My Birth Story
4th January 2017
41 weeks pregnant. Having made it to this point I had pretty much accepted that our baby was never going to arrive, and I was gong to be pregnant forever. There had been signs and a few days before I thought baby was on the way, with regular pains, but then… nothing.
Something felt different though. I couldn’t put my finger on it, but I had a feeling that babies arrival wasn’t too far away.
I went about my day as normal, cleaned the house and did laundry. I was getting twinges throughout the day, but chose to ignore them. I refused to get my hopes up yet again. By 10.30pm though there was no ignoring the pains, which were lasting around 1 minute and coming every 8 minutes. I attempted to go to sleep but felt too uncomfortable. Instead I spent the night either in the bath or in bed trying to catch a few minutes sleep here and there.
5th January 2017
I heard my husbands alarm going off for work at 6am. I told him to go about his day as normal, having been disappointed by all false starts in the past. I spent the morning cleaning the house, desperately wanting it to be spotless just in case I was bringing a baby home sometime soon, and then returned to the bath.
By 11am I finally accepted I was in actual labour. This was not a drill. The pains were lasting 1 minute and coming every 4 minutes, and it was time to tell my husband to leave work and make the hour long journey home.
He arrived home and called the hospital, explaining the frequency of my contractions. They asked me to wait until they were coming every 2 or 3 minutes. What the f…?! Throughout my pregnancy I had been told to make my way to the hospital as soon as they were coming every 5 minutes, and now they decide to change the benchmark?!
By 3pm the pain was unbearable. The bath and smarties AKA paracetomal were not doing anything and I told my husband to take our dog to my parents house so we could get to the hospital.
We finally arrived at the hospital at around 4pm. I expected to be examined and told I was still 1cm dilated, the same as I was at my second sweep a few days earlier. I was over the moon when the midwife told me I was actually 4cm dilated. This was really happening, I wasn’t imagining it. I was getting me a baby!!
I explained to my midwife, Sarah, that I wanted a water birth. This is something I had always dreamed of, but I knew there was only one pool available at my local hospital so never imagined I would get it. Luckily for us, it was available and she took us straight into the room before anyone else got their hands on it. The relief as soon as I stepped inside the pool was incredible. The heat of the water was fantastic and I was so happy to be getting the birth I wanted.
At 9pm, four hours after my first examination, I was made to come out the pool to be examined, by which point we had a new midwife, Emma. 4 fucking cm dilated! 4cm! The same 4cm I was when I came into the hospital hours ago. What the actual fuck!
I was gutted, what a complete waste of four hours. I knew the pool could slow down labour, but to totally stop it, really?! Because I hadn’t progressed the midwife told me I wasn’t able to go back in the pool. She also told me I was no longer classed as being in active labour. Fantasic! She said she had never seen this happen in her 16 years of midwifery. I would next be examined at 11pm. I couldn’t go back in the pool, and couldn’t have any pain relief other than gas and air (pukeville!), because if I did it would delay me going back in the pool even further. Instead I spent the next two hours in agony, clock watching, bouncing on the ball, and watching the clock some more.
At 11.15pm Emma reappeared to examine me. I could feel myself holding my breath, waiting to hear the verdict. If I was still 4cm I didn’t know how I would handle it. 5cm! Result! And then, boom… waters broke with a gush. I was allowed back in the water, but warned the pains would intensify now baby was pressing against my cervix. No problem I thought. As long as I could get back in that pool everything would be fine.
Holy shit! The pains intensified immediately, both in terms of the actual pain and the frequency they were coming. I can’t do this I said, over and over again. “Please cut my head off” I asked my husband. What this would achieve, I’m not sure, but at that second in time it appealed much more than the pain I was going through. The pool was doing nothing. Paracatomal was doing nothing. I needed more. The midwife talked me through my options… epidural, now please.
I was always terrified at the thought of an epidural, the thought of it going wrong, the fear of having no control. It was never even an option for me before entering the hospital. By this point though I had lost all mental restraint, and I needed reigning in.
The anestetist was in theatre and would be another 40 minutes. I had no idea how I was going to manage for another 40 minutes like this. As soon as Emma left the room, my husband was sneakily running hot water onto my back for the length of every contraction, and this was the only relief I had. More clock watching and the 40 minutes were finally up. Emma appeared and said the delivery room was ready and the aneasthetist was waiting for us.
6th January 2017
The walk from the birthing pool to the delivery room felt like a mile long, when in reality it was just a few steps. The aneasthetist was waiting at the door for us, and I have never been so happy to see anyone in my life.
I was sat down on the edge of the bed, whilst he spoke for what felt like eternity. He explained all the risks, the procedure, the outcome. I didn’t take in a single word of it. Please stop talking. Please shove the needle in my back immediately.
I was expecting instant pain relief but this isn’t what I got. It took a while for the epidural to kick in but when it did… oh my word! I felt nothing, absolutely no pain what so ever. I could see the contractions were coming one after another, yet I was able to sit there, happily chatting away.
The next couple of hours flew by, with very little happening. I was due to be examined at 3.15am but at around 2am Emma was struggling to monitor the babies heart rate, and so decided to place a fetal scalp electrode onto babies head to get a more accurate reading. This required an examination so we got to have a sneaky early peek and see how things were progressing. After the earlier disappointments I wasn’t expecting much at all and could not believe it when I was told I was 10cm dilated. Almost showtime!
Because I had only just had my epidural topped up before the examination, it was decided that it was best to wait another hour before we started pushing so I had chance to get some feeling back. More chatting followed, and I was completely calm, not giving much thought as to what was about to happen.
Just after 3am it was finally time to get this baby out. I had some feeling back in my legs and was told on my next contraction to take a big breath in, put my chin down to my chest and push as hard as I could. With the first couple of pushes baby moved really quickly, and Emma said this wouldn’t take long at all. I still couldn’t fully feel my contractions, so was told when I needed to push, which was a little bit surreal.
An hour later I was still pushing. Tiredness was really kicking in at this point, the epidural was starting to wear off and the contractions were coming thick and fast. I was pushing as hard as I could but she was moving very slowly. It’s only since giving birth that I found out that the babies heartrate really started rising at this point to around 180bpm. I do remember the midwife making a comment that even if she called the doctor in he was only say that I needed to carry on pushing as we were slow close to the end, but by now I was in my own little world and had no idea what was really going on. All I knew was that I was freezing cold, shivering like mad, the thirstiest I had ever been in my life, and I needed to get this baby out of me ASAP because my legs and pelvis were killing me!
Finally, at 4.44am, after hearing ‘just one more push’ more times than I care to remember, our gorgeous girl, Isla Scarlett arrived, weighing in at a huge 9lb 5oz!
I decided on a active third stage and the placenta was delivered very quickly after our baby was born.
Emma was clearly a miracle worker because despite giving birth to such a chunky, well cooked baby, I only came out with a couple of first degree tears and barely needed any stitches at all.
The rest of that day was spent in a complete daze. I didn’t know what planet I was on, what day it was, what time it was, but I had my girl, and I couldn’t have been any happier.
We were finally allowed home at 5pm that day, absolutely knackered but so ready to begin life as a family, just as I had dreamed of for so many years.