My name is Fiona, my husband is Steven and we welcomed our little boy Leo into the world on 27th June 2013
The ‘plan’ was – and I use the term ‘plan’ very loosely as even before labour had began I was fully aware that giving birth can be an unpredictable experience and one should be open minded about how things may happen. In an ideal world I wanted to give birth in Newcastle Birthing Centre and use gas and air and the pool for pain relief (and hopefully to give birth in) however…
Tuesday 25th – feeling rather deflated as she’d just booked me in for a ‘sweep’ in two weeks time, basically I was thinking ‘how the hell am I going to manage another two weeks feeling this huge, heavy and tired?’ anyhow I went home, had a moan to my mam, had some dinner with Steven and went off to bed.
Wednesday 26th – My waters broke (I was sure I hadn’t just started weeing too early!). Once I’d informed Steven and he began cleaning up (thank god for tiled floors!) I felt good, with no pain as yet and I phoned the birthing centre. They told me to come in to be examined, it was 3am and the roads to the RVI were clear and parking was great! We were shown to a small but bright, consultation room where the midwife came to explain that they’d do an internal examination (a similar sort of thing to when you have a smear test) just to check that my waters had actually broken. She then went on to say that it’s very common in the later stages of pregnancy to wee yourself and think that your waters had broken to which I let out a nervous laugh thinking to myself ‘no I definitely didn’t wee myself, I couldn’t stop it, you can stop a wee!’ so the midwife got ready for the examination and the health care assistant stood there holding her torch towards to my nether regions (they didn’t tell you that in the pregnancy books that I read!) … it turned out that I was right my waters had actually broken (thank god! I’d have felt like a right plonker if I’d just had an ‘accident’!) So we began to get excited thinking that in just a few hours we’d be able to meet our baby however…
The midwife said that when your ‘membranes spontaneously rupture’ (waters break) that contractions can begin on their own. She also said that if there is little or no progress within 12hours that I would have to come back to be induced (due to the risk of infection). So I was sent on my merry way at about 4am to see if contractions got started with no intervention. I was also given an appointment for 6pm, yes pm! to be induced if nothing happened.
8am – After trying to get some rest after the hospital we got up and started to try to get things going. I tried bouncing on the birthing ball, wandering around the house, eating light meals, resting all with no such luck.
At 1pm Steven suggested a longer walk around the lake (we live near one -unfortunately we don’t have one in the back garden!) I was knackered toward the end of the walk (and it wasn’t that far) but I felt nothing more than a few ‘period like’ cramps.
We got back watched almost full dvd had some tea and we began to make our way to the hospital for my 6pm appointment.
So we arrived at the RVI and were directed ‘upstairs’ to the induction suite. Basically a row of beds with curtains pulled around them, what you’d expect see in a usual hospital ward/bay. A midwife came along to examine me, this time without the torch, and hooked me up to the ‘monitor’ so that they could check Leo’s heart rate, movements and track any contractions. They found that I was, pretty much, zero cm dilated but Leo’s movements and heart rate was good and he seemed happy so they began induction…
6:30pm the administered the ‘pessary’ to try to soften the cervix and get things started. I had to sit on the bed for a while (I can’t remember how long) then we went to get coffee from ‘Costa’. At this point I was beginning to get some pains and they were a little more intense than anything I’d experienced during the day. We made our way back to my ‘piece of curtain’ and we were told that Steven had to go home! As it was just induction and visiting hours were now up (it was about 8:30) husbands/partners weren’t allowed to stay. They said that they’d give him a call as soon as I was to go to delivery suite. I didn’t know this before hand and was, for the first time, feeling a bit scared and nervous; I’d never had to stay in hospital before and to be on my own at this time seemed daunting. However I decided to be brave; put some music on my iPod and I tried to get some sleep and relax. The pains were continuing to come but I just listened to music, tried to breathe and asked for some paracetamol.
1am (Thursday 27th June) – a new midwife came to tell me that I could go to my room in the delivery suite and that they’d call Steven (hooray! I thought, surely it won’t be long until I meet my baby)
The room in the delivery suite was fine, no pool or cool looking birthing beds for me but hey ho it was better than a curtain!
The midwife examined me (I was about 1cm) not very much at all. They explained that as my progress had been slow so far they’d hook me up to the ‘hormone’ drip to really get things going.
Now, I’d never been told much about the drip before I laboured but this is how I can explain it.
Basically they put a drip into a vein and turn up the drip every 10 minutes or so until you start contracting regularly and for good periods of time. My god it’s painful!! I’d like to think that I’m not a weakling but …dear lord! These contractions were long, strong and regular. Due to the pain, at this point, my time scale begins to get a bit foggy but from what I’ve managed to piece together it went a bit like this…
I managed to ‘breathe through’ the contractions until about 3am. The midwife suggested I might like to try some gas and air (which I was wary of, I’m a bit of a control freak and I hate feeling out of control) however…God bless gas and air! It was fantastic. I could still feel the pain but the gas an air made me feel as though I didn’t care about it… great! (It did make me sick though, I hate being sick, but I really didn’t care).
At about 6am I was in a lot of pain and really struggling (basically I was making a lot of noise and writing around the bed in pain) the gas and air wasn’t doing anything and I was feeling like I wanted to push so I was examined again. I was 3cm! (I thought I’d be at least 8!) So the midwife suggested that I considered another form of pain relief. I wanted to stay away from pethidine and morphine (again I wanted to be in control, if you want to stop feeling ‘spaced’ on gas and air its simple, you stop breathing it in, but with pethidine and morphine my thinking was that I wouldn’t be able to stop feeling ‘spaced’ if I wanted to) so I asked for an epidural. The anaesthetist came to administer it. I can’t remember much about the pain of the epidural going in as I was having such strong contractions as he tried to put it in. So if you ask me contractions hurt more than the epidural going in! (I mean ‘contractions when hooked up to a drip’ –I can’t comment on ‘natural’ contractions) It took him two attempts (as I was wriggling in pain as he was trying to site it) but he managed in the end. After about half an hour the pains subsided and faded to nothing. Epidurals, as scary as they may seem, in my opinion, are amazing FACT! (Especially if labour has been going on a while).
I was able to chat to Steven and the midwives and watch ‘homes under the hammer’ while my body did its thing…
I was examined again at about 10am and I was 5cm …progress! All of the time Leo was continually monitored and still seemed happy.
We watched a bit more TV and I began to start feeling really exhausted. My body had been at it for hours with very little rest and no food. Only little sips of water.
I was examined again at about 1:40pm and was 6cm, the midwife admitted that my progress was very slow and that my cervix was beginning to feel harder not softer. She sent for the doctor to come and assess the situation. The doctor agreed that I was indeed making slow progress and they’d noticed that my sense of humour was fading and I was getting increasingly pale due to exhaustion.
She said I could go on another hour if I wished but if I still hadn’t made any significant progress (which she doubted) I’d have to have a c-section. At this point, me and my body had had enough and I asked the doctor if would it be possible to just arrange a c-section, I couldn’t go on another hour.
She agreed that it was a sensible decision and promptly began making arrangements. Within about 30minutes I’d consented, had socks fitted, been talked to by an anaesthetist, who explained that as I already had an epidural it would just be a case of ‘topping it up’ for the op. I was wheeled to theatre and the c-section began.
They put up a curtain across my chest so that I couldn’t see what was going on (thank goodness) Steven was given some very fetching scrubs and held my hand, camera ready, all the way through. The anaesthetist talked me through the process every step of the way I felt as though I was in really good hands. And I was, at 2:37pm our gorgeous boy Leo made his entrance (‘through the sunroof’ so to speak). Steven went for a look almost immediately and told me he had lush, dark hair and gorgeous eyes. He was even able to cut the cord stump. Leo was brought over to me for a cuddle once he’d been checked and weighed (he was 7lb exactly). I was stitched up and wheeled to recovery…
In recovery I had skin to skin contact and we were left in relative peace for a while. Steven was encouraged (by the midwife) to put Leo’s first clothes on and we took some gorgeous first photographs. I was feeling tired but absolutely elated. I didn’t have the perfect birth according to a text book, but my birth was perfect in order to get my baby out safely, I was very well looked after and Leo was fine throughout (it was me who was exhausted and my body had had enough so a c-section it was!)
In the coming days I felt good. I was stiff and sore but I was on my feet the very next day. I was surprised as to how great I felt considering I’d had major surgery. But I had my baby to cuddle and amazing support from Steven.
So, that was my birthing story although it was a long, painful process resulting in surgery. It was all worth it just to get our boy! I didn’t feel disappointed at all in not having my water birth or having given birth ‘naturally’ I gave it my best shot and it didn’t happen …anyway there’s always next time 😉
I won’t go into details of my post-natal infection that I got (about a week later) due to the surgery. I was unfortunate, it’s one of the main risks and it was fairly horrific but with a shed load of antibiotics I got through that too…