Leeds, UK

*Trigger Warning - Graphic childbirth content*

My labour story starts off bright and early at 3am Saturday 22nd December 2018, and lasted a grand total of 22 hours before we welcomed our little girl into the world. But for today's tale I'm going to be taking things a little further back to Monday 17th December 2018... My little one's due date.
I remember feeling quite anxious on the run up to baby's due date. Dan & I were both fully aware baby could arrive safely anytime between 37-42 weeks however for me particularly I found having the specific date at the back of my mind to be quite pressuring. I was counting down the days to the due date expecting to feel different and expecting my body to give me a sign, but nothing showed. I was googling every single little symptom and seeing if that correlated with going into labour... Which of course it did. Everything relates to going into labour according to Doctor Google. 

It was frustrating - But something I had no control over.

I'd booked in to see my midwife on the due date, Monday 17th December with the hope to have a membrane sweep to try and get things moving. So there I was Monday morning, legs flopped, vagina out for the world to see & I had what I can only describe as an aggressive fingering. Unfortunately said fingering was more of an internal examination rather than a membrane sweep, as my cervix hadn't even began to open. I remember feeling so disappointed at the time - Disappointed that my body wasn't quite ready to push this baby out of me.

Again... It was frustrating - But something I had no control over.

Four of what I can only describe as the longest days of our lives had passed and baby was still showing no signs of budging, and at this point we were fully anticipating the arrival of a Christmas day baby - Something we didn't particularly want, but something we'd grown to accept.

That was until 3am the next day!
I woke with cramping pains in my stomach, believed it to be the beginning of contractions and then instantly convinced myself it was nothing. I felt like I'd been waiting for such a long time for contractions to show, that I didn't want to get too ahead of myself and be left disappointed if it was just a case of a jippy tummy. Thankfully three hours later of on and off pains and after continuous googling of what contractions are supposed to feel like, I'd decided to wake Dan with the words 'I think it's happening!'

At this point I was getting contractions every ten minutes or so, but they weren't painful - It was more of an ache. In fact Dan found it bizarre that as I'd be having one I'd just be getting on with my normal day to day life, my facial expressions wouldn't change & I could easily talk through them... At this point, this whole labour thing was a breeze!

It wasn't until around 3pm, so 12 hours later that these 'easy contractions' started to feel more painful and come more regularly. I could still talk through them which meant they weren't currently as bad as what they were going to become, but they certainly knocked me for six. Each contraction left me frozen, but from practicing hypnobirthing I was getting through them purely through concentrating on breathing and getting into my own happy head space.

We'd previously called the hospital to let them know what was happening, but decided to drive in to LGI around 4pm. Here I had another internal examination where I was told I'd dilated to 2cm and we had the option to either come home and rest or have a wander around the hospital for a few hours to see how I progressed. We'd decided to come home, I popped myself in the bath and waited it out for another couple of hours until Dan said he couldn't bear seeing me in that much pain anymore and that he was taking me back to the hospital. I remember at the time thinking we'd be wasting the hosiptal's time but in hindsight it was the best thing we could have done.

Another internal examination later and I'd progressed to 4cm which in the space of a couple of hours I was told was pretty speedy. Yay cervix! And at this point we were taken through to the delivery suite where shit got real!
We were welcomed by the midwife who'd be delivering our baby and were instantly offered tea, biscuits and sandwiches - It was almost as if we were entering a B&B!.. Albeit a clinical, white wash walled B&B.

A couple of hours had passed and the pains were ramping up  at this point, contractions were coming every couple of minutes and lasting for a minute if not more at a time, but they were still what I'd describe as bearable. I'd had no pain relief at this point yet but could definitely see that I'd be asking for some pretty sharpish. I'd always wanted to try and deliver my baby as naturally as possible, however was very much aware that if I needed pain relief or medical intervention, I needed to do what was best for both baby and for myself.
My first dose of pain relief came in the form of gas & air - The midwife had needed to pop my waters, which I can only describe as feeling like I'd peed my pants, but this release of pressure now came with an intense wave of pain whenever I'd have a contraction. The midwife explained that this was because baby had nothing to bounce off & the pain I was feeling was little baby bones moving down the birth canal hitting my pelvis. Ouch! I'd needed to have my waters broken so they could attach an electronic fetal heart rate monitor to baby's head. Her heart rate was a little all over the place at one point and the midwives were unsure if it was just down to her being an active and wriggly baby or if it was something more serious. Thankfully our precious one is a little wriggler!

I'd heard a lot of things about gas & air, mainly from people saying it had made them feel quite sick or woozy, but I can honestly say I don't think it had that much of an effect on me - If anything I was using it as a distraction. Essentially it was something else for me to concentrate on rather than an 8lb baby making it's way out of my vagina. Eeek!

Before going into labour I'd always thought as soon as I got to 10cm dilated, I'd have some sort of indication from the midwife and then I'd be told to push... But this didn't happen for me. Something inside me just told me to start pushing. I'm not sure if I was at 10cm or not, but from the way my body was contracting, I knew it was time! It's really amazing what the human body can do. I've never experienced child birth before, but somehow my body just knew what to do... Even if my mind didn't.

At this point it'd just gone midnight & I'd already been in labour for 21 hours, but I knew the end was in sight - The midwife had said our baby would be with us in the next hour and it was this feeling that made my whole mindset switch. Something in my brain took over, eliminated the pain & I turned into some kind of wonder woman. My head was one million percent in the game & I knew I had to just crack on with the task in hand... Because soon We'd be meeting our little girl.

This feeling was like nothing I'd ever experienced before, however if you can imagine what it's like to pass a baby through the birth canal and out of the vagina, then it's exactly that feeling! It's painful yes, but it's an amazing experience to feel like you're actually getting somewhere rather than just having contractions every couple of minutes. The end was in sight!
A short while passed and as promised our little girl made an appearance at 1.35am on Sunday 23rd December. After 41 long weeks our baby was finally here & our lives would never be the same again!

My labour story is extremely positive, in fact shortly after delivering Amelia I remember the whoosh of emotions, one of which was 'I could do that again!'... Granted maybe not anytime soon, but the whole experience made me feel like a force to be reckoned with & if I could do this, I could do anything!

If you've got this far, thank you! You're 1400 words in & deserve some kind of medal!


Have you read my previous pregnancy posts?
Lifestyle | The third trimester.
Lifestyle | The second trimester.
Lifestyle | The first trimester.


  1. Aw this was such a lovely post to read! I'm so glad you shared this as it's always nice to read a more positive birthing experience. Amelia is gorgeous xx

    Lauren |

    1. Thank you so much! A lot of people have said this, I didn't realise there were so many negative experiences out there. It's quite sad really. I'm glad mine was positive & that I've been able to share it. X

  2. Great to read your birth story Claire! Yours sounds more positive than mine overall, although I wouldn't exactly call mine negative, just different to what I'd hoped for! I'm just glad it's done now, haha. My first words after giving birth were "Never again!", so a little different to how you felt! I'll be writing my birth story soon!

    Emma xxx

    1. Aww! :-) I can't wait to read yours. I'm so nosey now when it comes to peoples birth stories and parenting tips. X

  3. Such a lovely post Claire, you absolutely smashed it. I'm also planning to do hypnobirthing and trying to go as natural as it safe for me and baby. Currently making my way through your pregnancy and baby content at the moment, trying not to cry at my desk on my lunch break...hormones!

    Lauren xx - bylaurenjane


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