**Please let me say again that this was my experience, however you may interpret it as being too dramatic or not dramatic enough, for me this is how it was and how I felt at the time**
I feel like I should begin this post with a little background first. As I’ve mentioned in my previous blog post my mother is a Neonatal Intensive Care nurse and has been for the last 25 years. Now this has put me in the company of other nurses, midwives, registrars, doctors etc. for as long as I can remember. So I have heard it all, and also well equipped on what to expect in a hospital.
I chose to give birth in the hospital my mother had worked in for many years, and one where many of her friends, some who have known me since I was 12, still do work there. This gave me confidence that should any complications arise with my baby he would be in excellent hands. I also knew not to go into labour with some long utopic idea of what my labour journey should be like. So my birth plan read as follows:
I am going into it with an open mind. Ideally I would like my plan to be as follows:
I would like to labour at home for as long as possible with the aid of my hypno-birthing, music and TENs machine.I would like to be in the birthing centre. To have an active labour. The use of Entonox only as a method of pain relief. If the pain gets a bit much then the use of diamorphene.If, for any reason, I need to be moved onto the ward then that is fine too. Open mind.
That was my birth plan. Short right? I have heard stories of birth plans being pages long, detailing every part of a labour journey. And I’ll be honest, it would be lovely to be able to map out your journey to the last detail, but lets face it life doesn’t work that way. Our bodies decide to do their own thing and react in ways we cannot predict sometimes, and delivering a baby is definitely one of those times you CANNOT predict ANYTHING! So, now that we have the basics down, lets get into what happened on my journey to delivering my little boy.
My labour had initially begun at 1am on the 15th of February. But it wasn’t until 6pm on the 15th that I actually decided to go into hospital. I had decided to labour at home all day on the 15th to be comfortable, to be able to move around, to eat and sleep and relax. I also wanted my husband and mum to be more relaxed than for all of us to be cooped up in hospital for longer than needed.
So 6pm, off we went to hospital! I was examined and I was 4cms dilated and so admitted into the birthing centre.
The contractions were strong and getting closer together, I was bouncing on a ball, squatting on the floor, lying down and doing all sorts to ease the pain and to breath through it. I had the help on Entonox, but after a while it began to make me feel very nauseous so I had to use it sparingly.
At 10:30pm I was examined again to check my progress. Here is where things get interesting. The examination was so painful, it was probably the only time during my entire labour and delivery that I cried. And this was just the start! I screamed for the midwife to stop, and she very patiently waited for me to settle down. She explained to me that as much as she would love me to have a natural birth it just wouldn’t be possible. The pain would be far too much. My cervix was up and to the left, which meant my baby was not engaging down directly and evenly against my cervix. Her advice was for me to get admitted onto the ward and deliver with the help of an epidural.
Now, remember my birth plan? Open mind. It is key. I smiled, held my husbands hand, and said lets do this. And by 11pm I was on the 4th floor admitted.
At 11:50pm my first epidural was administered. From the stories I had heard I was expecting it to be painful, for the needle to really hurt, but I couldn’t feel a thing. Amazing! Now to just wait for it to kick in!
My waters hadn’t broken naturally, so by 2am (Now the 16th of February) my midwife broke my waters. Couldn’t feel a thing thanks to the epidural! I felt great, and to top it off she told me I was 7cms dilated! WOHOO!! Baby on the way! I was in no pain, waters broken, and dilated with not much to go! So far going amazing! All going so well I decided to drift off and take a nap, because hey, why not!
At 3:50am I was given a water drip because I was getting dehydrated, and I believe I went through 3 bags of water drips through this! Yikes!
My midwife did another check by 4:15am and I was now 8cms dilated, and at 4:30am I was given a cintocinon drip. At this point in time by baby was facing the wrong way, but my midwife wasn’t worried because there was still time for him to turn around.
By 6am the doctors wanted to start a foetal scalp monitoring. Because my waters had been broken for so long, just to ensure that baby wasn’t distressed in any way. And boy did my midwife have a job getting that done! Turns out my baby had a head full of hair making it very difficult to get the monitor to stick to his head. Me on the inside – LOL of course he does!
By 6:50am I was fully dilated and soon ready with the urge to push. Now here is where it all goes upside down and slightly horrible for me.
Because I was running on an empty stomach from the night before, on drips and epidural, not allowed to eat, I was being sick. Lovely I know, but its all part of the territory! Not only that, by 8am when my active pushing began I was suddenly in unbearable pain.
I can remember humming loudly to distract myself from the pain, not able to focus on what anyone was saying to me. The room was full at one point with doctors and nurses trying to decide what to do, to see where I was at. Questions were being asked to me, and I couldn’t focus on anyone. The pain was so bad that I had to beg my husband to make a fist and hard push up against my right hip every time he saw a contraction coming on the monitor. As much as he hated doing it, it is what I needed at the time. I needed his fist to dull the pain.
They realised that my epidural had failed on my right side. So while my left side was pain free, all the contraction pain was being concentrated down my right side. They knew that just another epidural wasn’t going to do it. So I got a concoction of a second epidural PLUS a spinal block at 9:40am. Spinal blocks are usually only given for C-section births.
I was too far along now for a C-section, so I just had to wait it out and trust my body and those around me to do what was needed. Now, this was all fine and well, but it still wouldn’t help my baby out as he was now stuck in the same spot despite me pushing for a long while.
By 10:20am my husband made the decision for me to get an episiotomy and instrumental forceps delivery of our baby. The reason being that my little one had the cord around his neck, so every time I was pushing through a contraction he would get yanked back up again thanks to the cord. So the necessary interventions were, well, necessary.
Not long after, out into the world, our little pride and joy!
Now this whole journey of mine was traumatic, painful, scary and exhausting. But in the end, once they placed my baby on my chest for the first time, all was magically forgotten. It was as if I had never gone through any of the pain, as if he had just beamed out of me onto my chest with no bother at all. Isn’t it strange? How a woman’s body and mind just automatically make that switch from unbearable pain to unconditional tear flowing love for a child you are looking at for the first time? That look, that sensation, their little voice and cry and breaths, it just takes away everything that preceded that moment. I could now proudly call myself a mother. Our family was complete.
Until next time xoxo