My Birth Story (Part 1)
It’s taken me 8 months to be able to write this.
The birth of my son Nico was not how I imagined it, not in the sense that I didn't imagine the pain, the tiredness or how matter of fact everybody is about the fact that a small human is exiting your body! It was the fact that I thought I would be so connected to the process of giving birth but looking back on it, I felt like I was having an out of body experience. I had no preconceptions of labour. I didn't have a birth plan, I didn't want to say yes or no to any pain relief, I would just take it as it happened but I really didn't want a c-section, purely for the recovery afterwards.
I was 41 weeks and 4 days pregnant (it was a Friday) when we thought that I'd finally gone into labour naturally, contractions were every 7 minutes. I called my husband, Marc home from work and we headed up to the maternity assessment unit at the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford. The midwife assessed me and said that I wasn't in active labour yet but they were concerned about my blood pressure, it was running high. They admitted me to the maternity ward at 10pm and Marc wasn't allowed to stay. I stood in the window crying watching him walk back to the car and I watched him until I saw the tail lights disappear.
Fast forward to the Sunday, I was now 41 weeks and 6 days pregnant. Still sat in hospital. Still had high blood pressure. Still had no baby. The doctor came round on the morning round to tell us that they were going to induce me as there was no point sending me home to have to come back again tomorrow to be induced. We were excited and nervous at the same time, the last 9 months had been leading to this moment. All the daydreams about what our baby boy will look like, all the heated debates about names, all the planning, all the nesting, everything was about to come into fruition. Today!
We were walked down to the induction ward at 11am and poor Marc was desperately wanting to feel useful carrying the quite frankly ridiculous amount of bags we had. We were greeted by the most lovely midwife, Sue, who sat us down and started going through the procedure. She was getting louder and louder trying to drown out the woman in the bed next to us who was bouncing vigorously on a birthing ball and wailing. She inserted the gel and said that I was 3cm dilated but it was now a waiting game. Marc and I decided to walk to the hospital cafe and the contractions started. Well, I assumed they were contractions, it was a feeling that I'd never felt before, a bizarre tightening of your stomach. A wave that built and built and then subsided. I managed to breathe through them and remember thinking to myself, well this seems ok, I can definitely do this, this is going to be a breeze! We got back and the contractions were starting to intensify. Sue put me on the baby monitor to check baby was comfortable. He wasn't! His heart rate was erratic, 140, 210, 163, 200 beats per minute. Sue was concerned, I could see it in her face. She said that she had to make a phone call and she'd be right back. I started to cry, I like to say it was pregnancy hormones but this was the first time I'd felt scared. Actually, petrified. Marc was amazing, telling me everything I wanted to hear. Sue came back and said that she was transferring me to labour ward now, as an emergency. She started to unpack a cannula kit and said that she had to put one in before I went downstairs (labour ward is in the bowel of the women's building). She couldn't find a vein in my hands or my arms, ending up putting one in my forearm and blood spurting everything. I remember laughing, why? I have no idea but I like to think I was trying to make light of the situation. So, we were taken via the tradesman's lift to delivery suite and we were put into room 1. I could hear other women in the throes of labour and I felt like a little girl that was majorly out of her depth, I wanted to imagine that I'd feel empowered as a woman but I didn't. Sue left us and I felt like my mum had just walked out and left.
The new midwife came in and said that she'd need to put a new cannula in my hand to be able to administer the anti-sickness drugs, which I thought was strange as I didn't felt sick. She said that they were going to start the hormone drip to get labour jump started and try to break my waters. I laid down and she was fiddling around trying to get the hook in the right place to break my waters. I imagined this huge flood of liquid to come gushing out but nothing. More fiddling, nothing. She couldn't break them as baby's head was pushing down too hard and she wouldn't be able to do it without hurting baby. She put up the drip and connected it to my cannula and instantly, the contractions were so much more intense! Before, I could (fairly) easily breathe through them but this was take your breath away pain. There was no build up, just intense pain. I stood up. I sat down. I walked around. I bounced. Nothing helped. After a couple of hours, the midwife suggested that I try the gas & air. My god, it was incredible! It gave you such a feeling of confidence. I could do anything! I'm going to run a marathon right now!
I'm going to gloss over the next 7 hours, it would bore you to death but here is the summary:
Gas & Air is amazing but remember to breathe! I forgot the 'air' bit and nearly fainted.
Haribo, Jelly Tots and Gas & Air do not mix - cue multicoloured sick (I understand the anti-sickness tablets now)
Epidurals are amazing! Sadly mine didn't work properly and only numbed by right hand side, which was better than nothing!
They had to stop the induction drip 3 times due to baby's heart rate dropping and mine going too high
My temperature spiked and the doctors thought I was going into sepsis (cue insanely large JARS of blood being taken!)