Monday, 12 October 2015

Labour and birth story

Here we are nearly 6 weeks on and to be honest it's taken me up until now to feel normal again & properly get over giving birth to our little girl. I thought it was time I put pen to paper as such because amazingly I'm actually already forgetting about aspects of my labour! 
I know everybody tells you that you forget about the all of the pain the instant your baby is in your arms but I 100% did not believe that was possible - but it definitely is!

So Tuesday 25th August (40+6 weeks pregnant) I went to see my midwife for my second stretch and sweep. The first had been done at the hospital when I was 40+3 and the nurse said she couldn't really reach my cervix properly yet so unsurprisingly it did nothing. So to be honest I wasn't expecting much from this second one either. It was a little more uncomfortable than the first time, my midwife said she was able to have a good sweep and that my cervix appeared favourable so all good signs....& off I went on my way.

That evening I had mild tummy aches, less than period pains & I'd had the same after the first sweep so didn't think it necessarily meant anything. Then at 3am I woke up with stronger tummy pains. At this point I still wasn't 100% sure whether they were contractions & whether this was actually it but I couldn't get back to sleep - out of pure excitement and hope I think because the pain wasn't bad at all - so I told G I thought maybe something was happening, that I'd come get him if the pains kept getting worse and got up, went downstairs to watch some telly & eventually started timing what I realised they were definitely contractions.
I used the Pregnancy+ app on my phone which was fab, looking back at the history now it was 3:45 when I started timing and contractions were lasting less than 30seconds and coming all over the place, sometimes 6minutes apart & sometimes 15minutes apart.
At this point I told G this was definitely it, Squish was definitely on her way and rang the hospital to find out what they wanted us to do.
They told me to ring back when contractions were coming 3 every 10 minutes and lasting for over a minute each time - or if my waters broke.
By 5am the contractions were coming as frequently as they said they needed to be so I rang back. I was basically told there was no way I was in established labour because I was far too calm so that I was welcome to go down to the hospital to be checked if I wanted to but id probably be getting sent home again.
In my head I was so set on staying at home as long as I could possibly manage and getting sent home was not an option, so I agreed to stay at home abit longer. Don't get me wrong the pain had got stronger but it was still totally bearable & I was coping well. In between contractions I felt completely normal & wasn't struggling yet. About this time I got in the bath to help manage the pain but again I wasn't struggling too much so I just had a little relax and took time to realise this would be my last peaceful bath for a while! G called his mum to come round & collect Marley, she only lives 2 minutes round the corner so didn't mind.
I then rang the hospital again to say could I come in because the contractions were still coming frequently & getting stronger and was told again that I was far too calm so must be in very early labour so again agreed to stay home a while longer.
By this point it must have been about 6am & we sat up watching Ex On The Beach (loving this series by the way!), then I was suddenly aware I was very damp and that my waters had broken. There was no huge gush like you expect, I just felt like I needed to go to the toilet all the time & kept getting G to pause the telly so I could go sit on the toilet again and again.
After this went on for a while and id got through 3 different pairs of knickers, pads & pyjama bottoms me & G both agreed it was time to go to the hospital. They'd told me to ring & let them know I was coming & I said to G "you're going to have to ring & speak to them because they don't believe me that I'm in labour". Looking back it's ridiculous that the midwives on the phone made me feel like that, just because I was dealing with the pain well and could hold a conversation without screaming like a banshee they shouldn't assume that nothing much was happening yet. So at about 7:30 off we went....

G drove me to the hospital (he doesn't have a license and just drives my car as a learner with L plates and me present so it was always a dodgy situation). To be honest I probably could have driven myself because the pain still wasn't unbearable but it was definitely hurting more and I may have had to pull over during contractions. When we got there I actually parked the car so really didn't feel too bad.
We were greeted by a midwife quite quickly and shown to an examination room up on the antenatal ward at about 8am. She was very patronising telling me just to remember that the uterus is only a muscle and it was only contracting and that it was still very early days so I shouldn't be getting too worked up - bearing in mind all I was doing was scrunching my nose up & pulling faces every time a contraction came. Still no noises or screaming but I never thought I'd be that girl to be honest.
They left us alone in the room for ages and finally got round to examining me at 9:20 where we discovered I was already 8cm dilated!! I have honestly never been so relieved in my life as when the midwife uttered those words. Those were the words that reassured me I wasn't crazy, I was in established labour and this did hurt! I wasn't being a drama queen. And I was also amazed with myself for getting this far & feeling pretty okay - I always thought I had a horrendously low pain threshold so who knew?
After this is was like my midwife had a personality transplant! All of a sudden she couldn't be any nicer to me if she tried, I was a hero & she couldn't believe how amazing I had been & they never would have been able to guess I was 8cm from the way I was acting because I was still calm and holding conversations like normal. I was then rushed down to a delivery room pretty quickly and passed to the loveliest midwife ever called Ali who we actually had looking after us for my entire labour from this point.

She examined me pretty quickly, confirmed I was 8cm and said basically they wouldnt be examining me again for 4 more hours. When you are in labour for the first time they expect you to dilate half a cm per hour so she said they would give me 4 more hours of labouring naturally before they would need to talk about any interventions (if nothing further had happened) and obviously if I got the need to push before then we would crack on with pushing.
I was given gas & air which worked well for me. Beforehand I wasn't sure whether I would like it or whether it would make me feel sick. The first few "puffs" (is that what you say?) made me abit lightheaded but I was good after that. I wouldn't say it helped with the pain massively, people say it just takes the edge off but I wouldn't even say that. I don't think it made much difference to the pain at all but it gave me something else to focus on during a contraction and helped with my breathing.

From this point on things went pretty downhill. They let me labour on and obviously the contractions got stronger and more painful. By 1pm I was 10cm when they examined me but to be honest I think I had been for quite a while before that because the pain had increased a lot. Squishy was low down all through the end of my pregnancy but back to back, so looking up towards my tummy rather than down towards my bum (if that makes any sense at all?!) Ali said she had started to turn so things would probably be okay and probably be able to push her out with no problems naturally. And then Ali took a lunch break.....
The midwife that covered her for an hour was a total witch, she kept telling me off, was sooo patronising and kept getting really close to my face with her horrid bad breath which was not making me feel any better! During this hour I really started feeling the pain a lot to the point where I was sure something had to be wrong. I know my body and I had dealt with the severe pain up until now pretty well and I knew this wasn't right. "Witch" midwife examined me again, confirmed I was 10cm and said the baby had turned and was now in the right position so I would be able to push whenever I got the urge and get her out no problem! Easy peasy right?
This carried on for a few more hours. I was really really pushing and really really in serious pain!! I couldn't control the urge to push anymore, with every contraction I had no choice but to push but nothing seemed to be happening and Squishy wasn't moving down enough. My contractions started becoming less and less frequent so less efficient with helping me get Squishy down the birth canal. They weren't sure whether Squish was getting distressed at this point because her heart rate was going a bit funny so they cut the top of her head to take blood and be sure of the state she was in.
About now I'd say 4:45pm, they examined me again - finally - told me that "witch" midwife had got it wrong and that Squishy hadn't turned round into the right position at all which is why I couldn't push her out. She was stuck and because of the position she was in it would have been physically impossible for me to push her out. The angle at which her head was sitting was too large to come out first. She was also a pretty big baby (not that we knew this for sure yet!) so probably a little bit too large for me to get her out naturally which didn't help plus my contractions were faded away so all the odds were against me,
Luckily I had managed to push Squish down enough so they said I would be taken down to theatre but able to deliver her naturally just that I would need assistance with forceps, but if she hadn't been low enough for them to reach her I would have needed a c-section for sure. At the mention of forceps & going to theatre I literally freaked out. I was imagining absolutely ripping to shreds and feeling all sorts of horrendous pain. I had no idea that they would actually give me a spinal so I would be numb from the waist down and not able to feel a thing. They quickly ran through all the possible risks etc with me & got me to sign a consent form whilst G went and got changed into some scrubs. Absolutely terrifying to think about what could go wrong but you don't really have much choice do you?
We had the loveliest team of doctors all reassuring me that everything would be fine and that I was still going to have to do all the work and push Squishy out they were just going to help me. Before I knew it the spinal was going in - I remember panicking and making them wait until a contraction had just finished because by this point I was in sooo much pain & squirming around all over the place when contractions came and I was petrified id end up paralysed or something if I squirmed mid-spinal being administered.
I became numb pretty quickly. The doctors kept spraying ice cold water on me to tell whether I was numb enough yet and eventually I was numb all the way up to my chest which was the strangest feeling! I remember trying to cough & sneezing a couple of times & it felt like I couldn't do it because I couldn't feel the muscles to make them work - bizarre!

As soon as I couldn't feel the pain from the contractions anymore I felt absolutely fine. I could have laboured on for hours more after that. Luckily I didn't have to though at 5:40pm...two contractions and two big pushes later our beautiful baby girl was here. All 8lb 9oz of her!
Without a doubt the most amazing moment of my life!

Unfortunately because of the circumstances G didn't get to cut the umbilical cord and Squish didn't get placed straight onto my chest which are two things I really had hoped for but by this point I was so happy and relieved that she was here and healthy nothing else mattered.
The doctor lifted her up over the sheets so I could see her and then she got taken over to the little unit where doctors and midwives check the baby over. Probably only 3 or 4 feet away from me but because I was lying down and numb I couldn't really tell what was going on. G went with her and helped to get her all wrapped & cosy in a towel and had first cuddles before she was brought over to me and snuggled in my nighty for some skin to skin.

I just remember cuddling her for ages and ages while the doctors stitched me up. Again because I was numb I knew nothing about it, or delivering the placenta for that matter - both of which I'm relieved about. I later found out I'd lost over a litre of blood which is quite serious so I'm pleased I hadn't realised at the time because I would have panicked for sure!

We then got taken back to our delivery room and got Squishy properly dressed in her first little outfit and nappy. We picked out a plain white babygrow with baby pink hearts all over it. Even though Squishy was a pretty big baby all her newborn clothes were still too baggy for her with loads of spare room.

Luckily because I'd given birth quite later in the afternoon/early evening we got to go home the next morning. We had to have quite a few checks through the night both Squishy's blood sugar levels (because of the blood pressure medicine I had been on at the end of my pregnancy) and my iron levels because of the amount of blood I had lost. Thankfully both were fine and we were discharged and set off ready to start our new adventure as a family!

I'm so sorry this post has turned out to be somewhat of a novel - it's so hard to shorten these birth stories isn't it? I wanted to make sure I got all the details down to look back on and remember because believe it or not I am already forgetting some of it!
If you got this far congratulations! And thank you for reading!

I'd love to read your birth/labour stories and experiences so please link below


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