Friday 1 November 2013

My Labour & Birth Story

Finally I’d reached my due date 24/6/13 but there were no signs of our boy making an appearance. To see if I could give things a kick start, I tried out some more of the old wives tales. I’d already been drinking raspberry leaf tea from 37 weeks and had been eating pineapple and drinking the juice  for few a days.
Off I began on a long walk, stopping for lunch on route and picking up a ‘healthy’ curry meal for dinner. No twinges, no broken waters, nada!
Dinner time came around, curry eaten, pineapple juice drank, had a raspberry leaf tea later but still no sign of bubs.
The rest of the evening consisted of TV watching and general faffings before heading to bed quite late.

It was about 2:15am when I awoke with the urge to pee, nothing unusual there at 40 weeks pregnant! I went to go to the loo but before I started a little water gushed out. Was this it? Was this the start of labour? I wiped and there was some blood which had to be part of the plug coming away. I wasn’t too concerned as every first time mum is informed their labour is likely to be loooong. So back to bed I went. Within a few minutes I had the urge to pee again. Exactly the same thing happened, more water, more plug!  This had to be it! Knowing it was likely to be a long process I went and tucked myself back in bed determined to catch as much shut eye as possible! It wasn’t long after that, cramps started in my lower back started coming and going every few minutes. I tossed and turned for ages without getting comfy. I got out of bed to take some paracetamol and fill a hot water bottle to try and ease the cramps, hoping I could get some much needed sleep. But no luck, it was inevitable, the sleep just wasn’t going to happen and I was awake for the rest of the night.

The cramps weren’t horrendous, I just couldn’t switch off and get back in to a slumber.

 My other half was oblivious and I didn’t disturb him as I needed my birth partner to be fully awake when things progressed.

As soon as it was a reasonable hour in the morning I rang the midwife to say I thought my waters had gone. It was Ailsa who had the phone (read about midwives in my preganancy tabs), after describing what had happened during the night she said she’d be over within the hour.

By this time the other half was up and I guess went in to denial mode, as he got ready and went to work just after Ailsa and a student midwife arrived.

After checking me over they were pretty sure my waters had gone so they made a plan. If I hadn’t delivered within 24 hours of the waters going I would need to have intravenous antibiotics as bubs was now susceptible to infection. So Ailsa called the hospital. If things hadn’t naturally progressed throughout the day I would go in that evening so the antibiotics could be administered.

 In the mean time I had to sit tight and monitor my temperature every few hours. If it became raised I needed to go to hospital straight away as it could’ve meant I had an infection. Ailsa also confirmed the cramps were contractions as my stomach was going hard.

I was given codeine to help with the pain, told to take a bath and try and get the sleep I was yearnng for.

For the rest of the morning I tried to occupy myself, I didn’t get round to the bath or sleeping.
Around lunchtime my friend Charlotte text to see if I still wanted to go for the walk we’d planned (that I’d forgotten about in my early labour). A work colleague had let me borrow their TENs machine and I was keen to get it on. There was no way I was going to be able to position the pads myself. When Charlotte arrived we faffed around looking up instructions for the TENs machine online. Eventually we found some and managed to get the pads on.  I’m not sure how much it helped with the pain but it did give me a sense of control, being able to press the ‘boost’ button when a contraction started. I did have problems with the pads peeling off as I had a top on rubbing them, plus it was a warm-ish day.

We went on our walk just down to the high street, bought a naked juice and a magazine to try and distract me, which I never got round to reading!

I’d been in contact with the other half throughout the day, he was obviously still in denial mode as he asked me if ‘I was sure I was in labour’. Apparently his work colleague was surprised I was off on a walk, so I couldn’t possibly be in labour!

I continued to use the boost button on the TENs to help with the contractions and Charlotte stayed with me as long as she could. Before she left I rang the other half to say I wanted him to come home as I was finding the contractions harder, I think it was because I was so tired.

When he was home he rang the midwife to see if we would be going to hospital and to say I was finding the contractions tough. Ailsa asked to speak with me and kept me talking (the test MW’s do to check if you’re in established labour) Because I was able to chat without any major problems she said I wasn’t ready to go to hospital.

Later that evening the other half rang the labour ward, who were aware we would be calling, to see if there was a delivery suite for us. There was! A taxi was called, we grabbed mine and bubs’ hospital bags. Then a struggle to get my shoes on began as I was VERY swollen. This was it! We were going to hospital to have our son delivered.

When we arrived there was another couple waiting in birth centre reception. The woman looked like she was much further along with her labour than myself which freaked me out. They were taken through to a delivery room and it was just me and the other half in reception. A few minutes later a midwife appeared and led us to a delivery room. I wasn’t keen on this midwife, it was a hospital midwife not one from the team I’d seen in antenatal appointments. The other half explained I hadn’t had any sleep and asked if there was anything they could do. She offered codeine and some lavender to sniff to see if I could drift off. I gladly accepted but it didn’t do much and I was unable to sleep.

For the rest of the night we were visited now again by a couple of hospital midwives to see how things were but we were mainly left to our own devices. So we chatted, people watched and I bounced on a birth ball (best thing ever!).

The time ticked by and it got to 2:30am, it had been over 24 hours since my waters had started to go. I should’ve been administered the IV antibiotics. Eventually the midwife I wasn’t keen on came in and said they had phoned the midwife on call from the team and she was on her way. I would be given the antibiotics once she had taken over my care.

So there was more waiting until she got there. When she arrived she arranged for the anaesthetist to come down to put a line in for the antibiotics. I started to feel the familiar dread of not being able to find a vein (read about my needle dislike). It turned out he found a vein in the back of my my wrist pretty quickly and was able to get the line in. My first lot of antibiotics began to drip in, I would need a dose every four hours until our baby was born.

Next was the internal examination to see how dilated I was, I hadn’t had one earlier due to the risk of infection.  For anyone who is dreading these it really wasn’t that bad and I wondered why I’d been so worried! Well that was until later… for now lets just say it depends on who is examining you!  I was 5cm, result! That meant I could get the gas and air I wanted and I was in established labour.

About 7am a student midwife called Julia came in to help.  My contractions were still quite far apart and irregular so the midwife gave me some clary sage to smell to help make them stronger. Boy did it do the trick to begin with! As soon as I took my first sniff I experienced a much stronger contraction and was thankful I had the gas and air to help me through.

At 8am the midwives swapped over. I was so happy when I saw it was Johanna, a midwife I’d met a couple of times before. Julia decided to stay and help out too.

I had a bit of breakfast and for most of the morning bounced on the birthing ball, this was where I was most comfy!

It must have been around 10:30am Johanna decided to do another internal examination. She asked if it I was happy to let Julia check first, which I had no problems with as the earlier one hadn’t been uncomfortable. Again, no discomfort and I was 8cm dilated. To be certain Johanna checked and was not as gentle! I felt so much discomfort I got on the gas and air. Johanna confirmed I was 8cm but was surprised as she said I didn’t look like someone who was 8cm dilated. Even though my contractions were quite far apart and didn’t appear that strong they were doing their job!

Bubs’ heartbeat had to be checked every 15mins and he continued to be happy which was a relief. One thing I dreaded was his heartbeat dropping and a horrible scenario occurring, like you would see on ‘One Born Every Minute’.

Johanna and Julia were both very supportive, Julia in particular chatted away to us both and showed the other half how to rub my back when I got a contraction.

Around lunchtime they decided to do another internal, I was happy for Julia to check first again and made sure I’d started on the gas and air before Johanna checked! Nothing much had changed so Johanna decided it would be best for me to be given the drugs to make the contractions come quicker and stronger.

They did their Job and I got to a point where I was finding it hard. I remember saying,  ‘I don’t want to do this anymore!’. Julia said that meant I was getting close to the end.

I  was shattered after being awake for over 32 hours but not long after I was ready to push.

I’d been adamant that I wasn’t going to be on my back during labour as it slows everything down, not letting gravity do its work. I also did not want to deliver on my back!

After pushing for a while on my knees, Johanna advised me to try on my back, sat up with knees up as she thought it would be better for me. I was totally in ‘a zone’ but remember a couple of doctors coming in and checking how I was getting on during pushing.

Eventually, after what seemed like an eternity of pushing our boy was delivered at 3.54pm weighing a whopping 9.5lbs.

My placenta needed quite a bit of help to follow and for me was pretty much like giving birth again. I also needed stitches as I had a little tear but was extremely thankful our boy had been delivered safely and no emergency had taken place. Johanna even commented that I’d had a good labour with my ‘lazy contractions’.

I can honestly say it was the most bizarre but natural thing I’ve ever experienced and not as bad as I expected! How you feel with the people delivering your baby makes such a difference too. I felt utterly at ease and comfortable with Johanna and Julia and  had every confidence in them.

I think the toughest thing was being in labour for over 37 hours with very little sleep!

The only thing that didn’t go to ‘birth plan’ was delivering in a birthing pool because I had the drip in. Although I think if I’d asked I may have been able to get in if it was free!

How was your labour and delivery?

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