Surviving Childbirth Tips

“Oh My God. I am not going to make it. I’m going to need drugs.”

“Are you sure Caroline? Why don’t we wait and see.”

“I’m only 4cm dilated. I can’t do it.”

The midwife knew that I wanted a drug free birth, but after four hours of intense labour she decided to see how far along I was. A bad move on my behalf to agree to find out. That was when I heard the bad news.

It had taken me this long to get to just 4cm. I just knew I couldn’t continue on for a period much longer than that to become fully dilated.

“Why don’t we just try some gas then?”

“Whatever, I just need something to ease the pain for a bit.”

I could barely hold the gas mask to my face thanks to my convulsing body. I took one heave of the gas, felt nothing and then threw it up all over myself.

My waters had broken two weeks before Kalyra’s due date on the Saturday morning. I waited and paced along the foreshore of my beach town, for two days waiting for her to come.


I began my pregnancy with hopes that I would not be late so I did not have to be induced. My sister was, and her childbirth experience was violent and fast as a result.

surviving childbirth

Ugh, Getting induced

The doctors decided waiting for Kalyra to come naturally was getting too risky, and so I was induced. I had no time to ease into my contractions and practice how to deal with them. I went from fine to contractions piled up one on top of the other.

The shaking continued as the fire in my cervix burned hotter than ever. Eventually the midwife succumbed and gave me a pethadine shot in the leg. It managed to calm me down. It did not really take my pain away, but gave me just a tiny little bit of extra strength to continue.

Strength I did not realize I would be needing in less than an hours time to push.

It was not long after the pethadine needle that my body started pushing on its own. This caused the midwife to jump up and check my cervix immediately.

I was fully dialated.

She was stunned.

She had no idea how I went from 4cm to 10 in such a short period of time.

I was hugely disappointed, as I knew that had I known I would go this quick, I would not have needed the drugs. I would have been able to find the strength within me to keep going.

But, you never know. That is childbirth. You have to do what is best for you at the time with what you know.

Craig and the mid-wife were shocked by the change in me once I knew my baby was coming. I became like a woman possessed intent on doing the job at hand.

For me, it was the best part of childbirth.

Finally, I could do something with this pain that had been racking my body. Instead of lying there, or trying to stand and pace and deal with the pain, I could now use each contraction to push. I could take my pain and use it in a focused and powerful way.

Thirty minutes later, I held my beautiful baby girl in my arms, and my pain was all forgotten.

Surviving Childbirth

I meet my precious girl

Childbirth is an experience that cannot be predicted or planned.

Childbirth to a certain extent is out of your hands. You can do all you can to prepare for it, but when it comes time for it to happen, it is the baby that has control.

Don’t waste time planning step by step how you want your birth to go. Have an idea, but at the same time be open to change in an instant. I thought I would have a shower or bath, listen to music, get Craig to massage me, or even walk calmly around the room.

Surviving childbirth

At the beginning- this did not last long

None of this happened. Once the pain hit, I just had to go with it. I didn’t want to be touched, I could barely stand up, let alone walk or hit the shower, and “Could someone just turn that bloody music off!”

The best thing you can do to survive childbirth is to go in mentally and physically prepared and have some idea of how you would like your birthing experience to be.

For me I wanted

A drug free birth

Having a drug free birth means that you have to be as phsycially and mentally prepared for childbirth as you possibly can. You will never understand the depths of the pain of childbirth until you are in the middle of it, crying out for the drugs to save you. Make sure you are clear to your birthing partners what it is they should do should this happen.

If you feel you cannot go on without the drugs, then have them. Once again, it is really important for your child’s safety that you can do the job you have to do.

Focus on feeling the pain, rathar than pushing it away. Find ways to use the pain as power.

A Natural Birth

There is really not a lot you can do to control this. We all know a natural birth is the best way to give birth to a baby. But, things happen, which means this cannot be a reality for a lot of women.

Get over it and go with whatever you need to do that is best for your baby. This is the most important thing. If it means you end up lying on the table with a cut across your gut, then so be it.

No Tearing

After my sister’s stories of induced labour resulting in third degree tearing, I was most terrified of this aspect of childbirth. I was determined to do all I could to reduce this happening. The best and most natural way for a woman to give birth is on all fours, not lying down. If you lie down you are more prone to tearing and you can’t utilise your whole body’s strength properly.

I was adamant that I would not be pushing lying down, and the midwife had to duck the daggers when she suggested that I do just for a couple of pushes. I eventually relented and trusted her as long as it was just a couple.

It was and I was back on all fours after that. It is important you listen to your midwife when she tells you to stop pushing. She is doing this to reduce the tearing. Thankfully, I had a healthy baby and no tearing.

I asked those within my fanpage community to offer their tips for surviving childbirth

Karen White Seriously the deep breathing does help. And try to focus on the fact you will soon have a new baby. It is hard and at times you want to scream. if they don’t have a problem with it, do so, let’s you vent a little

Lynette Duncan O’Brien Ahhh, hard one for me to answer as I ended up with a c/section for both. While we had hoped to experience labour, our birthplan was always “safest way out for baby” and our Ob was fantastic in helping us achieve that goal. Breathing helped me through the necessary needles and after pain. Hope that helps.

Rachel Finlayson live in the moment. Try not to think about how far you have to go but how far you have come and that with each contraction you are getting closer and closer to meeting your bub. Also movement during contractions really helps to distract you from the pain… It has worked for me – i paced my way through two completely natural labours 🙂

Alex Hadfield Relax. It sounds silly but I’ve had 4 (last 3 no drugs) and I found that when you are having a contraction you need to breathe out and relax your lower body. Hard to explain, but if you tense up (which is the normal reaction to pain down down) it hurts so much more. Also visualise each contraction pushing the baby down.

Barbara Adam Erm. After reading all there was to read about natural birth, I actually just shut my eyes and tried to pretend I wasn’t there.

Amy Sztupovszky Have a great Dr or midwife if at all possible. My mantra through the whole thing was “I have done this before, I can do this again.”

Chelsea Ingram Hello:) we just had our 3rd baby in the driveway 2 months ago! we tried to make it to the hospital for a natural birth, but our little guy had other plans! wow-i learned so much about the power of the woman’s body and how easy it is when nature takes over, it was really special especially b/c my husband delivered him (much to his surprise-hehe). Good luck with your new baby-you will do wonderful!

Nicole Faires: You’ll be fine! After three natural births all I can say is forget all the ‘techniques’ and just do whatever makes you the most relaxed. I practiced deep, deep breathing and what could be called meditation, during pregnancy to get in cont…rol of my breathing and thoughts. If you tense up it hurts 100x more. Then when I went into labour I kept moving as long as I could… dancing around the house, cleaning, which makes things go faster. Good luck!

Justin Mussler: Don’t fall asleep, don’t talk too much, do whatever your wife . . . OH, SHOOT – you meant for the mother. Wrong forum I guess. All the Best! (ed-too cute Love this comment)

Susan Whitehead I’ve had 5 and only had drugs with #3 (stadol and would NEVER EVER take that again…horrible feeling of not being in control of my own body). My biggest suggestion is to avoid pitocin, if possible. Pitocin will make your contractions more consistent, but much more difficult to bear with. Not impossible (I had it with all but my home born baby), but hard.

If one the baby isn’t moving down, switch positions. Stand up or squat or sit on a birthing ball or in a birthing stool. Take a shower. Get on all fours. Lay on your right…or left. I think staying in one position made my labors much longer than they needed to be…and no one wants a longer labor than necessary! :o)

Rebeca Erik Groover:  Welcome it as a brand new experience, with no expectations as to how it will go! I’ve given birth four times, and each is unique, just like the child you’re laboring to bring to the light. Surround yourself with supportive people who make you feel peaceful, comfortable, and safe. Think about and plan for how you’d like it to go and have your “village” ready to help you achieve that. Then… let go of your ideas, and let it flow, focusing on your baby, trusting your body and your child to work together. Congratulations, and may your birth be peaceful and lovely!
Kate Rehkopf : I’ve given birth to three children and every delivery has been so different that I had to identify new techniques each time. Based on my experiences I say be open to adjusting as you progress!

Amy Page: I’ve had four and each one is so different. To be honest, I think the fear of it makes it worse.
With my last, I was overdue and worked myself up worrying about the pain. My husband dropped me off outside the hospital and went to park. I went up to the labour ward and heard someone else screeming. I freaked out and started insisting, “I’m too tired for this, I’m too tired to be in pain today. I can’t cope, give me an epidural.” She asked if it was hurting, “No! I have no pain, but I don’t want to be in pain! I don’t want to be in pain today!”
My husband came in after a few minutes of this and told me to shut up — it was obvious the baby was nearly there, and yeah, a minute later he was born.
I was freaking out about the idea of it, which can be worse than the reality.

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  • Lina@MothersLoveLetters

    Awww… What a beautiful photo of your little girl! Sooo precious! It IS amazing, how we mothers forget all about it, in an instant, when you hold your beautiful life creation in your arms.
    I am very grateful for my drug-free child birth. It was the most empowering event of my life, which I couldn’t have done without my husband and doula. I hope I will have the privilege of experiencing it again some day.
    Thank you for sharing, Caz. I love your words.


    • Caz

      Thnak you Lina! I appreciate your encouragement. It is amazing how the greatest pain of your life can be gone in a second. That is how miraculous your babies are, they replace everything with total joy and unconditional love.


  • Hayley

    Fantastic post! For me first time round surviving resulted in my ultimate fear of an epidural and ending in a emergency section. This time around in less than 20 days for the sake of my health and to survive I have to have a planned section, I may not like it but its best for me and the baby and if it means I come out the other side looking much better and healthier than I did with no1 I will be thankful.

    We can plan our perfect birth, but ultimately we do not know what it is going to be like until the time comes!


    • Caz

      Thanks Hayley! However you have to get your baby out healthy and happy is the best way to give birth. If only we could plan our perfect birth. I am interested to see how this one turns out.


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