I wasn't sure whether or not to write this post, but due to a very overwhelming positive response from friends, I've decided to go ahead with it. I understand it may not be to everyone's taste, and of course understand if you do not wish to read it, but either way... this is Emily's Birth Story. And apologies in advance, this will probably be long!
My Birth Plan was simple: I wanted a natural birth with no drugs and as little intervention as possible.
As mentioned, my waters broke at 19.30 on the 27th January, 39 weeks and 2 days into the pregnancy. I'd never expected this to happen as, despite it being your classic movie start of labour, it's in fact only about 15% of women whose waters break before being in active labour. So when it happened, although there was not a shred of doubt in my mind as to what had happened, I was quite stunned and confused as to what to do. I was also very excited... She was coming.
I hurried into the bathroom where I stood in the bathtub, fully clothed, shaking, and trying to call David. I eventually got hold of him, "My water's gone, COME HOME!" and then tried figuring out what to do with my drenched clothes.
There were no contractions as yet. Even the Braxton Hicks that had been quite constant throughout the day had died down. Still, I knew the "rule" is to call the hospital and let them know what's happened. They asked me to go in around 22.30 as they were quite busy and since I was in no pain anyway.
So we went in. Baby was monitored for a while and everything was fine, but there were still no contractions and my cervix was still very much closed, so I was sent home and an induction booked for 9pm the next day.
We got home at 1am. At 1.30am, the contractions started, mostly 7 minutes apart but not always regular, so I didn't really take much notice of them. I let David sleep, had my paracetamol and a hot drink and tried to relax. Didn't get very far. It all got pretty intense and by 3am I woke David up for company, unable to manage the pain on my lonesome any longer, but not quite grasping that I was in fact in labour already.
Somewhere during the night we got the TENS machine going, which really helped as the contractions got stronger and closer together. Around 5am I began to lose control, unable to breathe through the contractions on my own any longer. I began crying and feeling very sorry for myself. David took over and from that point onwards, he was with me through every contraction, making me focus, making me breathe. I'd never have gotten through without him. That is a fact.
By 8:30am they were coming every 4-5 mins, so we called the hospital, who told us to head in. By the time we got me dressed and left the house, they were 3 minutes apart. Not a pleasant drive!
I was by then, 5cm dilated, and therefore in established labour. I was led to a delivery suite where I was introduced to Denise and Sky, the two midwives who would see me through to the end and were absolute stars.
The contractions were by this time hitting violently every couple of minutes or less, but I was still coping on the TENS (though no one was going to pry that thing out of my hands anytime soon!) until about 11.30am when I moved on to Entonox (gas & air), contractions by then coming less than one minute apart. By midday, I started feeling the need to push, and - quick check later - yupp, fully dilated. This was it.
Baby had turned back-to-back, meaning it was going to be more difficult. Lovely. Two hours later, we'd managed to get her to turn over, I was exhausted and although Baby's heart rate remained steady throughout (good girl), there were doctors knocking on the door every couple of minutes to take me to theatre for a forceps/ventouse delivery, but the midwives bought me as much time as possible. Eventually, at 14.00 they told me I had 15 minutes to have this baby and they wouldn't be able to buy me any more time after that. I was giving up, I was exhausted and felt like it was all going nowhere. I didn't even have any patience for the gas & air mouthpiece any longer, so that was discarded. Then suddenly the feeling changed and I knew she was about to be born, so there was some newfound energy and with 4 of my 15 minutes to spare, Emily was born.
The umbilical cord was wrapped around her neck and she didn't cry immediately, but she was fully alert. She was placed onto my chest, skin to skin and right away, she looked up at me with these massive black eyes and I knew she knew who I was. I don't think I'll ever forget that moment and that feeling.
I'd opted for a natural placenta delivery and for the cord to stop pulsating before it was cut, figuring I was in no rush. So we took it easy. I wasn't warm enough to keep Emily warm, so she was transferred to David for warmth where she remained for the next few hours while everything went haywire! Thing was, after 2 hours of waiting, there was still no sign of the placenta. I wasn't at that stage aware of how dangerous the situation was getting, possibly still on a euphoric high from the birth itself and just too tired to register much else.
A catheter was inserted to empty my bladder in case it was interfering with the placenta, but it made no difference. I was given a syntometrine injection, which did nothing. Again, the doctors came into the picture and they put me on a syntocinon drip and prepped me for theatre. There was not much else to do as the placenta was beginning to tear and any tugging would have made the situation all the more serious. Needless to say, I was not impressed. Having managed the completely natural birth I wanted so much, the last thing I wanted was so end up in theatre because of the placenta. On top of that, those of you who know me well will also know of my needle phobia, so this was all quite a big deal for me. I was scared but I wasn't about to put my life in danger because of a 'silly' phobia. I knew that if it came to it, I'd just deal with it.
In the end, the registrar had one last go (er, manually) before I was taken into theatre and that was what did it - placenta was finally out. Further examination revealed a very deep first degree tear. I needed a few stitches. Again, not impressed!
By this time it was about 6pm and we were just getting round to contacting family and friends to announce Emily's safe arrival. I'd planned to be in touch with friends during the labour - having expected it to be much more drawn out than it was - but in the end, even my hospital bag was left untouched! There just wasn't time for anything!
As crazy as it may sound, it was an amazing experience. Sure, it hurt and sure, there were moments I felt I couldn't go on. But today as I sit here writing this, I have this strange desire to go back to the 28th January, if I could, and relive it all minute by minute, pain and all. Even with all the complications that could have gotten ugly, I still consider it to be one of the most positive experiences of my life. I consider myself incredibly lucky to have had David there by my side being the rock that he was - and I am (I can't and won't deny it) also incredibly proud of myself. It gives me all the more confidence to begin this new life of ours as a unit of three.
1 - 10.30am, in very good spirits between contractions!
2 - Seconds after Emily's birth
3 - David with Emily after we'd dressed her, around 7pm
[Read David's side of the story!]
This blog is now closed. The story continues over on Flip Flops and Flying Carpets.
Thank you for reading.
Thank you for reading.