I can’t believe that our little girl is nearly 1 month old now and I thought it was about time I shared my birth story with you to finish off my pregnancy journey. I briefly mentioned her arrival in Welcome to the World while I was still getting to grips with being a new mummy again.
For those of you who have followed my weekly pregnancy updates you’ll know how much I was struggling with pain caused by my bad back and also the SPD that I was suffering from. In December it was getting to the point the any kind of mobility was a struggle and I wasn’t leaving the house.
On 30th December I was 37 weeks pregnant and I had a check up with my consultant. We’d discussed previously that I could have a sweep at 37 weeks to try and encourage this baby to come early. I’d had a scan at 35 weeks that showed baby was a good size and the consultant was weighing up the baby and my well being to determine when the best time was for her to arrive.
So on 30th December I had a sweep after my appointment and I was booked in for an induction on 31st December at 37 +1 weeks. I know that some people may think this is a bit early as due dates are an estimation but as I’d already been in hospital that week with contractions and I was in so much pain we decided that it was time for her to be born.
I hadn’t had a sweep with the boys, Will arrived on his due date and with Ben I went into labour naturally at 37 + 1 weeks, so I hadn’t had to try and encourage the boys to come along. The midwife was really nice and it wasn’t as uncomfortable as I thought it was going to be. She told me that my cervix was still very posterior and thick and there wasn’t any sign that I was going to go into labour naturally. Afterwards we went home, hoping something might happen overnight, and were asked to return at 8am the next morning.
I was very nervous about having an induction as friends have told me it’s a lot more painful than going into labour naturally. Also there’s a much higher chance of needing medical intervention to deliver the baby as you’re forcing the baby and your body to do something it’s not quiet ready to do. I was having an Outpatient Induction which meant that I went in at 8am and was examined to see if anything had happened since the sweep. My cervix was pretty much the same and I had the pessary inserted and was put on a monitor for a while to make sure that my body didn’t react to the pessary and cause labour to start too quickly. After 2 hours I was allowed to go home and asked to return at 5pm that evening. I would be examined again at 5pm and then if nothing was happening would go home again until the following day.
I was really happy with this approach as I was much more comfortable going home, pottering around and lying in my own bed. I managed to get a little bit of sleep and it wasn’t until 2pm that I started feeling a few contractions. I was hopeful that when we went back at 5pm they would tell me I was in active labour and that baby would arrive later that day, wishful thinking!
We returned to the hospital at 5pm and the midwife put me on a monitor, I was having 2-3 contractions every 10 minutes. She examined me and did a stretch and sweep again but I was only 2cm, which was a bit disappointing. We were trying to decide if I should be admitted to the antenatal ward or sent home for the evening. It was after all New Years Eve and I did have a very nice curry and friends on hand to come over for dinner if this baby wasn’t arriving!
Within about 10 minutes of this discussion however the contractions got a lot more painful and intense, probably as a result of having another sweep. Instead I was sent round to the labour ward as it appeared that baby may decide to come a lot sooner. We had the most amazing midwife called Jo who would be looking after us on the night shift. I was really lucky with the delivery room and got a really large room and the only one that had an ensuite, New Years Eve was very quiet on the delivery suite.
By 9pm I was really struggling with the pain in my back and was given gas and air and pethidine. It was always part of my birth plan to have the pethidine early on in labour incase I needed some stronger pain relief for my back as the labour progressed. We started taking bets on when baby would arrive I guessed 11:59pm so she would have a New Years Eve birthday.
As we got towards the New Year the contractions were getting stronger and closer together. I spent a lot of my time bouncing on the ball hoping that this would get the baby to descend and my cervix to dilate. I was having 5-6 contractions every 10 minutes and the babies heart rate was 170-180 bpm, she wasn’t happy about the frequency of the contractions and was struggling a bit. I was put on a saline drip to try and bring her heart rate down, a further examination showed I was still only 2cm and that things weren’t really progressing, the pessary was removed to try and get things to ease off.
We welcomed in the New Year between contractions, it certainly will be the most memorable New Years Eve for us. I said sorry to hubby for making him miss his lovely curry that was at home! The midwives however had ordered takeaway curry and bought him in a plate of all the leftover’s to make sure he was well fed. It smelled amazing and it was at this point they told me I had to be nil by mouth until baby was happier. So I had to lay there and smell the yummyness as he ate it, it’s a very good thing I love him!
At 1:30am the midwives and doctor decided that they needed to slow the labour down and I had an injection that basically stopped the labour in it’s tracks. They turned the lights off in the room and told me to get some rest for a couple of hours. Hubby managed to recline a seat and get some rest I just lay there. It was really strange to have the labour just stopped and a little bit demotivating but I understood that the baby needed a rest from the contractions and she was the most important thing.
At 4am I was examined and was 4cm so I had my water broken. I can’t believe how much water there was it felt like a tidal wave, I felt very foolish for thinking my waters had been leaking previously in my pregnancy. I was laughing at how much water there was and I felt a lot lighter after that, my bump looked really deflated!
The contractions started again and I had some more pethidine to cope with the pain. At about 6am the midwife asked me to move around to get things going, so I started bouncing on the ball again. Very quickly everything got a lot more painful, I had the gas and air and was making a lot of noises. It got to the stage where I was too uncomfortable and I needed to get back onto the bed, my intention was to lie on my side as I knew I didn’t want to put to much pressure on my back. As it turned out I managed to crawl onto the bed and then decided I wasn’t going to move.
The contractions were getting much more painful although I wasn’t really having any pushing urges, to be honest my back hurt so much it was hard to distinguish what was going on. The midwife had very kindly put a sheet over me to cover up my dignity, or whatever little I had left. Hubby was doing a great job of telling me to breathe deeply on the gas and air to get the full effect and between my loud moans I was trying to listen to him.
After maybe 15 minutes I told the midwife I though the baby was coming, again the pushing urges I was expecting weren’t really there but it just felt like there was a lot of pressure. The midwife had a look and baby wasn’t crowning but she told me to go with whatever I felt I needed to do so I started to push. 10 minutes later and babies head was out followed shortly after at 7:28am by the rest of her, hubby was really surprised as he didn’t expect it to happen that quickly. It was a very strange sensation and nothing like delivering the boys. I don’t know whether this was due to the delivery position, being on all fours, or due to the back surgery I’ve had.
I had an injection to deliver the placenta but by this point I was holding my beautiful daughter and wasn’t really bothered by the discomfort of delivering the placenta. I needed to have a few stitches which I was fully expecting as I tore badly having the boys. This time I only needed a few and it wasn’t as painful as the stitches I’d had previously, with the boys I tore along the side and this was more extensive.
I stayed in hospital for a few hours afterwards and at this point was desperate to get home. We face timed the boys who were at home with my mum and I really wanted to get my family all together at home where we belonged. The hospital had wanted me to stay in for 24 hours due to the medication I was taking in pregnancy so they could monitor both myself and baby. However I was feeling fine and baby was doing well so they let us go after 5 hours with instructions to come back if we had any worries.
Our family completed
Holding my daughter in my arms was amazing, she is worth every second of pain that I experienced during the pregnancy and the labour and I would do it all again in a heartbeat for her. Our family is now complete and she is settling in well, we’re all completely besotted with her.
I had fantastic care throughout the pregnancy led by Mr Webster at Poole General Hospital, he put my mind at ease throughout the 37 weeks and I had complete trust in the advise he gave me. The midwife Jo who delivered Darcey was amazing, she was upbeat and positive throughout the whole labour. She stayed with us and made sure that we were well looked after and that baby was delivered safe and sound without needing any intervention. She listened to my wishes and supported us throughout.
The NHS often get’s a lot of bad press and you always seem to see the bad news in papers, rarely do people write about good labour experiences. I couldn’t have received better care throughout my pregnancy and labour and am very grateful to everyone who helped me get through it.