Becoming a mum molded me as a person, and was truly the best thing that ever happened to me. I was just 16 when I fell pregnant. I was fresh out of school, I had dreadlocks in my hair, every piercing you could imagine and had an fiesty streak to match my appearance.
I lived with a group of friends (I use that term very loosely) in a house that we managed to avoid ever paying for. Life seemed good. It wasn't, but it seemed it.
We would drink every night so peeing through the night wasn't out of the ordinary, nor was feeling a bit queezy the next morning, so by the time it occurred to me that i'd missed not one, but two periods, I was already about 9 weeks pregnant. Although I was in no way prepared for the news I was about to get, as soon as I saw them two lines, I knew it would all be ok-something took over me to make sure I would sort out everything for this little bean and I was confident from that moment that I'd be the best mum I could be.
The pregnancy was a pretty smooth pregnancy, I had a little bit of sickness and fatigue (but nothing that ice pops couldn't fix!) but other than that I really enjoyed growing a new life inside me.
The pregnancy was long, I went 11 days past my due date at the height of summer- I'd been naive thinking I would be one of the few who's baby would be here before their due date, the heat was making me so uncomfortable and I was just so excited to find out whether our baby was a boy or a girl!
I had chosen a natural birth, and although I really couldn't have anticipated just what labour would feel like, so was in panic mode at the time, on reflection my birth really did go to plan.
I had a stretch and sweep at 9am Monday morning, and woke up Tuesday morning to my waters leaking. I went straight up to the hospital, where contractions were starting but weren't too strong and were quite irregular. By the time we had finished at the hospital it was about 3pm so we walked and walked, got something to eat and made our way home.
We arrived home about 6pm and by that time the contractions had really picked up, coming every 5 minutes, but not so strong that I felt we needed to go yet, so I got in bed and put 'friends' on. I remember so clearly it was the episode where Rachel goes into labour, one that I'd already seen twice already during my pregnancy. My mum phoned to see how I was getting on and I grumbled a bit (a lot) saying "if Rachel has this baby again before I have mine I swear I'll have a breakdown" (ok there was definitely a few swear words in there as well) but straight away, all of a sudden I had an almighty contraction and heard my mum urge me to go to the hospital, and quick.
It was about 10pm that we phoned the hospital, gathered the bags and waited for a taxi, but whilst waiting my contractions started coming every 2 minutes and were REALLY intense. I paced the room waiting for the taxi to arrive, convinced the baby wasn't going to be long.
I was checked at the hospital at about 10.30am and was 4cm dilated, so the midwives filled up the birth pool just as my mum arrived.
Things progressed really quite quickly, and I wasn't checked again before I started to get the urge to push-which didn't take long.
I got in the pool but I was so uncomfortable in the heat and with the contractions that I got in and out a few times, and found my most comfortable spot was right by the fan, on the bed, knelt up against my pillow, letting gravity do its work.
All of a sudden at 12.50am I got the urge to push; my body was doing it by itself. I told my midwife I was pushing, so she pressed the buzzer and ran out to get a delivery trolley, but before the door could even swing shut, one mighty push and my sweet baby was born into the world.
I was in such a daze I brought her up to my chest, still knelt up and just kissed her over and over saying "hello beautiful"... It didn't even occur to me to check whether she was a girl or a boy straight away-I was just so happy my baby was here, and it truly was love at first sight.
We had skin to skin straight away, and my sweet baby went from laying on my chest, to nudging her way towards my breast and latching herself on perfectly. I remember laughing with the midwife saying it was a good job we had chosen to breastfeed, as my baby girl surely knew what she wanted!
To me, giving birth is the most amazing thing I've ever done. The female body is such a clever thing, to grow, nourish, and deliver a sweet human being is the most magical thing, and I'm so blessed I've been able to do it five times, I can honestly say I enjoy giving birth, feeling every wave of pressure that's bringing your baby earth side, the overwhelming emotional process, and the new chapter starting all in a moment where love is at an all time high. Although labour was nothing how I expected it to be the first time around- and I definitely panicked a few times along the way, looking back, I did get the natural unmediated birth I wanted, and even if I hadn't, what can be more special than bringing new life into the world? For me, nothing.