Everyone loves a good labour and birth story. As I have had two very different experiences I am writing this in two parts.
Part One; Reuben
My pregnancy with Reuben was plain sailing.
I had the usual complaints that come with pregnancy; morning sickness, constipation and Pelvic Girdle Pain (PGP) were my main symptoms but I was thankful for them at the start. After having two miscarriages I welcomed every single pregnancy symptom in the beginning. It was only as I got bigger that I really hated having PGP as it meant I couldn’t sleep properly.
I was under consultant led care to begin with. Not because of the miscarriages but because my BMI was slightly over the recommended level. I was maybe two-pound over and so that meant I had to have a glucose test and see the consultant. When she saw me she handed me back to the midwives, she said I didn’t need to see her. Never mind.
My midwife had told me that the chances of going into labour on my due date were slim. I had also read lots of posts online about first time pregnancies tending to be late rather than early or ‘on time’.
My due date came and I was very uncomfortable. That night we went to bed and my contractions started. I waited a while as I had been having Braxton Hicks a lot. I remember Sam asking if I was OK and I said I thought my contractions had started, as it was really early in the morning it didn’t really register and then I heard him say ‘Oh’.
We did everything we were supposed to, timing the contractions etc. At the time I thought it was time to go in and so we called the hospital and they said to come in and they would check me over. Two centimeters dilated, you need to go home. So home we went.
I was on my birth ball, we were walking, I took baths. Boy did I take baths. It was the only place that I was comfortable. Sam offered to bring my dinner into the bath. I declined but I was tempted. Nothing happened that day.
We tried to get some sleep but I was just so uncomfortable and the contractions were steady and there but not increasing in intensity. I was so unprepared. I really thought that the contractions would start and then the baby would be with us within 24 hours. So I was completely at my wit’s end when they were still going two days later and the baby was staying put.
I couldn’t wee.
On the third day of still having the contractions I couldn’t wee. I needed to wee. I was nine months pregnant of course I needed to wee. But I couldn’t. No matter how much I tried I couldn’t go and so we went to the maternity ward again.
At the Delivery Suite.
We explained everything to the midwife again and she checked to see if I had progressed. Nope. Still two centimeters. Three days of contractions and still two bloody centimeters.
She said she needed a sample and so I tried. Whilst I was in the bathroom she proceeded to give Sam a little prep talk.
“She’s tired. She wants the baby out. She’s down. You need to keep her spirits up. Keep her going.” etc.
Sam told her, “she is tired yes but she needs a wee and hasn’t been able to for over six hours. This is not her being tired.”
And it wasn’t. I came out and said, I can’t go.
It was then that she said that I wasn’t leaving until the baby had been born.
She asked if it was OK to do. I agreed.
I immediately went to five centimeters. She was pleased and said we needed to keep mobile and it would progress.
Four hours later, I was still five centimeters. FFS!
She said that although they don’t normally like to intervene she thought it best to break my waters. We agreed.
Oh My God!
It went from manageable to completely unbearable and Sam had to really work on getting me to breathe. It was at this point the midwife realised that baby was back to back. No wonder it was taking so long. We could only hope the contractions became strong enough to turn baby ready for pushing. (Read about baby positions here)
I had gas and air. Obviously.
At one point Sam suggested I had a break from it. To any Dad’s reading this, do NOT suggest this! It is the worst suggestion you will ever make and could result in pain – your pain! I didn’t hurt Sam but I did growl at him that I was not giving it up before having another blast. That stuff is clearly good as I was apologising to the midwife that the house was a shit hole – oops.
Fast forward several hours and the midwives changed over. I pleaded my midwife to stay but she had to go and left me with the new one.
A catheter had been fitted at some point, I don’t remember when. The midwife decided she needed to strap me up to the baby heart rate machine. Everything was fine and she said it could be taken off and remove the catheter if I wanted but I told her to leave it. I was sick of being rolled back and forth.
She said she didn’t think I was coping and suggested pethidine. I knew I didn’t want an epidural and so agreed. By the time it was administered I was saying I wanted to push. She said that there was no way I was ready and I mustn’t push.
Sam says that what happened next, the sound that came out of my mouth, was something he had never heard before. My body was saying push, I was trying not to and it resulted in what can only be described as me moo-ing. Like a cow. Moo-ing.
The midwife took that seriously and checked, sure enough I was ready.
I don’t really remember much. The pethidine had kicked in and I was completely out of it.
I do remember being told to put my chin in my chest and push. And the burn, I definitely remember the burn.
And finally our bundle of joy was here. All nine pound of him.
We hadn’t found out the sex from the scans. I do remember asking Sam what we had as he had completely forgotten to check.
A Boy, he said. It’s a Boy!