding them in my own house!

A
In a word, no, there is no diplomatic way to do this as it may very likely seem like your saying that your parenting style is better than
hers. As L’Óreal says, ‘now here comes the science bit.’ Dr. Kaylene
Henderson, a child psychiatrist, wrote a very interesting blog about ‘the
science behind the Mummy Wars’. She explains that before she had
children of her own she hadn’t been aware of how parents have a
very specific sense of the right parenting style. She also found that parents could be very definite in defending their chosen parenting style. Dr. Henderson, who describes herself as a curious, scientific, open-minded person, was surprised at how defensive parents could be and, at times, of their judgemental attitude towards each other. She explained the neurology of the Mummy Wars; okay, I’ll need you to bear with me for a second. Warning; I’m about to use some neuro-techie language.

Why do we judge each other?
As we have all had different experiences, this means that we all have very different memories stored in our brains. Most of our memories are ‘explicit’ memories – these are ones that we can recall easily such as important dates that mean something to us; important birthdays, special events or stories of and about our lives.
There is another type of memory called ‘implicit’ memory that plays a
key role in our parenting. This type of memory is the stuff that you do on autopilot. Psychologists call these heuristics or rules of thumb –
such as tying your shoelace, or driving your car (once you have learnt
to do both first!). Otherwise we’d really waste a huge amount of time
pondering over tasks that we have readily available to us. This seems to be where the science bit of our parenting style kicks in. This implicit memory goes all the way back to when you were an infant being parented by your parents. This is when you started the process of storing up how they did it into your memories.
Unless you make a conscious choice and effort to parent differently, what you saw and unconsciously learnt will be your automatic go-to parenting style.

We learn habits
This can really kick into gear when we feel our parenting style is
being mirrored or highlighted by disapproval from another parent. I know the cold sweat you feel when your child decides to make their outstanding bad behaviour performance at, of course, the most public and worst time. The implicit autopilot of how your parents dealt with these outbursts will flow unconsciously from you if you haven’t worked super hard to be aware and consciously change the old habits.
What’s happening for the on-looking parent is that they see you doing something they are used to doing, but you are doing it all wrong. Simply, because that is not how they know how to do it.

Find a way that works
You both have different parenting styles – who is to say which type is correct? You just need to know what works best for your family and that’s the bottom line. The irksome feelings won’t go away. You can talk to your sister-in-law, but I’m adding a caveat that it would be hard not to hurt her feelings. What we’re possibly looking at is that you prefer a more structured form of parenting, whereas your sister-in-law has a more permissive style. I’m not sure the two styles can mix, the mixture is a bit like oil and water.
If a collaborative shared form of parenting style can be agreed upon, then that is great, but our learnt hardwiring may prove difficult to change despite the intent to do so.
Perhaps, your own instinct of changing childcare might work best for you. In terms of making childcare work; the fit is ultimately the most
important aspect as you want a cohesive congruent feeling of the other caregiver to just ‘getting it’, like in any good partnership. Best of luck
with this and I wish you both well.