A birth story {Part the Fourth}

As she is lifted out of the water and placed on my chest she is so utterly calm. No crying, just big blue eyes looking up at me, wondering what on earth had just happened. In fact, she didn’t cry for the first twenty four hours. Apparently that’s quite normal – both hypno-birthing and water-birthing babies tend to be incredibly calm and content because the birth is so low stress for them.

I say ‘she’. Except at that point, I still had no idea whether she was a she or a he. I asked, and they told me to look myself, but I just wasn’t capable (either physically or mentally) of doing that, so Andy looked, and announced that we had a baby girl.

Which was a shock.

We’d made the choice not to find out what we were having – it honestly did not matter to either of us one way or another. Despite that, we’d both had a feeling all the way through that the baby was a boy, and every man and his taxi driver (taxi drivers are very knowledgeable about such things in KL), told me that my bump was definitely ‘boy-shaped’. Andy would even come home and ask how ‘he’ had been today, so it’s fair to say, I was not prepared to hear that she was a girl. I even then summoned up the energy to look for myself, just to check. Yep. Definitely a girl.

So here we are all in the pool, staring at each other in disbelief that this has all just happened. Andy in disbelief that his wife had jut managed something so incredible, Emmi in disbelief that she was suddenly ‘outside’, and me in disbelief that I had actually Done It. And also that I Now Have A Baby. So we’re in this sort of stunned silence, shocked, but enjoying the moment.

Until that is, the doctor said that I needed to get out of the pool. I hadn’t realised, but they wanted me to deliver the placenta on dry land. All well and good. Until you realise the practicalities involved in removing yourself from the pool.

Let me create a little mental image for you:

Me. Utterly naked. Tottering around very unsteadily, looking ironically, like a new born foal, having lost all the strength in my legs.

Me. Attempting to use said legs to climb over a metre-high, 30 cm-wide side of a paddling pool onto a slippery floor.

Midwife. Clutching small baby tightly.

Umbilical cord. Stretched between the two.

Me. Realising that I ABSOLUTELY CANNOT SLIP, because, if I do, not only will my four minute old baby be pulled out of the midwife’s hands and hit the floor, but OH DEAR GOD MY ENTIRE INSIDES ARE CONNECTED TO THAT CORD AND THEY WILL BE PULLED OUT AND OH. MY. GOD. MUST CONCENTRATE ON NOT FALLING OVER.

I eventually managed to not only scramble out of the pool, but haul myself up on to the ridiculously high hospital bed, with insides still intact, and baby still in midwife’s arms.

And then, serenity restored, they placed her on my tummy, and she did the ‘breast crawl’. As in, she managed to move herself from my tummy, up to my chest, and latch on herself. It was a truly incredible moment, and one that I’d not have believed had I not seen it myself. She then lay there happily for half an hour, whilst the doctors did all sorts of things below my waist which need not be mentioned here. In fact, she stayed lying on me for the first two hours of her life, and then when I needed to move, she went to Andy. It wasn’t until four hours later that they persuaded us to let them take her to the nursery to weigh her etc, and even then Andy went with her. Whilst I spent fourty minutes attempting to wee.

Oh yes.

They actually threatened to put a catheter in me if I didn’t get it done myself, and there was just No Way that was happening thank you very much, so I spent the best part of an hour getting it done myself. It wasn’t easy, and it wasn’t comfortable, but I damn well was going to do it. I’d just pushed a baby out for christ sakes, I was not going to be beaten by this.

By the time Andy and Emmi returned I had achieved it AND managed to stand up for ten minutes to have a shower. I was on a roll. I then collapsed into bed and didn’t move from that bed for nearly 12 hours, but you know, small victories.

In fact, I didn’t leave that room until nearly three days later. I now look back on that time as this blissful little bubble. We managed to get them to put another bed in my room, so Andy stayed with us the whole time (only occassionally leaving the room to pop downstairs to the Starbucks where all of the baristas cooed over every picture he had of Emmi). None of us got out of our pyjamas the whole time (yes, Andy went to Starbucks in his pyjamas. Several times actually. What of it?). We snuggled, and snoozed, and completely forgot that there was a world outside of the three of us. We hungrily devoured every tiny thing that tiny Emmi did, and lay there watching her sleep, amazed at the sheer brilliance of her already.

But the time came when we could no longer justify staying in hospital. On the morning of our third day there, we checked out and headed home, tiny baby in enormous car seat, to reality, and the beginning of an entirely new chapter of our lives.


*I just want to follow up this birth story with the point that I know exactly how lucky I was. Yes I’d prepared and practised and aimed for a birth like this, but so few women actually get the birth that they want. I was lucky that my doctor was understanding. I was lucky that the birthing pool was available. I was lucky that my baby was in the right position. I was lucky that there were no complications. This story was not meant ot show off, but to give hope to others out there, that it is possible to have a calm and confident birth experience. You’re welcome.*

And just in case you missed it:

Part the first here. In which I deny that I’m in labour.

Part the second here. In which I am in labour.

Part the third here. In which I have a baby.


Categories: Any Other Baby, Becoming a Mother
14 interesting thoughts on this


  1. Posted May 17, 2012 at 1:57 pm | Permalink

    Wow. Just wow. An incredible story (I’ve just read all 4 posts in one sitting as I discovered the last part first and had to know how it started!) Thank you for sharing this with us.

  2. Posted May 17, 2012 at 1:58 pm | Permalink

    Genius writing, Clare. Write a book. No, really, WRITE A BOOK. that’s an order.

    • Posted May 17, 2012 at 2:26 pm | Permalink


      • Katie
        Posted May 17, 2012 at 5:47 pm | Permalink

        Awww. Love this. Thank you Clare.

        And yes, can I preorder the book please? If I was a publisher, I would give you, Aisling and Anna book deals, along with most of the commenters (is commenters a word, or did I just make it up?).


    • Emily
      Posted May 17, 2012 at 4:07 pm | Permalink

      Yes! I have absolutely loved reading these. Thank you!

  3. Becca
    Posted May 17, 2012 at 2:03 pm | Permalink

    (a) I find it strange that you would have to specify “what of it” as I regulaly go everywhere in my pajamas. Starbucks. TheThaiacrosstheRoad. Tesco. They have an elasticated waist. AND?

    (b) I want to be you. You are hillarious and you are like…mother nature or something

    (c) Yes you should write a book. I will buy it but only if you sign it.

    (d) OMG AOBookSigning.

    (e) Emmi is coming to AOP yes?

  4. Vivienne
    Posted May 17, 2012 at 2:47 pm | Permalink

    Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful. Well done Claire


  5. Posted May 17, 2012 at 2:59 pm | Permalink

    I’m going to have to un-read this whole series as it’s doing absolutely nothing to help my oh-no-I-can’t-possibly-be-broody-as-having-a-baby-would-be-beyond-inconvient-right-now mindset.

    She’s an absolute corker, just like her mum.

    (What do you mean I can’t ‘un-read’ something? Wooooooah…)

    • Posted May 17, 2012 at 3:58 pm | Permalink

      Reading Clare’s birth story is the only thing that’s ever made the thought of having a baby myself even cross my mind (and yes I have friends and family with tiddlers), I can’t begin to imagine what it would do to you if you were already keen on the idea!

  6. Sarah
    Posted May 18, 2012 at 9:30 am | Permalink

    Yes, I’m definitely getting keener on the idea thanks to Clare! I can’t pretend the bit about the umbilical cord doesn’t freak me out, but Emmi looks so lovely… x

  7. Posted May 18, 2012 at 9:52 am | Permalink

    Ah! I forgot it was two-post Thursday! Fail!

    I second (third, fourth) the calls for Clare to write a book, full of love and joy and sanity and hilarity. Please?

    What an absolute star Emmi is, like Mother like Daughter :-)

    K x

  8. Posted May 18, 2012 at 10:58 am | Permalink

    Thank you for sharing your story with us. I posted about childbirth and birth stories this week, I don’t ever think people are showing off I just honestly think people who have a better time of it are more likely to put it on the Internet or at least skim over the gruesome bits and I personally know a few ladies who really struggled with it being a different experience to what they wanted.

    Like you say all those things are luck and thank goodness you got them and that beautiful girl. X

  9. Posted May 18, 2012 at 11:00 am | Permalink

    PS I was totally shocked about the placenta bit. I guess I thought it would be smaller maybe I don’t know, anyway it’s almost as big as the baby!! I made them let me look at it for ages- the midwife wasn’t happy about it but it’s one of the weirdest things I’ve ever seen.

  10. Mrs Jones
    Posted May 23, 2012 at 4:47 pm | Permalink

    After being an avid watcher of OBEM I have an odd fascination with birth.. I’m in no way broody but love hearing about it.. Sort of a horror film mentality I suppose!! Clare, your whole story sounds as perfect as a birth can be and what a gorgeous ending too. I have a friend who hypno birthed and swears by it.. So if I’m ever in that position I think I’ll give it a go, it makes total sense to me and I’m definitely doing it in the pool. Of all the OBEM births the mothers look the least stressed in the pool..

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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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