Giving birth is one hell of an experience and it’s crazy to think how different every woman’s story is when it comes to bringing their child into the world. Methods of delivery, pain relief, length of labour… No matter how many people you speak to, I don’t think you can really prepare for giving birth as it’s so unpredictable. So grab a cuppa, get comfy as this is going to be a long one and take a read all about my labour and delivery story…
Monday 19th November ’18: This is when I felt the first twinges of labour, at around 1 am. The only way I could describe them at this point would be some intense period cramps. As this was our first baby and we didn’t know what we were doing, we started timing my pains; little did we know that this was only the very beginning. Already they were only 5/6 minutes apart and lasting about 30 seconds to a minute. Charlie called work later that morning and said he wasn’t coming in and we spent the day timing pains and walking around in the hope that it would help things along. The pain was bad enough that I couldn’t sleep that night but I knew it wasn’t time to go in to the hospital yet as I was able to breathe through them; I couldn’t even lie down in bed as this made the pain much worse. I sent Charlie off to get some sleep and spent the night under the blanket on the sofa watching Mock the Week.
Tuesday 20th November ’18: After staying up all night because of the pain, I thought it would be a good idea to jump in the bath in an attempt to relax. Now, this may sound really stupid but I thought that my waters may have broken. You may think “how could you not know?” but I hadn’t done this before, I didn’t know what I was looking for. So I rang the labour ward at my local hospital and they told me to come in so they could check whether they had actually gone or not. I went in, they examined me and did a quick ultrasound of baby to make sure he was still head down. Obviously they hadn’t gone and I felt like an idiot, but the pains were still consistent at that point so they sent me home with some pain killers to help me sleep.
Wednesday 21st November ’18: Everything pretty much stayed the same. I didn’t get a lot of sleep and the pains were still every 5/6 minutes but the pain was definitely intensifying as the day went on. By this point I was so ready for it all to be over. It was also really frustrating as Charlie had taken these days off to be with me in case anything happened which meant he would not get as much time once our baby was here. If things didn’t progress overnight, he was going to go into work the next day.
Thursday 22nd November ’18: A week after his due date, something had definitely changed overnight. I managed to get a couple of hours sleep overnight in between more countless episodes of Mock the Week and once the morning had rolled around my contractions were so much more intense. We rang the Labour Ward again and were told that my contractions weren’t frequent enough to come in and that they needed to be coming 3 times in 10 minutes – great, more waiting! By 1 o’clock that afternoon I was in agony and serious need of some pain relief. I rang Labour Ward back in tears saying “I’m ready to have my baby now” and within 30 minutes we were through the doors and I was getting my NHS wristband put on. I finally felt relaxed, I wasn’t leaving this hospital without my baby.
After an initial examination, they found that I was 4cm dilated. I remember being quite proud of that, proud that things were moving along even if it was slowly. They also found that the baby was back to back which is why I was in so much pain when I tried to lie down. The midwife, a lovely older lady, did a wonderful job of making me feel relaxed and helped me start on the gas and air – brilliant stuff! After my first few puffs I remember saying to Charlie “I don’t know what everyone complains about, this is a piece of piss!” Oh lord, how naive I was… At around 7pm, the midwife suggested that I try some diamorphine to help me relax and rest. I was so sceptical as I didn’t want things to slow down but she said that if I didn’t take the time to get some energy back then there’s no way I’d last trying to push later on. So I agreed and after an injection in the leg I was as high as a kite. I don’t remember anything about this part of labour other than the fact that I could still feel the contractions but everything was so relaxed that I didn’t care. We’re lucky that we had a TV in the room as Charlie would have been really bored during this time; I was so out of it I couldn’t even form a sentence.
Friday 23rd November ’18: At about 1 am I started to come back down to earth and with that came some immense pain. I knew it wasn’t going to be long until I had to start pushing and I was so scared about the whole thing. By this time a new midwife had taken over, a lady who can’t have been much older than me. At around 2.30 am I started to feel the urge to push as it was just getting so painful – it is crazy how this urge just takes over you. It took a few contractions before I was pushing correctly and our baby was making his way down. I’ve never felt pain like it in my life! Between Charlie and the midwife, they were encouraging me with every contraction and were an absolute dream team, I wouldn’t have been able to do it without them. After pushing for about an hour, the midwife told me that the baby was getting a little bit stressed and so they were going to give me an episiotomy (small cut) in order to get him out quicker. I told her that I didn’t want that as the thought of a knife going near my lady bits scared the hell out of me! A senior midwife then came in and said if I didn’t want to be cut then I needed to get him out now. That’s when the 3 biggest, most painful pushes ever happened.
At 3.51 am, his head was out – my whole body felt like it was on fire. He was fully delivered at 3.52 am and weighed a chubby 9lb 7oz; I had just given birth to this little cherub and I couldn’t be happier. After a few seconds we started to wonder why he wasn’t crying and before I knew it they were whisking him off to a resus machine. Charlie went over to see what was going on and told me he had a little oxygen mask over his face. I can’t imagine the sight he must have had, our new baby wired up to a machine and me there with my legs in the air after just pushing him out! A couple of minutes passed, the longest minutes of my life, and finally he let out a cry. He’d swallowed a load of gunk on his way out as his head was in the birthing canal for a little too long and so he needed a bit of help to bring it all up. I’d had another injection, delivered the placenta and been stitched up after a 2nd degree tear (they might as well have just cut me) when finally I could hold my beautiful little boy. I could not believe that it was all over and any pain I was in at that moment just melted away, he was just perfect. My gorgeous little George.
If you’ve made it through this whole post then I applaud you and appreciate you sticking with it. This is quite enough for one blog post so I’ll pick talk about what happened next in a postpartum update.