So today I’ve made the desision to share my birthing story with you all, it’s been something that I have been apprehensive to do purely because I would never want to scare mum’s to be. Everyone’s experience is so different and anyone that reads this need to keep that in mind, and if you’re not down for graphic details then this probably isn’t the post for you. Have a search around the blog, theres a wholesome Disneyland post that you might prefer!
Where to begin…
Throughout my pregnancy I had been told that our boy was measuring small and I had a couple of extra growth scans and despite this being my first baby I just had such a strong feeling that he would make an early appearance.
Never the less when my due date came and went all I could feel was extremely impatient and with each passing day my I grew more anxious and nervous about giving birth.
The day before my due date I started with a strong headache and where as in normal life this isn’t anything new for me but in pregnancy a headache can be a sign of pre-eclampsia. I rang my midwife I was booked into a last minuite appointment to have my blood pressure taken.
Once at the visit my blood pressure was fine and so was babies heart beat, but the midwife offered me a stretch and sweep. I’d heard that these didn’t hurt but that they could be a bit uncomfortable. This was my first taste of any labour type procedure, and for me, uncomfortable was an understatement. I just found the process incredible invasive and it left me feeling very crampy – and in my case it did nothing to bring on labour!
After a few days of none stop curries, birthing ball bouncing and crazy long walks in the early April sun I had a second midwife appointment and with is yet another sweep! John joined me for this appointment and I couldn’t stop myself from crying in midwife’s office. At this point I was 6 days overdue and I was tired, hot and really cranky (poor John!)
All the way through my pregnancy I had dreaded the thought of being induced, it’s just something that I really didn’t want for me and my baby. I have a really low pain threshold and I had read that being induced can bring on really quick and intense contractions and that did not sound fun to me. However at this stage I was so frustated with my body and so eager to meet my baby that I asked the midwife if I could be booked into the hospital to be induced.
She explained to me that inductions can’t be booked in until you are 10 days overdue and so she booked me in for one on the Sunday the 28th of April.
With no more signs of labour over the next few days, John and I went to the hospital on the Sunday to begin the induction process. With what felt like 30 bags, uncontrolable excitement and the feeling that we had no idea what we were doing, we set up camp in our little corner of the ward.
After a couple of hours of waiting around I was examined by one of the midwives and told that the best way to induce labour is through the use of a pessary. For those that don’t know this is a small tab loaded with hormones on a long string that is placed behind the cervics for 24 hours, once the hormones are released it can help bring on labour.
So with the pessary in place I settled down into the bed with John at my side and we just had to wait it out. On the ward that we were on your partner could only stay with you until 10pm and this was such a terrifying thought to me. The idea of being on my own in the hospital able to go into labour at any moment scared the shit out of me to be frank. We did push our look and John stayed until about 11.30pm and when a nurse came round to take my blood pressure realised he was still there and had to ask him to leave.
My fears were not settled by the fact that before John left that night, we were both laid on my single bed watching a film on the little hospital TV and a woman on the ward was clearly going through it! We had the curtain firmly drawn around our little sanctuary, attempting to keep us both (mainly me) as calm as possible and from the other side of the curtain we heard a splash of water on the floor. A midwife’s voice came into the room saying “ooo have we lost our waters?”, this however was quickly followed by the woman exclaiming that she needed to push! Before anyone knew what was happening this poor woman was in full labour on the ward, screaming her baby into the world and within 5 minuites we heard the babies cries and all was well. John was amazed and clearly excited by this wonderful experience, I however, had my head in my hands completely in shock and bawling my eyes out. It made it all too real for me. A couple of minuites later we heard the father re-enter the room, he had missed the whole think to go and grab himself a coffee!
Wherever that father is now I hope it was the best cappachino he had ever had.
After John left I had the most restless night, with slow and infrequent contractions setting in I couldn’t get comfortable and sleep seemed impossible. On a late night toilet trip my pessary came out after just 14 hours. The midwife examined me and said that my cervix had softened and that they would get in touch with the delivery suite to tell them that I was ready to be taken round. She explained that it could take a little while before they had a room spare but that I would be there as soon as they could.
The next 24 hours dragged ridiculously! More and more women kept arriving on the ward and every single one seemed to be in more progressive labour than I was which mean my spot on the delivery ward was moving further and further away. It was only after another night alone on the ward that I was finally taken to the delivery suite in the early hours of the Tuesday morning.
Once in the delivery suite one of the midwives began explaining the procedure I was about to go through. Because my waters hadn’t broken naturally, they were going to have to do it for me, they then wanted to put me on an oxytocin drip to help bring on regular contractions. All we had to do was wait for John to arrive and everything got underway.
Having my waters broken wasn’t as bad as I had expected it too be. It was as uncomfortable as a strech and sweep and just felt like I had wet myself uncontrollably. It was the oxytocin drip that was the killer! It is basically used to control your contractions with the amount of hormone they supply you with. The more oxytocin the longer and more frequent your contractions become.
Once we got under way I started bouncing on a birthing ball. I don’t think this did anything for me in terms of actually progressing labour but I think having something to concentrate on other than the pain really helped me to begin with!
It wasn’t long though before the pain began creeping in, and after a round of paracetamol and some other drug I can’t remember the name of I started asking the questions about when I could have something stronger. My lovely midwife said that it was abit too soon for me to have anything like an epidural but I could try with gas and air. This really worked for me (for a time) and again I think this was mainly down to the fact that it allowed me to be able to focus on my breathing.
As couple more hours of this and I had had enough… 1 epidural please! And my god it changed my life, so much so that I was actually in progressive labour and I fell asleep for a couple of hours. This was with regular interuptions from the midwifes checking on baby due to his heart rate dropping with every contraction.
I was finally truly woken up by the unbelievable pressure to push, like so strong my body was truly taking over. But no one had told me how dialated I was or if it was time, however the midwives encouraged me to follow what my body was telling me and to go for it.
The rest of what happened to us seemed like such a blow and I feel like once I started pushing it just didn’t seem to stop but rather each push just got more and more intense until I had John by my head holding my hand telling me how amazing I was and the midwives telling me that we were closer and closer with every push. Until finally I heard his little baby cry, felt an instant relief in pain and saw a purest smile I have ever seen spread across John’s face.
I can hardly believe it has been nearly 12 weeks between that day and today, it has been the hardest and most magical 12 weeks of my life and I still every day cannot believe how lucky I am that he is ours.