I realised the other day that I didn’t have D’s birth story up here. As this was almost 2 years ago now (!), this will be a big test of how much I actually remember…
(Warning: frank discussion of blood and body bits)
Things officially started with the period-type pains during the Thursday-Friday night. I was coming up to 4 days overdue (and very fed up – of the people I knew due at the same time as me, all but one had already given birth) and had had this many times before – I’d even had a proper “I think this is it” that wasn’t, so I didn’t think too much of the pains. They made their way to my lower back, again, as they had done during the previous false labour, but I continued to ignore it and went back to sleep.
Then, in the morning, I had a show. I rushed back to tell husband about it – we had been due to leave that day for a family wedding and immediately cancelled plans. I still didn’t think much of what was happening (shows can be misleading!) but did let our families know – I remember my mother-in-law telling me a show was the start, and wishing me good luck.
I had recurring bouts of the pain during the day, but nothing particularly unbearable; I remember watching the online coverage of the Olympic torch going through my town from my spare room/office while it was really hot and sunny outside, while sat on my birth ball and talking to friends online. It was at about 6:30pm that I recall thinking “hmmm. This… Isn’t comfortable”, followed by having spaghetti bolognese for dinner. I remember looking at the clock somewhere around 8:20pm and wondering if I should ask the hospital what to do… I think I started timing around then.
I eventually called around 10pm. They told me to call them back when contractions were regular. They were anywhere between 3 and 10 minutes at the moment which wasn’t good enough for them; I was fairly sure they’d say that though.
The next few hours were fairly uneventful. I tried to go to bed, but sleep wasn’t going to happen. I bounced on my ball a bit, rolled around complaining a lot, and called the hospital again – I think it was around 3am on the Saturday by now. Contractions were still not regular enough for their liking, so they advised paracetamol (which did absolutely nothing) and a bath but said I was not in labour. We had learned that earlier in the evening the couple whose wedding we had been due to attend had been involved in a serious car accident – I remember communicating with them during contractions and trying to make sense of everything that was happening at once (they were ok, thankfully).
I ran a bath at 5am. It didn’t help at all :P I think at that point I started to argue with the hospital about coming in, and they told me I could do so if I wanted but to take my time as I was still not in active labour and it was much better for me to be at home. It was either then or just afterwards but I felt a sort of ‘snap’ and a gushing sensation. I called the hospital in a panic and said I thought my waters had gone… They told me rather exasperatedly (think they were fed up of me continuously calling by then :P ) to come in when we were ready so they could check it out. Then I went to the bathroom and discovered it wasn’t waters but in fact blood – a lot of it. I believe my husband called the hospital back and gave them this information; they told us to come in immediately. A lot of things happened at once, but all I remember is feeling very ill very suddenly and being rather sick. Not ideal. :P
It was around 7am when we arrived at the hospital. They were in the middle of a shift change so we stayed in the waiting room for a very long time. Another couple arrived after us and were taken up to deliver with only a short wait, but it was around 9am before I was taken to a room, despite my situation being described as “an emergency” due to the bleeding. They asked me to bring everything I’d bled on, so they could see how much there was… Couldn’t help but feel very stupid doing that :P
All the while, I’d been in horrific amounts of pain. Contractions still weren’t regular, they were all in my back, and nothing would ease them. I knew this was it though as I had started to feel vague urges to push. I had been told at my last few check ups that D was back-to-back – I’d been trying to turn him for weeks (hence birth ball) but the way my labour was going, I was fairly certain he hadn’t moved at all.
I was told that I couldn’t have any pain relief until it was confirmed that I was in active labour, which, from the tone of the midwife, was clear that she thought me another drama queen first-timer who she would send home immediately and get on with more important things. She said she would inspect me to see why I was bleeding then we could see what we would do. She told me I could not have the water birth I had planned because of this bleed, and, unbeknown to me at the time, I would continue as high risk from this point. I was strapped to monitors and D’s vitals were monitored. They could not find the source of the bleeding, so attributed it to cervical erosion caused by the impending birth – i.e. nothing to worry about.
The midwife sounded very surprised to find I was already 7cm dilated. “I told you so!”, I remember thinking. I was then allowed gas and air, and pretty much left to it. The midwife flitted in and out of the room and I begged for an epidural – which was refused every time. “I’ll have to get the anaesthetist” “it’ll take 20 minutes” and various other excuses were given. In hindsight, I’m glad that didn’t happen. I was allowed pethidine though, and almost cried when they told me it would take 20 minutes for it to take effect. Neither that nor the gas and air did anything for me at all, other than make me extremely drowsy. My husband kept alerting me to an impeding contraction as he could see the monitor readings increasing – I remember getting very annoyed about this because I just wanted to sleep! Whether I could have done so or not I have no idea :P
It was about 11am when they told me I could start pushing. I’d been at 9.5cm for a while and now I was ready. At some point previously I’d had my waters broken – can’t remember when, too drowsy :P I’d had absolutely no urges to push at all (other than vague twinges while in the waiting room) so it came as a bit of a surprise that I should start – everything I’d read and been told said that I would feel irresistible pushy urges when it came time to do it, particularly after waters breaking. It made all the sense in the world to do it once I did though. The contractions stopped hurting immediately and I focused all my energy on pushing. All the while, there had been some concern over D’s statistics. At some point the midwife team had attached a probe onto his head (through me) to monitor him more effectively. I was not allowed to move with all the monitoring that was going on; I’d had to lie on my back the whole time despite being told during all my antenatal classes that moving around, crouching down, birth balls etc were much more effective ways of moving labour along.
An hour later, nothing much was happening. The room had started to fill with people and there seemed to be increasing concern about D’s heart rate. It was evident that he was still back to back, despite reassurances that he would turn in labour, and quite stuck. Pushing was going nowhere and it became clear that continuing in this manner was putting D at risk. The midwife was consulting a doctor who I heard say something about forceps and c-sections, erk. I was told that I would be given an episiotomy, which I argued about and questioned the necessity of. They said it was indeed necessary and I would have an attempted forceps delivery. I was given strong painkillers (couldn’t they have done this before?!) and they began the forceps procedure. I remember feeling secretly glad that it was going this way as I honestly felt I couldn’t continue and this help was definitely welcome.
At that point however, my husband had to leave the room. He’d almost fainted (he’s a little squeamish ;) ) and went for a rest. I remember panicking about this – the doctor had just asked me to push and was delivering D’s head. She was asking me to continue but I refused without my husband present – someone went to get him and the rest of D was then delivered. I remember them discussing whether he’d turned or not – I think they expressed surprise that he had not, and/or did it as he was delivered.
The cord was clamped and he was wrapped in a towel and passed to me; I awkwardly sort of stroked him and said hello. I was given an injection for the third stage and remember seeing the placenta being removed and taken away. D fed well (albeit painfully) from the start but was put on a feeding monitoring programme due to having been born in distress.
We were home the next evening. We had argued a bit with the hospital about this because I felt it was pointless us staying any longer when I felt fine, D was fine and off the feeding programme, and we were pretty much just taking up a bed. They eventually let us go and we were able to attend the family wedding the following day – albeit via Skype ;)