A Five Day Labour, Agonising Tearing And Panic Attacks… But These Three Mums All Loved Giving Birth And Reveal How You Can Too

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ALL too often talk of going into labour and giving birth can put the fear of God into mums-to-be.

Horror stories of days spent screaming in pain, defecating in front of your husband and having your lady bits butchered are enough to put some women off ever having children.

Nick Obank – The Sun Kayleigh Hisim, pictured with son Yusuf, said she absolutely loved giving birth, despite her labours lasting five and three days respectively

But these three women claim they LOVED giving birth, despite each going through significant trauma – and said they would do it again in a heartbeat.

Here they share their stories…

“I spent five days in labour and needed an emergency C-section – but I would have hated it to have been shorter,” says mum-of-two Kayleigh Hisim, 27, from The New Forest

My first labour, in July 2012, lasted for five days and resulted in an emergency C-section, and my second went on for three days, though I managed a natural birth.

Nick Obank – The Sun Kayleigh’s first birth was an emergency caesarean, but she managed a natural birth the second time around

People say to me, ‘How did you do that?’ but I’ve had friends that have laboured and given birth within an hour, and I would have hated for the experience to be over that quickly. It’s something that you’re only going to get to do a few times, so I enjoyed that it lasted a bit longer! For it to be literally over in an hour, I’d be like, ‘is that it?’

With my first son Arif, I wasn’t dilating because his cord was wrapped around his neck, so it was pretty horrendous.

I was devastated that I couldn’t have a natural birth, or breastfeed afterwards. My husband comes from Turkey, and there’s quite a big cultural pressure – not from him, but they see it as very normal to birth your child and to breastfeed. So to end up with an emergency C-section and not being able to breastfeed, I just felt like a bit of a failure.

Nick Obank – The Sun The mum-of-two admitted she felt like a ‘failure’ after having a C-section

It didn’t put me off having more children, it made me more determined because I wanted that natural birth. I went to hypnobirthing classes which helped with my labour – it’s like a calming voice; you have soft music and candles, and they teach you how to breathe, and it takes you to a different place, rather than thinking about the pain. Basically, every painful contraction is another step closer to your baby. It’s very relaxing.

I was in labour with Yusuf (16 months) for three days, so it was still long, but it was such a better experience. I didn’t have any pain relief until an epidural, but that was on the third day, so for the first two days I was at home calmly trying to work through it.

It wasn’t actually the labour pain I suffered with – my sciatica nerve makes my leg hurt when I’m in labour. If I cut my leg off I’d fly through it!

Nick Obank – The Sun Kayleigh didn’t have any pain relief during her labour with Yusuf until an epidural on day three

I ended up with a VBAC (vaginal birth after caesarean) with forceps, so it wasn’t the perfect birth, but it was such an amazing experience, I loved it.

My pregnancies were pretty bad – with my first I was just so sick all the time, so to be honest it was quite nice to get it over and done with! The birth felt like the end goal.

I think a long labour brings you closer to the family around you. In Turkey the father wouldn’t normally be in the room, so it was a lovely experience for my husband – he cried both times, he loved it. We’d both do it again in a heartbeat.

Think of the end goal, because you’re going to have your baby, and if your baby’s healthy that’s all that matters. People put pressure on themselves not to have pain relief, but if it’s going to make for a nicer experience, then why not?

“Giving birth was one of the most mindful experiences of my life – it didn’t even hurt when she tore me,” says mum-of-two Cathy Bussey, 37, from Carshalton, Sutton

Nick Obank – The Sun Cathy Bussey, pictured with daughter Violet, described childbirth as one of the most mindful experiences of her life

I’ve had two children and both experiences, although very different, were empowering. It’s an oft overused word but there really is nothing quite like bringing life into the world for you to look at yourself and think, ‘Wow, that was incredible’.

I wasn’t a ‘positive birther’. I didn’t do any hypnobirthing and everybody I talked to while pregnant had fairly difficult birth stories. I was expecting a horrendous time, I thought I’d just grit my teeth and get it over and done with. I wasn’t expecting to ‘experience’ it, let alone enjoy it, I just thought I’d be in agony and terrified the whole time.

But actually, it’s one of the most mindful experiences of my life; it’s one of those very rare times where you’re 100 per cent in your body. I wasn’t anything other than in the moment. When I physically pushed my first daughter Cherry (six) out, the midwife did say to me, ‘This is really going to sting!’ It’s not really what you want to hear when you’re in the middle of childbirth, but it didn’t. I could feel it, but it didn’t hurt, even though she tore me quite badly. A lot of childbirth does involve pain, but it was more an incredibly intense and powerful sensation.

Nick Obank – The Sun Cathy admitted that she wasn’t a ‘positive birther’ before having children

My vivid recollection of giving birth to Cherry was, when I was pushing, I could feel the movement begin at my diaphragm and go all the way down my bump to my cervix. I could actually feel her head pushing against my cervix and releasing, I could feel what was happening inside me.

My husband was there both times, and Cherry’s birth was more painful for him than it was for me because he needed a wee. He was doing the toilet dance trying not to make a big fuss!

The other thing I loved about giving birth is the relief! Especially with Cherry, as she was 9lb 12oz, so she was huge, and I was huge with her! I was carrying her very high, so from about 30 weeks I felt like an old woman. I couldn’t bend over to do my shoes up, I was short of breath because she was pressing up on my diaphragm and my lungs, I was waddling – all the clichés! I was so uncomfortable, and the experience of giving birth and the relief once it’s out is just amazing, overwhelming.

I went into labour with Cherry in the evening of December 15, 2011, at about 10pm. I had what I thought were mild period pains which got a bit more intense, and she was born at 5:33am the following morning. Those tales about being in excruciating labour for days were just not true in my case – there was no time for pain relief!

Nick Obank – The Sun For both of her labours, Cathy’s husband was there by her side

When I gave birth to Violet (four) in August 2013, I deliberately stayed at home for longer. I would have loved a home birth, but due to the size of Cherry my birthing team weren’t that keen, and I didn’t feel like arguing. So I stayed at home as long as possible, got into hospital and she was born in 11 minutes.

My waters broke very violently and intensely, a Hollywood movie-style gush – and they went all over the poor midwifery student I had with me.

Weirdly my second one wasn’t easier than my first, even though she was smaller and faster. I think my first birth is up there as the best, despite her size and the damage she caused me. Violet’s birth was incredibly straightforward and intense, but it wasn’t as monumental. She came out so fast I didn’t have much of a chance to catch up – I wasn’t so in my body with her as I was with Cherry.

Nick Obank – The Sun Cathy said her first labour was a more intense experience than her second

I’m a big fan of the positive birth movement, but I think we can trivialise sometimes just what a dramatic, bodily event childbirth is. It’s still risky and dangerous, so I’d say the trick to enjoying childbirth is to survive it first, and worry about the rest later. I would give birth again tomorrow if I could!

Cathy’s book, Summer At Hollyhock House, will be published by Sapere Books in August 2, 2018 and is available to pre-order here.

“I couldn’t even read a birth book without having panic attacks and crying, but once I overcame my phobia, both my labours were euphoric,” says mum-of-two Alexia Leachman, 43, from Nottingham

Nick Obank – The Sun Alexia Leachman, pictured with daughter Sofia, admitted she was terrified of giving birth

I was originally terrified of giving birth – a phobia called tokophobia. I figured it stemmed from the torment of my own birth. A lot of phobia is down to traumatic experience.

Though I can’t remember my own birth, it doesn’t mean it wasn’t traumatic. I’d read about how it can have a significant impact on a person, so I followed a method called head trash clearing, which is like self therapy. This triggered a huge emotional response and I finally thought, ‘Wow, I can do this. This is doable.’

Then I started looking forward to birth. Up until that point I couldn’t even read a birth book without having a panic attack and crying. In the early days of my first pregnancy with Lila (seven), I wanted an elective caesarean because I was so scared of the process of giving birth, even though a C-section is as painful as a vaginal birth in as many ways. But I changed my mind and both my children ended up being born naturally at home, which I loved.

Nick Obank – The Sun Alexia has gone on to write a book about enjoying birth

In the end I had no pain, because pain comes from fear. My first labour lasted for seven hours and was hard work, I had to dig deep, but goodness I enjoyed it – like you might enjoy hard graft.

But with Sofia (three), it was like I was in another world. It was quite magical, actually. It wasn’t just pain-free. It was, in fact, euphoric. I was so fearless. She came out after three hours of labour in the amniotic sac, which is very rare, weighing around 8lb, and it was so fast-moving and enjoyable.

I now work as a coach for a programme called Fear Free Childbirth, which works to help women cure their fears of childbirth.

Alexia has written a book about enjoying birth, called Fearless Birthing: Clear your Fears for a Positive Birth. You can order a copy here.

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