My due date was 12th March 2012, and my vision was firmly set on it! So it was a HUGE surprise to me when I woke up at 3am on 28th February to go for a wee, only to sit on the toilet and have the pressure of my lovely full bladder burst my waters! I heard a tiny trickle and my heart stopped. My first thought was… “Shit… I haven’t started weeing yet!” I carried on with what I had to do, but as I stood up there was an almighty gush and I just kind of stood there looking down at myself dripping all over my now flooded bathroom floor.
I suddenly felt really shaky. I called through to my Husband, Taylor, who was asleep in bed that he needed to wake up. He didn’t asnswer so I mopped the floor with some loo roll best as I could and climbed into the bath to wash down. I continued to call through to Taylor for the next 5-10 minutes as I got washed. Eventually he answered me and I managed to get through to him that my waters had broken and that I needed a towel and to call the hospital. He got me my towel and I got dried and dressed and went downstairs to call the hospital. The midwife I spoke to was lovely, although when I told her what had happened she said to me “Are you sure it was your waters breaking? They don’t usually wait for you to sit on the toilet!” I told her I was sure and she told me to come in for a checkup.
I called my poor grandparents (who were my lift to the hospital) and got them to come pick me up. As I stood up from my phone calls I had another gush of waters. Great! Now I needed more clean clothes! I grabbed a towel and some new clothes from the pile waiting to be taken upstairs and stuck the towel into my knickers since I knew my granddad would be devastated if I got his car seats wet! We got to the hospital at about 5am and I had an internal exam. The midwife confirmed that my waters had indeed broken and that I should prepare for labour.
At 6am I started getting period cramps. They weren’t too bad to start with, I’ve always had pretty intense period cramps so they were bearable to me. Taylor went back home for another couple hours sleep since he had work, and I went with my grandparents to their house. I ran a nice warm bath and took some paracetamol, although I couldn’t’ really enjoy it since my Nan kept hammering on the door asking if I was ok every 5 minutes. I gave up after 15 minutes and got out. I decided to take my mind off of it I’d put “The King’s Speech” on TV while I tried to eat some toast. Safe to say I actually still haven’t seen “The King’s Speech”!
My mum came down for a while to try and help keep me occupied, although I spent a lot of time on the toilet since it seemed to help relieve the pressure (and also stopped me from leaking all over the place since my waters were still going in small bursts).
At 10am I started to feel really uncomfortable so I called the hospital and spoke to another lovely midwife. She asked me a few of the normal questions and then asked about my contractions. I told her they were coming every 3-5 minutes and lasting 30 seconds each time. She told me to stop timing them and to just see how I go and to call back in a bit if I was finding the pain unbearable. At 11.15am I called back and could hardly breathe through my contractions. She told me to come in as soon as I was ready and I could be checked over. At this point I called Taylor to leave work, and we got the bags and me into the car.
Now, the hospital is only about 15-20 minute drive away, but it felt like a bloody lifetime! I could barely have the seat belt on me because anything touching my belly was just too painful. I also couldn’t sit on the seat since every little bump in the road made me feel like I was being beaten. We eventually got to the hospital just as Taylor was arriving (good timing or what!). It took a while to walk from the entrance to the birthing suite since I had to stop every 30-60 seconds for contractions. I was very disappointed once we got into the birthing unit to discover that another woman had arrived about 5 minutes before me and was in the only birthing pool. I think I actually almost burst into tears since I had had my heart set on the water birth.
We were put into a room with a bed, a sofa and a birthing stool (which actually looked like a toilet seat on legs to me!). The midwife examined me and I was 5cm dilated, so she said that we didn’t have to go back home. I was so happy not to have to go back in the car! She showed me how to use the gas and air and then left to let Taylor out of the unit to let my grandparents know we would be staying and to bring the bags back. While I was on my own I took a few breaths of the gas and air and suddenly felt very sick. I rushed to the en suit and promptly threw up in the toilet, leaking yet MORE water all over the floor and losing my bloody show (it looked a bit like clear jelly with some blood in it… just in case you wanted to know!). The midwife came back in to find me sobbing with embarrassment and trying to wipe the floor with a paper towel. I kept telling her how sorry I was, while she laughed at me and told me not to be so silly! Once I was sorted and comfy on the bed she checked baby’s heartbeat and said she was going to leave us to relax for a bit but to call her if I needed her.
We waited for about an hour with my contractions getting slightly more intense with each one. The all of a sudden I turned to Taylor and said “I need the midwife; I can feel something happening down there.” Taylor gave a typical man’s reply, though, and without even looking up from the game he was playing on his iphone said “don’t be silly, she’s only just checked you.” I told him that no, I WASN’T being silly and that something was happening NOW. He rolled his eyes at me (how he survived that one is anybody’s guess!) and got up to get the midwife. I was panting like a dog at this point. I had the overwhelming urge to push, but knew that I couldn’t start pushing to early. The midwife came in and had a bit feel and said that I was 9cm dilated and that if the urge was that big, that I could push. With the next contraction I pushed with all my might, and again after that one, and again after that one.
Taylor never went further away from me than a couple feet, I could see he felt guilty that he had told me not to be silly, but that that point I just didn’t give a damn. He tried to rub my back and smooth my hair off my face, but I was already roasting hot and he has the warmest hands of anybody I know so I kindly told him to “f@#k off and stop f@#ing touching me!!!”… He was then relegated to only passing me sips of water when I needed it. After an hour and a half I could tell the midwives were starting to get a little concerned. Our local birthing unit isn’t attached to a hospital with any facilities for emergencies and it doesn’t have a NICU. They said to me that if baby wasn’t born in the next 30-45 minutes, that they would have to transfer me 40 minutes away to the nearest hospital with emergency facilities for a forceps delivery. To help try and move things along they asked me to go and try to have a wee in case my bladder was blocking the exit. I sat on the toilet, but I was completely unable to wee even a tiny bit.
Eventually I had a catheter inserted and my bladder was emptied for me. It was full to bursting point apparently! I pushed a little longer and after another 30 minutes the midwife said to me that they were going to call to arrange and ambulance for my transfer to the other hospital. I swear that was the push I needed. I grabbed the gas and air since the contractions were getting worse again, and, again, was promptly sick into a bowl that the midwife was holding. I pushed so hard I burst all the blood vessels in my eyes, my face, my neck and even my chest and my arms! All of a sudden the midwife shouted “I saw the head that time! We might not need that ambulance!”
I suddenly felt bone tired, and I was absolutely STARVING. For the first time during my whole birth experience I said “I can’t do it” very closely followed by “I’m too hungry to push” (The gas and air had made me a little bit loopy!). The midwife laughed at me and said “Come on love, you are SO close now. If you push this baby out in the next 10 minutes I’ll get you a nice big muffin from the staff room.” Now THAT was the encouragement I needed! After my next big push the midwife said “The head is half out, would you like to have a feel?” I jumped at the chance and put my hand down to have a feel. It was the strangest feeling thing ever. Kind of squidgy, but firm at the same time and I could feel hair! My next contraction came and with my next push the head was out! The midwife said to stop pushing, but my body went into autopilot and my baby boy shot out all in one go.
Now, if I thought feeling the head was a strange feeling, it was nothing compared to the feeling of a baby exiting my vagina! In my rather high state, I actually had a vision of a documentary I had watched about Giraffes giving birth. It really reminded me of how the baby giraffe just kind of plopped out in one go. That vision must have taken literally less than a millisecond, because then next thing I know I have my gorgeous boy on my chest. I remember saying to Taylor “I can’t see him! I can’t see his face!” and getting rather upset (my glasses had been removed at some point during the pushing stage, although I don’t remember them being taken off!). He handed them to me and I was finally able to see my boy. I had the hugest feeling of pride and the biggest bubble of love swelled in my chest. I didn’t cry for the simple reason that I was just too exhausted to… even to this day I feel guilty I didn’t cry happy tears!
Taylor cut the cord and then we had skin to skin for about 30 minutes, although for me the worst was yet to come. I had the injection in my leg to encourage the placenta to come out quicker, but it must not have come out quick enough for the midwives’ liking. The midwife asked me to hand my baby boy over, so I handed him to Taylor. I then had one midwife pushing down on my tummy, while another midwife tugged on the umbilical cord. I honestly had never felt pain like it. It felt like they were ripping my insides out. I can’t remember if I swore or not, but I know I closed my eyes and was thinking to myself that I would rather give birth all over again right NOW than feel what I was feeling! Eventually the placenta came out and what a relief it was! Then I was told I needed stitches. They put my legs up in stirrups and brought over a huge lamp. The stitches were also worse than giving birth, although nowhere near as bad as having my placenta pulled out! I had some more gas and air, and I think I ended up needing 6 stitches.
Once the stitches were sorted, I was cleaned up and allowed to sit up. I still felt very high. The midwife walked past me with a cardboard bowl in her hands, and me being me asked what was in it. She told me it was my placenta, so I asked her if I could poke it. She laughed and said of course you can! I told her I didn’t really want to, but asked her to show me the different parts. She showed me the sac, and she showed me the hole where my waters had broken and explained what everything was, although I can’t remember now. I was then whisked off by a midwife for a shower. It felt wonderful to be getting clean! I got dried and dressed and hobbled back to the room where I had a jacket potato with cheese and beans, and the lovely big muffin I was promised sat waiting for me. Food had never looked so good! I shovelled my food down as quickly as I could. I hadn’t eaten since the day before and I knew I needed to eat, but I just wanted my baby back in my arms. It felt so good to have him back with me. It felt right.
It had taken 3 long years to get here, and yet here I was! I had my baby boy, who we had named Harrison John. He was born perfect and healthy weighing 7lb 10oz at 4.19pm. I have never felt more proud of any other achievement in my life. I cannot wait to do it all again this coming February! It was the best, albeit most exhausting, experience of my life. I loved every moment of it.