Photo: Getty Images
I used to be terrified of childbirth and actually burst into tears when I discovered I was pregnant with my first child because I realized I would have to give birth. Due to suffering with vulvodynia the medical staff advised me to have an epidural so after my daughter was born I still didn’t really know what birth felt like.
After a forced episiotomy and complications that ensued, I didn’t want another hospital birth but was told I had to because of the vulvodynia. With my second daughter I had another epidural and the third, a TENS machine that I later found out wasn’t working because they hadn't realized the pads had come off my back!
So childbirth didn’t really get my vote of approval and when I found out I was expecting my fourth child, I was dreading the whole experience. Through her birth, I discovered that childbirth is not always painful and doesn’t have to take hours, either.
On the day of her birth I took my older daughter to toddler group and then I stopped at a sandwich shop to buy lunch. After I had eaten the sandwich, I started to feel nauseas and mistakenly thought my food must have been "off". I mentioned this to my husband who told me to sleep it off and said it was normal for a nearly 9-month pregnant woman to feel bad. He went to a DIY store to buy shelving units and I did as he suggested and fell asleep for two hours.
When I woke up at 4 p.m. I needed to go to the toilet urgently so I went and sat there waiting, but nothing happened. I also noticed I was spotting slightly. I was irritated. First I felt sick, then I was constipated and now I was bleeding!
I phoned my husband, who was still shopping, and told him about my symptoms. He said it was probably because the doctor had examined me the day before and was not at all gentle. He said she was probably "too rough" and that would account for the spotting. I accepted this as a likely possibility and wasn’t worried about the baby because she was moving and active.
I went downstairs and had two mild contractions, no worse than period pain, so I called him back again and told him that we might be having a baby.