My daughter Megan was born really quickly. The midwife, a lovely lady called Sally, transformed the experience from one of anxiety and uncertainty, to one of confidence and calm. What did she do? She trusted my body to do what it needed to do, even when I did not.
She booked me in, made sure I had everything I wanted, then she sat down in the corner of the room and said, "You can do this, I will just observe and help if I am needed." When I felt a new sensation or I was uncertain I would tell her, and each time she reassured me and I carried on.
Megan was born an hour after I arrived at the birthing centre, and in that time no one but my husband touched me. He was the one to catch Meg as she emerged, and again, the only people to touch her were my husband and I.
We delivered our baby, he cut the cord, we cuddled her, he dressed her and I had a bath. Then, and only then, the midwife, who had been observing all along, checked everything was as it should be.
This experience taught me to trust my body, and when it came to the births of my next 2 babies, it was in my birth plan that the midwives should be as hands off as possible, and just let me get on with it.
With Annie, the birth took longer, but it was still relatively quick. Towards the end, the midwife got very stressed because she felt I should push, but I didn't feel ready. I was certain all would be well, and I rested and waited and then suddenly I was ready to push. Annie was tangled in her cord, and the midwife said afterwards that she had been concerned, but at no point did I feel anxious. I was so certain my body would do it's thing, and that trust was rewarded.
When my last baby was due, I was really excited and a bit sad that it would be my last. I went into the birthing centre with a sense of anticipation and excitement, and determined to give birth in the water this time. I got my wish to labour in the water, though the birth itself wasn't in the bath. But as with the others, I feel like I surrendered myself to the collective wisdom of women bodies, and allowed my body to do what it was designed to. The result was a 9lb 13oz beauty of a boy, who has been spoilt rotten by his 3 sisters ever since!