I thought I had built up the suspense long enough from my post earlier this week. So I decided this morning, one week on (can you believe it), that I would start to write Bump’s Birth Story. I have already provided a brief outline of what happened but over the next couple of days, in between catching up on sleep, being a milk machine and struggling to poo, I will post the full Birth Story in two parts.
WARNING: This is Bump’s Birth Story. Expectant mum’s don’t read this and think “oh sh*t” this is going to happen to me. It won’t. Every birth is unique. We all have different pain thresholds. Every one progresses differently. Please, please, please, promise that if you are an expectant mum that you won’t read this and get scared.
Birth Story Preamble
Using the word preamble makes me sound like a bit of a plonker but I couldn’t think of a better way to put it!
Those of you that follow me on Instagram will know that I posted a mild rant about the term “Birth Plan” a couple of months ago. I suggested that really the term birth plan should be scrapped and instead you should talk to your midwife about your “birth preferences”. I thought I had also mentioned about birth preferences in My Pregnancy Journal but I can’t find where I did- must be the baby brain tricking me.
W and I decided not to make a plan. I am the sort of person who once I have a plan I get upset and stressed if it is not followed. Knowing that with birth you need to expect the unexpected we decided that a birth plan just wouldn’t work for us. Instead we discussed our preferences. We also had a frank and open chat about what we would do if things didn’t go quite right. Hat off to our NCT course leader who initiated us thinking about this at one of our NCT classes.
With hindsight I am so pleased we just had a list of preferences, I really am. Our preference was that we would have one of the “home away from home” rooms at the hospital and Bump would be a water birth. Also, I wasn’t too sure I wanted pain relief. I wanted to do it the old school way. We had some reservations about an epidural but had decided if the medical advice was take it, I would take it.
As you will see, we didn’t get our preferences but what we did get, is a very healthy little boy Bump and at the end of the day regardless of the way they come out, the health of Bump (and W would say Mummy as well) is the most important thing.
Right, enough preambling, if you have got this far, well done. Let’s get on…
Sweep # 3
Shortly following sweep # 2, my wonderful community midwife offered me a further sweep on the Thursday. I jumped at the chance and even wrote a post for the blog about the fact that I had been offered a third sweep (this never got published). Would sweep # 3 start things off? Maybe, I went to bed for the next couple of nights praying sweep # 3 would work. I didn’t dare tell W but I really didn’t want to be induced on Saturday morning as had been arranged.
Sweep # 3 was planned for early afternoon. This was my first midwife appointment that W had not been too. Ironically work had become fairly busy for him and he was assisting two colleagues on a deal so couldn’t really get away.
Sweep # 3 was performed and much like my fellow Berkshire blogger, Lisa, I felt some cramping and twinges as I waddled the mile back home from the surgery. I had felt some twinges from sweep # 2 but this time it felt different. Was it time? Surely not? I mean we were now 10 days over and we had worked on the basis that induction was going to happen.
By the time I got home I sent a quick text to W saying things were happening and that we could be on. We agreed that he should stay at work for now. He works about an hour from home so I wanted to factor in his commuting time.
An hour later and the contractions were coming. I was struggling to stand up and when W rung I was finding it hard to talk to him on the phone. Great Western Railway being what it is decided last Thursday to have signalling issues so the trains were delayed. It took W what felt like 6 hours to walk in the front door.
I had telephoned the labour line and they advised me to have a bath and to start timing contractions. W found some bath salts which we had “acquired” from the Intercontinental at the o2 in London and ran a bath for me.
As I got into the bath we started timing contractions. Within about twenty minutes it was clear I was having contractions lasting 60 to 90 seconds about every three minutes apart. The bath really helped but I was in pain. I slowly got dressed and called the labour line again.
On the move
The fantastic midwife on the labour line told me she would ring the hospital. She was reluctant to send me in but when I explained we lived around 30 minutes from the hospital she said we should leave right away.
That car journey felt the longest ever. Thankful there were no holds up on the notoriously bad A34. My sister-in-law, herself a doctor, telephoned whilst we were driving. Her reassurance was great. I hate to admit it now but every time W spoke I told him to shut up (I used a lot stronger words!) and whenever he touched me I just wanted to slap him in the face.
When we arrived at the hospital a lovely lady stumbled across us in the car park. She helped walk me to the labour ward where I met for the first time, two of the most wonderful and amazing people I have ever seen in my life, my lovely midwives, S and K.
K took charge, she was in the last month or so of her training. S explained to W that K would be in charge tonight but should K need S’s help, or if things went wrong, then S would step in. S had been a midwife for over thirty years. Her experience, dry sense of humour and encouragement were great. I think her words when she first met me were “Well my love that stretch and sweep really hit the spot!”. She was so right.
First sign that my birth preference won’t be followed
As we stood in the reception of the labour ward I said to K I think my waters have broken. They hadn’t. Being truthful with you all, it wasn’t my waters, it was a whole load of gunk from inside me. K took me off to the loo and in between a lot of pain she helped me. W was left with S who showed him all the important things, where the gents was and where he should get tea and coffee from!
Back in the room K started my admission process. This is where I received the first sign that my birth preferences wouldn’t be followed. I really wanted a water birth. But it was a no go. Now I am not a large person by any means, ok I am not a size 6. I am average. A size 12-14. I was told that I was too heavy to have a water birth. Writing this makes me slightly upset but at the time I didn’t give two hoots. So no water birth for me. Oh well these things happen.
I then had my first examination. The good news. I was 4cm dilated and I would be staying on the labour ward. The bad news. Bump was Back to Back. S and K told me that Bump could well turn over the next couple of hours but they would keep an eye on me.
I must admit I couldn’t work out why I was in so much pain and only 4cm dilated. I felt like I was a bit of a wimp and I was screaming the house down. And yet I was only bloody 4cm dilated!! The pain was unbelievable. I’d like to think I have a reasonably high pain threshold, I have had my gall bladder out, which is apparently one of the most painful things and I thought it was ok. Why the bloody hell was this labour malarky being so damn painful? K told me she had had a back to back baby and that was why I was in so much pain.
S then suggest gas and air. I was so grateful. I almost jumped off the bed and kissed her. We ran through the pros and cons. I took my first breath of this magical stuff. Wow it is potent. I am boring in the sense that I have never smoked a splif and I don’t get drunk that often. But this magical gas made me feel like I was drunk. W said I started laughing. I went from not talking to talking at a million miles an hour in the space of minutes.
No seriously get off me
The first hour passed and I got used to the gas and air. But something odd came over me. I really didn’t want W anywhere near me. I seriously couldn’t stand his face. K was the only person I wanted near me. I feel really bad now. Seriously bad. I mean it must have been horrible for W to see me in so much pain and for me to tell him to f*** off. Thank god I didn’t tell him that I would see him next Tuesday!
The gas and air was really wearing off. It probably wasn’t. But it felt like it was as the contractions ramped up. I recall having one contraction that wouldn’t let go. K afterwards said it must have been about 20mins long. It felt like a lifetime.
S examined me. Excellent news. 7cm dilated. Bad news. Bump still back to back and there were concerns about his heart rate. And S was examining me not K. Surely that meant something?
S told me, calmly but sternly, that I would go onto the machine that monitors Bump’s heart beat and contractions. If you have ever watched One Born you will have seen the ladies with these big what look like bandages wrapped around their bump. Well that monitors the heart rate and so thats what I had put on me.
By now we had been in labour for about three hours. This is when W first noticed that things might not be going quite to plan. The senior midwife, R, came in to visit me and look at Bump’s heart rate. In addition, I met the doctor for the first time. W now tells me, although clearly he didn’t say at the time, that I looked bloody awful. I hadn’t opened my eyes for over an hour and was just screaming and swearing. The doctor was clearly a tiny bit concerned. The advice was that we would push on (no pun intended).
“This could end up in theatre”
Those were the words that W heard come out of the doctor’s mouth as she spoke to the senior midwife, R. Thank god I didn’t know any of this. I needed a huge poo (or felt like I did). The pain was excruciating. W kept saying “don’t push”. At that point, had I been able to, I would have kicked him in the balls. Why was W being so nasty and saying not to push? If I wasn’t to push, why the hell did I have this burning urge to push? Surely this wasn’t normal.
Part 2 will be up in the next couple of days. Did any of you find that your birth plan went out of the window as soon as you went into labour? How did you deal with the changes? Did any of you have a back to back baby.