Tuesday, 1 July 2014

My birth story

On the Thursday I'd spent a lovely afternoon with my brother. We went to Dobbies (a garden centre with an awesome cafe) and ate loads of cakes and drank loads of tea. We then traipsed around various supermarkets in Ashford trying to find half-decent Easter eggs as it was the Thursday before Easter and we were due to go to a family meal on Easter Sunday and, alas, there were only dregs left. By the time we went to the third supermarket, I was shattered and my bump was feeling really heavy so we headed home after we'd gathered enough eggs! I had a normal evening with Ruari and went to bed at my usual time, circa 11pm.
Dobbies cafe with my brother the day before my waters broke.
I was a little restless and was only really half-sleeping after about an hour laying in bed. I went up to go to the loo but when I got up, my pyjama bottoms were soaking... I was pretty sure my waters had broken, but I definitely didn't feel like I was in labour. (by the way, the waters were not at all smelly or gross, which is what I heard they'd be... literally was just water). I woke Ruari up, in a bit of a fluster and we rang the midwife-led unit at the William Harvey hospital. They said to monitor lost fluids for the next hour then call them back. I carried on losing fluid so I called them again and they told me to come in.

We made our way to the unit at about 2am; I wasn't in any pain whatsoever. The midwife took my blood pressure and strapped my belly up to a monitor which showed that I was contracting, but only very mildly so I think it was no wonder I wasn't feeling anything. After an hour of monitoring, the midwife examined me and confirmed that my waters had broken but I wasn't at all dilated. Confident that nothing was going to happen any time soon, she said it was safe to go home. After showing me around the unit, the suites and the dreamy birthing pools, she gave me some leaflets about 'PROM' - premature rupture of membranes and the associated increased risk of infection and high possibility of induced labour and caesarean section. She booked me in to be induced on Saturday morning (it was currently the early hours of Friday morning) but said that I had 21 hours to go into labour naturally, and if I did then there'd be no need for the induction. I really hoped that I would go into labour naturally as it'd mean I could still have a water birth which is what I desperately wanted after having finally been signed off my the consultant a few days prior as being low-risk enough to have a midwife led birth.

In the midwife-led unit the night my waters broke.
The next day, Ruari and I made the most of what was potentially our last childless day; we wandered around my favourite local haunt, Badgers Hill, then went to my mum's house and took loads of photos of us together then went home for a big sleep! Nothing was happening, labour-wise by the evening and I started giving up hope of my water birth and double checked that I had everything I needed in my hospital bag for the morning. By 11pm, bedtime, I resigned myself and just went to bed as normal, setting my alarm as we needed to be at the hospital for 8am.
Calm before the baby storm.
In the night, I felt period-like pains, so thought that maybe this was it! I'd hired a TENS machine from Boots so in the middle of the night, I had Ruari stick the pads to me and I tried to use it. However the 'contractions' were so mild that I just fell asleep.

We woke up in the morning and got ready to go to the hospital. I took some final photos of the bump and we calmly made our way to the labour ward. My first impressions were that it was definitely more hospital-like than the midwife-led unit, which was much more serene and relaxed. I was shown a bed to lay on, in a ward rather than a nice private room, and a midwife came along and asked me some questions. She was much more stern than the midwife at the unit and once she left, I had a little cry. I was just so disappointed that I wasn't having a water birth and was worried that the induction would be really painful, like I'd read online. Luckily that midwife never came back and was briefly replaced by a much chirpier one who made me feel loads better... apart from when she did what I think was a membrane sweep as well as inserting a pessary of hormones to encourage the cervix to dilate. That bit was grim. Oh and when she inserted my cannula and failed the first time. I still have the marks on my hand over 10 weeks later! She hooked me up to a monitory-thing that I'd been attached to the night before.
In the labour ward waiting to see if the pessary worked.
 Another midwife then looked after me looked after me who, thankfully, was equally as chirpy as the second one and she gave me IV antibiotics to help reduce the risk of the baby getting an infection now his surrounding were no longer sterile. Ruari and I walked to the hospital shop and I bought a couple of magazines and some Mini Cheddar salt & vinegar Crinklies (my favourite crisps) and Millions! When we got back to the ward, I had lunch; vegetable curry and a jam sponge pudding, which was actually more appetising than it looked.

At 3pm the consultant who I'd seen at the antenatal clinics came along and examined me... GAHHH.... but I was only 1cm dilated so she ordered for me to be put on the hormone drip. I was taken to a private room soon after and the drip began. Yet another midwife was now looking after me and she was veryyy keen for me to have an epidural, sort of as if she was on commission or knew something that we didn't know. I was still reluctant as, so far, I wasn't feeling anything and and an epidural just seemed like over-kill. I also really wanted to see if I could manage with just gas & air when I needed it. She popped in every 30 minutes to turn up the hormones and often asked whether I'd changed my mind regarding the epidural; I hadn't. My mum, brother and Ruari's mum visited us in the late afternoon and the mothers put pressure on the midwives to deliver the baby today (19th) because the 20th was Hitler's Birthday... Nevermind that it was also happened to be Easter Sunday this year and they're both staunch Catholics!

I was examined again at 8pm and, disappointingly, was only 2cm dilated so a doctor ordered for the drip to be turned up higher, as by this point it was at the maximum that nurses could administer without doctors' intervention. I was starting to feel the contractions but the pain was totally manageable. I was being looked after by my final midwife now, who wasn't pushing me for an epidural and instead suggested I have pethidine to help me relax and get some sleep as it seemed like nothing was going to be happening for a long time and I'd need to conserve some energy. I obliged and it was administered... in my bum cheek. The contractions were getting quite a bit stronger now so I began using the gas & air and tried to get some rest.

The next few hours were a bit of a blur. I remember not rolling back over after the pethidine was administered and just laying on my side facing Ruari as he was in a chair in the corner of my room near my head, and I remember using the gas & air whilst attempting to sleep. I also remember Ruari groaning about how hungry he was (standard Ruari) and his frustration that his mother hadn't stopped by with food for him so him calling her. I don't remember him leaving the room, but I do remember my midwife checking on me and asking how I was feeling and me saying that I felt like I needed to poo, her then rolling me over to examine me then frantically asking where my husband was and she insisted I call him immediately. In my insanely drowsy state, I managed to get his number up on my phone and started to call him, but I passed the phone to the midwife as I couldn't talk. She told him he needed to come quickly as the baby was on his way.

The next thing I remember was Ruari on one side of me and the midwife on the other telling me to push. I can't explain the feeling 'down below' but I don't remember it being particularly painful (maybe my brain's blocked the pain out) but I swear I felt Joseph's face, and the point when it was only half way out! I can't remember whether it was the afterbirth and the cord that I felt being pulled out, or the rest of Joseph, but it all felt really quick and Ruari cut the umbilical cord. I guess Joseph was whisked off to be weighed and cleaned off whilst the midwife showed us the placenta and the sac, which I was really keen to see. I don't remember being given the injection to make the afterbirth come quicker, but Ruari said I looked like I was going to punch the midwife in the face. I do, however, remember the stitches as I'd had a second degree tear. I had gas & air for that part too.
Joseph Ruari Batchelor was born at 23.13 on 19.04.14 at 5lb 14oz
Ruari's mum, my mum and brother all arrived, what felt like, shortly afterwards. I was aware of their presence in the room but unable to really talk or interact because of all of the medication. Joseph was put to my breast and he was feeding whilst my mum tried to peel his head away from me to take a photo - I remember telling her off for that!

I was soon transferred to a ward with 3 other new mothers and having a bath which soon became a blood bath, and I'd passed a huge clot which I was worried was more placenta, but all was apparently normal. My family left me, and Ruari later left me too for my first of two nights on the ward. Joseph was in a bedside crib, but he ended up sleeping on my chest for both nights as he didn't seem to like sleeping on his back and enjoyed cuddling up after feeding. I couldn't stop staring at him, feeling grateful that he was here and was happy and healthy.
Joseph feeding in the early hours... Me looking gross.
We called Joseph our Easter Bunny was he was born late on the Easter Saturday... Oh, and we decided to name him Joseph after months of indecision! He was observed every hour by midwives to make sure he'd not been affected by the IV antibiotics I'd been given, and we were discharged on the Easter Monday afternoon. It felt like I was in there for ages and I was itching to get home.

So that's my labour story!

P.S. Adding this to Play at Home Teacher's #Birthstory linky!

1 comment

  1. Wow - you seemed so calm from start to finish. You are braver than me - I had the epidural as soon as I had the drip before the pain even kicked in! Joseph is a lovely name and a gorgeous baby. Thank you for linking up your #birthstory.


Thank you so much for reading and taking the time to leave a comment. It really means a lot! Nicki x