When I was pregnant I read and heard many birth stories. You would have thought that the positive ones that were quick and relatively straight forward would bring the most comfort to a pregnant lady but I found myself being more reassured by the ones that were not so ‘easy’. No matter how hard or long and difficult it was, there they were with their happy, healthy baby at the other side of it. If they could do it, so could I.
So here is the first part of my story. I decided to reflect on it by looking at the pits (the low points!) first then follow it up with a post on the peaks (which can be found here)…there are some honestly, despite what the following may suggest!
Length of Time – It was 36 hours from when I first felt those ‘enough to keep you awake’ cramps to when Baby E was born. A long time in anybody’s book. It didn’t help that I had been surrounded by tales of ‘Oh, my little one was in a hurry. We got to the hospital at one o’clock and she was here by twenty past’. Seriously!! The timing of my labour meant that I was awake from the Monday morning until the Wednesday night (which I spent in a shared ward with 3 newborns, a snoring lady and regular midwife checks, not a recipe for a good nights sleep!).
The Pain – so obvious it doesn’t really need pointed out. For around the first 12 hours I was doing good and coping well, then the pain went up a good few notches. Although I had never experienced labour before I knew something was not quite right. Despite getting very definite, distinct contractions I was also experiencing pain in between the contractions which lasted right through to Baby E’s birth. So with my mum’s final words of encouragement ringing in my ear ‘remember, the contraction will pass and you will get a little break in between’, we called the hospital and explained that I was most certainly not getting these so called breaks in between. We left the house for the last time as a family of 2 with me feeling like an army of tiny little troll beasts were pulling my insides in all directions.
The Bleeding – When we got to the hospital I began to lose blood which needed to be monitored by the midwife and doctor. I also passed some significant clots which was obviously concerning. My hopes of remaining in the maternity unit quickly disappeared and we were moved to the labour ward where I had my waters broke, which also contained blood, and I continued to be monitored.
Baby E Misbehaving – During our time in the hospital Baby E was monitored, I think this was due to my blood loss and continuous pain. As labour progress Baby E was not quite playing ball and had a few dips in his heart rate, which resulted in lots of changing sides for me to try and improve this and he had clips put on his head to get his blood checked a number of times.
The Epidural – At around the 30 hour mark I reluctantly decided to take the epidural. I was exhausted and because of the pain I was experiencing between contractions I was not getting a break. So I thought I needed to try and get some kind of rest before the big push (literally). Also the midwife told us that if I continued to progress the way I was I could have another 10-12 hours ahead…what! I had heard others describe the relief of the epidural and how amazing it was, unfortunately it didn’t quite work for me. There were complications as it went into the wrong part of my spine, which resulted in the anaesthetist administering the drug by hand when I felt the previous dose wearing off. By the time I felt it kicking in I maybe got ten minutes of the benefit before we had to begin the process of checking me and administering the drug again. As well as this I experienced a post-dural headache which lasted for 5 days after giving birth. This was the worst thing about my recovery.
Assisted Delivery – Unfortunately despite waiting the two hours after being fully dilated, Baby E was clearly too comfortable and had not descended far enough for me to deliver him completely on my own. So after 40 minutes of trying, those menacing looking forceps were produced accompanied by their evil friend Mr. Episiotomy and despite all that had preceded Baby E made his safe and what seemed to me, perfect entrance to the world.