Oliver’s birth story really starts Monday 7th Nov 5 days before he was born (8 days before my due date) at what I thought was going to be a routine midwife appointment. My regular midwife couldn’t fit me in so had made me an appointment at another clinic, with a lady who I had seen when my midwife was on holiday. She went through the regular checks and then asked if there had ever been concerns about the baby’s size. I told her my midwife had mentioned at around 28 weeks he seemed a little small but at subsequent check-ups had said the size was normal, and I had made a point of asking at all subsequent appointments. The midwife was very calm when talking to me, but looking back now I think she was worried and referred me to the hospital to be seen by them that afternoon.
I rang hubby from the car park to tell him what had happened and ended up in tears really worried that something was wrong. We went to the hospital that afternoon and they confirmed the size was smaller than usual and wanted to scan me with the consultant, but an emergency had come in so we had to go back the next day. In our heads we were thinking it couldn’t be too serious otherwise they wouldn’t have sent us home.
We returned the next day and met with the consultant. Yes, he was a little small but they were more concerned with the lack of amniotic fluid around the baby, and felt it was better for the baby to come out as he wasn’t really fattening up inside me. The doctor went to get the inducement diary and we were expecting to come in at the weekend, but she had a place tomorrow so could we come in then. Very strange leaving the hospital knowing we were coming back the next day to start having our baby. We were warned it could be a long process. We went home and that night went to our local pub for dinner, our last night out as just a couple rather than a family.
The next day hubby went to work as normal and I had a busy morning tying up lots of loose ends, before we both set off for the hospital at around 3 in the afternoon. We arrived and were shown to my bed on the maternity ward and then left to get settled. Hubby got the tele up and running and then there wasn’t much to do but wait. At around 7 they came to get me for my first pessary, and then hubby went home not too long after. Because I had been so late getting my first pessary the next one was due at around 2am so I tried to get a little bit of sleep but only managed about an hour and spent the rest of the time watching tele with my headphones on. The nurse who came at 2was lovely and took me to the labour ward for my 2nd pessary. After that I returned to the maternity ward and for the rest of the night had the worst period like pains I had ever had. I couldn’t get comfy sat down or lying down so took to pacing the nurses station. I tried a bath, but it did little to help so ended up back out and pacing again. Hubby was coming back at half 8 and I was counting the minutes until I could see a friendly face. He arrived only to be told he couldn’t come onto the ward until half 1o, I was distraught. I went to see him on the corridor but he sent me back in to try and get comfy and a bit of sleep. He ended up sat in his car for a couple of hours before he could come in.
I was examined around Thursday lunchtime and not much had happened. My cervix was starting to soften, but in order to give me a third pessary they needed a consultant. At least the pains had eased off by this point. Later that afternoon a consultant came and gave me a third pessary as there were still little signs of anything progressing. In the evening I was checked again and the midwife tried to stretch my cervix to encourage things along. Each internal was getting more and more painful, and not ideal when during visiting hours. It’s strange that the norm involves various doctors/midwives coming in to have a mooch around “down there”. The nurse gave me a sleeping tablet to help me get a few hours kip in, as they planned to start me on the drip on Friday if nothing was happening.
Friday morning I was lay on the bed waiting for hubby to arrive when I felt/heard a pop so went to the toilet and my pants were wet. Great I thought, things were eventually starting. A couple of hours (around 10am) later contractions started. I was so excited, my little boy was coming. The contractions were fine to start off with, I could breathe through them and they were about 10 mins apart. Within an hour they were agony, lasting about 3 minute each time and only 1 min between them. I have to admit I didn’t handle it very well. It didn’t help being in a tiny cubicle on a ward surrounded my people who had had their babies. I wanted to pace around but at the same time didn’t want other people staring at me. I sent hubs to go and tell the midwifes I wanted to go the labour ward. We were told they were busy and would send someone when they could and gave me a cocodamol. I think I probably cried at that news, I guess I’ve got a pretty low pain threshold. At around 1pm a midwife came to get me, I was so happy. I could get on the gas and air.
We were taken to a labour room and I was given gas and air initially, which didn’t really stop me feeling the pain but helped take my mind off it. I was hooked up to the monitor and examined. I was about 1cm dilated, and my waters hadn’t fully broken. Apparently there are front waters and back waters (I never knew that!) and the front water had broken but not the rear. My contractions were monitored and I could have swung for the midwife when I was told they weren’t very strong! I asked for a dose of diamorphine at this point and the rest of the afternoon/evening was a bit of a blur that seemed to pass by very quickly. Every couple of hours someone would come in and examine me only to be told nothing was happening beyond my 1 cm dilation. I was put on the drip to crank up my contractions as they were too weak and erratic to be doing their job properly. By this point I was getting very tired as I’d had 5 hours sleep since Tuesday night. The diamorphine had gone straight to my head and I twice tried to have conversations with people who weren’t there! Hubby said at one point I was telling him off about something to do with work. It didn’t help I kept forgetting to take the gas and air out of my mouth. and had to keep reminded to have a break. At around 10pm the new midwife took over and she was fab. Really friendly and helpful.
At around 11pm I was examined and told I was about 3-4 cm and once I’d got to 4 cm I could have an epidural. Before labour, I had said I didn’t really want one. That went out of the window I was dying for it. The consultant could see how tired I was getting and said I could have the epidural now as the diamorphine and gas and air was sending me out of it, so she sent for the anaesthetist. He came and wouldn’t give it to me as I wasn’t 4cm. The consultant came back about an hour later to check on me and asked how the epidural was going and hubby told her I hadn’t had it. She stormed out of the labour room and a few minutes later they were back with the epidural. It took quite a while to administer as I have a small curve in the bottom of my spine and they didn’t think it would go in. I could have cried when they said that but thankfully it did. I was examined again and still only 3-4cm. As I was now a bit more with it we discussed options. There were starting to be concerns over baby’s heartbeat and I was getting more and more tired so they felt that we couldn’t continue in labour indefinitely. By this point the drip was cranked up to the max. They said they would continue to monitor me through the night but if I was no further along by the morning that we would go for a c section, again something I hadn’t wanted before, but now I just wanted my baby out as safely as possible.
For the rest of the night I dozed in and out of sleep. My poor hubby was wide awake and paranoid something was going to go wrong. I was checked at half 3, no progress made and they said they would make the call at half 5 to stay as we were or operate. We were counting down the minutes til half 5. We asked the midwife what would happen with the c section. She said they would have the baby out in 5 minutes once in theatre. By now I think we knew there was no way my body was going to go into full labour any time soon so prepared ourselves that it was going to be a section.
They came in at half 5 on the dot, I was examined, no more progress and baby’s heartbeat had started to drop so section it was. Suddenly our peaceful room with the two of us and our midwife was filled with people. I was put into my gown, hubby in his scrubs, and we were taken to theatre. The staff were lovely and all introduced themselves and the epidural was topped up (or whatever they do to make you c section ready), and we were ready to go. Our midwife was due to finish at 6 but stayed with us during theatre and until Oliver was born. Hubby sat stroking my head the entire time. We couldn’t see a clock but knew it was taking much longer than 5 minutes to get baby out and suddenly there were whispered conversations taking place. My baby was stuck! Because I had been having contractions for about 20 hours his head had got stuck in my pelvis and they were struggling to deliver him, this was made worse because of the lack of fluid around him as they didn’t have much space to work with. They had to make a further cut up my uterus to allow them to deliver the legs first and then pull his head free. I felt the moment he was born as it felt like a weight had been lifted from me, but there was no sound. Hubby didn’t know he had been born as the screen was up but he said my face just fell. If felt like minutes, but in reality was probably only seconds, as they gave him oxygen and then we heard him cry. I had been asked before if I wanted skin to skin and had said yes so he was placed on my chest. He had been crying but stopped the minute he was in my arms. I held him for about ten minutes and then he was passed to hubby. He loves the fact he saw him open his eyes for the first time. As they had made additional cuts it took longer than normal to stitch me up which wasn’t pleasant, but I didn’t care. Saturday 12th Nov 6:24am our boy had been born, a diddy 5lb 12 ounces.
We were taken back to a labour room and given tea and toast, I was starving, before being taken to the ward. I felt amazing, still couldn’t believe I was a mummy. The staff were fantastic and made the stay in hospital quite a nice experience. I had to have 3 bags of blood on the Sunday as I had lost a lot of blood in theatre but I was allowed home the next day.
Not the labour we had imagined and for me a bit of a blur. Due to the complicated delivery I will need to have a c section for any further babies as they don’t want to risk my uterus rupturing but I’d go through it all again to have such a wonderful little person at the end if it.