My first baby 20 months ago was a c section after reduced foetal movement. I had no idea whether or not I could question or engage in any of it, and although the caesarean was a pleasant experience, I went a long time without many of the things I wanted - skin to skin etc. For my second baby I found a really supportive VBAC (Vaginal Birth After Caesarean) group, and my midwife and the hospital team all worked hard with me to create a birth plan giving me access to the MLU (Midwife Led Unit) and a water birth. I also did an Active Birth course which made such a difference to my physical and mental preparation for the birth. On a Monday I lost my plug and had various mild tightenings throughout the day. At 10.30pm I realised they were getting stronger and more regular so went to hospital. I got to hospital about 1am. I was contracting every two minutes but two different midwives on the MLU couldn’t work out whether my cervix was open or closed! I got taken upstairs for a doctor to do a vaginal exam where she confirmed it was clamped shut. They were also worried about baby’s high heart rate so they suggested I go on a trace. They spent the whole time reassuring me that I was not ruling out the MLU and that we just needed to get something solid. After about an hour of that (and baby’s heart rate staying very high) I was in a lot of pain so I got moved to a room on the delivery suite and unfortunately we had to rule out the MLU but they’d specifically sorted me a delivery suite room that was set up like the MLU. The pain was non-stop and I was really struggling but the tens machine was laughable at this stage, and I didn’t want to hit up pain killers before my cervix was on its way as it was still firmly shut. At around 4.30 (I think) I went for a wee and blood trickled everywhere. The doctor and midwife were both delighted, as it turned out I was 5cm. I could. Not. Cope. I was retching and heaving, gas and air was disgusting and made me throw up. I begged my husband to just sort me a c section but he kept procrastinating, as did my midwife who was convinced it wasn’t what I wanted having really listened to me and read my birth plan. We compromised on an epidural. As she read the info to me I was basically pushing and it turned out I’d hopped to 9cm in under an hour. So we pushed. And I got him out on my own at 6.47am, only 8.5 hours after things kicked off, with absolutely zero pain relief. So welcome Buckley. 9lb 11oz on nothing but love, determination and a shit load of support from my husband, midwife and doctor, who knew how to get me through it when I wanted to quit, and did everything they could to bring a not perfect birth as close to my birth plan as possible. And that’s my positive birth story. I’m now sat at home with my squidge.