When 2 became 3. A birth story.

I love reading birth stories, I read so many when I was expecting my first.  Everyone’s experiences are all so different.  Both my labours although fairly similar were also different in many ways.  After each of my labours I made sure to find the time to write my birth stories so I could also one day share them.  Here is my first…

My contractions started whilst I was at home on the Thursday afternoon, three days before my due date. At first they were really mild and as I hadn’t had any cramps or Braxton Hicks up to this point I assumed it was probably nothing and carried on as normal (sat on my bum watching reruns of GBBO). By 9pm the pains hadn’t subsided, in fact they were now worse so I began timing them…you know, just in case. We went to bed as normal and I managed to sleep until 3am. My contractions were now stronger and coming more frequently but were certainly not regular or close enough that I felt we needed to call the hospital. At this point my waters hadn’t broken and I had had no other signs that I was in labour. At 5am (Friday) I decided to get up try and manage the pain on my birthing ball. We called the maternity triage line at 7am as I still wasn’t 100% sure ‘this was it’ as I hadn’t had any other signs. The midwife I spoke to was lovely, really reassuring. She told me that this was all normal and to take some paracetamol and to have a bath and that we didn’t need to go in until the contractions were much closer together. We tried the Tens machine for a few hours but as the contractions weren’t in my back I didn’t find that it helped at all with the pain. The contractions continued throughout the day and very gradually did begin to get longer and more frequent. By 9pm (Friday) the contractions were about a minute long and happening every 6 minutes and because they were still not frequent enough we decided to go to bed. After being in bed for all of about 30 minutes, the contractions started to became more painful and I was starting to experience a pain in between them too. We called the maternity ward again and because of the pain I was experiencing they asked us to come in. We arrived at the hospital and went straight to the Midwife Led Unit where I was examined by a midwife, she did all the checks and everything was fine with the baby although she told me I was still only in the early stage of labour. It wasn’t clear why I was experiencing this pain between the contractions so I was taken downstairs to the labour ward where a doctor offered me some diamorphine to cope with the pain which I accepted.  This allowed me to get some rest and I think I might have slept a little.  Around 5am (Saturday) I was examined and was told I was 6cm dilated and since the pain had subsided I was allowed back up to the Midwife Led Unit. Whilst in Midwife Led Unit I used the bath and gas and air to cope with the pain. As my waters still hadn’t gone the midwife decided to break them for me, hoping to speed things along. Things progressed quite slowly and by 3:30pm I had reached 9cm, after this point my contractions slowed right down and around 5pm they decided that I should go back down to the labour ward. By this time I was well and truly knackered! Once I was on the labour ward I was examined again and told I had an ‘anterior lip’ which basically meant part of my cervix had folded back on itself meaning that I was unlikely to get to 10cm (and be allowed to push) without the help of the hormone drip to increase my contractions which I gladly accepted. I think by this point I had become immune to the effects of gas and air and I asked for an epidural.  After the epidural was administered I didn’t feel ANY pain (Halleujah!) and as my contractions increased I was able to relax and get some energy back. Once I reached 10cm they allowed me to start pushing. I pushed for an hour but she was getting stuck as her head wasn’t in the right position. Baby was monitored the whole time I was on the labour ward and her heartbeat was consistent and she didn’t show any signs of distress, in fact each midwife that checked the monitor commented on how calm she had been throughout. At this point the doctor told me that as she was stuck he wanted to prep me for theatre, he wanted to try forceps and if that didn’t work they would have to do a caesarean. The theatre team were all fantastic and all so nice.  I’m not sure if it was all the drugs or just delirious from being so tired but I felt like they were all my best friends! They were all really reassuring and really calm which meant that I didn’t panic.  It did really help knowing beforehand (thanks to my NCT classes) that if we had to go to theatre that I should expect a lot of people in theatre with us.  After 5 or 6 pushes our baby girl was pulled into the world using forceps a few minutes before 9pm Saturday night weighing 7lb 14oz.
I obviously would have preferred not to have had her via forceps but she got away very lightly and barely had a mark on her. The couple of small bruises she did have disappeared after a few days. She also didn’t seem to suffer from any head pain afterwards either. I stayed in hospital for the Saturday night and was discharged the following day.  If I’m honest, it did take me a few weeks to recover from the pain as I think I had quite a bit of internal bruising from the forceps. It’s not something I had really given much thought to beforehand and I found it really frustrating in the beginning as I had expected to be up and out of the house and some days I could barely move around the house because of the pain. It took me three weeks before I was even comfortable to drive so was housebound for a little while which wasn’t ideal.  As disappointed as I was that my labour hadn’t really gone to plan I am extremely appreciative to all the staff at the Royal Berkshire Hospital.  Every single person we dealt with (there was a LOT) during our stay were brilliant.  From the first phone call to triage, to the midwives, to the theatre team and to the staff on the ward later who helped me with every single feed.  I will always be eternally grateful.

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