A tale of two labours – The Hospital

May 10, 2011

I want to try and get this written down before it fades into the tiredness and inability to think that comes with severe sleep deprivation. It took me a month to be able to even consider sitting down and writing about my induction and labour last time, and it just goes to show the difference between the two experiences as this time I am so keen to record and remember everything that happened. I am trying to get it down and write a bit more every time I have a moment. Which isn’t often! Also as it was a straightforward labour I thought it would be short but I have split it into two parts so it isn’t too long a post.

Part one, what happened at home, is here

So, at the end of my last post we had just taken the lift to the second floor and arrived at the delivery suite. I had been worried that coming to this place again would freak me out, the last time I was there we were escaping from SCBU with Piran. We had to walk part the ward where I had spent nine days and the SCBU to get into the delivery suite but I need not have worried, I was slightly distracted at this point!

From here on in I am a bit hazy on the details! It must have been around 7.40 am when we arrived at the delivery suite and were shown to a room. It was bang on shift change so they told us to make ourselves comfortable while I was assigned a midwife. Shortly after she came in and introduced herself. Her name was Yvonne and she was lovely. She asked if I had something to change into and while I was putting my hideous bright pink ‘Funky Monkey’ nightshirt on (I wore the same to have Piran) she pulled the bed out from the side of the room and asked me questions.

We were asked if we minded if a physiotherapist was present during the birth. I didn’t really mind so we said that it would be okay. I think that they said that she did physio both during and after pregnancy but had never seen what happens in between. As it turned out, having her there was a bit of a blessing in disguise, as the midwife kept explaining what she was doing and what was happening and that really helped me with the feeling that things were progressing.

The midwife offered me gas & air which I definitely wanted by now. As I was having each contraction I would have to stop moving and hang on to the bed. The mouthpiece on the gas wouldn’t go on properly and that was very annoying, after a few contractions they got a new one but to start with I was just holding it on.

I think at this point I started making involuntary noises at the top of each contraction. I couldn’t tell if the gas was helping at all but it definitely encouraged me to breath properly, slowing down and taking longer breaths. The midwife said that the noises were a positive sign.

The baby’s heartbeat was checked and sounded good.  She asked if I wanted to be examined. Getting onto the bed was hard bloody work but I wanted to know how I was doing so she checked and informed me that I was 8cms dilated and had ‘bulging’ waters. I’m afraid to say my first thought was “Oh Fuck! It is too late for an epidural.” I have always said with my first labour though that if I had known how quickly I would progress from 3cms to 8cms I might have done without the epidural so this was the point that I would prove that.

I think that I stayed on the bed from this point, although I can’t be entirely sure. I could hear the midwife talking to the physiotherapist and explaining that she thought that my waters would go at any time. I think I had three more contractions, which were so intense and then suddenly a pop and a wave of my waters went across the bed. Mr C said it was quite shocking! He spent all the time stroking my head and talking to me through the contractions ensuring that I took deep breaths. It was easier for a while after my waters went, less pressure.

I remember feeling really despondent, that I couldn’t do this and that I really just wanted to go home. I then wondered if I could be in transition as I knew that it tended to be at this point that people struggled. The contractions started to feel different and the midwife asked if I felt like pushing. I realised that that was what had changed and the noises that I was making were suddenly very different. Mr C says it was unlike anything he had ever heard. I can vaguely remember but I’m sure I could never recreate it.

The midwife was getting lots of things ready and I realised that things were really coming along. They took the gas and air away (WHAT! Give it back) explaining that it would stop me pushing effectively. I remember thinking that I just had to get it done now. I think it was around 8.30 at this point. She told the physiotherapist that when the baby was near to being born that they would need disposable aprons from the dispenser and I could hear her saying what would happen as I rested between contractions.

Nothing seemed to be happening so I changed positions for a while, on my knees on the bed, leaning over the top with Mr C there holding my hands and talking to me. God, that man was AMAZING. I can’t tell you how much I love and admire him. I know how much he hates to see me in pain and he was just there, filling my vision, keeping me with him. Last time he had an almost fainted moment, this time he stayed right at the top end (he still hasn’t recovered from his view of the business end last time) and just kept me focused.

I never seem to get the pushing right. I was making too much noise (silence is key apparently) and it seemed that I would only get the hang of it at the end of each contraction instead of bang on straight away. I know that there was a lot of apologising for doing it wrong, and apparently I swore at the midwife once. A few more tries and nothing was happening so I went back onto my back. The midwife knew that this baby was probably large and she said this was the best position to get the big babies out!

Suddenly I realised that the midwife had told the physiotherapist that they needed aprons quickly and that made me realise that this was really happening. A glimpse of the head and lots of hair, three more pushes and then it was happening. Push, breathe, wait, pant. More panting, a little pushing, panting, pushing.

OH MY GOD THE PAIN! (That was the shoulders)

And then whoosh. Baby.

9.03am

She didn’t cry and they got the resuscitation bed in. It was scary, I just kept asking if she was okay and they said that she just needed a little bit of oxygen. They rubbed and rubbed and warmed her and gave her help to breathe and then she was crying and okay and wrapped in a towel and given to me. She had so much hair and a bruised nose and face from delivery but just seemed perfect.

I opted for the injection to help deliver the placenta and after a short while that was over. The midwife cleaned me up to check for tears but I only had a small one on the outside that didn’t need stitches.

The midwife asked if I was planning to breastfeed. After much soul searching in the weeks leading up to this point I had made the decision that I would rather use formula, but had been worried that I would be given a hard time in hospital but she could tell I was hesitant and when I said that I had chosen not too she was wonderful, reassuring me that it was my decision and that whatever I decided was fine.

They cleared up and left and we were allowed to make telephone calls. I called my mum which was an amazing moment, she had no idea I had been in labour and to say she was excited is an understatement! Last time Mr C made all of the calls and it was so special to be able to tell her myself this time. I also called my Dad while Mr C text the world in general. Then I even tweeted about her arrival. I love my iPhone!

A different midwife came and weighed Kate and we got her dressed and warm for more cuddles and a bottle of milk. We had cups of tea and the midwife took my bloods. Then I went off for a bath while Mr C looked after her. Last time I had to sit for hours while the drip finished and I had a catheter and couldn”t get out of bed for hours and hours. This time I walked to the bathroom and washed and dressed myself. It was completely amazing. Last time I had this almighty rush of adrenaline which made me feel invincible and like shouting I did it. This time was different, I just felt so proud and happy that I had managed to make it a completely different experience, that my body had done its job and that I was pretty amazing.

Last time I was wheeled round to the ward on a bed and Mr C left almost straight away. This time I pushed my baby in her cot round to the ward and was back on my feet from the word go. As it was only 10.30 in the morning Mr C got to stay with us all day. We asked for a six hour discharge when we saw the midwife and then just lay around all day tweeting, emailing and texting everyone. We ate and rested and just marvelled at the beautiful baby girl that was finally here.

It took a little longer than expected but finally at 7pm we were allowed to leave. When Mr C put the car park ticket in the machine we realised that we had been there 20 minutes short of 12 hours. Last time we were there for nine days. A very different labour in every single way.

 By 8pm we were home, We spent the first night just the three of us, and we all got some sleep. In the morning Mr C went to get Piran and the first day of the rest of our family life began.

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