Birth Plan vs Reality: One Mum’s Baby’s Birth Story

Today’s post on Bristol Mum features a reader’s baby’s birth story.  The mum shares how her much-wanted birth plan contrasted starkly with the actual birth itself and her feelings about this. 

In the lead up to my due date, I did what most new mums do. I made a plan. I wanted to be in a midwife-led unit and use hypno-birthing mainly, with some pain relief for the last bit, but most importantly in a birthing pool. I was really committed and convinced that my baby would follow this.

Unfortunately she didn’t read it. Five days over my due date, desperate to get labour started, I’d waited so long, the anticipation was overwhelming. But I over-did it, I went on a long walk and then tried to fit a car seat into a car with a friend’s baby in it. I stood up and thought “ah what a lovely new pregnancy feature, I’m wetting myself….and I can’t stop”… after a minute it dawned on me that my waters had broken.

I spent the following 24 hours at home with (what I now know to be) mild contractions. I was then admitted to the antenatal unit at Southmead Hospital to be induced. At this point I knew the dream was over, there would be no pool. I got scared, I’d been told at classes that being induced would mean more pain and possible slower birth. I had an examination with a stretch and sweep, and started on the drip.

The midwife told me it would be awhile, I insisted my husband go home but thankfully he stayed. And so began a very long night. Trying to deal with contractions ever 20 minutes, as soon as one was done I dreaded the next one and I also convinced myself the next would be better. I’d get the breathing right on this one, It wouldn’t be as bad.

Trying to stay quiet for the other three women on the ward and their partners. Not wanting to scare them with my moaning. All my talk of no drugs was done and I begged the midwife for more. At 3am a bed became available on the delivery ward. I caved and asked for an epidural, so disappointed in myself, failing to labour without help. I felt I was already a bad mum. The doctor on call apologise for taking so long to get to me, but time meant nothing anymore. Only getting through the next contraction.

But the epidural was absolutely bliss, I could have kissed the doctor, finally relief. Thank Christ for anaesthesia. The next bit was calm and I got some sleep. In the morning a midwife told me I was 9cms and in a few hours I could start pushing. My husband put some calming music on and we waited.

I started to get a feeling of wanting to push, it’s hard to describe, like needing a poo but different. I pushed and made some progress, she was coming.

At some point the room got busy. Me, my husband, midwife and student midwife. But several people in scrubs appeared. The baby was in distress, I was told I must push harder, she needs to be born “if you don’t get this baby born soon we have to go to theatre for a c-section.”

No, I hadn’t gone through all this to end in theatre, what was the point in the last two days? I was really pushing now, screaming during each one. I never thought I would be one of those woman to scream but here we are. I was determined. A doctor appeared with a scalpel “I’m going to preform an episiotomy.” No. I refused it. I’m not even sure why now. I’d had enough. I was doing it. This was the new plan.

A few more pushes. And then she was born, finally here and perfect. The best moment of my life, my husband with tears down his face telling me “you’ve done it, you’re amazing.”

And her in my arms. I’d do it all again and more for her. I did tear but only a 2nd degree. I worried the birth would mean for a fussy baby that didn’t sleep well but I had the opposite.

I feel lucky. Okay so I don’t get to boast at mums group that I did it all with gas and air. There’s no medal at the end or cash bonus for not having pain relief. I built up this perfect birth but it didn’t matter in the end.

Just a woman giving birth to her baby, whichever way it comes about.


Would you be willing to share your baby’s birth story on Bristol Mum? Whether your birth was simple or complicated, straightforward or traumatic, your story will help inform many parents-to-be and I would love to hear from you. No names will be used. 

Please email me (Hilary) on