Yah! I’m so excited to have the birth story series back up and running. Things got a little hectic the past few months and I just had to put it on hold. I asked you lot last week should I bring it back and I got over fifty messages, snaps, comments and tweets so that was that. Kicking off the birth story re-launch is the fabulous Hayley from Devon Mama. I think she may have given me a run for my money with quick labours. After four membrane sweeps she was minutes in the pool when her little beauty arrived…

Four Membrane Sweeps Later by Devon Mama

My birth story begins nine days after my due date, by which point I’d had four sweeps. Four. I could write an entire book on membrane sweeps; the good, the bad and the downright cringe inducing. Let’s just say you should never take your mother with you. It’s not fun.

On the Saturday morning, I had my fourth and final attempt at a membrane sweep. The induction was booked for Tuesday morning and after possibly the most vigorous of sweeps, I was sent on my way and told to prepare for induction. All the signs were favourable but they’d been that way for weeks. My body was just far too good at pregnancy. We spent the day lazing around at home enjoying the unseasonable warmth. We ate cakes, had a nap and caught up with my parents. Sat in the back garden at around 4 pm they asked if I’d felt anything yet. Nothing. No progress. No baby tonight, we assured them.




Around 7.30 we went our for a walk, or should I say a waddle. Making our way round the back lanes and edge of the wood, I mentioned a few pains to my husband. ‘We should time them’ he said. Not a chance. This wasn’t labour. I just knew it.

Over the next hour, the pains started to come more frequently. We attempted to eat dinner; I sat there unable to touch the pizza whilst Dave ate enough for the three of us. The Formula 1 racing was on in the background and I gripped Dave’s hand every time a contraction came. Things were starting to heat up. We used an app to time contractions which promptly told us to go to the hospital. I remember telling him to ignore it, it wasn’t labour. It was just the result of the sweep.

Finally, I agreed to go and have a shower. In the build up to labour, I’d been adamant that I’d shower, wash and dry my hair whilst in early labour so that it wouldn’t be horribly greasy if I had to stay in the hospital. How wrong I was. I made it halfway through before stopping to ring the midwife. ‘You’re not in labour. You’d know if you are’ she said, sending me off to have a bath and two paracetamols.

An hour later, I rang them back. Against their better judgement, they agreed to let me come in for an assessment. And so with wet hair and great difficulty, I got dressed and headed out to the car; stopping every two minutes to get onto all fours and handle heavy contractions.

As we made our way to the hospital, I opened all the window and gripped the door trim with all my might. My husband later admitted he’d not driven quite as fast as he could have, terrified that he needed to be safe. When we stopped at traffic lights, I could cheerfully have slapped him. Even more so when he insisted on reverse parking in an empty car park. Muttering at him that he could grab the bags later we made our way slowly into the labour ward.

A quick exam by the midwife showed I was 5cm and my waters had broken en route, meaning I was well and truly on the way to giving birth. It was around 11.30pm by the time we arrived; three and a half hours from the first grumble. As I asked for drugs (all of them), I was advised to start with gas and air and try getting in the pool. It could take a long time and they wanted me to pace myself. Feeling decidedly grumpy about the situation, I made my way into the pool, gripping the gas and air as I went.

In what felt like minutes, I started to feel an urge to push. Terrified of hurting myself or doing something wrong, I remember clearly the midwife asking me about it and telling me to just go with my body. With that, I stopped trying to hold back my body and went with it. An alarm went off and another midwife ran into the room. Her surprise that I was the one in ‘as a precaution’ and now crowning was adamant. I think she called me a ‘shotgun pelvis’! They explained that usually between pushes, the baby goes back in slightly allowing the body to recover but that my baby wasn’t doing that… it was adamant on coming out!




After about five pushes, the head popped out followed rapidly by the body sliding into the water. It was such a surreal feeling! The speed of the delivery coupled with the high from the gas and air left me feeling quite confused by things as they handed me my baby; a purple-tinged, cone-headed mass of dark hair and eyes. ‘Do you know what you’ve had?’, my husband leant over into the pool to check…. ‘It’s a boy!! It’s a boy!! He’s a boy!!’

four membrane sweeps later water birth birth story pregnancy

Devon Mama is run by Hayley – a 30-year-old mama, wife and recovering sleep addict. Living with her husband, son and the world’s bounciest dog in rural Devon, she can usually be found attempting to cook, Googling everything and embracing the strange new world that is parenting. Add in a house with ‘a lot of potential’ and a return to her ‘real’ job as a Company Director and it’s organised chaos at the best of times. You can follow Hayley’s adventures over on her blogTwitter, Pinterest or on Instagram.

Birth stories go live every Sunday at 9 pm. If you would like to share your birth story please get in touch and if you fancy some more birth stories you can find them all HERE.

1 Comment on Four Membrane Sweeps Later | Devon Mama’s Birth Story

  1. When I read posts like this, I always remember my mother, the day she went though giving birth to me and the hardships of caring for me when I was but a wee child. I respect mothers like you!

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