Its a day before my due date and obviously the nerves have kicked in, for myself and Matt. I have read pregnancy books, I have read experiences online, read tips to help with birth and spoken to many women who have gone through this to help me imagine my future life with a new person who is solely reliant on you for the rest of their lives… I am glad I am not the only one who has freaked out about this. However, some questions you type into google and there are not many varieties of opinions because I still believe a lot of women hold back on how they feel throughout this time in their life. Once the baby is born, everything changes because they are so happy to have their little one with them but for 9 months, they keep their insecurities in or try to ignore the changes which is not healthy as I have experienced throughout my pregnancy. Matt has been my rock throughout, and when I had my first breakdown, he couldn’t believe it because I had given him no signs I was struggling. This made me realize how had I gone so long without talking to my partner about how I was feeling.
I spoke to some friends and family members to see how they are feeling since they gave birth and actually asked them for a honest opinion about how they felt during and after their pregnancy. Some shocked me because they got emotional writing their experience due to having not spoken about it before, but also happy with their positivity which made me feel a lot more confident.
This review is anonymous. Her baby boy was born in November 2016.
‘Being pregnant was one of the happiest times in my life. I felt so relaxed and happy in myself (minus the first three months of feeling nauseous at the sight/smell of anything food related and feeling so tired). Although after that, I so enjoyed being pregnant and feeling my little one moving inside of me was just so precious. When being pregnant, I remember everyone saying “Make the most of the time you have because you won’t have anytime when the baby is here” and ” enjoy your sleep while you can”. I appreciated everyone’s comments but really had no idea. After having such a lovely pregnancy with lots of support from my local midwife, when it came to the little ones birth, I was in for a shock. I didn’t have a birth plan and was open to anything that came my way. The night my waters broke, my contractions started coming straight away and got going, fast and strong quite quickly. I soon realized that I was in for a very painful experience. Being at the hospital was not a nice memory to look back in for me. The hospital was very busy and they were under staffed as several midwives mentioned they had got called in from other hospitals to help out. I felt very vulnerable and very isolated with the little help from any staff. As I was in early labor, they didn’t have anytime for me as I wasn’t a top priority. Eventually it came to the point where I was in excruciating pain and pressed my buzzer a couple times for pain relief which came a little too late. I demanded an epidural after having hours and hours with no pain relief and with the staff, they kept swapping shifts, going for lunch an disappearing for hours on end. I felt like I didn’t have the option of working my way up the pain relief as like I said it was all too late. I ended up having an emergency C Section. Saying this, I did meet some lovely staff that when things calmed down at the hospital and they had more time for me, they treated me well. They are such friendly, caring patient individuals who I really admire. I know I certainly couldnt do their jobs. When I got home from the hospital, things got even scarier… We had a baby with no instruction booklet! Suddenly we had to figure things out for ourselves. My partner was such a rock for me and the baby. He helped me recover and most of all, our little boy who is coming up to 5 months old and is our absolute world. I love him so much and feel we have such a connection and a loving little family. There are difficult and dark days but being a mum is such a joy. Seeing them develop and grow is such a rewarding feeling and when they give you that big gummy smile that makes you melt, you know it is worth it all’
This next account is from the mother of my beautiful Godson, Joalena Rafael. Her baby boy was born June 2014 at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital.
‘Finding out I was pregnant was amazing news for my husband and I and we were extremely excited. We were also worried though, because we had only arrived in the UK the year before so we did not know what to expect from the NHS. If I were pregnant in Greece, I would have monthly check ups with a gynecologist, a monthly scan and the gynecologist would be the one to deliver my baby. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case here, but I can’t complain, everything was going well and the midwives were lovely. I felt great being pregnant, as for the first time in my life, I felt proud showing off what my body was creating. I did however have issues throughout my pregnancy. I had urine infections and that meant I had to be on antibiotics for 6 months. I was never cured of it and after giving birth, it lead to an infection that kept me in hospital for a week. I was well looked after at the hospital and was discharged when I felt better. Everything after was great and we were very happy to finally go home with our little one’.
Joalena, me and my beautiful Godson RJ
Millie Edwards, a friend of mine has written this next account. She has two little boys and gave birth both times at Stoke Mandeville hospital. Her account is of both pregnancies who were born in 2014 and 2016.
‘I have to say that I found the service I received to be overall amazing. With my eldest, I received quite a few extra appointments and was under a consultant. He was a premature birth and was in neonatal.it was an extremely tough time but the nurses and doctors were amazing! They offered me so much support and helped to keep us positive. They were so professional and went above and beyond. Then I when I had my youngest recently, again I received the best care. My midwife was amazing, offering extra appointments to what is standard practice for a second baby to help reassure me as she didn’t want me stressing not being seen as much. I had the perfect birth with him, but would note that I was advised not to go in when I called after my waters had broke, however I insisted as I wanted to be checked over as it was so different from my first. After arriving at the hospital, he was born an hour later, so it was lucky I went in or it would have been a home birth. However, the midwife who helped me deliver my youngest assisted me through with no pain relief, she listened to me and supported me, rubbing my back and even refusing to go to her lunch as she wanted to be there for me. She did have to leave when he was being born but did leave me with an equally lovely midwife. I was discharged a couple hours later as well as all had gone so well. My midwife came over several times over the first few days to assist me with breastfeeding and check me over. I honestly feel the NHS made my experience with my second child perfect! I had a few issues with the service when I had my eldest but can clearly see these had been addressed as it was the complete opposite with my second. I feel the words thank you aren’t enough to say to the nurses, doctors, midwives etc.. They are heroes!’
This next honest review is from my friend Steph Holmes, who had her little girl January 2015 at Stoke Mandeville hospital.
‘Finding out I was pregnant was probably the scariest moment of my life. I was no longer with the father which turned out to be a good thing. I found out I was already 23 weeks gone, so I had 17 weeks to come to terms that I was going to be a mum. All of a sudden a pregnant belly just appeared overnight. The stretch marks took over and the heartburn was killing me. The saying “bun in the oven” is truer than you think. What I wasn’t aware of was that pregnancy turns you into a furnace. The “pregnancy glow” was just sweat. Needless to say, my 17 weeks of pregnancy weren’t the best. My little girl decided to make her entrance 10 days late but this turned the most scariest experience of my life into the best thing that had ever happened to me! My little girl is now 2 years old, and although she wears me down and wears my patience thin, she truely is the marshmallow that saved me. Becoming a mum is terrifying, raising a mini you is hard work but the feeling you get when you look at your child is breath taking. When someone says you can’t explain the love you feel for your child, they mean every word. Nothing can express that feeling. This is quite soppy but my little lady is the meaning of my life’
The last review is from my cousin Kath Edwards, who has two little boys as well. Her eldest was born in December 2014 and her youngest was born in March 2017. Both at Royal Glamorgan, Llantrisant.
‘After delivering my second baby via C section in March 2017, I can honestly say I feel I received excellent support from the NHS throughout my pregnancy. After being diagnosed with SPD (Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction) in October 2016, the help was there straight away. I took up the AquaNatal hydrotherapy treatment, I used the support belt and I used the crutches given to me, as all this was offered to me within 2 weeks of waiting for the appointment. I was told the wait time could have been up to 6 weeks depending on where you lived, so I was very pleased with this short wait. Throughout the antenatal appointments, I was made to feel very cared for. Considering how many people those midwives see on a daily basis, that was a pretty good feeling. As soon as my baby arrived, I felt very supported by a team of midwives who work very hard to accommodate the needs of all the different women on the ward. I felt comforted knowing how much detail goes into the handover at the midwives/nurses shifts change. This was especially important to me as I was in hospital for 5 days due to my large babys blood sugar levels being monitored. After having a C Section in 2014 as well, I know it can take a while for your body to get back to a state where you feel like exercising again, so I know when my body will be ready. As an active person, I am looking forward to getting back into Zumba and a few other activities. Not focusing on the weight los as I know this will follow after. After numerous miscarriages and numerous failed IVF treatments, I am so very happy to say my family is complete. I do however find it strange I won’t be feeling pregnancy kicks in the future. Treasure each kick and don’t forget to count them!’
All these wonderful women have shared their experiences and accounts with me, and have been happy to share them with you. Please speak about how you feel, to your partner or family or friends because communication is so important, for your health and even to your baby. If you would like to share your experience, comment below and we would be more than happy to hear about how you felt or even still feeling.