*Warning, this is a long post so you may want to get a cup of tea!*
I’ve been meaning to write this post for a while. I don’t want to forget the most important day of my life, the day I became a mum. I’ll try and keep it “light” but I’m not going to lie…
Now where to start…to start with I was expecting hell (its’ probably good to go inot this whole childbirth thing expecting it to be hard, this was you wont be disappointed!), extreme pain because my mum (who has had 5 children) told me that “it’s not worth me describing the pain because it’s so bad you can’t imagine it” and “female marathon runners can go faster after they’ve given birth because the pain doesn’t compare to the pain of giving birth”, enough said basically!
Like everyone, my priority was to get the baby out safely, my main worry was about my tendency to sometimes give up easily so I wrote myself some words of encouragement on my phone a few weeks before (this was actually helpful):
- You can do it
- Think of mini b and her safety
- The harder you push the quicker it will be over
- She will come out for sure
- A cuddle is very nearly there
- Think of Justin holding her
- It’s just one day
And this was my birth plan:
Yes: water birth, low lighting, cord cut after pulsating, dad to cut cord, placenta injection, vitamin k injection, skin to skin straight away, birth squatting or kneeling, ideally not lying down, walking around a lot during contractions, lots of explanations on everything
No: forceps, cord cut too quickly, lots of people in the room, pethidine
The reality was slightly different. To start with I was induced so a water birth was out of the window. The problem with induction is that it’s not natural and you’re in an environment that is not conducive to going into labour at all. Giving birth was one of the most natural, primitive, animalistic things I’ve ever done, instincts take over and when you’re trying to start the process of giving birth to your baby in a hospital cubicle next to woman who arrived with her homeless partner smelling of pee, another couple where the husband was watching the Football on TV loudly and screaming along to it (why headphones are not compulsive on labour any hospital wad I do not know!), well basically Mother Nature says NO!
This is me the day I was due:
This timeline will summarise the process:
- Due date: nothing
- Week after that: 1 or 2 sweeps (I can’t remember, all I know is they are painful and did nothing!)
- Due date +7: nothing
- Week after that: 2 sweeps but still nothing
- Due date +12: MIDWIFE STRIKE for the first time in nearly a 100 years, you would think the stress of that on the day you are due to be induced would be enough to put you into labour, well no! and they had forgotten about me and didn’t want me to come in but I did anyway and a great midwife got me a bed on the labour ward. Another sweep. Induction process starts at 5PM with a pessary.
- Due date +13: nothing except back pain
- Due date + 13, 10PM: still nothing except back pain, taken down to labour ward.
I was very bored of sitting here:
- Due date + 14 at 5AM: baby A born weighing 3.97 kilos with a head size that was off the charts unfortunately for me…
That’s all 🙂 Ha! don’t worry I’m not going to miss out the “action”!
Once in the delivery suite, my husband went to lie down in the bathroom as he couldn’t sleep the night before as he kept thinking I was going to call him to rush to the hospital, I just sat on the ball and my mum got the hot water bottle filled up (this was the only thing giving me some relief) because the back pain was really bad at this point but no contractions. My waters were broken around 11PM, I will never forget when the doctor said to the trainee “Would you like to do it?” and the trainee replied “I’ve never done it before”, I think the look I both gave them meant a thousand words, needless to say the doctor broke my waters.
This is when things get a bit less clear, I think I started getting some contractions and using gas and air but they weren’t as bad as the back pain. Things were not progressing very fast at all so the midwife suggested the drip to accelerate the contractions. I had read a lot about this (and randomly remember it from episodes of MTV’s “teenage mom”, I know I’m weird!) and told her that I will only have the drip if I can get an epidural as I know that you can basically go from 0 to 100 and be in terrible pain. The anesthetist then appeared and told me he could come back and give me an epidural in around 2 hours as he was busy. The midwife then suggested some diamorphine (heroin basically) for the back pain and the contractions that were getting a bit stronger (to be honest I don’t really remember contractions much at all). I accepted and off she went. This is where things actually get quite funny. Once the diamorphine kicked in a few minutes later, I started to relax A LOT and basically got high so here is Funny Labour Moment Number 1:
Me to husband: “whatever I say over the next few hours, you will not hold against me”
Me to mum : “when ISIS come to your house, do not let them in because they are bad people”
Me to both of them: “the trader from Hong Kong, who killed that prostitute is in my bed on labour ward and I’m not happy because he is using my TV card”, “if there were no men in the world, it would be a much better place”. So yes I solved the world’s problem’s whilst in labour…
And guess what happens when you fully relax? You go INTO LABOUR and dilate from about 3 cms to 10 in around an hour. This is when things started going a lot quicker.
A quick point before I move on about having my mum in the room. It was really important for me to have her there, despite having had 5 children she had never seen a baby be born 🙂 My dad did not understand this at all, he said childbirth was “an intimate moment between a couple”, well to start with there is always at least one other person in the room and I believe in getting all the help you can (yes I don’t work at the moment and still have a cleaner for example! Not exactly the same thing but you get the idea…). I’m really glad she was there, it meant twice as much encouragement, it gave my husband the opportunity to take “breaks” when he needed to, it reassured me and when she said she could see the head, I believed her! She was also there for a week after A was born (it was meant to be for longer but as A was late, it was cut short), again I don’t understand the whole “we want it to just me us as a couple bonding with the baby”, that’s all good and well when everything is easy but without my mum being with us the first week it would have been so much harder (I had to go back to hospital for an evening because my stitches got infected for example) and I’m pretty sure I would have given up breastfeeding without her support.
Anyway, back to the action! Suddenly things really got moving and I felt the need to stand up, ill spare you the details but the midwife told me “you don’t need to xyz, you need to push this baby out” and here comes Funny Labour Moment Number 2, I replied to this “I don’t need to push yet, the man is coming for the epidural and then you will put the drip in”, Midwife: “you are 10 cms dilated, you need to push”. Me (still a bit high on what is basically heroin): you don’t understand! the man will be here soon, we have to wait for him!”
I’m not sure when I came to my senses but it was time to PUSH!
A word on pushing, this was probably the most technically advanced/difficult physical movement I have ever had to do. I didn’t get it at all at first! I started by pushing into my throat and then I wasn’t really pushing etc.. So I took a moment to get my head around it whilst chewing on the gas and air pipe (at one point the midwife even asked me why I was inhaling the gas and air as I wasn’t having a contraction (I felt like a naughty school girl!). I pictured moving a bowling ball away from”down there” by blowing air out. Well I finally got it and pushed and pushed for I think over an hour but Mini B’s big head was not coming out without an episiotomy ( I wish this hadn’t happened as it has caused me so much pain and issues ever since). There were a few other Funny Labour Moments during all this, for example when I told the midwife (who was great by the way and kept me calm and on the straight and narrow as I was panicking and wanting to give up) that “I couldn’t do this and if we could please do this another day” , she replied that “no, and who on earth is going to do this if it wasn’t you?!”. At one point the baby’s heart arte was really dropping so she explained she was going to attach a monitor to the top of her head, I explained in turn ” that’s the one thing I don’t want you to do”, when I asked “why?”, I calmly responded that I had seen this on TV (good old one born every minute) and that it “looked horrible”. She attached the monitor despite this very valid objection!
So finally on due date + 14 at 5.09AM, mini B came out after a few last pushes that were really really painful, just when you think the pain can’t get any worse it does right at the end! Burning is the word that comes to mind…
However what “they say” is true, you forget the pain, the minute it’s over.
These were my thoughts when they handed her to me:
- She’s so big!
- She has so much hair!
- This is definitely my baby
By now, I had gotten so good at this bloody pushing malarkey that the most comic moment of whole thing happened, I pushed the placenta out so strongly it landed in the midwife’s lap. I knew I would get it!
So now for the gushy bit…nothing compares to childbirth. Not only do you feel superhuman but it’s overwhelming love at first sight, I knew at 5.09AM on November 26th 2014 that I would love her forever and want to protect her from everything, I didn’t think I could do it but I did and there is no way I could ever be that strong for something else unless I was saving her life in a disaster or something. Mini B, Bella Roo as I have said before, I love you more than anything and would do it all again for this moment: