A first birth for a mum in Cork University Maternity Hospital

Given that my little man is now eight months I think it’s about time I finally get his birth story down on paper!  I had a fantastically easy pregnancy and pretty much sailed through the nine months.  I did the Gentlebirth home study programme and listened to the tracks daily, did pregnancy yoga every week and had regular acupuncture.  I also did lots of research into birth in Ireland, interventions, hospital protocols, natural pain relief and so on.  The Gentlebirth Facebook group was my go-to for any questions.  I drank raspberry leaf tea from 34 weeks, used evening primrose oil from 38 weeks and bounced on my birthing ball for hours.  So by the time my due date arrived I was fully prepared and ready to go! Continue reading

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A first-time mother has a gentle home birth using hypnobirthing

Our daughter Lyra Bluebell Bridie, was born on the 20th September 2010. I had prepared for her birth with the same determination as a marathon runner. Quite early on I decided I would like a home birth. My female doctor tried to terrify me out of this idea with sad stories and tales of ‘untried’ pelvis’. I came away from my appointment with her scared witless and the whole idea of home birth went out the window. But gradually as my pregnancy developed the idea started nagging away at me again. My instinct, my gut feeling, was to have my baby at home. It is unusual for women to have their first pregnancy at home, but I was healthy and it had nothing to do with me being ‘brave’ or stupid either for that matter. It was just the way I knew I had to birth my baby. Continue reading

A home birth for a first time mother

As soon as I found out I was pregnant I knew I wanted a homebirth. I’m no fan of hospitals (who is?) and felt it made much more sense to bring my first baby into this world in the safety and comfort of my own home. My partner, Conan, felt the same. We were relieved and delighted to find independent midwife Sue Cole living and working near where we lived in West Clare. We had trouble finding a GP to take us on, so Sue suggested one a little further afield who had already done antenatal care for one of her homebirthers. The reaction from the local GPs was disappointing but expected and further concreted my wishes to stay as far away from the medicalised world of doctors and hospitals as possible. I wasn’t sick after all. In fact after the tiredness of the first trimester had gone I don’t think I’d ever felt healthier or happier. Continue reading

First time mum’s natural birth in the Rotunda

It was my wedding anniversary and we’d been spending the past few weeks mad busy doing a lot of painting in our new house. We had 2 weeks to go til my due date so we were both fairly relaxed as we’d heard first babies are usually overdue. So that day we took off and had a lovely big meal with his family and then more pasta later on…I had a big appetite all of a sudden. Just as well really as my waters broke at around 10pm that night. I rang the Rotunda who said just to head in as a precaution to see if waters clear and check me. I was letting out so much waters my tracksuit was soaked so I don’t think there was any doubt about the fact that it was really my waters breaking! Continue reading

Did you know: You can have your first baby at home?

Lots of people (all of whom have never had a home birth or attended one) are very fond of telling the world that women are not “allowed” have their first baby at home. Has someone said this to you? I am sure that many people said it to me before I ever got pregnant, and some still quote it now.

Reasons people give are usually fairly random but often centre on some kind of notion that a woman’s body is akin to an untested, untried machine. The same people are usually eager to concede that once a woman s body has been “tested” in a pregnancy and birth and performed (one presumes) to appropriate standards, its fine to have a homebirth on baby two. Continue reading

Calm birth for first time mother with Domino midwives

Photo courtesy of www.independent.ie

Photo courtesy of http://www.independent.ie

It really was more a case of knowing the type of birth I didn’t want that led me to the decision that I’d try for a natural birth. I have a total fear of the whole needle into your spine thing. So that really put me off the idea of wanting an epidural. Also, knowing you can’t feel any contractions and the increased risk of tearing or having an episiotomy concerned me, too. In my job I’ve waxed hundreds of pregnant clients and heard hundreds of birth stories so I knew that the best-laid plans can change. Continue reading

A first time mother’s natural birth in CUMH

So I thought that nearly 17 weeks later it’s time to get my birth story down, before I forget any of it. Our son Daniel was born on the 5th June at 12.25am, it was a totally natural birth which I really, really wanted (even though everyone told me to be flexible I was determined not to take drugs or have an epidural). I was aided by my fantastic hypnobirthing CD and my also fantastic TENS machine. I had a really positive experience and I can honestly say that I didn’t really feel any pain once I put the CD and TENS machine on, only pressure and the will to push like the bejasus. Continue reading

A first time mum’s fast labour with a domino scheme

Our first baby was due on Friday 8th February. I had kept pretty active during my pregnancy, I walked, swam, done a pregnancy yoga class, and bounced bounced bounced away on the pilates ball! I also listening to Gentlebirth CDs. I had a fear of hospitals, sickness, blood, needles and honestly didn’t know how I was going to get through pregnancy let alone labour. But at the same time I knew that I would love to have a natural, pain relief free labour. I wanted the best start for my baby and I really wanted to experience labour and feel my baby entering the world. I believe that keeping myself active throughout my pregnancy, informing myself of all my choices and keeping as calm as possible really helped me have the birth I wanted. Continue reading

A first time father tells his daughter’s birth story

I woke up early Friday morning, probably around 1:30am and Anna was awake. She was restless, fidgeting, uneasy. I asked her what was up; she said she couldn’t sleep properly. I went back to sleep for a while and woke up again at 3ish. I too was not sleeping well. Anna had said she felt funny and had been timing some pains in her stomach region. Without leaping out of the need in a panic I calmly talked with Anna about how she felt. She was pessimistically optimistic about what might be happening. Continue reading

Country Comparison: A US hospital birth experience for an Irish first time mother

I was born, raised, and lived the first twenty-nine-and-a-half years of my life in Dublin. But, as it tends to do, life took me elsewhere and three years later I found myself living in the very southmost tip of Texas, about to have a baby with my also-Dubliner husband. Before I was pregnant I always assumed I’d have an epidural when I had my babies, just as – as far as I knew – everyone did these days. Continue reading

First time mum’s positive induction

In those far-off days of the 1990’s, there was no Internet, and I only had a couple of baby books, so life just went on.  I got bigger, and occasionally I visited the maternity hospital.  I worked, partied, lost my job, got another, had an operation at 5 months, ran the Dublin Women’s Mini Marathon at 6 months, and attended a school reunion at 7 months.  At 8 months my Granny died, shortly after my final visit to see her, and that was hard to handle with the stew of pregnancy hormones to contend with as well. Continue reading