Recently I was asked to write about my boys’ births and how they differed. Obviously my response was to write a list. What a brilliant opportunity; a chance to really reflect on two of the most formative experiences of my life.

**This list is a longer than usual, but I loved writing it so indulge me… **


  • I thought I prepped for my first birth. NCT classes, every episode of One Born Every Minute. What more could I need?

  • Then I went overdue. Really really overdue.

  • I wasn’t prepared for that. As someone who does things at 100 mph AND was born 7 weeks premature,  I had naively assumed that this guaranteed me a prompt labour. I was wrong.

  • At 41+6 I was booked in for an induction.

  • I had zero clues about what that involved, but didn’t care, I just REALLY wanted my baby out.

  • The morning of my induction. I went into labour (probably thanks a sweep).

  • Rung the delivery ward feeling excited. Not for long:  I must still attend my induction slot as planned.

  • What an error. Once in ‘the system’ I was stuck in no-man’s land.

  • They wouldn’t induce me because I was in labour.

  • They wouldn’t send me home (even though I was only 3 cm) because I was on an induction list.

  • I didn’t progress.

  • I walked the corridors of St Georges to the point of exhaustion.

  • I didn’t progress.

  • I cried.

  • I didn’t progress.

  • I cried some more.

  • They sent my husband home.

  • I begged to be allowed to go with him.

  • I cried.

  • I didn’t progress.

  • 24 hrs later, someone decided to give me a pessary.

  • Things went nuts. Within 10 minutes I was having 7 contractions in 10 – grim.

  • Into the delivery room. Active, mobilised labour,  just gas and air, not fun, but I was ok (just).

  • I wasn’t very kind to my husband, but that’s by-the-by.

  • Then the decision was made that it was time to a) push b) get on my back.

  • It felt wrong, but I did what I was told.

  • The fateful hour passed. The inevitable episiotomy.

  • Then Albert Maverick Telford was here!!

  • But I was bleeding. A lot. Cue lots of medical people doing stuff, oxygen mask. Me thinking ‘is this it?’. Terrifying.

  • Thankfully the bleeding was controlled quickly. But, in my memory what followed was one nightmare after the next:

  • Left alone in the delivery room while I had a panic attack.

  • No hug. No reassurance. No quiet word saying ‘it’s ok to feel a bit wobbly after pushing a human out of you fanny’.

  • Just a threat of being referred to the psychiatric midwife the next day.

  • Firm instruction to breastfeed NOW, even though I was too exhausted to keep my eyes open.

  • Tuts of disapproval for not managing to walk to post-delivery ward (after an epsisiotomy!).

  • My husband being kicked-out just 45 minutes after we got on the ward.

  • Having to ask someone to change my catheter and could I possibly have some paracetamol for my pain?

  • Feeling alone, shocked and frankly quite abused.

  • Then finally some sleep!

  • On waking my heart exploded with love for the tiny human lying next to me. I was a Mummy! Time to step up and be the Mummy he deserved.

  • A year passes.

  • A confusing life-altering 12 months of sleepless nights and rediscovering myself.

  • Then low-and-behold I am up the duff again!

  • More freaking-out.  Then a plan: THIS TIME WAS GOING TO BE DIFFERENT.

  • I found Hollie (@theyesmummum) and her increds hypnobirthing course.

  • Got a place with the community midwives who would give me continuity of care.

  • Decided on a home-birth.

  • Practised my relaxation techniques.

  • Talked about my fears and rationalised them.

  • Invested heavily in snacks and posh candles to burn during labour.

  • I was prepared and even a bit excited about getting this bubba out.

  • Then it happened again. 40 weeks came and went.

  • The insanity set in. Hormones, nerves and fear =  some pretty irrational thought processes.

  • 41 weeks. I sent Hollie a mental email. Think proper breakdown. How do I get it out? What if my body doesn’t know how to go into labour naturally? Help!

  • ‘Let go of the anxiety’ she said. ‘trust your body’, she said.’ It will happen’, she said.

  • She was right. The next day I had a sweep. (Only in pregnancy are you mega pleased to have someone stick their hand up you).

  • Already 3cm dilated – woo hoo!

  • That night went to bed with a suspicion it was ‘game on’. But knew I should get some kip.

  • 3am woken by a surge. It was definitely happening. No panic, no fuss. Just a real sense of knowing what needed to be done.

  • Dispatched Bertie to my sister’s in Camberwell at 5.45am (Thanks Sus!).

  • Then got into the groove of labour; being naked (obvs) and eating Jaffa Cakes,  oh, and the midwife arrived.

  • A palaver with the birth pool. The fitting couldn’t connect to our tap. Funny in retrospect, fucking annoying at the time.

  • Eventually into the water (bliss). Totally focused on getting to the peak of the surge then down the other side . . . ‘breathe in calm, breathe out tension.’

  • It was hardcore. Exhausting. At the time I desperately wanted it to stop. But at no point did I feel worried or out of control.

  • The second midwife arrived. Yes!! The end couldn’t be that far off.

  • Candles, chilled music, yet more Jaffa cakes. All very lovely. Until transition…

  • Suddenly the darkness felt oppressive rather than safe.

  • Time for a change of scene; suggested the midwife. Great move.

  • The brightness and coolness of the bathroom felt like an epic new chapter.

  • No sooner had I taken a seat on the loo than an almighty surge hit.

  • My body well and truly took control.

  • Leapt up, grabbed my husband in a strangle hold for support, and out came baby’s head.

  • Then with the next surge Woodrow Victor Telford made his entrance into the world.

  • He was born calmly and quietly with his waters intact or ‘en caul’. Swiftly followed by my placenta, which conveniently went into the toilet.

  • The relief was immense.

  • I hadn’t been induced.

  • I hadn’t used a scrap of pain relief.

  • I hadn’t bled. Just a tiny tear that healed naturally.

  • And I wasn’t pregnant anymore!! I felt like the luckiest person alive.

  • Me and my new dude headed to bed. And that’s where we stayed for the rest of the day (with Pizza Express pizza).

  • When people ask me about my labour, I say it was everything I wanted it to be.

  • A wonderful empowering experience rather than a terrifying one.

  • From there things got better and better:

  • Goodbye demon’s from Bertie’s birth.

  • Hello quick recovery.

  • Hello immediate bond.

  • Hello oxytocin that kept me high for weeks.

  • And, best of all, an ongoing belief that if I can breathe a baby out; I CAN DO ANYTHING.

  • If only I could nip back in time and give the ‘old me’, the one having a panic attack after Bertie, a hug and some words of advice:

  • “Everything is going to be ok, in fact everything is going to be better than ok. You have just started the best journey of your entire life”.

As you can probably tell I couldn’t recommend hypnobirthing more and in particular Hollies course. Here’s her website with all the info www.londonhypnobirthing.co.uk

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  • Reply lovegemsy1987 October 27, 2016 at 8:44 am

    Hello. Just found your lovely blog via Instagram. Your first birth sounded like birthing abuse you poor thing. Hypnobirthing is the way forward if only more midwives realised it. It was painful to read your first birth story but beautiful to read your second. Thank you for sharing. The more mums that know about hypno the better. I had a hypno birth with my first and I’m now 21 weeks pregnant with my second and I’m not scared of the birth which is so refreshing. I love the way you wrote the two stories in list form such a effective idea. Keep up the good work.


  • Reply Hayley October 27, 2016 at 6:41 pm

    It’s so great to hear both birth stories. I can totally identify with your first experience, and I long for a more positive one if we have another baby. I had to have a blood transfusion when my son was born (kiwi delivery with episiotomy, no pain relief – the one thing that went to plan!) and I’ve already been told that a home birth, even a MLBU in hospital would be out of the question. I don’t want to be stubborn and risk mine or baby’s health, but I do strongly believe my body could safely deliver a baby given the right circumstances. I’d definitely feel more confident in asking questions of a midwife in the future. Hypnobirthing sounds so incredibly positive. I so wish I’d known about it then.

  • Reply Aimeeblaise October 29, 2016 at 6:10 pm

    Love this. My (first) baby boy, Nico, is 22 wks and v similar to your first birth. Awful. I had to beg for a wheelchair after an epidural, emergency episiotomy and ventouse, which was totally unwanted after doing hypnobirthing. Couldn’t sit for 7wks. 😬Really hoping next time will be better!

  • Reply Natasha November 5, 2016 at 5:26 am

    Great list. I had a similar story to your 1st experience, though I had a hypno-birth session on earphones which helped me enormously along with repeatedly refusing to get on my back. Overall I have made my peace with the experience but your blog post has scratched a (nearly) healed wound. 😉

    Here’s a few from my list:
    – My catheter fell out on the floor and they didn’t replace it, just re-attached it. Bluergh!
    – Being told to wash my surgical stockings in the sink and hang them out the window to dry as I wasn’t allowed a 2nd pair?! #cutbacks
    – Re-admitted with feeding problems but no breast feeding expert available or even mentioned.
    – Discharged myself after 3 days in a room with my boob being shaped into a cone and my baby’s head launched at it every few hours.
    – Partner booted out at 8pm each night. So I was alone 8pm till 9am. *whispers* how does that help me recover?
    – When I said to the midwife my son seemed very unsettled, not sleeping, not content. She responded with ‘that is just Mum projecting onto baby’. WTF?

    Social media & bloggers like you have been instrumental in helping me navigate my journey through motherhood. And I am a better mum because of it.

    • Reply Peckham_Mamma November 6, 2016 at 10:19 pm

      What amazingly kind words. So sorry you had such a shit time. Hope you found it therapeutic to write about it. I know I always do. Thanks again for reading xxx

  • Reply Lois Breegan November 7, 2016 at 10:03 am

    Wow! What a list. I had quite a similar experience – overdue, a million sweeps & induced with baby 1. Long labour slow progression then rushed to theatre for the biggest forceps known to man to yank her out. No cuddles for ages then not a lot of support – me ‘is she hungry?’ MW -‘how should I know’ also had to ask for paras & my catheter to be removed. I struggled the first few months but when vi was 18 months felt ready to go again. Got pregnant quite quickly and was super excited but also scared. I went over again & got booked in for induction. Like you my mind went into over drive – I can’t go into labour naturally, I’m going to end up in surgery, my body wasn’t made for this etc, etc, etc. Eventually my mates calmed me down. I was induced but I got a couple of fantastic midwives who introduced some hypnobirthing techniques and I breathed baby 2 put in a pretty short labour with just a touch of gas & air. Such a different empowering birth.

  • Reply Laura Holmes November 30, 2016 at 3:22 pm

    Wow, thank you for sharing your stories, I’m still completely traumatised from the birth of my little boy (two years ago, it was bad) have only just started thinking that maybe, one day it would be nice for him to have a sibling, just got to get my head around going through it all again. It’s nice to read about other people’s experiences and to know that it can be better second time round xx

  • Reply Fiona shaw December 13, 2016 at 9:12 pm

    Just came across your Instagram and love reading your blog. I had a home birth with my daughter (Wasn’t planned). At 2 in the morning my waters broke and I rushed to hospital thinking I was about to have a baby only to be told to come back at 1 the following day because I wasn’t dilated enough, then at 10 in the morning lying on my sister-in-laws bed with my mother-in-law, auntie and next door neighbour standing in to be midwives with the only experience of having kids themselves 😂 2 years on I went to the hospital and had my son, was a completely different experience and totally preferred the ‘unplanned’ homebirth. Totally agree that homebirths are a lot more comfortable and relaxed! If we have baby no.3 I will definitely be going the planned homebirth route. Glad your second delivery went a lot better! Think there should be more information and support on homebirths X

  • Reply Louise Enright December 24, 2016 at 1:32 pm

    Christmas Eve. Getting my hair done. Trying not to cry my face off reading this. Love this list. One for every new mama! X

  • Reply April April 26, 2017 at 10:35 am

    You hero <3

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  • Reply Anon May 16, 2017 at 7:14 pm

    Just found your blog via that horrible daily mail article. This post really touched me – I had 2 similar experiences, but the other way around (lovely natural birth at home with #1 no midwives, no one telling me what to do; horrific c-sec under GA & 4days in hosp, baby in nicu & scbu with #2 because was told to push when didn’t need to) & put off ever going through childbirth again. Won’t ever banish the demons from #2 (he’s nearly 5 now)

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