2 months down the line, I finally feel ready and able to share my full birth story. I truly believe it has taken this long for it to fully sink in and for me to accept it for what it was. Now don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t a traumatic birth in terms of pain or complications but it wasn’t what I wanted nor what I was expecting. And it certainly wasn’t anything like my Birth Plan but we’ll come to that later…
At 40 weeks and 6 days pregnant I was booked into hospital after feeling reduced movements from baby for most of the day. I was told that I would not be leaving the hospital until baby was born. Firstly, woah. We were not expecting this. Of course, we were worried hence going into the hospital but after his heartbeat had been heard we thought we’d be going home to continue waiting for the little guy to make his appearance. Nope, apparently the universe had other plans for me. As I was overdue anyway luckily our bags were in the car but all I could think of was that “this was not how it was supposed to go, this was not the plan”.
For the next 2 hours the midwives tried to monitor babies heartrate and movements but couldn’t find him consistently or get him to stay still long enough to determine an accurate reading. I was asked to go for a walk to try and move his position, let’s just say it worked because for the next 4 hours he wouldn’t stay still at all so there was no way that they could gain a reading of how he was doing. I even had a drip in my hand feeding me fluid to try and calm him down…I couldn’t believe I’d come in for “reduced movements” and now The Boy was making me look like a liar! So at 7am the next morning the doctor came to see us and said that he was happy enough with babies movements and that the next step would be for me to be induced. After what felt like forever I was wheeled off down to the delivery suite, past the birth centre where I’d planned my drug free – music filled – water birth. Ha, what a bloody contrast it ended up being! Once we were all settled in I was given my first internal check by the doctor – ouch! I’d honestly never felt such a horrible pain in my life, to try and take the edge off I sucked away at that gas & air like my life depended on it but found that I didn’t really like it at all and decided that whatever happened next I wouldn’t be using it again. The next stage is a blur really. I remember having my waters broken by the second doctor, the first one it seemed couldn’t manage it. It’s actually really messed up that by this stage 5 people had seen/been inside my lady garden and I didn’t give an absolute care in the world. On top of Vagina Interference, I was leaking fluid at an untold speed. It just wouldn’t stop, clearly my belly was full of bloody water. But to make matters worse, it turned out that baby had passed meconium in my tummy, so now I had to be monitored even more closely. Birth – it’s degrading I tell ya! Once my waters had been broken the Syntocin was fed into my body by IV to get my contractions started artificially because The Boy was making zero efforts to meet his parents, this was just a total eviction on his part, poor thing. Now, no one tells you, not an app, not an antenatal class, not your bloody midwife, that having Syntocin to force your contractions gives you them at a pain level that is roughly 10 times stronger than a natural contraction. No one tell you that at all. All I do remember thinking is wow! This is what contractions were. I was struggling with the pain quite a bit but had no pain relief because you know – I could do this, or so I thought. The doctor was adamant that I would need an epidural at 4cm dilated and now I knew why, this was god damn awful. Why had I done this to myself? Why didn’t I have an elective C-section? When was this going to be over? When would I meet my baby? So many bloody questions. Absolutely no answers.
Reluctantly, I asked for some Pethadine. I needed something to take the edge off of this pain. It helped, marginally. It helped me sleep at least which was well needed but I did wake up still for the big contractions. Marks out of 10, hmm, I’d give it a 5.
After another internal and increasing pain, although I wasn’t at 4cm just yet, the doctors agreed I could have an epidural. Oh Em Gee. Why oh why do they not offer this as standard to everyone? This was amazing. I wanted to kiss the inventor. I wanted to kiss the anaesthetist. I could not feel a thing, in terms of pain anyway. My midwife kept showing me on the screen that I was having a contraction, it was amazing, I couldn’t feel the pain at all. I was able to talk to J properly now and feel a little bit normal. Well, as normal as you can with various drips hooked up to your body and leaking amniotic fluid. Now it was just a waiting game, they’d tell me when I needed to push they said…
Although things weren’t going to a plan that we recognised and no one knew from one minute to the next what was coming, I felt surprisingly calm. It would be what it would be. At around 9pm that evening it was time for yet another internal. This was the last one because it was found that I had actually gone backwards and was at 4cm but was now at 3cm. It meant only one thing. Emergency C-Section. The next stage really was a blur and a whirlwind. I was prepared for surgery, J was taken off to get her scrubs on. My body was shaking and trembling from the amount of drugs I had in it mixed with fear, adrenaline and wonder. The whole way down to theatre I just kept thinking that this was not how it was supposed to be. This was not what was supposed to happen. Equally though, I knew that by this point there was no other way it was going to happen. My baby was coming out of my tummy and one day when he asked where he came from, I wouldn’t have to lie!
The theatre was really stark and sterile, as expected but the atmosphere was surprisingly warm. The team were amazing and everyone made me feel so secure and so safe. I no longer felt scared. I felt ready. The screen went up, J was right by my side and we were ready to meet our son. In what felt like a matter of minutes he was here. He was lifted over the screen and I saw him, covered in goo and blood. Swollen from head to toe but so perfect. So beautiful. He was worth it, worth every bit of pain and discomfort I’d been through that day. He was whisked off, screaming, but as soon as he heard his Mum’s voice he was soothed. Once he was on my chest, I can honestly say that I didn’t feel that this was anything less than the perfect way for our boy to arrive.
Advice from one formerly pregnant woman aka me;
- Don’t plan your birth or if you do, be prepared for it to change and probably quite a bit.
- Say yes to drugs. All of them. The ones they offer you in hospital obvs. Not the ones from the man on a street corner.
- Forget if your legs are shaved or not. You won’t care. You also won’t care who looks up there, feels up there, talks about your lady garden with a team of people in front of you.
Peace and Love