No two births are the same, and first-time mum Hilary’s birth challenges many people’s perception of how labour and birth can play out. Hilary cycled in to hospital in established labour, arriving fully dilated. She went home with her baby girl in a sling, in a taxi, the same day.

Read her amazing natural birth story below

An amazing natural birth

Dear Deborah,

I just wanted to let you know that I gave birth to a baby girl on Sunday afternoon, and we had a really positive experience all round. I don’t think it could have gone any better!

I woke up on Sunday morning around 8am feeling a bit crampy but didn’t think much of it, because I had been feeling like this for the last day or so. By 9ish I started checking the time for how often they were happening and it was about every 10 minutes, but I still wasn’t convinced by anything much. Around 10ish I thought I would have a bath and Richard started timing. The cramping was coming regularly, every 3½ minutes by then lasting around 50 seconds, and I realised this might be it!
I stayed in the bath for an hour or so and when I got out I put the TENS machine on. At 12 I thought I should phone in. While I was on the phone the surges became definite surges rather than cramps. The midwife told me that she recommended waiting at home for another couple of hours. She also said that the unit was empty, so I was relieved about that!


I wasn’t sure how we were going to get to the hospital because we don’t have a car and my mum had had a prang on the Friday, so her car was in the garage. We had previously thought we would play it by ear. We talked about walking in slowly, but while we were discussing it the surges were clearly becoming stronger and felt slightly different.


At 12.30 I phoned back and said I wanted to come in. Richard phoned our neighbour for a lift (who is also the builder doing our extension) but he had gone out and said he would be half an hour. I thought that was too long, I needed to get there!


Richard phoned for a taxi and they couldn’t come straight away. He was going to phone for another, and I stopped him and said that I just needed to get there. I grabbed my bike and said ‘can you get all the stuff I’m going, catch me up?!’.


So we cycled in, slowing down for the surges. The TENS machine was pretty good during the ride, even though it was on a super low setting, just a good amount of distraction.


Around Eldon Road things started to feel different again, I thought it felt like I had started to feel the need to push. When we got there at around 1:20pm the midwife took me into triage. She felt for the head and said it was very low. She then checked me and said “I’m just going to press the buzzer to let the others know we’re coming through now and ask for a wheelchair”. I was fully dilated!


They presented me with a wheelchair and I said ‘i can’t sit on that I have to walk!’ and walked on through while they were trying in vain to preserve my dignity! I didn’t care.


They put me in the nearest room and my waters broke all over the floor. I threw myself upright on the chair and breathed through all my surges like a pro! The midwife was super supportive, telling me just to do what my body was telling me to do.


At some point things slowed down a little bit, and she suggested that I move to the squatting stool instead with Richard supporting me from behind. It felt like a brilliant move and our baby girl was born at 14:34.


A photograph of a newborn baby girl, from an amazing natural birth story


She then got me back on the chair and my placenta came out naturally about 5 minutes later. Our baby fed almost straight away and because we were all doing so well we were discharged home at 22:00.


I was so happy not to stay in!! And we were allowed to leave by taxi with our baby in a sling. The midwives joked that they might start suggesting cycling in more often!


So all in all a really good experience. Thank you so much for your help Deborah, it could have been so different without that!


With lots of love from Hilary, Richard and our as yet unnamed baby girl.
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