I've been thinking long and hard about writing this post, in a way I'm hoping by doing this everything that has been locked away in my head since Alfie's birth that is starting to manifest will help me face some of my fears. I'm kind of hoping that this will be a cathartic and cleansing post too because I feel I need to off load. Some of my memories of Alfie's birth are hazy while some are also crystal clear but I have definitely being harbouring some demons and with an impending birth I need to be clear in my head how I'd like this birth to go. I'll split this post into 2 parts though as it could be fairly lengthy!
|39 Weeks Pregnant with Alfie.
So here I was first time Mum, very excited about the upcoming birth and really had a relatively straightforward pregnancy with no complications, in fact I actually quite liked being pregnant! I always had a feeling I would be overdue, I didn't overly mind I was just so eager to avoid induction. So as I became more overdue I had 2 stretch and sweep's by my community midwife and later that day after my 2nd sweep my contractions finally started, by this point I was 7 days overdue. Prior to this I had been trying pretty much everything (and I do mean everything!) and I think that the sweep is what eventually started my labour. I would say my contractions started at around 7pm and were completely manageable through the evening it was only on the point of me going to bed that they started to become more intense I then proceeded to spend all night bouncing away on my birthing ball assuming that my labour was progressing pretty well, stupid thing to do really stay up ALL night, I really will know better 2nd time around to try and get some shut eye!
Fast forward a few hours and at around 4am I felt that I needed to contact the hospital, my contractions were quite strong and coming quickly although still quite irregular, we were advised to head over to the hospital to see how I was progressing at this point I was using my TENS machine (transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation) which was an absolute godsend, on examination I was only 1-2cm dilated (so demoralising!) and was advised to go home and try and get some sleep and see how I progress at home, I was given some Temazepam to help me sleep and to be fair it pretty much knocked me out for a few hours, I remember Adi having to sort of bundle me out of the car and into bed, I was shattered. A few hours later I remember waking with excruciating contractions, they felt different this time and we rang the hospital again who asked if I thought I was coping at home, to a degree I was so I had about 3 baths and continued with my TENS machine until I really was feeling I needed some help with the pain, off we went to the hospital again and to this point my waters were still intact.
On arrival at the hospital another examination and I was only 2-3 cm dilated (seriously!) but I pretty much said please don't send me home can I use the birthing pool which they were happy to oblige, I was told to have a walk while they filled it up and come back in an hour, it was pretty awful having to walk around the hospital on one of the hottest weeks of the year, being electrocuted by my TENS and having contractions every couple of minutes I must have looked a right wally! After an hour I could not wait to get in the birthing pool and have some gas and air and once in the pool I felt alot more in control of my contractions, yes they were still fairly strong but the water and gas and air really helped me focus and I actually started to relax a bit more into my contractions. Hours and hours went by and still my contractions were irregular and strong but my waters were still intact, it was eventually decided that my waters should be broken which to be honest was absolutely fine and didn't hurt at all, at this point I was finally in active labour and was around 4-5cm dilated so I was making progress but it was slow, very slow. Being in the water can actually slow your contractions down and the midwife's looking after me felt that this was case, even after my waters had been broken my labour still didn't speed up and by this point I had been awake for a long time and was really feeling exhausted, I plodded on though for a couple more hours but by this point I remember feeling quite teary and anxious, this was not how labour was supposed to be.......right?!
From what I remember it was around midnight when the Midwife came to talk to us about her concerns that I was getting so tired and things weren't progressing well and she felt I needed some help to try and get my contractions to be more efficient, it was at this point I think I realised my hopes of a water birth were over as I was then transferred to the consultant led unit next door, I remember panicking as I was having contractions and I had no gas and air, I'm fairly sure as soon as I got in the room I was near enough shouting where is the gas and air??? I need it!!!!
In short as I realise that this is a lengthy post I was then stabbed in my arms to try and get a cannula in (apparently I have marvellous veins to take blood but not so when they need to get a cannula in!), I also remember saying to the Midwife who was cannulating me 'ouch, bloody hell that hurts!' which makes me smile a little to think that I was moaning more about that hurting than the actual contractions that were horrendous! Once that was in they started me on a drip called syntocinon (synto) which is synthetic oxytocin (the hormone required to cause your uterus to contract to push out the baby), this was to make my contractions stronger, more regular and more effective. Well my god I have never known anything like it this drip is the devil's work, I felt like I had no control over my body and after a while kept thinking 'jesus christ when is this baby going to come out?!' my husband described me as being slightly possessed! During this time it was found that Alfie had turned back to back and actually towrds the last few weeks of my pregnancy he had flipped between back to back and an anterior position. This then explained the reasons that my contractions were quite intense and I was experiencing the urge to push before I was actually ready to. So while I was suffering under the curse of synto I was sucking on the gas and air as if the supply was going to run out, I was questioning whether I could have an epidural but was told it was a little bit late for this but could have a shot of pethidine which just made me feel out of it and drowsy but not enough to dull the contractions, it did give me the chance to doze slightly between contractions however.
After hours and hours and what felt like days I was told that I could push, baby had turned the right way, I was fully dilated and I could go for it, the problem however was that I was past exhausted and trying to lie on your back and push a child the size of a huge watermelon out of your vajayjay was like asking the impossible, well I tried and I tried and then got told that I wasn't pushing effectively and I was pushing at the wrong part of the contraction (well forgive me but I'm fairly sure I have no real idea what I was doing!!), at this stage it was decided that I could try pushing for another 90 minutes and then it was looking likely I'd have to have a c-section, my first thought was after all this effort I am not having a c-section no bloody way, this baby will be pushed out and it's going to come now! My dear husband, god bless him then kindly suggested that we try me standing up and letting gravity take its course, I reluctantly agreed and I have no idea where I got the strength from but I stood and with the support of him every time I had a contraction I squatted and I was pushing this baby out. I think I was pushing like this for around 30 minutes............
I will continue this post in a second part, I'm sure you can't wait to read what happened next!