Updated: Jun 11, 2019
TRIGGER WARNING - If you're not a fan of a bit of gore and talk of broken bones.. please don't read on. If you are pregnant and would like to remain blissfully unaware of how labour and delivery can differ from your expectations then please don't read on.
Who doesn’t love a birth story? I know I do. Although, mine is a bit vintage now, I thought I may as well share.
I had a pretty normal pregnancy, although I did take the advice from my only Mum friend a bit too seriously and literally didn’t move other than to empty the contents of my fridge into my mouth for pretty much the entire 9 months. So yeah, I put on a bit of ‘baby’ weight.
Frankie always measured quite small whilst in my tummy. But there was never any concern because I’m quite vertically challenged, and his dad isn’t the tallest.
I had hoped for a labour with as little medical intervention as possible but going off my Mum's long labours I knew it might not go this way. So let's just say I was pretty open to my birth plan changing.
Frankie was due on the 8thDecember 2014, I was convinced I would go over. But to my surprise, my labour started on the 28thNovember. I remember being upset because I had bought lots of ‘December Baby’ outfits and marked his birth month as December in his book of firsts. But, I needn’t have worried.
On the 27thNovember I went shopping and to the cinema to watch The Hunger Games. I did a lot of walking around that day and this is probably what started my labour off. When my contractions started on the Friday afternoon, I went into full nesting mode, I was on my hands and knees scrubbing the kitchen floor and I took my dog for a long walk. Massive error. I should have just got some rest.
By Friday evening I was rolling around in agony and begging the hospital to let me come in, my contractions weren’t really consistent enough, so I was told to stay at home and try to relax. My mind is a bit blurry with timings, but I think I first went in on Saturday afternoon. It was pretty clear I wasn’t coping with the pain but after examining me as only 1 or 2 cm dilated they sent me home.
So, I went home and tried to get some sleep before returning on Sunday Morning to find I hadn’t dilated any further. I was sent home again. I was fuming, and my head had completely gone, so we headed to McDonalds close by were I cried while stuffing my face with a cheeseburger. I begged Ben to take me back to the hospital and demand drugs.
We went back pretty soon and luckily, they had a free room for me. They gave me some diamorphine and a stretch and sweep. Shortly after that, I lost my plug and my contractions became more regular. I would definitely not recommend diamorphine, it took the edge off the pain and I managed to get a bit of sleep. But it was the strangest sleep ever, I was waking up often and having such weird hallucinations and when I was asleep I was having mad dreams. Not the rest I needed.
After about 12 hours in this room, I finally dilated a bit more and was moved into a room with a pool and had my waters broken. I absolutely loved my midwife at this point, she completely calmed me down, got me moving around and bouncing on a ball, she put on some calming music and massaged my back. I felt like I was gaining control. I was progressing nicely, and the midwife was sure that she would be delivering my baby before the end of her shift. I remember everyone talking about how brave I was being, and I kept asking if I was as brave as Katniss Everdeen (The Hunger Games). Of course, they said I was much braver than Katniss, and I was lapping up the compliments. The end of the midwifes shift was nearing, and I so didn’t want her to leave. I remember looking at my banking app and thinking about how much money I could offer her to stay! She very kindly stayed for another couple of hours without me bribing her with money. But, I was 8cm dilated for absolutely ages and the midwife decided it was time for her to go home, I don’t blame her at all.
At about 10pm on Monday evening. My new midwife thought I might progress better in the pool. I’m not a bath person really but I gave it a go and after about an hour I was close to 10cm and I felt like I was ready to push. I was told to wait a little longer. But then my contractions completely slowed down. I got out of the pool and the midwife examined me. To our surprise, I had gone back to 4cm dilated. I had no idea this was even possible.
By this point I had been in labour for 3 days. I was exhausted and completely out of it. I cried hysterically at the thought of having to go through it all again. I was moved onto the birth suite where I was given two options, C Section or epidural and induction so I could try again naturally. I chose the latter.
I was given an epidural and induced at about 1 am Tuesday morning. It was amazing, I couldn’t feel a thing and was fast asleep pretty much straight away. The only problem with the epidural was that I kept slipping down the bed, but I couldn’t move my legs to push myself back up. So, the nurses kept having to do it for me. By the morning I was feeling pretty well rested and I had progressed back up to 10cm.
At midday I was ready to push. Frankie’s heart rate kept dropping and he was showing signs of distress, so the room was filled with doctors and nurses. The end of the bed was removed, my legs put into stirrups and the bed was lifted so my bits were eye level for everyone. This sort of scene had haunted me throughout pregnancy, but I did not care one bit. The midwife put her hand on my stomach and told me when I was contracting so I could push. There was talk of an emergency C-Section, something I really didn’t want, so I made sure I was focused on pushing, I don’t know how long it took, it felt like 10 minutes, but I think it was more like an hour. I had an episiotomy and the doctor used forceps to help me out. Finally, at 12.30pm on Tuesday 2ndDecember, Frankie arrived into the world. Best moment ever and I quickly forgot about all the pain and exhaustion of the last few days.
The next bit is a bit of a blur, I remember having skin to skin with Frankie and Ben doing the same. I remember the doctor stitching me while whistling a tune, I had been forgetting to press my epidural button, so I could feel the stitches. Frankie was weighed at bang on 9lbs! I couldn’t believe it because he’d been measuring small throughout and he was 6 days early. I ate some grapes and then vomited them back up straight away. Then after a while, I had a sugary tea and the best toast I’ve ever eaten in my life.
I was moved to the postnatal ward where I stayed for the next 3 days, I was trying so hard to breastfeed, but it just wasn’t happening for us at all. I eventually decided to give him a bottle, so they would let me go home and try breastfeeding there. I never did get the hang of it and I really beat myself up about this. But Frankie was such a happy baby, I wish I didn’t get so sad about not being able to feed him myself.
My recovery from birth was pretty grim, I got infections, I was on a lot of pain medication and a few weeks after, when I had stopped taking medication, I realised there was a problem with my lower back. I went to the doctors and they told me I had a fractured coccyx. It must have happened when I had my epidural, either when I was slipping down the bed and the weight of Frankie was pushing down on my back. Or when he was delivered, because of the forceps or maybe I wasn’t in the best position and it cracked when I was pushing. At first, I was given a steroid injection into the actual bone and the pain of that was so not worth it. So, I decided to opt for physio and managing the pain of it through exercise. 4 years later and it still causes me problems, but it is manageable. I wonder if It will cause me problems if I were to have more children, but who knows?
I hope you enjoyed my story. Even though there were a few hiccups I would do it again in a heartbeat.