Long time, long long time!
My last three blog posts were written during the hardest, most amazing and crazy experiences of my entire life – my pregnancy. I’ve thought about writing out my birth story countless times and I’ll be honest, I could barely even tell my friends about it while holding my tiny newborn in my arms. It was beautiful and frightening, amazing and horrible, wonderful and brutal all wrapped into one. Here goes…
Reduced fetal movement plagued the last two months of my pregnancy, I had experienced it in my second trimester but it really ramped up in my third. He was lazy and boisterous all at the same time – the days where I didn’t feel his hardcore kicks and instead replaced by slow strange movements I’d grow concerned. The fourth episode concluded in a scan and the discovery that I had increased amniotic fluid which was a tell tale sign of late onset gestational diabetes. I was terrified and panicked – all I wanted was my little boy in my arms to keep a close eye on him and nurture him to make sure he was safe. I felt like I was failing, I know now that I wasn’t but at the time, it was just awful. They decided to induce me at 37 weeks + 1 day on Wednesday, 16th May 2018.
We were told to call on the morning of my induction date to make sure that my 10am slot was still available for me – I called, they were quick to remind me that they were very short staffed and to come in at 1pm instead. I had already been awake the majority of the night from pregnancy and mainly, nerves. I decided to wrap myself up in some admin work until we had to make our way to the hospital.
1pm arrived, we arrived at the Maternity Hospital to be told to wait in the waiting room and that I may not be induced on that day. Safe to say, I was furious – furious that I was being put through potentially waiting further and for my tiny baby to be in a potentially unsafe environment for that much longer than necessary. I was the unsafe environment and it was hitting me hard that I needed to get this going. Luckily, they came through and told us there was a bed available – HALLELUJAH!
The induction process was the Cooke Balloon Catheter – I had been told at my antenatal classes that these were being trialled (the word ‘trialled’ always makes me feel like a bit of a guinea pig and I was worried) but hey ho, off we went.. With my legs in stirrups, I looked at Andy and I knew he could tell I was terrified. They had provided gas & air, surely this isn’t a wonderful experience?! It wasn’t as bad as I thought but unluckily for me, I had prompted to take the gas & air which made me feel a million different types of nauseous. YAY. After what felt like 5 minutes but was actually 45 minutes we were on our way to our little corner of the Maternity Hospital to wait it out. The balloon catheter should fall out if you get to 3cm dilated then it’s go time – if it doesn’t fall out, you may need further assistance and of course, longer to wait. It had to stay in for 24 hours and as I was high risk I wasn’t allowed to go home – thank goodness I didn’t because the pain the catheter caused made me lose approximately 6 hours of time. I remember vomiting and the rest of the evening is a blur of pain.
Thursday 17th, we spent the entire day on the ward – I was contracting incredibly irregularly and waiting, waiting… We had been told that with the closure of the maternity unit, the labour ward was incredibly busy and we were pretty low on the list to be moved through. My balloon catheter was removed 25 hours after insertion and I was a “favourable 3.5cm” but no, we wouldn’t be going to the labour ward anytime soon and the only thing that would help me contract regularly was Pitocin (the hormone drip) which I could only have inserted on the labour ward. So I was stuck, contracting at 3.5cm for approx. 20 hours.
Friday 18th, I hadn’t slept since Tuesday night (and that wasn’t really sleeping), I’d barely eaten anything due to the nausea my intermittent contractions were causing and I had just decided that I was never leaving that ward, I was never having my baby (man, lack of sleep makes me dramatic) Luckily, just as I was losing my shit, at 4am, a wonderful midwife came through to take me to the labour ward – I shouted straight away that I wanted an epidural (NOT in my birth plan, but Wednesday evening showed me the pain I may encounter along the path to my baby)
The Labour Ward:
I got changed into a bee-a-utiful hospital gown and my waters were artificially broken. Hmm.. that wasn’t too bad I thought! Holy Jesus, my contractions kicked up a notch, with every contraction came a tidal wave of vomit. Poor Andy had to really step up to catch it all in countless cardboard hospital bowls – ew! My epidural was administered (in between vomit spells) I was so excited for the relief… it never came. The epidural had only taken to my left side and was only up to my knee – helpful! I had been warned that it may not work for everyone. A few anaesthesiologists later and we had managed to make it work up to my rib cage on my left hand side – I could still feel my entire right hand side. MAN that cold spray they use to check if you can feel anything is hideous! The midwife was begging me to let her start the Pitocin drip to increase my contractions but I was terrified and I just could not do it without trying to get this epidural to work! Five hours later and it had taken to both sides but was weak – I was okay with this. Mild relief.
So, you say some crazy shit when you’re in labour. My Mum had arrived by this point and I just remember telling my midwife I was “spurting” like a fountain – my waters were still gushing out of me and yeah, there was a lot. I was basically in a tiny little bed shaped swimming pool – it wasn’t too bad actually but my midwife was quick to change that!
I had read so many mothers mention how you just go into a bit of a rabbit hole whilst in labour, I swear Wednesday to the evening of Friday was just a blur of needles, blood, buttons, midwives, questions – I relied on Andy and my Mum for so much as I just was barely able to answer anything I was asked.
1pm came around and they told me I was fully dilated – this was a miracle to me as I felt like I would only be 4 or 5cm when examined! I did not, however, realise that I had to wait a further two hours for my little babe to make his own way down the birth canal before I could start pushing. My determination took a hit then and I realised that I had to deal with the contractions (my epidural was still patchy) for another two hours.
3.15pm – I got the go ahead to start pushing and my midwife talked me through 3 pushes to a contraction. I was determined to give birth on my knees and was told that given that I had an epidural this probably wasn’t going to be possible. I was DETERMINED – three or maybe even four tries and I was on my knees, I could barely feel my legs holding me up and was focused on holding onto the top of the bed with full force to ensure my numb bottom half would work with me!! I was told that when the head was coming I would be told to pant to ensure minimal or no tearing. Although, my contractions were still sporadic and he was stuck with just his head out for 6 minutes – the longest 6 minutes of my life. During this time it was also noted that he had his cord wrapped around his neck. The midwife was talking to my tiny babe as he was half in/half out! Lovely! There it came, my final contraction – unfortunately, my little babe was too quick for all the panting nonsense and zoomed out! 3.32pm and he was brought right up into my arms.
The labour ward was short staffed, we knew – Rex came so quickly that my midwife had no time to call for back up. It was very quickly noted that he was purple/blue and he hadn’t cried – why hadn’t he cried?! Andy cut the cord and he was scooped up and my midwife ran out of the room while a multitude of buzzers went off around us. As planned, if anything were to happen, my Mum would go with Rex and Andy would stay with me. There we were, just Andy and me, it hadn’t been that way for a while! Unfortunately, I didn’t imagine that this would be in a room with my blood spattered all over the floor.
What felt like hours but was actually minutes later, my Mum ran in to tell me he was fine and he had peed on the chief midwife – well done, Rex!
I suffered a third degree tear, with surgery and all I lost 1.609L of blood. I thought I was pale!!!
I still don’t believe he’s mine, I still don’t believe that I held him in my belly for nearly 9 months and then gave birth to him all on my own. My tiny human is 14 weeks and 3 days old and I’m still in disbelief and in awe of him every single day.
It was long – well done for staying to the end!