Positive birth stories please!!!!!(103 Posts)
I am 30wks and went to my first antenatal class last night. I came home and cried because I am so afraid of the pain and getting pushed around/completely neglected at the hospital. The childbirth stories I have heard over the years have been universally negative. As has the feedback on London postnatal wards. People seem to have very mixed reviews of their childbirth support team too.
I would really love to hear some positive birth stories to balance this all out. Please do not worry about sounding smug or making mums that had a tough birth feel bad as I am sure there are PLENTY of others mums to be that desperately need some positive reassurance!
Have a lovely day
I had two great births, although the second was a bit quick. Get your head straight on a few trchniques, for me mind over matter made all the difference, and believing that to be the case made even more iykwim. Get reading-Ina May and Sheila Kitzinger both left me feeling 'I can do this' as did a fantastic antenatal pilates class I took. I also did gentlebirth.
Re being pushed around, be ready and be assertive and get your oh ready for same when you're gone past being able to think straight/speak out. Have a think about what you want and don't want all going well and communicate them in advance and on arrival.
I have a few tips that helped me through labour itself that I can pm if you like?
Some Ina May quotes to get you thinking how very capable you and your body are: www.themidwifeplan.com/2013/top-ten-ina-may-gaskin-quotes/
I had two great births! I didn't go to childbirth classes because I thought they'd frighten me, I just knew my body was built for this and I could do it, and I did! Highly recommend Ina Mays book above, and the natal hypnotherapy CD from Amazon, they're brilliant and have some great relaxation techniques.
The pain relief is there - if you need it, take it. Can you have a tour of the labour ward to meet some midwives and put your mind at rest?
Positivity in birth is nothing to do with method of delivery. You can have a textbook delivery and feel traumatised and an intervention heavy delivery which ends in CS and it be the most positive thing in the world.
What makes a difference is how you feel. Support plays a huge part in this, being listened to, feeling like you know what is happening and that you and your baby are the key concerns at every single stage.
You can't choose what will happen in labour and delivery. It comes down to luck in the end. All you can do is consider what you would like to happen in each scenario and know how you can exercise control in each given scenario. You do have options within each eventuality and it's important that your birth partner can advocate for you.
For example, I can't tell you it won't be painful because it might be. To meet this possibility, you could have a think about what you might like to consider in terms of pain relief. What about a pool or massage? Hypnotherapy? Essential oils? Then things like pethedine or gas and air? Would you consider an epidural? Do you know if your hospital has mobile epidurals? Thinking about these sorts of things will give you knowledge and control over what is happening. Equally, you don't have to decide right now. You can adopt a 'go with the flow' attitude and see how you feel in the moment.
My second birth was massively positive. It was quite long at 38 hours but I was well looked after, the staff were brilliant, respectful, helpful and honest. I had a repeat emergency caesarean and every member of staff was friendly, professional and supportive. I smiled and laughed throughout, had immediate skin to skin, breastfed within 15 minutes of birth and was up and about a few hours later. Recovery was easy and the baby was bloody brilliant.
You can't know what will happen. You can plan for your ideal birth and know how to make that more likely. You can have a good, knowledgeable birth partner. What will happen on the day, nobody really knows, it's not a straight choice.
Negative, very rarely means intervention. It's the feelings around it that are negative. Positive doesn't mean natural necessarily.
Have you had much chance to see the hospital? Do they offer tours still? Do you know about support available post birth?
You sound like me I cried in the car on the way home from the 1st class.
2 bits of advice 1) Plan for the worst and hope for the best. 2) a book called your body, your birth, your baby by Jenny Smith.
I spent pregnancy convinced I would end up HR due to my BP which was up and down and checked weekly. Was desperate for a water birth - went to delivery to check that they have a pool where you can do wireless waterproof monitoring and was praying that would all be available for what would inevitably be my 3 day labour hell ending in an EMCS.
Now what actually happened. Waters broke in the middle of the night. Went in to the midwife unit not contracting. Checked over (BP not high) induction booked sent home. Contractions started as we left the car park. Got home, it hurt a lot began to panic that it was going to get more painful as it went on and that I wouldn't cope. Lasted about two hours at home before begging HBand to take me to the pain relief. Got back to the midwife unit. She took one look at me and we went straight to a room. Asked if I wanted the pool. Said yes she started running it. Blood pressure checked and felt my tummy all fine. Jumped in the pool. 2 more contractions urge to push came so I started pushing and 30 mins later Fred was here. It was all over in about 5 hours from first contraction. The first ones was as painful as the last ones.
I was lucky it went so quick, there was no time for MW to ready my notes and decided it should go up to delivery to be monitored to be on the safe side. I also never got examined and had no pain relief .
The book is great at reminding you that no matter what is happening you have choices and are in control - you just have to speak up.
Good luck with your birth and baby.
OP I understand you. In my three decades of living, I can count on one hand how many happy birth stories I've heard. But the number of horrific accounts exceed count, and some of them I have heard very many times.
I'm prepared for anything, having researched everything. But, am going in with an optimistic attitude, fuelled by my hypnobirthing practice knowing full well I might have a traumatic outcome on the day. But that's not something I can control for, except to relax NOW -and rest well NOW.
I am 33 weeks with first baby. I am truly relaxed, not because I'm going in under an illusion that hypnobirthing will magically give me a zen birth, but rather that anything could happen, and I'll be ready with all my heart, I am resting well, sleeping well, and have left it to the future to enfold itself.
There's one thing more I am doing consciously though. After having read and researched loads about difficulties in labour, in these final weeks I have consciously started avoiding discussions of negative birth experiences. They are not for me at this specific moment in time. They are not giving me new information, and I am not the right person to offer the kind of support that is needed in response to these stories, at this moment. Not burying my head in the sand, but I do get to choose what I listen to and read in this last lap.
There are loads of positive stories around, they don't necessarily get told. You will find this is is a very very emotive topic,even asking to hear positive stories might trigger emotions in ways that you never intended. I have stopped asking for any stories at all.
If you join the hypnobirthing group on Facebook you will read many lovely birth stories including ones involving preterm labour, interventions etc and it will give you a nice insight into how any paths can lead to a happy outcome. Also read the birth stories in Ina. May's guide to chikdbirth.
And it's really okay in the final stretch to focus inwards, within yourself and choose to do your research into all outcomes but not get drawn into reading accounts which will impact your emotional state before your give birth. Quite different from burying your head in the sand, as I have explained here hopefully
Place marking. I'm 22+3 and have heard a few negative stories. Started self hypnobirthing with a book and listening to relaxation music. Excited to see what else is suggested
First birth very long but fine until the end when babies heart rate dropped so ventouse delivery.
Second birth was fantastic. Arrived in hospital at 5am, examined and was 5cm dilated. Sat on the exercise ball until 7am when I felt like I needed to push. Examined and told I was only 8cms but the midwife could see my urge to push was strong and basically told me to do what my body was telling me to do. Baby born half an hour later, no tearing or stitches. The midwife was amazing, encouraged me to stay upright so that gravity could do its work and trusted me to do what I needed to do.
I have a positive story! I always feel a bit guilty sharing it in case people who didn't have a positive experience think I'm being smug, but since you asked for positive birth stories, here's mine:
Lying in bed reading, about 11pm. Felt an odd sensation deep in my belly. "Hmm," I thought, "that feels a bit weird." It wasn't painful, just not a sensation I'd felt before. Five minutes later it came again. And again five mins after that. Gradually I realised they were getting stronger and, yes, more painful. I hadn't thought they were contractions because my birthing class had stressed that they'd be really far apart to begin with, and these weren't.
At 3am my waters went, and the contractions got more intense and closer together. This is when I called the hospital and shoved DH out of bed and told him to get in the car! (His reaction: "Really? Now?")
3.30am, got to hospital, was 3-4cm. Took some paracetamol! Although it really was pretty sore by now. But it was a very different pain, it felt useful somehow. Yes, it hurt, but somehow because I knew it was a pain that was meant to be there, it didn't bother me so much.
By 7am I was 8cm and on the blessed gas and air. Love that stuff.
7.40am I wanted to push, they checked and I was 10cm and ready to go.
20 mins later at 8am, my daughter was born, healthy, and yelling heartily!
It was all really straightforward and I had brilliant midwives who listened to me and were nothing other than encouraging and supportive all the way. I also had wonderful midwives on the postnatal ward. I'm currently pregnant with my second, and actually looking forward to labour, as weird as that might sound!
I didn't go to any classes with either of my pregnancies. I've had two children and both their deliveries were very different. One was an induction in which I ended up with an epidural, a decision I feel was 100% right for me at the time and I don't regret it at all. The second I went into labour naturally and gave birth with nothing but gas and air, I feel immensely proud of myself for this, as I am terrible at coping with pain and screamed like a banshee through both labours (until epidural kicked in with DC1).
Both were very painful, not going to lie. But I got through it and now I have two lovely children as a result. Try not to let the horror stories frighten you, but do take some things on board and bear in mind that you can prepare all you want but labour can be unpredictable and you never really know how you'll cope until you experience it.
I had a great birth with DD! Planned homebirth. Midwife turned up about 10pm, I had been contracting strongly (and painfully) for a while, nearly punched her when she said I was only 2cm. However, she put me in the pool anyway, which helped massively with the pain and my general state of mind, and DD was born about 3 hrs later! MW was fantastic, very supportive, listened to me, but also encouraged me to have the birth I wanted. Really, couldn't have been more straightforward! Yes, it was painful (and I was surprised at quite how painful), but it was manageable (I didn't like the gas and air, so just got on with it).
I did hypnobirthing on a friend's recommendation and while it didn't make the pain go away, it did mean I had a strong conviction that I could do it and that birth is natural and does not necessitate medical intervention. Reading Ina May Gaskin's book helped a lot on that front too. But I wasn't bonkers about it - if I'd had to transfer for any reason what so ever I would have done.
Good luck! Remember, women have been giving birth forever and our bodies are designed, and know, how to do it. Believe in yourself and your body's ability to birth your baby!
Two very positive stories here.
1st pregnancy, twins. Went into labour at 27+4. Intervention to try to stop it, but went into full blown labour 48 hours later. It was obviously unbelievably stressful and I feared for the health of the babies, but I think my mindset was what helped me deal with it. I literally gave my body up to whatever the medical staff wanted to do. I was completely passive. Anything and everything I (we) wanted / had hoped for the birth was left behind in a heartbeat. The births themselves (both natural although DS was bottom first) were as good as they could be in the circumstances and I got to take home 2 perfect healthy babies. Pre-natal / ante-natal / NICU absolutely amazing. Wasn’t my local hospital but actively chose it for my 2nd pregnancy / delivery.
2nd pregnancy. Got to 39+6, didn’t want any pain relief, wanted as natural a birth as possible given the 1st pregnancy. Felt a little bit weird about 9pm. Got in bath, all OK, had a few pains. Got out about 11pm and contractions started coming. MIL arrived at 12 midnight, got to hospital at 1am. I was already 7cm dilated. Waters went at 1.20am, at 2.30am midwife said I could push. DD born at 3.02am. I had a midwife with me throughout who listened to exactly what I wanted. Felt in control. Unit had been shut after my arrival because they were full. Busiest City Centre hospital in Manchester (been featured on various ‘documentaries’). Went on post natal room afterwards, only me on the ward. Midwives came every so often and actually took DD for a couple of hours so I could get some sleep. Brilliant.
A few things spring to mind.
Firstly, I got totally overwhelmed at my first antenatal class and came home and cried. Just all starts to feel quite real. Pretty normal I think.
Secondly, I agree with people above that it's worth spending time getting yourself into a positive frame of mind where you feel like you can cope with any surprises that may come your way. I highly recommend Birth Skills Lots of great tips and includes techniques to keep you calm if an emergency situation develops, as well as visualisations to help you push if you can't feel contractions because of an epidural.
When I read it and did a bit of natal hypnotherapy mp3 listening, I felt like I knew I could cope no matter what.
Finally, in terms of positive birth stories, in the end I did have one. Totally straightforward. 12 hours from first twinge to baby arriving. Water birth an hour and a half after I got to hospital. Small tear with two stitches that healed well. It can happen!
OP, I had a good birth (my first: 8 hours), two very good births (the next two: 4.5 hours and 2.5 hours) and a really brilliant birth (my last: 4 hours).
They all hurt, and all my DC came down the birth canal to a soundtrack of full-on maternal effing and blinding, but they were - except the first, where I was left lying down for far longer than I had wanted - the sort of births I had hoped and planned for, with minimal intervention.
I know I'm not alone, too: my closest friend had three good births; another friend had four good births. They're not unusual.
Different births suit different people: someone I know had two planned sections, and said there both a breeze and that the first was the best day of her life.
I have given birth twice one better than the other but neither terrible. With DD I was induced and lost my head fairly quickly as soon as the contractions started. Had two lots of pethidine (spelling) and felt completely out of control with the whole thing. Though DH was great making it clear to the midwifes what I did didn't like i.e. I don't like to be touched when in pain.
With DS I did pregnancy yoga classes and really focused on being in a good head space and telling myself that I could do this. It really worked for me. Did the whole thing on just breathing and then some G&A when I got to the hospital and the whole thing, from first contraction to baby in arms, took less then 2 and a half hours. Was much more mobile this time until I got to the hospital where I just couldn't stand any more where as with DD I was on the bed the whole time due to monitoring. I felt really proud of myself and didn't have any stitches which I had with DD.
Due number three in February and as DS went so smoothly I'm planning a home water birth. Whilst at the same time not over planning it as I feel being flexible to things changing really helps. Like with DS I wanted to birth in the pool at the hospital but he was coming so quickly by the time I got there and they had examined me the pool wouldn't have filled in time for me to get in it.
Good luck with your birth op it'll be great and just focus on the amazing little bundle you get at the end of it.
I had three positive experiences, and the first was in London.
DC1 - long birth, but no complications and I never felt ignored
DC2 & 3 - very short births, just went in and had the baby really!
Like others have said, sometimes it helps not having a perfect birth planned which would be hard to meet. ????I expected to go 2 weeks overdue with a long labour from my mothers experience. However I went into labour at 37 weeks at 6am and was in denial thinking I had random pregnancy pain, after 2 hours the pain was too much so I phoned into the hospital and arrived at 9am, the MWs obviously didn't think much of me but checked my dilation and turned out I was 9cm, and at 11.30am (5 and 1/2 hours after first contraction) I had DD1, no stitches and only gas and air- indeed I had whined but it was overall very easy.????After super duper easy first birth I was expecting to have a fantastic sneeze birth with dd2 and to my HORROR it was virtually the same as DD1, started just after 6am at 40+1, got to hospital about 9am, got to use a birthing pool and had DD2 shortly after 11.30. I really didn't enjoy or cope well with DD2s birth as I had not prepared myself and had unrealistic expectations, even though others would consider it a very easy birth.
Sorry for the lack of paragraphs, for some reason the app changed them into lots of question marks (????)!
I was all prepared for childbirth being The Worst. I tried not to think about it, as I don't believe worrying about it would help anyone. I just thought about holding my new little person at the end of it. My waters broke at 4am on one day, contractions started at 1am the next day. They came on strong and sped up quickly. Even still, I wasn't totally convinced they were contractions and I found it difficult to time them - I'd been expecting very definite pains, a sort of black and white 'I'm having one now' and 'that's it stopped', but got an 'oh, I think this is another one... not sure though... I think that's it stopped'. So I think the pain of pregnancy prepared me a bit - maybe if I had those pains now I'd know more about it! I actually think trying to time the contractions in early labour really helped - I was concentrating on getting that right rather than just thinking about the pain. We were using a mobile app to track them, we were pretty useless at it, but trying to work it whilst having contractions maybe helped too!
When we got to the hospital they were a bit stronger and I brought in the hypnobirthing techniques. I used the counting and breathing techniques to help me focus, shut out external stuff and just stay calm and wait until each one passed. It helped to think 'here's another one, it's one contraction closer to meeting my baby and I won't ever feel this contraction again'.
Unfortunately my contractions stopped about 2 hours after I got to hospital, and because my waters had broken in the early hours of the previous morning they had to give me a hormone drip to start them off again. This meant giving me an epidural (not essential but the drip makes things speed up considerably faster and the nurse said my body wouldn't have had time to prepare for it so epidural was strongly recommended). The epidural was AMAZING. There were no problems with it working, I didn't feel the pain of any more contractions (I could feel them happening, they just weren't sore). I sat and chatted my way through labour feeling a little guilty I wasn't in pain (ridiculous). My biggest problem was that I couldn't have anything to eat - not bad for a woman in labour. They told me that evening I was fully dilated and we began the pushing stage. That was hard work, but just tiring, not sore. There was no progress and after a while I was examined and it turned out my baby was in the wrong position so I had to have a forceps delivery, but that all went fine, DS came out unharmed. All in all not a bad experience for a high risk patient giving birth to a 9lb'er.
The staff were amazing too, from the maternity triage, the midwives and anaesthetists on the labour ward, recovery ward to the post-natal ward, me and my DS could not have hoped for better care from lovelier people. Wishing you good luck.
Thank you all so much for taking the time to share your stories - I feel really encouraged and will definitely check out hypno birthing, the reading recommendations and some pregnancy yoga/pilates.
Also strangely reassuring to know that I'm not the first person to leave an antenatal class in tears! Have a wonderful day
I wanted a natural water birth with no medication or drugs and didn't consider ending up on high dependancy! (i ended up going two weeks over due and went in for induction) I'd highly recommend planning for the alternative if you can't get the birth you planned (read up on the medication, steps usually taken etc i did this the day before i was induced thinking i would go into labour naturally!) I was suprised by how well I took to being on high dependancy, and although it wasn't the birth experience I imagined it was still a special magical time that I won't forget. Went in on the 1/9 to have the pessary at 6pm i ended up on a ward with women who were in for reduced fetal movement which i wasn't to happy about however one of the wonderful midwives found us a unused family waiting room, which had a tv, two reclining chairs, rocking chair, and a birthing ball so we had that to ourselves! At midnight I had dilated to 3cm however high dependancy were too full to take me, so the thought was to start again in the morning. However just as my husband was leaving at 2am a room came free in delivery so we were whisked down. The midwife I was given originally started the drip and the process of inducement. I would recommend your birth partner to know what you want and to ask questions/be as pushy as possible! The first midwife started my drip at 1mg then after half an hour switched it to 4mg and left the room we asked about g&a and she just pointed to the wall. (Helpful this was our first labour and we had no idea how to use anything!) The pain was unbearable, thankfully my husband took charge, and asked if we could change midwives. New midwife came and she was amazing! Completely changed the experience, unfortunately we lost the babys heartbeat and I couldn't have an epidural until the babys heart trace had been found and stabalised. The midwife was amazing, as well as my husband and i calmed down and breathed through the contractions. New midwife explained everything to me, and stayed with me until me and my son were transfered to the post natal ward. I had an epidural at 6am and at 9am i was fully dilated, prior to eppy midwife let me stand up and 'dance' to my disney instrumental music, which was on my original drug free birth plan! I found the epidural wonderful, i had full control how much pain relief i wanted and i was conscious and aware of everything around me. When it came to pushing my son out my legs were a little 'fuzzy' so the midwife and hubby both lifted my legs to me so i could hold onto them as i pushed. When son arrived into the world he was placed onto my chest and his cord was delayed clamping as i requested, and we started breast feeding straightaway! The midwife then gave me a bath, and dressed me which was so lovely as i couldn't move well from the waist down. It was an amazing experience a far cry from the candle lit water home birth i imagined, but made special by the midwife and my husband! So I would recommend planning for a alternative birth (ie in hospital) and make sure your birth partner is on board and can speak for you (as when your in pain and frightened communication breaks down!) x
I had a huge fear of giving birth so much so that I asked my doctor if I could be sterilised in my 20's, luckily he said no but I did still leave it until I was 34 to start trying and it took 3 years to get pregnant with dd1.
Her birth wasn't straight forward as she was back to back and after 30 hours I had to have a ventouse as she was getting distressed but I still think of it very positively, yes it hurt more than I could ever imagine but nothing on earth compares to that moment when they pass you your baby.
I was only in for 8 hours afterwards and I remember walking out knowing that I really wanted to do it all again.
2 years later I had dd2 again not straight forward, my contractions came on suddenly and were 2 minutes apart within an hour, I thought I'd give birth in the car but it was another 15 hours with 7 contractions every 10 minutes so pretty relentless and again ended up with a ventouse after a 2 hour pushing stage as she was wedged and tired.
Again I feel very positive about the birth.
You need to keep an open mind, know that there are so many things that can happen but you will be surrounded by people who know exactly what they are doing, no two births will be the same and no matter what your labour ends up like once you have your baby laid on your chest it will have been a positive birth story.
I had a positive birth. Contractions ten mins apart for about a day (not painful more annoying), then waters broke at 5 in the morning. Contractions slowly sped up went into hospital at 9am - just used my tens machine all that time. Was finally checked by midwife about forty five mins later when there was barely a gap between them and i was 8 cms. To the labour suite, gas and air, started pushing two hours later took about twenty five mins, didn't bother with the gas and air as I felt it was a different kind of breathing and my daughter was born, no stitches or tears.
I was lucky but my sister has had two even easier births than me, and she gave me good advice to read up about the different stages and the different pains associated with them so you know what to expect, what it might feel like and she was right it really helped. I kept mobile and once in the suite I laboured mostly on my side and knees.
Its a scary prospect but I often think we don't hear about the good stories because firstly it does help to be prepared for the worst, and secondly i don't actually share my story very much for fear of coming across as smug etc especially when others have a much harder time. But they do happen
Very few people seem to tell good birth stories in real life, possibly because they feel it's more impressive to have had a hard time of it, I don't know.
I'm a big fan of Ina May Gaskin, even though I do think you have to take some of her books with a pinch of salt, as it were - I found Spiritual Midwifery utterly ridiculous in some ways but still enjoyed it, and thought it was good birth prep, because it made me think "if all these stoned out hippies can do it in the back of a caravan in about twenty minutes with 20 neighbours watching, then I'm sure I can too".
I did Hypnobirthing, and loved it, but mended up with a very long labour and what they call "failure to progress", so had an EMCS in the end, which I actually remember quite fondly! The worst bit was the feeling of panic when they finally decided to do the section, although decision to incision only actually took about half an hour max. The recovery was fine and I'm strongly leaning towards havingnapping an elective for my current pregnancy.
I think there's a site/blog called something like TellMeAGoodBirthStor
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