Dylan’s birth was not what I had imagined, but then I don’t think anyone has the birth they imagined.
A week before Dylan’s due date I went in to the hospital with reduced movements. Dylan wasn’t the most active of babies but he would always have a little kick after my evening meal. Well this night that didn’t happen, I drank a full pint of ice-cold water and ate some chocolate, lay on my left side and still nothing! I gave the ward a phone and was told to make the trip in. I was seen by a lovely midwife and as soon as she put the doppler on my stomach, Dylan began kicking up a storm. Typical! She advised that she would just check with the consultant on call but most likely I would be discharged back home. Well the consultant had other ideas. She said since I was almost at my due date to schedule an induction for a few days time! I was not expecting that. Think the colour drained from my face because the midwife said “I was surprised too!” Off my husband and I went back home panicking about our impending arrival.
The day of the induction my husband dropped me off at the hospital in the morning and went off to work as we read it was likely to take a while. After all the usual checks I was given a sweep and a pessary. Before going in my friend gladly told me about how painful sweeps were but I can’t say I found it painful at all. Uncomfortable, certainly, but not painful. I was then sent up to the ante natal ward to wait it out. I was given the 24 hour pessary so it wasn’t as intense as the other shorter lasting one. I spent the day sorting out changing over all our bills as we were moving home exactly 7 days later! I had the occasional twinge but never experienced anything I would say was a contraction. When I was hooked up to the monitor 12 hours later it showed contractions but luckily I wasn’t feeling them. I had a very peaceful nights sleep and woke up feeling rested.
After breakfast I was sent down to the labour ward where I was given another sweep and another pessary, but this time the shorter acting one. My cervix had shortened slightly but nowhere near what it needed to be. My husband had taken the day off so we wandered about the hospital waiting for anything to happen. 6 hours later I was checked again and still nothing so yet another sweep and another pessary. I would say the twinges were certainly noticeable now but again not painful. The whole time I was googling induction stories and reading about how painful it was compared to natural labour. I made the decision that if I was going to be induced with the drip then I would request an epidural at the same time as many women recommended this. Although I hoped I would go in to labour before this. At 10pm that night my husband and I were told we were going back up to the ante natal ward as nothing was happening. While we were waiting for a bed to be allocated the woman next door must have went in to labour. That, or she was being murdered. She was screaming so loudly and shouting “HELP!” at the top of her lungs. This was the first time that reality actually hit. I was going to have a baby and it was going to hurt. Needless to say I didn’t sleep so well that night.
Day Three (D-Day)
I woke up about 6am the next day after a very restless night. I had decided that if my cervix was still not progressing then I was going to ask to be discharged and just wait it out. Back my husband and I went to the labour ward to be met by yet another midwife. Jennifer, quite possibly the Disney character of a midwife. So very lovely. Jennifer cheerily told me that the consultant would like me to have one more pessary if I wasn’t any further along. I decided to wait for the check before letting her in on my plan. So off she went, probably the twentieth person to rummage around downstairs since being admitted, and to my surprise I was ready! Jennifer asked for an amnihook and my waters were broken. This never hurt but was a very strange experience. I just felt like I was peeing and that it was never going to end. Thankfully it did and I was advised to go for a walk and come back within 4 hours to be checked. I got dressed and went with my husband to meet my mum at the cafe for a drink. Although we never got out the room. Within 45 minutes, roughly 1pm, I was experiencing contractions. This was not the lovely little twinges I had been having before, there was no denying what these were.
I felt the urge to sit on the toilet and I would not leave. I tried to stand up on several occasions but I was just too uncomfortable so went back to the toilet! My mum came up to the room all excited saying “he’ll be here soon!” I knew that he wouldn’t be here soon though and the midwife told her the same. My mum wanted to wait outside but I asked her to leave. I do feel bad as she obviously wanted to be there for the birth of her first grandchild but my mum is a very anxious person but also too positive and I needed to go in to a zone without all that. I asked for co-codomal which did not a thing and then I was given the lovely gas and air. In the labour class the midwife had handily told us that by using the mask and not the mouthpiece you get 30% more gas and air so I went for the mask. At first it was difficult to get used to but I quickly did and was oh so very thankful for it. I continued to try moving about but always ended up back on the toilet! At some point (God knows when because time really does have no meaning when in labour) I was checked again and told I wasn’t progressing fast enough so was going to need the drip. My heart sank. I requested the epidural at the same time and the midwife went off to make the arrangements. Jennifer came back with the drip but advised the sister would like me to try without the epidural first. My thoughts were, who is this sister and if she thinks that then she can deal with the labour pain for me!!! As a consolation prize I was given diamorphine when the drip started. The contractions definitely started to get stronger now. Another downside to the drip is that I was stuck pretty much to the bed and to top it off Dylan kept moving around so the monitor would lose his heartbeat. This resulted in a monitor being placed on his head so I definitely could not move anywhere!
The contractions started to get stronger and stronger so I asked for an epidural again. What felt like an eternity passed before the anaesthetist arrived. He tried to explain the warnings of such an invasive procedure but all I was thinking was “please hurry up before this gets any worse!” He promised I was next on his list and would be back soon with the team. All the time I kept using my breathing pattern I was taught in pregnancy yoga with the gas and air. Throughout the day I was aware that my husband and the midwife were chatting away but I was in my zone. I hardly spoke other than to ask for water on occasion. The midwife started to get me ready and changed in to a gown. I went to the toilet and tried to pee but nothing. I hadn’t been able to go at all since being induced. I did however manage to be sick. Like projectile Exorcism sick. It somehow managed to get from where I was sitting on the toilet, all the way to the door on the room. I have this clear image in my head of the anaesthetist walking back in, almost standing in it and shooting me a horrified look. I was past caring at this point. I waddled back over to the bed and the midwife inserted a catheter. I pretty much filled up the bag, I don’t know if it was psychological me not being able to be pee but boy did I feel a hell of a lot better once it was out!
I somehow ended up with a student anaesthetist so I sat for what felt like hours but was more likely 30 minutes while she tried and failed to get the needle in to my back. In, out, in, out, shake it all about! I told the midwife I was feeling the urge to push while the student was doing the hokey cokey on my back but she told me I wasn’t anywhere near when she had not long checked and it was probably the pressure of the needle that I was feeling. I then started to make, what can only be described as cow mooing noises and it was at this point the midwife asked everyone to leave the room so I could be checked. Lo and behold, it was Dylan’s head ready to pop out. Everything was pretty much a blur at this point but I was told to push and for some reason I didn’t know how. The midwife kept saying “you’re pushing in to your throat”, whatever the hell that means??? She guided me how to push effectively and we started to make tracks. I can honestly say I did not find this part painful. I didn’t use the gas and air at all and between contractions I felt so at peace. I would get about 3 pushes in each time and Jennifer politely told me my first push was rubbish but the other two were great. I heard Jennifer say to the other midwife that if I didn’t manage to get him out on the next push she was going to have to cut me. That was all I needed to hear and after one gigantic push Dylan literally flew in to the world at 7.36pm. My husband describes Jennifer catching him as he almost fell off the bed with how fast he flew out!
This is when I feel everything gets so surreal. I remember my husband giving me a kiss and crying and the midwife bringing over this little puffy baby for me to hold. I put Dylan on my bare chest and just stared in disbelief that he was here! I honestly cannot describe how I felt. It was almost like I was stood watching it all happen from afar. Dylan was a hefty 8lbs 6oz and was already lifting his head up off my chest. He started to root not long after being born and with the help of the midwife he latched on and fed away. I just wanted to stay in that little bubble for ever. I felt so happy and content. The feeling of peeing returned however and this time it felt like I was flooding the room! My active labour was recorded as 45 minutes but in reality it was probably a bit longer, I was just distracted with a needle going in and out of my spine.
Now people will tell you that the tea and toast you get after giving birth is the best you will ever have and they’re not wrong. I wish food tasted like that all the time. I hadn’t eaten since 12pm that day so I scoffed the majority, leaving only a little bit for my baby daddy. My husband did look down below as Dylan was being born and he assures me he doesn’t regret it. I think he was more amazed at the whole thing and it is amazing. I still struggle to comprehend how Dylan was in there and now out here! The midwives very kindly agreed to let my mum and stepdad visit at 10pm and I have very little memory of this, I was just in such a bubble. After they left I got up and went for a shower and it was then that I was really thankful I never ended up getting an epidural. I also really liked feeling my body do what it was meant to do without me asking it to. I felt so empowered after birth, I genuinely felt I could achieve anything at all now that I had delivered a tiny human. I know I was probably very lucky with my birth experience as there was not really any issues but I would not hesitate being induced again and I said this the day after giving birth so it’s not just that time has passed. I really found labour to not be anywhere near as painful as I expected. I can only hope next time, if there is one, is as good.
This is the first photo ever taken of Dylan, I was not even aware it was being taken. I just wanted to look at him all day.
Also, I think I lied in my first blog post, this will probably be my longest post…probably.