A birth story {Part The First}

Not that you’d know from her distinctly unimpressed face during her ‘swimming lessons‘, but Emmi was a water baby. As in, she was born underwater. In fact, I spent a large proportion of my labour in the water, and I am now a HUGE proponent for the water birth experience as a whole. On top of that, I also used hypnobirthing techniques, so I am a bona-fide hippy mummy. 

Except, any one who knows me will know for absolute sure that I don’t really fit that mould. In fact when I first found out that I was pregnant I vividly remember discussing it with a (non-mother) friend, and declaring that I would have to be drugged up to the eyeballs to even begin to consider pushing this baby out. If I could have signed up for an elective C-section then and there, I would have.

So how did I, the person who cries and mopes around with an exaggerated limp for days if I stub my toe, manage to go through labour without the aid of pain-relief?

This is a birth story.  I apologise. I will attempt not to offend with any gory details. Please feel free to skip this post and come back later on for today’s second post, because (hurrah!) today is Two Post Tuesday. I also apologise for my liberal use of the Caps-Lock button. But I think if anything deserves the use of capital letters, it’s Having A Baby, right? See? It needs it.

When you reach 37 weeks pregnant, you are considered ‘full-term’. As in, if that baby pops out right now, it’s all good. Your baby is done. Cooked. What that means though, is that, as they will allow you to go up to 42 weeks before they start deciding that the baby is at risk of getting over-done, you have potentially five weeks of thinking ‘today the baby could decide to make an appearance…I’d better make sure my waxing is all up to date’. Five weeks of people saying ‘well, next time I see you, there will be two of you’, and then ‘still no baby?’, as if perhaps you might have been hiding the baby behind your back and were just wearing a really unflattering top.

I realise though that I was fortunate. Emmi arrived just two days after my due date, so I only had three weeks of ‘sorry I can’t make any plans because I might be pushing a baby out during that lunch you’re trying to arrange for next week’.

And although I’d been thinking every day for three weeks that ‘THIS. COULD. BE. IT’, and therefore living in a state of permanent anxiety/excitement/thoughts of please hurry up and come out baby so that I can go longer than 3 minutes between trips to the loo, I was still shocked when I came back from my 189th trip to the loo at 2am that morning and realised that that was the second time in five minutes I’d had that long, deep uncomfortable tightness in my tummy.

Until you are IN labour, you have no idea what labour is actually going to feel like, do you? Even when people tell you, you’re still not entirely sure that you’ll know. And apparently, even when you’re IN labour, you still don’t really know. I lay there for an hour feeling the pains come in waves every 5-7 minutes thinking that it was probably just practice labour. Or a false alarm. Or the curry we’d had for dinner that night. Or ANYTHING really that didn’t mean I was going to actually have to Do This Thing and Have A Baby.

I eventually conceded defeat at about 3.30am and woke Andy to tell him that he probably ought to consider packing the hospital bag for himself that I’d been asking him to do for several weeks, because I’d decided that ‘perhaps we ought to go in just to confirm that it’s a false alarm’. I then promptly vomited, and the panic became apparent in Andy’s eyes as the realisation hit that We May Be About To Have a Baby.

We spent the next fourty minutes or so packing our bags and doing practical things like feeding the cat, and making sure the washing was hung out to dry (Just In Case I had to stay in hospital, you understand) interspersed with me leaning on tables/chairs/Andy and breathing deeply, groaning and rocking my hips every 3-5 minutes, whilst still asserting that I was sure it was all a false alarm, and perhaps we should go back to bed. In the end Andy phoned our doctor, who asked if the feelings that he described were less than 10 minutes apart yet. Those feelings which I was getting every THREE to FIVE minutes. Oh. The doctor very politely requested that we get to the hospital as soon as possible. There was a moment of terror mixed with joy where we looked at each other and said ‘this might be it’ and got a all a bit teary eyed, and then we were On Our Way.

I had five contractions in the twenty minute car journey and screeched at Andy during each one to PULL OVER PULL OVER PULL OVER PULLLLL OVEEEEERRRRRR FOR CHRIST SAKE whilst Andy desperately attempted to PULL OVER whilst avoiding the many mopeds of KL. Emmi obviously realised her mother was a drama queen and that she’d better turn up over-night because I’m not sure we would have made it in one piece if he’d have had to do that on the totally crazy slightly busier daytime roads.

We parked right next to the lift in the car-park so that I wouldn’t have to walk far. Except, joy of joys, this is Malaysia, and therefore the lift is out of order. Up four flights of stairs we walked. Well, I waddled, and Andy struggled carrying my suitcase, his hold-all, my handbag and my birthing ball. The latter of which I didn’t actually ever use. Not that Andy ever reminds me of that.

So. It’s 5 am. Here we are. At the hospital. With me texting people to let them know, but assuring them that it was almost certainly a false alarm. And anyway, your first baby ALWAYS takes at least 12 hours, if not 24 to come. This was not happening any time soon. And I continued having contractions every five minutes that were lasting upwards of two minutes each time. Naive? Me?

To be continued….

Categories: Any Other Baby, Becoming a Mother, Written By Clare
17 interesting thoughts on this


  1. Carly
    Posted April 24, 2012 at 7:21 am | Permalink

    I am obsessed with birth stories and make friends tell me all the gory details, so I am loving this!! Can’t wait to see part two! X

  2. Posted April 24, 2012 at 7:22 am | Permalink

    If you pop this baby out in under two hours I am
    Coming to Malaysia to strangle you.

    That is all.

    Arrrrrrgh birth stories make me stressed!!!!!

  3. Rach M
    Posted April 24, 2012 at 7:32 am | Permalink

    Aaaaagghh! On the edge of my seat! Bring on Part 2! Xx

  4. Posted April 24, 2012 at 8:10 am | Permalink

    NOOOO! Don’t stop there!! xx

  5. Posted April 24, 2012 at 8:14 am | Permalink

    LOVE a good birth story!

  6. Posted April 24, 2012 at 8:17 am | Permalink

    Great image of Andy carrying half his body weight in bags on the way up four flights of stairs.

    Clare, this is brilliant stuff. You are so going to tell us that you basically hopped in the pool and Emmi popped out wearing Baby Dior, aren’t you….?

  7. Clare
    Posted April 24, 2012 at 8:35 am | Permalink

    Lucy, you have just negated the need for me to write Part The Second.

  8. Posted April 24, 2012 at 8:54 am | Permalink


    SUCH a great read.

    Clare, your writing is always hi-larious whether talking about choosing your wedding dress or giving birth. Brilliant. Thank you.

  9. Posted April 24, 2012 at 9:22 am | Permalink

    Part 2! Part 2! Is part 2 soooooooon?

    You have such a gift for mental imagery Clare, I love it.

    K x

  10. Steff
    Posted April 24, 2012 at 9:24 am | Permalink

    Love it :)

    I’m the youngest of 4, have 9 nieces and nephews and am currently building a maternity-related software system so I’m no stranger to a birth story and this is shaping up to be one of the good ones! x

  11. Katie
    Posted April 24, 2012 at 10:33 am | Permalink

    Oh, please hurry up with part two…. The suspense is killing me. xxx

  12. Jenny
    Posted April 24, 2012 at 12:42 pm | Permalink

    My toes are already curling and you haven’t even got to the gory bit yet! You paint such a good picture Clare! Can’t wait to read part II!


  13. Esme
    Posted April 24, 2012 at 2:34 pm | Permalink

    Woop love a good birth story – especially when you *know* the mum!

  14. Mahj
    Posted April 24, 2012 at 9:15 pm | Permalink

    Clare, every time I read capital letters in your post, I snorted tea. Not attractive.

    I dont have children myself and birthing stories tend to scare me a little but I genuinely cannot wait for Part 2!


  15. Posted April 25, 2012 at 1:34 pm | Permalink

    Clare – I loved reading this. Cant wait for part 2
    Rachie xo

  16. Posted April 29, 2012 at 10:12 pm | Permalink

    Eeek, exciting, love hearing these stories from the other side!

    Can’t wait for Part 2!

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Hello! We're Clare, Aisling and Anna and welcome to a corner of the world where smart, flawed, real women talk about the bigger picture; about their experiences, stories and opinions on all aspects of being a woman today, from marriage to feminism to pretty, too.

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