Baby Isobel has arrived! Despite us having thought it was a boy, it turned out to be an absolutely beautiful baby girl who we couldn’t be more in love with! More on that in my next post. First I thought I’d do the labour story as this is one of the first things people ask about.
So our litte pumpkin arrived on Halloween at 6pm after a labour which went completely the opposite way to what I had hoped for and what I had in my birth plan. My birth plan and ideal scenario was that I would go into labour naturally when baby was ready, not via induction. I’d do the majority of my labour at the comfort of my own home using the yoga ball, moving around, using specific yoga postures, maybe having a bath and using my hypnobirthing and meditation methods learnt during pregnancy to stay calm and in the moment and to manage any pain. I would then go into the birthing centre at North Mid University Hospital where I would have a lovely water birth or at least give birth in an active position. I definitely didn’t want to give birth lying down on a bed (as this is counterproductive, better to work with gravity) in one of their amazing rooms which have a real home vibe with dimmed lighting and with my birth play list keeping me calm. I would go drug free or maybe some gas and air if really needed but definitely didn’t want an epidural as I didn’t want to be numb. I would breathe the baby out using hypnobirthing techniques with Andres supporting me. I obviously knew that things could happen which meant changes to this plan which I was alright with (or so I thought) but this was my ideal scenario.
So fast forward to Monday morning 30 October I was at home doing some DIY painting. Just minor touch ups, nothing too major. Suddenly I felt some liquid coming out of me and ran to the toilet. It wasn’t loads and I really couldn’t be sure this was my actual water breaking. I honestly thought it could have just been me peeing myself, as you know, pregnancy causes all kinds of fun things to happen! So I called the maternity triage and they told me to just come in and get it checked out just in case. I called Andres and told him I was going to go get checked out but not to get too excited as I was sure they’d just tell me I’d peed myself and send me back home again. I even drove myself as I thought I was fine and also I had no contractions.
Once I arrived at hospital and they checked me it turned out it was indeed my water. However, it also turns out baby had pooped in the water. Now if you don’t know your pregnancy facts, this is a sign of baby being in distress and means they will want the baby out quite soon to make sure everything is ok and in the meantime monitor the baby throughout. So suddenly I have gone from being low risk throughout my pregnancy to being high risk in a heartbeat. This meant:
- I have to stay at hospital from now until baby is born
- I can’t use the birth centre, I will need to give birth in the labour ward (instead of the homely birth centre rooms, this is a full on medical clinical room)
- I won’t be allowed a water birth
- I have to be induced, this leads to a more painful labour meaning it’s more likely I will need drugs and this also quite often leads to c-section delivery
- I will need to be strapped down with a baby heartrate monitor and contraction monitor so they can make sure baby is ok throughout, meaning I won’t be able to move around much and can’t have an active labour
So all of this just came at me at once and I just broke down as it was completely not what I wanted. This plus the fact that Andres wasn’t there with me and I just bawled like a baby. I called Andres up in a panic and ordered him to get his ass to the hospital right now as it was all turning to shit. Poor guy, it must have been such a fun phone call to get, ha!
So I got moved up to labour ward, private room at least which was better than having to share with others. I was told repeatedly that I would probably want an epidural as the induction gets very painful. I just kept telling them I wasn’t getting an epidural but that I’d be open to other options if needed. They strapped me down with the monitors, luckily wireless so I could at least attempt to move a bit. However, every time I tried to use any other position than lying on the bed, the baby’s heartbeat seemed to drop so I still spent the majority of my time on the bed which absolutely sucked. At about 6pm that day they started me on the pessary which is the first part of the induction. This was kept in for 12 hours until 6am in whick time I’d only dilated 1 cm. During this time, I didn’t sleep at all, I just lied there looking at the heartrate monitor, panicking each time it dropped but it always picked back up again.
6am the next morning, they started me on the hormone drip which is pure evil. It started out fine as the dose is really low at first which then slowly increases. At first I just felt minor contractions which didn’t bother me at all. What bothered me was lying on the bed. I was getting leg cramp and was getting stiff. I managed to convince them to let me sit on the yoga ball for a while at this point which was bliss! Sometime during this time the contractions picked up and started getting quite a bit more uncomfortable and when I was offered gas and air, I accepted and it was just what I needed. I managed for quite a while like this but when the dose got upped for the umteenth time, I was suffering and didn’t feel like I could take anymore. When I was offered Pethidine which is a morphine-like opioid and which I had said during NCT classes beforehand that I would definitely not use (ha!), I jumped on it. Honestly if you had offered me straight up heroin at that moment, I probably would have taken that as well. Still didn’t want anything to do with epidural though, stubborn as I was. The Pethidine basically made me high, I was still in control of my body and could feel everything but it just dulled it a bit to the point where it was manageable.
Then at about 16.30 (I think) I felt the urge to push. Told the doctor who checked and confirmed it was showtime! Tried again to be allowed a different position but got told to get back on my back on the bed as baby didn’t like it any other way (argh!!). Started pushing and this went on for about an hour. Eventually the doctor said they would have to help out using the ventouse ie a vacuum-assisted tool to pull baby out as due to the meconium (the baby poop), they needed baby out asap. So with a final push and the help of that, baby finally came out!
They quickly checked her lungs (because of the poop in the water) to make sure she was ok and then gave her to me. The thing I remember most is that moment when this slimy little baby is being put on my chest and I think that it’s the most beautiful thing I have ever seen. Somewhere at this time Andres tells me it’s a baby girl! We guessed the gender wrong and we now have a stunning baby girl! She cried briefly when she came out and then she was so calm and quiet (probably a bit high from the drugs!) but so so adorable! At some point they also gave me an injection to get the placenta out which I can barely remember at all. Only had a stage 1 tear so they did 2-3 stitches which again I have no memory of at all. After that, we were left just admiring our little baby. Eventually they moved us to one of the birth centre rooms where we got to spend the night which was amazing. I also had a midwife come help me every time I needed to feed her which was so helpful.
There are a lot of things about my labour I can’t remember. I have bits here and there that I remember of the entire thing but massive gaps throughout. I remember telling Andres at some point I couldn’t do it anymore and he helped me through it. He was a star, I couldn’t have done it without him. Partners are so important through this, much more than you might think beforehand. I remember the contraction pains somewhat but I think my body has made me forget some of it to make sure I do it again, ha! I do remember quite clearly the pain of the final stage with getting the head to come through and the relief when she was born.
Those last moments though, getting the baby’s head out push by push was something else. Not going to lie, it was painful. The female body is freaking incredible, how we can do that is insane and all women who have a baby deserve a medal (also goes for those that go through c-section as that shit and the recovery afterwards also seem hard as hell).
Although my labour went completey not to plan, I would still say I had a good experience. This is mainly because of the incredible staff throughout the whole thing, they were great. Also, once the baby is born, you just don’t care anymore how she got there. The most important thing is baby arriving safe and sound. I am happy I ended up not getting the epidural and I’m ok with the pain killers I used. I do believe that had I been allowed to move around throughout the birth, I would have managed with just gas and air as the few times I was able to move, it did get slightly easier.
So my advice to anyone about to go through this is have a birth wish list but definitely be prepared for things changing and once baby is born, you really won’t care anymore!