The Peaks of Labour

Baby Boy 1

I read somewhere once that sometimes the longest journeys have the best destinations and I think that applies perfectly to pregnancy and labour. These are the peaks of my labour and birth story (the pits can be found here).

Early Labour – During the early stages of labour I was obviously uncomfortable but not at the gripping pain stage. It was very clear that Baby E was on his way and this brought a quiet, contented excitement. I spent those early hours taking baths, bouncing on my exercise ball and Mr W and I watched episodes of The Sopranos while we patiently waited. We even took a photo of the sunrise that morning, little did we know Baby E had other ideas and a whole new sunrise would happen before he made an appearance!

The Labour Bubble – It seemed that nothing else was happening and no one else existed (not even the plethora of midwives, doctors, anaesthetists and medical students that joined us as my labour unfolded). It was as if I were living life blurred at the edges and only focusing on what was happening to Baby E, myself and Mr W.

Our Story – After reading many birth stories and watching far too many episodes of One Born Every Minute, I was excited to see what our story be. Even though it’s a story with complications and twists and turns, it is our story.

The Relief – That split second between the big moment of giving birth and the even bigger moment of Baby E being put on me was instant relief. After all the hours of discomfort, pain and anticipation, I felt ‘normal’ before the life changing moment when I met Baby E.

First Cry – Baby E gave a gargle of a cry when he was first put on me before being whisked away to another room by a midwife to get a little more encouragement and to check him over. Hearing that cry from the other room, which we would get to know so well, was an amazing sound. We knew instantly that was our boy despite having heard nothing from him before other than that all important heartbeat.

It’s a Boy! – The only thing I got from my very undemanding birth plan was Mr W telling me the sex of our first child. We had decided not to find out during my pregnancy and we truly had no preference. I had a very strong instinct from the start that we were having a boy…mum knows best!

Wow, it’s you – The first cuddle and proper look at the tiny little human I knew so well for 9 months yet had never actually met really is something words would never do justice. Baby E looked up at Mr W and I with big eyes and huge eyelashes. So new and yet seemingly so aware soaking it all in. Although we had never met it was as if I always knew this was what my baby would look like.

So that is our story of how Mr W and I became a family of 2 to a family of 3. Ready to learn the biggest lesson of our life, how to become parents, taught by the best teacher – Baby E.

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The Pits of Labour

Sunrise1When 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!

The Pits

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. 

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