Tag Archives: labour

My Labour Story 1

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… So my last post ended with me and Andy standing in our hallway while my broken waters pooled at my feet.

We must have stood frozen for all of 30 seconds before I launched myself into the bathroom to take off my (quite frankly gross) leggings and perch myself on the toilet.

I rang the maternity unit and explained what had happened so far, which is to say practically nothing apart from my waters going, meanwhile Andy stuffed my maternity bag in the boot and rang his friends to tell him Poker was off the table.

I then rang my Mum, text my friend to warn her I wouldn’t be here tonight, text my sister-in-law, text my Dad and sent a group message to my girl friends promising to update them but telling them it was unlikely anything interesting would happen tonight, whilst Andy helped me struggle into some sweat pants and a baggy top, then we were in the car and on our way to the hospital! It was 6.40pm and a full 15 minutes had passed since my waters had broken…

At 7.10pm, as we approached the hospital, I thought I felt the beginnings of contractions- though it was so hard to tell as my pelvic pain had, if anything, got a lot worse.

By about 7.20pm we were in the midwife led unit in the maternity department of Reading Hospital. I couldn’t tell you how I got there; Andy dropped me off at the front while he parked the car and I must have got the lift up and wandered in. The protocol at Reading is to check everyone at the midwife led unit and workout what to do with them from there.

By now I was definitely contracting, about every 2 minutes lasting a minute, so one minute on, one minute off. In between contractions the midwife checked to see how I was doing and announced I was no way near close (not even 1cm dilated) and would have to go home. It was 7.30pm.

This did not go down well.

We had been assured by my consultant and midwife that the maternity ward would NOT send me home. Due to what happened last time I was understandably very anxious to even be in labour let alone not be in a hospital. Luckily for me, Mr W put his foot down, told her I was going nowhere and after pointing out that she had said earlier I was the only person even in the unit, she agreed I could have a bath and stay.

We were left in the capable hands of a lovely care assistant, who let us choose between two rooms; the Spring room and the Autumn room (all four rooms are decorated around the themes of the seasons). We chose the Spring room as I wanted something light and airy- I was already hot and I knew from last time I was about to get hotter!

The room was large and newly decorated in fresh light greens and whites; there was a comfy hospital bed almost the size of a double bed with crisp white linen sheets and in the far corner there was a big oval-shaped bath. There was a TV, a radio and tea, coffee and water facilities; all in all it was very pleasant!

The care assistant ran a bath for me- which seemed to take a life time to fill due to its humongous size!- while Andy rubbed my back in between contractions. By now, my pelvic pain was at an all time high, rendering me bend in double, speechless. If I thought it was hurting before clearly I was dreaming! It got so bad I felt slightly light-headed and vomited into a bowl- nice!

The pelvic pain was still worse than the contractions which had ramped up in intensity and were still coming every two minutes lasting a minute, however, they weren’t as painful as the contractions I felt when having Harry- still- I was in too much pain with my pelvis to pay them much mind.

By 7.50pm I immersed myself in the colossal bath feeling no relief- this concerned me, at home if my pelvis was bad every time I had a bath it had helped- alas, tonight, the warm water would not be a comfort to me! I asked the care assistant if pain relief were possible (“Just some gas and air, please, my pelvis is hurting so much I don’t know how much more I can take!”) and she scooted off to ask a midwife.

The water DID help the contractions a lot. I thought back to how I always wanted to try a water birth and decided it would definitely be a positive experience if it weren’t for the horrendous pain I was feeling all across my back, thighs, pelvis, bum… basically everywhere from my belly button down to the top of my thighs! It didn’t stop even for a second, just continuous mind-numbing pain with contractions every minute on top to boot.

The care assistant came back alone to deliver the news- no gas and air for me at the moment, I would just have to sit tight…

30 minutes passed…

At 8.30pm I could take it no more, (“Can I just have some gas and air?!”) So off she went again and this time came back with a midwife who said unfortunately if they gave me gas and air this early it would mean by the time I was in “proper labour” I wouldn’t feel the full effects of it and as a form of pain relief it would be useless to me; however, she recommended that I go down to delivery suite for some diamorphine to numb my pelvic pain.

Although I was sad to be leaving my comfortable room and a little unnerved about returning to the delivery suite, to be honest, as pretty as the room was, the decor was not assisting with the pain and the thought of having my pelvis numbed was too much of a lure!! So Andy heaved me out of the bath and I hobbled onto a wheelchair to be wheeled down to the delivery suite where I would be checked and (god-willing) be given some morphine.

As I was wheeled into the delivery suite I willed myself not to panic. I hadn’t been back there since having Harry and did not want to unleash the scary mental memories that I had kept locked anyway. I had enough to contend with without a full-scale panic attack on my hands! I randomly mentioned to a midwife that I thought I needed to push or go to the loo.

I unceremoniously flopped on the hospital couch and pulled off my sweat pants so the midwives could check me. It’s funny how dignity flies straight out the window when you’re in pain… I had a brief mental flash of how when I was in labour with Harry I whipped off my trousers without a seconds thought of who was seeing what, but before I could get caught up in that memory something I heard brought me back to the room…

Midwife 1- “She’s 7cm!!”

Midwife 2- “How can she be? She was checked an hour ago and she wasnt even 1cm!”

Midwife 1- “No wonder she said she felt like she needed the loo!”

Midwife 3 enters the room…

Midwife 2 to Midwife 3- “She’s transitioning, get a room ready, we’ll wheel her in.”

Midwife 3- “Transitioning??!! Oh God, no wonder she wanted gas and air!”

Midwife 1 to me- “Looks like you’re almost ready to have your baby, Abii!”

Andy (to the room in general)- “Does this mean we’ll have the baby soon?”

Midwife 2- “This means you’ll have the baby tonight!”

Me (to the room in general)- “Can I have some gas and air now?”

*lots of laughter*

Midwife 2- “You can have as much gas and air as you want, Abii! You’re going to be a mummy very soon!”

End of Part 1…

My final 5 days of being pregnant…

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“Your baby weighs close to 6 pound 2 ounces and may be as long as 48.6cm long from head to toe. Your baby’s head is now cradled in your pelvic cavity- surrounded and protected by your pelvic bones. This position clears some much-needed space for her growing legs and buttocks.

Many babies now have a full head of hair, with locks up to 3cm long. And then, of course, some babies don’t have any hair at all! Speaking of hair, most of the downy coat of lanugo that covered your baby from 26 weeks has disappeared, and so has most of the vernix caseosa, the protective whitish substance that also covered her. Your baby will swallow her lanugo and exterior coating, along with other secretions, and store them in her bowels. This will become her first poo, a blackish waste called meconium.”- My Pregnancy App, Health & Parenting

As I write this I’m back at home after having my B-E-A-U-tiful baby girl at 38+5 weeks! Soon, I will update you all about my labour experience but for now I’ll fill you on what happened in the last few days of my pregnancy…

At 38+2 weeks, I had what I was hoping would be my last midwife appointment. The usual checks were done, including blood pressure, urine tests and checking baby’s position and heartbeat. Baby’s heartbeat was still floating at 152bpm, my blood pressure and urine came back clear and the midwife thought that baby was around 2/5ths engaged- moving further and further down my pelvis- which would account for the now crippling PGP I was feeling!

The midwife confirmed that if there was still no sign of baby on my due date she would give me a stretch and sweep to bring things along. The words “stretch and sweep” were enough to make me squeeze my thighs shut, so I was hoping that really wouldn’t be necessary! (Turns out I need not have feared!)

The midwife recommended some things for me and Andy to try to encourage labour; sex, walks, pineapple, spicy foods etc. At this stage my PGP was so bad I was willing to try anything! So after the midwife appointment we went down to the local nature discovery centre, which is about a mile around, and I hobbled around with my stick in one hand and Andy’s arm in the other! It took me 45 minutes to get around but weirdly I felt a bit better afterwards, like I had finally accomplished something! We continued the day by going for a Nandos (spicy foods!) and having an awkward romantic night in. The next day I ate a whole pineapple and felt slightly sick.

My labour like symptoms continued in the last few days; regular cramps, losing the mucus plug gradually and baby’s movements did start to reduce although every time she moved it brought tears to my eyes!

Then, on Friday 6th June, after just having a new carpet put down in the lounge and having my nails, eyebrows and toes done, I sat down. Hubby was due to go to Poker with the boys and one of my besties was due to come around for girlie night… Dauphine potatoes, fish and veg were on the menu. I was feeling grumpy but pleased that everything I had wanted to finish was complete.

Andy came over and gave me a kiss…

“Do you feel ok babe?”– This was what he had taken to asking me before he went out anywhere without me.

“Yes hun, I feel fine. Go and enjoy poker, it might be your last game for a while!”

“Ok, bye!”– He walks out into the hall…

I lean forward to grab a drink and hear an audible “pop” from my pelvic region, not thinking much of it, I lean back to take a sip of my drink when I feel something not quite right…

“BABE!!”– I shout, hearing Andy open the front door.

“Yes?!”

“… I think my waters just broke!“- I stand up and go to meet his shocked face in the hallway…

“Ok, my waters definitely broke!”– I say, as about a pints worth of water pools at my feet…

Suffice to say Andy did not get that last game of Poker…

Antenatal Classes…?

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Antenatal Classes…?

I’m hoping my fellow pregnant bloggers/mummy bloggers will be able to help me here, as I start to wonder about antenatal classes…

In my last pregnancy I didn’t end up having any classes, as I had H at 24 weeks spontaneously, this time round I have everything crossed that I’ll go to full term and have a “normal” birth.

A few people have questioned if I need to go to antenatal classes as I’ve “kinda-already-done-it” before. Well yes, I laboured for 21 hours and gave birth to an agreeably small baby (who also happened to be breech and positioned back to back with me) I would agree- I’ve “kinda-already-done-it”. However, preterm births are different to full term births… Right?

This is a hard one. The only person I trust to give me honest advice here is my mum who, sadly, had her first baby at 24 weeks the same as me. She said pain wise the preterm birth was actually worse.

She feels a combination of her body not being ready, the baby not being in the right position and the obvious mega stress of the situation, all contributed to more painful birth than when my brother followed 12 months later, weighing 9.5 pounds after a “reasonably good and speedy” 3 hour labour- but the beauty of child birth is that every one is different from the next!

Now I’m not too worried about the pain, believe it or not. There are far worse things than a few hours of physical pain- which will inevitably end- in my opinion. Having a baby is going to hurt. It’s accepted. But totally worth it.

Having H hurt a lot and I won’t try and deny it. But the pain was nothing compared to the pain that followed when all hope was lost and we realised we would never get to take our little boy home; it still hurts now.

I had no idea what to expect when I went into labour before- which probably explains why I went about my day as normal (work, home, cook, clean- denial) until the pain became too much, I discovered I needed to push and it dawned on me everything was not right.

I didn’t really have any great knowledge on pushing, panting, breathing, labour positions, pain relief options and to tell you the truth I’m still not 100% now!

The furthest I’d got in planning my birth with H was: “I want to try and rely on gas and air only if I can” and “That water birth thing looks like it’s right up my street- I love water” I thought I had months left to read up on everything I needed to know.

By the time we got to hospital I was fully dilated and pushing- too late for any pain relief, even gas and air- so I put on my best brave face, had a crash course on breathing from a lovely midwife and Harry was there little more than hour later.

My husband assures me I wasn’t a raving, yowling mess but then even if I was, he probably wouldn’t tell me. He’s far too nice for that. As for my memory it’s all fairly blurred. All I remember is stress, panic, pain, being boiling hot (it was the hottest day of year) what felt like a million people in the room and a tiny incubator being wheeled in ready. It was all stress, panic; uncertainty.

Not a very pleasant experience to say the least. I know you can’t completely control labour- it pretty much happens as it wants- but that experience was probably the furthest thing from what I wanted when I thought about having H and is definitely not what I want to happen this time around.

Which is why I want to do the whole antenatal-class-thing. One thing that surprised me when I was having H is how much breathing properly helped me! It calmed me, I could control the pain, I was focused and before I knew it the pain was gone.

I think the more I learn of these techniques the more prepared I’ll feel this time round; the more I’ll be able to cope and (hopefully) I can have the birth I want this time- a water birth.

I’m also the type of person that thinks knowledge is key (typical Virgo!). I know the more I know, the more relaxed I’ll feel about the whole thing. I like to be an expert in all things relating to me, this way I feel more in control of a situation even if I’m not!

So we’ve decided to take the antenatal classes but here’s where it gets tricky…

With my hubbies current work pattern and my annoying habit of not being able to stay awake past 8pm on a “school night”, attending a class is pretty much out.

I could always attend a class at some point on my own, but one of the reasons I want to get more clued up on labour and the like is so Mr W can help me during labour- he is my birth partner after all and I don’t think I would enjoy classes so much without him there.

What I would like to know from all my fellow pregnant ladies/mummies is, is there any DVDs, books etc on antenatal classes that you would recommend for me? Instead of me having to attend classes on my lonesome? Are there any other ladies in the same position as me? If so, what are you planning on doing?

All advice welcome πŸ™‚

As ever, thanks for reading.