I absolutely love reading other people’s birth stories….and I mean I could read them for hours. Because they’re all different! Mu husband thinks I’m mad but I could easily even watch One Born Every Minute every time it’s on lol. Even though knowing that it’s made for TV and that’s why you get a lot of “screamers” and drama. I never get the screaming, and by that I mean, when you’re having contractions just go “aaaaaaaaaaaaa!!!!!” I mean what is that gonna do!???!? I was loud, I know I was, but the loudness was just a natural bloody effort from pushing. All I know is that my throat was really sore after.
Let me just start off saying that all my fears aside I had a lovely and a very healthy pregnancy. The usual 3-4 months of feeling sick every day but luckily I only threw up once, they say it’s worse with girls… Also, I didn’t put on much weight and pretty much the only thing that was growing was my belly. I didn’t even start showing much before 5 months. So that period when the sickness ended until my 20-week scan was more like “am I still pregnant??” kinda feeling.
One thing that did start to bother me was the fact that I didn’t have a consistent midwife until I was like 35-36 weeks pregnant and that sucked big time! Went all the way to the hospital to do my birth plan with one of the lovely midwives there because my own surgery “didn’t have enough time in my appointment slot”. Say what now?! At least for the last 4-5 weeks I had the same midwife as she came back from a sick leave. So yeah, overall all good, no swollen ankles or I don’t know what else. So that’s why when I read those articles about how horrible it is being pregnant then no, it was quite cool! The only thing that was horrible was the never ending heartburn as I ended up having 3 bottles of Gaviscon in the end I think, I needed it every night in order to sleep. But enough of that!
I was ready to give birth when I hit 37 weeks. Had my bag packed, I’d had all my classes and listen, I/we had allllllll the classes you could have haha – breastfeeding, normal antenatal ones, hypnobirthing course(!), even a special class for waterbirth! Went to see the Midwife Led Unit (MLU) for like 2-3 times lol. So you might get the vibe – I wanted a waterbirth at the MLU, in silence with some gas and air. Like…..I tried to meditate/talk to the universe to make that happen. I wanted to be in the birthing pool so bad! So yeah, I was ready, expect the baby was not.
On my due date I was replacing some tiles in the bathroom. I didn’t get any hints from the little fella that maybe it’s time to come out. I had had Braxton Hicks though since week 38 perhaps. But they just got me excited and then ended. I went for walks (couldn’t walk very far though without wanting to pee myself), I bounced on my ball, I talked to my belly, I tried to relax and let my mind go, I had baths even though my whole belly was out of the water. I tried drinking teas, aromatherapy, yoga, spicy food, reflexology in the end, “forced” my husband to have sex with me ahahahaa, after what he just walked around the house saying #metoo lol. So yeah, I tried everything…. I was 41 weeks and 1 day, it was a Thursday, I was booked in to be induced on Saturday. In the early hours of Friday morning, around 4am, my waters broke. Such a weird feeling but I was like “oh yeah oh yeah, this is happening”. So I was waiting. Too excited to go back to sleep but nothing was happening, my labour didn’t start. Therefore, it’s not like in the movies, that a bucket of water falls out of you and half an hour later you have a baby, voila! So after waiting for an hour I think, I called my “favourite place” – MLU – to ask for advice. They told me to come in for a check up at 7am. So we went, I was still only 1cm, so had nothing much happening, I got my FIFTH sweep. Pointless. So we agreed that I’ll go back once I have an established labor or they will have to induce me at the hospital side because of the risk of infection as my waters had gone (the 24hr rule).
All Friday I was just walking around like a lunatic just trying to walk and bounce this baby out. Yeah well…..it didn’t work.
I was booked in for an induction at 7am Saturday morning. However, I started having light contractions on my own 11:30pm Friday night, just when I was about to go to sleep. Part of me thinks that maybe if I would have tried to nap before during the day or just LET GO of trying so hard, maybe my labour would have started earlier. But anyway, I knew it was labour because the pain was different and more in my back and even though I tried to ignore it and go to sleep, sleep just wasn’t happening, it really hurt to lie down. So I just got up and came downstairs, tried to sleep sitting up….yup, that wasn’t happening either. My contractions didn’t get regular “in time” so my lovely MLU and waterbirth dream weren’t options anymore. What a shame.
Walked into the induction ward at 7am, finally got induced (progestin gel) at 9.30am, wanted to die from pain at 9.40am. That’s why I was so scared of being induced – there’s nothing natural about it. All I was told by my friends, who’ve experienced both, was that inducing pains are so much more intense. Natural labour wouldn’t just hit you out of nowhere like that, it gives your body time to get used to it (I guess?), ease into the process, not like BAM!!! Horrible. Nasty pain,,. And I have a high pain tolerance in my opinion.
So finally I was given paracetamol -“yaaay”. My contractions were so little apart it was horrible, I tried to time them but it was literally like 1 min on/1 min off just so I could breathe and then had to get back at it. Think the paracetamol took the edge off a little bit for some time but basically nothing was working, no position was comfortable etc. So around 3pm they luckily let me go and be in a bath for a while. Water did help, it was amazing. I still felt the pain but it was more like pulling not stabbing. I got out after 30 mins or so and then around 4pm things got real bad real quick. I was now officially about to give birth!
I couldn’t talk, I couldn’t look at anyone, was given some gas and air, thank god. I was also put on the antibiotics drip which was horrible because I needed both of my hands – rubbing my knuckles over my hips and back was the only thing that helped. The midwife came to check where I’m at and all of a sudden I was around 8cm and needed to be moved to the delivery suite. So what felt like forever (in reality probably 10-15 mins) they moved me to the delivery room.
I tried to stand up as long as I could because I knew that it’s easier for the baby to come out in that position, plus gravity and whatnot haha. It’s such a weird feeling!!!! It’s like I wanted to walk around on my tiptoes because it felt like something was gonna fall out of me and I wanted to jump in the other direction. The force though….
I got tired so they moved me onto the bed, I was still on my knees and holding onto the headrest while trying to get high on gas and air. That was my pain relief! I wasn’t even offered anything else and I think there wasn’t enough time anyway. But I needed more, so I created my own pain relief – pregnancy had made my nails nice strong and long. I didn’t even notice it but at some point my husband and the midwife started saying I’m gonna have scars like that. I was forcing my nails into my arms, my legs, my hips, my back. Anywhere where I felt the pain the most. So I was getting covered with red marks. But did I care? Hell no!
I had to turn around to a lying position just because I didn’t have enough strength to push while “standing”. It was much easier while seated. Then the good old “waiting for the head to come out” moment…. they kept saying to me “one more push and his head will be out”….. At some point I was just like “can you please stop telling me lies and just tell me the approximate time how much longer I have to do this” lol. Anyway, the head came out in the end. And then the rest of the baby didn’t…. Oh no, my husband says one arm was out as well…Suddenly there was like five people in the room, my legs up on stirrups…I didn’t understand anything anymore, I just wanted to finish this thing off. Apparently the little one had shoulders dystocia which means his shoulders were stuck. But after episiotomy, a massive help from the midwives/doctors and some more UNREAL pushing the baby was out and I nearly passed out.
Then. This little bloody baby boy was put under my top. I’m nearly crying now when I’m writing this but at that moment there I didn’t cry, I didn’t smile, I just tried to look at him but he was facing away, I felt so weak. This is all I remember, nearly lifeless. I always thought I will burst into tears but no, I had no energy. It wasn’t until much much later after I had had a shower and few bottles of water and some food until I could really, I mean really enjoy him and look at him. Actually I remember breastfeeding him for the first time and that was before the shower but it’s all a bit of a blur.
It’s amazing, such an empowering experience. Straight in that room my husband tried to joke like “one down, 6 more to go!!” Ha. And I was like nope. But already the next day I was like yup, I can do it again! I would like to do it again. So I had already forgotten all the discomfort. Plus I think I was lucky too, because I knew that induction can take hours and it can take a couple of days! And that was my biggest fear. But like I said my contractions got really bad after the bath at 4ish and Quinn was born 6.38 pm so not too much serious suffering if I think about some of my friends who were in pain over 24hrs!
So that’s that and I’m here now, can’t wait to be pregnant again. It’s just such an incredible experience. All of it!
To describe my labour pains though, I’ve got One word – back! All these 9 months I was terrified of what’s going to happen to my lovely “lady area” and how I’m gonna be stretched open… I was so wrong. No one ever talked to me after birth whether my baby was back to back or what but literally all I felt was this insane back pain from 9.40am and by the time the baby was crowing, yes, I did feel a bit of stretching and stinging but overall I didn’t know when the head came out. No “intense period kinda pain” or nothing like that. ALL in my back! So yeah, that was a surprise!
It’s just so true and funny what they say that your birth plan goes out of the window. And yes, so did mine. But one of the midwives who came to visit me at home after the birth said that she believes that babies really know when to come. For example, mine was considered a complicated birth due to his shoulders being stuck. So she explained that if I would have made it to the birthing pool and that would have happened anyway, they would have had to escort me from one floor to the other to the hospital side while the head was out! That actually has put me off having a water birth, ever! Even though I’m not allowed to now anyway…Because they say that once you’ve had it (shoulders dystocia) it’s quite likely to happen again. So yeah, I’m cool on dry land, thanks!
When it comes to hypnobirthing, I do think it helped. Because when it got really tough I just kept saying to myself “my baby and body know what to do” and tried to visualise my cervix opening and all that other BS, which is not really BS after all!
So here it is, 700 pages later I have now finished my birth story. And trust me, it was very different from the one I wrote for myself as a part of one hypnobirthing class. But does it matter? No. Because I got a healthy and happy baby boy and I’m just glad to have him in my life!
P.S. If you like reading birth stories too, check out Clemmie Hooper’s Gas And Air blog!!