7 reasons I absolutely loved giving birth to my babies
When you're pregnant, one of the very worst things that anyone can do to you is relay all the birthing horror stories of their own or that they have ever heard.
Not that I am all for lying to pregnant women when they are curious about what's ahead of them - I mean, I think the more realistically prepared we women are, the better - but I don't think we need to terrify each other, do we?
I've written a lot of ranty stories about the health service failings and the annoying things that some medical staff said or did in and around my pregnancies and labours, but I must admit that I have nothing to complain about when it comes to my actual childbirths.
None. Nada. Zip.
It's true. In fact, I want you to know what I love telling other expectant mums and it is this: I really, really, REALLY loved giving birth to my two kids and have great memories of both.
I'm not saying the labour wasn't hard in places - it was - but the labour? LOVED IT.
Here's are 7 reasons that I have great memories of my labour:
1. Positive attitudes:
My partner Alan and I decided very early on that we were going to stay as positive as possible throughout the pregnancy if we could. That included trying to stay upbeat when labour started so mentally, we were prepared to get our smiles on. We tried really hard not to be put off by any negative personalities that we met along the way, were really polite and respectful to everyone we met in the hope that the good ole Universe would send some of those good vibes back our way.
2. The presence of ice cream:
Food seems to have played a big part in both my labours and is remembered fondly: with Jacob, we went to our favourite ice cream place as soon as the contractions started; with Eva, we brought the then two-year-old Jacob for ice cream after our sweep at the hospital. Ice cream = happiness, right?
3. We brought our A-Game:
'A-Game', meaning 'Angry Birds'. When we were sent to the labour ward to wait for my labour to come on a bit, we got busy competing with each other on the iPad to distract ourselves. Cue major high fives for scoring high levels and sideward curious glances from the nurses.
4. Our midwives were amazing:
Midwife The First was from Cork and had the most energetic sing-song voice of all time ever. She was like a cheerleader on steroids. I know I wasn't exactly myself at the time but all I can remember is that she was like one of those Tongue Twisters that used to be on Bosco on RTE in the 80s. "Push..push..pus..pooossssh... POOOSH.. POOOOSSSSH!!!" The best.
Midwife The Second was from India, really chill and earthy and more or less had Alan's face shoved up there to see what was going on. GOOD ENOUGH FOR HIM. She also cooled me down after Eva arrived with a sanitary pad dipped in a jug of iced water. It is literally the nicest thing that anyone has ever done for me.
5. We were flexible in our expectations:
Labour and childbirth can be complicated - will all the will in the world, the best-laid plans can get chucked out the window when labour actually begins. With my first baby, I kept an open mind of 'I'll see how I am feeling' when it came to pain medication. I didn't really know if I wanted the epidural but when I realised that I couldn't handle the pain, I put my hand up and said 'Yes please'.
With my second baby, I assumed I might want the epidural again but decided to see what happened. It turned out that I did get it even though the labour was slightly shorter. We were calm enough to assess our situation and ask for what we wanted, and of course, lucky it worked out for us.
6. We laughed and joked a lot:
I always think that if you maintain that happy attitude, that other happy or funny things will happen along the way. When the Indian midwife had just given us the green light to start pushing to deliver Eva, she got us all set up - Alan had one leg, she had the other, she instructed me on the breaths and we had our plan ready. "Ok ready?", she asked. I nodded, I was SO ready.
And then the door to the room opened and another midwife poked her head in.
"Are the keys to room four in here?" she asked.
"Eh, we're just a little bit busy here right now!" Alan called out over his shoulder, joking.
Well, we laughed so hard, I'm surprised Eva didn't pop out there and then.
7. We mixed it up:
I found out that I was having a boy and had named Jacob so by the time his little body arrived into the world, I had this huge surge of love because I felt like I already knew him. He was already so simply a part of me that when they put him in my arms, it felt like he had been there forever. (I totally tried to cry but couldn't through the drugs!)
On the second pregnancy, we went for the surprise. I can't properly explain in words the outpouring of joy, the tears (despite the drugs), the shouts of happiness when we realised we had a little girl. The memory of that moment, of hearing 'It's a girl!" will keep me going forever.
Do you have some positive childbirth experiences to share? Let us know in the comments on Facebook.