Thursday 8 November 2018

An Induction-Nola's Birth Story

Over a year later I am finally writing Nola's birth story, better late than never or so they say!

After giving birth to Eliot, a rather large 9lb 5oz baby in 2013, I'd had concerns through my second pregnancy that baby two was also going to be a whopper! In fact I was convinced that this baby was going to be bigger after hearing second babies are often heavier. My worries increased when a midwife discussed 'shoulders getting stuck' and booked me in to see a consultant.
I had a few appointments with the consultant and on the day before my due date I was given a sweep and booked in for an induction. I'd heard lots of various stories about sweeps and I can honestly say it was the most unpleasant experience! I was hoping the sweep would get things going but there were no signs of labour whatsoever. My due date 2/9/17 came and went then it was time to call the delivery unit on 5/9/17 to check what time I should come in to be induced. I rang after 10am and was told to give them a call back in the afternoon.
We made our way into London and went in to Pret A manger at Euston station for a coffee stop. I called St Thomas' at about 2:30pm as I'd been advised but they still couldn't give me a time to come in as they were 'very busy'. So the rest of the afternoon was spent hanging around coffee shops and worrying that they might not actually get me in.
Then finally about half six after we'd phoned them a few more times, they called back to say come in at 8pm. I was so relieved that the induction was going to go ahead!
We were sent to the antenatal unit where we were until about midnight until we went to the delivery suite and I was put in a bay with four beds, thankfully I was the only one there that night.
A midwife came to see me and get the induction process started by inserting a pessary. She checked my cervix and said it was closed which was surprising as when I had the sweep a few days earlier the doctor said I was about 1cm.
Finally on the labour ward in the most unflattering photo ever...pregnancy reality!
The night was very uneventful, I managed to get some sleep and in the morning I was moved to a room and the midwife looking after me for the day was called Lucy. There was no progression during the day and I spent it chilling in the room with a couple of walks downstairs and outside.
I'd been told that if things hadn't got started by that evening the doctors would make a plan to get things moving quicker.
A couple of doctors came in and checked me over, felt my bump etc. I explained my fear of having a 10lb baby but after having a good check of my bump one of the doctors said he thought I'd deliver an 8lb baby, good to hear but still didn't convince me! The plan was if things hadn't progressed by the early hours I would then have 'propess gel' inserted.
I did have cramps in my lower back that began around 9:30pm but nothing that was too painful. I tried to get some sleep and did on and off.
I think the cramps did up their game a bit but there was still no big changes. I should have had the pessary removed about 1:30am but the midwife had obviously been held up elsewhere. A different midwife came into the room about 3am, I removed the pessary (basically like a tampon) and the gel was inserted.
Shortly after things ramped up quite quickly, I'd had paracetamol, codeine and had gas and air to access but the contractions became so intense, they were much harder to cope with as they were very close together.
Gotta love that gas and air!
This time round I found the attitude towards pain relief much more laid back. When I had Eliot a natural drug free birth was very much encouraged and promoted. I had even included some of the things I experienced with Eliot's labour in my birth plan this time around, such as using lavender and clary sage but I don't think anyone actually looked at my plan! One midwife in particular was very supportive of pain relief and suggested different options and encouraged me to use something more to relieve the pain. Her attitude was very much 'why suffer in pain when you don't have to'.
It got to a point where I was finding the contractions incredibly hard to deal with and I remember being knelt on the floor doubled over in pain leaning on the bed, when a midwife I vividly remember from Eliot's labour came in. I had named her 'scary teacher' because she had been very strict and did in fact look like a teacher. During Eliot's labour she had basically told me I needed to calm down and did not want to give me any pain relief. Now I was basically begging her for diamorphine, this time she seemed much more sympathetic and friendlier, we had a fleeting chat about how we remembered her from our first borns labour and she joked she hoped they were all good memories.
Shortly after another midwife came in to administer the diamorphine. Having that meant I was able to get some more sleep, the contractions still woke me so I was also on the gas and air.
Everything from then was blurry as I was very much out of it from the diamorphine but at some point in the morning after handover they could see things had progressed and moved me to a delivery room. I remember having to stop in the corridor because of the contractions but eventually made it to the same delivery room that Eliot had been born in.
Lucy was my midwife again, she would be delivering my second baby along with a student midwife. I remember being checked and being surprised and disheartened to hear my cervix was only 4cm dilated. There had been so many intense contractions, what on earth had they been doing?! I asked if I could have a pool birth but was not allowed as I was being induced. At some point Lucy asked if she could empty my bladder but I had the joy of that experience after delivering Eliot so my response was a very dramatic no. She did make a deal that if I didn't go for a wee within a certain time period she would need to do it as my bladder could be making harder for the baby to be born.
Within an hour I had dilated to 10cm which seemed crazy as with Eliot it took hours!
It was time to push, at one point my blood pressure sky rocketed and I remember being given two tablets to swallow. My waters had still not broken at this point and Lucy asked if she could break them for me, I agreed and just as I did that I needed to push and my waters went all by themselves. Again this was very different from Eliot's labour and delivery, the waters were the first thing that went with him but with baby two they were the last!
Once the head had been delivered I remember Lucy very firmly telling not to push again just yet. Not long after our second baby was born and we were finally going to find out if it was a girl or boy. I will  never forget Lucy asking the other half 'what is it?' and his face staring, looking very confused for what felt like a lifetime before he said slowly, 'a boy?' Lucy looked at him in disbelief and said 'no it's a girl'. I mean WTF?! How hard is it to decipher an umbilical cord from a penis?!
Lucy said she was still covered in quite a bit of vernix which often means they aren't quite ready to make their arrival.

 I was absolutely over the moon to have a daughter as well as a son. I think I had the injection to help deliver the placenta, thankfully this time it didn't seem as difficult as when I had Eliot and came out quite quickly.
I eagerly awaited to hear how much she weighed, still convinced I'd birthed another 9lb-er. '3.505kg' said Lucy, I asked what that was in lbs and she said between 7lb 11-12oz. However when I converted the weight myself a few months ago, it actually is only 7lb 7oz, so my girl was even dinkier than I first thought and also the wrong birth weight went out on all the thank you notes!
As well as being in the post birth bubble I think I was also still in a diamorphine daze. When Lucy checked me over she said I had a tiny tear but she didn't think it would need stitches. YAAAASSSS! If you've had stitches you know how unpleasant they are but unfortunately after the senior midwife checked she said I would need one. Disappointing but not as many as I needed after having Eliot.
Then the day was spent enjoying my new baby girl in the delivery room whilst waiting for a bed on the postnatal ward. 

Grandparents came to visit and Eliot, who was thrilled and very excited that he had a baby sister.

Once again I felt very lucky that I had a very positive birth experience at St Thomas' and will always speak highly of the care I received when I had my babies. I was disappointed that I didn't get my water birth again but everything else went as well as I could've hoped for.

Here's a video of my experience if you fancy watching...

How were you birth experiences been?

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