MY BIRTH STORY
When I was pregnant I was obsessed with reading birth stories… I found so much beauty in every journey and how no birthing experience is the same. Reading stories and seeing pictures gave me comfort and opened my eyes to an amazing community of mamas that now feel empowered to share, rather than holding back on subjects that may have one day been considered taboo. It was through these amazing stories that I put together my birth plan which consisted of 4 words; "deliver my baby safely" and that is exactly what I did. I hope that even one of you finds comfort in my story, the way that I did in so many others… So here goes!
At around 38.5 weeks I was measuring big so it was decided that I'd have a stretch and sweep at 39 weeks (which I overheard my husband referring to as a "scratch and sniff" on the phone to his mum!). I went in for this on the morning of the 3rd October... It wasn't pleasant but not nearly as bad as I'd imagined! The midwife told me my cervix was short and I was very favourable. At this point I was having regular tightenings which were around 7 minutes apart. I could feel them but they weren't sore.
The next day I woke up feeling energised. I felt huge and my bump was super low but I had so much energy, so my mum and I went shopping for the entire day. We did over 20,000 steps and then went for a drink with my husband once he finished his work. During this time I started feeling tired and a bit out of sorts. I went to the bathroom and had a blood show. I thought this had already happened as I'd had a little bit of blood already but this was a LOT! We went home and my mum demanded that we had pizza for dinner as 2 times out of 3 she had pizza on the night she went into labour and swears it works... I reckon she's on to something there because that night the fun began!
I had been feeling a bit emotional and suddenly very exhausted, so I went to bed at 9pm. I woke at 9:30pm feeling quite uncomfortable and was experiencing discomfort similar to period pains. I told my husband but he thought it was more Braxton Hicks (which I'd been experiencing for weeks). By 11pm the pains were getting worse and about 6 minutes apart - I knew this was it! My husband still couldn't believe it though so I woke my mum who is a nurse... She took one look at me and jumped out of bed saying "right, this is happening". Unfortunately I'd applied fake tan so had to get in the shower and wash it all off and then decided to wash my hair and do my make up. It sounds so silly but doing normal activities between the contractions helped to keep my mind off the pain which was gradually getting worse!
By the time I'd dried my hair and put on some mascara the pain was becoming unbearable and I was contracting every 4 minutes. I called the hospital and they told me to come in right away. Around 1am we set off with me wearing a body con dressy number because I couldn't bare to put on the jeans I'd laid out as my stomach was too sore, so grabbed the first item of clothing I could find… I looked ridiculous! The drive was surreal... The road was dead and the atmosphere in the car was magical. I called my dad to tell him I was in labour and then we sat in silence, there was no need for words.
By the time we arrived I was extremely uncomfortable with so much pressure in my back and pelvis. The only comfortable position for me was sitting upright. I was contracting every 3 minutes and was convinced that I would be meeting my little guy very soon, so imagine my disappointment when they told me i was only 3cm dilated! The midwife was so lovely, she rubbed my back and asked if I'd like to talk through my preferred birth plan. I told her that I'd prefer to avoid taking anything if possible and she said that she would support this. She then left us in the assessment unit for 2 hours (checking every 30 mins). This seemed like the longest 2 hours of my life - I'd read so much about birthing techniques and had forgotten almost everything, until my mum eventually held my head and looked at me straight in the eyes and told me that I had to breathe through the contractions. I'd let myself get in such a state that I wasn't breathing properly and this simple change helped me so much.
I continued to labour in that room until around 4:30am when the pain suddenly intensified. I didn't feel like I was coping as well and I was growing tired, I was still only 3cm dilated. The midwife suggested I try the bath and even though I didn't think I'd want one I was open to trying anything... BEST. DECISION. EVER. The second I got into the water my pain almost disappeared, I was able to breathe through the contractions and between them I would relax in the water and switch off to the pain. At this point my mum told my husband to go and get a coffee and relax for a bit because he was getting a little tired and shaken up from seeing me in so much pain. My mum and I spent the next hour in the room together and it was so special. She held my hand through the contractions and we laughed about all the events that had taken place earlier in the night. It was so calm and amazing, until around 7am when everything changed.
The contractions started to get stronger again and I knew it was time to get out of the bath. I stood and couldn't believe my eyes when I saw my reflection. My bump was now SO low and had changed dramatically. At this point I had another blood show and amidst the drama managed to pull the cannula out of my hand... There was blood EVERYWHERE. At this point Ricky returned to the room with the midwife who advised that it was now time to go to the birthing suite. She examined me and told me I was now 8cm dilated. This made me feel so much better, I now knew that the birth was imminent and I'd soon be holding my gorgeous boy after 9 months of waiting to meet him. I decided to try the gas and air at this point to assist with my breathing and it really helped to take the edge off (I even managed to crack a few jokes)!
The midwife told me that she would be finishing her shift and another midwife along with the student I'd signed up for would be coming in soon. In walked my absolute favourite midwife, Kay that I'd seen in a few of my appointments alongside our student Tracy. I burst into tears knowing that this gorgeous woman would be the one assisting me to to bring my boy into the world. In the public system you are not told who will be assisting you on the day, so this was such an amazing moment for me! Kay came over, gave me a hug and in her Geordie accent exclaimed "you're doing well girl". By this point it was about 7:45am, it was light outside and it felt as though I'd been in labour forever.
Around 8am I suddenly felt an overwhelming urge to push. My entire body spasmed and I began to push. The midwives were talking to each other and kept saying "involuntary pushing" and that's exactly what it felt like. It turned out that Jack had turned slightly posterior so my body was convulsing to try and turn him back. From this point the pushing didn't stop. Due to Jack turning, the contractions were now only 30 seconds apart. I was exhausted but the adrenaline was incredible. My waters still hadn't broke and were now bulging so every time Jack would travel down the birth canal he would get pushed back. Eventually at about 10am after 2 hours of non stop pushing, we decided it was time to break my waters. The midwife told me after that the membranes were extremely tough and it was definitely the right thing to do.
After my waters were broken the pushing felt different, it felt like I was getting somewhere. I eventually felt a burning sensation and then saw the look of shock/delight on Ricky and my mum's faces, Jack was crowning and at this point I knew it was time to give every little bit I had left in me. Kay came over and held my face exclaiming "you've got this, you're so close". I pushed with my entire body, it sounds a bit weird but I felt everything and I knew that he was finally here. The next few minutes were amazing and I'm literally in tears while I write this. Jack was placed on my chest and it was the most incredible feeling of my life. Unfortunately my body had gone into shock so Ricky had to hold him on me as I couldn't feel my arms! He snuggled in and then traveled down my chest and latched on. It was so perfect and we lay there for around 30 mins.
During this time I birthed the placenta and Ricky cut the cord (we opted for the delayed cord clamping, definitely something to look in to). I had torn quite badly so needed stitches and during this time Ricky did some skin to skin. The rest of the day was a blur filled with baby snuggles and emotional calls to our family and friends, as well as our first nappy changing experience (the first one is NOT pleasant!). I was overwhelmed with the love I felt for my little Jack and towards my husband and mum. He was finally here after 9 long months of anticipation and he was perfect!
Over the coming weeks/months I will share more about my experience including recovery, first night in hospital and what to pack in your hospital bag (I did not touch 99% of the items I packed).
Thanks for reading…