My experience of childbirth has been referred to as 'normal'.
At first I found this reductive and upsetting, and now I just have a dark chuckle and reassure myself that my male doctor, while amazing, has never experienced childbirth.
I also think, 'normal'... compared to what?
Watch: Your questions about childbirth, answered by mums and non-mums. Post continues below.
I’m a person who likes to be organised.
My husband and I attended birthing classes, I listened to podcasts about hypnobirthing, I meditated. I knew about different pain relief options, and while I preferred a natural birth, I was open to pain relief.
I wasn’t feeling afraid; I was feeling informed and optimistic.
My waters broke at about 8am on a Thursday. Yahoo! I was completely done being pregnant and excited to meet my baby.
Throughout the Thursday, I had uncomfortable contractions about every 15 minutes or so.
By about midnight, we were in hospital, and my contractions were becoming more and more intense.
I spent the early hours of the morning in the shower. I had my head on my husband’s shoulder, wailing, completely naked and in so much pain that I didn’t notice midwives coming in and out.
These contractions were 'only' coming about every three to five minutes, so midwives were telling me that labour hadn’t even started yet. I still wasn’t asking for pain relief.
Then, at about 5am, the contractions stopped altogether. This was, on one hand, a relief that meant my husband and I could get at least some sleep.
Mostly though, I felt like Theon in Game of Thrones, when he was led out of the torture chamber, and then back in again. I felt afraid, because I knew what was coming for me again.
I was induced at about 1pm. Before I knew it, I was back in the shower wailing.
And then things kicked up another gear.
My pain was about a nine or 10 before I asked for gas. It was only set to 30 per cent because I didn’t want to feel nauseous.