Everyone and his dog loves a labour story. Lets be honest, when you hear that a friend or relative or even just someone you know has given birth, you really want to know all about it! Every gory detail. If you have already had children and you hear someone has given birth, your thoughts are already with their fanny, right? Especially if the baby is over 8lbs, your eyes, water and you think ouch, poor love!
But birth as we know can happen either by C-section (aka out of the sunroof) or vaginal evacuation (aka pushes a melon out of something the size of a lemon). However a baby comes into the world, doesn’t really matter, and it most certainly doesn’t make you less of a mother, or a warrior if you have experienced a caesarean section. Often these are undertaken when there are no other options left and it is in the mother and babies best interest to deliver this way. Not simply because they are too posh to push!
I personally can only speak about my experience of three vaginal births. EWW the word vagina makes me cringe, but so does minge! I thought I would share my experience of birth number one and having an induction.
Blissfully naïve, young and unaware of what was to come with number one, I was sure that Braxton Hicks in middle to late pregnancy meant I would certainly not go overdue! Pahaa, how little did I know. Quite a few first babies, so my lovely midwife friends tell me are late. Correct me if I’m wrong Kelly!?
So there I was sitting on our sofa on Facebook of all things, with my dog Maxie by my side whilst my boyfriend (now husband) was upstairs when I felt a strange popping feeling. I jumped up from the sofa with laptop still in hand and felt water running down both legs!! This was 8pm during Eastenders and I was 4 days overdue and due for a sweep the next day! I think the fear of this must have set me off! I climbed up stairs slowly, as I was huge and waddled everywhere I went, and sat on the loo, shouting across the landing to James that I think my waters have gone. He stood in the doorway of the bathroom and said “How do you know? Haven’t you just wet yourself?”.
How should I know I thought to myself, I’ve never actually done this before! I raised my bottom of the loo and stood up over it and said “Look that’s not normal is it?”. James looked slightly pale, and said “Oh you better phone the midwife, and I better call my mum to come and get the dog?”.
Maxie our lovely little Staffie, was our baby at the time and we never left him alone for long. Having a few contractions I called the hospital where they informed me unless my contractions are five minutes apart, stay at home, have a bath and a paracetamol (like that even does anything for labour pains!), otherwise come in tomorrow morning to be checked.
Yikes, I thought, I was a bag of nerves but also really excited! Not knowing how and when this will happen was unnerving but I also could not wait to finally be free from pregnancy! Couldn’t wait for the heartburn to go and the waddle. Gaviscon was my best friend with number one and as the myth goes, the more heartburn you have the hairier the baby! And my god she was a hairy baby!
A night of no sleep and timing contractions all night was just the start. On route to hospital the next morning I was soaking through so many maternity towels I felt gross. How could I have any water left I thought. After an examination my waters went again on the bed. I felt so embarrassed as I had zero control over it that I apologised to the midwife.
I thought that would be it, I was having contractions so surely we would just stay here and have a baby today! Nope, not dilated enough, but the midwife said, I will book you for an induction the following morning,. So she gave me a leaflet and some temperature thingys and said “but I expect you will probably come back in tonight” and smiled. That was it, she was so casual. Oh off we go home then!
Exhausted and hungry, we went home via McDonald’s and did what the midwife said to do which was rest! But my mind was working overtime, what’s going on, why aren’t things getting going! I stopped timing the contractions as they just weren’t long or strong enough and felt so clueless and frustrated. We responded to the family’s texts of asking, where this baby was, because we just had a baby and didnt tell anyone right! Oh wouldnt that be lovely!
The next morning, the nerves got to me in the car journey to the hospital, as it was now an induction we knew that we would have a baby today! I let excitement take over, and continued with the trips to the loo to empty my nervous bowel! Delightful! Still peeing my pants with amniotic fluid we arrived at the hospital with my carefully packed bag, with everything new! Everything was in there, new hairbrush, new toothbrush, new pyjamas, birth outfit, going home clothes, more sanitary towels, some biscuits (happy faces I seem to remember) and the important phone charger, because no one carries a camera these days. Well in all honesty, we took a video camera with us, because this was 8/9 years ago when our phones weren’t that good.
We were over prepared really, we had done and got everything our midwife in the prenatal classes had told us to do and get, including the £6 for the car park in change! An induction to labour from now having had two, can happen in many different ways, but fortunately for me this time, I was already dilated so could move straight onto a drip to bring my contractions on faster.
Because of the drip I was being put on, we moved straight into the delivery suite. I remember walking up to the unopened door where it said delivery room in big bold letters thinking shit this is it I thought. The room was massive, cold and clinical! I was on a consultant led ward, so everything seemed so formal and procedural if that makes sense!
The midwife I had first had a student with her, she was lovely and attentive whereas the midwife looked like she wanted to get the whole experience for me over and done with. She kept randomly saying out loud “Epidurals are lovely, they take all the pain away!”. She must have taken one look at me and thought, “Oh it’s a young mum, she will be a screamer!”. Despite some intense contractions I thought I was doing pretty well, just on gas and air.
The gas and air were my best friends in there, and because I got on it quite early the midwife explained that too much could make me feel sick and perhaps they should take it away! “Hell no”, I then gripped tighter on the pipe and continued to bite the mouth piece. I still remember a conversation between my first midwife and James which indicated I was pretty off my face on that lovely gas.
“She is so beautiful” James said to the midwife, “And she is really talented” he added, the midwife nodded. I thought to myself, how sweet he is talking about me in such a way to the midwife. Then I hear James say “Did you know she used to be a drug addict?”. To this I seem to come round from my woozy state and I realise they are not talking about me, I shouted “Who was?”, “Angelina Jolie Abbie”, said the other half. I then realised they had been discussing one of her recent films, and I was so out of it I was practically seeing fairies. Good stuff though!
Around three ish the midwife came off shift and I was glad as I didn’t take to her much! Sad to see the lovely student midwife go however as they always seem so warm and interested in your needs! My new midwife was called Rosie, I liked her, she had a soft voice but seemed like she also had a lot of experience. We discussed that this baby was back to back! Ugh so I was encouraged after five hours just laying on my back to try some other positions. All fours..ugh no this made the pain worse, then some time on the birthing stool, then some time spent swaying on the husband, then some more time spent kneeling at the bed!
I remember looking up at the clock thinking, I’m so tired, I really thought that this would be all over by now! I also remember thinking I haven’t eaten anything all morning and for a hungry pregnant woman that’s a long time, but I wasn’t for once interested in food. So I watched the other half eat all of the happy faces.
Then the urge came, that feeling like you need a poo. To be fair I probably unknowingly did one but I was too focused on the pain, Id had two shoots of pethidine and they wouldn’t give me anymore! I thought they were just being mean, but the end was in sight! I had been pushing for some time but I could feel the baby keep slipping back up! Strangest feeling in the world, no matter how hard Id push, I keep saying I cant do it!
Then a team of doctors and students came into the room, and basically stared at my vagina, “No she can do it on her own” said the doctor. Really I thought, because it doesn’t bloody feel like it. Then my midwife, in her sweet voice said “Abbie we are going to get you in these stirrups, just lift up your legs”. I then realised I am not getting out of these, great! Then I watch the doctor set up a trolley in the back of the room and wheel it towards me. She is dressed in scrubs. I questioned what an earth she was doing and then she explains she wants to use forceps on the baby as the baby is back to back, face up and stuck.
I wasn’t alarmed at this point just more annoyed that it seemed like the doctor was just going ahead with her medical business without informing me. I told her that I do not want forceps on my baby, and the doctor seemed annoyed and explained her reasons for this but I said let’s try ventouse first as it isn’t as invasive. Stubborn as ever me!
To do either of these they needed to cut me! At this point I didn’t care. Although a cut and stitches was my worst fear I did not care at this point! Just get this baby out! I was so tired from all the wasted pushes! The doctor numbed me with an injection down in the never regions, OUCH now that did sting, even made my eyes water. Then I didn’t feel a thing it was great! I could feel the sensation of my pushing and her pulling which felt like she was pulling so hard my insides might come out also.
“The babies heart rate is dropping now Abbie you really need to get the baby out in this next push or we will have to take you to theatre” said the midwife. That was it I pushed with everything I had whilst James was down the business end watching. I felt instant relief. Phew no more pushing, she was out! It was a girl! She was full of dark hair and totally dry as there was not much water left in there.
I remember her being placed on me diagonally across my stomach and she looked so long. We were both in amazement of the wonder of it all and the day we had had. It was now 8.33pm on the 21st January 2009 and we had just become parents for the first time.
No tears, just exhausted amazement and then absolutely buzzing to tell everyone what we had had. James my other half couldn’t wait to put on his , ‘Who’s the Daddy’ top his cousin bought him. Even though Imogen was grunting and had to be taken to special care I was too shattered to worry much, motherhood hadn’t really kicked in yet!
Its funny throughout the labour I didn’t swear, didn’t shout and straight away afterwards I said to James, it wasn’t that bad I could do that again. I said this despite having an induction, episiotomy, catheter and ventouse delivery, because there was so much space between painful contractions, I could cope. Not at all how my labour was with number two! More on that another day!
What’s your experience of first time labour? Did your birth go as planned? Share with me on Facebook if you like.