Birth is personal and individual with no birth being the same. What a body can achieve to grow and birth a baby is both miraculous and incredible. Below are four amazing and heartfelt stories of birth from four amazing women.
Please note that the last story in this birth blog series may be emotionally triggering for some as it contains baby loss.
An Unplanned Home Birth – by Shelley Paddon
Indie’s big sister Kayla was born very quickly at 37 weeks, first contraction at 7.45pm and she arrived at 9.40pm. Not uncommon but quite unusual for a first baby. So as I approached my due date with Indie, the speed of my next labour was always in the back of my mind. All pregnancies, births and babies are different but generally each birth is quicker as you and your body now know what to do. My MW and I did joke about having such a fast birth that she may be born at home.
Little did we know.
May 15th 2014 was a Thursday, a pleasant Autumn day, my Mum and I had taken Kayla (2.5) to the park in town. I was 38+3 and did wonder if that would be my last outing as a Mumma to one. I had my first niggle around 3pm and rung my MW, I live 15 mins out of town and then another 15 mins from the local maternity centre, so we did a couple of last minute things in town and decided it was best for Mum to drive me home (I had rung my partner Nick to let him know what was happening and got him to collect up a few last minute things for my hospital bag), Mum would drop me off and then take Kayla back to her place. I had a couple more mild contractions in the car, and then my waters broke.
We arrived home at about 3.30pm, Kayla had fallen asleep in the car by then and Nick had my bag in the truck ready to go. I gave Mum a few last minute instructions about locking up the house etc and out to the truck we went. Well, by that stage there was no way that I was going to haul myself into the truck let alone be able to sit down. The baby was so far down and ready, it would have been impossible! Nick kept saying to me ‘You’ll be right, just get in, the MW is waiting for us’.
I waddled back inside yelling something along the lines of ‘I need to push, this baby is coming’ at Mum. Nick rung the MW and Mum rung the ambulance. There was mild panic stations but it all happened so fast that there really wasn’t a lot of time to freak out.
Mum was talked through the delivery over the phone, a couple of pushes and Indie Jayne was born at 3.52pm on the hallway floor delivered by her Nana. 6lb 11oz of pure perfection. The ambulance arrived about 2 minutes later followed by my MW who then delivered the placenta. After a quick check over we hopped in the ambulance and headed to the maternity centre where we settled in for a few days bonding before we went home to our brand new family of four.
Shelly Paddon – Is a mother of three and owner of Bundles for Bumps.
The Best Laid Plans Often go Astray – by Krystine Nation
My first daughter was a text book birth, 3 hours, only gas for pain relief, left the hospital 3 hours later, minimal pain and living on cloud 9.
So, when I fell pregnant with my second daughter I had it all planned out. I was going to have a home birth, no pain relief, and I probably also thought that cherubs were going to fly around my house playing harps and forest animals would all gather to watch this amazing, calm, and magical occurrence.
My pregnancy was extremely easy, by the time I was 9 months pregnant with her my first daughter was 10 months old, yep good ol irish twins. At about 37 weeks I began doing everything I could to prepare for another amazing experience but this time in the comfort of my own home.
Three days before I would be 38 weeks I started getting contractions, my midwife delivered all of the home-birth gear, towels, plastic sheets etc and we continued to run through with my clean, green, supreme, un-interfered with superwoman birth.
I was in labour for 72 hours….
To be honest I really don’t remember much, my notes pretty much say “went to toilet” and ” had a bath” over and over again. My midwife came and went while back up midwives relieved her, I was given the option multiple times to go through to the hospital and see what was going on but every single time I refused. For some crazy reason I felt like if I turned around on my plan now and went to the hospital then this meant that I had failed. To me this was supposed to be the most natural event in the world, animals didn’t go to the hospital, I should be able to give birth on my floor and then get up and fix a meal right?
WRONG…. for that 72 hours I was in pain, the contractions were nothing I had ever experienced before, I was pulling at my hair and climbing up the walls, every internal I had indicated that labour was not progressing, my waters were not breaking and things just were not right. Finally my midwife didn’t ask, she insisted ” we need to go to the hospital”. I don’t think I have ever been so heartbroken in all my life.
When we arrived at the hospital I was told that my daughters head was not where it should be and she was not helping labour, her cord was around her neck and over her head so from there I was given two options; break my waters and hope for the best, or go straight through for a caesarean. I didn’t even breath or think on it, I replied ” cut me open and get her out”.
I remember just laying there feeling so guilty. At the tender age of 22 I had put so much pressure on myself and been so driven to perform this magical event and be an amazing mother, that I had put both my daughters and my own lives at risk.
At 5.57am weighing in at 6lb 10, my little firecracker was born via the sunroof.
I’ve had two more pregnancies since then, and with them, both of my birth plans have been to just listen to my baby and my body.
Trying to Speed up the Process – by Coralie Archer
Looking back on the labour and birth of our fourth child, Charlotte, I cannot help but wish I had done things differently. Everything went smoothly without issues, but there are still regrets. She was due at a crazy time in our lives with us selling our first home in Hamilton on her due date and going house hunting in Auckland when she was five days overdue as we needed to buy a new home.
On the morning of August 7th at nine days overdue, I woke and noticed that I had lost some of my mucus plug. I was so excited! But instead of just letting my body do it’s own thing, I was determined to get things going. Hubby and I hit the streets going for long walks around the neighbourhood throughout the day, yet nothing happened.
It wasn’t until late afternoon that I felt the first niggle and by 7pm my contractions were getting stronger and more regular. We contacted our midwife and agreed to meet her at the birthing unit at 8pm so that I could lay with Mr 2 to get him to sleep first.
We arrived at the birthing unit confident that things were moving along nicely only to find out that I was only at 4cm dilated. I felt so silly! After a stretch and sweep my midwife sent me to walk the stairs to keep things moving along with me stopping to watch ‘Knocked Up’ and munching on snacks.
Despite all of this activity and the contractions becoming stronger, at 12am my midwife checked me again and I was only 5cm dilated. So much for subsequent labours being faster! Our midwife gave us the option of continuing to stick around at the birthing centre or go home and come back in a few hours as progress was slow. I remember feeling uneasy about going home and had a rest as I was tired while she filled in the paperwork.
At 12.10am, during one of my contractions, my waters broke in a huge gush and my body started pushing. My contractions came on super strong and with two pushes from me, our little girl was born at 12.12am on August 8th 2016. She was perfect!
After her birth I was so exhausted. I started off as Charlotte’s mum being completely drained as I was in such a hurry for her to be born, and I hated it. So now when I see mum’s post in groups about how to speed up labour or encourage their baby to come, I tell them to just trust their body and relax as I wish that I had done exactly that.
We have been blessed with a surprise baby due later this year and I am going to take my own advice. This baby will hopefully make it’s arrival when it’s ready without me trying to hurry it along. Let’s hope that it’s the healing final birth that I have been dreaming of!
Coralie Archer runs Practically Green, she is a blogger and mum who has a passion for reducing waste in her own home. Coralie runs in-home consults providing helpful ideas on how to reduce your own waste. Follow her on Facebook and Instagram.
You Were Born Still – Sandie Parr
This birth story may be emotionally triggering for some as it contains baby loss. For further support and information on baby loss please contact Baby Loss who support parents and their families who have experienced the death of a baby during pregnancy, at birth or in infancy. Or Sands New Zealand who support bereaved parents, families and whanau throughout New Zealand.
The birth of my daughter Faith is a story of love and joy. This is not unusual for birth stories. What is unusual, perhaps, is that Faith was stillborn.
Faith was my third pregnancy, and the only one I had carried past twelve weeks. From the outside, she was my success story, and on the night before my twenty week scan my husband was excited to find out the baby’s gender. But I lay in bed crying that night, as I knew with my mother’s intuition that my baby wasn’t healthy and that this fragile dream was about to come to an end. As strange as it may sound, as I cried that night I felt enveloped by a beautiful, peaceful light, and I knew that my baby was comforting me. I slept.
The next day, my daughter was diagnosed with a rare and fatal chromosomal condition, and she died shortly afterwards. I was induced on August 26, and labour began with extreme speed and intensity. The pain was hard to take as it would not result in the birth of a living child, but this did mean that I could take pain medication without fear, so I did this and settled more comfortably into the labouring process.
I felt fully supported by my incredible midwife, who had experienced a stillbirth herself and was able to guide me through the journey from start to finish with absolute confidence and compassion. The other hospital staff all held a space of calm support. My husband was beside me, and my mother and mother in law were at the hospital.
I did not feel sad during my labour. I felt calm, steady and eager to meet my beloved daughter. When she was born, it did not matter at all that she was tiny, imperfect and still. Like at any birth, our baby was greeted by proud and excited parents. We held her, gazed at her and felt that she was a miracle. I believe that the soul lives beyond the physical body, and I felt her there with us as strongly as if she had been breathing. I felt absolute joy at the gift of this precious daughter.
We spent a long time with our little girl, until it was time to leave. She needed to be taken away for an autopsy. The reality of driving away from the hospital without her was the most difficult part of the day. However, our baby was returned to us two days later and we kept her at home until her funeral service. During this time, she was visited by family and given even more love. Her older sister, my stepdaughter, read her stories as she lay still in her moses basket. Our home was filled with incredible, unconditional love.
Faith’s birth was one of the most incredible days of my life, and I wanted to share this story for others who may find themselves in the same situation. I would like others to know that while a stillbirth will always mean pain and grief, it can also mean immense love and joy. Love is love regardless of circumstances, and every birth is a miracle.
Sandie Parr is a Mum who runs Health for Happiness Health and Fertility Coaching. She is passionate about supporting others to reach their health and wellness goals. You can follow er on Facebook and Instagram.
Thank you to everyone who has submitted a story for our birth story series. If you would like to share and submit your own story please contact the Little & Brave Facebook Page.