The last leg

Labour – part ii

19th March – sometime in the evening

By this point I had totally lost track of time, and just willing it to all be over.

Have you ever seen the episode of Friends where Ross and Rachel are in the hospital and all those other couples come and go while they are still waiting for something to happen?  Well we felt exactly the same at this point!  We’d already got through about 4 different shifts of midwives and in the other rooms we could hear various crying babies and wondered exactly when ours would make an appearance!

I think it was during the diamorphine induced grogginess that I had my waters broken for me, as they were just not budging!

On further examination I hadn’t dilated much further than earlier that morning – apparently my uterus wasn’t contracting strongly enough to make anything happen quickly so they decided to hook me up to the drip that they use to induce labour which would hopefully speed things up a bit!

It was at this point that I also decided to go all out and ask for an epidural.  They told me that on the drip the contractions would feel much worse than they already did and although the diamorphine helped to take the edge off, I knew I wouldn’t be able to get through the rest of labour without something much stronger!

I felt like I was wired up to almost everything… I had the drip in my right arm, blood pressure monitor on my left, contraction and heartbeat monitor on my body and now the epidural rigged up in my back.  I also had a slight raise in temperature so I was given antibiotics intrevanously through the drip too – I really did have everything possible!!

I had previous reservations about epidurals as I’d heard that they could lead to loss of feeling in the legs and that I may not be able to stay as active as I wanted to however after having one, I would totally recommend it to anyone! My epidural wasn’t quite as effective as it could have been – according to the anaesthetist I have a rather deep back which meant he couldn’t quite get the epidural in the right position, so instead of completely numbing my lower half, I probably had around 30-40% feeling.

20th March – early hours

The epidural worked okay for the next few hours but after that I think my body just became immune to the effects and I had to control my pain with gas and air as well.  The midwives were concerned that the epidural was pretty much useless now so they decided to give me another shot of diamorphine (half the earlier dosage) as they knew I’d need something to help with the pushing.

At around 7.20am I was now dilated enough to start pushing.  I don’t remember pushing for that long but it took a good hour and half before I finally got baby E out!  It was probably the hardest thing I’ve ever done  and although I was drugged up with the diamorphine, it still felt like a pretty traumatic experience.  After I’d been pushing for a while and nothing seemed to be happening, a doctor was summoned into the room and I learnt afterwards that they were taking precautions as they thought that I was likely to need a forceps birth.  As it was, I was duly determined to get the baby out without any intervention and after a few final, horrificly painful pushes – 25 hours after labour officially started – baby E arrived at 08.54am!

Relief and a million other emotions

Baby E was put straight on my chest after delivery – blood, goop and all – but I wasn’t complaining – she was perfect!!

At this point I was also conscious of the fact that my husband J was pretty much recovering from a panic attack – I could hear noisy breathing and crying and he was telling me that he had pins and needles in his face, which he didn’t think was possible!
Seeing what I had just been through in the last two hours must have been a pretty traumatic experience for him – although I was the one experiencing it, I don’t think I’d like to watch it, so I have every ounce of respect for him to have gone through that – and not faint at the sight!!

J was absolutely brilliant throughout the whole labour – I am so glad he was there to support me and I’ll be forever grateful to him for holding my hand at the worst moments.  And apparently I didn’t even swear at him and tell him that this was all his fault – he’s counting himself very lucky!!

Last minute emergency

Unfortunately after baby E arrived the drama wasn’t completely over.  Following the delivery I had the injection to safely deliver the placenta but because of the very long labour I continued to have quite a lot of blood loss.  As quick as she was placed on my chest, E was taken away, I heard someone say ‘push the red button’ and a siren sounded in the room.  Before I could work out what was going on, the room had filled with around 15 people, all swarming around me. I didn’t really know what was going on but it was pretty scary. I was still groggy from the diamorphine and combined with post labour exhaustion I was in my own little world. Turning my head I was conscious that E was now wrapped in a towel and had been handed to J. They looked so lovely together and I’m so glad it have me something to focus on.
The ’emergency’ seemed to go on forever but in reality it was probably about 5 or 10 mins and all the people in the room dispersed just as quick as they’d appeared!
Thankfully the blood loss had been stopped and I was on the road to recovery!

The only other thing I needed was a couple of stitches and I could now concentrate on my beautiful daughter and our brand new little family!

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Radio silence

So I’ve not posted for over two weeks – of course that can only mean one thing… she’s here!!

After moaning in my last post that I had experienced somewhat of a false labour, the real thing got underway that evening!

Although my labour started on the evening of 18th March, Baby E didn’t arrive until the morning of 20th March – so my instincts when I first fell pregnant had been spot on (see my prediction in my earlier post here)

So here’s the rundown of how it happened – I’ll cover it in two parts as otherwise it will end up being a rather EPIC post!

Labour – Part i

18th March – 11.30pm 

I’d gone to bed about 9pm that night, and having snoozed for a couple of hours found myself waking up with similar pains that I’d experienced the night before.  Knowing that it hadn’t led anywhere the previous night, I declined to wake up hubby and just keep an eye on them and see how they felt.  I also started timing them on an iPhone app.

19th March – 2am

After a few hours they had definitely got worse so I decided to wake up hubby and get him to strap me up to my tens machine.  I didn’t particularly rate it at first but I warmed to it eventually and it did actually did help me through the first few hours.  I believe you can buy tens machines quite cheaply however I had decided to just hire mine.

You can hire them from Mothercare or Toys r Us amongst others, but the site I used was TeNS Medical Services.

I used a Mama Tens unit and it cost £21.95 for a seven week hire period (for that you get the unit, a spare set of batteries, one set of electrodes, a lanyard to hang the machine round your neck and free return postage – which reminds me, I must send mine back tomorrow!)  It might not work for everyone but I think it was worth the money for the initial stages of labour.

We monitored the contractions together and at 3am we decided that they were close enough together to give the hospital a call.  However they didn’t seem to think I was ready to be taken in, so they advised me to have a warm bath or carry on using my tens machine and call back when I was having 3 or 4 contractions in the space of 10 minutes.

19th March – 5am

The contractions were now much closer together so I gave the hospital another call and this time they said it was okay for me to go in – so in a slight daze we gathered together all our bags, jumped in the car and off we went.   We only live 10/15 mins drive from the hospital so at that time of the morning it didn’t take us long to get there.

We got checked in and then taken into an assessment room, where someone came to examine me.  I was told that I needed to be at least 4cm dilated to be classed as being in established labour so fingers were crossed that I had reached this stage and wouldn’t be sent home.

Aaaargh, only 3cm!! 

However the midwife reassured me that it was a ‘very good 3cm’, my waters were fit to burst and that it surely wouldn’t be long before I was in established labour so they let me stay!  My next examination would be in around 4 hours, so they offered to run me a nice warm bath – which I couldn’t wait to get in!  Our bath at home is very leaky so I hadn’t really been able to enjoy a good long soak in ages so even a hospital bath felt like a real treat!

19th March – 10.30am

Following the bath, I had some cornflakes and orange juice brought in for me which I munched away on whilst bouncing on an exercise ball.  I was determined to get over 4cm before the next exam!  The pain was getting much worse at this point, with much stronger contractions so I was so pleased to  see the midwife arrive for my next examination.

5cm!!  Woohoo!!  Baby was definitely on her way!!

They asked me what I had planned re pain relief so being optimistic I asked if the birth pool was free and it was!  So off we went across the corridor into a very pleasant looking room, with a giant hot tub!!  Well there were no bubbles of course, but with a comfy sofa for hubby and some lovely mood lighting I was actually pretty excited at this point (yes, I know I’m a bit weird).  I didn’t have a bikini top or anything with me so I just decided to strip off and jump in…  when I got in, it was a bit weird… I couldn’t really get into a comfortable position but the warm water felt good.  For some reason I couldn’t quite envisage having my baby in the pool so I just treated it like a posh bath!  It’s a good job really as if I’d stayed in the water for the duration of my entire labour I would have been slightly wrinkled!

19th March – sometime in the afternoon…

Having spent a few hours in the birthing pool suite, basically just trying to breathe through the pain I decided that it was all a bit too much and I wanted more pain relief… This was where all my good intentions flew out the window.   When I wrote my birth plan, I had obviously been very optimistic as I had planned on giving birth with just the help of gas and air.  My mum had done it so surely I could manage it too… my pain threshold is fairly high and how bad could the contractions be??

Well, I’m sure everyone is different but mine were excruciating!  Gas and air was never going to cut it this time so I took the next step up and opted for the diamorphine… I have absolutely no idea how long the effects lasted for…but I quite enjoyed the feeling of being spaced out for a time!!  Just a pity it didn’t last for the whole birth!!

There’s still a long way to go… I’ll carry on with the tale in part ii!

A new chapter…

Hi there!

Just a little bit of an introduction from me first of all…

I am excited that in a few weeks time I will become a mum for the very first time! But i’m also pretty nervous as I’m sure you can imagine!

I’ve just started my maternity leave from my job as a writer – it will feel strange not writing anything for nearly a year so I’m hoping that this blog will help me sane over the coming weeks and months! I know I won’t always have time to keep it up but I’ll try my best!

It’s all very much a learning curve for me and my husband – we’d like to think we are prepared as much as possible but really, how prepared can you be until baby actually makes it’s appearance!

I’ll be sharing various things on here… while I’m waiting for the big day, I’ll write about the journey so far, what we’ve been doing to prepare, hopes and fears and everything in between!

Once we say hello to baby I hope you’ll join us on the exciting journey as we learn all about being new parents and the HUGE learning curve that lies ahead!!

Wish us luck!!