I had a Cesarean section and gave birth naturally and this is my opinion on both
There is no 'right' way to give birth.
I've seen so many mummy-shaming posts when it comes to how women gave birth, whether it's judging her for having a section, taking pain relief or having a home birth.
The reality is that none of this matters as long as mum and baby are happy and healthy, yet there remains an obsession over how a baby is brought into the world.
I've given birth twice and they were both completely different experiences but the end result was always the same...there was a baby.
Apart from some pretty awful morning sickness, my pregnancy on my son was pretty straightforward and I assumed his birth would be the same. Unfortunately, I could not have been more wrong.
The baby started to get into difficulty and, before I knew it, I was being handed forms to sign to say I gave my permission for an emergency section. I was in a lot of pain and extremely frightened, I hadn't seen this coming.
I'd had surgery before but never while I was still conscious and, while I couldn't feel the pain of the incisions, I could feel the doctor taking the baby out of me. The sensation meant I ended up vomiting on the anaesthetist. I haemorrhaged massive amounts of blood during the surgery and my baby had to be resuscitated.
I had been completely numbed to have the Cesarean, so it took over a day before I was able to fully use the lower half of my body. During that time my son was being looked after in the special care unit.
Anyone who would consider an emergency C-section to be 'the easy way out' obviously hasn't been through one. Looking after a newborn while you're recovering from major surgery is anything but simple and it can take months, sometimes over a year, before you're fully back to normal.
Even though it was a difficult process I'm glad that I gave my consent for the surgery, otherwise, my son and I may not have made it.
I was informed afterwards that the baby had been too big for me and that I should have been advised to have an elective section. Needless to say, when I fell pregnant again I was worried the baby would be big again and I would have to have even more surgery, but my second labour was a completely different experience.
It was a week before my due date and I was going for what I assumed would probably be my last doctor's appointment. Well, I wasn't wrong.
When I was being scanned the doctor asked me when my waters had broken and I was in complete shock. I hadn't realised that my waters had broken and I definitely didn't know when it had happened. Because there was so little fluid around the baby the doctor checked me into one of the wards and I was scheduled to be induced the following morning. That became unnecessary.
It was around noon when I was admitted to the hospital and only a little after lunchtime I started to feel twinges of pain. I had been getting a lot of Braxton Hicks so I thought nothing of it. I had had many false alarms during my pregnancy with my daughter.
During my 22 week scan, I had been informed that the baby had a hole in her heart. After being told this I was constantly counting kicks and making sure the baby was moving the way she should be. At around eight months I had a serious scare, when I started to bleed, but after being examined it turned out to be fine.
Unlike her brother, my daughter had a flair for the dramatic – and when I was suddenly being admitted I thought for certain her birth would also be dramatic.
I sat there with my little twinges taking selfies and WhatsApping my friends some photos of my food.
The pains I felt got increasingly stronger so I took out a piece of paper (I think it was a receipt from the shop) and started to keep track. I had read in every baby book that you can tell the difference between Braxton Hicks and real contractions by whether they are regular or not, as real contractions will always be regular. The pains were definitely regular and becoming increasingly closer together.
When my husband came to the hospital with my bags I was lying across a rubber ball and he asked what I was doing. I said the pains were stronger so he called a nurse over. When she checked me over she informed me I was not only in labour but I was quite far along. So far along it turned out that I would no longer be able to have an epidural.
The pain became almost unbearable but I just kept telling myself that it was 'only a little while longer, hang in there'. I had never given birth naturally before so the sensation was something else. One moment I was in immense pain and then suddenly my body experienced this huge rush of relief as the baby came and the pain was completely gone.
I couldn't get over it – gone, like poof! Within an hour I was up not just walking, but taking a shower and completely back to my normal self as if nothing had happened.
Both births had their pros and cons. The section was more frightening and took longer to recover from but having it saved my life.
Giving birth naturally and without pain relief was more painful in the moment but the recovery from it was instantaneous.
Every woman has the right to choose how she wants to deliver her baby and as long as both mother and child are safe, it really shouldn't matter to anyone what she chooses to do.
I didn't feel less of a woman because I had to have a Cesarean and I didn't feel more of a woman because I gave birth naturally without medication.
Labour and childbirth are difficult no matter what route you go down and all women should be commended no matter how they deliver their baby.
All you should think about when it comes to how you want to give birth is what works the best for you, your body and your child. At the end of the day, that's all that counts.