Adeline's Labour Story
So far my posts have been about the three trimesters of pregnancy. They were all I knew about becoming a mummy and I chose to share them with you as factual posts to help you understand what to expect from each trimester (with a few personal touches about what had happened to me during each stage). That said, I chose to keep my feelings out of it. I'm not sure why. Possibly because I am new to this writing malarkey, or perhaps I was trying to be informative about what to expect from each trimester (something I struggled to find online myself), This time however, I am going to open up. I'm going full hormonal and going to tell my labour story...
I'm quite a matter of fact person. I am organised and love a good plan. Over the past few years I have relaxed (a bit) but I do get wound up if things change or if things happen spontaneously. So for me, the last few weeks of pregnancy and the waiting game were going to be tough!
I went on maternity leave at 36 weeks and spent those last few weeks organising, including baby clothing to wash, sorting the nursery, food to batch cook to pop in the freezer and I also planned lots of coffee mornings and lunches with friends all over London to maximise my social calendar whilst I could! This was all achieved in the first two weeks and then I had a week of watching box sets and relaxing at home.
In my mind (and I had been saying for a while) I expected my baby to arrive on 28th October. I'm not sure what it was, but I just had this instinct that was the day (a week earlier than my due date). And so for that reason, I planned nothing from October 27th onwards...
So everything was going according to plan. I had everything organised and I felt both well rested and also satisfied that I had made the most of my 'freedom'! And without boredom setting in. In these weeks, I was on a high. Buzzing at the thought of becoming a mum.
October 27th came and went where I didn't leave my sofa and watched lots of Grey's Anatomy! My phone beeped a few times with friends asking if I was in labour, but unfortunately I could only say no and went back to sobbing at the TV!
On the morning of the 28th, I woke at 6AM. I had been up in the night a few times to pee (which was out of the norm for me) and I had noticed that my show had returned (after having some a week before). I lay in bed chatting to my husband and we both decided I was mental to think that our baby would actually make an appearance on the day I wanted! So we got up and made porridge and watched breakfast TV while I bounced on my exercise ball!
If you have read any of my previous posts, I had mentioned that I had been in hospital twice during my third trimester due to contractions. These were basically like braxton hicks and nothing came of them. Well this started happening again around 8AM, but we made a plan that if they got worse, I would go to hospital but that my husband should head to work, taking my hospital bad in the car with him and I would call him if I needed him
I had a relaxing bath and by 9:30AM I thought I should call the hospital as the contractions were getting quite close together (as had happened previously). They were quiet so told me to head in.
I dried and straightened my hair, put a little bit of make up on and tidied the flat and was in an Uber to the hospital by 10:30.
Now things started to get a little painful in the taxi (I don't think the driver knew I was in labour though!) - so much so that when chatting to my bestie on the phone, I had to take a break during a contraction. It takes a lot to stop me from talking, so we took this as the sign that this was proper labour.
I got to the hospital at 11 and there was a queue! An actual queue of labouring women in triage! Four of us to one midwife and two beds! A truly British situation!
I started feeling light headed with each contraction, which made me realise it was time to call Andy to the hospital. I needed him. I needed support.
For those who know me, I muddle through. I don't complain and I just get on with things. I also think that I have to do things by myself. I don't delegate. I have a wonderful husband who will do anything for me, but I have a real battle sometimes to let things go and ask for help. In this moment I just needed someone there to hold my hand and massage my back. I let myself go and realised that having support so early into my labour didn't show weakness in myself but meant that I had someone to fight my corner. To look after me and allow me to focus on what I wanted during my labour while he catered to my needs.
Andy arrived at 11:30am just as I was about to be checked and as I was starting to feel rather faint. I tried to channel that I wanted this baby to arrive today and I hoped I would be further dilated than the previous woman at 2cms. I lay on the bed which gave instant relief from the light headedness and also gave me time to focus on my hypnobirthing breathing.
After being in hospital at 33 and 36 weeks with false contractions, I knew what to look for and could clearly see when I was having a contraction and could definitely now feel them too. The midwife examined me and announced I was 2cm! Damn it! I didn't want to go home. I didn't want to even get up from the bed!
However, the moment I stood up, I felt as though I really would faint. I couldn't really walk and felt like I needed the loo. I managed to go to the toilet but as soon as I came out I had to lie down. With no beds available, I found the only place I could lie down - on the floor of triage outside the toilet door. I lay there in the foetus position for almost an hour. Breathing. Ignoring everyone around at me (including other labouring women who were apparently horrified, a midwife who told me 'gravity will help your progress' and the woman who was seen before me who seemed to have now made a stand to stay put so that she didn't lose her place in the bed queue to me who seemed to be making more or a drama than her!)
That hour was hard. I had the sweats due to my blood pressure dropping and at midday my waters broke. Apparently I announced this to the whole of triage and said that it felt like a water balloon had burst in my leggings.
The advantage of having your waters break is that I had to be examined again! Woohoo! A bed! This time I was 9.5cm!! That's right! 2cm-9.5cm in one hour! Screw you midwife and your gravity! Lying on the floor rolled up and rocking like a child worked for me!
I was then asked what my plan was! PLAN! At 9.5cm did I need to have a plan!? Surely the plan was to push?!
I wanted a water birth. And I was relieved to hear that it was empty and I could go in!
Luckily I did manage to get into it at 1:30pm. And I felt like a new woman. Instant pain relief and I relaxed so much! I could talk to my husband and my assigned midwife and focus completely on each contraction and breath. The pains plateaued for an hour and I got to really enjoy the pool!
At 2:30 came the transition stage. The part where most women scream 'I CANT DO THIS ANYMORE!!!!' I was no different! I couldn't breathe properly and sounded like a cross between a cow mooing and a pig snorting. Sounds I never knew would come out of me! My contractions were every 30seconds for a minute! During this time my midwife was struggling to hear my baby's heartbeat, so I had to try and stand up for the 30 seconds between each contraction. This was hard. And the heartbeat couldn't be found and so I had to try and climb out of the pool and on to the bed.
My midwife remained completely calm during this and helped me focus and at the same time, she hit a panic button and by the time I was on the bed with my legs up in stirrups there were 10 other medical professionals in the room. I was told to push, which strangely I found a lot easier in this position than in the pool. The pushing started at 2:50 and my baby made her appearance without assistance at 3pm!
This is when I then blocked everything out. I was waiting for that cry. There was no cry. I knew the baby had been in distress but I didn't panic. I just waited. Staring over at the incubator where there were three medical staff and my husband working on my baby. To help her.
After what felt like a lifetime, there was the cry! Thank god!
I don't know how long it was but the consultant came over to me and discussed what was happening - he said 'She was born with her cord wrapped around her neck and wasn't breathing. She needed 5 resus breaths and was being warmed and rubbed to bring her colour up'
My response to him was: 'SHE! HER! IT'S A GIRL?!?!'
Apparently he had already announced that when she was born but I had blocked every other noise out until I heard her cry! I was so convinced that I was having a boy that it took ages to get my head around this! I still can't believe it now!
I got to see her for all of 2 minutes where they placed her on my chest to help her breathing before she was taken up to NICU.
I had complications after her birth. My placenta got stuck and I needed to go to theatre to have it removed. Part of me was gutted that I went through childbirth with no pain relief whatsoever but then had to have a spinal block to have my placenta removed, but I kept positive as I had a brand new baby girl up in the Neo natal unit that I needed to be with.
Unfortunately though, I didn't get to see her for a whole 24 hours! There were 6 emergency c-sections that night. YES 6! So I kept getting bumped down the theatre list.
I couldn't go anywhere as I had clamps between my legs and a placenta stuck and my daughter couldn't be moved out of NICU. My poor husband was back and forth between us (and got stuck between the security doors many times!)
I finally got to theatre at 2AM. 11 hours after giving birth! My blood pressure had dropped a lot and I ended up losing quite a lot of blood as some of the doctors and midwives had come in throughout the evening to try and pull the placenta out. None of whom were successful. (I'm sure they had a pool going in the staff room!)
After theatre I had to wait for the spinal block to wear off and then had to have a blood transfusion.
Finally at 3PM - a whole 24 hours after giving birth, I was allowed up to the NICU to see my daughter. My husband had already named her (we had two names to choose from) and I completely agreed with his choice.
She grew stronger over the next 24 hours and I was able to then have her with me. We then got to take her home just three days after giving birth, despite our complications.
I have never been prouder of myself, my body and my mind and cannot even describe the attachment and love I have to this little girl. I couldn't have done it without my husband either - especially those 24 hours when I couldn't see her.
Looking back, it was a bit of an ordeal and there were some scary parts but it was just a short journey to having my baby with me.
Lexi Evelyn born 28th October 2016 at 3PM, weighing 6lb 7oz.
No pain relief
Early labour 3 hours
Active labour 3 hours
After birth 11 hours
Written By Adeline