I don’t think I can start a blog about becoming a mum without telling the birth story. Or at least the parts I can remember… by the way sometimes it’s ok to not remember every detail. I’ve come to learn that every mum loves a good birth story, and sharing their own. It’s like stripes that we have earned, our biggest achievement to date.
I was 11 days late, getting seriously fed up to the point I was obsessively bouncing on my maternity ball, binge watching Orange is the New Black, binge eating Jammy Dodgers whilst googling every way to get the baby to get a move on. Nothing was happening so I was booked in for an induction for day 12 overdue.
Day 12 arrived, I packed and repacked my hospital bag several times and put in the last minute snacks and drinks I thought I would feel like eating during labour (turns out you really can’t predict that) and the prized Terry’s Chocolate Orange that I had bought myself to have as a reward afterwards. Off we went to the hospital, only for the Midwife to decide that as I was only two more days off being ‘over overdue’ that I may as well hold out until then for the induction, to give my body two more days for the chance to go into labour naturally, as until then I had really had my heart set on giving birth in the Midwife Lead Birthing Unit – something you can’t do if you are induced. After the initial disappointment that we weren’t going to be meeting our baby that day, we decided to use the situation to our advantage and have one last dinner out at our current favourite restaurant Byron Hamburgers.
Day 13 arrived, and my husband decided he may as well go into work, due to the fact the baby wasn’t looking like he was coming naturally, and the induction was booked in for the following day. My best friend rang me and asked if I fancied going on a walk, she wanted to help get the baby out… So off I waddled to a lovely National Trust house and gardens near where we live. We probably walked a good mile or so, and I even climbed over one of those style things as you can see in the photo.
Well what do you know. I got home from the lovely walk, started making bangers and mash for tea and my husband came home. About 5 minutes after he walked in the door, I decided to have a quick sit down on the sofa and ask him how his day was. When I went to stand up to turn over the sausages, it happened, like in the movies “it happened”. My waters broke, everywhere, in fact I am sat on the same part of the sofa writing this right now (one handed with Wilf on my lap!). So Danny rang the midwife led birthing unit, they advised us to come in only when contractions were consistently 2-3 minutes apart. They hadn’t started at that point, so I went back to cooking dinner. Whilst cooking I felt the odd sensation but nothing stopping me carrying on, we ate and I went and had a bath and got into mega early bed. By this point the feelings that I was experiencing were definitely contractions and sure enough by about 9pm they were consistently 2-3 minutes apart so I got back out of bed and off to the hospital we went.
After 10 hours in the MLBU, a few dips in and out of the birthing pool (only a few – turns out I’m an absolute bitch when I’m in labour and get into warm water – who knew?! And I’d always wanted a water birth…!) 4 more hours of them spent pushing, I was whisked into the main delivery suite and put on the hormonal drip. It turned out I had only been pushing on 8cm dilated, not 10, therefore I needed to dilate more before I could push again as it was damaging to push before hand – great cheers for that!
A further 10 hours in the delivery suite, and two epidurals later (They put the first one in incorrectly – more on that to come in Wilf’s Arrival Part 2), I gave birth to 9lb 9oz of baby boy Wilfred via a whirlwind emergency C section (unfortunately never got to the magic number 10). So that’s the birth. Although we had to go through a long ordeal, I found the natural labour and the C section relatively ok probably down to having an awesome birthing partner in Danny and the fabulous staff at our local hospital, plus the helping hands of pethidine (which made me totally off my face happy) and later the epidural!
When I reflect back on this part leading up to his arrival, two things come to mind…
1 – I am glad I did a hypnobirthing course with Danny, it really helped us both remain relatively calm and actually the breathing techniques I learnt helped me not freak the F out when I was being wheeled into the theatre at the end. Plus I’ve kept in touch with the other mums which is lovely.
2 – Next time, if I want to, I will take every drug I am offered where it is safe and appropriate. Before the birth, I wanted the labour to be 100% natural, to do it with no pain relief etc etc. What I would say to anyone now, and remind myself if I end up in the situation again, is do whatever you want and also know that it’s ok if you change your mind mid labour. I know women who had nothing and got on fine, I know women who had everything and got on fine, I don’t judge either of them – do what you want. There is way too much pressure on women to perform this crazy miracle with no pain relief – and it’s funny that it’s actually pressure we put on ourselves so we can say “Oh yeah I was in labour for 1703 hours and I only had half a banana and a swig of Lucozade“. The midwives aren’t telling us not to have pain relief, the consultants aren’t telling us not to have pain relief, so WHY are we so precious about it? If you want a natural labour, fantastic, if you are happy to accept extra support and it is the safe thing to do, also fantastic. DO WHAT YOU WANT.
Personally, the first half of the labour was relatively breezy and the best part was the Pethidine. Yep I’ll admit it. Being off my face during labour ROCKED. I could feel the pain, I knew what was going on, but I was LOVING LIFE and I was totally cool with everything happening. It actually really made those particular hours a lovely experience, Danny and I just spooned on the floor mattress with our playlist on and every now and then I would just boost my little tens machine up a notch and relax again. Obviously this is my own personal experience, I know Pethidine doesn’t agree with everyone. The point I am making is do what you want, don’t feel under pressure to not take/take support if you don’t want to, and to be open to the fact your original birth plan may not happen. When I “admitted” to someone my love for Pethidine and how I really hadn’t wanted anything to begin with and originally was annoyed and disappointed with myself that I’d accepted it, they immediately made me realise how it doesn’t matter by simply saying –