This is a bit late considering my wee boy is now nearly 13 weeks old, but hey – I’ve been busy!!
But I wanted to put together a post about the last weeks of pregnancy, and my labour and birth. I say MY labour and birth as every experience is so unique! So – if you’re expecting, those who have been there before you have probably smiled like Yoda when you cheerfully told them your due date, and told you not to be too annoyed if little one is too comfy come the first eviction date. This will more likely than not be the case for your first (and it’s said more common if you’re expecting a boy too!)
I fought to wait until I went into labour myself, knowing that if I were to be induced, it increased the chances of more and then more intervention being needed – it’s a bit of a domino effect. My husband wanted this for me for these reasons but also had been told horror stories of women to whom horrible things happened or to their babies by going “too far” over. Oooohhhh if I had got my hands on them (chances being a few in every thousand, individual to each woman and their health and circumstances)
I had a low risk straightforward pregnancy and was looking forward to an all natural possible water birth with as little intervention as possible and to use my hypnobirthing to get through it as calmly as possible. (*laughs ironically*). Now – my hypnobirthing practice was extremely helpful, even though the rest didn’t go to plan (surprise, surprise…)
Now – do yourself a favour before and in your last couple weeks. DON’T tell anyone when your exact due date is. Lie. Lie through your teeth. Secondly. When you get near it, turn off notifications on your phone and nominate your spouse as messenger. You will get LOADS of well meaning messages asking if the baby is here yet – and it will drive you bonkers, pregnancy hormones notwithstanding. I had to lock myself in the house and turn off my phone to stop me committing social suicide over said messages. I did a post on Facebook that said basically “Lovely that so many of you love me but STOP ASKING”.
So, a week overdue, I had to go to the hospital and talk induction with a midwife. we set it for a week from that day, and we were going to try for outpatient induction so I could be at home for the start and more comfortable. I hadn’t been a patient in hospital since the day and hour I was born, so it wasn’t exactly a happy calming place for me. One more hopeful sweep (the third I had had at that point) and off I went.
Sadly, three sweeps later all I had were some Braxton Hicks that didn’t amount to much except falsely raised hopes. A week later at 41+5 weeks, off to the hospital we went for the prostaglandin pessary. They monitor you and baby for an hour, pop in the pessary, monitor for another hour and all being well you head home to wait. I went in to hospital at 12pm, pessary in at 1pm, and started feeling some tightenings about 3pm. At 6pm I thought it was time to go back to hospital before I couldn’t endure being in a moving vehicle. I was so excited – it was finally happening, and if I was lucky, I wouldn’t need any further induction help!!
It all stayed much of a muchness for about the next 6 hours. My husband went home to sleep for a few hours, I bounced on my ball and tried to sleep to conserve energy. I used my hypnobirthing breathing for contractions and agreed to gas and air and a shot of diamorphine to help me doze until things got properly serious.
At 1am I called Craig back to hospital. Baby’s heartbeat was dipping with contractions. Not enough to be very worried, but enough that the “home from home” unit wouldn’t take me. But the birthing suite where I could be monitored properly whilst still using a birthing pool was available, and I was moved in there. I ended up not being able to use it but credit to them, the staff tried their best to give me what I wanted within the bounds of what was safe for both me and baby.
I felt the urge to push at about 4am but the midwife told me not to as I wasn’t fully dilated. In hindsight I wish I had got her to check again sooner and started pushing when the contractions felt most expulsive. The midwives told my husband they were amazed at how “zoned out” I was and how calm (Hypnobirthing for the WIN). I was in my happy place concentrating. I figured out that the contractions were between 10-13 breaths long and if I got on the gas and air 3 beats before it truly hit, they weren’t so bad and I knew when one was going to crest and subside. I took another shot of diamorphine between 1am-4am to help me get some more rest before the true work began. at about 5-6am I was told to start pushing with my contractions. I pushed and pushed and pushed, but by the time I got near 9am, I knew I was flagging. I also knew that if I couldn’t get this done I would end up with a C section which I absolutely did not want.
I could feel it in the way the midwives kept getting me moving and changing position, egging me on, and hear it in the way my husband was doing his best to encourage me without trying to make me worry. Eventually they got a doctor in who asked if I would try forceps as my energy was waning (I had no fuel, I hadn’t eaten since the previous afternoon and they keep you off food when things kick off in case you do need a section).
At this point I knew I needed some help, so I agreed to the forceps. I was numbed up and popped up in stirrups, and felt no pain but pressure as the doc coached me to push my hardest as she was not doing this for me, simply helping me, and I needed to do the bulk of the work. Two big final pushes and Christian was here, hale and whole. They popped him up on to my chest as they got me stitched up and made sure the placenta passed ok. I could have cared less at that point! I was tired, so happy he was finally here, in a state of euphoria.
Ultimately, I lost 850ml of blood, and had to stay in hospital for a few days and get a transfusion, but honestly, it wasn’t that bad. Because of how severely anaemic I was and to help me get going breastfeeding, they gave me a side room off the ward. This was great for getting a bit more sleep at night, and my wee man was and is pretty good at night, only waking to feed and then goes back over again. I did it all with gas&air (entinox), two shots of diamorphine and local anaesthetic. The stitches weren’t bad, I made some padsicles (witchhazel and aloe vera in your big postpartum pads – cool, soothing bliss). The tea and toast you get after giving birth will be the BEST you’ve ever tasted, because of not having eaten in a long time and being so tired! I didn’t want to stay in hospital but in hindsight, having that extra support and help with everything is part of what I think helped me be so successful at breastfeeding (do your homework beforehand too – some midwives can be a bit old-fashioned or biased, even with the best of intentions!).
It wasn’t the experience I had hoped for, and I would put some stock in people saying that induced labour is more intense than natural labour, but I would do the same all over again if I had to, it wasn’t as bad as I thought it was going to be. And just look at him. More than worth it!
Did you go into labour naturally or get induced? What was your experience? I’d love to hear about it,