Birth stories

If you ever want to try to engage in conversation with a new Mum, there is a sure fire way to get straight in there, and that is to initiate conversation about their labour. Ask a leading question and watch them come alive as they recall their most intimate experience, yet also one of their proudest achievements.

We all have a friend (or two) who have told us their birth stories so many times we feel as though we were their birthing partner. Inside we might be nodding off, yet we listen attentively, congratulating them on their bravery, and making all the right noises at all the right parts of the story.

It seems as though no two deliveries are ever the same – with different twists and turns (literally), and every account reaching different levels of drama and emergency, pain like you couldn’t imagine and descriptions of interventions and assistance at a variety of levels. It’s a rarity to hear a low key version of events; “It wasn’t too bad, there were no problems’. And let’s face it why would there be, this is likely to be one of the most bizarre experiences and focal points of our entire lives.

And of course, why shouldn’t we, as women milk these experiences for everything they are worth. We just squeezed a human being out of our vagina. Or, in some other equally traumatic scenarios, had a tiny live person lifted out of us with a major operation that sliced through our skin, our tissue, our abdominal muscles and our uterus. Not exactly a walk in the park.

Word on the street is that some folk can be less than kind about the method of delivery. You won’t be finding any of that nonsense here…I’m all for celebrating every style of being born. Quite frankly they could have pulled my babies out of my nose if it meant I had them safe in my arms.

And then there’s the whole thing about pain relief. Going natural and seeing how far I could go wasn’t even something  I worried about first time around. Having gone 9 months without the dreamy sensation of a couple of sav blancs, and given I was already un-naturally being induced by a pigs-sperm hormone, I basically worked my way through the drugs menu from starters right through to dessert.

My labours have all been induced, for varying reasons. I guess I’ve always felt a little bit sad that I never got to experience that ‘get the bags’ moment, but like I said, out of my nose if I had to. Besides, the reality of those car journeys and walks through hospital corridors are often the height of the drama of the post birth debrief.

So none of my labours were at all natural. They were all pretty scary at points, and all involved a huge amount of intervention from the health care system I feel very lucky to have here in the U.K. God Bless our NHS.

Our own experiences have included foetal distress, episiotomy, emergency forceps delivery, stitches, low birth weight, and of course, the second delivery in which we said goodbye to our second daughter. That labour story sometimes gets forgotten – by everyone except us of course. All three deliveries had a lovely follow up of violent sickness, not exactly how I’d imagined the first moments with my daughter “Someone take her I’m going to be sick!”.

My experiences of labour however aren’t all bad. Given I always had the max amount of pain relief going, I can’t really complain about being in agony. God bless the person who invented the epidural; my Mum still can’t get over the fact I had a nap during the first stage of labour for my first child. And then, at the grand finale moment, as she described it head end was cracking jokes, while other end was like a scene from a horror movie, as they pulled our daughter out by her head with a giant pair of salad servers; foot on bed to anchor weight and heaving with all their might.

During the delivery of our youngest, it was eventually, a calm moment when she entered the world. We had a fair few hairy moments up to that point, but at the end of it all she seemed to just ‘fall out’ without me pushing.

I actually quite fancied the idea of a water birth for my last daughter. That seems to be a pretty magical experience to anyone who managed to have one. And I totally missed the hypnobirthing train too, I’d have liked to have given that a go? Although knowing my luck I’d have ended up with an emergency C-section after months of reading and meditating.

I actually have really funny and fond memories of my deliveries. Even the really bad ones had moments where we were laughing (and wondering how on earth we could be). Whilst on the never ending path of being induced with our youngest, I think I entered a zone of hysteria where I couldn’t stop laughing at all the other women on the ward (the ones who seemed to give birth ten minutes after having their drugs). I even asked the midwives if I could do any little jobs as I was so sympathetic to how busy they were. As each one returned for another shift they’d all declare “Still here?!” and assure me tonight would be the night (it wasn’t).

I can’t see any Angry Birds merchandise without remembering how my Mums advice for pushing was to ‘look like an angry bird’, or pick up pickled onion Monster Munch without thinking about how they were the snacks I packed (and tried to eat whilst 7cm dilated). I’ll never live down the waffle I spouted to my in-laws while high on gas and air, and I can’t walk the corridors of the local hospital without remembering every step I took walking laps, and laps, and laps trying to ‘get the baby moving’. The stairwells, the grounds, the canteen, the gardens…they’re all like old friends.

And then, of course there is that first sight of your beautiful child. All squishy and slimy, and no matter how many times you’ve watched One Born Every Minute, you can’t quite believe this was inside you moments ago. Your eyes meet, you say hello for the first time, and you are imprinted together forever more.

So, although we might internally roll our eyes as that lady begins the story of her first contraction, again, maybe we should all be a little more giving with our listening. Our birth stories are our battle tales, the ones we still can’t believe we endured and survived. Our real life miracles and, for most of us, the tale of how we came home having won the ultimate prize.

There’s a huge part of me that feels sad I won’t get to go through giving birth again – finding out whether I could do it without pain relief, and maybe having that water birth. But, I have always stood by the fact that high up on my bucket list is being a birthing partner. Maybe I’ll get the chance to see a grandchild, niece or nephew born one day. Being able to support my girls, my sisters or a friend go through the experience would be just incredible.

And anyway, it only takes one horror story of pain and too late for an epidural to bring me right back to reality.

x MMT

PARENTHOOD | Anyone who knows my blog knows I never share face pics of the girls. Today I am breaking my rules because I’m celebrating five years of motherhood. Five years ago this morning I was handed this little bundle and little did I know it but my life would never be the same again. It’s been a journey filled with ups and downs; I haven’t always found it easy, but I wouldn’t change a thing. She’s turned into an amazing girl full of kindness, creativity and fun. While she’s celebrating being five, we’ll be raising a glass to surviving five years too 🍾🎈 . . . . . #coolmumclub #totsphoto #cherisheverymoment #simplepleasures #clickinmoms #littlefierceones #childhoodunplugged #thismamaloves #366daysofpositive #myhappycapture #pointshoot #dearphotographer #thatsdarling #takemyheartdear #oureverydaymoments #cameramama #littlefierceones #ig_motherhood #pixelkids #cherisheverymoment #thehappynow #rememberingthesedays #littleandbrave #childofig #pinklinker #happylittlebuttons #tribalchat #capturingtheday #throwbackthursday #livingfearlesslyauthentic

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Rhyming with Wine
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35 thoughts on “Birth stories

  1. beautybabyandme Reply

    love love love this post chick! I can relate to so much of what you’ve said and it’s so true; there is nothing like that moment you first hold your baby! Everyones birth is different – it’s another one of these subjects where people shouldn’t judge but they do irritatingly! I love this and how supportive you are of all births xx #dreamteam

  2. Laura Beresford Reply

    I think telling your birth story is like a rite of passage into motherhood 🙂 #TriumphantTales

  3. Something About Baby Reply

    What a lovely post. I am one of those people that loves to share my birth story, but I try to hold back when discussing with mums-to-be or friends without babies yet as it wasn’t pretty and was pretty scary. But my labour doesn’t bother me one bit – when strangers ask me how it was I always reply “yeah it was fine, long and a bit painful, but fine” when in fact it was an induction lasting 3 days that ended in an emergency c-section. But it’s still my story, and it is what it is, I’m not ashamed. Love that photo too, what a beautiful baby! #DreamTeam

    1. Something About Baby Reply

      Popping over from #TriumphantTales also!

  4. babiesbiscuitsandbooze Reply

    I love this – personally I ADORE a good birth story and definitely think we should all be proud and feel able to talk about them freely and openly.
    I am laughing about the ‘angry birds’ thing – it makes a lot of sense!!
    This time round my aim is for a waterbirth (ha isn’t it always?!) and I’m doing a hypnobirthing course so I’m hoping to have a completely different experience than first time round. Or maybe if it’s a similar situation (baby might be in distress, stuck on the bed for monitoring, ended up with episiotomy and forceps) they’ll actually let me have some drugs this time?! That would be nice, too. But either way I will probably be sharing the story #DreamTeam

  5. and Jacob makes three Reply

    Birth stories are brilliant. I can never hear too many.
    I tried hypnobirthing… I can’t say it helped during labour (unless it was subconscious… I was pretty good at slowly breathing in and out to get through contractions), but it did massively relax me during pregnancy. I used to listen to my downloaded hypnobirthing tracks in the bath. Bliss. Until hubby would walk in and take the piss by saying “You are a birthing goddess.” in a parody of the Friends episode where Chandler listens to hypnosis to stop smoking (You are a strong, confident woman)… it was funny the first time, not so much on the 20th consecutive day. #TriumphantTales

  6. softfuzzygunddog Reply

    Before I had Doll, birth stories were just a huge cringe-fest. Now that I’ve been through it once (and about to go again!) I actually listen quite attentively. Then again I don’t really have many people I’m close enough to to hear their birth story over and over and over. Just my sisters, really. Or two of them, in any case. And I’ve only heard it twice from one and not st all (since giving Doll) from the other.
    I like how you call them our battle storied. So true!
    #DreamTeam

  7. Nicole Reply

    Ah this post has it all – humour, emotion, meaning and it even brought a tear to my eye. Lovely read Sarah.
    – I love listening to birth stories too.
    – I don’t know how I would’ve survived without an epidural (I too was laughing and texting through the epidural phase) – God Bless the soul who created it
    – While pushing, I bit my husband’s hand and he screamed ‘Ouch’. I glared at him so bad, he still remembers lol. I mean, YOU are saying ouch???!!!
    – I love your mum’s phrases – classic!!
    #coolmumclub

  8. Rhyming with Wine Reply

    Oh I love this so much I could squeak! Your pickled onion monster munch are my bag of Revels. They shall never again be eaten without a smirk and a nod. Like you I’m no stranger to the salad servers or the tapestry work, although I did get to experience a water birth with my second which was lucky. I would like nothing more than to be a birthing partner at some point – it would be lovely to experience it and actually see it happening (without the owchy bit). Gorgeous post as always lovely xx

  9. Briony Reply

    I rarely talk about giving birth to L but I love hearing everyone elses stories, funny that. I love this post, very accurate and I love your picture a very special way to celebrate 5 years xx #coolmumclub

  10. franbackwithabump Reply

    Love this and so true. It doesn’t matter if you had no pain relief at all vs all the drugs in the world or sunroof vs having your wanny ripped apart…you made a baby and became a mum! Thanks for hosting #coolmumclub sorry I’ve been awol!! xx

  11. beautybabyandme Reply

    Stopping by again from #coolmumclub xxx

  12. talkingmums1 Reply

    This is a lovely post, birth stories are so similar but so different in so many ways. They are important because it’s when our lives change in a massive way. They bring about so much emotion. Even as a midwife I never tire of birth stories x
    #CoolMumClub

  13. Ursula (AKA Mumbelievable) Reply

    I hang on every word of a good birth story! Love the sense of solidarity and inclusion in this post. However and whenever it happened….we’ve made HUMANS and that is celebrated in abundance in your writing. Thanks for sharing this and for hosting #coolmumclub lovely Xxxxx

  14. amumcalledlucy Reply

    Love this post. I love hearing birth stories! I had two c-sections and I quite agree I would have pulled them out of my nose too if I had to. My babies are here and thats all that matters to me!
    Thanks for hosting #CoolMumClub

  15. Naptime Natter Wendy Reply

    I can really relate to this, there is no better conversation starter than asking a new mummy how was the labour! I actually really enjoy listening to birth stories and, like you, am a bit sad I will never go through it myself again. I think all mums are amazing, it doesn’t matter how they got their little one into the world xx #coolmumclub

  16. motherhoodtherealdeal Reply

    Honestly hon I never really talk about my birth story. Although that moment when I had my babe in arms the many hours leading up to it were rather horrendous…I had no pain relief…idiot! And when I look at those photos of me I’m like who is that overinflated whale???! Not me, surely. But you know, each to their own. Lots of #coolmumclub love as always lovely xoxo

  17. mommyandrory Reply

    What a lovely post! I love hearing people birth stories almost as much as I like reciting my own! I’m definitely the person who’s told everyone their story 1000 times over
    Congratulations on 5 years parenting! #coolmumclub

  18. itsmeanniebee Reply

    AH that’s lovely. It bought back memories of my birth (not MY birth, you know what I mean) it was awful but lovely. I never tell my birth story as I was the first of our friends to have a baby and I didn’t want to put them off so it just kind of got forgotten about. Thank you for reminding me to remember x #coolmumclub

  19. Winnettes Reply

    I can hugely relate to much of this. I was induced twice but I was pleased the ‘get the bag’ moment was taken away. I wanted to be in hospital surrounded by people who knew what they were doing! I’m know I’m a bit odd with this one.
    #coolmumclub

  20. barriebismark Reply

    I love hearing birth stories. It is a right of passage for all mothers to share their story!
    #coolmomsclub

  21. fortheloveofjars Reply

    I love this! We’re bloody heroes you know?! I’ve heard my friends’ birth stories so many times I could probably tell you each one myself in detail but they all earned the right to share them as often as they like. I was induced with both of mine too and would love to have experienced going in to natural labour but they arrived and that was the main thing – the first was a 36 hour nightmare, the second a 45 minute piece of cake! #coolmumclub

  22. Aleena Brown Reply

    I hate to say it, but I’ve had 2 of those “it wasn’t too bad, no complications” births… neither was longer than 3 hours, no pain relief with number 2, etc… I like to think of it as karma’s way of paying us back for the years prior to that 😛 #coolmumclub

  23. Confessions of a working mum Reply

    Best laid plans and all that. My plans for a water birth were scuppered by my awkward bean who decided to stop growing and I didn’t get a choice about pain relief. My midwife didn’t believe me when I told her I’d progressed to the second stage of labour and so I didn’t get gas and air until 20 minutes before I gave birth (nearly in the lift!) Still, as you say – it doesn’t matter how they get here…. I love a good birth story – the more detailed the better ha ha! #Coolmumsclub xx

  24. Muffin top mummy Reply

    I love a good birth story! I read them obsessively before I had my baby – I found it fascinating. So many crazy things happen during birth, I love it when a Mum is happy to share #coolmumclub

  25. Helena Reply

    It’s great to read people’s birth stories and how we each have very different tales to tell. I bonded with a mum over hers recently and humour. #coolmumclub

  26. Jakijellz Reply

    Ahhh lovely. And I love a good birth story. Although the response to mine is usually ‘oh you’re so lucky’ given I dare utter the words ‘textbook labour’! Eeek. It definitely should be celebrated. It’s so major and like you said, by far my most proudest achievement. Thanks so much for linking up to #TriumphantTales with us.

  27. Annette, 3 Little Buttons Reply

    I do love a good birth story still, and of course it snaps me right back to why there won’t be any more birthing over here lol. They really are like battle stories aren’t they. Did someone say salad servers *runs to hide. Thanks so much for sharing with the #DreamTeam xx

  28. Mrs Mummy Harris Reply

    I love birth stories! mine was horrific and that comes from Hubby who works in a mortuary but i think he’s biased due to emotions! my friend had her placenta stuck and when the midwife tried to get it out she got covered in blood. She described it as horrifyingly embarassing at the time but now finds it hilarious for the poor midwife!
    These stories are definately something that should be shouted from the rooftop whether it be natural labour, induced, via c-section, forceps etc. My favourite term was when my stepmum had a c-section and told me she gave birth via “the sunroof” definately something thats always stuck with me fondly and made me not think of c-sections as something to be scared of.
    Thank you for linking up to #TriumphantTales. I hope to see you again next week!

    1. Mrs Mummy Harris Reply

      Popping back from #coolmumclub

  29. Peachy Reply

    I love a good birth story. Giving birth, no matter how it happens, is an amazing thing. I am often amazed by the entire reality of how humans are made. Every woman has the right to feel a sense of accomplishment. #coolmumclub

  30. Double the Monkey Business Reply

    You need to give me a year to go through my birth story lol! I love hearing about other people and what they experienced though. The human body is amazing! #coolmumclub

  31. crummymummy1 Reply

    Loved reading this! I’m tempted to wade in with my own three labour stories but I won’t bore you! #coolmumclub

  32. Lucy At Home Reply

    I love birth stories. My first story, I still can’t get through without shaking (even though it was over 6 years ago) and my second was a really wonderful experience. You probably couldn’t get two more different birth stories! #blogcrush

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