Wednesday, August 3, 2011


Why am I so obsessed with birth? As a doula, I’m allowed to admit that I am – I am TOTALLY obsessed with all things pregnancy, labour and birth.

Mum with Mark (and her magnificent beehive!)
For as long as I can remember, every year on our birthdays, my Mum has retold our birth stories. That means, for as long as I can remember, I have been told four birth stories a year. All of the births were very different, starting with my brother Mark, when my Mum was just twenty years old.  She went into labour but didn’t want to miss the Beatles on TV so held off until after the show. She was then left alone in a hospital room to labour, no partner, no parents, just Mum and an occasional midwife. She was very scared and didn't know what was going on but she never made any complaint - that was how birth was in the 60s - and she always told the tale with excitement and love for this first baby.

Mum & Dad with Nicholas (nice turtleneck dad!)

Nick was a long awaited baby; born three years after Mum & Dad started trying. Early in her second trimester, Mum was told that she had contracted Rubella in early pregnancy and she may not keep the baby. She had to have continual scans every couple of weeks while they checked the development of the baby until being given the all-clear around 18 weeks. Late in pregnancy Mum was given a routine internal examination by her consultant – a man with the “boniest fingers” she’d ever felt – who hurt her and made her bleed. In hospital they suspected a low-lying placenta for which she was whipped into surgery and checked, being told that she would either come out of it with a C-section or her waters broken, depending on whether the placenta was there or not. Mum was convinced it was the consultant who had done something to her and Nick was born five hours after they broke her waters.

Mum and Chris (and Sheba. And some nice flares)
Chris was an unexpected surprise when Nick was only a few months old. Having had difficulties to conceive, my parents didn’t think a second one would come so easily :) Mum had high blood pressure in the last couple of weeks of pregnancy and was put on hospital bedrest. In hospital she again had a routine internal examination, where the doctor chuckled and told her he’d just given her a little ‘twiddle’ with his magic fingers... That night Mum woke up at midnight with a massive pain. One minute later she had another. Another minute, another pain. The nurse on call was chatting up the doctor on shift and wouldn’t believe that she was in labour. She eventually gave her an enema (as was routine practice) and as Mum was on the toilet, the baby started to crown. She was whipped into the delivery suite quick smart and Dad missed the birth (not helped by aforementioned nurse failing to call him as she hadn’t believed Mum was in labour). Chris was born 50 minutes after that first contraction.

Then there was me. Mum was in hospital for the last month of pregnancy with high blood pressure. I wasn’t growing and she was on strict bed rest. She was let out just before my due date then five days later went into early labour – the only labour where she was sick in the early stages. After Chris’s dramatic entrance, they rushed into hospital and everything stopped. Dad went home, a foetal monitor was attached and she was told the baby was in distress. “Nonsense” my Mum replied, “there is nothing wrong with my baby” :) They told her she had been in labour too long and would have to go on the drip. After Dad had missed my brothers’ birth, Mum refused to move until he turned up. She was put on a drip at 2.30pm and I was born two hours later… “Have you thought of a name?” asked the midwife, “Lindsey” Mum replied, “What if it’s a boy?”…

“If it’s a boy, you can push it back”.

Mum and Me!

These are the stories of my childhood, teenage years and now adulthood. I love hearing the stories, all of them so different, all of them so filled with excitement and love. No traumatic, horrible birth stories for me. I was brought up believing that birth hurt like hell but was something that had to be done because the minute that baby came out, the pain was totally forgotten.

From L-R: Chris, Mum, Me and Nick

When I became pregnant with Thomas, I had all of these stories swimming around my head. I craved knowledge of all things labour and birth. I was so excited! I did yoga and Hypnobirthing and read and read and read. I wanted a home birth. I didn’t want this, I did want that. I researched EVERYTHING. I knew about everything. What I didn’t know was that even with all the knowledge in the world, labour and birth is something beyond your control, to an extent.

First photo of Thomas :)
I had a brilliant labour and birth with Thomas, supported by my beloved husband and my amazing mother, and it was an empowering, magical experience. I would do it again in a second. Good job too, seeing as I’ll be doing it again in December!

Hello Grandma! Where am I? I'm scared!

It wasn’t ‘perfect’, it didn’t all go according to ‘the plan’, and this is what I have since learnt. Ditch the plan, have a list of birth preferences. If there is anything you feel really strongly about, put it in BIG LETTERS. Here are my thoughts for my next list of birth preferences:


I’ll keep you posted on how well I stick to them :)

This post was written for week 68 of The Gallery, hosted by Tara at Sticky Fingers. The theme was "birth" so I couldn't resist!


  1. What an amazing post. I was a bit confused with the picture with the dog because I have one of me looking almost the same!!

  2. Thanks! After a couple of years of trying to conceive without success, Mum & Dad bought Sheba. I think Nick was conceived a couple of months later! I love that photo of Mum with Chris with Sheba looking on protectively! x

  3. A good start to any birth plan I think!

    Do you mind if I drop you an email with some doula related questions?

  4. Thanks! Of course you can email me :) x

  5. Great post, true about the pain being forgotten, although in my case the pain wasn't gone for a few weeks (I had to have an episiotomy) after so it took me a while to forget! I would do it all again now though. I think it's so hard to plan your first birth, I wanted a drug free water birth but in the end I had all drugs and an assisted delivery as the cord was round Iylas neck. Next time I would love to try and experience a more natural birth. Congratulations on your pregnancy! x

  6. Wonderful post and celebration of womanhood. Really lovely and moving. Your mum was and is lovely looking and that smile on your face is so very beautiful too.

  7. what a fabulous mother! (what horrible Doctors) love the old photos, but really loved that she told the birth stories every year. As I grew up - no one spoke about birth. I was really shocked when in my early 20's someone told me their story. I then decided I didn't want to hear anymore, thanks.
    I found labour really empowering, I see it as something positive and I do try to share that with pregnant women, because everyone else wants to tell them horror stories - why is that?
    Good luck in December! Exciting times.

  8. Oh Lyndsey I so enjoyed reading that! What a wonderful woman your mum sounds and amazing how each of her 4 births were all so different. The gorgeous photof you holding Thomas - I can see him now in you there. You look so happy and rightly so xxx

  9. What a beautiful post. I'm misty and covered in goosebumps now! Since having kiddies, I've considered going into midwifery for very similar reasons. Birth - every birth - is amazing in a different way. What a meaningful calling you've chosen for yourself - the very stuff of life.

  10. My Mum is pretty brilliant. I feel very lucky to have had such a positive upbringing around birth. It's so true that people are keen to share horror stories and while I think it is very important that people are told what *could* happen, it's also nice to know that it isn't always, or even usually, like that :)

    Rachel - I toy with the midwifery idea too but now I'm heading Stateside I need to figure out the different pathways, it's all a bit different over there. I love being a doula as it's solely focused on supporting the pregnant woman and there is something so amazingly magical about women carrying babies :) x

  11. Thanks so much for sharing this insight. I'm thinking of you and Lynne especially today and want to say A hugely heartfelt thanks for making such a positive impact on my, Rowan and Rob's experience a year ago. - which like your mums birth recollections will stay with us all forever. Loving your preferences :D and wishing you enjoyable journeys in all ways x

  12. Wow, Chris! It's already a year?! Happy birthday to Rowan :) You were amazing and I'm so glad you had such a brilliant birth experience! xxxx


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