My Birth Story

My name is Jessica and I am from blog and Instagram account @burpeesbabiesbeauty_jess. I am Mammy to Ellie, my gorgeous (biased!) and crazy toddler who is the light of life. I am thrilled to write this guest blog post for Bella Baby, a shop that I have been on many a trip to in the lead up to, and throughout this journey of motherhood.

To give a brief background - I started blogging when I was about 4 months pregnant. I anonymously started an Instagram account to track my pregnancy as I figured that I may be blessed to only do this journey once. I wanted to document my pregnancy as much as I could, and I thought that setting up the account would be a bit of fun also. I posted weekly bump pics along with updates throughout the pregnancy. To this day I still enjoy looking back on those posts. A few months into blogging, I got brave and 'revealed' my identity, which has led to me engaging with some amazing accounts and women who follow me.

I have pretty much tracked every week of my life with my little ‘Instablog’ since being 4 months pregnant, and I enjoy writing and creating content on all things motherhood, fitness, lifestyle, beauty and fashion related.

I have decided to write about my experience of labour and the initial postpartum period from a Midwife’s point of view (oh yeah – I forgot to add that small detail at the beginning of my intro!).  I am a qualified Midwife for over 5 years and I started my training almost 10 years ago- straight out of school, bright eyed and bushy tailed. The time seems to have gone by in the blink of an eye! I have witnessed the good, the bad, the ugly and all in between, and I honestly feel that my job has shaped me into the person I am today. You get to experience some life-altering moments as a Midwife, and I suppose they change your entire outlook on life for both good and bad reasons. It is a very privileged career and role to be in.

Before becoming a mother, my only knowledge surrounding pregnancy, childbirth and the postnatal period came from lectures, textbooks and from what from what I had witnessed on the job.

I enjoyed a very uneventful and healthy pregnancy. I was full of energy and managed to stay in the gym doing 3 workouts a week until a few days before going into labour. I was working on the wards doing 13 hour shifts up until a few days shy of 38 weeks, and because of all that, I had high hopes for an uneventful ‘easy breezy’ labour and delivery as I got so lucky with the pregnancy.


I had my heart set on a natural birth (ha! I laugh at that idea now as what does that even mean?! What I interpret as natural may sound like something crazy to another woman). I had decided that I didn’t want an epidural or any ‘messing’. I just wanted to let things progress on their own with no interventions and to be able to ‘do my thing'. In my head I was going to labour at home until I was nearly fully dilated, swan into hospital and sneeze the baby out – totally reasonable right?!

Some people found it very odd that I chose to attend the hospital that I work in to have Ellie, but I feel that this decision stood as a testament to the amazing work that is done there. I trusted my colleagues whole-heartedly and I loved the fact that I knew everyone who was looking after me by their first name - everyone and everything was familiar which I got great comfort from.

So now that I have a little bit of background done, I’ll cut to the chase and describe my labour and delivery from the side of the bed that I had never been on!

They say that knowledge is power, which is true to an extent, but my goodness I went totally blank when it came to myself and my own labour. I doubted myself and my body so much which I didn’t expect at all. Having seen hundreds of women labour I thought that I’d know exactly what was going on with my own body when it came to my turn - but I sure as hell didn’t. Here’s a snippet of my thoughts during the early stages of labour:

Eh did my waters break? Or did I just pee myself? Are those just normal pains? Or are those THE pains? Should I call the ER now? Should I wait?

I really hadn’t a breeze what was going on, I stupidly delayed going into hospital for way too long despite my waters breaking at home (I won’t even confess how long I left it!) . I was afraid that I’d waste my colleagues time having “just peed myself”- which I most definitely did not. In fact, the response I got after my first exam when I arrived in ER was “Jesus Jess there’s NO fore waters there at all” ..... *and cue the mortified look on my face! (Disclaimer - I had been keeping a very close eye on my temperature at home as I wasn’t sure what was going on- yep I do promise I am actually a Midwife, swear!)

I honestly have gained an immense amount of new found respect and empathy for the women I care for since going through labour myself. That’s not to say I didn’t have any empathy beforehand but I think until you experience those pains for yourself it’s very easy to stand back and think “good God yer woman sounds like she’s dying” because YES that is in fact what the pains felt like for me. Ellie had her back to my back (OP) for the start of my labour which meant that although my contractions were strong, they weren’t doing much in terms of dilating my cervix. It was a horrendous and exhausting pain that wasn’t getting me anywhere.

I was SO lucky to have one of my best friends mind me in the Prenatal Ward before I reached the delivery suite. She provided me with all the gas, words of encouragement, light hearted jokes and a comforting touch, which made me realize the importance of a good Midwife who will act as an advocate for you. I honestly didn’t see myself as a Midwife during labour; I was only the woman in the bed huffing and puffing looking for guidance - that’s all. It was my amazing colleagues who were the ones to bring me out the other side with their skills and knowledge as I left all of mine at the front door.

When it got to established labour - things started to deviate a little from my plan. As my waters were gone for a prolonged amount of time, it was decided that I needed my labour augmented as my contractions weren’t fully effective. At this stage I was exhausted, I felt like I had been giving it my all coping with the pains only to be told I was “still 2cm” after what felt like an eternity. My lovely plan of no intervention went out the window and soon enough I was begging for an epidural by the time I realized we were headed for Syntocinon. Looking back now, I am so thankful that I gave in and had the epidural as it gave me time to rest and calm down. As I relaxed the atmosphere of the delivery room completely changed- everything seemed a bit less chaotic and I could breathe again. I could articulate myself a bit better than I had been during the previous few hours which saw me dropping ‘F bombs’ all over the place and having nonsensical statements jumping out of my mouth amid the contractions. In hindsight if I  had been progressing quicker I would have tried to hold off on getting it, but seeming as Ellie didn’t arrive for another 11 hours I was happy with my choice.

The whole labour feels like a blur. It was only afterwards talking with Ben that he reminded me of all my work pals who popped in to say ‘hello’ and have a chat. I just felt so exhausted but I was lucky enough to be chilled out drifting in and out of sleep once I was comfortable and the epidural took effect. I could probably go as far as saying it was a nice and enjoyable labour, albeit slow, but I got to rest up and fully ‘take in’ what was about to happen.

By the time it came to being fully dilated and starting to push, Ellie was beginning to get distressed. I now fully empathize with women when it comes to pushing, you literally feel like you are pushing with every ounce of your being only to be told for the next contraction that “you’re doing great but try a bit harder!”.  It’s so difficult to know what you’re supposed to be doing especially when you’re numb from the waist down. My epidural block was so heavy that I couldn’t feel a thing, not even a tinge of pressure which was definitely a downside as I would have liked to have felt something.

There was a moment during pushing that I glanced over at the monitor to see Ellie’s heart rate was continually at 188bpm and it became apparent to me things may not be going to plan. I needed to get her out.

There are a few select lines that no midwife likes to hear in a delivery room, with one being “I think we need a bit of help here”. Within what felt like a split second, I had my midwife, the midwife in charge, an obstetrician and a paediatrician all in the room. Despite the sense of urgency I was totally calm, I knew that I was in safe hands and I understood what was going on. I knew what to expect should it end with any mode of delivery so I guess that was a huge advantage of working there. It is only now that I fully appreciate how scary the unknown can be for women and their partners. Ben’s perspective of the same scenario is a little different to mine- all he remembers was chaos and seeing instruments being wheeled in that resembled “swords, knives and forks” – his words not mine!

After a Kiwi delivery (a small hand held suction cup) and an episiotomy (again – not in the plan especially as poor Ben saw the whole thing) Ellie came out screaming crying and was placed on my chest. It was the most surreal moment of my life, almost like an out of body experience that the little human I had been cooking the past 9 months was finally here. She was perfect. All of a sudden she stopped crying, and the Paediatrician was over asking for the cord to be cut to take her. After about 10-15 minutes I heard another line that I don’t like to hear which was ‘I need to call the Reg (Registrar- senior doctor)’ which translated to ‘I need a bit of help’.

In the midst of this, I had delivered the placenta and I could hear the doctor asking for Cytotec – again something I didn’t want to hear. It’ is funny how immediate the maternal instinct kicks in. Although I knew that I must have been bleeding heavily for the doctor to ask for that medication all I could do was look over across the room to make sure Ellie was ok, I didn’t care what was going on with me.

Eventually everything settled, Ellie was breathing normally again, and she was brought over to me for skin-to-skin which was incredible. I had always enjoyed witnessing these beautiful moments with the women I had cared for; and I couldn’t believe I had my own baby to do this with. As she lay on my chest with her little beady eyes looking up at me I fell head over heels in love. I was blessed that she latched straight away and fed like a dream. I cannot describe how perfect everything felt I just wanted to pinch myself. Our breastfeeding journey lasted 14 months. I fully believe that getting the first feed in early and initiating skin-to-skin helped with this achievement. The research also suggests early initiation of skin- to-skin and feeding leads to better outcomes ( Royal College of Midwives and The World Health Organization)

I could probably continue this blog post to go on and write about my whole first year of motherhood but I won’t digress! In fact, I applaud you if you’ve managed to read this far!


So - having gone through the whole thing myself, what have I learnt from being ‘’on the other side’’?

  • Always trust your instincts! I should have trusted myself to go into the hospital sooner than I did. It is your body so if something feels different – just go!  Who cares if you get sent home on a false alarm?
  • A familiar face is invaluable. The importance of continuity of care in maternity services became more apparent to me after having Ellie. I was lucky I knew everyone looking after me, but only now I really see the importance for women to know who is looking after them. Fragmentation of care can only add to anxiety. I felt so relaxed during everything as I knew who was looking after me and I felt confident that everyone was ‘in the loop’.
  • Don’t forget about the partner! Having talked with Ben after the delivery it became apparent that he was like a deer in headlights for the most part, and he would have liked a bit more explanation of what was going on, this is something I am more cognisant of in practice.
  • The importance of a good midwife! Simple things in practice such as offering a comforting touch, or being the biggest cheerleader in the room when you’re exhausted can mean so much to a labouring woman. For me, the small details stand out such as getting cold cloths for my face without even asking, rubbing my back during a contraction, getting water during pushing – those little things mean more than I thought they did previous to having Ellie.  I am happy to say my colleagues were incredible and listened to me and even my non-verbal cues while caring for me.
  • Skin-to-skin and the first breastfeed is so important and the most amazing feeling ever. It is something that I would insist is done in a relaxed environment without being disturbed.
  • Expect the unexpected. It is all well and good to have a plan, but being head strong on only one plan going into a delivery room is perhaps a little ambitious. I knew what my ideal was, but because I know how quickly things can change I wasn’t going to beat myself up for things not going how I wanted them to. Yeah I didn’t do everything as ‘naturally’ as I wanted, but everything was ok in the end and Ellie came out safe!
  • Finally – being honest the pain was worse than I imagined- but totally worth it. I guess that I was a bit naive but at the end of the day I would do it all again in a heartbeat as the pain that I felt was nothing compared to the joy that came hearing that first cry.


It was without a doubt the best day of my life and although being a midwife had its advantages, for me I was happy to leave that title to the side for the simply be Jess the mammy, not the midwife.


You can follow Jess and Ellie over on Instagram here.