Our chubby, noisy, sweet baby son is now 6 weeks old. It’s probably about time I try and write down my birth story. It was only last week in the shower that I had a sudden realization from the birth. I remember that I was last examined at 11.50 and shortly after that I began pushing. Then I remembered that Jago wasn’t born until 14.10. I was pushing for 2 hours?! In my head it was not this long at all. It was maybe half an hour maximum! I asked my husband after my shower and his reply ‘yes that’s why everyone was looking worried. It was ages’
Saturday 20th December: Just before bed I noticed I had a small amount of plug loss. I tried not to get my hopes up as I had lost some before but this was a little bit more than before. We went to bed and I woke up around midnight with period type pains… could this be it?
Sunday 21st December: I went to the loo about 1am and there it was (or a lot of it) – my plug! Or ‘bloody show’ as some call it. I suddenly felt a wave of nerves / excitement. It’s starting! I continued getting waves of period pain through the night, and I didn’t get back to sleep. I didn’t wake Adam as I knew it was only the beginning and things could take a while (and they did!). I think I eventually woke him at about 6am and told him things were starting and I wanted some paracetamol. I think he said something along the lines of ‘right. Do you want a cup of tea?’ And calmly got up. I actually felt quite sick but I always start the day with a tea, so I said yes. My mum was still staying with us and he knocked on her door to ask for some paracetamol – we never have any. Luckily mum did : – )
I spent the morning watching Elf and eating marmite on crackers – the only thing I could face eating. This was also my first trimester snack when I was feeling sick. The rest of the day was pretty uneventful. Mild contractions all day ranging from 5 mins to 15 mins apart. I had a bath. I paced a lot. By the afternoon I was pacing the bedroom and rocking on my ball. I timed my contractions that were feeling stronger but not any closer. I called the midwife unit who said that they needed to be a few minutes apart before we could go in, and to stay at home. By evening I was very tired after being awake since midnight so I got into bed to try and rest.. This slowed my contractions right down! Near midnight I called again, things were feeling more intense. As it was the third time I had called they said I could come in to be examined. We grabbed our bags and made our way in.
We were shown to a labour room on arrival and a midwife said she would examine me. I was hoping after nearly 24 hours that I would be about 5cm. I could cope with half way. I was a bit gutted to hear I was only 3cm dilated. We then had the option to go home for a bit or stay. We decided to stay.. At least then I could get used to the environment that I would be giving birth in.
Monday 22nd December, about 1am: I changed into a nighty and carried on my pacing, surges getting more intense and really having to breathe through them. Adam mostly napped in the corner! But provided me with drinks and snacks when needed! I was examined again at about 4am – I was now 4cm stretching to 5. Is that all?! Why was it taking so long? I became obsessed with timing my contractions and got very annoyed when the next one was slightly further apart than the last two. I was offered gas and air and took it. Brilliant stuff! From then on every breathe in was delicious entinox. It didn’t take away the pain but it took the edge off and made me feel relaxed and happy!
At about 8am Adam was asleep on the floor. I know this as I took a picture! I was fine with this, I was in my zone. I was examined again around 8.30 – 7cm!! So only another 2cm in 4 hours but I was happy because it felt close and 7 felt close to 10! I felt I was coping well. I was told at around 9am that they were cleaning the birthing pool and getting it ready for me. Since we had been at hospital, another mama had been in, given birth in the pool, and gone home!
I’m not sure exactly what time I got in the pool. It felt lovely to get in the warm water but I could no longer do my ‘rocking-down-to-the-floor-into-a-squat-contraction-dance’ and I found it hard to get in a comfortable position for them – but between them I felt floaty and relaxed.
At around 11.45 I had an extremely intense contraction. I felt like I could no longer cope. Transition! But that didn’t click at the time. In a panic I told Adam to press the buzzer and get a midwife as I needed more help with the pain. The midwife came in and explained that I wasn’t due to be examined again until 12.30 and they would see how things are then. I begged (or they offered? I don’t know) to be examined there and then to see how dilated I was. So at 11.50 I got out of the pool to be examined – 9cm, so nearly 10cm! I begged for an epidural (which I didn’t get) and suddenly I got an overwhelming urge to bear down and without any control of my body I was pushing and mooing like a cow. From this point on-wards nothing was dignified…
With every contraction there was a gush of waters, gunk and blood. I remember at one point opening my eyes and looking on the floor at the carnage of mess I was squatting in – nice. This is the position I ended up giving birth in. I tried all fours, legs pushed against stirrups on a chair thing, a midwife holding a leg up.. I just couldn’t get comfy and he felt stuck. I was getting tired of pushing, and stressed he wasn’t coming! The midwives were telling me they could see his head and that he had loads of hair! I did glance at a mirror underneath me and see he was there, I think that stressed me more! He’s right there! Why couldn’t I push him out! Well I did push him out eventually..one massive push and I felt his head pop out. Very shortly followed by his entire body and he was suddenly in my arms, crying and doing a wee fountain! – it’s a boy! A beautiful little boy with wide awake eyes. I did it!!! He came out with one of his hands on the side of his head, this is why he was a little stuck!
During transition and at the start of pushing I really felt like I couldn’t carry on. An epidural wasn’t possible (would have meant moving to a different area of hospital as I was in low risk midwife unit) and the anesthetist wasn’t available – or so they said. My only other option was pethidine. I had read about this whilst pregnant and was adamant I wouldn’t have it. However at that point I wanted anything, anything to help the way I felt and it was my only option so I took it. I’m not sure if it helped the pain or not, perhaps it did as I don’t remember him coming out being painful and wasn’t even aware of the almost 3rd degree tear. But it did make me incredibly spaced out after the labour. After the huge rush of oxytocin settled after my first cuddle with my baby I couldn’t even sit up. I could only lay on the bed feeling dizzy. I kept trying to get up.. I desperately wanted to take pictures and get cleaned up, I wanted to feel able to hold my baby but I felt too weak. I didn’t manage to feed him until the evening and even then I didn’t feel right. Alternating from sweating with the heat, to shivering and feeling cold. I now know that pethidine ruined the end for me. I didn’t get the long skin to skin cuddles with breastfeeding straight after birth that I imagined I would have. Thankfully Jago had lovely long skin to skin cuddles with his daddy. I have gone on a bit here but if you are reading this, I am telling you to try and avoid pethidine when giving birth. I know for next time – I just need to get through that transitional stage and I will be okay!
Tuesday 23rd December: My due date! We get to go home, and we are greeted by my parents, brother, a much desired cooked breakfast with cups of nice tea! (drank powdered tea in hospital – horrific), and beautiful handmade blue bunting made by my mum hanging in the house. I said to my family ‘I am adopting any future children, I’m not doing that ever again’ but now I would totally do it again – and I will look forward to embracing it with the knowledge that my body can do it and I will deal with it much better.
Christmas Eve: Our baby arrived in time for Christmas! I get a call from my midwife wondering where I am – I had a sweep booked with her to try and start things off and completely forgot to cancel!I had now been awake for over 3 days and already shattered from a long labour I was now feeding regularly – no time to catch up on sleep! And despite cracked, blistered nipples for the first few weeks and hardly any sleep at all we are still exclusively breastfeeding now and plan to continue for a long time! It’s the most wonderful feeling feeding your baby and watching them grow knowing you are the reason for all that gorgeous chub.
As soon as Jago was born I couldn’t believe he was ours. I instantly wanted to protect him and care for him.. But it wasn’t until around 5 days after he was born that I got that huge gush of love for him. I now feel that every day and can’t wait to watch him learn and grow.