After having Darcey I wrote a blog post about my delivery. I was really worried about labour after back surgery and exactly how different and more difficult it was going to be. I had my two boys before any of my back problems began and although no two labours are the same I was really nervous this time around.
When I first found out I was pregnant I did some research into what labour was like and other people’s stories, I found a lot of scary stories of pain and caesareans being recommend from the beginning. My experience was somewhat different, I really didn’t want a caesarean as my back muscles are very weak and my stomach muscles help keep me upright, cutting through them would be a long road to recovery for me.
I did have a difficult pregnancy and at 37 weeks my consultant decided to induce me, the baby was a good size and I was only getting worse. So I went into hospital to have the pessary inserted and waited for the labour to begin.
When labour started I immediately started to feel it more in my back than I had done with the previous 2 deliveries. I used my tens machine from early on, this is a medical tens machine not a labour one, so it emits a constant pulse. This really helped at the beginning as well as hot water bottles.
The hospital was great and at 2-3cm dilated I was allowed gas and air and pethidine. The pain was completely in my back and not like the cramping period pains I had in early labour with the boys. I was lucky that the delivery suite was quiet and they took me in and started giving me pain relief very early on.
With the boys I was happy to lie down on the bed and wait for things to happen. This time around I didn’t want to put any pressure on my back or have anything touching it. I was mainly on all fours or sitting and bouncing on the birthing ball during the labour. I was expecting to feel this way during labour so I was more open to different positions and options during this labour.
As Labour Progressed
It was much more difficult to rest between contractions this time around as the pain was more intense from the baby’s position and the pressure on my back. The anaesthetist did come and see me during the labour and offered me an epidural saying she was sure she could get it to work. I did refuse this as with the fusion I don’t have a normal anatomy and previous epidurals I have had for back pain haven’t worked, I certainly didn’t want anyone to try and put a rather large needle in my spine without having seen my x-rays.
To get things moving my waters were broken and I had another dose of pethidine, after this things moved quickly. I was on all fours when I delivered Darcey as this was the only way I felt I could get through the last stage. Also I didn’t feel the same urges to push as I had with the boys but that was the main difference. Then she was here everything I had dreamed she would be and so worth all the pain!
So how did it compare to labour before surgery?
Well I’m not going to lie it was a lot more painful. In all three of my labours I had gas and air and pethidine, so I am comparing them as best as I can. The pressure and pain in my back was as bad as I thought it was going to be, but I got through it. I wouldn’t be scared into having a caesarean if I was going to do it all again. If you can get through back surgery and back problem’s then you can get through labour. Go into it with an open mind as you would with any labour and just try and listen to your body getting into whatever position you feel is most manageable.