My Birth Story


I really wanted to get this written ASAP whilst everything is still so fresh, one of the main reasons I wanted to write this post is also for myself so I can look back on the best day of my life. I had an incredible labour/birth experience and even though at the time I thought the pain was so awful I would never do it again I’m less than 5 days post partum and I’d do it all again tomorrow!

So let’s rewind to the end of week 38 of my pregnancy, I definitely felt a shift within my body and started to experience mild to moderate period cramps, it was the type of sensation that when I was thinking about something else I would think “ooh I need to put a tampon in as I’m definitely about to start” before remembering that I was pregnant and therefore no period was coming! This was on and off and was also accompanied by a heaviness in my pelvis as the baby’s head engaged lower and lower – when I walked it felt like I had a watermelon pressing down on my cervix, it took all my will to not waddle!  I also felt a shift within me, my energy changed – I just knew my body was getting ready to deliver my baby, it was so exciting!

To help the cramps along I would bounce on my birthing ball to encourage them and drink continuous cups of raspberry leaf tea (meant to help with toning the uterus in preparation for birth but who knows if it actually does).

Jump forward to 39 weeks and 5 days pregnant and I had an appointment with my obstetrician where she examined my cervix which was 1-2cm dilated and softened, she then offered to give me a membrane sweep which is a natural way of getting things going in the right direction if your body is already prepared – she was incredible gentle with it and I barely noticed any discomfort, it’s a bit more invasive than a smear test but if you relax your muscles and are comfortable with the person performing it it really is’t so bad at all. Soon after I got home the period like pains intensified and I had a bit of a “show” when I went to the bathroom. Trying not to get too excited I just continued to be positive and bounce on my ball/listen to my favourite songs (I listened to every Serge Gainsbourg song on Spotify to sort of zen myself out)  but that evening for dinner I decided to have a Five Guys burger – something in me knew that I would need a big meal high in carbs and iron. I went to bed as normal telling myself that the next day would be a normal day and thinking of all the plans I had (meeting a friend for a walk, doing some organisation at home etc) , I wasn’t over due so I reminded myself not to be impatient, I was able to sleep peacefully until around 3:30am when I went to the loo. After I finished I stood up and felt a trickle down my leg, my immediate instinct was that it was my waters but then I remembered that waters typically don’t break until the end of labour and that it’s quite rare for things to start like that. I was walking back to bed when it literally felt as though a bath had emptied between my legs. I then grabbed my phone and called the midwives who recommended going back to bed for a few hours and then coming in around 5/6am as it was still the middle of the night and contractions hadn’t started. I tried to go back to sleep but my mind was racing and then I felt like I couldn’t feel the baby move as much as normal (completely in my head) – it was at this point that I woke my husband and started getting ready. I had some breakfast, double checked the hospital bag and tried to stay calm and not get over excited, soon after getting up my first contractions started – super manageable and relatively pain free though – just a stronger period like cramp. We had a short drive over to hospital where I went straight into a delivery room and was monitored, it was around 5:15am by this point. The midwives checked my pads and confirmed that my waters had indeed broken but said that if my contractions weren’t regular they’d suggest going home until things got going more. They started coming regularly soon after and then they called my obstetrician at 7am to let her know that things had started, I hadn’t wanted to call or text her prior as I didn’t want to wake her up! At this latent stage of labour I was feeling really excited and chilled out – we were having the baby privately at The Kensington Wing at Chelsea and Westminster (100% would recommend – incredible experience throughout the whole of pregnancy – in fact I already miss it) so we ordered our breakfast and I made sure to eat again – I devoured two croissants – and we watched The Good Place, this was also when I called my mum to fill her in, I knew I wanted her there by my side for the delivery but also knew we were in for a long wait so wanted to ensure she had a good nights sleep! Around the time my mum arrived at 10am my contractions were heating up and I was no longer able to hold a conversation whilst I had one – it was also at this time that my doctor examined me and said that I was 3cm dilated and that she’d examine again at 1pm, she recommended going for a walk and trying to go up and down the stairs in the hospital to help things along. This walk must have been hilarious for anyone who saw me as I was hobbling around and then crying out in pain as a contraction hit, it was really nice having my mum and husband just chat amongst themselves about all sorts so that I could zone in and out of their conversation, weirdly when you’re having contractions you don’t want attention or people asking if you’re ok or looking worried for you, I preferred being semi ignored and when one of them would look at me I’d ask them not to – I definitely went through a few mood swings! 

We walked to the local Pret and got some snacks before I hobbled back to my room. A midwife gave me some Clarysage essential oil and rubbed it onto my wrists and encouraged me to get on all fours on a mattress with a bean bag, this was incredible comforting but shortly after the contractions intensified even more and I was struck with a feeling of intense nausea with each one, I was beginning to feel like I couldn’t breathe and the pain felt like a wave of heat, I felt like I couldn’t breathe and I was tensing my body up which is precisely what you shouldn’t do as it intensifies the pain. At 1pm I was examined again and was disappointingly only at 3cm still (3-4 at a push), this was when my doctor recommended inducing my contractions using a drip to help speed things up so I didn’t get too tired for the actual delivery. I was so uncertain about whether to do it that we all decided to wait and examine again 4pm – this is something I now regret as at 4pm I was still only 4cm so we decided to get the drip in and it was at this point that the pain had become so unbearable that I had an epidural administered concurrently. Had I had the drip earlier we would have saved 4 hours and I would have had higher stores of energy for the delivery. 

The difference between labour with and without an epidural is like night and day, I had gone from a shaking nauseous wreck to just feeling tired and completely zen within 10 minutes. I then stayed in bed and just tried to rest and gear up for the next stages. I could still feel my contractions a small amount which I liked but by around 7/8pm even with the epidural I started feeling the pain of them again, I can’t begin to imagine what the pain would have been like without the epidural. Before labour I assumed that I would have no guilt with having an epidural, but when push came to shove I judged myself for opting out of the pain which is the most ridiculous thing ever, I just felt like I should have stubborned it out more, had I not had the intense nausea I maybe would have done another hour but the second it hit my system I was so grateful for it – my body needed the rest having been up and working hard from half 3 that morning. The next few hours were a bit of a blur as I tried to be zen and store up my energy. My sister popped by after work and massaged my feet so they didn’t go too numb and my mum, husband and the midwife monitoring all were crying with laughter about one thing or another and having continual chats which I loved – I’m a people person and love having chatter around me, I love it even more when I don’t have to be a part of  it if I don’t want to – you know just having people who you’re so comfortable with you can just zone out, the vibe was absolutely perfect. I also had a really fun playlist on which was helping me both zone out and zone in for the final stage. My doctor came in at around 9:30pm and that’s when I realised that we were about to go – I was a bit nervous at this stage as I felt so numb from the epidural I wasn’t sure I’d know how to push but my amazing doctor and midwife assured me that they’d coach me. I’d like to point out at this stage that at no point in my pregnancy or labour was I scared or worried about what was about to physically happen – I think had I been it would have made things 100 x harder – I understood that child birth is how we all got here and its the most natural thing in the world and not something to get worked up about – it’s just something that has to be done!

One thing lead to another and without any real warning my doctor and midwife told me to take a deep breath and push – my sister hadn’t planned on being in the room for delivery along with my mum and husband but ended up staying and helping too and helped when I shouted at her to change the song on the playlist to the next one. With my mum, sister, midwife, doctor and I it felt like a really amazing girls party weirdly and my husband was incredible with his words of support!

It was such a strange out of body experience with everyone around shouting words of encouragement and coaching me. The physical strain was unlike anything I’ve ever experienced in my life and there were times were I thought I’d never get there. I remember the sheer relief between contractions when my body could rest and I instructed Lily to replay certain songs from my playlist which I felt had helped a good push. I ended up going into a weird meditative state with the final few pushes, I knew I needed the baby out as it we’d been at it for a while and I didn’t want any instruments to be used on me to help, I wanted to get this baby out myself and knew no one on earth could help me but myself – I envisioned making pasta. So strange, but thinking about something as mundane as boiling the kettle, putting a pan on the stove and making a simple bowl of pasta helped my mind detach from the “I can’t take this anymore, I can’t do it” and just let my body do its best without thinking about it. Finally after about an hour and a half of pushing (but for me there was no such thing as time – it felt like both 2 minutes and 2 days) my doctor instructed me to bend down and lift my baby out as his head and shoulders were out! I actually couldn’t believe it as I felt like we’d never get there – I picked up our son and pulled him out and put him on my chest. It was so surreal and incredible and my whole body kind of just rejoiced in relief and release, soon after we weighed him and realised that he was 4.42kg – 2oz off 10lb and 56cm with a sizeable head circumference- needless to say we were all in shock! My bump had never been small but it also wasn’t measuring large so his size was definitely a surprise to us all and I am incredibly grateful that I was able to deliver him naturally  without any instruments. Due to his size and the length of time pushing I experienced/still experiencing some pelvic pain and I did end up having to have an episiotomy and sutures which are nothing to be scared about – super manageable with nurofen. All in I would say it was a really positive experience, not easy by any means but the most rewarding thing I’ve ever done and I then got the best present in the world out of all the hard work!

I hope this isn’t too much of a babble of words and that this helps anyone nervous about labour – it’s a beautiful experience, try and reach a state of meditation where possible, have a fab playlist and stay hydrated and have a lip balm on you (you get super dry with all the breathing) and stay positive and believe in yourself and take each part as it comes! 



  1. August 21, 2018 / 9:22 am

    I love how honest this is – you don’t skim over the pain but you make it sound manageable and the fact that you’re already saying you’d do it again is amazing!! Congratulations once again, he is absolutely adorable xx

  2. Lydia
    August 21, 2018 / 10:46 am

    Congratulations! Such a cute baby and thank you so much for sharing in detail your experience. Its so helpful when people are honest and open about the birthing process. Wishing you the best. 🙂

  3. Ellie Roberts
    August 21, 2018 / 12:21 pm

    Such a beautiful recollection of events Tijan, I’m about to go into my second year as a student midwife and I love supporting women through such an amazing time of their lives. Hope you and baby Atlas are both well and enjoying these precious first few days and weeks at home together x

  4. Lisa Autumn
    August 21, 2018 / 12:22 pm

    Girl I had tears in my eyes reading this. I am so happy for you and your family!

    x Lisa |

  5. August 21, 2018 / 12:57 pm

    Such a positive birth story without leaving out the pain, so great to read! I’m a week off my due date and reading things like this is so, so positive.

    Huge congratulations!

  6. Pamela McConnell-Wood
    August 21, 2018 / 2:17 pm

    Absolutely love this, a beautifully written account of child birth and far from the normal scare stories I hear. Massive congratulations to you & your husband, Atlas is so cute ???? X x

  7. Hanushka T
    August 21, 2018 / 2:34 pm

    what a beautiful story and a wonderful experience! I had a similar labour – except it last 36 hours and when I got to 9cm I had to have a horrific emergency c-section. Hideous! I am so pleased that you and baby Atlas managed to have a lovely calm birth – it makes all the difference xx

  8. Bella
    August 21, 2018 / 2:35 pm

    So beautifully written I almost cried! You could do a Q&A video about your labour experience etc.! Anyway, congrats! Lots of love to you and the baby 🙂

  9. Alex
    August 21, 2018 / 3:06 pm

    Loved this post! I am due to give birth at the Kensington Wing in a month and it is great to hear your experience.

  10. Jodie
    August 21, 2018 / 7:32 pm

    Ah ! So good to get it all down quickly. Some bits blur as the baby gets older. I still think about my labour experience in a positive light. Was similar to yours so enjoyed reading this. Wishing you all the happiness for your new little family. Baby atlas looks a dream. Xoxoox

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