Birth can be an emotionally raw, personal experience for those who experience childbirth.
What a body can achieve to grow and birth a baby is both miraculous and incredible.
Enjoy these three unique stories of birth told by three amazing women.
Overdue, Induced, with a C Section to Follow by Shannon Bramwell
The birth of your first child is exciting and terrifying at the same time so many expectations and unknowns I agonized over my birth plan and due dates (why does no one tell you that you can write a birth plan but then you should screw it up in a ball and chuck it straight out the window). Babies arrive how, and when they are ready.
I was induced at 41 weeks 4 days.
At 28 hours in I was given an epidural. I sucked on the gas which made me loopy and was sitting on the edge of the bed singing the Novas ad (for those unfamiliar, it is the “show us your crack” song). Due to complications I was rushed in for an emergency c section and my most vivid memory was asking if I should be able to feel my arms and chest and the anaesthetists talking to each other about how they had both topped up my epidural giving me more medication to solve this.
Our beautiful daughter was born (pulled out) just after lunch on 11.11.11, not my finest moment but my first question was is she ginger (the husband type thing is a red head).
Due to the mix up with my epidural I still couldn’t move my arms to hold her. Her daddy got to have first contact with this beautiful human I had been growing I guess I felt a little cheated but their bond is amazing and ours grew to be. I truly believe that how our children enter the world doesn’t matter as long as they get here safely. I said that I wasn’t sure I could do it again but I did 13 months later with her brother (which was far different), but the result was the same; we gained a family member and found out we had more love available than we ever thought possible.
Easy or hard every birth story is valid and inspiring and it is only a tiny part of the giant journey of parenting.
Shannon Bramwell Runs the popular Baby it’s Personal – Based in Kerikeri baby its Personal creates custom made clothing, printed t shirts, printed onesies and keepsake cushions.
Two Weeks Horizontal – Pumpkins in Trees – Michelle Beard
At 35 weeks I went into early labour. At a hospital visit my midwife hooked me up to a bunch of equipment, I was monitored and was contracting every 10 minutes. But it was not progressing, I was about 3cm dilated, sent home and was instructed to rest as much as possible.
I lay down for two weeks.
For the next two weeks day and night contractions continued every hour. I lay in the lounge on a bright orange mattress surrounded by pillows trying to lie on my right side until my hip started screaming with pain.
My older child, now 16 months climbed all over me and lay down for snuggles while my husband cooked the dinners and vacuumed around my new mattress home.
During the day I powered through the entire 5th 6th and 7th seasons of the TV show buffy the vampire slayer, I mastered sudoku and reached level 176 in Candy Crush.
By night I was woken up every hour, I stared at the cot that would soon be filled with a wriggling baby and wished she was already out.
When I stood up to make lunch or to take a trip to the bathroom the contractions increased to every 15 minutes, and if I walked to the mail box it increased to every 5. The next hour after taking a 4 minute walk to the garden to pick some mint or bring in the washing is spend laying down googling “signs of labour” and wondering if this was the day.
I lost 2 kgs, I’m not sure if it was because my body was working so hard contracting or I had just lost all muscle tone from not moving.
At 37 weeks I was exhausted and my midwife performed a stretch and sweep as I was so tired she was worried I wouldn’t have the strength to labour after 2 weeks of only catnapping.
My baby was born a day later after active labour kicked in, she was small but my body was so tired and relieved that she was finally out and I could hold her in my arms finally.
Michelle is a content creator, zero waste blogger and product photographer based in Auckland.
The Preemie Baby Birth by Alannah Elliott
At 26 weeks I was suddenly in a crazy amount of pain in my upper abdomen and right shoulder.
I went to the maternity unit where I had high blood pressure, high amounts of protein in my urine, signs of liver failure and my platelets were dropping. I was surrounded by doctors, given steroids (to help baby’s lungs) and blue lighted by ambulance to another hospital.
I was so scared. So overwhelmed. I didn’t want them to deliver my baby. It was too soon. Lots of
doctors told me that that was what needed to happen though. I had severe pre-eclampsia and
something called HELLP syndrome. If they left me much longer, both baby and I would die.
But my baby kept kicking me, letting me know they were in there, still OK.
Then, a doctor from the neonatal intensive care unit came to see me. He explained what they
would do, the survival rates, what we should expect over the next few days, weeks, months…
And I signed the consent and off we went to theatre to have a caesarean section. There were so
many people in theatre, the NICU team was 4 people, 2 surgeons, 2 anesthesiologists a midwife
and 3 nurses (and two builders in the sluice room right next to my head…)
Daddy Elliott was allowed in there, they said he could tell me whether baby was a boy or girl, the
surprise we were going to be having sooner than planned.
I heard my baby cry.
What a sound… a fighter…
I was stitched up, moved into recovery, a card was brought, “Congratulations on the birth of your
boy, 17th March 2016, 628g (1lb6oz)”, It had his photo.
Daddy Elliott could go see him that night and a few surreal photos were taken of a seemingly
impossibly tiny baby in a plastic box.
I was moved to high dependency. I sobbed and sobbed. I had no idea what had happened, what
had gone wrong, why us?
When I was wheeled to NICU the next day, there was my boy. Tubes, wires, machines,
beeping… All keeping him alive. I learned the hand-washing routine, how to raise the incubator up
and down, I learned about ‘positive touch’… And there we were. The start of a whole trimester, 3 months, with my baby in a box, not in me.
Without NICU, I wouldn’t have my cheeky, funny, wonderful little boy. I never knew it existed until
I needed it. Same as a lot of people.1 in 10 babies require some amount of neonatal care at
birth. I owe NICU everything for my son. He is now a healthy 4yr old, we are so lucky to have
Allanah Elliot is a mum and owner of ‘Little Elliotts’ World’ where she makes amazing handmade, reusable products aimed to be waste reducing and sustainable.