Giving birth to a baby is one of the most amazing experiences you’ll ever have in your life. Whether it’s a boy or a girl, the birth of your little one, after nine months of pregnancy and hours of labour, is something you’ll cherish forever.
If you’re about to give birth to your first child, certain thoughts may cross your mind. Is the pain of labour as bad as TV shows or your family and friends make it out to be? Will you need medical intervention such as induced labour, epidural, ventouse suction cups (vacuum), or a caesarean section? It depends, because every birth is different.
If you want to know what labour and delivery is really like or you’re worried about the pain, here are nine of our favourite Aussie birth stories so you know what to expect. These women will encourage and inspire you to embrace the birthing process with their real, raw and powerful experiences.
Image via Chronicles of Nadia
In the early afternoon (around 1.30pm) on a Thursday, Nadia Bartel got home and started getting Braxton Hicks contractions every 20 minutes for a few minutes. It became painful each time, leaving her hunched over. Then the contractions happened every 7 minutes or so. At 3.30pm she called her partner Jim, who later rang the midwife, and then the midwife called her and said she was in labour.
At the hospital, Nadia’s contractions became more painful, stronger, and closer together. But she only measured 3 cm dilated, so her obstetrician said they need to break her waters using a big razor-looking device. It looked scarier than it felt. Afterwards, Nadia’s pain intensified – imagine your worst period pain times one hundred. So she asked for an epidural – the needle didn’t hurt. Soon after, she was pain-free and couldn’t feel the contractions. It was bliss! She also felt nauseous so she took some anti-nausea medicine.
Around 4am, Nadia was fully dilated and ready to push. Jim and the midwife were with her, each holding up a leg as she pushed with all her power. When she pushed, they pushed their weight against her. This part of her labour was harder than the pain she experienced initially and it lasted for 2.5 hours. Thankfully, Nadia did Pilates during the latter part of her pregnancy, which she felt gave her greater strength and made it easier for her to push.
Once her obstetrician came back into the room, it gave her the energy she needed to keep pushing because he was cool and calm and told her she could do it; she could give birth naturally without cutting or suction. Less than 15 minutes later, she finally pushed her baby out and it was an incredible feeling. Nadia ended up with a tiny tear but it wasn’t bad.
Aston arrived at 6.50am on Friday, 27 November 2015 – on his due date. He weighed just under 4 kg and measured 52 cm long. He was a perfectly healthy little boy.
Image via Healthy Mummy
Jessica Black, a member of the Healthy Mummy community, shared her birth story of her son. At the end of 39 weeks, Jessica could feel her baby coming so she prepared the house for labour and packed her bags for hospital. Then she went to sleep just after midnight. She woke within the hour due to an intense pain that wouldn’t leave her. The tightening across her stomach wasn’t slowing down and after 5 minutes had passed, the pain increased. The tightening continued but she and her baby were calm, quiet, and peaceful. She sat on the ground in front of the lounge and timed the contractions. They were 5 minutes apart, lasting 45 seconds, and quickly increased.
After 2 hours, Jessica felt pressure within her pelvis but remained calm. Then she decided to go to the hospital with her partner. When they arrived, the tightening became stronger and she took a warm bath. Her mind and body instantly calmed down, the torturous feelings growing lesser by the minute. She stayed in the bath for several hours, waiting for the big moment to come but it never did. At sunrise, she got out of the bath and found she was still 5 cm dilated.
The midwives wanted to break her waters and she agreed. After this, Jessica was hit with waves of sensations, tightening, and intensities. She couldn’t catch her breath between contractions and she lost her calm. Then she started vomiting and requested an epidural. But as the midwives tried to give her a cannula to prepare her, she couldn’t stay still, rolling and vomiting.
Within an hour of breaking her waters, the baby was ready to come out and that’s when she finally found her breath, her centre. She propped herself up on the bed and started pushing. And when her son finally came out, weighing 3.6 kg, she beamed with love and pride. Her son’s arrival was a magical one.
Image via Megan Gale on Instagram
For Megan Gale, things didn’t go to plan during her labour and her birth plan was useless. She experienced ‘incoordinate labour’ in which her contractions started at 5 minutes apart – this is when you’re supposed to be at the hospital. So it came as a shock to her.
Megan then went to the hospital and when her obstetrician arrived she thought it had been around 6 hours and that she was probably 8 cm dilated. But after her obstetrician examined her, he said she was only half a centimetre dilated. She felt “so ripped off”.
During labour and delivery, Megan’s birth plan stayed in her bag and she had made 10 copies for everyone. She had the epidural and later gave birth to a healthy baby boy named River. When he was placed on her chest, he pooed all over her but she didn’t care. He looked exactly how she thought he would and she said, “he was so beautiful”.
Megan’s father died three months after River’s birth and she said it’s lovely to see that her son has her father’s eyes and to see his expression living on through her son is a wonderful thing.
Megan loves being a mum, and she and her partner, Shaun Hampson, have just had their second child, a girl named Rosie.
Image via Practising Simplicity
Jodi Wilson woke up at a 12.45am on a Sunday morning to find that her waters had broken. She and her partner Daniel were at the hospital by 2am but labour wasn’t progressing so they returned home. By 7pm that night the contractions became more frequent so they went to the hospital again at 9pm. Then the contractions slowed and weakened. At 3am they surrendered to the fact that labour wasn’t going to happen on its own so they went to the main hospital to induce labour.
Syntocinon was pumped into Jodi’s system via a tube and slowly she started to have strong, productive contractions. However, by 6am she and the midwives noticed the baby’s heartbeat dropped with each contraction and as the contraction eased, the heartbeat recovered. The situation became worse by 7.30am and Jodi felt the urge to push at this stage. But the obstetrician said she couldn’t because she was only 6 cm dilated and had a cervical lip.
The obstetrician moved the cervical lip and wanted to attempt a vaginal delivery before resorting to caesarean. Jodi’s legs were in stirrups and a vacuum was placed on the baby’s head. She pushed with all her might for the next contraction and the head popped out, with the umbilical cord wrapped around the neck three times. Minutes later the rest of the body came out and the baby was placed on Jodi’s chest. He was blue but then he cried and she was glad he was here and safe. 30 minutes later the paediatrician took him to Special Care to be monitored.
Percy Pippin was born on Monday, 9 March 2015 at 8.43am. He weighed 3.4 kg with a height of 51 cm. His birth was nothing like Jodi envisioned but it was no less beautiful than she expected.
Image via Tim Coulson
Tim Coulson’s wife Kesh woke him up just before midnight on May 29 and said she was in labour. She couldn’t sleep as her contractions were 5 minutes apart and lasted for up to a minute. At 2am the contractions became stronger and Tim helped her breathe through a few contractions. As the sun rose, the frequency and intensity of the contractions increased, so they decided to go to the hospital at around 8am.
According to their midwife, Kesh was 4 cm dilated. The next 6 hours were hard for Kesh, with her body shaking, legs cramping, and back aching but she was okay. At around 3pm she was 5-6 cm dilated and they also found out their baby wasn’t in the right place, so they had Kesh’s waters broken.
For the next 3 hours, Tim held Kesh’s hand as she beared down and moved into each contraction and their midwife prepared themselves before 6pm. When Kesh changed positions, her contractions slowed and weakened. With another examination, they found that the baby’s position made Kesh’s cervix swell with each contraction, preventing further dilation.
Kesh was exhausted and fell asleep, waking every 10 minutes or so with a contraction. Tim woke her at 7pm and discussed the situation. She was scared and asked him to pray, so he did. By 8pm, both their parents arrived at the hospital.
With their dire situation, Kesh received syntocinon and an epidural around 9pm. The contractions became stronger, moving the baby into the right place. After resting, Kesh was examined again before 2am on 31 May. She was fully dilated and the epidural was allowed to wear off to let her push properly but it resulted in back pain. Tim, his mum, and Kesh’s mum massaged her lower back to help her push.
From 2am to 5am, Kesh pushed with all her might. They could see the baby’s head but it wasn’t coming out. The doctor was called and ordered a top-up of epidural. The midwives wanted Kesh to deliver naturally so they decided to give her four more contractions. The baby’s head was almost out by the last contraction, and it finally came out with the fifth contraction.
Kesh cried as she couldn’t believe she had done it. She was in labour for almost 30 hours, and for almost 22 hours at the hospital. For Tim, birth is amazing and beautiful. Their son, Roo Joe Coulson, was born at 4.55am and weighed 3.9 kg.
Image via Katie Dickens
Katie Dickens went into labour when she was 37 weeks pregnant. Her partner Bryce was taking her to her obstetrician appointment at 11.45am on a Tuesday when she felt a stabbing sensation down the side of her torso. Then they went to the hospital where Katie had her pre-show as she relieved herself in the bathroom. Once hooked up to the monitors, the midwives realised she was already in the second stage of labour with 4-5 contractions every 10 mins and they were peaking. She was given the gas and inhaled it like her life depended on it.
When Katie’s obstetrician arrived, she confirmed she was in labour. She was happy but then remembered the pain she was in – she wasn’t scared or worried but rather overwhelmed by it. Katie spent the next 2 hours curled up, taking the gas. The contractions were manageable but the shooting labour pain down her left abdominal was excruciating.
A few hours later, Katie was just 2 cm dilated so her obstetrician decided to break her waters and give her some morphine to ease her pain so her cervix could relax and dilate. She also decided to give Katie an epidural to further ease her pain and increase dilation and because it’s safer for the baby. Katie preferred a natural birth but agreed to do the epidural for the safety of her baby. The anaesthetist started the epidural at 2.30pm. And between 2.30pm and 6pm, Katie felt more comfortable.
Around 6pm she was 3 cm dilated, followed by 6 cm at 10pm, then 10 cm at 3am. With all the drugs, time passed in a bit of a daze for Katie. At 3am it was time to push. Her legs were placed in stirrups and she could see her baby’s head in the mirror placed in front of her as she pushed. She didn’t scream as she thought it was a waste of energy; instead she focused on pushing and resting in between. 90 minutes later she was still pushing and felt completely exhausted. Her obstetrician suggested they do a vacuum-assisted delivery, in which case the baby would be out in 10 minutes.
All Katie felt was pressure and she had an episiotomy as the baby had a big head and broad shoulders. Then the baby’s head was out and she pulled him out herself, snapping the umbilical cord in the process. But her obstetrician assured her it was all good.
Katie fell in love all over again when her baby boy, Jordy James O’Connor, finally arrived. He weighed 3.36 kg and measured 49.5 cm long. He was perfect, happy, and healthy.
Image via Rebecca Judd on Instagram
Rebecca Judd’s first child, Oscar, was born 7 days early and came naturally. Her waters broke at home and then the contractions started. So she went to the hospital, had an epidural 5 hours in, and Oscar was delivered 2 hours later. It was a 7-hour labour in total. After giving birth to her son, Rebecca felt bewildered, anxious, stressed, elated, grateful, and happy.
As for Rebecca’s second pregnancy, she was induced 10 days early because there was reduced amniotic fluid around the baby. She had an epidural as soon as she got to the hospital and afterwards her obstetrician was going to put gel on her cervix to start the induction but found that she was already 1 cm dilated. This meant she was about to come into labour naturally and the baby was more than ready to come out.
Rebecca’s obstetrician broke her waters and her daughter, Billie, was born 3 hours later. She didn’t feel a thing; it was perfect. And the epidural took longer to wear off than her actual labour. After giving birth to Billie, Rebecca cried happy tears and felt like the luckiest woman in the world. She felt blessed to have had a quick, pain-free birth and a gorgeous baby girl.
Recently she had twin boys Tom and Darcy, and despite her entire pregnancy dreading the idea of having twins she says it’s the best thing to have ever happened it her.
Image via She Is Sarah Jane
Sarah Jane Young went into labour at 4am on her baby’s due date. She had painful Braxton Hicks contractions and a few quick ejections from down below. The contractions occurred every 8-11 minutes. After 5am Sarah set up her spray tan tent in the garage between contractions. After a few successful dance manoeuvres, she was nicely bronzed. She achieved the first step of her beauty birth plan.
By 6.30pm the contractions increased in frequency and severity. Sarah called the birthing suite and the nurse confirmed she was in labour, but she wanted to stay at home long enough so they won’t be turned away on arrival at the hospital. And for the next 3 hours she recorded details about every contraction. At 9pm she did her make-up between her 4/5-minute contractions and at 5 cm dilated. And later she had her hair done by her hair stylist. All of this was about empowering her birth.
Around 10.30pm Sarah and her partner Richard arrived at the hospital. Her obstetrician arrived by 11.30pm when she was 7 cm dilated so she told him to break her waters to move things a little faster. It was painful but the next 2-3 hours were a bit of a blur. Despite the unbearable pain, she kept calm and ensured her baby’s heart rate remained steady. She had asked for a shot of morphine, which eased a bit of the pain, and some happy gas as a distraction technique. Sarah didn’t get an epidural as she wanted to birth her baby safely.
Around 2am the baby made its way down and the pressure and pain intensified. For an hour Sarah tried various positions to get her baby to the stage where she could start pushing and the pressure on her sacrum and lower back was out of this world. After being in labour for almost 24 hours, she was completely exhausted so she called her obstetrician. He said he would use the ventouse (vacuum), which she agreed to for her baby’s safety although she had wanted to get them there herself.
Sarah’s legs were then placed in the stirrups and she started pushing. She was excited at the same time as she was finally going to meet her little one. Guided by her obstetrician, she pushed and rested at the right time, avoiding tearing and episiotomy. The pushing felt like only a few minutes. Once the baby’s head and shoulders were out, she pulled them out herself and placed them on her stomach.
Knowing that she could be involved in her daughter’s delivery it was kept Sarah going when it got tougher and kept her mind positive. It was the best moment of her life. Mia Grace Young was born on 7 May 2015, weighing at 3.43 kg and measuring 49 cm long.
Image via zotheysay
Zoe Foster Blake went into labour at around 2:30am the day before her due date but says that her contractions were weak until 5:30. At this time she decided to call her Mother-In-Law, asking her to help with her toddler, before making her way there for 6am.
At the hospital she was 4cm dilated. Her obstetrician broke her waters and things kicked off!
She used the gas to manage the pain and by noon asked for an epidural so she could rest – taking this advice from her wonderful doula. It worked wonders and she got a solid hour of sleep which gave her the energy reset she needed to push.
An hour later it was time to push and within 15 minutes she was holding her little girl.
Image via Bellamy’s Organic
Susie Burrell was pregnant with twins and they were both in the breech position so her doctor decided that she would have a caesarean section. She and her partner Chris chose the 22nd of January for the delivery because they were both born on the 22nd of the month too!
At 3pm on the scheduled day, as Susie made her way down to the operating room in the hospital, she started to freak out as she never had surgery before. It was a daunting moment but she did her best not to cry. The anaesthetist helped her calm down and there were no problems getting the needle inserted into her spine. But drugs made her feel like passing out and nauseous so she took a dose of anti-nausea medication to keep those feelings at bay.
The delivery room was quiet and Susie didn’t feel a thing when they cut the babies out of her uterus at 4pm. They were sleeping when they were born and looked shocked to be suddenly out. Shortly afterwards, one of them, Angus, was taken to the Special Care Nursery as he was born with some fluid in his lungs. During this time Susie had an iron transfusion as she lost about 2 litres of blood. Then she saw her babies at 8pm.
Twins Angus and Harry were born on 22 January 2016 at 36 weeks, 5 days gestation. Angus was born first, weighing at 2.56 kg, and Harry came next, weighing at 2.9 kg. Aside from feeling sick, Susie said every part of her pregnancy was enjoyable.
Looking forward to labour and delivery?
Hopefully, these birth stories have helped you to better understand labour and delivery and to look forward to it, rather than dreading it. Some things may not go the way you planned them, but when you finally welcome your little bundle of joy into the world, it’ll be one of the happiest moments in your life.