On Tuesday 1st May 2012 I had a meeting with my community midwife that ended with me finding out that it would be the 23rd of May before I would be induced assuming that Baby did not arrive on time.
Impatient and disheartened I turned to trusty Twitter and Facebook friends to find a way to get my Baby out.
I began to work my way through the list of things I knew might just get labour going. I tried two from the long list compiled and one of them obviously did the trick!
At 10.00pm David was on the phone to his Dad when I started feeling contraction type pains. They were very mild and seemed to be about six minutes apart. I did not say anything to David and off we went to bed.
I slept fine for a few hours but at 3.45am I awoke needing the loo. When I wiped the tissue was covered in blood. I had had a show. The blood was orangey in colour at this point and the consistency was thick.
I called the labour ward and they advised me to try and get some sleep. The midwife told me that you can have a show up to a week before labour begins. I went back to bed but I could not sleep. I was having more mild contractions, about 6 – 8 minutes apart.
The contractions very quickly gained strength. They seemed to be coming thick and fast. We phoned David’s parents and got ourselves ready to go.
I managed to eat some toast between contractions and I was so grateful for my birthing ball which got me through the build up of intensity in pain.
We got to the hospital and had to go to the labour ward as the midwife unit was closed until 7.30am. It was 5.30!
I had a twenty minute trace as I had not felt the baby move then we were free to roam the hospital and do whatever we could to get through the two hours until the midwife unit could be used.
I tried to walk around the hospital but the contractions were hard and fast, every four minutes. I felt very self conscious walking the corridors, crouching down to focus on getting through each contraction and so we went back to labour ward and I bounced on my ball.
David was wonderful, making me laugh, telling me stories and even reciting his wedding speech. As always he knew just what to do to get me through.
At this time I had no pain relief at all and so was really using the ball and the positions we had been shown at our NCT classes. David was also a fabulous masseuse!
At 7.30am we were collected by two midwives and taken to the unit.
We were given a private room. As I walked from the ward to the unit I felt a gush of liquid down below which I thought could be my waters. It wasn’t though. It was bright red blood and I was certain that I was going to get sent straight back upstairs.
The midwife caring for me got a second opinion about the blood and it was agreed that it was within what was considered normal for a show and I could stay.
At this point I had my first internal examination and was told that I was already 5-6cm dilated. It was about 8.00am.
I was keen to have a water birth and so the pool was prepared. This actually took some time and as the contractions got stronger and came closer together I had to start to use the gas and air. This helped to take the edge off the contractions and between contractions I was absolutely fine. I tried to stay active at this stage and found the most comfortable position to be sitting on a birthing ball leaning forward on to the bed, with David massaging my lower back. It was far from blissful but finding something that worked really helped to get me through. That and entonox!
By the time the pool was ready and I was able to get in the contractions were thick, fast and increasingly intense. I had to use the gas and air to get me through.
I don’t think I was in the pool for long before I entered the transition phase and in my husband’s words went a bit doollally! Between contractions I was able to have a proper conversation and even appreciated a joke. David was wonderful and knew exactly what I needed to do or hear. It was him I listened to more than anyone else. It was him I held on to for dear life through each contraction, iping his tshirt as I clung to him through the pain.
I loved being in the pool. The warmth helped me to relax and I was able to move around more freely. I moved around much more than I thought I might. I found that pushing my body against the walls of the pool and kicking my feet against the pool for some reason helped me to deal with the pain.
I was scared and I did panic and I think there was only one contraction thorughout the whole labour and birth where I got the breathing and the gas and air intake right. That contraction I felt so relaxed and in control that I wish I could have done more like that but in the final stages I was quite out of control.
In the pool when contracting I was terrified. I was holding on to David and screaming his name and manically shouting to people that I could not do it and that I needed somebody to help me. Then between contractions I was absolutely fine. Labour really is the strangest thing. The pain was so so intense and so hard to describe. As I write this birth story I just cannot find the words to truly express what I felt. I think it is because labour pain is so personal to each woman. Each and every labour is completely different and even when it goes exactly to plan there is still no escaping the pain.
My waters broke in the water. I felt a definite popping sensation inside of me. As well as my waters I also lost a large blood clot at this time but was assured that it was nothing to worry about. I was scared though and as my waters broke I knew that things were about to intensify even more.
The midwives kept telling me not to scream and shout but I am certain that it really did help me to get through the awful feeling that my body was breaking in two and as the baby moved down to position that is exactly what it felt like. For those few seconds of each contraction it was the worst pain I have ever been in in my life, though David is certain that I did not seem as bad as when I had my twisted bowel with the twins.
Between contractions I was feeling exhausted and vaguely remember telling anyone who would listen that all I wanted to do was sleep.
As the transition phase progressed and I became more manic my community midwife came into the room. At first I felt awful that she was seeing me so out of control but she knew me and knew how to talk to me. She helped another midwife to get me out of the pool and stayed by my side as I progressed with the birth on the bed.
I had not been pushing well in the pool. I was crying out to anyone who would listen that I did not understand what to do. The senior midwife told me that I should get out of the pool and stop using the gas and air so that I could really focus on getting the baby out.
And that is what happened.
Once out of the pool and with people telling me that there was nothing else to do but push Baby out she was delivered within just a few pushes.
I cannot begin to describe just how much it hurt but the pain is different from the bodybreaking pain of her getting into the right position. It does sting and burn and all the things that you read but it is not truly painful like the contractions before.
I saw my Baby’s head between my legs and then she was here. On my chest and crying. Then quiet and still and in my arms and I felt every emotion I knew all at once as I held my daughter in my arms and knew in my heart that I had done it. She was here.
She was delivered on to my chest where I held her and cried as the cord was left to pulsate. David and I were in awe of our beautiful daughter who seemed so tiny and so perfect. She had a full head of dark hair and healthy pink skin. She gave a little cry as she came out but then settled on my chest where we cuddled for an hour.
David and I were in love, with each other and our brand new baby girl.
After an hour the midwife came back into the room to do my stitches. I had a second degree tear and bilateral labia grazes. The stitching really hurt, particularly the injections of local anaesthetic before the stitching. I had to use gas and air to help with the pain. With the adrenaline coursing through my body as well at this point I ended up quite giddy.
My main memory from this time is looking over at David and seeing him cradling and staring at our beautiful baby girl. I wish I had had my camera.
After the stitching we were moved from the birthing room back to our original room to rest. Having wanted to sleep throughout my labour of course when the opportunity arose I could not sleep. What I did do from 11.30am to 3.00pm is lay on the bed with my daughter in my arms, reliving the labour and birth with David and coming to terms with the fact that I was now a Mummy of three and that our beautiful daughter was here with us, in my arms.
At 3.00pm I had a shower whilst Daddy snuggled with his girl and at 5.30pm we were on our way home, as we wanted, to put our toddler twins to bed.
Early Labour Started at 10.00pm
Show at 3.45am
Active Labour Started 5.30am
5cm dilated at 8.00am
Matilda Mae Henley.
Weighed: 7lb 4oz
Laboured in water and delivered on land.
Pain Relief: Gas and Air