I remember when I was pregnant with my first baby and having a discussion with my mother about ladies who have their mums in the birthing room with them when they are giving birth. At that time, I thought that it was absolutely terrible to have your mother as a birth partner, as did my mother as well. I guess it depends on the kind of relationship that you have with your children and also if your children have birthing partners. I was happy for my now hubby to be my birth partner and he was there for all three of our children’s births. He was an amazing support so I was very lucky.
As we grow we change
When my daughter, Chloe, became pregnant she did not have such a solid relationship with her partner. The relationship was very rocky and the partner was younger than Chloe and not great at offering support. So, I asked Chloe if she would like me to be there at the birth too so that I could make sure that she had the support that she needed.
I offered without even thinking about it as we were having a discussion and Chloe was saying how scared she was at the thought of giving birth. It was only afterwards, that I remembered how I had once thought it was strange for a mother to be a daughter’s birth partner – how we change as we grow!
Even though I had given birth myself three times, I did not really know what to expect. It is very different seeing someone else give birth to actually giving birth yourself! Also, my youngest child was now 11 so I was not even up to date on how things are done and what would happen.
The first signs of labour
On the day that Chloe gave birth, she came to be that morning and said that she thinks that she was having contractions. We sat timing them and they were regularly coming every nine minutes and lasting for around 30 seconds so we knew that she was at the very beginning of the journey. Chloe kept telling me how painful it was and I kept thinking if only she knew what was coming but I didn’t say anything as I didn’t want to scare her!
We kept timing the contractions and I did my best to keep Chloe feeling relaxed. She had a bath but found that it made her feel worse rather than better so quickly got back out. It did not help that her partner was at work and three hours away. When she phoned him to tell him that it was all happening he didn’t want to drive back early so she was stressing that he would miss the birth.
By the early evening, her partner had finally arrived and Chloe was finding the contractions too painful to stay at home. We phoned the hospital a couple of times and they kept telling Chloe to stay at home as she was not far enough along yet but she was getting very distressed so we made the decision to go up the hospital so that they could examine her. I was really annoyed with the hospital as Chloe was a young first-time mum who needed reassurance rather than blunt uncaring disinterest.
Off to the hospital
When we arrived we were given a room and Chloe was getting greatly distressed over the pain but they said that there was nothing that they could give her. When she got so loud and hysterical that they realised that something needed to be done they gave her some liquid morphine which once it had kicked it, really helped to settle Chloe down. They did an examination and Chloe was only 3 cm dilated so they were talking about sending Chloe back home. Chloe was having none of it, she wanted to be in hospital as that made her feel more confident that everything was going to be alright, so I managed to convince them to let her stay.
At one point her partner said that he was going to pop to the 24-hour shop to get a drink (Should have not taken any longer than 15 minutes), he was gone for over an hour! His excuse was that he fell asleep in his car.
A long night
Chloe wanted to try getting into the bath so her partner took her and I managed to get 20 minutes sleep at this point. She came back in absolute agony and the worst part was when she was begging me ‘mum, make it stop’. ‘Please mum, it hurts so much’. My heart was breaking as there was nothing that I could do other than hold her hand and tell her it would be okay soon.
The nurse came back to do another examination. She said that she was 7 cm dilated so they would now move her into the birthing room. This was a lovely room, so much better than when I gave birth many years ago. Chloe wanted pain relief so they gave her Pethidine and gas and air. The gas and air really helped her to control her breathing as she kept getting so distressed. I was really glad that I was there for Chloe as her partner was not so good. He spent most of the time sitting in a chair at the back of the room.
I’ve wet myself!
I did have to choke a laugh down when Chloe cried out that she had wet herself and the midwife said, ‘no, Chloe. That was your waters breaking’! Once we were in the birthing room things suddenly started moving really quickly. When it came to the pushing Chloe really struggled. I kept telling her she could do it and told her how proud I was. Each time she had to push, she grabbed my hand and nearly broke my fingers!
The midwife told me to look and I saw half a head, I couldn’t believe it! At this point, Chloe had had enough and she decided that she was not doing it anymore! We kept saying ‘come on Chloe, there is half a head, he wants to come out and meet you’! Chloe was like ‘nope, I am not doing anymore!’. This was really frustrating as she had to continue but she was adamant that she was done. After a good ten minutes of discussions, she finally realised that she had no choice and needed to carry on.
It’s a boy!
When that little baby finally arrived! I felt such a huge wave of emotions and just burst out in floods of tears. I couldn’t believe I had just seen a little person take his first breath. It was absolutely amazing!!! Even Chloe’s partner started sobbing and Chloe was just staring at us both. She looked like she thought we were both insane! Being a birth partner is definitely worth it and I would highly recommend anyone who is considering. I feel very privillaged to have shared such a special moment with my daughter.
At 05:14 on 08/08/2019 my grandson Keaton lee was born weighing 8lbs 1oz. I could not be more proud of both Chloe and the baby. He was healthy and totally gorgeous. I got to have loads of cuddles when Chloe was having some toast and then having a shower. By late afternoon that same day, we were all home from the hospital.
Three months later
Keaton is now over three months old and I could not imagine our lives without him now. He is such a little cutie. If you like viewing baby pictures then follow me on Instagram as he often pops up on my feed and in my stories.
Top tips for being a birth partner for one of your children
- Make sure you know what they want to happen so that you can advocate for them.
- Get plenty of sleep around the due date so that you are ready for a long labour!
- Be prepared to ignore any snapping from your child, just let it go.
- Be prepared to hold your ground with the hospital. They are often busy and not always on the same page as what your child wants or needs.
- Keep calm even if inside you are a bag of nerves.
- Offer plenty of praise and verbalise how proud you are.
- Pack yourself a hospital bag with snacks, drinks and items to help you freshen up.
- Bring tissues as it will get emotional!
- Keep positive and try and keep your child focused on the beautiful baby they will soon have in their arms.
Have you been someones birth partner before? I would love to hear about it. Maybe you have some tips to add to my list to help others?