So its been over a year since I wrote my last blog, and I have decided to come back to it and share my birth story.
Following on from my last blog, we arrived at hospital just before 9 and I was given a bed in the induction ward at East Surrey hospital. I was really excited and a little nervous, but actually more excited. Call me crazy, but I actually wanted to experience what a contraction felt like and was quite excited to see what all the fuss was about.
Every woman who I have ever spoken to about giving birth, describes just how painful those dreaded contractions are, and yet nobody can quite explain what they feel like. So I wanted to feel what they felt like.
I was laying in the bed and one of the midwives explained that the doctors would come round and examine me, and decide what form of induction would be suitable from there on out. I had read online that you can have a pessary inserted and be sent home to wait for it to work, so that was my first question. Will I be sent home throughout this process? Thankfully the answer was no. I was in now until I had given birth! A very exciting moment to be told that I will be leaving with my baby.
She then gave me the BEAUTIFUL bed stockings to put on and off she went. However, I could barely put on normal socks, let alone these tight, long things so Geri had to help me. This was a task and a half as she had to do this WITHOUT touching my feet, somehow. I cannot have my feet touched, they are so ticklish and I cannot stand it. She managed it though . . . impressive.
We waited for the doctors to come around . . and we waited. And we waited some more. 2 O’ Clock I was finally seen! 5 hours we waited!! When you’re so excited and nervous already, this felt like an eternity.
I was examined and told that my cervix was closed. I was offered a pessary which a midwife then came in and inserted. I figured at this point that I was a massive wimp. The examination in itself hurt, and the pessary being inserted was awful. If this was that bad, I was probably not going to be great at handling contractions, or the birth itself. I was told that I would wait for 6 hours to have another examination unless it was required sooner, like if I began to have contractions really close together, or if my waters broke. A few hours went by and nothing at all. I was getting a bit bored and hungry, we asked a midwife if we could go out. We were told to go for a walk around the hospital, but not too far as I would be examined around 8pm. It was 6pm now.
Well, I decided as I had 2 hours until the next vile examination, I would like to go and eat out. So we said we were going to go for a walk around the hospital and to sit in the cafe downstairs for a while, and we actually went to the car and drove to Frankie and Benny’s in Redhill. We went for a nice meal, which was great because I was able to put a picture up on social media of us at dinner to deter people, as I knew after all the messages I had received, people were watching and waiting for me to go into Labour. Partly my fault I guess, for posting so much about my pregnancy, but I was excited.
We had the meal at Frankie and Benny’s, which I remember being particularly nice, actually. Then after the meal we were chatting, and it was then that I got my first cramp. Very exciting, and it was really mild. So I waited to have a couple before I believed they were even contractions. We quickly got the bill and headed back to hospital.
I had another examination around 8-9pm in which they inserted a 2nd pessary. All of the fun. Then I sent my Mum home for the night as the cramps had stopped and we all needed to sleep. Geri managed to sleep in the chair next to me, and I slept in the bed. I woke up a bit upset that I hadn’t had any more contractions over night. But eager to get on with the next step, in the hopes that we could get labour started, and I could finally meet my little boy!!!
My Mum had returned to the hospital at 8am, and so I sent Geri home to rest and eat. They doctor came to examine me again, so I sent my mum out of my bay. (I sent my Mum and Geri out of the room on each examination. Turns out I am a very private person) The examination turned out to be a bloody stretch and sweep!! They failed to mention that and it hurt so much. My eyes filled up and I was saying, “Ow, it hurts . . it hurts!!” A midwife was stood next to the doctor looking at me and said, “If you want her to stop, she will stop. Just say the word” . . To which I replied, “STOP”. The doctor continued, so the midwife snapped at the doctor, “She said Stop!” ….. I was very grateful for that midwife! The doctor stopped and said that the pessary’s had softened my cervix and she had managed to do a stretch and sweep, and dilated me to 2 and a half centimetres. She advised they would be back round at some point in the afternoon to break my waters, if they had not broken naturally before then. As nothing was happening for a while,
I sent my Mum home again too and said I would let them both know when my waters were broken. My mum came back about 13.30 – 14.00 ish with food for me and at 15.00 they came to break my waters. It was again, awful. BUT they gave me gas and air which was great!!
Geri had arrived at the hospital just after they broke my waters, and from then, the contractions started. The first contraction was mild . . I remember saying, “Oh that’s nothing. I’ll be fine if they continue like this”. Famous last f*cking words of course!
So the first one came in mild, but the rest were up there. I mean it hit the worst pain, the highest pain . . and it remained that way for the duration of my labour. Apparently this is normal for induction. Its a more gradual increase in contractions if you go into labour naturally, apparently. Well, there was nothing gradual about this! I had in my head that I wanted to go through labour only on gas and air, which was given to me. And after my firs few contractions I was offered pethadine. I immediately said yes, which I was shocked at because I had read about pain relief previously, and didn’t want to have pethadine.
One thing I will tell everyone now, is that there is no point in expecting your birth plan to be set in stone, and to not be disappointed if you do something different to what you had planned. Nothing can prepare you for childbirth and everyone is different. Just prepare yourself to be open minded, and do what you need to do there and then.
The midwife went off to get the pethadine and I remember saying, “Oh god where is she? I am going to have another one.” I stopped another midwife to ask where the one going to get my pethadine was, to which she replied that she had gone to get my pethadine, of course. We all laughed and the midwife said, “I can’t believe you’re laughing. That’s amazing”. I was in pain, but much to mine, my Mum and Geri’s surprise, I handled the pain really well. We would literally be having random conversations the whole time, and each time a contraction came I would just zone out, whilst inhaling and exhaling the gas and air, and then join back in the conversation when it was over. It went on like this for around 2 hours, and then I was examined. I was 4cm, so I was taken to the delivery suite.
I was in a lot of pain, but quietly handling it. I was knackered by this point as well so I didn’t really have much energy to bitch and moan about the pain. I needed all my energy for the gas and air, it was the only thing I had getting me through this pain. I had an older lady as my midwife, I won’t mention her name but she was trying to put a cannula in my wrist, I can’t even remember what for but she was shaking. Then she pulled the needle out of my vein and blood just started pissing out. I just remember closing my eyes and putting my head back on my pillow thinking, “Great . .. thats just what I need” But again, in true British fashion, I couldn’t be arsed to say anything out loud, so I just let her get on with it.
She must have been able to see I was in agony and so she mentioned that I should consider an epidural, which I said I didn’t want. She said again, as I was only 4cm I had a long way to go and should consider it, but I just ignored her. I had already said no.
Over the next hour or 2, she said a few more times that she thinks I should have an epidural. I still don’t really get why, I wasn’t making loads of noise of fussing, I continued to ignore it and my Mum told her I didn’t want to have one. It got to about 8pm, and I said I needed to push. Of course, she disagrees and said I just needed to empty my bowels, and to go to the loo as I wouldn’t be needing to push yet.
I get that midwives know what they’re doing, but if someone is telling you they’re needing to do something. Surely you should listen and not shut it down straight away!
I knew this wasn’t the case but by this point I just wanted to get away from her. I went and sat on the toilet thinking, I seriously need to push … but I know it’s the baby making me feel that, and not needing the toilet! The midwife put her head in the toilet door, to which I asked her to kindly fuck off.
I went back out eventually and I said I needed to push, again I was told I couldn’t yet as I was only 4cm. So she convinced me to have the epidural. I was so fed up and tired, so I just went with it, and had the epidural put in, I think by this time it was approaching 10pm.
The midwives had changed over shifts now, and I said to my new midwife straight after the epidural had been put in that I really felt I needed to push, and so to give me peace of mind, the head midwife at the time examined me again. And there I was at 8cm . . .not 4cm! They said they would come back in 2 hours to examine me again. . I was like, “what?! 2 hours with this immense urge to push?!” but again, couldn’t be arsed to talk so just thought that in my head.
Well then Dylan’s heart dipped a couple of times, and I was still saying I felt the need to push. My midwife pushed a button because of the heart rate dipping, and within seconds a load of midwives ran in. I cannot tell you how bloody scary that was . . She examined me again, which was around 10 minutes after the last examination and she said, “Oh you’re 9, no wait i’ve just stretched you to 10 . . you can push” The head midwife then took over and I cannot tell you how amazing she was. She put a clip on Dylan’s head to monitor his heartbeat whilst I pushed, and she got me through every single second from then on. She told me his heart was very up and down, and as it kept dipping I needed to get him out. I honestly had no idea how long it took to push a baby out so I said, “How long is this going to take?” to which she replied, “It could take up to 3 hours. . it really depends on you”.
“THREE FUCKING HOURS! PUSHING FOR 3 HOURS?”, I thought to myself. But a contraction came and I started pushing. The head midwife who was called Louise was saying, “Keep going, keep going, keep going” whilst I was pushing, along with, “Don’t stop . . keep going. . if you stop now his head will go back up . . keep going, keep going.” In between a couple of contractions I said,”I can’t do it”. To which she said , “Yes you can! You are doing it, keep going” Then I heard a voice from the side of the room, “You can dooooo iiiiiiit” .. it was Geri, and actually made me laugh. I forgot for a minute that my Mum and Geri were even there!!! I kept going, then Louise said “Ok Ellie, we really need to get him out, we may need to use forceps, and an Episiotomy” . . . “HELL NO” I thought to myself. Forceps scared me, as did the thought of them cutting me!! So I pushed even harder than I already was, which I didn’t think was possible! “Thats it, That’s it!!! Keep going” . . and his head was out!! … So she said, “Nexr push and he will be here!!”
My midwife started to take the sheet off of me which was just over the top of my thighs, up to just under my belly button, covering my modesty! I snapped, “What are you doing?!?!” . . and quite shocked she replied, “Just taking the sheet off so you can have skin on skin contact”. I replied by pointing from my belly button upwards and saying, “Here is my skin for contact!!!” She sharply left the sheet where it was placed and backed away.
The next contraction came really quickly so I pushed as hard as I could and let out a huge scream for the first and last time during pushing, and out he came. The feeling was weird, you can feel the length of the baby coming out, and he was a long baby! I was so relieved that he was out.
They put him on my chest. I always imagined I would cry when I first saw my baby, but I didn’t. I was just so relieved it was all over and he was out safe, that I just kind of held him and relaxed.
(By the way, I got him out in 19 minutes. and I didn’t get any relief from the epidural as it was put in too late, it takes 30-40 minutes to kick in, and he was out by this time)
I didn’t cry but it was the most amazing feeling in the world. He was all puffy and frowny, but I thought he was absolutely gorgeous. The love is overwhelming, just like everyone tells you, but you never really get it until it happens. I just stared at him.
Dylan grabbed onto Geri’s finger, which was pretty cool. Then my Mum and Geri were sent out of the room whilst I was cleaned up and stitched up, as I had torn during the pushing. I had Dylan in one arm, and I was inhaling the gas and air whilst my midwife stitched me up, But I didn’t take my eyes off Dylan. I honestly don’t even remember how long it took, I think it was around an hour, but just staring at Dylan alone would have got me through being stitched up. But the gas and air was an extra bonus. After this my mum and Geri came back in the room and they each had a cuddle.
I named him Dylan James Jackson Paul. He was born 24th October 2015 at 22.34 and weighed 7lb 11oz.
Some bits after the birth are blurry as it was over 2 years ago now, but at some point during all of this I was helped with getting him to latch and breast feed. And I remember saying which outfit I wanted him to wear, and I believe my Mum dressed him whilst I got up and headed to shower and get dressed. I was really faint and went really white, the midwife had to come in and help me shower and dress. So after keeping myself fairly covered the whole time . . besides the obvious, it all went out of the window at the last hurdle! I was put in a wheel chair after I was dressed and my midwife gabbed me a can of coke and a breakfast bar from my bag and told me to get them inside me.
I was given Dylan straight after and started to be wheeled out. “Am I going home, yeah?” . . “No, you have to go to the post natal ward now as its late, and you will be discharged in the morning” I was told. I really knew nothing about pushing or aftercare at all . . I was gutted. It might sound mad for a first time mother, but I was so confident and ready to go home and get on with it. But off to post natal I went.
Below is a photo of me holding him straight after he was born, and Dylan holding Geri’s finger.
To be continued. . .