I know it’s been a long time coming considering Baby L was born on the 6th October but I really haven’t had either the time or the energy to write his birth story because it is unbelievably long compared to Shys Birth Story!
As you probably would have read if you’re reading this, just before 35 weeks pregnant I was diagnosed with Obstetric Cholestasis to quite a high level. After multiple blood tests weekly with CTGs and 14 tablets a day trying and failing to control the condition, my consultant decided the best option was to bring my planned induction forward from 7th October to 3rd October at exactly 37 weeks pregnant. I was given a mini sweep on 29th September but was told I was still posterior, quite thick and about 1cm dilated if that. Needless to say, I wasn’t expecting much and all that happened was I lost bits of my mucus plug over the week but only tiny bits. Exciting not. I was warned on that day that it would take at least 2 lots of the induction gel to get me started and I would need an epidural – I decided on that day I was still not having an epidural.
So on Friday 30th September I was due at the hospital for 8am but I got there about 20-30 minutes late because of childcare issues and I forgot my notes and had to get the cab to go back home LOL. Me & TRMan had agreed he would go and do his half day at work because nothing was going to happen anytime soon and he would come to the hospital straight after.
I had tightenings (new for me and I still couldn’t tell you what the difference is between those and contractions) from 9am which was funny because I didn’t have any before that day so it’s like my body knew what was happening already and decided to try and get in the mood. I was put on the CTG at 10am and it showed I was having decent tightenings every 10 minutes before I was given any prostaglandin gel so they wouldn’t start the gel in case it over stimulated my uterus so I was sent for a walk for at least 2 hours to see if it made a difference. I had no idea it was going to go this way so I was a bit put out thinking it would be more go in, get started, and be finished by Saturday (wishful thinking is an amazing thing!).
My younger sister came to meet me and then went back to the hospital with me at 1.30pm – I was still having tightenings every 10 minutes but my consultant agreed to start with the first gel which instantly changed my tightenings to every 5 minutes but no pain so I was moved to the maternity ward to be checked again at 8.30pm and possibly given the second gel.
I was actually left until 10pm – not impressed but turned out to be best option had everything gone to plan… It didn’t but still. TRMan had been with me from about 3pm at this point and had we known how the process was going to turn out, he probably would have gone home and got a decent nights sleep.
By 10pm I started having contractions every 2-4 minutes apart and the Dr who checked on me decided against the second gel and said I would be moved to the labour ward to have my waters broken sometime in the next 8 hours.
I didn’t end up getting moved to the labour ward because it was ridiculously short staffed and I needed to have at least one available midwife constantly due to the OC.
So by Saturday afternoon my contractions had disappeared as well as my medication for the OC running out – the logical thing would be to give me another gel and get a doctor to prescribe some more medicine as I should of had them up until delivery. Instead I was basically ignored for a day because there was no staff available to move me onto the labour ward and I’m still not given any medication. At about 5pm a Dr came and decidesd I didn’t need any medication as I was going to be delivering in the next 24 hours according to him (still should have been on my medication). So we wait… and wait… and wait some more.
I slept from 9.30pm Saturday to 6am Sunday in the end and got woken up to be ready to go to labour ward at 6.45/7. So in essence I had a random rest day on Saturday when I didn’t need one.
Anyways. I finally went to the labour ward at about 7am on Sunday and what happened next can only be described as an attempt at bullying and intimidation.
My cervix etc was NOT favourable which is fair do’s BUT the staff wanted me to have an epidural from the get go – I was told everything from it was going to be epicly painful to break my waters as I was still hardly dilated to baby’s head being loose and a possible umbilical cord prolapse maybe resulting in a c-section so it best I get the epidural from the onset. I refused.
I have to say at this point I was questioning my own decision and wondering if an epidural was the way forward but luckily TRMan was well informed and prepared to be my backbone and he supported me through my doubts and kept me strong.
So a Dr decided it would be a good idea to come into the room with another doctor, the senior midwife and the anaesthetist to tell me how painful it was going to be, how long it was going to take and how many women ask for an epidural – I honestly believe that had I agreed he would of agreed to break my waters then but I was determined to be allowed to at least try and stay as natural as possible considering all the interference already so he decided they couldn’t break my waters after all so I finally had my second gel after being told I should of had it on the Saturday.
At this point I was crying from frustration and tiredness.
Because I wasn’t about to give birth any time soon I was moved back upstairs to the maternity ward which just upset me even more as I hadn’t expected to be back upstairs without a baby! We decided to go for a walk for a few hours to see if it helped at all and to get some fresh air and reclaim some sanity!
At 3.30pm I had a 3rd and final gel as I still wasn’t progressing much other than my cervix thinning out and getting shorter. I was told that no matter what, the next step was my waters were going to be broken regardless. I was having contractions every 2-4 minutes after that and was walking around to try and stick with them but by midnight I got fed up and went to sleep only to be woken at 3am on Monday 6th October to go downstairs AGAIN for my waters to be broken.
After a quick CTG, by about 4am I was 2cm dilated after just under 3 days and my waters were broken easily. I was then told to go for a 2 hour walk to see how things went. Did I mention yet that other than that lovely 9 hour sleep on Saturday night, I hadn’t slept properly at all and was pretty knackered already?! I was getting a bit worried I would be too tired to give birth at this point but I was pretty determined so off we went at 4.30am to try and move things along without the syntocin drip (a cannula in my hand was something I long feared and had managed to avoid so far).
At 6.30am we returned and I was still having pretty good contractions but not enough in 10 minutes – the midwife wanted to see at least 4 every 10 minutes so we started the drip and it wasn’t as bad as I had feared all these years LOL.
I used the birthing ball a bit and walked etc but struggled to get comfortable. I was told that once contractions were 4 in 10 minutes lasting a certain length I would be about 4cm dilated. Every 30 minutes, my drip was turned up by 30 if my contractions weren’t good enough which happened quite a few times in all honesty.
By 9.30am we guessed I was about 4cm dilated going off the contractions I was having which meant they would next examine me 4 hours later at 1.30pm to see how much I had progressed.
I’m not sure at what time it was but I was encouraged to start using the gas & air as I wasn’t handling the contractions very well any more and it was affecting baby’s heartrate after contractions or something along those lines – I happily agreed (I had only been putting it off because I was scared I would dilate slowly like I had been warned and end up needing an epidural) and then got very carried away with the gas & air so it was taken out of my hands and left to the midwife or TRMan to give to me when I needed it.
Between 12pm and 12.30pm I remember asking my midwife why there was no gap in between my contractions and why they hurt so bad – at this point after everything I’d been told about inductions taking forever and people needing epidurals, I am totally panicking and considering an epidural. Around 12.30pm I realised I had been pushing at the peak of my last few contractions and I could feel Baby’s head moving down and asked how long before they would be checking me. When she told me an hour I could have cried but instead I had another contraction and the same thing happened – I had to push. So she agreed to examine me at which point I said if I was 4cm or less I wanted an epidural for sure.
Lo and behold every single doctor had been wrong about me and my pain threshold and my labour time because I was 8cm dilated on a drip using only gas & air!! Only 3 hours after hitting established labour I had dilated 4cm – I was ecstatic and relieved and felt more empowered than ever. Until she told me I couldn’t push until 2.30pm and needed to try and lie on my side with my legs closed….
Yeah. That wasn’t about to happen mainly because by this point I could feel so much pressure in my pelvis that I couldn’t even if I wanted to and believe me I tried a couple of times. I told her I couldn’t and the baby was coming because I could feel him coming down to which she replied pretty manicly “why hadn’t I told her?!” and rang for another midwife to come whilst mentioning she may have accidentally sweeped away the last bit of my cervix when examining me and I was now fully dilated in the space of one contraction.
I was scared LOL. I’ve only ever had a water birth on all fours which to me was ideal even though I did tear and have stitches so labouring and giving birth on my back out of water was my idea of hell – the only thing keeping me going was the idea of my baby not being huge and the fact I had managed an epidural free induction against all the odds and advice!
Eventually a second midwife came in (turned out to be the midwife who delivered my niece) and took control of the situation – telling me when to push and when not to, when to use the gas & air and where to put my legs and how to control my breathing. I have to say the pain of that baby’s head crowning whilst out of water was immense and I said some pretty stupid things about my “fanny” and the pain which I’ve been told amused everyone.
Anywho, after 10 minutes of pushing and a look down there from TRMan who had been adamant he wouldn’t look until that point when he happily told me our baby’s head was out, Baby Luis was born at 12.55pm weighing a lovely 6lbs 4oz in quite a bit of shock (he and I both) but perfectly healthy and content as long as he was kept on my chest at first.
I didn’t tear or need stitches at all and had one tiny graze to the perineum so it actually went better than my water birth had physically.
The afterbirth was all very rushed due to my OC and consisted of the cord being clamped and cut very quickly to my disappointment but expected, an injection given to me to speed up the delivery of the placenta and then I was left on the drip at a very high dosage to help the after bleeding process. I felt like I bled loads and I didn’t feel very good afterwards at all but by the end of the day I felt pretty normal aside from the general aches and pains that come after birth.
And that’s my second birth story. A much longer one and more complicated one this time but still so positive – I’m so proud of myself for not giving in to the epidural that was pushed at me constantly over 4 days even when I was exhausted. I trusted my body, I knew what I was capable of and I had the best man by my side ever – I could have never got through all of this without TRMan to be honest. Those days spent waiting in hospital, the tears, frustration and at the end the doubt. He was amazing and I’m so happy he’s mine!
Shy is completely besotted with her baby brother and so are we. After a few initial feeding issues and getting used to the sleepless nights, we are slowly finding our feet again as a family of 4 and the future is looking great. If you’ve actually managed to read this whole post & gotten this far, I hope it was worth the read because I definitely enjoyed writing it.