One of the things which link mothers from around the world and between generations, is our birth stories. We all have them, and often they are really good yarns.

I’ve given birth three times. The last two births were horrible, long and ended in emergency c-sections, but the first is a story I like to tell. I often wonder if anyone else, these days, has had the same experience…

We were on holiday, the baby wasn’t due for three weeks, so we figured we had at least a week up our sleeves before we became parents. We intended to head home the following day, and to use the following week for our final preparations.

Apart from the huge lump I was carrying around, I wasn’t consciously thinking of the birth. I think I was probably blocking all thoughts of pain, and besides, it was my first baby – all adventure and new beginnings. The hard bits were theory – not yet reality.

Saturday saw us and several members of the extended family at the beach, most of us had been staying in the same small bach (tiny holiday house), others were on a day visit. There were a few children, all under the age of five. They played in the waves and at the playground. We stopped for lunch, and then they played around the bach or had afternoon sleeps. There was a lot of laughter and a few tears; lots of conversation and a great deal of coffee, tea and treats consumed.

I had one nephew hang off my tummy throughout the day, and several contractions. Contractions which I assumed were Braxton-Hicks and nothing to be worried about, even though the occasional one took my breath away. They were irregular and nothing more than I expected. We laughed at me, especially when I had to stop walking and just b-r-e-a-t-h-e.

That night, my brother-in-law and sister-in-law went to the pub with friends. It was my brother-in-law’s birthday the next day, it was Saturday night, and they were celebrating. My husband Craig and I went to bed. Luckily for me and the baby, Craig isn’t the drinking kind. I placed the umpteen pillows around the lump and slept as best I could.

At about 1.00am others arrived back from the pub and settled in to finish the night at ‘home’. I needed to go to the loo – as you often do when you’re eight months pregnant. The loo was a long-drop at the back of the yard. Yes, a hole in the ground, in a shed, with a wooden seat, no electricity and a slight smell. (We worked hard at making sure it wasn’t too stinky.)

There were also spiders and lots of dust. I was half asleep and still having the occasional irregular twinge. I got up and waddled down to the loo, opened the door, went inside, did what I had to do and stood up. Immediately after I stood up, there was a gush and a rush of liquid all over my pyjama bottoms. I looked down and thought, “You have got to be joking.” Yep, you guessed it, my waters had broken in the long-drop shed.

On the way back inside, I mentioned that the baby was coming. All those under the influence turned on all the lights and woke everyone who was asleep. They wanted to call helicopters, mid-wives, ambulances and doctors; I had a shower (at times accompanied by my sister-in-law, who was a bit drunk and very excited) while Craig packed up all our things.

Calmly we climbed into the car and took the two and a half hour journey home: contractions all the way. I learned that you use your tummy muscles a lot when you go around a corner, and that you can’t use them for balance when they’re already being used for contractions. Craig learned to drive slowly around those corners and NOT TALK while I was having a contraction.

At home I laboured through the rest of night in front of a documentary of which I have no recollection whatsoever and that sent him to bed. Our gorgeous eldest son was born naturally in Hastings Hospital the following afternoon, 3 weeks early due to having a very small placenta (we think), and shares a birthday with his uncle.

So, what’s your favourite birth story? And can anyone else with a child under 10 claim to have had their waters break over the long-drop?

This is an original post to World Moms Blog by Karyn Van Der Zwet of New Zealand.  Karyn can also be found on her blog, kloppenmum.

Photo credit to  This photo has a creative commons attribution license.

Karyn Wills

Karyn is a teacher, writer and solo mother to three sons. She lives in the sunny wine region of Hawke’s Bay, New Zealand in the city of Napier.

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