My third (and final!!) birth story

 Oh hey - long time no speak! It seems the only time I actually manage to write anything here is when I’ve had a baby! Based on that, this will be the last time you hear from me!! 

For those who didn’t know, baby Kershaw number 3 was born recently (Sunday, July 2 to be precise). 

As I have done with Peyton and Maddox, I wanted to share my birth story for the third (and final!) time. And, like the previous two, it was completely different. It was absolutely W I L D - in the best possible way. 

This has genuinely taken my longer to write than I was in Labour for. So I’ll pop some little headers in if you wanna just scroll to the “juicy” bit. 

I’ll start with a little overview of my pregnancy, just to set the scene. 


So, this pregnancy was a complete surprise. I was taking the pill and still fell pregnant (not to scare you ladies!) Thankfully we did always want a third baby, and we weren’t two and done, but we had planned to wait until Maddox was 3 and had his free hours at nursery. But everything happens for a reason. We were obviously meant to have this baby at this time. 

Throwing it back to the end of October 2022 and I started to feel really sick all the time. After a few days I started being sick - I’m talking morning, noon and night. I felt awful. I couldn’t eat/drink and was sick constantly. I went to the doctors and they prescribed me anti sickness medication. But this didn’t work! 

In hospital on November 6 being treated for dehydration and a 'sickness bug'

After four days I ended up in A&E where they ran some tests (obviously not the right ones) and said I just had a stomach bug. I wasn’t convinced, and thought it was something connected to having my gallbladder removed. I remember crying to the doctor saying I thought it was more than a stomach bug and (he was quite arsey, actually) he asked what I thought it was.

I kept being sick for another week or so and was all set for ringing the doctors again. When I’d gone the first time (and got those anti sickness tablets that didn’t work), the doctor had asked if I was pregnant. And I’d said no, as I was on the pill. I didn’t think there was any way that I could be. Obviously I didn’t know that I was…! So before I rang this time I said I would do a pregnancy test so I could say “look I’m not pregnant, find out what’s wrong with me!!”

I did the test and left it on the top of the loo, not expecting it to be positive. As I was washing my hands I glanced over and saw the really strong lines already! You could’ve knocked me down with a feather, I couldn’t believe it. 

November 17 we got the shock of our lives

Once the shock wore off, I started to wonder how far along I could be. I hadn’t had a period since before Maddox was born (August 2020 to be precise) so I had nothing to go off! Based on when I started feeling/being sick, I could be anything from 10 weeks plus. When I called the midwives to get a booking in appointment, they said “your pill won’t have worked when you were being sick” like I felt well enough to be getting jiggy jiggy when I was being sick morning, noon & night!!!! I don’t know when this baby was conceived, but I know it wasn’t after the sickness started (unless it was an immaculate conception!)

The first scan

So because we had no idea of dates, I was fast tracked for a scan to find out how far along I was. That first scan is always nervy, but I’d never been this sick in either pregnancy before. And obviously I hadn’t known I was pregnant so wasn’t taking the vitamins etc. Thankfully all was ok, and the little babe was completely healthy! They dated me at almost 11 weeks, with a due date of Friday, June 23, 2023 - three days after Peyton’s birthday! 

Our first scan made it seem more real

So that was that. It took good couple of weeks to sink in and I was still so poorly. I don’t think it eased up until the new year, when I was around 16 weeks. Once that passed, I felt amazing - like I had a new lease of life!!

We had always said that if we were lucky enough to have a third baby we wouldn’t find out the sex. We found out both times before, and obviously already have a girl and a boy, so we knew a third would just be a bonus. Plus having found out twice already, I really wanted that big reveal moment after giving birth. 

We stuck by this, especially given the surprise nature of how this baby came to us! Although, I must say, it was a lot harder not being able to say “he” or “she”. 

The final weeks 

Sickness aside, I had a really straightforward pregnancy this time (unlike with Maddox!) I felt like I barely saw my midwife until the last few weeks. At 34 weeks she said baby was breech, which did worry me a little bit as I’d never had that with the other two. 

Two weeks later, at 36 weeks, she said she thought the baby had turned but she couldn’t be sure. So we went for a scan just to be on the safe side. And, thankfully, the scan showed baby was head down and nice and low in my pelvis - so just a waiting game then! 

Having gone “over” with both P & Maddox, I wasn’t expecting this baby to be early. Despite the fact I am always early for EVERYTHING, I don’t seem to do early babies. 

Sure enough, this time, my due date came and went. I worked until two weeks before so filled my time with coffee dates, seeing friends and time with Maddox (and Peyton when she wasn’t at school!)

Ready when you are 

At my 40 week midwife appointment I was offered a stretch and sweep. I wasn’t too fussed on having one either way, as I had several with Maddox which didn’t do anything! But I was curious to know what my cervix was doing, so opted to have one. My midwife said it was still quite far back and 1cm long so she could “get a fingertip in”. 

She offered to book me in for an induction, which I thought seemed a bit excessive given I was actually only 39w5d. So I said I’d see her for another appointment a week later, and we could go from there. 

Not much happened in that week, so I was back again on the Wednesday. She did another stretch and sweep and said my cervix was pretty much the same as the week before. She mentioned induction again, so she booked me in for 6 days time (Tuesday, July 4). I was hopeful I’d go into labour on my own before this, but after having a good induction experience when I had Maddox I didn’t mind if not. It would also mean we’d be able to sort the kids without a mad rush.

This is where it might start to get a bit TMI, so apologies in advance if that ain’t for you! I also apologise there aren't many more photos from this point, but you'll understand why when you read on!

Are things starting? 

On the Friday (41 weeks) I went to playgroup with my school mum friends and the little ones. Throughout the day I started to lose my mucus plug. Up until the Friday, I’d been getting tightenings/braxton hicks on an evening for a couple of days that were about 10-15 mins apart for a good few hours, but they always stopped when I went to bed. I had these on the Friday afternoon but then, sure enough, they stopped as I went to bed. 

Saturday (July 1) we decided to go into Selby with the kids. We bought them some new books and random crap in The Works and then went for a Costa. I was feeling quite tired and a bit fed up. I felt bad for the kids that we weren’t really going anywhere or doing anything. Thankfully they were happy just playing at home. So, while they were occupied, I went for a bath. I’d like to say it was relaxing but someone was in the bathroom with me every other minute! 

I got on with cooking tea after, and we had that about 5ish. I wasn’t overly hungry but I was probably a bit out of sync with having my afternoon bath! 

As Tom was bathing the kids, the tightenings started again that I’d been having previous evenings. They were exactly the same - 10-15mins apart and not painful or bad enough I needed to stop what I was doing. As the evening went on, they didn’t get any closer together or more intense. I remember messaging my mum telling her to go to Pickering with my dad because nothing was going to happen. (They’d been on standby for the kids for a good few weeks by this point!)

The kids went to bed, and Peyton was super excited because we were going to take her shopping the next day to spend some of her birthday vouchers and money. Maddox was going to the theatre to watch Hey Duggee with Tom’s mum and dad so we’d promised her a fun day, too. 

Have my waters just gone?

Tom and I were watching Netflix, and I was bouncing on my ball, for much of the evening. At about 8.30pm I got up to go to the loo and noticed my pyjama bottoms were a little damp. I wasn’t sure if this was just a bit of wee (glam pregnancy life) or if my waters were starting to go. 

My waters never broke like on tv and in films with the other two - with P I was 9cm and in the pool, and Maddox they were broken for me, so I didn’t actually know what it was like! 

I got changed and popped a pad in and went back to what I was doing. At 9.30pm we were going up to bed and Tom said he thought I best ring triage just incase it was my waters. Once they’ve started to go there’s a risk of infection after 24hrs so it’s best to know. 

I rang them at 9.45pm and spoke to a lovely lady who said she didn’t think it sounded like my waters, but wanted to see me just incase. She said not to rush in, because I wasn’t getting contractions (other than those 10-15min tightenings). 

We rang my mum and dad, who were just on their way back from Pickering, and my dad said he’d be with us in about 40 mins. 

Off to the hospital 

He arrived just before 11pm and we chatted to him for a bit before setting off. I told him we’d probably be back in a few hours, but told him where everything was for the kids for the morning if not. 

Off we went to York, listening to Lewis Capaldi (the baby always went crazy in my tummy to his songs) and singing along as Tom drove at a steady 50mph most of the way. 

The tightenings started to feel a bit more like contractions when I got in the car. I wasn’t sure if this was the way I was sitting, but they were still 10ish mins apart. 

We got to the hospital just after 11.30pm and took a leisurely walk to the maternity unit (which is as far away from the main car park as I think you can get!) 

It was quite busy on triage so we sat outside waiting for 15-20 mins. The walk seemed to temporarily stop the contractions - they weren’t lasting as long and they went to 15-20 mins. But once I sat down on the chair they were back like they were in the car. 

We were called in around midnight, and I had my blood pressure etc taken. A midwife called Sue, who I had spoken to on the phone, came and introduced herself. And it turned out she lived just round the corner from us!  

We were chatting away and Tom kept making jokes. Sue came back about 12.30am-ish and said she was going to do a swab test to see if my waters had broken. 

While I’d been waiting, the contractions had started coming a bit more regularly - more like every 5-10mins now. But still not at the “3 in 10” that indicates active Labour - and they definitely weren’t feeling painful enough to be near that point. 

“You’re 7cm already”

She did the test and said my waters hadn’t gone. So I had just wet myself. Brill. She said she would examine me and just see what was going on, and said she could still feel my waters were in tact. Then she dropped the bomb that I was already 7cm dilated - and she said my cervix was “basically disappearing” as she was feeling it. 

“You’re not going home tonight,” she said! 

She told me to put my knickers on and get round to Labour ward quickly as I was about to have a baby. I think I just laughed. I couldn’t be just about to have a baby, I didn’t even feel like I was in labour? 

This was about 12.35am. 

She rushed off and I heard her ringing Labour ward to tell them I would be coming round. Another lady came in and gave me a wristband and me and Tom just stood at the side of the bed a bit in disbelief. 

He messaged my dad at 12.45am to say we wouldn’t be home that night and we headed to Labour ward. Sue asked if I wanted a wheelchair but I still felt fine, so I walked around with her chatting away about people we both knew and the new Tesco that had just opened near us. 

Off to Labour ward! 

We got to Labour ward at 12.50am and Sue said the midwives who’d be looking after us had just come out of theatre so were having a drink and would be right with us. A lady called Lizzie showed us to the room. We were talking about one of my friends who I worked with at Morrisons wayyyy back when who also worked in the maternity triage/delivery wards. She’d been so excited for me to go in and have the baby because she’d been there for Peyton & Maddox, but unfortunately it was her night off when we did end up going in. 

I was stood at the end of the bed just rocking from side to side, as this felt really comfortable. By this point, the contractions felt like they were coming really quickly. I’m not sure if it’s because I’d been told I was ready to have a baby, or whether my body was just deciding to start doing something, but there wasn’t much mistaking I was in Labour now. Although, I still don’t think it was “I’m about to give birth” bad. 

Because we’d expected to be going straight home, we had left the bags in the car. Tom rushed off to get them just after 12.50am and was told to be very quick. “Surely he won’t need to be THAT quick?!” I remember thinking. 

I was still stood at the end of the bed rocking and being asked random questions as they inputted my details onto the computer system: “do you smoke, Natalie?” I remember thinking it was a strange time to be asking me that at that moment. 

I had my back to the door so I didn’t really see who was coming and going, but I remember hearing two ladies come in and say they were Kate and Alex who would be looking after me. One put her hand on my shoulder and asked if I was comfy in an upright position and I said yes. She asked if I felt I had the urge to push and I said no. But I could definitely feel a lot of pressure in my bum by this point. There was no way I was going to start pushing without Tom there if I could help it, though. 

He got back at 1am and they were starting to set up on the floor, as if I was about to give birth where I was standing. I still had my trousers on so one of the midwives advised I take them off, and her and Tom were pulling them off for me. I remember laughing at the whole situation because it just seemed so surreal. Especially considering I had a lovely cream loungewear set on. Hardly ideal birthing clothing. 

Tom said I wasn’t giving birth standing up, and helped me onto the bed. I knew I wanted to stay as upright as possible as it was so much comfier so I jumped onto the bed up on my knees, facing the back of the bed. 

Time to push 

As soon as I got on there I felt like I needed to poo (sorry, I warned you it might be a bit TMI!) I remember this sensation from Maddox and knew it meant I was ready to have baby! The midwives told me to listen to my body and Tom was guiding my breathing. 

One of the midwives (I can’t tell you who cos by this point I’d not even seen either of their faces!) was trying to listen in to the baby with the handheld Doppler but she couldn’t manage it. My contractions were now on top of each other and I remember looking at my watch - it was 1.04am. With a few pushes the head was out - and my waters went at the same time. 

Tom was amazing - guiding my breathing, telling me to relax my face and pouring lucozade sport into my mouth like a boxing coach. 

“Baby’s got loads of hair and their eyes are open!” Said one of the midwives. Next thing we heard a little squeak and the midwife said they were making noise already. 

One of the midwives was saying something about a cloth on my perineum to prevent tears and I was just agreeing, and the other was telling me on the next contraction the body would be out. 

As quick as that, the baby was here!!! 1.08am was the official birth time. They passed them up to me through my legs to see if we had a boy or a girl, but there was a lot of cord getting tangled and I couldn’t see. The midwife had a look and showed me - “oh my god it’s a girl!!!” I said. 

Honestly I can’t tell you how that moment felt. Just an hour earlier we’d been sat laughing and joking and expecting to be going straight home - now we had a baby girl! I felt so euphoric. 

The midwives helped me to turn around and sit on the bed properly, and I saw them for the first time. I think, at this point, I asked who was who and introduced myself properly given that I’d not actually seen their faces before this point. 

It was such a wild, crazy experience and so much quicker than I ever could’ve imagined. It’s a good job I thought my waters had gone and we went in, otherwise she would have been born at home! 

Thankfully I had no tears and required no stitches, but I did lose a bit more blood than they’d like so was on a drip for four hours. As soon as that was done I was up in the shower and into some pjs.

I didn’t leave the room she was born in before we were able to go home. We just stayed in our little bubble, having all our relevant tests and checks. 

We were discharged just after 11am - less than 12hrs after we arrived at the hospital - and went home via McDonald’s drive thru. I was absolutely STARVING. 

Neither of us had slept since our day started at 5.30am on the Saturday, so when we got home, we put her in her bed and had a few hours sleep. 

Peyton and Maddox got home about tea time and met their new baby sister, and we started life as a five for the first time. 

I am so in awe of my body. Even after giving birth twice already, I still can’t believe how incredible the whole experience is. 

My birth preference for all three was to have a water birth, and I was so hopeful I’d get to have it this time. But it wasn’t meant to be; they wouldn’t have even got the pool filled in time!! But that’s the one thing that I learnt after Peyton’s delivery - that nothing goes to plan. All three of my births have been totally different, but all completely amazing. 

We’d done hypnobirthing again this time, although didn’t really get much time to use any of the techniques - apart from keeping super chill and calm. But I’m so grateful for the breathing techniques I learned, because they definitely helped when things really got going. The hypnobirthing definitely made sure we were both really calm and relaxed throughout the whole thing (not that there was much time to be anything else!) 

I am a little bit sad that this was the last time I’ll do it, and the last time I’ll have a teeny, tiny newborn. But I also feel very lucky that I knew this was going to be the last time so could savour every moment. 

Harlow Jane Kershaw, born on Sunday, July 2 at 1.08am weighting 7lb 5oz - you’ve completed our family.