Claire’s Positive Birth Story @clairesanderson
When you’re pregnant people tend to share the horror delivery stories. Claire and I connected recently after she shares a sneak peek into her positive birth stories over on Instagram. Like me, Claire wanted to share her story to give expectant mums reassurance that having a baby can be wonderful and even enjoyable.
I was 34 when I had Zak, 5 days after my birthday. I was extremely fit and healthy which really helped throughout the pregnancy and birth. That said, I had SPD (symphysis pubis dysfunction, very common in pregnancy but extremely painful) and I ended up on crutches because of it for the last month. I finished work three weeks before my due date and once I had my feet up, in the garden, on a sunbed and eating ice cream, things got a bit less painful!
Labour started on my wedding anniversary. I felt twinges throughout the day, a bit like bad period pains but I carried on as usual. I cooked a meal for me and my husband Dan to celebrate our anniversary. We even open a really nice bottle of wine and the evening felt so lovely and relaxed.
The twinges increased a notch but were still manageable. Throughout pregnancy I had been obsessed with watching One Born Every Minute and I had decided that my birth experience wasn’t going to be like the majority of cases you see on the show (where women get very stressed, although I know it’s a different experience for every woman.)
I was labouring in the bath from midnight. I wanted to be alone. With candles burning I made a decision to be in control. I was calm, focused and breathed deeply through each contraction, splashing my bump. The contractions started to get a bit spicy and about 3:30am I woke Dan and we went to hospital.
At the hospital they examined me and I was 2cm which left me feeling hugely disheartened. They sent me home and said they didn’t expect to see me until midday. I returned to my bath and two hours later the labour pains upped a notch again. I shouted to Dan “we need to go to the hospital now”. When we got there (it’s only 5 minutes away), I kept having to stop to breathe through the contractions. I clearly remember one of the midwivee looking at me skeptically and saying “that’s the woman from earlier” and I saw red. I said to Dan “I’m going to punch her”….
However, once they’d examined me, I was 10cm and it was the one time I said “I’m scared”. Everyone was there for me though and said “you can do this”. I can’t remember the pushing stage much but I remember liking that I had something to do. My feet were in stirrups and when Zak was born less than an hour later, he came out in his amniotic sac (which made him a minor celebrity on the ward due to how rare it is).
I’d never felt more strong, powerful, capable and beautiful after giving birth. I’d gotten through it with no medication, no tears and just a small graze and I was up and walking about that same day. We were home that afternoon, a little shocked but in totally love with our little bundle.
Three years later Nell made a rather more dramatic entrance.
Again, I went into pregnancy really fit and healthy. I put on more weight the second time as with a toddler I understandingly didn’t have as much time for exercise. I suffered with SPD and ended up on crutches, finishing work three weeks early, like with Zak.
As with the first time, labour started off like period pains a week before my due date. I carried on with my day and Dan and I even went out for a nice meal and glass of red wine. When we came back we were watching Grand Designs and Dan suggested I go to bed. I was getting the TENs machine out and the minute I sat on the bed my waters broke.
In an instant it went from manageable to incredibly intense. We were told to go straight to hospital and we didn’t have time to take Zak to my mother in laws. I remember him he sitting in the corner of the room whilst they examined me and him watching Peppa Pig. The midwives said to me I was only 2cm dilated and to stop pushing. I knew they were wrong.
My mother in law appeared taking Zak home and I went to the bathroom in a strop. At that moment the crown of Nell’s head appeared. I shouted to Dan and he thought I was joking so I ended up pulling the emergency cord. They midwives managed to get me back onto the bed and as soon as I was there, Nell was born. In my hospital notes it says I went from 2cm to delivering in only 6 minutes.
I was in shock and I could’t stop shaking. I remember saying, “hello beautiful. You have a big brother who can’t wait to meet you.”
The midwives examined me and I was fine. I was home in my own bed 90 minutes later. I was even up and about that day going for coffee and cake. It was so surreal.
Births are unpredictable and can be scary. But they can also be straightforward and amazing. So if you’re pregnant listen to the nice stories. The stats are on your side for a normal, safe delivery. Good luck! You’re amazing.