Wednesday 23 August 2017

A New Look at My Birth Story - How the Positive Birth Book helps

Recently I have been reading The Positive birth Book by Milli Hill founder of the Positive Birth Movement. As you may know, Im currently not pregnant, and also not planning to be pregnant again yet, but I have been through birth and so when reading this Positive Birth Book, so many thoughts about my birth came into my head. 

This is where I want to discuss my birth story in a little more detail and want to reflect upon how I feel about it after reading the Positive Birth Book. If you haven't read my birth story then you can read it here. Its also something for me to look back on and remember myself for when it comes to wanting to have the next baby.

So Lily was born on the 18th of November 2014. She was 12 days late and I nearly ended up being induced even though I was hoping for a natural water birth in a birthing suite. I have never felt like Lily's birth was terrible. It was far from it, but there were definetly lots that I wasn't happy about. Since reading the Positive Birth Book there is so much now that I look back on and really wish that I would of known. 

So lets look at the book itself. 

Chapter 1 is all about what you are already thinking of birth. For me I wasn't scared of birth at all. All the way through my pregnancy I couldn't wait to give birth, and I was really focused on having a really positive birth. Although most of the births you see on TV are edited to show what they want you to see, there was one birth on One Born Every Minute that didn't actually look too bad and I had it in my head that I would want a birth like that. Though I must admit the show and that birth imparticular gave me a lot of false impressions. For example it makes giving birth look really quick, where as most of the time it isn't. Funnily since having Lily I haven't watched any episodes of One Born. I guess when you have been there and done that, it isn't as interesting anymore. I do really want to say to pregnant women out there though that you really don't want to be looking at the Tv to be showing you what birth is like. It is not the best example at all. 

Chapter 2 is one chapter I really wish I could of read before giving birth. Its all about what giving birth is actually like. You can attend a lot of classes which will tell you this and that, but Milli really hasn't left a single detail out of this book about it. For me there were quite a few things that happened that I never even knew would, lots of feelings that I couldn't understand and lots that made me feel scared. For example while pushing I felt like she was stuck. Lily also kept shooting back up inside me which I didn't understand as I thought babies only came down and out. I think that I could of stayed so much calmer during the pushing stage if I would of understood that these feelings were normal. The book is brilliant for letting you know exactly how each part will feel as it also has quotes from women who have been through it. It is definetly something that would of helped me with my labour. 

Chapter 3 is all about pain relief. For me I didn't want any chemical pain reliefs. I even opted out of having paracetamol. My plan was to have a water birth and that would be my pain relief. I did manage to not have any chemical pain relief in the end, and actually the brief time I was in the water ended up being the only form of relief I got for the entire 14 hours. I tried the gas and air and after 2 sucks on it I was sick. So that wasn't for me at all. I think next time I would do exactly the same for my next birth and not want chemical relief and most definitely no gas and air for me. BUT as much as I managed with the pain, I do feel like I could of had something to keep the pain down even lower so then I was more in control at the pushing stage. Reading this book there are some things in here I never thought of. One being as simple as a hot water bottle. I really think my environment had a lot to play in how much I felt pain towards the pushing stage. For me it wasn't relaxed enough and Milli mentions how much a better environment can help get through the pain. 

Chapter 4 goes a little more into detail of the reality of birth. It is definetly a great section as answers some of women's most asked questions. For me reading it as a mother already. I knew the answers but it definitely helps you with some of the worrying thoughts of things like blood, poo and pain. 

Chapter 5 is a really important one to me. Its all about choice. Do you realise you can be in complete control to how you want your birth? In most aspects I thought I was in control. But looking back there were times where I was told to do things rather than given a choice. For example. Getting TOLD they were booking me in to be induced. I was perfectly healthy, the baby was. Why wasn't I asked If I wanted to be induced or wait a few more days. Next time if the baby is late, after reading this book and knowing I have a choice, I will be asking to wait. Lily ended up coming the morning I was booked to be induced so my hopes would be the next baby would follow suit. 
Another thing was that I was told that I had to get out of the water during the pushing stage as apparently Lily's heart rate was changing and she wasn't liking the water so she wanted to strap me up on the bed. Urghh.. When I look back at this I remember saying Do I have to?? I didn't get a yes but I got told that the only thing that matters is the baby's safety. To which I agree'd and got out and up onto the bed, which is the thing that lead to the rest of my birth not being how I wanted it to be and me not being in my zone anymore. This part i'm always thinking back on. I was moving about a lot and she was struggling to check her heart beat, which she kept doing every 2 moments and asking me to move so she could get to my stomach. All I kept thinking was get off me and let me do this. Who knows, was the annoyance of keeping being prodded every 2 moments and being told to move the thing upping Lily's heart beat? Not the water? Chapter 5 is a really good one to read, I feel a lot more fully informed about how much say I have in things and know how to approach it all in the future now. 

My eyes were really opened at Chapter 6. Planning your Birth. This is something that one day I definitely will be doing again. I felt like I had a really decent birth plan last time. But actually a lot of it got ignored and also there are things in there that I would change, and also things that didn't get put in there that I would put in this time. After reading this part of the book I know I want to use Milli's visual birth plan. Rather than a midwife having to keep looking back at it, she can glance, see a small diagram of what I want and then carry that out. There was 2 things that I wanted to happen during my birth that were in my birth plan. One was I wanted to feel the head when she was coming out but I never got asked to feel the head which saddens me. I forgot like I knew I would and I even put into my birth plan to remind me. I guess they were concentrating more on delivering the but at the time I remember it feeling like forever bent there with a babies head between my legs thinking "come on"... it definitely would have been a way to break up those moments. The worst one was that I put not to take my baby away from me at any time. Not for nappy changes Etc, but after she was born and we were in the ward a midwife did exactly that and walked out of the room with her which lead to me being in floods of tears and not helping a full blown panic attack I was having. One way I think I could over come this in the future it to make sure that I have someone to speak up for me when I can't. This is spoken about in chapter 7. 

Chapter 7 is all about ways to help a positive birth. One of the things that stood out to me in this chapter that I would never have thought about is getting a doula. Milli expresses how we all put money into special days such as weddings, but what about the birth of our children. We should put money into that too. What a great point. The things I felt went wrong in my birth could have been helped by little reminders from that doula, someone there who can speak up for me and make sure my wishes were heard. This book has made me want to think about getting a doula for my next birth. That way I can make sure that all I have planned out happens and I get the positive birth I want. This chapter has so many different ways to help you achieve that positive birth. 

Chapter 8, 9 and 10 and 11 is about different births. It starts with home birth. It really does have some really good points at why a home birth could be for you. But for me, Im not sure it is what I want. I don't think I have ever felt relaxed at home. Not often, and so too much may be on my mind stressing me out in the home. Especially as I work from there. Though one plus point is that there isn't as much chance of ending up on a hospital bed if i'm at home I guess. It then talks about a hospital birth and a Caesarean birth. I didn't end up having a Caesarean birth, but it was always my fear to have to have one. I loved reading this section knowing that If I do ever have to have one, that there are many ways to make it positive.  

Chapter 12 is about What if. I think its the question that Always gets asked and I asked myself so many What if's before the birth. It would have been great to know little facts that are in this section that really put your mind at ease. One of my biggest fears for my next birth is tearing again. I had to have 14 stitches and it was horrible. There is going to be so much more I do this time round from reading this book that hopefully should help with that. Things simply like the way I breathe and relax. Hopefully the book will help create me one big round positive birth that keeps me so calm I don't tare as much as last time if at all. 

The last chapter is about after the birth. For me the only thing I wasn't prepared for was the after pain. It almost gets forgotten to talk about and I really wasn't ready for it. I think that to beat pain you need to be prepared for it and so thats one thing that is important to discuss with midwifes and people such as your doula. I do also remember being in shock after it happened and crying so much and having a big panic attack. Its great to read all about how your emotions effect you in this book so then you can understand it is normal. Next time I am prepared for it and hopefully will have support of a doula and be able to keep my partner near by for this part instead of being left alone with my thoughts. Your body really does feel strange after giving birth, your stomach moves in so many strange ways with body parts inside moving around. Not knowing that it was normal was something that really worried me after the birth and so its so important you look into what you may feel after the birth as well as during. 

I think I could talk about birth all day long. This book has really inspired me to want to make my future birth and anyone else's future births positive. It has been tricky to sum up the 300 pages of the book and how it has helped me but I hope reading how it has will help you want to look into making your birth more positive. 

You can buy the Positive Birth Book Here

In around a months time I will be hosting a Questions and Answers with Milli here on the Blog. Please do reply below if you have any questions regarding having a positive birth. 


  1. Sounds like a great book, I could have done with this when I was giving birth.

  2. Really would be great for my neice
    Would set her mind at rest for future pregnancies
    Most of her plans went out the WINDOW too

  3. It sounds like a fantastic book, all three of mine have been different and luckily quick, my son was 5 weeks early, my daughter was on her due date and my youngest daughter was 8 days over, then was born before daddy could even get back from dropping the older two off to my sister a 10 minute journey there and back xXx

  4. I ended up having an epidural, drip, and ventose delivery because things were progressing so slowly. I felt a bit like a failure, but I was at the point where I just wanted things to progress after hours being stuck at the same point. I wonder if the book covers how to handle when things don't go to your plan (wanted natural in the midwife led suite).

  5. im due number 7 in December and even after having 6 already i know not to assume, ive been very lucky to have such straight forward births so far though so fingers crossed for A 7TH!

  6. Seems like a book that Midwives, Doulas, Birth Partners, etc should be reading. As if it is relevant for Mothers To Be, then it seems those that are interacting with and aiming to support families towards a Positive Birth Experience should have access to Appropriate, Relevant, Helpful Information.

    Rachel Craig

  7. It seems only natural that we all want positive experiences. Being prepared can help, though just how do we do that. Well they say that we learn best from experience. We can learn from our own experience, and the experiences of others. In the past families tended to be larger. Also women may have laboured and delivered / birthed at home, possibly with female relative and / or friend in attendance. Nowadays small families and babies mostly born in hospital with professional staff in attendance. Birth stories can be so personal, informative and sentimental. Maybe we should consider recording our birth stories within baby book / album. As birth stories can be so valuable.

    Rachel Craig

  8. I have a few pregnant friends at the moment so this would be good for them but I definitely will not be having any more babies, my births were not good ones but both my babies turned out okay and healthy so that's what matters.