My Birth Story

On the 22nd November 2013 at 0843 hrs we welcomed our beautiful baby boy into the world and life as I previously knew it changed in a split second.

With a brand new breath and a little cry my heart filled with the most overwhelming love I had ever felt and from the moment I looked into his eyes it was like I’d never not known him, I’ve known him forever.

This was it, this was my son, this was my life and I’d managed to create another, now nothing else matters.

He is now 6 days old and we’ve finally decided on a name. Ironically we went to bed last Thursday night arguing about what we were going to call him and I stated that we still had at least 4 days to go and convinced it would be longer as most first births go over due.

If you’ve read previous posts you’ll know that I was having to face the tricky decision of having an induction near due day, I didn’t want this. 4 women I knew had gone through the most traumatic induction processes in the 2 weeks leading up to my due day and this worried me, greatly. It would appear all this worry was totally unnecessary.

At 0140hrs I woke with a Braxton Hicks, rolled out of bed (which had become the norm over the past couple of weeks) went to the toilet and climbed back into my pregnancy nest. Just as I was drifting off again I had another BH… Not unusual but a bit of a pain, I was tired. As I was again about to drift off I had another. At this point I thought perhaps I should check the time and sure enough I had 3 more which were 10 minutes apart exactly.

This must be it starting.
I didn’t know what to do so just went back to sleep thinking it’ll be ages yet and I need my rest.

Next time I woke it was 0347 with another period like cramp, I activated my contraction timer, went to the toilet and started timing. They were coming every 2 minutes, lasting approx 30 seconds each. Now thinking back to my antenatal classes when the midwife said not to worry the hospital until they were 5 minutes apart and so painful I couldn’t talk through them I wasn’t entirely convinced I was in labour.

The hospital is an hour and a half away and the thought of contracting that severely every five minutes for that journey has filled me with dread since that class. These just weren’t strong enough, they couldn’t be labour.

At about 0415 I woke my OH telling him not to panic but I think everything was starting. He was brilliant, remained calm and got up. He dutifully rang the birthing unit who told me to ring the labour ward (both are at Exeter hospital) for advice as she was busy but that I was welcome to go the unit as planned. He spoke to the midwife at the labour ward and told her my timings and she just calmly said we’ll see you when you get here.

This was it? It can’t be! Can it?

We both got dressed, I double checked my hospital bag and picked up all the snacks and drinks we’d bought for an epic labour. OH loaded car with both our bags and Bean’s car seat and set off.

Never has that journey gone so quickly. The pains weren’t evil, just uncomfortable and easily breathed through and still 2 minutes apart. We laughed and joked nearly all the way there and I told him that I was convinced we’d be sent home when we got there because I wasn’t in actual labour.

On arrival to the hospital I had to stop briefly outside the main entrance to ‘gather myself’ then waddled up to the labour unit. Now my plan was to have a water birth in the birthing unit as this was a low risk pregnancy (despite my age). The birthing unit, however was around a corner whilst the labour ward was straight ahead… I chose the latter!

As we entered the unit I expressed my concerns that I wasn’t in actual labour to which the midwife said she thought I was sufficiently enough to go straight into a delivery room.

I still wasn’t convinced.

When I got in there the midwife did some paper work whilst I bounced on a ball (my saviour up until this point) hooked me up to the monitor and then asked to exam me. I was 6cm dilated, it was 0630hrs. I couldn’t believe it! I was breathing through the contractions and was more concerned my OH was going to pass out… I’d sent him to bed the night before at 2030 as he wasn’t very well, bless him, now he was going to have to go through this stress in a boiling hot room feeling like crap!

The MW saw I wanted to be active and those monitors really are a pain in the arse. Slipping off all the time so she advised me to have a monitor that clipped to the baby’s head which meant that I could move around more… Excellent! I got on the bed, she broke my waters and put the galloping horses clip on bean’s head. At this stage I tried the entonox, now I’ve had it before during a nasty miscarriage and it was great, this time however I hated it. I couldn’t breathe properly and it was just making me feel minced, I ended up throwing it away and it’s probably at this point it all becomes a blur and I’m sure my OH would fill lots of gaps in my story with the actual facts.

I remember looking down and seeing blood in my waters and the MW telling me to get on the bed, then that I’d be meeting my baby soon and she was upset she wouldn’t see it… It was change over time.

Next thing I remember was lots of people in the room, the end of the bed vanishing, my legs being put in stirrups and MWs saying there’s a lip of cervix but I should start trying to push anyway. They kept telling me that I needed to beat the doctor… What doctor? I really had no understanding as to what was going on just that I was possibly breaking the OHs hand along with a registrar who was on my other side. When he let go I remember grabbing OHs arm and shoving it in my mouth about ready to chomp down. I distinctly remember thinking “Rachel what the hell are you doing, that’ll hurt” so let go and went back to the task of pushing what felt like the impossible out of me. It’s true what they say about a madness that descends at this point. I really can’t remember much of anything except that I cried out a couple of times and said what I didn’t want to say and that was the inevitable “I can’t do this” … apparently I didn’t say this as often as I thought I did. I remember someone saying “Bee sting coming Rachel” followed by nothing. I really didn’t care.

The next thing was feeling a gush from between my legs, hearing a cry and holding my beautiful, beautiful baby boy in my arms. It was over. I couldn’t believe it.

It was 0843hrs.
22nd November 2013.
Our beautiful boy weighed in at 3420g (my OH had to google convert this into 7Ibs 8oz). Considering everyone was expecting me to have a 9Iber I was amazed.
He was 50.5cm in length with a head circumference of 34cm.

It was at this point I realised my legs were still in stirrups and asked if I had needed stitches to which everyone said yes. I had had to have a ventouse delivery. Although the MW said it’s on my records as that but the suction bottle was cracked so I pretty much did 95% of it on my own. Apparently the baby had been in some distress and they didn’t want to take any risks.

My birth plan went completely out the window. My partner didn’t get to cut the cord but we don’t care.


We have our son, our boy, our precious gift. We are in love, totally, utterly and inexplicably in love with this tiny bundle that somehow we managed to create in his own perfect form. With a face I’ve always known.


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