a birth story - part nine

In my birth story so far:

my waters broke at 6am,
then my contractions started,
after three trips to the hospital,
they finally let me stay,
but 22 hours after it started,
my dreams of a happy, calm, natural labour
seemed to be going wrong.

Around 4am, I needed to provide another urine sample
so that my ketones could be checked again.
Only this time I couldn't produce a drop.
I cried as I sat on the toilet
because I was so desperate not to disappoint the midwife
by coming out without a sample.

As I sat on the toilet the realisation washed over me
that I was dead scared
and that I didn't feel safe.
I didn't feel supported,
I didn't feel understood.
I was terrified
and I felt alone.

When I came out of the toilet empty handed,
the unsympathetic midwife told me that she would do another internal exam
and then I would have to try again.
The exam revealed that I was 6cm.
Things were progressing slower than they should be,
but I had finally reached the milestone of active labour.

The milestone that I had been so excited about the idea of reaching,
suddenly seemed pointless.
I still had 4cm to go and I felt like I was losing myself.
I was scared, tired, in unbelievable pain
and I had lost confidence in my midwife.
4cm seemed like a lifetime.

When the midwife left the room, I turned to my husband
and in one of my short moments of clarity and said
"I can't do this. I just can't."
He told me that I needed to tell the midwife that.
That I needed to make myself heard
rather than lying on the bed,
moaning in pain
but refusing to speak.
He couldn’t do it for me.
I needed to speak up.

She returned.
I summoned my courage.
"I can't do this any more," I said.
Her sympathetic response?
"Oh everyone says that. You can."
"No, I can't cope with the pain any more.
I want to push,
I can't push.
It's agony."
"Everyone thinks that,
but woman have babies all the time.
I really need that urine sample."

Another failed attempt to produce a sample,
whilst crying to myself on the toilet
and I returned to the birthing room,
to my lonely and exhausted husband,
feeling miserable and terrified
and a complete failure.
I clung to my husband,
desperately wanting him to help me
but knowing that he couldn't.

"I think we need to go to the maternity unit," I said,
"I need an epidural.
And I'm so so scared."
He told me that he would support whatever I wanted to do
and that I needed to tell her that that was what I wanted to do.

When she returned, he piped up for me;
he fought my corner.
"I really do think she's had enough," he said.
I feebly nodded along when the midwife looked at me to see if I agreed.

We were getting close to that 6am deadline now anyway
and being transferred to the bigger maternity unit seemed an inevitability.
It had become my light at the end of the tunnel.
I was delusional with pain and exhaustion
and i just thought everything would be okay at the new hospital..

I couldn't believe how far things had deviated from what I had wanted.
I had wanted a natural birth,
with minimal pain relief,
in a small hospital where I was in control of things.
But now, I wanted to go to the bigger hospital.
I wanted a new midwife.
I wanted help.
I wanted to feel safe.

Read the next part here.


  1. Your midwife did not sound very nice- I don't understand why some people are in that profession, I was very lucky that mine were all so lovely and all the staff were, but I have heard some really sad stories. I don't understand why a small few feel like it is not a big deal for someone to have a baby! x

  2. Can I kick your midwife now? So unsupportive. That's awful. I almost cried reading this at the part where you were sat in the toilet and for your loving husband to pipe up for you. Pure love.

  3. Bless you, this was me, but I'd been at it for 4 days (my waters hadn't broken) before they said I was in active labour. 4 days without sleep, I also desperately wanted a natural birth but like you realised there was no way I'd have energy to push. My heart breaks for you reading this, it's amazing how quickly it's forgotten once they arrive though isn't it?


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