'I Had Diarrhoea, Threw Up In The Shower, And Pooed In Front Of My Partner'

"We get caught up in the misery of birth. I wanted to do it differently."
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In HuffPost Birth Diaries we hear the extraordinary stories of the everyday miracle of birth. This week, Lesley Hutton shares her story. If you’d like to share yours, email amy.packham@huffpost.com.

We get so caught up in the misery of birth. I wanted to do things differently. I was 27, eating for two, nine days overdue, and ready for my first baby to arrive. My soon-to-be child’s father had gone to the gym. I knew if this baby didn’t come soon, I’d be going into hospital to be induced the following Monday.

But I was adamant I wanted a home birth. I tried everything that afternoon: spicy pizza, a spot of gardening – I even contemplated a glug of castor oil. Nothing seemed to budge. And then, I thought to myself, I really fancy some creamy mash potato and tinned tomatoes. It was a bizarre choice – I’ve never had it since. But I cooked it, ate it, then felt a massive twang in my stomach.

Suddenly I was running upstairs where I had diarrhoea, then threw up all over the shower.

This isn’t right, I thought. I didn’t know what the hell was happening. I called my partner, who didn’t answer. Then I called the gym and, hilariously, they had to announce over the tannoy that Craig needed to come home. He told me, later, that he knew straight away what was happening.

As soon as my partner arrived home, we called my mum and the midwives. My mum was great, sorting out the house and offering everyone cups of tea. Two midwives arrived – one experienced and one, I later found out, who was attending her first home birth. They were both amazing from the get go.

After a quick check, they told me I had while longer yet, but I wanted this baby out now. I started walking around the house, just trying to urge her out (that’s not how it works, I know). I tried to move around as much as possible.

The midwives made me run a bath – I was a swimmer, so they assumed I’d love it, but as soon as my bum cheeks touched the water, I knew it wasn’t for me. At all! It felt abnormal. So I jumped straight back out and put a black kaftan on to cover my boobs, and carried on walking around the house.

And then the poo happened.

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Nobody told me you poo when you give birth! I’m a nurse, I should know these things. I’d never pooed in front of my partner before – I’d farted, but not pooed. So I tried to hold it in, I really did, but the midwives realised and told me I should just go if I needed to go. I felt so exposed! But they were so good, putting tissues over my bum and wiping it away discreetly.

I said to Craig at the time: “I pooed, did you see?” He said he wasn’t looking. But I knew he knew.

Things really kicked up a notch when I saw the time – it was ten to midnight on 21 February and I thought: I am NOT having a baby at the end of the day or on an odd-numbered day. No God damn way! I wanted a new day, and even numbers (that’s just me). And I held that baby in for another half an hour.

She came out at 20 past midnight on 22 February. In our home. Her dad cut the cord and we all brought the baby downstairs. Someone asked me if I wanted a shower, and it dawned on me that I’d thrown up in there earlier and not cleaned it up. Then we saw the dogs licking their lips. They literally licked up my vomit.

My dad made us all toast and some egg-fried rice and we had some wine. It was bizarre, that carpet picnic at 3am after five hours of labour. I hadn’t even registered that I’d torn my rectum during the birth. For the next couple of months, every time I had a poo, it felt like giving birth again.

But, after all that, I was so happy I got to have the home birth I wanted.

My birth advice?

It’s okay to say what you want. Say it’s too much if you’re feeling overwhelmed. Go with your instinct. Ask questions. Feel empowered, but don’t be disappointed if it doesn’t go to plan.