The Boy is 6 so his birth story is coming very late. But, I’ve only been blogging for a few months and I love reading a good birth story. I think they’re lovely. But also, very useful to pregnant women looking for some real-life stories to help them to prepare. Because let’s face it, they’re all different and rarely seem to go to plan.
Pregnancy was pretty great. He wasn’t planned, but we weren’t upset either. I was 24 and engaged to his Dad. I remember thinking it would be ok because even if it didn’t work out between us I knew he’d be a great dad. Looking back, thinking about what would happen if we didn’t stay together was probably a sign that we wouldn’t. But, I was right, he is a great dad.
I had terrible morning sickness until 14 weeks, but from then it went rather smoothly. He wouldn’t lie in the right place, so we didn’t have the downs measurement, but we weren’t too bothered. We found out he was a boy because I couldn’t wait and started shopping.
We were sent for a growth scan as I had almost no bump at all, but all was fine and it was announced that I just had great stomach muscles. The Boy was due at the end of February 2011. I’d made a vague birth plan. Along the lines of “I want to be active” “as few drugs as possible” and “stay at home for as long as I can”.
On the 9th of February, a Wednesday, we went to bed as normal. I’d been on maternity leave for maybe a week and was enjoying getting some early nights but I’d walked home from town that day, so I was shattered.
At about 1 AM I woke up feeling a bit damp. I went to the toilet in a bit of a panic that I’d wet myself. In this situation, there really is only one way to know for sure, but at the time it didn’t occur to me to sniff it! However, I as I walked to the bathroom I found it kept coming and I couldn’t hold it in.
Reasonably certain my waters had broken I got back in bed. I wasn’t due for 3 weeks. I wasn’t ready. But, trying not to panic I calmly poked The Boy’s daddy and said “I might have wet myself. But I think my waters have broken”.
We decided to ring the hospital before getting excited. They asked me to go straight in, as I wasn’t due for a while and hadn’t had any contractions. By this point, it was about 2 am so we rang a taxi, packed a small bag in case I had to stay and off we went.
Upon arrival at the hospital, we sat in triage for about 5minutes before being seen, there was no one else there.
I was examined, given some swabs to do myself in the bathroom and told that as nothing had started I could go home. But, that they would book me in for an induction on the morning of the 11th just in case nothing had happened naturally yet. They also gave me some forehead strips to take my temperature every hour or so at home to check for signs of infection.
We left the hospital and walked down to my mother in laws. It must have been about 4 AM now. She made us a cup of tea and we all had a sit before getting a taxi back home.
The Middle Bit
As I wasn’t due yet, The Boy’s Daddy hadn’t start paternity leave so he rang up and they brought it forward for him. We tried to sleep, but probably only got a couple of hours on and off. I felt fine. So, we decided to get up and walk to town to get the last few bits we needed. I think we also went to a McDonalds. I remember feeling like I was leaking water all the time. It was gross.
I was also by this time having the odd contraction. But nothing even approaching regular. I remember saying “ooh I think I’m having one” and getting excited only to not have another for 2 hours. People were amazed that I was walking around but I just couldn’t stand the idea of sitting waiting. I’d read that being induced would be more painful and desperately wanted it to happen naturally.
That night, we watched a football game on TV and ate raspberry ripple ice-cream. Isn’t it amazing what you remember? We tried to get sleep but it was very fitful. Next morning, we got up at 6 AM so The Boy’s Daddy could make me a sausage and egg sandwich as we’d been told I couldn’t eat after 7.
Then, it was back in another taxi to the hospital.
This bit weirdly is probably the bit I remember least. We were taken to a room. It was full of machines and equipment. We were just left to it for a little bit before anything happened.
I was examined and told I was 1cm so something had happened, but not enough. Then, they set up my IV’s. My swabs had come back positive for Strep B, so I had antibiotics as well as the drugs for the induction. I was also strapped up to a contraction monitor and a foetal heartbeat monitor.
At this point, I was quite upset. I’d ideally wanted to stay at home for as much of the labour as I could, but once I was in hospital I at least wanted to be able to walk around, maybe have a bath, sit on the ball and generally be active. Now I was being told I couldn’t move from the bed because of the drips and monitors. I even had to ask to be unhooked to have a wee. And, I couldn’t eat or drink anything more than sips of water.
I was induced at around 10 am. By lunch time nothing had really happened.
Contractions started at probably 1 PM. There wasn’t the nice slow build up. I was having incredibly intense contractions every 2 minutes from the start. It was agony. I was sucking on gas and air like mad but I desperately didn’t want anything else. I remember being unable to do much as I couldn’t move so I just felt like I was waiting for more pain.
At 6 pm, I was examined again. I’d been having terrible contractions every 2 minutes for 5 hours. I was expecting a good 8-9cm. when the midwife said “3-4” I could have killed her!
She said I should probably expect another few hours, but the heartbeat was fine so it was nothing to worry about. I couldn’t cope. At 8cm I’d have finished it on gas and air but I hadn’t slept properly for days and couldn’t even eat for energy. I needed more. I asked for an injection to start with but the midwife advised me to have an epidural. She said most women that are induced have one and that the amount of pain I could expect to be in for that length of time meant an injection wasn’t likely to be enough.
I reluctantly agreed and was lucky that someone could do it pretty much straight away.
It did not work! I lost the feeling in my legs. But I could still feel my stomach. They asked me to give it chance but after 30minutes the anaesthetist returned to “adjust it”
It’s now around 6:30 pm. I’m sat on the bed, leant over the side so they could play with my epidural when I suddenly have the most intense need to push. There was such a crazy pressure in my bum. I shouted, “I need to push,” the midwife said, “you can’t you were 3cm 30 mins ago, it’s just because you’ve moved don’t worry” but I was adamant. I shouted, “no it’s coming I need to push!!” They asked what it felt like and I replied, “like the heads in my bum”.
The next bit is a huge blur. His heart rate had started to decrease. Someone pressed an emergency button and maybe 10 people ran into the room. I was spun around, my legs put in stirrups and everyone was shouting, “Push Donna Push!!”
Obviously, the epidural kicked in around now. I couldn’t feel. So I couldn’t push. A midwife was holding my stomach, telling me when to push. But I couldn’t do it. I heard the anaesthetist say, “shall I stay?” I didn’t understand what might happen until someone replied, “no there’s no time for theatre”.
Now I could hear The Boy’s heart rate dropping lower and lower on the monitor. It was all I could focus on. I couldn’t get him out fast enough. I was killing him. It was so scary.
I didn’t realise what happened next at the time, but I was given an episiotomy and a ventouse. I had a haemorrhage and there was blood all over the floor. The Boy was taken to a Doctor in the corner. He wasn’t crying, there were people everywhere. His dad left me to get over to him. He came straight back and I said, “is he dead?” I really thought he was.
Then, a tiny man was passed to me. Alive and well. Just quiet. He hasn’t been quiet since! From me saying I needed to push to him being born was 14 minutes. It felt like a lifetime.
I hated this bit. Perhaps even more than the last bit. Because I’d bled so much I had to have the injection so I could deliver the placenta faster. It made me so sick. I hadn’t eaten all day but I couldn’t stop throwing up. I couldn’t feed The Boy, I had to pass him to his dad.
Then, once the sickness had passed, we were taken up to a ward. Dad had to go home straight away as it was late and I was on my own with a baby that had now found his voice. It was the worst night I’ve had as a parent. He kept crying, I struggled to feed. I was exhausted. Then even when I managed to feed he wanted more straight away. A lovely midwife took him for a walk just so I could have a nap.
I remember feeling terrible because all the other babies were asleep and I counted down the hours until his dad came back. But that’s another story. The Boy’s birth left me a bit disappointed. It took me a while to realise that the birth didn’t actually matter but even then it affected decisions I made when it came to The Bobsy’s birth. Safe to say I didn’t bother with a birth plan the second time.
Worth it in the end though eh? Look out for Bobsy’s birth story. It’s very different!