I’m warning everyone now this is probably the longest blog I’ve done so far! I suggest you grab yourself an extra bar of chocolate to make sure you get through it!
Everyone hopes they are going to have a perfect birth; you spend your final few weeks planning, making lists, checking & double checking you have everything as it should be. My hospital bag was packed from around 26 weeks, I was worried Charlie would come early. My mother had me at 28 weeks and I just got it into my head that it would happen to me too! You know I packed, unpacked, and packed that bag over and over again. Did I have enough, or too much? I thought of every possible scenario, but it’s funny because after it all my mum still ended up bringing things in which I didn’t have!
I’d written my birth plan 3 times. There was so much more to think about than I thought, pain relief, birthing positions, cord clamping! The one thing I was absolutely certain on though was that I didn’t want visitors straight after giving birth, I wanted time with Matt & my baby just the three of us. I couldn’t think of anything worse than having lots of people around me. Me & Matt had agreed that we wouldn’t tell anyone apart from my mum that I’d gone into labour, again we didn’t want our phones going off constantly asking for updates. After a difficult pregnancy I wanted things to be as calm and chilled out as they could be.
My due date was the 29th November 2018. I had a midwife appointment on Wednesday 28th and after a failed stretch & sweep and no signs of baby coming, I left feeling uncomfortable and deflated. I’d arranged to stay at my mums that night, as we were hoping that it would have got things moving & the hospital was only a 10-minute drive away. But nothing, not even a twinge. I’d be texting my friend Danielle back and forth she was around 10 days overdue and we were both helping each other through these final weeks. Friday morning came around and still nothing I’d officially hit 1 day overdue. I don’t think you should have a “due date” but a “due period” because I think when you set your heart on that date, and it comes and goes it’s so disheartening. Whereas if you had a period of time as in your “overdue” period then you’d have a much better outlook on it.
It was around 9am, I’d just text Danielle to see if she’d had any signs & told her I’d still felt nothing when all over a sudden I felt WOOOOSH! I jumped out of bed, and just felt this gushing of warm water down my pyjama bottoms. I looked down at the mattress to see a huge wet patch and it still gushed down my legs I was soaking! I was so shocked I couldn’t work out if I was wetting myself! 😂 but no my waters had broken! I opened the door and shouted “mummmmm I think somethings happening!” She rushed up the stairs took one look at me and said “Yep! Definitely happening” I must have looked so shocked because she put her arm around me and just said, “I think we better ring the hospital love, ooh I hope you have him today it would have been bamp’s Birthday”
Next thing my brother is stood in the doorway of his bedroom, I’m stood there with my bottoms round my ankles (still like Niagara Falls😂) “uhhh what’s going on you ok?” He asked panicking. “Yes, waters gone” I muttered. Lol I think everyone was just in shock, I remember him just putting his head in his room to his girlfriend and saying “my sisters having the baby woohoo” 😂🎉 I was still stood in the doorway half undressed in this puddle, my brain didn’t seem to function. “I think I better get in the shower” I said to my mum. “Sorry about the carpet, and the bed!” She just laughed and said don’t be silly! I got into the shower and washed myself down, my waters were still going it was like someone had turned on a tap. I noticed that it looked like I was weeing, that didn’t seem right to me as I was always told your waters would be clear. I got out, sat on the toilet and rang the midwife. She told me to ring the labour ward, they asked me to come in straight away after I explained about the colour of my waters.
I got dressed, grabbed my phone & called Matt. “Babe, my waters have gone can you make your way down”, I explained to him what had happened when I woke up and I could just hear the excitement in his voice. I hadn’t noticed that I wasn’t experiencing any pain until my mum asked me. My mum dropped me at the women’s unit around 10:30am and I went on in whilst she parked the car. The nurse asked to see the sanitary pad I was wearing, and then it was confirmed- meconium. (The baby had poo’d inside the womb) the nurse sat down and confirmed that I would now transfer from midwifery lead to consultant lead and would need to be Induced – today.
I sat there shocked and disappointed; I knew I wouldn’t have the birth I wanted being consultant lead. But I was also nervous and excited my baby was on his way! And it all really started to sink in. I had a nervous cry whilst waiting for my mum to come back, and I think she was more shocked than me when I told her what was happening. Matt arrived soon after, I remember he came in the room with the biggest cheesy grin on his face! I instantly felt more relaxed when I saw him.
We were taken up to the induction ward and given a bed, we all settled down. There were a few women there, the lady to the right of me sounded like she was in agony! And the lady across from me was sat on her bed chatting with her partner. A nurse came over and introduced herself, she flicked through my notes and explained what was going to happen. First, they were going to hook me up to monitor baby and see if we would progress naturally over the next 4 hours or so. If things were slow, they would then insert a gel onto my cervix to try start contractions, failure of that would mean I’d have to go onto a hormone drip which would bring on labour. I was praying things would be happening naturally, but as the 4 hours passed not much had happened, I was having very mild contractions and dealing with them well. My mum decided to go home and come back later on for visiting 6-8pm but told us to ring her straight away if anything happened. The nurse came back and explained she would be checking my cervix and inserting the gel. This was hands down one of the most excruciating experiences I’ve ever had. I cannot even explain the pain, I nearly broke Matts hand (that’s not even an exaggeration) ask him yourself. I burst into tears just as she was done, she was sympathetic & apologised. I was in so much pain, and it really ramped up my contractions. I breathed through each one remembering what I’d learnt studying hypnobirthing, I was focused.
I managed to eat some lunch of fish and chips to keep my energy levels up, but after a few more hours I was examined and told I was 1cm dilated. How was this even possible – I’d been there a good 6 hours by now. My mum arrived back and could see things had changed significantly, they both held one hand every time a contraction came around. I had a timer on my phone and it actually helped massively, they could both see when I was hitting the peak of the contraction and when I was coming back down to normal and could coach me through each one. “Nearly done Hel, you’ve done ten worst bit” they’d say, and it really did keep me sane. I hadn’t been examined in a while now and there weren’t many nurses around, the woman next to me had been taken up to delivery suite after screaming the ward down in pain and things seemed calm.
Me & Matt decided to go for a walk to the concourse to pick up some snacks, and I nearly didn’t make it back. I had to stop as the contractions were hitting me hard, I held onto the side of the wall for dear life and sobbed. Matt held me and we managed to make it back to the ward. I was struggling by now, my contractions were around every 3-4 minutes, it was funny because in-between I was fine having conversations and as soon as one came back, I held my eyes shut breathing heavily to get through each one. We’d been told I’d be going up to delivery suit at 10pm as still nothing was happening. Well 10pm came and went, it was now midnight. Matt decided to find someone to ask what was happening. We were told there had been emergencies come In, but we were next to go up. The nurse examined me and told me I was still 1cm – I burst into tears. Why was nothing happening! I’d been in labour since 11am Friday morning, 13 hours later I was no nearer to meeting our baby. She offered me gas & air which I bit her hand off for, up until then I’d coped on nothing but my focus & paracetamol.
As soon as I got the gas and air, I felt so much better, I was flying high as a kite! My mum & Matt had a good laugh because I was so out of it, I remember hearing the nurse talking to me but had no idea what she was saying. I could hear my heartbeat in my ears, and it sounded like the inside of a club, like a rave. Everyone found that very funny! The gas & air helped me massively through each contraction it took the edge off, I even managed to get 2 hours sleep. Mum had gone in a little tv room to have a sleep on the sofa as no one had told her to leave, and Matt slept on the chair next to me. I sat on my bouncy ball for what seemed like hours, finally a nurse came down and told us it was our turn to go to the delivery suit.
It was 5am Saturday morning when we arrived on delivery suite. Mum & Matt looked like death warmed up, so I can’t imagine what I looked like. We were told that I’d be going on the hormone drip which would bring on labour, I was warned that the contractions would not build up like a normal labour but would hit me like a tonne of bricks full throttle so was offered an epidural. I accepted straight away. It’s a true saying when people tell you that hospital tea & toast are the best! They are! We were all offered some before I went onto the drip as I couldn’t eat or drink when I went on. I of course gobbled mine down in 10 seconds which resulted in me throwing it all back up! Well done Hel! I was examined again and told that my waters hadn’t broken. HUH? How! But it was then explained to me that my “hind” waters had broken Friday morning, but my front waters were still intact. (Who knew there were two types of waters!?) not me! I had my waters broken – again this wasn’t a pleasant experience but luckily this time I had the gas & air on hand to help me through. I got hooked up to the hormone drip and was back bouncing on my ball. Mum & Matt had fallen asleep, so I quietly sat and bounced away, I wasn’t even aware of the time at this point. The midwife came in and told me they would have to take me off the drip as baby’s heartbeat kept dropping, I came off got examined and was 2cm. After an hour they hooked me back up to the drip, but in no time, I was being taken back off again. Charlie was NOT happy on this drip!
The anaesthesiologist came in to talk me through the epidural, I had to sign a few consent forms then things began. I can’t really tell you too much about it, but I remember looking at his assistant and holding onto him and him saying “stay really still” then this feeling of Ice-cold liquid running down my back. I couldn’t feel a thing after having the epidural which was great for me because I was exhausted, and I managed to get another hour of sleep.
I spoke with the midwife about my worries of tearing whilst giving birth and could see my mum going white out of the corner of my eye. If you know my mum, you’ll know she’s rubbish when it comes to blood or anything squeamish. Yeah, I know why you’re wondering why I had her as a birthing partner 😂 next thing we know she’s getting onto all fours on the floor with her bum in the air, I know what this means I’ve seen it many times before. It’s a quick get down on the floor before you faint pose 🙈 is she ok?? The midwife asked as she rushed over, “yeah, she’s fine” I said, “this is a normal thing.” My mum giggled – “yes it was the talk about tearing which set me off I’ll be fine I just feel a bit sick Helen knows what I’m like” she said as she plants her face on the floor. The midwife rushed off to get her some water & sugar sweets as Matt paced back and forth between the two of us. “I’m fine look after mum I said!” 😂. After 20 minuets she felt well enough to get up again, but it was short lived as within no time she was slumping off the chair back down to the floor. She kept saying how ridiculous she felt, but honesty it was the only thing making me laugh and getting me through. She had decided she’d go to the toilet to splash her face, I warned matt to keep an eye on her as I know there have been times where she’s fainted. It had been about 40 min and id asked the midwife to go find her as I had a horrible feeling something had happened, luckily mum strolled back in and didn’t even realise that she’d been gone so long, to this day were not sure if she did pass out In the toilets but she was ok!
At 5pm I had another examination – and guess what I was 3cm. I was so disappointed. The consultant came in and wanted to talk to me about my options. As it had been 32 hours by this point since I’d come In and I hadn’t progressed something needed to happen. I was offered a caesarean section (C-Section) or we could wait another 4 hours to see if I progressed and then we’d be looking at another 2 hours pushing. I looked at my mum straight away with tears in my eyes. The consultant let me have 5 minutes to talk about it with my family, as soon as the door shut, I looked at mum & Matt and said C SECTION I want a C SECTION. I burst into tears, I was absolutely exhausted, nothing was happening, I couldn’t go on the drip to progress things because the baby’s heart wasn’t coping, and the thought of waiting and then having to push for 2 hours! No way, I’d already been doing this for 32 hours. They both told me it was completely my decision and they supported me 100% either way but they both knew I had run out of energy.
The consultant came back in and I told her I’d made my decision and that I wanted a C Section. Straight away she tried to talk me out of it, how it was major surgery, that if I had a section then I’d probably have to have another one if I wanted more children. But I didn’t care I knew what I wanted, and this was it. She gave up and left the room to make arrangements only for her to re-enter looking anxious 10 minutes later. “I have spoken to the senior consultant and he has said that we are not able to offer you a c section”. That was it, I exploded, I was hysterical balling my eyes out. What do you mean? You just offered it to me now your saying no? “He thinks you will progress naturally and that you’re not in real need of it” I’ll be honest I was absolutely raging. I pleaded with her and the midwife but there was no budging, my mum stepped in and spoke with them. “She’s exhausted, look at her she can’t wait another 4 hours then possibly another 2 she hasn’t got the energy” she said.
But no, there was no changing anyone’s mind. I would have to carry on and wait another 4 hours, and if I didn’t get to 7cm the consultant said I would definitely have a C Section. I already knew that I wouldn’t get to 7cm specially now I wasn’t the hormone drip, so had nothing to help me progress. I dismissed the consultant and screamed at everyone to leave me alone with my family, I was distraught. I whaled as I threw my arms around matts neck, “I can’t do it, I can’t do it anymore” I sobbed. Mum & Matt were both as seething as I was, how could you offer someone that then take it away – it was almost cruel. So, we waited another 4 hours, it’s now 9pm Saturday evening – 34 hours in. And guess what!!!!
I’m 5cm dilated.
SHOCKER. So, we had wasted 4 hours for absolutely F* all. As I knew we would. But no one listened to me! So now the situation changed to – WE NEED TO GET THIS BABY OUT ASAP! an emergency c section Is now needed. Fan-fucking-tastic! I am literally like the walking dead right now I’ve had next to no sleep, I think we worked out I had 4 hours in the whole time so I think from admission to Charlie being born it was 37.5 hours, I only had 4 hours of rest in that period. So, you can imagine the state of me. Matt puts his scrubs on, and they do the ice cube check to make sure that I can’t feel anything. It’s basically when they run ice cubes down your legs and across your belly to make sure the epidural is still working. Next thing I know my mum is giving me a hug & kiss and I’m being wheeled down to theatre.
As we get into theatre it’s super bright and the room is filled with people. There are Christmas songs playing and I remember going “oh great bloody Christmas songs” 😂 (I’m such a Scrooge) and they asked if I wanted if turned off, but I said no because I knew Matt loved it. I suddenly feel really scared, I’m introduced to another anaesthesiologist, who does another ice cube test to make sure I’m still super numb and I feel that cold sensation again running down my back from a second top up of the epidural. There is the big sheet in front of me so I can’t see anything, and my blood pressure is being monitored. I turn to Matt and start to get really emotional; the midwife Ellie asks if I’m ok and I just remember blubbering that I was really scared. It’s still a bit of a blur, I remember everyone in the room shouting their names & their jobs. The doctor shouted to me that they were going to start, and I started to feel lots of pressure and tugging it was a very weird sensation. Then the next thing I know I’m being shown Charlie over the screen and I’m balling my eyes out. Matt kisses me on the head as we hear him crying. Ellie shows him to me as she takes him aside and Matt goes over to cut the cord. He was born to “fairytale of New York ” (matts favourite song & now mine) Saturday 1st December @ 10.09pm weighing 7lb 9 ounces.
“He’s perfect he’s perfect Hel” he says to me with tears in his eyes. We both just cried and cried, it’s was the best moment ever. I remember being handed Charlie on my chest and I couldn’t stop looking at him, but I had turned to matt within a few minutes and said, “You’ll have to have him I don’t feel very well”. Next thing I know the dr is telling me everything’s done, I remember thanking everyone in theatre and I’m being taken to recovery. They put Charlie in the crook of my arm and wheel me in. My mum runs over crying her eyes out asking if I’m ok and she doesn’t even noticed Charlie wedged next to me! 😂 “where is he?” She says and I just point next to me and she’s like “omg OMG look at him” I don’t think we’ve all every cried so much! Again, this is all a bit blurry, but I can’t even remember mum leaving, Ellie the midwife comes over to do his first nappy with Matt then wheels him away. Matt tried to sleep in the chair next to me, but I could see how uncomfortable he was, so come 4am I tell him to go home and come back tomorrow. I remember lying in bed staring at him like thinking wow your mine!
Please don’t let my story worry you if you are pregnant – I think my case was very very rare and a lot of people I know have had the most amazing births! My birth was amazing – but it wasn’t how I pictured it would be and it was gruelling. But it was amazing because I had a happy healthy baby boy at the end of it! I definitely could not have done it without Matt he was absolutely amazing! And my mum was fab when she wasn’t on the floor😂
He was perfect, absolutely beautiful – and still is.