So this time last week (7.45pm at the time of writing), I was having mild to moderate contractions at home. My waters had broken hours earlier at 9am and a visit to the hospital showed baby was head down and fully engaged. The midwife who examined me said she would book me in for an induction the following day but that she’d be amazed if I didn’t go into natural labour beforehand….and she was right!

Nothing happened for hours and I did begin to think whether induction might be on the cards for baby Gregory number two. But like with Flynn, once things started going, they REALLY got going.

A walk around the block at 5pm brought on some cramping and a few hours later I felt like things were progressing enough to warrant inviting my mother-in-law over to watch Flynn in case we had to rush into the hospital. She arrived at around 8.15pm and we sat chatting on the sofa whilst I timed my contractions – which at that point were merely just some tightening. I called the labour ward but as I was having no problem talking through them, they said to stay at home and monitor things. Less than half an hour later, and boy had they stepped up a notch. I was finding it harder to speak during them and the tightening had begun to hurt and was lasting roughly 45 seconds every 4-5 minutes. Knowing how quickly things progressed with Flynn – I went in at midnight, was sent home because “not in labour”, was back two hours later when I was 7cm and 3.5 hours later he was born – I wasn’t prepared to hang around at home any longer, even though the midwife said they’d prefer it if my contractions were closer together. We jumped in the car and four or five contractions later, we arrived at Frimley Park Hospital, eventually getting round to the Mulberry Birthing Suite at about 9.30pm. By this point I was in a fair amount of pain but it wasn’t until I got on the bed five or so minutes later that I really began to suffer. The pain in my lower back was super strong and it was making my whole body go stiff to try and counteract it. It was also getting harder to concentrate on my breathing as the pain was overriding it. Obviously unaware and unconvinced of how far along I was, my midwife (who was lovely by the way, just clearly not expecting things to progress quite so quickly) was busy doing other things and finally arrived back to take my obs, stating that if I wasn’t dilated enough I would have to go home. At this point, I knew that was never going to be an option….and she never even got round to checking how dilated I was. My body was starting to push and I knew that either I was about to do the biggest poo of my life or this baby was coming…and quickly. I informed her that I felt like he was “there” and when she eventually took a look, she realised that I wasn’t over exaggerating. I was rolled onto my back, the emergency button was pressed for an additional midwife, and just three or four pushes later, baby Gregory the second was out!

Born at 10.02pm, he made his appearance a mere thirty or so minutes after we first arrived at the hospital. And we were  all home by 6am, ready for Flynn to wake up and meet his new baby brother.

I had dreamt of having a peaceful water birth with just gas and air for pain relief. What I got was an on-my-back bed birth with no water and NO PAIN RELIEF! Not even a paracetamol!

Now I’m not saying this because I want some kind of medal for enduring labour without any meds….although if my husband is reading this, a new Mulberry handbag would be the perfect pushing present (and seems only fitting considering I gave birth in the Mulberry Suite). The truth is, if we decide to go for baby number three I would probably do the same thing again – yes, seriously! I can hardly believe I’m saying that as trust me, the pain was excruciating and as a result of being totally ‘in the room’, I can remember every last second of the labour. But do you know what, I quite like that. I was entirely present for the birth of my baby and that’s pretty cool if you ask me.

With Flynn, I took on so much gas and air in a short space of time that I was pretty much off my face. I couldn’t open my eyes, I couldn’t speak and I just felt completely out of control. In contrast, this time round, although the pain all but took over my body, I was fully aware of what was going on and I knew what I needed to do to get the baby out. It also meant I was able to fully enjoy and appreciate the moment he was born rather than being so exhausted and confused that I couldn’t even look at him – which is what happened with Flynn.

Obviously I’m very lucky that it was quick and that I didn’t have to endure labour pains for very long – would I be as brave if I had 24 hour plus labours….no probably not! But in a weird (VERY weird) way, I kind of enjoyed the whole experience and just ten minutes after giving birth I was already saying I could do it all again. With Flynn, it took me ages to come to terms with a potential second childbirth…..three-and-a-half years in fact!

So the point to this post is to say that whilst labour is of course a terrifying prospect, it doesn’t have to be as traumatic as you might think. I never imagined I could give birth with no pain relief, but when your body is doing what it needs to do and showing you the way, it is possible to just go with it and focus on the end goal – your baby. Whilst gas and air would have been nice (and don’t worry, I well and truly got my fix during the stitches), being completely free of all meds meant I was able to take in every second….and if you’re going to remember every last bit of something, surely there’s no better occasion than the birth of your child!

The human body really is the most incredible thing….

P.S. The Mulberry Birthing Suite was amazing – I would wholly recommend it!