Editor’s note: We believe that all birth stories and birth experiences matter. This post is part of our ongoing series of birth stories featuring a diverse range of women and their birth experiences.
Monica decided to try for an unmedicated birth using hypnobirthing as a coping tool. She is the proud mum of two little girls and the author of Mum In The Woods, where she shares her journey through pregnancy, childbirth and parenting. Visit for tips, suggestions and recommendations on how to tackle motherhood.
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It was the day after the due date. I was so looking forward to meeting our second little girl. My wife gave birth to our first daughter, so it was going to be a whole new experience for us. We did a hypnobirthing course, hoping to have a natural and calm birth, and we were so ready!
I had the first surge (contraction) at 3.30 am. I woke up with these incredible cramps and urge to go to the toilet, so I ran to the loo and had a massive number two. How glamorous, right?! I was not sure whether I had a tummy bug or if that was actually a surge. But by the time I got another contraction I knew it was the start of labor – yay! Surges kept coming throughout the day every half an hour or so. Totally manageable with the breathing techniques I had practiced in the previous months.
I had a normal day at home, resting in bed as much as possible. Then at about 7.30 pm, all of a sudden they started getting closer and closer to each other. When I called the midwife to give her an update she kept telling me not to worry and wait a bit longer. She kept saying that because it was my first pregnancy, I was still a long way to go. Thank god I insisted for her to come and check me out anyway, as by the time she got to my place I was 7 cm dilated! So in the car and off we go!
The 30 minute or so car trip to the hospital is a blank. All I remember is listening to the rainbow relaxation track on repeat all the way and closing my eyes to focus on the breathing. Walking from the car to the hospital in the birthing unit was quite hilarious. I was doing a few steps and then stopping because I had to breathe during a contraction. I remember one person stopping by and telling me “Good luck.” And I was also hoping I wouldn’t get a contraction as I was getting out of the elevator. Imagine that: squashed between elevator doors while trying to reach the delivery unit!
As I got to the birthing unit, we found out they didn’t receive the information that I was coming in and there was no room ready for me. Not sure how that happened as the midwife called from our house saying we were coming! So I had to wait in the waiting room. To top it off, they hadn’t filled the pool yet… I was SO looking forward to a water birth, so the midwife rushed to one of the spare rooms and opened the tap of the pool.
While in the waiting room, all of a sudden, I transitioned to active labor and I felt such an urge to push. It’s amazing how the body just knows what to do. So, picture this – us in the waiting room with another big family and me kneeling down over a fridge going, “I feel the need to push.” And my wife screaming back, “You can’t push yet!” Like I had any control over it!
The room wasn’t quite ready yet, but they walked me all the way there. What the heck happened to wheelchairs that you see in movies for pregnant ladies?? By that point I could feel the surges coming closer and closer and all I needed to do was to push. I remember I kept telling the midwife, “Isn’t it time to take my pants off?” as she was still setting up the bloody room. Eventually she realized how fast this baby was coming and helped me take my pants and undies off.
She asked me if I wanted to go on the bed but there was NO WAY I could climb on the bed at that point. Or get into the pool for that matters (which was still pretty much empty, sigh). All I could do was stand by the bed – eyes closed and still focusing on the breathing. The midwife and my wife forced my legs open to try and squeeze a pillow between my legs and after a few minutes, at 9.35 pm, little Michaela came out and was in the midwife’s arms.
It was the most intense and yet most calm experience of my life. I was aware of all the noise and chaos happening around me, but all I could think of was breathing during the surges and visualize my little baby coming out. The room didn’t matter, the pool didn’t matter, nothing mattered but me being in sync with my body.
It was so empowering, like I was invincible. I knew exactly what my body was going through every moment of labor and that awareness made me feel in control. I knew exactly what to do. And I remember that ecstatic feeling when my midwife told me “You are about to meet your baby” towards the end – I felt pure joy. The pain was never there, or maybe was there but I never felt any. My baby was soon placed in my arms and I could finally lie on that bed with her on my chest. All of a sudden, we were a family of four.