Please grab yourself a cup of tea, coffee or an alcoholic beverage, because this is going to be a long one. My labour and delivery story.
On the 31st of December 2017 at 4:08am I awoke needing the toilet, just like every heavily OVER DUE pregnant woman might many times in the night. Once I climbed back in bed I felt this sudden sharp pain, much like a period pain. Being 6 days over due, I just knew and felt like this was it. Everyone had told me you’ll just ‘know’ when its the real deal and not Braxton hicks, and thats exactly what I felt. I opened up my contration timer app, and started timing the pains I was getting. They began at about 4 minutes apart, and then after a period of an hour dropped to around 2.5 minutes. Some how I felt EXTREMELY calm, something that I didn’t think I would ever feel when labour began. I shook Bradley awake, and told him “it’s happening”. To which he replied “whats happening?” – A total bloke thing to say!
By this time it was around 5:30am, when I decided to give the hospital a call to give them a heads up. The pain was still bearable enough to stay at home, I knew I would never be able to sleep with the pain, so I climbed onto my exercise ball to ease the pain. Bradley went back to sleep for a while, sprawled out across the bed. I decided to do the washing up for distraction, every 2 minutes I was leaning up against the sink in pain. I wanted back on my ball, but was bored stiff by it. I sat in front of the mirror throughout my contractions doing my make-up, pausing every two minutes to moan in pain. A few hours passed by and it was soon 9am, I decided the pain was becoming unbearable, and the contractions were around 1.30 minutes apart, I rang the hospital again and they told me to make my way in. I reminded the lady on the phone that my birth plan included a water birth, and she said she’d make sure the pool was clean and ready for when I got there, but sadly, I never got my water birth.
Driving to the hospital was uncomfortable and scary, knowing the next time I would be back in this car would be with my baby in the backseat. I don’t know why but Bradley took this early outing as a great chance to grab a McDonald’s Breakfast on the way to the hospital. So there I was, sat in McDonald’s Drive Thru, in labour, casually having contractions whist waiting for his Mc Muffin. Let me tell you, the smell of egg and fried food whilst in labour is atrocious.
As soon as we arrived to hospital we were was taken straight up into the room I would have Theodore in. No birthing pool to be seen. She decided to do some general observations before making the decision about a pool, as the last 4-6 weeks of my pregnancy had flared up my blood pressure and heart rate meaning I was in and out of the antenatal unit. As always my heart rate was around 110bpm, which it always has been, my resting heart rate is between 95-110bpm. Obviously I had no proof of this (they didn’t believe me with this until I went home 6 days later), so they said no to the pool, and I was put on monitors for the rest of my labour.
I was given a load of paracetamol and just told to relax. Now, if someone tries to tell you to relax whilst a watermelon sized human is pushing its way through your body you would drop kick them all the way to China. Bloody woman. She looked relaxed though, I glanced over to her at one point sat on the stool dropping to sleep with her head falling out the palm of her hands. Then I look over to my right and there Bradley is, dropping to sleep in his chair. Bloody Bastards.
It got to around 1pm and it was time to take off my knickers (glamours I know). I had a lovely downstairs exam to see how far along I was. I don’t know what she was doing down there but I swear she was digging for gold, she could have lost her wrist watch if she went a little further. I was 3cm dilated, to me this felt ‘the right amount of dilated’ (is that even a feeling?!). I was in pain but, I was coping at that point.
Two hours on it had become 3pm, and the pain was reaching new levels. I was given a diamorphine injection in my thigh to quieten the pain, but I found it didn’t help much. I told her I was in a lot of pain, and that I felt a tonne of pressure. I asked if she could check how far along I was now, she seemed hesitant as she said “you don’t seem that far along”, to her surprise I was 9cm dilated! “Oh!” she said as she had her hand up my vagina, “maybe I should get things ready” (little did she know, her shift would finish before this baby would arrive).
The pain suddenly started to rise. By 3:30pm I was on gas and air. This is incredible stuff, it made me feel drunk one minute and sober the next. When I was taking the air I felt like I had no pain relief, it wasn’t until I took a breather when the contractions finished did I feel high as hell. I remember chatting absolute shit to Bradley and him and the midwife were laughing at me as I told some ridiculous made up story.
The next couple of hours were full of intense pain. All I remember about this stage was laying on the bed gripping onto the side handles near my head. I was gripping so hard my nails and hands were turning white from the pressure and the bed handles were becoming wetter and wetter with my sweat, yum.
5pm came around and I was 10cm dilated, in other words fully dilated. Which by the way, is the size of a full bagel. NOT the bagel hole, the actual bagel. Once a woman is fully dilated it can take anywhere from a couple minutes to hours for the baby to arrive. Well turns out mine was the later.
Waters, still not broken. She suggests I stand up and walk about throughout my contractions to use the force of bouncing along with gravity to break my waters. “STAND?!” I thought, this woman had been coming out with crazy shit all day. Well, that did not work. Whilst standing I started to feel the pressure to push, but for some reason I kept this too myself, even when she asked me if I felt the sensation to. I don’t know why but I just had this idea in my head that I wasn’t going to push even though I felt the need too. Something didn’t feel right in my head about the whole situation. I got to 6 o’clock and finally told her I needed to push, even though my waters had not yet broken. So, I had to push my sack out. This took around 20 minutes of pushing to be able to get it to bulge enough out of me so it could be broken. At around 6:30pm she nicked my sack with what I could describe as a crochet hook and out dribbled this tiny bit of water. I said “surely that’s not all my waters?” it was only around a half a cup of water. I thought how was my baby surviving in that tiny piddle?!
God knows. I got back on my feet to use the magic power of gravity to get this show on the road, this was the wrong decision, the sensation to push was much worse. I jumped back on the bed, and I literally jumped on to it. When I did a huge gush of mucky brown water came flooding out of me. I begun to feel myself panicking at this point, it felt like the beginning of an anxiety attack. I knew that if a baby inhales meconium the results can be threatening.
Due to this, I had to seriously get pushing, because the sooner he got out of me the better. At this point I was knackered, I had already been fighting a chest infection since the 20th of December and hadn’t slept since then due to being up every night coughing my guts up. I could barely hold my head up I had gotten so tired, I had come uncomfortable too, I didn’t know how I wanted to lay. So I took up the ‘frog’ position (glamorous), this is where I had the head of the bed sat up right, I faced the back of the bed, hung my arms and head over the top and balanced on my tip-toes. Now, I don’t know if you have ever sat crouched before on your toes, but after a little while, your legs begin to KILL. Imagine being in that position for 2 hours… I’ve got the strongest toes ever now, little balls of muscle. This is when the midwives took the gas and air away from me… I was NOT happy about this.
All this time I was still pushing, but I was so tired I wasn’t pushing as much as I could be. By this point it had reached 8pm. I had been fully dilated for 5 hours, wide open for infection for that long. I certainly should have had him by now. After knowing the midwives weren’t happy since many of them had been in and out whilst chatting to each other about my poor vagina, they sent a doctor in to talk to me. She spoke to me and asked me why I hadn’t given birth yet. How was I supposed to know?! I’d not done this before, all I knew was that I was the most exhausted I had ever been in my life. With my head buried in the top of the bed I heard her say the word c-section. She had told Bradley that if I didn’t made great progress within the next 30 minutes she would be taking me in for an emergency c-section.
When she said this I actually thought “thank god just give me one”. I didn’t want to go on any more, I was so weak and it hurt so bad, and I thought that would be the easy way out.
That’s how close I got to giving in, and I think without Bradley there with me I would have let them just cut me open. He said all the right things, the things I really needed to hear. He gave me all the mental power and motivation I needed to really really push. I channeled his energy through me, he reminded me that I wasn’t just doing this for me, I wasn’t just doing this for him, I was doing this for our son, and he needed to get out, now.
Thinking back to that moment now, when I felt his words fill my whole body with power and determination starts to make me well up. When I was completely on the edge, he gave me the ability to dig deep down inside myself and find something I never knew I had.
“Right” I thought, I was pushing this baby out and I was pushing him out now, and off I went, with this magical amount of power. Thirty minutes passed and the Doctor came back in to check on my progress, and she was completely shocked at how far I had come. “The end is so near” she told me. She went on to tell me that she was going to get really mean and nasty to me, and that I was probably going to hate her but it was for my own good. So the reinforcements begun, I almost felt like I was getting told off, but it made me push, god did it make me push. I’m so thankful for that woman, I wish I knew her name, I wish I could give her a big hug and thank her properly for believing in me, telling me I could do it, the wonderful woman who had full frontal view of my vagina… thank you.
She decided to give me a small cut to help get his head out since he was at an awkward angle. Did it hurt? Nope didn’t feel a thing. Would I care if it did hurt? No, it was for my baby and I was so ready for him now.
The doctor used these little things called wiggleyz (I think thats what she called them!), which were like a plastic pincher tweezer, well, a little bigger than a tweezer (a bit like forceps but a lot smaller), to put round his head to guide him out.
“One more push” she said. “One more push and you’ll be a mum”.
I remember the last push like I was reliving it now. The last push to get the biggest widest part of his body out. I never made a peep the whole labour, but GOD did I let out a high pitched scream on that last push. I can still imagine the feeling of my skin stretching so thinly. All my strength into one last push. The biggest push of them all.
Then there he was. Our beautiful baby boy. Born at 20:53pm on Sunday the 31st of December 2017. The moment my life changed forever, the moment I became a mother.