Emily Trokis
12 min readDec 28, 2019

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Positive Birth Story

On 11th October 2018, the day you were due, I went to the local children’s centre for my final midwife appointment. I was adamant that no intervention was necessary and, discarding the induction leaflet I was handed, I went home to wait for you to arrive. I had intended on walking from our flat (you only saw it for a week) to the Swingbridge Children’s centre but your Auntie Hans wouldn’t take no for an answer and drove us there. If you don’t already know this by now, your aunties are amazing. Auntie Hans spent so much time with us when you first arrived. You can mock her about the fact that she didn’t have a job at the time, but you’ll never remember the devotion she showed when she held you, changed your nappies, and comforted you whilst I went through two nasty bouts of food poisoning in one month.

Anyway, I left the appointment feeling rather nervous, excited and glad that I’d soon be able to wear more of the clothes in my wardrobe. Roxy dropped round a big bag of goodies to keep me occupied: books, puzzles and other crafty things but I don’t remember doing much at all. You were always a very active little human to share my body with and I absolutely loved being pregnant so I was quite happy to hit the pause button and savour the remaining days where you were safe in my tummy and we shared the most wonderful, bonding experience. Of course, you were preparing yourself to enter the world because you had so many friends eager to meet you!

Each night I became more focused on your impending arrival: thoughts running through my mind about how you’d make your entrance and ‘positive birth stories’ on repeat on YouTube. I was so excited to meet you and I mostly remember feeling very positive about the whole thing. My mindset was that of a warrior; this was a challenge to conquer. I was going to give you the gift of life and I’d absolutely crush it. We’ll just ignore the sporadic niggles, reminding me of the physical process and the graphic images that spring to mind.

I woke up on 18th October at 4am in a relatively dark, dusty room. Boxes were beginning to be filled with our possessions ready to move house in 8 days. Yes, we were that crazy. The wonderful first home we bought would be your first proper home but for the time being we shared this flat with Monty and Percy and I couldn’t wait for a garden, natural light and an ensuite. As any millennial does, I grabbed my phone and started typing a text to mum (Nana, to you). I came to my senses and left the message hanging until around 5am or at least a time I considered reasonable. Having already checked on your sleeping Daddy, I decided to go and run a bath. I can’t quite remember whether I told him before or after running the bath but we both decided it’d be better for me to relax in warm water and for Jarryd to get some rest. Texts were sent back and forth between your nana and I, until I remember Jarryd coming in and checking on me. I’m pretty sure there were a few tears as we locked eyes, realising that this day could be the most life- changing one yet. Your mummy and daddy were so excited to be going through this together, nervous about the process and so grateful for how far we’d come.

Eventually we got up, dressed and let a few close friends know. Jarryd helped me get the TENS machine up and running and I felt a rush of adrenaline. These were the contractions I’d always known I’d experience one day. How is this happening already? It felt like I’d waited forever and within a split second the moment had arrived and suddenly it felt like time had flown by. Am I really old enough to be going through labour? Wow, I’m in labour!

Having been a real teacher’s pet at the antenatal classes, I knew that this was only the beginning. Contractions can last for ages before active labour starts, or whatever the correct term is. I kept my positive pants on (the proverbial as well as the Bridget Jones kind) and Jarryd and I watched as many episodes of Suits as we could until I couldn’t really concentrate anymore. Jarryd had emailed work to let them know that D-day had arrived so we waited, and waited, and waited some more. Like many lazy days in pre-baby Trokis land, we ate chicken and chips from Morrisons and I began to implement the breathing strategy I’d learned from the Positive Birthing Company. Thinking back to my cross-country days of breathing patterns and diaphragm exercises from playing the flute, I knew this was something I was good at. This, the water and the TENS machine were my initial forms of pain relief. I felt like the hippy I’d always wanted to be.

Part of our plan was to drive to Nana’s house when contractions became a little stronger so that I could wait it out there and complete the 45 minute drive to hospital while I was still relatively comfortable. Your Auntie Loz had come back from work in Nottingham and was working from home, keeping Auntie Hans company. Nana was still at work because I knew I’d be okay for a few more hours so we just sat and relaxed as much as possible. I looked pretty darn glamorous in my maternity leggings and purple dressing gown and was being plied with plenty of water, fruit, flapjack. I couldn’t be bothered with the food but drinking water was a major part of my coping strategy.

Eventually mum came home and it felt like a little party before your arrival. I was quite proud to be showing everyone how well I was breathing through the contractions and your daddy was amazing. I didn’t realise how much more amazing he was going to be as the night drew out but his support meant I was still rather calm.

In the afternoon, I decided to make the phone call to hospital. Hopeful and doubtful, I asked them for advice. They seemed far too impressed by my impeccable communication skills and told me to hang on until – quote – I could barely talk, which was disconcerting. Just another reminder of the challenge ahead of me. So we hung on, the young’uns ate McDonald’s whilst Mum and I had beans on toast. With Harry Potter playing in the background, I continued to lean against Auntie Lozza’s purple bean bag until the contractions became too severe and regular to handle. I knew that I would be okay but I wanted to meet the midwives and get settled.

Paul dropped us off at hospital, all the relevant people were notified. Sarah and Ellis, amongst our other friends, were praying fervently for your arrival to be safe and for the pool to be available. I was so relieved to be told that it was free. We arrived at Lincoln Hospital at around 6:30pm and it was getting dark by this point. We were ushered into a room and the wave of relief and happiness was indescribable. I walked (waddled) into a dimly lit room, a bed pushed to the corner of the room which was positioned to be good for resting on all fours, candles, a birthing ball, a birthing stool and a bean bag. Mum and Jarryd put down our belongings and we waited for someone to come and see us. I wasn’t expecting such a hippy environment but couldn’t have been happier. I remember laying out the snacks I’d eagerly bought that were barely touched. Munching on a Jelly Baby, I sat on the ball and it felt pretty overwhelming. Mum discovered the whiteboard on the wall and wrote ‘we can do all things.’ If there’s one overriding truth you should know, it’s that YOU can do anything because God is behind you (as well as your kick-ass parents).

One of my favourite memories upon arrival is the moment we drew back the blinds in the room. It’s important to contextualise this action. There are two potential views from the maternity suite: the prison or the cathedral. Both your Daddy and I were reduced to tears when we saw the cathedral lit up in the distance. We felt extremely blessed to be in a wonderful room.

The first midwife that came in was called Heather. I remember her being an incredibly warm lady and she said something along the lines of ‘I can just tell you’re going to do great.’ With quiet confidence, we settled in and she popped out for a moment.

Little did we know that a shift changeover was about to happen and so the lovely Heather we had met had to leave. I was pretty gutted and worried that, after encountering such a great midwife, the next one would be terrible. Within minutes of the changeover happening my mind was at ease because Jodie walked in, sat down and chatted to us about the day thus far. She was just as calm and friendly as Heather was and I felt pretty emotional to be with such a wonderful midwife.

I felt like I was receiving star treatment as we made our way to a second room with a birthing pool. My mind was blown again. I walked in to a clear view of the cathedral, candles lit, the aromatherapy device on and the quote ‘If you can dream it, you can do it’ for inspiration. This was all gearing up to be a great experience although I wasn’t going to realise that for another day or so.

Hours passed and it’s all a bit of a blur. I managed to control the pain by being in the water and trying to keep my mind in a good place. The labour wasn’t progressing as quickly as I’d hoped and I tried desperately not to clock-watch. I had already told myself that you were going to be born today but that idea soon became a silly one. Even though things weren’t happening as

quickly as I’d hoped, you and I were happy so Jodie was happy to let me stay in the water. I came out once when the water got cold to regain some energy and let gravity do the work.

It was at this point that a student midwife came in to do some checks. I was gutted that Jodie had left my side but I realised she’d not had a break for a crazy number of hours so she needed refuelling just as much as I did. They confirmed that we were both still doing well and I just needed to press on. The pool was filled for a second time which I was so grateful for and I went back in. Surely this must be near the end? Unfortunately there was much more work ahead of me.

Between mum and Jarryd (nana and daddy) they kept me hydrated and provided incredible support. Jodie said they were the best birthing partners she’s seen and I already felt this was true. I remember wrapping my arms around mum’s neck at one point and her presence made me feel safe. It was only months later that I realised how uncomfortable she was! She was amazing. Jarryd was finding it so hard to see me in so much pain, so he started to feel quite poorly himself. He ended up spending some time in the toilet but thankfully it was sympathy pain rather than a tummy bug that we were dreading. We carried on.

Up until this point (timings escape me) I had persevered naturally. Jodie offered me some gas and air but I was terrified – hilarious, really – of how it would make me feel. I hated feeling nauseous and was nervous I’d vomit. She reassured me that it would be out of my system quickly so I took one huge breath and immediately felt the effects. It was amazing! From that point I was much more calm and became very attached to the gas that took me into fairyland. It made my arms tingle because I had so much but I was quite happy to keep shaking off the effects if it meant I could keep going. I’m sure this was funny for mum and Jarryd who were exhausted, hungry and probably emotionally drained by this point.

Eventually we moved back to the first room because we needed to get things moving. The 18th had come and gone and I knew that this would be the day. In the early hours of the morning, Jodie’s best friend/colleague, Beth, came to join the party(!). She was a blessing in scrubs from the beginning as I recognised her from the baby group at Alive Lincoln when I used to volunteer at the church coffee shop. This immediately put me at ease.

At one point you decided to turn and your position wasn’t going to work with a natural delivery so Beth’s expertise seemed like a divine gift. She knew of a natural technique to get babies to move and encouraged us all to give it a go. I realised that intervention would’ve been needed if this didn’t work and this was the first moment I remember feeling slightly panicked as I realised what I was going through. I had to breathe through three gruelling contractions hanging off the bed on my left side, then on the right. I remember feeling like I could’ve fallen off the bed so easily but Jodie and Beth (and the best birthing partners) were by my side and were encouraging me to push through. I don’t really remember taking stock at this moment but thankfully the ‘trick’ worked and calm was restored again.

The water birth wasn’t going to happen so I attempted to get on all fours as I’d heard this was a better way to deliver. After a few embarrassing moments (ask Daddy about that) it became clear this wasn’t going to work and there must’ve come a point when the midwives decided you needed to come. My eyes were closed at this point – and for over an hour onwards – so I was unaware. Medically, everything was fine but Beth and Jodie were desperate to see you arrive. This was their first delivery together in years of being midwives and they were just as excited as I was for the grand moment. They ended up staying past their shift finish time in order to deliver you safely and I’ll be eternally grateful for that.

After an hour and a half of pushing (thankfully you’ll never have to do that but reassure your wife that it never feels that long) the ‘ring of fire’ occurred and I knew this was it. Muttering ‘my baby, my baby, between the panting and pushing, I invested every ounce of energy I had into giving birth to you. At 8:04 you were born and I felt bliss like I’ve never experienced. Someone prompted us to open the curtains (maybe before or after you were born?) and we saw the cathedral again, a constant, divine presence this time shrouded in the morning’s misty haze. It looked far too ethereal to be reality.

Again, this is a bit of a blur but they quickly cleaned you up, checked that you were okay because you took a while to catch your breath and they placed you on my chest. You were a blue mess! My perfect little alien baby with massive lips. Of course you would pink up in the moments that followed but I couldn’t care less. I’d just let my body do what it was created to you and given birth! Even as I’m writing this I know it’s the most empowering thing I’ve ever done and I’m so proud of all of us. What a miracle!

The aftermath was much less dignified and suddenly I didn’t feel so empowered but I had my baby so I was in heaven. A team came in to do some initial checks, give you an injection and to stitch me up. Memorable moments include the iconic tea and toast so many had described to me before the day. When I came around a bit and looked at you, you were sucking your fingers, were wearing a knitted green hat and had my teal cardigan wrapped around you. My perfect little boy. Daddy and Nana held you and I laid down, feeling fragile but supremely happy. It hadn’t quite hit me yet but this was the day I became so much stronger than I ever thought I’d be. I would feel things in a way I’d never known and the fragile, delicate moments that would follow in the next 24 hours were the most beautiful moments of my life.

Your daddy and I could barely talk through the emotion.

Other practical things happened and checks were done. I weed far too much but this was no surprise to the A-team who had filled up my water bottle 11 times. Your aunties, Ouma and Grandad W had come to visit you and as Grandad was visiting we made our way down to the transition ward.

I refused a shower at that point because I was far too exhausted. In the hours that followed, mum came back to help me shower and our eyes were fixated on you. You were happy and healthy just as you had been the whole time. I never really doubted this but was still overcome with joy that my son was here. I’d never seen your face but I felt like I knew you. You were mine; there was no doubt. You had your daddy’s jet black hair (and lots of it) and we were so in love.

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Emily Trokis

A 27 year old Christian, wife, mother, ex-teacher and butterfly brain. I believe in hope, absolute truth and the beauty of the written word.