When it comes to birth stories, no two are ever the same. Every woman goes through a completely different and unique experience, some extremely trying and others quite cruisy (if you are lucky!) and everything in between.
Reading different birthing stories can provide us with a realistic, firsthand insight into the labour journey, sharing the good, the bad and the ugly. This can be especially helpful (or daunting) for expecting mothers.
In this blog post you will find mums who have gone through hospital births, birthing centres, home births, vaginal births, forceps, you name it, they are all unique in some way. You will find mums who decided to have a natural birth and others who opted for an epidural. Me being one of them.
Reading through a variety of different birthing stories will help give you a collection of negative and positive aspects of labour to give you a real glimpse into how it all goes down but hopefully, by the end of it, it will leave you feeling more confident heading into your own labour and delivery journey.
Edith’s Birth Story:
“I was quiet but humming and mainly had my eyes closed during contractions, connecting with my daughter on the inside. The midwives were convinced I’d done a calm birth course as they could see the contractions on screen, but not my ‘reaction’ to them. I guess I was pretty good at internalising pain.”
It was late on Wednesday night in the middle of January and was super hot, I couldn’t get to sleep. During my pregnancy, I would usually wake up at about 2am, eat 3 oranges and do some sewing or work emails. My due date was 2 days ago and being my first baby – I wasn’t sure if I would be on time or not. Meanwhile in Queensland, where my parents live, there were severe floods. Funny that my waters didn’t break.
My partner had already gone to bed at about 10pm. At 11pm the first contraction occurred. I didn’t want to wake him up in fear of him being grumpy with me for not letting him sleep. I hung out with my dog, Leon until about 2:30am. He was a great support and would do a little whine whenever I did. I woke my partner up when I knew the contractions were real and coming about 6 minutes apart. We drove to the hospital that was about 20 minutes away and my contractions slowed to zilch. I was about 1mm dilated. We were told to go home but we stayed and walked the aisles before there was a room that we were able to use.
I really wanted a water birth (hello birth plan) and there was only one bath at the hospital. It was a massive triangular shaped thing and we turned the taps on, and a dribble came out. They filled it to about 10cm and we were told that that was it, because of the water restrictions. I got in and the water barely covered my bits so that was a no go (goodbye birth plan).
My back was starting to hurt so I put the tens machine on. My partner was operating this with the strict instructions to never turn it up to 10. I kept asking for it to be turned up and up and up, he skipped number 9 and went straight to 10. He was then sacked from being the operator. I also had some gas, but this made me feel like puking.
I had a midwife and a trainee coming in and out of the room so many times, I wasn’t sure who was there or not. I had to wear a monitor that was an elastic belt with a plastic dint in it, as Edie’s heart rate wasn’t constant – hence the monitor. I really hated the monitor digging into me.
I was quiet but humming and mainly had my eyes closed during contractions, connecting with my daughter on the inside. The midwives were convinced I’d done a calm birth course as they could see the contractions on screen, but not my ‘reaction’ to them. I guess I was pretty good at internalising pain.
My playlist was playing. The trainee midwife turned it off when ‘Danger Zone’ by Kenny Loggins came on thinking that it was not appropriate for me. She didn’t know my sense of humour that well.
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I asked the main midwife – Ricky Lee, when she was going to tell me to push. It was never explained to me that this was up to me. I’d seen too many movies where the pushing is always instructed. My waters had to be broken by the midwife, then I was so ready to push, so did. Then I was told to stop pushing. It’s hard to push but harder to stop.
Next thing, the big red button was pushed, and the room was soon filled with doctors, lights and a bunch of other nurses as the umbilical cord was wrapped around Edie’s neck and her heart rate slowed too much with each push. I had to concentrate on the next contraction, and the next push, to be able to get her out, the female doctor (who looked about 16) performed an episiotomy, quickly unwrapped the cord from her neck and I was able to push her out. She was flopped on my chest and we just lay there, skin on skin whilst the doctor stitched me up. I was super proud of her and felt an instant flood of love feeling her tiny body on top of mine. She was healthy and tough and still is today.
We both then slept for about 10 hours whilst the girl in the next cubicle ate her stinky McDonald’s.
Breastfeeding came easy to me as she had such a good appetite but it sure did hurt (not my boobs though) when she had her first proper feed as I felt like I was having the strongest contraction ever, that combined with a stinging let-down, and I was a blubbering mess. I fed her for 17 months and she’s a strong, smart and fit girl today.
Olive’s Birth Story:
“I asked them not to clean her so I could have her immediately on my chest. They checked her vitals, and she was all good, then she was put on top of me. Weighing only 1.9kg – I could barely feel her physical weight but could feel her energy and soul. We were calm, quiet and exhausted together.”
I was 31 weeks pregnant. It was winter and cold. At about 2pm my daughter (who was 2) said “mummy’s doing a wee” and I felt a trickle going down the leg of my jeans. Goodbye birth plan and that trip to China next week. My partner was away on a camping trip without reception in our one car, so I was stranded at home with my daughter and dog, Edie and Leon. I called my friend who was training to be a midwife and asked her how you tell the difference between amniotic fluid and wee, asking for a friend. She said to get to the hospital, quick.
My partner eventually arrived home and stayed with Edie. My friend who lived down the road drove me to Bega hospital, a few hours later I went in an ambulance to the airport that was 2 hours away and flown to Sydney as it was too cold for the helicopter to land in Canberra (which was closer). The tiny plane barely fit me, my belly, the male nurse and his belly. It was quite comical how we were bumping bellies.
I was at the RPA hospital for 3 days with a lot of other mamas who were about to have early babies. We were tested, poked, proded, pricked and monitored. On the 3rd afternoon at 5pm, I felt my first contraction and told a nurse – she put the monitor on but couldn’t ‘see’ anything. I called my partner and told him to come to the hospital as I knew I was about to have my girl. He asked to speak to the midwife, she reassured him that I was being ‘silly’.
I was writing down the timing of contractions. A different nurse came past and could hear me moaning and took me down to the birthing suite. The contractions were coming hard and fast and hurt so much more than Edie’s. I asked for drugs, any drug, all of them, but then when the anaesthetist kid came in looking like ‘Q’ from James Bond, I actually laughed and told him to get out. I closed my eyes and concentrated on the contractions and felt like pushing before he was out the door.
I was bent over the side of the bed and saw the humidicrib ready for her. The room was once again filled with doctors and nurses. One last push and she came out. I was worried she would land on the floor but was caught by my temporary, lovely midwife and put directly into the humidicrib. I asked them not to clean her so I could have her immediately on my chest. They checked her vitals, and she was all good, then she was put on top of me. Weighing only 1.9kg – I could barely feel her physical weight but could feel her energy and soul. We were calm, quiet and exhausted together. The midwife then called my partner to tell him, he thought it was a prank. I was so desperate to see my first daughter, Edie and introduce her to Olive.
My milk didn’t come in (as quickly) this time as I was attempting to pump. The liquid gold drops I was producing were then put in a syringe that connected to a tube in Olive’s nose, which connected to her stomach whilst she was in her humidicrib. She was only having 1mL feeds at first. The nurses wanted to give her formula, but I was making just enough and I insisted that I keep trying to pump. The first 3 days I only produced drops, but persisted to try to pump every 3 hours, no matter how tired I was. My placenta was sent away for testing and dissected in the lab with the cause of early delivery put down to stress.
We spent the next 5 weeks in hospital together until she was well enough to breastfeed and go home. I breastfed for 12 months. We were fortunate enough to be put up by Ronald McDonald house. I feel guilty for bagging the other mum who was eating stinking Macca’s next to me when Edith was born.
The pumping ended up working and I had so much milk left over that my dogs ended up drinking it (well, they are my babies too) and I made soap too. I finally bought myself a car and she is now fit and healthy and you would never have known she was a preemie baby.
Ethan’s Birth Story:
“The birth was relatively fast once I got in the water. I can honestly say that not once did I feel the need for pain relief. I felt calm and at peace. I was focused on the job and listened carefully to my midwife’s encouragement and supporting words.”
I have two beautiful boys, Ethan who is 15 and Carter who is 9. Just like their personalities, both the boys’ birth stories are very different.
Ethan is my eldest and the inspiration behind the Cake Maternity brand. I was 32 years old at the time I was pregnant with him.
Just like most new mothers, I was filled with excitement and a need to do the best for my unborn child. I worked out most days at the gym, ate healthy nutritious foods and got plenty of sleep.
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My pregnancy was a joy. I felt great and carried small through the winter months.
I finished work as a high school teacher one week before Ethan was due. After two days of relaxing at home I went into labour. My labour started off subtle (small cramps to begin with). I spent that night sleeping on a mattress in the lounge. I stayed up late and watched late night TV. Being a first time mum I was filled with nerves and excitement. Sleep was the last thing on my mind.
At 12noon the next day, I suddenly felt the urge to eat a ‘Harry’s Pie’ (an institution in Sydney, Australia and there was a pie cart close by our apartment). Keith, my partner, went down to get lunch. During the short time he was gone, my labour pains intensified dramatically. As soon as he returned, I insisted that we go to the hospital. Much to Keith’s disappointment the pies did not get eaten…
My labour pains were frequent and strong by this time. We pulled up to the hospital and I was checked in. My midwife examined me and she told me that I was not fully dilated and that I should go home.
When we reached home, I lay on the bed and started to groan (something I thought I would never do). Keith laughed at me, as I sounded just like the women in the birthing videos we had watched in our antenatal classes (I can laugh about it now, but it was not funny at the time). The groaning continued and was closely followed by me vomiting all over the floor. Keith cleaned up the mess (payback), and quickly helped me up and took me back to the hospital.
When we reached I was fully dilated. I got undressed and stood in the shower of the birth suite, while Keith massaged my lower back. I soon found myself in the bath as I had planned to have a water birth.
The warm water was a welcome relief. My body floated as the warm water supported my aching body (particularly my lower back).
The birth was relatively fast once I got in the water. I can honestly say that not once did I feel the need for pain relief.
I felt calm and at peace. I was focused on the job and listened carefully to my midwife’s encouragement and supporting words.
Ethan was born at 10:30pm (approximately 26 hours after my labour started). I had a couple of stitches. Not too bad considering…
My body started to shake uncontrollably soon after. This, I was told, was my body’s way of dealing with the shock and pain of giving birth.
Keith, Ethan and I were encouraged to stay the night in the birthing suite. We shared a queen sized bed and snuggled up for the night.
Just as we started to drift off, Ethan let out an ear-piercing cry (a hungry cry I was told soon after). This was the beginning of my breastfeeding journey and sleepless nights.
Breastfeeding for me was not an easy journey to start with. My nipples were sore and cracked, my breasts swollen, and I got mastitis early on. I pushed through the early struggles and ended up exclusively breastfeeding Ethan for 1 year. Something I am very proud of.
Carter’s Birth Story:
“The midwife was becoming increasingly concerned and called in some doctors (6 to be exact, including some interns). I was told at this time, that Carter was in danger and that they needed to get him out. I had two options, forceps or a C-section. I chose forceps…”
Once again my pregnancy was a good one. I felt fit, healthy and up for anything.
Cake Maternity, by this time, was a thriving business. I worked every day including the day I went into labour.
It was approximately 10pm in the evening when my waters broke. I was watching TV, when I felt a sudden urge to go to the toilet.
Soon after, mild contractions began. I was told by my midwife during my check ups to get to the hospital as soon as possible. Being my second birth they expected him to come quickly.
My partner and I woke up our then 5-year-old son, who was fast asleep, and told him it was time to go to the hospital. He was filled with much excitement in anticipation of meeting his baby brother.
It was a relatively smooth drive to the hospital. I remember breathing deeply and thinking that this labour was coming on much quicker than last time.
Shortly after we arrived I was checked in and shown to the birthing suite. Ethan came with us and camped on a spare bed in the room.
The midwife noticed a yellowish/green fluid on the bed. Immediately she was concerned and told me that my planned water birth would not be an option. My baby was in distress and he would have to be closely monitored.
She strapped a monitor belt over my belly and left us to it. I dilated very slowly (painfully slowly). The pain was much more intense as compared with my water birth.
I sucked on gas (which made me feel high, but did little to reduce the pain. So I am not sure exactly why I kept doing it?).
As the pain intensified, it was recommended that Ethan go into the private waiting room next door. There he sat and watched TV. Keith kept moving between the rooms, being attentive to us both.
By mid-morning I was fully dilated, but unable to push Carter out. His head was really big and stuck. He was also in a posterior position, which made matters worse.
The midwife was becoming increasingly concerned and called in some doctors (6 to be exact, including some interns). I was told at this time, that Carter was in danger and that they needed to get him out. I had two options, forceps or a C-section. I chose forceps…
I had never considered having an epidural, but by this time and hearing the words ‘forceps’ I conceded.
I signed my paperwork shortly after and had the epidural. It was a strange sensation really (feeling the pressure of the contractions but no pain).
Even with the forceps Carter’s birth was not easy. His head and shoulders were both stuck. Inch-by-inch he was eventually wedged out and a 10 pound baby emerged at 12:30pm.
He was blue and not crying at this time. It was a scary few moments, while the doctors massaged him and got him breathing.
I felt so relieved that it was all over. Shortly after, Ethan came into the room to meet his baby brother.
Keith took Ethan home to eat and sleep, as it had been a long night for us all.
I was eventually stitched up (a few more stitches this time around thanks to the forceps). I was then told I had to do a wee. This is a requirement after an epidural, to help ensure all my systems were working properly. Doing a wee, at this time was not as easy as it might seem. My legs were partially numb and I was very wobbly. It was difficult to engage my muscles. The good news is that I succeeded!
I was wheel chaired to my private room (which I was very thankful for). Carter was brought to me at this time and we were left to bond.
Breastfeeding did not come any easier 6 years later. It was almost like my first time again. My nipples became cracked and sore, my breasts were swollen and engorged and once again I got mastitis. I fed Carter for 7 months.
I returned to the Cake office two days after I had Carter. Life got back on track very quickly, as I had school drop off (and pick up), sports, work and running a household to contend with.
The good news was that this time around I had amazing nursing bras to wear. All Cake Maternity designs and styles have been created in response to a personal need and experience.
And there you have it. A collection of birthing stories from our beautiful Cake mums. As you can tell, every one of our mums had a very different and unique labour story but they all ended up with one thing in common. Their beautiful baby.
No matter how tough your pregnancy or labour journey feels in the moment, you can always be reminded that on the other side, waiting for you, is your little bub who cannot wait to be snuggled up in your arms.
We hope these stories gave you some confidence and a real look into the unique birthing journeys of our mums here at Cake Maternity. We hope they didn’t scare you too much. We believe in you mama! And we would love to hear your birthing stories in the comments below.