Leyla, 24, Bristol, United Kingdom
I’ve always wanted to share this journey with others. Not only because me learning about other women’s birth stories really helped me, but because every single woman’s journey is completely different. I refused to put fear into the expectations of birth as I was so excited to experience what my body was naturally capable of doing. I also wanted a way of recording the process because my memory is non-existent and I want to be able to look back at it. I hope this puts a smile on your face and you enjoy this very long story of mine.
March 2017- My boyfriend and I found out that we were expecting. We were beyond excited!
I decided to keep my pregnancy off of social media so I could share the experience with my closest family and friends and not have any negativity around me whilst growing my little minion.
I had a pretty straight forward pregnancy. The only issues I had were really bad morning sickness for the first few weeks, the queen of all achey hips, bad skin, and leaky boobs. I kept waking up wondering, "Is today the day I’ll have a craving or my ankles will swell?" Nope! I was myself until the day before baby arrived. I didn’t even buy any maternity clothes! I was very blessed.
I decided I wanted to leave work as early as I could to really take the last trimester of my pregnancy easy and not cause my body any strain. Luckily enough, there was always housework to do and people to see, so I was never at home being a rock.
During the lead up to the last few weeks, I was 112% sure baby was gonna come early. I had lost a lot of weight in the first month since I had really bad morning sickness, as well as, already being petite. When my bump really popped I was convinced I couldn’t get much bigger because I wouldn’t be able to push the baby out. I remember saying, “She’s gonna be here 2 weeks early”, and of course we went all the way. Well, until the day before the official due date…
16 November, 3am- I woke up in the middle of the night to my hips aching and thought I may as well get up to go to the toilet and walk around because there is no way I’m going to be able to get comfy. What I was told my waters breaking would look like had appeared, but the week before I had already thought my waters had broken and then they hadn’t, so I already knew what the hospital would say. So I followed that protocol before calling: Walk around for a while to see if more liquid is released. If so, it could be your waters. If not, it's probably a false alarm. I went back to sleep on the sofa so I wasn’t lying on my hips.
8am- I’m woken up to beautiful hip pain! I go to the toilet and, tada! More liquid! I call the hospital and they say come in ASAP so we can evaluate the situation.
10am- The lovely midwives at Cossham Hospital welcome Gus and I and confirm it was my waters that had broken and said, “You’ll meet your daughter by the end of the day”. I was so excited that it was actually happening! They told me to go home, relax, and come back when the contractions get closer. So we went to Aldi and did a massive food shop and then tidied the house haha!
The word contraction still confuses me. I had pains which I thought were contractions 2 weeks before labour, which didn’t get stronger, longer, or closer. So I had no idea how to time them. I just remember telling Gus in tears, "I can’t deal with this pain anymore I need to go back to the hospital now". Luckily enough, the flat was tidy, fridge was full, and hospital bag was packed.
4pm- After 4 hours of sitting on the toilet (as the only way I could manage the pain), being given back massages, aromatherapy, and putting myself in different positions, the first body consuming contraction kicked in. Here comes the pushing! According to Gus, some of the things I was saying were hilarious:
"I’m going to die!"
"I can feel I’ve ripped from one side to the other!"
"I want this to end so I can go to bed!"
10:05pm- 6 hours later, Little Esmé enters the world!
The feeling of her being put on my chest crying was incredible. I wanted to hug her so tightly and snuggle up with her, but I was so scared I would hurt her. As soon as she was born everything flew by. Getting her to latch on breastfeeding was a challenge, but she learnt it and we were good-to-go. Birthing the placenta took a little while and I must say it was slightly weirder than giving birth. Then daddy cut the umbilical cord. Before I knew it our parents were there having cuddles and it was time for bed. I couldn’t sleep all night because I just wanted to look at Esmé and just make sure she was ok.
It wasn’t until the next morning that I realised I didn’t get a chance to even mention to the midwife that I wanted to have a water birth. It all seemed to happen so quickly.
My biggest achievement of the whole process was being fortunate enough to do it all 100% natural with no drugs or intervention.
I could not of done any of it without Gus and the midwives. Poor Gus, I was holding (well, breaking) his hand from the second we got into that hospital until she arrived and forcing him to breathe with me because I couldn’t remember how to do it. You are my absolute rock.
The midwives who supported me were incredible women. I was lucky enough to have the same two midwives from start to finish and one was a student midwife who is going to make the best midwife. They were so friendly,welcoming, calming, and loving. I felt so safe with them, which I never thought I would. They were an absolute blessing and I am so grateful.
I was lucky enough to be a low risk pregnancy and was allowed to give birth at Cossham hospital. For those who haven’t heard of Cossham hospital, wow! It is basically an all natural luxury hotel. There are 4 birthing suites there. Each has a double bed so your partner can stay, an en suite, a birthing pool, and a lounge. It is so relaxing in there and doesn’t feel at all like a hospital.
I really could go on all day and talk about everything that happened before, after, and during labour, but that would make this the longest story ever.
To the unconditional love you could never put into words. To my new world, the love of my life, Esmé.
November 16, 2017