I’ve been thinking about my two different labour and birth experiences lately as a few of my friends are pregnant or have recently given birth and naturally they have asked questions about how things went for me.
With Felix i had an epidural, read magazines to pass the time and was almost falling asleep between the pushes.
With Seth it was drug free, i punched the walls to pass the time and i almost wanted to die between the pushes.
Of my second birth people tell me i should be so proud and although i understand where they are coming from in actual fact i am much prouder for coming through my first experience.
On paper it sounds as if i had an easier time of but that couldn’t be further than the truth. Yes i had an epidural but that was because i had been in labour for for 22 hours and the level of pain was incomprehensible . The only thing i can liken it to is that it felt like someone was repeatedly jamming a red hot poker up my bottom. Not cool.
At about 4 in the morning i was administered the wonder drug that is the epidural. As if by magic the whole room changed, the mood altered and time clicked back to a normal pace. I was able to see and hear people again – they had faces, i could talk, i could lie back on my bed – it was BLOODY AMAZING! From our sea view suite we watched the sun begin to rise creating a beautiful silhouette around the pier. We chatted idly and watched the cars go by, little dots transporting people to the start of their days.
I don’t really view this labour as if there was a choice for me. I could not cope with that pain and i needed that epidural, i do not feel like i copped out and if i had to do it again i would do exactly the same. However there were many downsides – Felix was ventouse, i tore and needed stitches, i couldn’t wee due to all the swelling, i had to be re-catheterised and i spent 3 days in hospital crying as all i wanted was to be at home snuggling with my new family on the sofa.
This time round with Seth i had what i believed were Braxton Hicks for most of the morning – i went an got my hair done and popped into Sainsburys local to buy some Soreen (what i spent my previous labour eating!) when my waters went with a pop. Seth was born exactly 3 hours later and i was only in a very intense pain for about 45 minutes to an hour.
The only way i can really think to describe the feeling of giving birth is down right odd in a very wrong way. It hurt, it really really hurt but it was QUICK so i focused and i managed to get through it. But here’s the thing – i don’t feel like i was brave i just feel like i was lucky.
It was luck that the babies positioning made the contractions less painful, it was luck that i dilated quickly, it was luck that the baby didn’t get stuck or into distress meaning i would not need an assisted delivery or c-section. It was all luck and i feel very lucky for that but not brave. Brave was the first time round, luck was the second.
And do you know what the luckiest thing of all was? That both times i was presented with a beautiful baby boy who didn’t give a damn how he was born…….
Felix and me
Seth and me
**************P.S. I have a new book OUT NOW! You can nab it on Amazon here or in your lovely local bookshop :)
Loved this post but one correction – you should be proud of both labours!! ;) Seriously though, I had a very similar experience to your first labour, I just had forceps rather than the ventouse. I was going out of my mind with the pain and the epidural gave me a chance to properly experience labour and almost enjoy it all and take it in.
Here’s my labour story in brief: http://tobecomemum.blogspot.co.uk/2013/06/welcome-to-world.html?m=0
Thanks Kelly :) and you are right, we should all be equally proud of our labours however they happened!
Your little boys look perfect! And I must say, you’re the prettiest mom (who’ve just given birth) I’ve ever seen! =) I too was given the epidural after about 2 days of labour! And then had to have an emergency C section in the end because my daughter’s heart beat was slowing down (apparently her umbilical cord was wrapped around her neck!). Thankfully the doctors/nurses/midwives at Exeter hospital were ace! She came out angry and screaming her head off as if to say “What took you guys so long?” Haha. You’re right of course, they don’t really care how they come out, as long as it’s safe! =)
Ahh thank you so much! You are right then being ok is the most important thing :)
Sounds very similar to my experiences. With Kitty I had an epidural after 40ish hours of labour (I’m including early labour in that) and even longer of being awake. I was induced and by that stage we needed a break and a snooze and just to regather some strength for the pushing. Elma on the other hand gave me a gradual early labour over about 8 hrs, we arrived at the hospital to be told I wasn’t quite in active labour, my waters went within the hour and she was born 10 minutes later. No gas and air, no nothing. Somewhere there is a happy medium but I’m proud of both of my births, and you should be too, although I’ve had my fair share of ‘the look’ when I say I had an epi with Kitty.
10 minutes wow that’s quick!! I’ve had ‘the look’ a few times too, it’s ridiculous that other people even have an opinion on how you birth your baby!
I asked a couple of times for an epidural during labours and both times I was told ‘no’ followed by ‘you’ve done it before without, you can do it again’ which massively upset me. Alas my birthing days are over, but I always wondered what it would feel like to have an epidural.
That’s terrible that they said no! I was scared they would tell me no too although it took long enough to arrange. I guess having an epidural feels like nothing and i am sort of glad that i got to experience the feelings for real the second time round – not that it really matters though!
I am still scared to do it all again after Bob’s birth. Reading this makes me realise how different two births can be. x
I was so sure my second was going to be just like my first. When other people told me about how quick it could be this time round i didn’t believe them, I’m very glad it did turn out to be the case though!
I had 3 with epidurals and 1 without because she came too fast! 3 cm to baby girl in my arms in 30 min. Oh how I wanted that epidural! I’d still like to go back and get the epidural!!
ha ha i know what you mean! I soon forgot about the pain second time round though and was semi glad to have experienced the real feelings – well sort of anyway?!
Not me! I think my husband is still traumatized by the things I said!
Lovely photos, I have never understood why people say that you should be proud of not having any drugs in labour. Of course I get where they are coming from, but I had two c-sections, the first being due to medical reasons, and of course they couldn’t be any further from a natural birth. However I am still incredibly proud- I grew my babies safe and sound for nine months and got them here in the safest way possible, plus going through the nerves and pain of the recovery of a section. I am very proud indeed! x
Although i haven’t had a c-section i have friends who have who i have the utmost respect for. I imagine caring for a small baby must be very hard after such major surgery. You are right to be incredibly proud too x
Every birth is something to be celebrated and proud of. It doesn’t matter how straight forward or complicated it is, or if medical intervention is required… We have each done a wonderful thing, we carried our babies and brought them into the world in the safest way we could. How could we be anything but proud?
We shouldn’t you are very right. I think a lot if women put pressure on themselves unnecessarily though which is a shame. Thanks for your comment x
I had two very different birth experiences. My son was born after 40 hours of labour, I had every pain relief going, including an epidural, and eventually had an emergency C-section. Not quite the water birth with no pain relief I’d had planned! My second birth experience was a planned C-section because I was having identical twins and didn’t want to put them at risk after my first experience. It ended up being an emergency C-section though because they wanted to come out 5 days earlier than planned! Not quite sure how I managed with newborn twins and a toddler after major surgery, but somehow I got through it, and they are all worth it :-)
Crikey that must have been tough!! I think birth plans are all well and good but the problem is you often don’t really have any control over his things go!
I am incredibly proud of giving birth to two healthy boys, regardless of how they entered the world. I am thankful that my body took well to childbirth and I had relatively quick and easy labours but really that is neither here nor there!
You are right! I think I was wrong in saying I was prouder than one than the other but that was just for getting through it really. It just makes me sad to think some people think you took the easy route for accepting drugs.
i think every woman who gives birth full stop should be proud of their labour and efforts. Its such an amazing experience we go through. and look at you post birth – you look so beautiful. xx
Oh thank you, not sure i agree though!! :)
Love this!! It’s amazing how experiences differ with each birth isn’t it? I felt the same as you too, as long as T got here safe I could’ve been in a field or on the moon, didn’t care where I was or how he got here! Best way I reckon, there’s less disappointment when things don’t go to plan! Haha
Thank you for your lovely comment! I totally agree, them being safe is all that really matters!
This popped up at the bottom of another post so I had to read it. How do you manage to look AMAZING after giving birth?! HOW?!?! I only had gas and air both times but that was because they were born at home and that was all I was allowed. I think things may have been different if I was in hospital but to me having a home birth was more important that having pain relief options x