Birth of baby

From labor to love: My Personal Birth Story

The day I had been eagerly waiting for finally arrived, and after 40 weeks and 5 days, our precious daughter was born on December 14th. I had envisioned a natural childbirth with soothing music, a warm bathtub, and the support of my boyfriend, who had attended a pregnancy course with me. But as it turned out, nothing went according to plan.

My labor began at home, lasting a grueling 30.5 hours. I had been scheduled for an induction the following day, but contractions started early that morning. In Belgium, where we live, if you go past your due date, it’s standard procedure to go to the hospital for monitoring to ensure the baby’s well-being. So, off we went.

Upon arrival, they informed me that my labor had indeed started but that I still had a long way to go, with contractions 20+ minutes apart. They send us back home. Contractions needed to be 4-5 minutes apart to stay at the hospital. Unlike friends of mine who managed their household chores during early labor, I was in too much discomfort to focus on anything else.

At 9 pm, after 14 hours of contractions, we returned to the hospital with contractions now 5 minutes apart. They admitted us, but I was only 2 cm dilated – a far cry from the necessary 10 cm. I tried various methods to ease my pain, from the bathtub to the birthing ball, but nothing seemed to help.

By hour 22, I was exhausted and needed sleep. With my dilation still not progressing and contractions every 2 minutes, my boyfriend requested an epidural for me. I hesitated at first, feeling as if I was breaking some unwritten rule, but ultimately, I relented. The epidural allowed me to sleep for about five hours, during which my labor progressed steadily.

When it was time to push, it was almost 1 pm the following day. The doctor assured me that our daughter would arrive by 1:30 pm. Nurses assisted, applying pressure on my belly, and finally, at 1:30 pm, our baby girl was born. I didn’t immediately feel the intense love many mothers describe – in that moment, I was just relieved that labor was over. Despite the challenges, I felt overwhelmed with emotion and gratitude for her safe arrival.

Baby birth

After delayed cord clamping (an important aspect to discuss with your doctor for your baby’s health benefits), we began breastfeeding. My daughter latched onto my nipple effortlessly and perfectly to drink the colostrum, or “liquid gold.”  We shared our first bonding moment.  Meanwhile, the doctor attended to a tear in my vagina, stitching me up after delivering the placenta.

Following an hour of skin-to-skin contact with me, my baby girl enjoyed the same bonding experience with her father. When I stood up for the first time after giving birth, the pain and discomfort hit me hard. I believe it’s essential for people to acknowledge the pain and challenges of childbirth, even though the outcome is undoubtedly worth it.

Every birth story is unique – you may have a three-hour labor with minimal pain, or you might face a long, challenging journey like mine. The key is to be present in the moment and trust in your strength. Preparation is valuable, but sometimes, all you need is your body’s ability to bring a child into the world. My time in the maternity ward and the weeks that followed the love for my daughter grew exponentially. The bond between a parent and a child is truly the purest and deepest form of love imaginable. It’s this love that drives us to care for our children, even through sleepless nights, breastfeeding challenges, and the myriad of obstacles that come with parenthood. This is my birth story, and through it, I hope to inspire and encourage others as they embark on their own journey into motherhood.

My tips for expectant mothers preparing for childbirth:

  1. Attend a childbirth education class to learn about labor stages, coping techniques, and pain management options.
  2. Create a birth plan, but remain flexible and prepared for unexpected changes.
  3. Consider hiring a doula for emotional and physical support during labor and delivery.
  4. Practice relaxation and breathing techniques for pain and stress management.
  5. Maintain an active lifestyle and healthy diet for a healthy pregnancy and labor preparation.
  6. Pack a hospital bag with essentials for you and your baby, including comfortable clothes, toiletries, and baby clothes.
  7. Consider delaying cord cutting and skin-to-skin contact to promote bonding and breastfeeding.
  8. Seek help and support from your partner, family, and friends during the postpartum period.

Every birth experience is unique. Trust your instincts and collaborate with your healthcare provider for a safe and positive birth experience for both you and your baby.

Please note that I speak from personal experience. For substantiated information, we always recommend that you take a look at the World Health Organization.

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Margaux Luyten


Adventure-loving mom blogger. Breastfeeding from December ’21. Sharing her insight on pregnancy and motherhood while embracing a healthy & active lifestyle. 

Margaux Luyten

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