I have been thinking long and hard on this peticular post, mostly because it is going to be quite long and I dont want to miss anything out. People always asks me, how was it? Do I say “Great!” or “Horrible!”? Because it was both. Do I tell the entire story or just parts of it? So for my own peace of mind and to satisfy people I decided to write about it.
Thursday 11th August
The 11 of august was exactly a week over my due date and I was getting really ready to get Jacob out. I had a midwife appointment that day, as you do, and she offered me a “strech and sweep”. That is a procedure where the midwife tires to loosen the mucus plug that is protecting the baby in order to start labour. It works in about 40-50% of the cases. But I was ready to try anything. It wasn’t painful, but not the least comfortable. I’m not going to describe it (it is quite gorey) but the basics is that the midwife sticks her hand up there. Fun, right?
After that she said if it works it wouldn’t work before 24-48 hours had past. I wanted instant results, but you cant have the cake and eat it too. Then she did my bloodpressure. “Its actually quite high” She said almost worryingly. “Are you a bit stressed about the strech and sweep still?” But I wasnt, as soon as it was over i didnt mind. So we waited another 10 minutes and then she took my bloodpressure again. “Its still high, I need to make a phonecall” In the end she and the hospital decided it would be safer for both me and Jacob to go in and be supervised. Me and Lister got to the hospital around 5 in the afternoon and then the waiting began.
Then they finally put me on the monitor to measure the baby’s heart-rate and my uterus movements. That went on for a couple of hours. Then the doctor came and talked to me and said “blabla, bla, bla, bla” and went away again. At 11 in the evening they came and said they would keep me in for the night and possibly start of the labour tomorrow. Of course they sent Lister back home.
They woke me up at 6 am to put me on the monitor *groans!*. They also harrassed the girl in the bed to my right (on the left was a window). So we sat there with monitors on *Beep* *beep* *beep* until breakfast came at 7. Then nothing happened til about 11 o’clock when my husband Lister came in, he brought books and magazines to read *yay*
Through out the day the midwifes came and went, I went back on the monitor a few more times. Then they decided not to start me off. I was gutted. This meant that in about 4 days I would have to came back in to hospital to do it then. Unless Jake decided to come out, which lets be reasonable, wasnt very likely. And I said so. And the midwife kind of agreed. She said it was the doctor who had made the decision, but she would go and consult other midwifes (i swear they are like santa elfs, there is millions of them everywhere!). Then an hour later they had decided to start me off (cmon make your mind up!). So at 4 in the afternoon I got the first pessary inserted. Prostaglandin was its name. The whole process of starting the birth off is first 3 pills or pessarys. The first one stays in for 24 hours, then you got a 2nd one which is in for 6 hours. After that you get a 3rd one which also stays in for 6 hours. Then they will break your water with this plastic thing that’s got a hook on the end and you go on this drip from hell (literally) which will make your contractions longer and stronger. Its called Syntocinon and is synthetic form of the hormone oxytocin (which is the one which gets your contractions going).
Anyway, Lister had to go back home again, nothing was going to happen until the next day anyway. In the evening me and two other ladies got talking, the one to my right was named Ellie and she had just found out she was 36 weeks pregnant and the other woman had had some weird pains. It made the whole hospital stay much nicer. (not their troubles, the company)
They woke us up again at 6 am for another monitor session and breakfast came again at 7. Me and Ellie spent most of the morning talking and complaining, haha. Then around noon Lister came in and kept us company. Around 3 o’clock Listers mother came to see me and brought loads of nice fruits. Grapes, bananas and apples : ) Then at 4 pm I got the second pessary, which wasnt half as painful as the first one. After a while Ellies boyfriend and mother came and the six of us had a really nice time until about 7 in the evening, then the three guests left and it was me, Lister and Ellie left. Didnt do much, besides me, I was pacing up and down the ward, I had had “period pains” since early morning which were getting really annoying.
I stood streching at the end of the bed and it felt like I had a bit of wind inside. Suddenly I felt a *pop* inside and I thought, weird! My wind usually dont do that, but I didnt think of it for another 30 seconds, then I suddenly had something trickling down my legs. “Erh guys, guess what just happened” I said. Ellie and Lister just looked at me. “My waters just broke” They still just stared at me. “I meant it! Seriously, my water just broke!” And then as I said that I had water pissing down my legs, soaking everything. In a whirlwind Lister got the midwife. “Your waters broke? Weird, thats not supposed to happen” And I thought, great! She had a frown on her face and went to get another midwife. This was about an hour before I was due my 3rd pessary, which they said I no longer needed. Now we had to wait, the labour would progress as normally.
My “period pains” only got alot worse and it turns out that the so called period pains is contractions. No one told me. To my horror they kicked Lister out at 11 pm. I was so upset, I thought the birth partners were supposed to be allowed to be with me. But no, that was only in the delivery room appearently. “So get me a deliveryroom!!” But they wouldnt do that until I was in established labour which is 4cm dilated.
If it hadnt been for Ellie that night I dont know what I would have done. It was so horrible! Every 4 minutes I would have a contraction lasting between 30-50 seconds. And not once did they check on me. How could they know I wasnt giving birth in there!? Was I supposed to go get them if I suddenly had a baby pop out? From 11 at night till 6 in the morning I was all alone (poor Ellie was stuck with me pacing beside her). They also said, try and get some sleep. Sleep!? It was so painful! I didnt sleep one little bit. I had my TENS machine on, but I hadn’t put it on soon enough so I was using it to drown out the pain with a really high setting so it felt like it was ripping the skin off my back. Without doubt the worst night of my life. Poor Lister sat in the car in the carpark all night, he refused to leave me. I felt so bad for him out there.
So at 6 in the morning the midwife comes in and offers me some paracetamol. And I basicly told her to bite me. I was really pissed off and broken. I was so sure I wouldnt let the contractions break me this early, but I was crying all over the place. I couldnt help they tears they just kept flowing. I said all i wanted was Lister. After about 15 minutes they let him come in “but be quiet!!” and then at 7 they decided to take me to the delivery room. The hallway down there was probably only about a 2 min walk, I spent about 5.
All setteled in the deliverroom I got confined to the bed, to my horror. My plan had always been to be mobile and walk around to try and speed it up. And I would have been able to if they hadnt forced me to be strapped to the monitor. They checked me, I was about 3cm dilated and then they put me on the drip. The one that makes the contractions stronger and longer. If I remember correctly it starts off at 2ml pr. 30 min, then 4ml, then 6, 8, 10, 12, 14, 16, 18 and finally 20. Obviously at 20 ml they are really strong and frequent.
The drip kept making the contractions stronger and stronger it was driving me mad. I could handle the pain for quite a while but everytime the drip increased the contractions became alot more fierce. They did offer me the epidural several times but I declined. I wanted to do this all on my own, it was a pride thing.
Also, Jacob was so restless inside that he kept going off the heartmonitor. They just couldn’t get his heartbeat most of the time. So they decided to put a clip on his head (which was still inside me!) They took like a hairclip and shoved it up there and stuck it to his head! Then taped the wire to my leg and plugged that into the m0nitor.
After a while it really felt like I was going to go insane. I started to blank the contractions and I lost control of my body. My feet would just wiggle and move uncontrollably and when I tried to stop it, it became so much worse. So I let my feet keep going. I remember seeing Listers face and he was white as a sheet poor thing. He seemed in more agony that I was. I was allowed to use his hand to hold on to. I only had a handle on the bed on the left side and believe me, holding on to it, trying to rip it off the bed, helps. So I did that to his hand as well. Which was alot of help, really! I remember I was so tired that in between the contractions I fell asleep, which only made them so much worse. I tried to eat a little bit, I had no energy, I think at some point I ate some stale cookies from Tesco’s. I really, really hated that drip in my hand. When it reached 20 i was so relieved. Finally finished with it. But no. they just put a new tube on and kept it going from 20. I had the gas and air, which was wonderful when the contractions werent so bad. The first time I tried it, it was absolutely awesome! I swear of they sold gas and air on can’s, there would be alot less drug problems in the world, haha. I kept chasing that high for ages! But when the drip came up to 16, it didnt take the pain away anymore. That doesnt mean I stopped using it, but it wasnt as effective as it had been.
So at 1 pm the midwifes offered me the epidural again and said that my bloodpressure had shot through the roof. It would be safest for both me and the baby to have it. But I was still so proud, No! I didnt want it. I didnt want to break, it would feel like I had lost. Lister told me to suck it up and deal with it, he didnt want to loose either of us because of my pride. It was only when he put it like that I thought that I could actually die. They had also said I was still 3cm dilated, which really demotivated me. All that work and no progress. I think for another half hour I kept fighting but I was in so much pain I was crying. They say dont scream, it only makes the pain worse. I wasnt screaming, but I sure as hell moaned. Twice I had to sit on the toilet with the pain and it was literally so bad. So in the end I “gave in” (which was good becaus the midwifes were getting worried about the bloodpressue. They gave me a pill that would lower it, but it only worked for about and hour before it got even higher)
The epidural was the best thing in my life right then. Having the epidural “done” was frightening! I refused to look at the needle, which Lister told me afterward were about 5 inches (about 15 cm) and really thick. I agreed to the epidural on one condition, that I was allowed the gas and air when they put it in my back. I was lying there on my side, high as a kite. I could barely answer the question when she asked “are you using the gas and air because of a contraction?” (they can only up it in when you dont have a contraction) “Needle” was all I managed to reply.
But when it started working, it was the most wonderful thing. All the pain was gone. People say they cant feel anything, which isnt quite right. You can still feel things, like contractions and pinches, but you dont feel any pain. You feel the touch but no pain. I dont remember how long one “injection” lasts, but I think it was about an hour, hour and a half. And then they top it up through a tube you got taped to your shoulder. Which is really nice btw. The epidural needle is replaced by a plastic tube in the back (that you cant feel) which the liquid comes through. And they keep the liquid in the fridge so its nice and cold. After I had the epidural my bloodpressure went down to normal and it as like I woke up from a dream. I could eat and drink and talk! The midwifes were really nice to Lister, they got him a little mattress he could sleep on on the floor and a pillow as well. I was able to nod off every now and then, and the drip was no longer bothering me. I think its pretty amazing that the epidural can let you actually sleep! Considering all the pain I had been in.
This kept up till about 8pm, when I was about 5 cm dilated. Then I suddenly started getting really nauseous, at one point I thought I was going to throw up. I got a wet cloth over my head to try and help the nausea which helped quite alot. But then they said it was very important that I went to pee, but I just couldnt. I had had enough top-up of the epidural that it had numbed my legs so that I couldnt lift them very high, let alone carry my own weight. They tried to get me up at one point but I just fell, both Lister and the midwife had to hold my entire weight. So after that I wasnt allowed to go pee, they put a catheter in me, so now I had a second tube coming out of me from that end, taped to my thigh. I was a right state in the end I tell you. Absolutely zero dignity left.
I had tried to be clever when I packed my hospital bag. I really didnt want to give birth naked, like some women said they had, but I couldnt keep taking my pants (underwear) on and off either. So what I did, was that I found a really old skirt that reaches just above my knee and wore that. That way I wasnt showing everything and they could just lift the skirt when they need to do something up there. The midwifes even complimented me on the good idea.
Then at 10 or 11 pm they checked me again and said I was about 7 cm dilated and I was so happy, almost over! And the last 3 cm went really quick, I still had that drip on. At about 12, midnight, they finally said we were ready. They put the back of the bed up and sorted things out. They said, when we say stop, you have to stop pushing. I agreed. It took about half hour of really intense pushing! They offered me to have a feel “down there” appearently the head was there. But I didnt really want to haha. Lister took a mirror and make me look instead. Then they said, last couple of pushes and I really gave it my all. Suddenly both the midwifes shouts “STOP, Stop!!” So I stop, but Jake doesnt. Appearently when I stopped pushing, Jacob just wiggled his shoulders and kept on coming. “Ops never mind” the midwifes said and delivered him. And then there was this wet smell in the room. I cant describe it other than a wet smell, slightly nauseating. Lister said “Bloody hell! Literally!” Jacob har torn a blodvessel on his way out as well as a nice 4inch tear, and blood was everywhere, like a river. They said i’d lost between 600-800 ml of blood and is to this day still anemic because of it. Thanks love! Haha.
I got him put on my chest in a towel and started stiched me up. One of the midwifes were really eager to show me the placenta, held it up so I could see the sack Jake had been living in the past 9 and a half months. And it was pretty impressive. I said I didnt want to see it, but im glad I did.
My 8lbs 8oz (3.89 kg) newborn love!
Lister around 2 am decided to go home and get some sleep, that was all I was going to do anyway. The midwifes tried to make me take a shower, but one; I couldnt walk yet. Two; I was really nauseous again. Three; I hadnt had any sleep since early saturday morning. In the end they just rubbed me off, and at some point some lovely woman came in with two pieces of toast and a cup of tea. I forced the toast down, just in case no food was what was making me so ill.
Thinking about the whole thing afterwards makes me feeling a bit, hmm, sad in a way. I would like to see what a “normal” birth is like. Without any chemicals making it harder or any injections. I like to think I could do that with just gas and air, even after this one. But I do recommend the epidural if you are afraid/stressed about the pain. It works wonders.
I keep thining that this was the most wonderful, yet horrible experience of my life and the 7 hours I spent alone in the ward was more horrible 19 other hours in more pain. Having someone there really makes the difference. My brave husband only left my side when I literally kicked him out the door to get some food for himself.
And yes, I would do it again. There is a time and a place that I will do it again, but atm. I got enough on my plate : ) And I LOVE it!