birth, general, health, humour, lifestyle, pregnancy

The truth about labour

Between Hollywood and old wives’ tales, there’s a lot of misleading information about childbirth out there. But until you’ve been through it, it’s hard to separate fact from fiction.

I’ve had three children, all natural deliveries. Two induced, one spontaneous labour, each experience different. So thought I’d clear up a few myths and expectations and tell it like it is based on my experiences

It’s nothing like One Born Every Minute

First off, I can’t speak for other mums and dads, but there was no playful chatty excited banter in the delivery room with my other half. None.

Mainly because soon after my  first dose of induction gel with my second child, my hubby was given a bed, snuggled down and went to sleep. Which worked out fine anyway, as I wasn’t able to think of anything other to say other than repeat ‘I am SHITTING myself’.

I then labored very quietly an hour later, for around three hours, before waking him. Then once again repeatedly told him I was shitting myself.

How do I know I’m in labour

If it’s your first time you may be expecting your waters breaking will be your first sign of labour. This was the case with my first two children, but with my third, contractions started soon after my second sweep.

They actually started as we went to do our weekly shop in Morrisons. Intensified throughthe night, so off to hospital we went at 5am, via McDonalds drive through, for carbs.

I was checked over. Confirmed  I was in active labour, but sent home. They got stronger as soon as my waters broke whilst bouncing on my yoga ball watching ‘Thismoring’. So straight back to hospital we went. Me sat in the passenger seat on a pampers changing mat to protect the seats. Seriously.

I was convinced I wasn’t going to make it from the car park to the delivery room. Rushed through the hospital recption area pulling my overnight hospital bag replying ‘NOW’ as someone asked when I was due, and stood in the lift insisting ‘it’s coming out’ whilst thinking ‘phew, we’ve made it just in time’ and ‘go me’ for doing it all drug free.

I went another 5 hours

Your birth plan goes right out the window

Nobody can predict how a birth will go. With my first I stated I’d rather not have any students present, yet I had 3 or 4 stood at the end of the bed, watching intensely and taking notes as I was stitched up after labour.

I hoped for a water birth with my third. I had a vision of this completely calm, earth mother, serene drug free experience. Just me, the midwife, and the hubby

My daughter opened her bowls, ruling out a water birth. I panicked every single time the midwife left the room and continuously sent my hubby out to look for her, snapped up her offer of ‘pethidine’ without hesitation, and again welcomed a few male student doctors in the room. Pretty sure I kept asking them random questions, although I have no idea what – I was off my face.

They congratulated me and left as soon as I’d given birth, turning down the opportunity to watch the needlework.

The birth plan goes right out the window, along with your dignity

The truth about the poo

Yes, you might have one, no you will not realise this, yes your partner will find great joy and hilarity in telling you, and no you will not care

The tea and toast

I think I was more focused on the tea and toast I knew I’d be getting after labour than the hugs with my baby whilst laboring with my third. I knew the drill at this point, baby, placenta, repair, toast.

I swear my hubby even spurned me on with ‘Think of the tea and toast, Lou’ as I pushed through the final contractions with my third

Post birth tea and toast is the best tea and toast you will ever have in your life

Your hospital bag

Pack underwear, plenty of it or like me you’ll be texting your mate asking her to pop to Peacocks on their way to hospital to visit, to pick up a few packs of big black size 18s

This is also the one occasion it’s perfectly acceptable to rock a nighty and pair of fluffy socks. But trust me, it’s gonna get messy so make sure they’re cheap ones.

And just when you think you’re done

You have to endure the not so rewarding third stage of labour, which nobody tells you about. The delivery of the placenta. I think it just pretty much slipped out with my first two, but with my third I was convinced it was twins and powered through it with gas and air. There was a moment of panic as I heard the words’surgery’, but out it popped just in time

The hospital exit

Boy is it emotional. Not only are you  met with ‘congratulations’ off hospital staff as you pass them, you also feel a slight pang of ‘we’re on our own now’ anxiety

I’ll always remember filling up with tears as I heard my other half say ‘welcome to the world, little one’ as we exited through the doors with Emily.

It’s a special moment, take it all in


You’ll probably vow ‘never again’ 

Whilst in the final stages of labour, then whisper ‘I’d do it again in a heartbeat’ the second you hold your long awaited perfect tiny little bundle.


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dating, general, humour, lifestyle

Dating Disasters

BY LOUISE SHARP | November 16, 2015

A first date is a nerve-wracking experience for anyone. Some easily lead onto a second, third, forth date, and sometimes even true love. But, unfortunately, some leave nothing but a sour taste in your mouth, and make for a hilarious, albeit cringeworthy, story.

To find out more about the wonderfully weird world of dating, CultNoise spoke exclusively to real people willing to share their own ‘dating disasters’:

The One with the Secret Fiance

I’d been dating a guy and then one night I was out and bumped into him with his mates visiting from home. He was really off with me and I couldn’t work out why. Later on, one of his mates came up to me and I said I had no chance, as he has a girlfriend. I said: ‘I know, but we’ve not made it official yet.’ He looked gobsmacked and said: ‘No, he has a fiance back home.

Two weeks later I came home to my flat and my flatmate was doing a study session with mates off her course. Who should be there, but him. He left very swiftly.

– Anonymous

The One with the Awkward Dinner

I went on a date with a guy to a restaurant. All was going well but it felt like someone was staring at me. When I looked up, a woman and an older couple were glaring at me. I pointed this out to him discreetly as we were eating our starters, and when he looked, he swore. I asked him what was up and he said: ‘It’s my ex-wife and her parents.’

– Anonymous

The One with the Sister

I met a guy back home who was lovely, but six years older. We went out on a few dates and then we both went back to university. Over the course of a year, we would meet up, but as we both knew it wasn’t a serious relationship, we never introduced each other to our families. One night back home, we were out together where we bumped into my sister. She instantly looked furious and he looked very sheepish. Turns out they had dated a few years previously. I haven’t seen him since.

– Anonymous

The One with the Impromptu Alcoholism

I got set up on a blind date with a friend of a friend. He really wasn’t my type and he looked like Kyle from Road Trip, but I couldn’t ditch him instantly. I went to the toilet to call a mate to get her to ring me to get me out of it, but we were in the black hole of phone signal with nothing in the whole building. I then had to sit through a meal with him. He gave me the excuse to walk out though. Feeling so bored I ordered some shots, to which he branded me an alcoholic for drinking hard spirits at 3 in the afternoon. After I necked them, I walked out.

– Anonymous

The One with the Ditchers

Me and my mate got stood up for a double date once. So, we stayed out having a few drinks. We weren’t actually bothered until we went to student night at the local nightclub, where they were there with two other girls. They tried saying that they looked everywhere, but couldn’t find us in the bar. The other girls they were with overheard this and ditched them. They then tried crawling back to us.

– Anonymous

The One with the Drool

I got taken on a date to see the first Lord of the Rings movie. I hate films like that. But he was fit so I didn’t want to miss the opportunity. I fell asleep on his shoulder, and drooled on him. Apparently I snored, too. I never heard from him again.

– Anonymous

The One with the PVC Skirt

I met a guy online, a PE teacher. He seemed nice, so we agreed to a date. As he was a teacher, which I had checked out, I thought it would be okay to let him pick me up. He arrived at my house with a ‘gift’. Upon opening the box, I saw a God awful maroon PVC skirt, which he then asked me to wear for the date. Of course, I refused to wear it, and he was not happy, but we went out anyway. I got a bit tipsy so agreed to a second date afterwards. He arrives again a few days later, but was in a bit of a strop about the fact that I still wouldn’t wear the skirt. We went for an Italian meal, and he barely said a word to me. The date was painful, and I was glad when it was over.

When we left and got to the car, he was so moody and distracted that he reversed into a tree in the car park. I was trying not to laugh by this stage. When I got home, I sent him a message and told him it wasn’t going to work out, and wished him well. A few days passed and he got back in touch. I told him again I wasn’t interested, but he messaged me persistently saying he wanted to meet. I flat-out said no and asked him to leave me alone. Then the truth came out. He wanted the skirt back, which I’d forgot I even had. On questioning why it was so important, he admitted he used it to ‘get off’. Incidentally, I did give it back, but put it behind the bin and told him to collect it and not to knock on my door. He knocked anyway so I dived behind the sofa and my friend answered. The look on his face was a picture as she started laughing at him, holding the bag containing the skirt. He looked a right plonker.

– Anonymous

The One with the Future Mrs Anderson

I was once on a second date with a girl when we decided to have a seat by the sea and started to chat. Because we had met online and only had one date, I didn’t know her last name. So, she told me her name, which is important to add, is not the same as mine (Anderson), and then I asked her if she knew mine. She said she did. Then we went quiet for a minute until she said out loud and in a ponderous tone: ‘Sarah Anderson… Hmmm.’

– Anonymous

The One with the Guy Under the Influence of…Something

I was 19 years old, and not long out of a two-year relationship. So, the concept of dating was completely new to me. I met someone whilst out with friends one night. I gave him my number, he rang the next day and we arranged to meet up that evening. I turned up at the agreed time, and waited outside the cinema. After waiting an hour, I concluded that I’d been stood up. As I was about to leave, a car pulled up and someone stumbled out of the passenger side.  It was my date. We’d missed the film, so the best suggestion he could come up with was to sit in the local school field with a few bottles of  beer, which he then selected in the shop, fished around in his pocket, produced £2 leaving me to jump in and pay the rest. Now, I wasn’t exactly enthralled with the whole sitting in a field idea, but went along with it anyway. He was acting pretty weird. He kept shrieking with excitement that he loved blondes and couldn’t believe he was on a date with one. He also whistle and shouted: ‘Sexaaaaay’ at two passing women. I kind of figured out that he had either been dabbling with illegal substances, or was drunk.

We sat down, in the middle of the field, on a main road surrounded with houses. Not particularly remote thankfully, and home was a 10 minute walk away. The conversation was gibberish, and I wanted desperately to leave. After about 15 minutes of listening to his one-sided conversation, he put his head on my lap, and fell asleep. I waited a few minutes, and as he started to snore, I moved him. Thinking back, I should maybe have put him in the recovery position, but I just kind of pushed his head from my lap and ran. I ran to the nearest phone box, rang my dad and asked him to quickly come pick me up – this was before mobiles became the norm. I saw my date stand up, look around, then stagger towards where I was hiding. Just as he was getting closer to the phone box, my dad pulled up in the car. I flung the door open, heard him shouting random insults, jumped in the car and we drove away me flicking him the Vs. The phone rang the next morning and I heard my mum tell the person on the other end of the phone to never ring again, so I assume it was him.

– Anonymous

The One with the Cheapstake

I agreed to go on a date with someone I’d met on a night out. He picked me up and we went to Pizza Hut. He ordered a starter and main and I did the same. He then ordered desert and told me to pick one too, so I did. He also ordered several soft drinks for him, and alcoholic beverages for me. Sounds like I was out with a very generous date? Wrong. The very costly bill came and he said: ‘I’ll let you get this’.

– Anonymous

The One with the Fake Conversation

I went on a date to town one night with someone I’d been chatting to online. He didn’t look much like he described (this was before mobiles had cameras), but I’m not shallow and I liked what I knew of him. He seemed keen, very keen. It became evident he liked me more that I did him, but still being quite young and naive, I wasn’t sure how to handle the situation. So, I decided to get drunk and just enjoy the night the best I could. We went to a nightclub and at this point, I was quite happily having a boogie on my own, and wanted rid of him. He kept grabbing my hands and flinging me around, clearly unaware that there was just no chemistry at all between us. So, out of sheer desperation, I noticed a group of male students, ran across to one of them, threw my arms around him excitedly, whispered: ‘Please just go along with this’. I exclaimed how I was so happy to see him as I hadn’t seen him in years and started up a completely fake ‘catch-up’ conversation. My date eventually got bored and left.

– Anonymous

(Originally written for Cultnoise Magazine – currently under reconstruction.