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It's A Boy: My Slow To Start But Quick To Progress Birth Story

Mother-of-three and popular comedian Emma Doran recounts the tale of her son Joe's birth:

I was full of energy on my second child Joe's due date. That night, my partner and I stayed up late to watch Born on the 4th of July starring Tom Cruise and An Innocent Man starring Tom Selleck. We joked at the time that we’d end up calling our son Tom. This turned out not to be quite the joke, as we did call our next little boy Tommy  – the name stuck with us, probably because I went into labour a few hours later.

For full disclosure, I should also note that my partner Shane remembers the night well as it was the night of the Champions League Final and he decided not to go out with his football team to watch it. Thank god, he didn’t but let’s not make out he was the hero that night okay?

READ NEXT: 4 REASONS FOR INDUCING LABOUR 

Kick Off

So anyway, I woke up at about 5ish in the morning with cramps. I went to the loo and it was just like the start of a bad period. I did a poo and when I wiped there was blood. It was the same as when I went into labour with my daughter. In the back of my mind, I was still anxious because my daughter was 10 years old at this stage and I’d been told in the antenatal classes that after 10 years my body would have forgotten about giving birth and it would be like my first time. I waited until 6.30am to wake my partner. I just wanted to make sure it was really happening and have some time on my own to mentally prepare.

My parents came over at 7.30am. My Dad was going to drop us to the hospital and my Mam was going to stay with my daughter. She was telling Shane to eat, that he’d need the energy. I still have the vision of him struggling to eat a banana in my head…

READ NEXT: MY BIRTH STORY: 'YOU'RE NOT GOING ANYWHERE!'' 

A Slow Start

The drive to the hospital seemed to take forever. But there was no traffic, so I was just trying to concentrate on my breathing at that point. We arrived and checked in, which is always a weird experience. You feel like you should be rushed in in a wheelchair with hot towels placed on your forehead – not filling out forms.

When I got examined, I was told that I was in labour and had dilated 2cm, which was great but my waters hadn’t broken. They asked me for my permission to break my waters and I said yes, because it gets the ball rolling. I just looked up at the ceiling and thought of the end result.

I used gas and air throughout my labour, and the birthing ball ,which I hadn't used before and found it really helped. At one stage, Shane was chatting to the midwife about our dog. Our dog was in fact pregnant as well. And Shane was telling the staff how, "she’s a great little dog". I didn’t feel the urge to punch him once, which I felt meant I was doing okay.

READ NEXT: WHAT CAN I DO TO PREPARE MYSELF FOR BIRTH?

False Alarm

Things started to feel intense. The midwife examined me again and asked me if I was feeling pressure. I was, but I had been since we arrived, I thought. After a bit of discussion, she told me I was ready to push. I couldn’t believe it. I started crying because the rush of emotion and I felt I wasn’t ready. I pushed, and pushed and pushed. But nothing was happening. I was examined again by a doctor, who was now doing a morning round. It turned out that while I looked like I was 10cm, I was in fact only 4cm. It was nowhere near time to push.

I was completely crushed and exhausted at this stage. I had to take a minute to get my head back in the game.

Getting There

A heart monitor was put around my stomach early on. It was a bit irritating, but since it's there to make sure the baby is okay, I got over it quickly. My labour progressed slowly. I move from the ball to the bed, all different positions. When I had enough energy, I got out of the bed because I knew that gravity would help.

Near the end, I also had a heart monitor placed on the baby internally. At this stage I didn’t care, there was so much poking and prodding. I found that it helped me to focus on my breathing. Whenever I felt panicked, the baby’s heartbeat became faster, so I tried to calm down and control my breathing.

When it eventually came to the time for me to start pushing, I felt like I was tearing, but I had an episiotomy during my first labour so maybe that was in my head. I didn’t tear or need any assistance in the end.

At 4pm on the dot, Joe was born. He had the umbilical cord wrapped around his neck and he was blue. But I was only slightly concerned, as I knew for some reason that he was fine. I was so lucky after Joe was born. I was full of energy, which was great because the dog had five puppies three weeks later – so I needed it.

Emma Doran is a comedian who lives in Dublin with her partner Shane and their three children, Ella 13, Joe three and Tommy one.


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