I know some people find birth stories a bit full on but personally I love reading them so I thought I’d share mine before I completely forget it all!
If you’ve been following my pregnancy then you’ll know that I had a pretty easy time of it. I didn’t get morning sickness, no stretch marks, no heartburn. The worst I had was some knee pain towards the end. This doesn’t mean I was necessarily expecting an easy birth but I figured my body had handled it all pretty well so far so I didn’t think it would be too bad.
I kind of knew that I was going to give birth the night before it happened. I’d been in hospital a couple of times over the weekend to get checked out as I’d had some spots of bleeding and wasn’t sure whether this counted as a ‘show’ or not. I can’t really explain what it was but Sunday night I went to bed and just felt different. Thankfully, I slept really well.
My waters broke at about 7.30am (luckily I was on the toilet!) but I wasn’t having any contractions at this point – they didn’t take long to kick in! They started about half an hour after and I quickly downloaded an app to help me time them. I jumped in the shower and once I’d got out and was drying my hair my contractions were about five minutes apart and lasting about 40 seconds. I kept timing, made myself a cup of tea and went to sit in the lounge, expecting to be hanging around for a few hours before making my way to the hospital. During this time, Nick had already phoned the hospital to let them know what was happening and they advised that we stay at home until my contractions were 3 minutes apart and lasting about a minute. Before my tea had even reached a drinkable temperature my contractions were 3 minutes apart and lasting about a minute…..I was pretty surprised to say the least as it had only been about an hour and a half since my waters broke!
On arrival at the hospital I was taken down to a room, by which point my contractions were so strong I was having to stop in the hallway to steady myself until they passed. The hospital is only a 15 minute drive from my house! Once I’d settled into my room I was given a birthing ball, which I found really helped as it took the pressure off a bit and we attached the TENs machine I had borrowed from my friend. I was 4cm dilated already! Shortly after this, as my contractions got progressively stronger, I hopped in the bath (a regular bath, not a birthing bath), which was like magic and eased the pain way more than I thought it would.
Once I got out the bath I asked for gas and air (it was about 11am by this point). I was put on the monitor (as routine) to see how baby was doing and the midwife noticed that his heart rate was dropping between my contractions. I was monitored two more times in the space of an hour before they decided to whisk me into another (more serious) room with two midwives. By this point I had lost all sense of time and I don’t remember the walk between the rooms at all. I was vaguely aware that there were two midwives now but if you showed me a picture of them I wouldn’t recognise them at all. I couldn’t have told you who was in the room with me at all. While I was in this room, a new doctor would come in every half an hour for ‘fresh eyes’ to see how we were getting on.
I still had my TENs machine on but was too out of it to remember to press the button to make it work so took that off. I was still bouncing on the ball which was really helping, except my mum kept fannying around thinking I was going to fall off it. I actually quite enjoyed the gas and air. I loved the woozy feeling it gave. Maybe it’s because I don’t drink anymore so it’s not a sensation I get to experience often!
Around 4pm I decided I wanted an epidural because the pain was getting a bit much and I felt like I couldn’t catch my breath properly between contractions. Nick tells me I was given an epidural within half an hour of asking for it. In hindsight, we think this was probably because they already knew a c-section was on the cards. The epidural was the best thing ever. I could suddenly focus my eyes again and have a conversation. The pain literally completely stopped.
Just before I’d had my epidural they’d decided that they needed to attach a monitor to the baby’s head to check his oxygen levels as his heart rate was still dropping and wasn’t picking back up quick enough between my contractions. When the doctor came to check me he brought a bunch of students with him and suddenly the tiny room was full of people. My legs were hitched up into stirrups (so glam), they all huddled round and had a good look and attached the monitor. (I’d met one of these doctors the day before when I’d gone to hospital to check out my bleeding and he was really young and looked just like Prince Harry). The doctor and the students then left the room to discuss. When he came back 5 minutes later he announced that I needed an emergency c-section. The baby’s heart rate was still dropping and I was only 6cm dilated so my labour wasn’t progressing fast enough.
To be honest, I actually felt a bit relieved. I was given lots of forms to sign to say that I understood what was happening and what the risks were and then I was whisked off into surgery. My epidural was topped up and the doctors got everything prepared. Seconds before they were ready to start Nick was escorted into the room in full blue nurse scrubs and Crocs (haha!) and they got cracking.
It literally only takes a few minutes for them to get the baby out. I couldn’t really feel anything, they tell you that you’ll feel some pressure and tugging but I think my adrenaline was so high at this point that I was only vaguely aware this was happening.
Then we heard the most amazing sound in the world. My baby’s first cry. My eyes welled up and I looked over at Nick who was also fighting back tears. I couldn’t believe he was finally here. I don’t really know what exactly happened after that as I was still on the operating table but Nick says they took him to one side to clean him off and Nick cut the cord.
Then we were waiting around for the doctors to stitch me up while Nick and I stared dumbstruck at our tiny little man before I was taken into recovery. While I was there one of the midwives said that my umbilical cord was one of the longest she’d ever seen and he was properly tangled up in it which was probably why he was getting a bit stressed out. After about an hour in recovery I was taken back to the delivery suite where my poor mum had been sat waiting for about 2 hours. She left soon after and Nick and I had to hang around for a couple of hours so they could monitor me before taking me to the ward around 1am.
The ward was a bit of a nightmare to be honest. The first night was okay because I was still drugged up and totally exhausted but the second night was awful. Huxley was a little angel and slept for most of the night and I don’t think he cried once but there was a lady opposite me whose baby didn’t stop screaming so I was pooped by the time morning came! On Wednesday morning Nick came to take us both home but unfortunately we ended up in intensive care for a week instead. But, now we’re all home and safe and although we’re suffering with the inevitable sleep deprivation, we’re loving every minute.