'I'm not ready, I'm scared.' Gogglebox's Isabelle Silbery shares her emotional birth story.

There I was in the birthing suite, holding my soft, slimy baby girl on my tummy in utter disbelief of what had just happened. I looked up from her over at my husband Alex. His amazed face is a snapshot in my memory. Echoes of the women surrounding me; my mother, mother-in-law, obstetrician and midwife. We had all birthed before, but nothing quite as unexpected as this little miss's arrival. 

Rewind 24 hours. 

The night before, I was a basket case of emotions, my head spinning with anxiety. Would I be a good mother to both my children equally? Blending our family felt complicated. This baby was the first for me and Alex and a part of me was grieving for the time where it was just my son and I. Being nearly 40, would my body know what to do? Would an induction mean a bad outcome?

I'd been in two minds about an induction but given my first fast and traumatic labour, it sounded like a favourable option.

But it was the vagina physio which really caught me off guard. On the first attempt of perineal massage, I burst into tears. 

"Ah," the physio said gently. "There's a lot of trauma you're holding in these muscles."

Watch: the truth about birth trauma. Post continues below.

Video via Mamamia. 

So Alex and I practised perineal massage every few days with the aim to retrain my brain with positive feelings attached to the pain of the scar tissue. I've never felt closer to Alex in those moments. Being vulnerable both physically and emotionally and trusting him with all of it.


It was the big day. Alex had been packing for weeks. Our hospital bag comprised energy-rich snacks, essential oils and a speaker for our special playlist. I requested the epidural first thing. This was after I overheard a woman in the next room screaming her head off like she was being tortured. I was told she had finally asked for an epi, which I thought was probably a good idea for everyone.

My epi only worked properly on one side because of my mild scoliosis. I tried not to let that flip me into a panic and focused on the fact that I wasn't in a tortured state like the other lady. My waters were broken and as our midwife hooked me up to the oxytocin drip, she warned us that the process may take some time. I ordered breakfast and texted mum to pop in while things were calm. 

Humongous farts started secreting from my hospital gown with zero warning. I couldn't control them! I was mortified, especially in front of my mother-in-law! But my symphony of farts soon became a nonissue when strong bursts of tightening set in. I'd only just been induced, surely these weren't proper contractions…every five minutes!


I called the midwife in. Yes, she confirmed I was contracting, but that it would still be a while yet. Alex went off to grab us some coffee and my breakfast tray arrived. But, I started to feel like I was in the throws of full blown labour. The pelvic pressure became impossible to ignore and I called for the midwife again. 

"Do you think you should examine me?"

She didn't seem that concerned and said it was too early for that yet. Then I heard her go to the nurses station and tell the midwife in charge. 

The doors burst open to my room and gloves were slapped on. Finally, the examination. I held on to my mother-in-law's hand, the other hand clutching onto the epidural top-up button like it was my lifeline.

"Her head is right there," I heard the midwives muttering to each other.

Isabelle Silbery during the delivery. Image: Supplied.


"Looks like you're right Izzy. You're about to have this baby!" they announced.

What the actual f**k?. I thought there was plenty of time? Alex was somewhere in a coffee queue and Mum was parking the car. My breakfast tray was still sitting there getting cold.

They rushed off to call my obstetrician and started pulling out all the "she's about to give birth" equipment. Alex, oblivious to everything, wandered back in, coffees in hand. Without a word needing to be said, he dropped everything and took position stroking my head. 

"I'm not ready babe, I'm scared," I cried to him mid-contraction.

I could've lost my s*** in that moment due to the sheer overwhelm, but I choose to take a breath and lean in. She was coming and I had no choice but to bravely succumb. Alex spoke to me softly, reassuring me through each wave of pressure and pain - reminding me that we were getting closer to meeting our baby girl.


Everything sped up from then on. Before I knew it, our two mums had a leg in each hand, propping me up on a peanut ball while Jackie, our OB, calmly encouraged me to breathe her out. 

And that's exactly what I did. I only pushed down once and then just allowed my body to slowly expand with the contractions. Feeling her head crowning motivated me even more and I could hear the amazement down the business end at what they were witnessing. It was all so surreal. I went into a zone only women who've birthed can understand. It's instinctual. I felt completely in my power, in control and determined.

Isabelle Silbery seeing and holding Ruby for the first time. Image: Supplied.


In record time of an hour total, I helped pull her up and onto my tummy. That moment was simply unforgettable. The relief, the pure love.

There was something powerful about the collective feminine energy in the room. Combined with a strong protective energy from Alex, I felt completely held.

The room turned calm, lights were dimmed and I was left to savour the precious time. Alex hand fed me. It was heaven.


Since settling in at home, my anxiety has melted away and we're well into the swing of feeding, changing, sleeping and loving… repeat.

I'm being kind to my body as I recover, and I understand now, no matter what age, women's muscle memory does kick in.

What I first anticipated to be complicated, blending our family has fast become the most loving experience of all. It is a juggle, but it works. Most of the time.

Ruby Emily Richards; named after my beautiful Grandma Emmie. The fourth generation in the line of passionate women, and the second who loves the sounds of reality TV. May the world be a kind one for her. 


You can read more from Isabelle Silbery here, watch her on Gogglebox Australia, and see her Instagram here

Feature Image: Supplied. 

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