I was extremely lucky to have such a straightforward pregnancy, being able to maintain my fitness and work up to the end.
One of the biggest concerns I had was when would my waters release, especially if my baby decided it wanted to start its journey when I was commuting on the tube from the city. I had visions of a waterfall, gushing experience although I was told this only happened in movies, but this wasn’t the case for us.
My day started wonderfully it was my last day of work before I was finishing for Maternity leave (39 Weeks) I meet with Carrie for a Hypnobirthing session in the morning, these sessions never failed to be so lovely and relaxing. In the afternoon I treated myself to a reflexology session I’d had a few of these during my pregnancy, they certainly helped with aches and gave me a little ‘me time’.
Next was my antenatal appointment at the Lotus suite in Watford General, everything went perfectly. Everything was on track to give birth in the birthing suite when my little one wanted to join us. The birthing suite was so quiet (although I was told never to say those words on a birthing ward!). My measurements were up and down again so they wanted me to have another growth scan, I’d had a few of these over the course of my pregnancy so I left waiting for them to call me the next day to arrange one.
Reaching home, finishing off my work calls I had literally said goodbye to my last team member. When there was a pop, I wasn’t exactly sure what it was until the water started to gush, and it gushed. It was like Niagara Falls it kept coming and coming and literally did not stop.
Shouting up to my husband, Hiren that I think my waters had broken, we literally couldn’t stop laughing at the amount of water puddling on the floor – luckily, we were in the dining room with wooden floors. Hiren kindly contacted the hospital and spoke to the Midwife who incidentally was the Midwife I had just seen. I noticed the waters weren’t clear, and I remembered from Carries ‘Bump & Baby’ class that could be because it had meconium in it. I know it can be dangerous but remained positive and popped into the shower as I knew I might be in for a long night. In the shower, I could see the waters definitely weren’t clear so my hope of giving birth on the birthing suite slowly slipped away.
Our travel to hospital was extremely wet, 2 maternity pads didn’t stop that squelching it was quite unpleasant, the walk through the car park and up the hill to the hospital wasn’t fun. We made our way to the birthing suite where we were put in a room waiting for someone to check my pads, they could see my little one had pooped inside. No nice birthing suite and water birth for us, down to the labour ward we walked squelching step by step.
I can remember feeling slightly disappointed I couldn’t have a water birth on the lovely quiet ward, but I remained relaxed knowing all I wanted was for the baby to come safely. Hiren I’m sure was more disappointed than me, purely because the birthing suite is less clinical, and he doesn’t like hospitals.
We went into triage where I was assessed, a monitor placed on my tummy for baby’s heartbeat. This is where I was told I would need to have constant monitoring of the baby throughout my labour because of the meconium. Hiren gave Carrie a quick call just to ask her a few questions, it was great as I think this really put him at ease and reminded him of the options we could now make.
We arrived at the labour ward just as the shifts were changing over so we had a short wait for our midwife to join us. A lovely midwife Catia, was super friendly and chatty gave us the low down whilst changing my pads and giving me a sheet as I was still leaking from my waters. At this stage I had no contractions, so they told us we were in for a long night.
We were moved to our room where we waited for the Midwife. I am not sure how I missed the point we would have our own room for the birth, I think I was so focused on the birthing suite I didn’t ask any other questions about the labour ward, but I was pleasantly surprised. Then in came our Midwife, and this is where had we not had the learnings, support and guidance from Carrie things may have gone a little differently.
Our midwife informed us ‘this has just got serious’, I know you have done that hypnobirthing but that is all out the window now, you will be on the bed, you have to have an epidural as you won’t deal with the drip. I’m straight talking and tell you how it is. Hiren gave me a look and proceeded to ask her a few questions, ‘can have music and dimmed lights’, to which she responded I need to see my paperwork. Just letting her know I had a high pain threshold; she just wasn’t interested. She left to get some papers and Hiren rightly said, we can’t have her in with us, we get to experience our first birth once I cannot do this with her. Carrie had mentioned if your midwife isn’t right change her, it’s your journey. I am so glad he had just spoken to her as this gave him the reassurance, he needed to change things. He left to speak to someone in charge, and that was it we had the lovely triage midwife ‘Catia’ for our birthing journey. I am so glad we did as I didn’t realise the midwife is in with you the whole time through the labour, I am not sure how I missed that in the Bump and Baby classes.
Catia came in and she was like a breath of fresh air, saying set up your room, dim the lights, pop on whatever music you like… it was such a different experience. I mean it might have something to do with the complaint Hiren had just made about the other midwife, but I don’t think this was the case, well I don’t like to think it is anyway. Catia was open to hypnobirthing and much more friendly and supportive of how I wanted my birth to be, she reminded me that it is my birth and she was there to support me through it. Hiren set up the room with lovely scents, great music and dimmed lights. She also said I didn’t have to have an epidural but wanted me to understand the hormone drip I would need will intensify the surges.
I was hooked up to the monitor still able to be mobile, my surges were showing on the monitor, but I couldn’t really feel anything and was managing my labour well. Moving around really helped me to stay relaxed and focused, through hypnobirthing there were many different positions Carrie demonstrated, and we were able to practise this really helped.
The ‘not so pleasant’ examination was next, it was needed to try and establish how dilated I was. I must say it was extremely uncomfortable and pleased I only had to have it once. At this stage I was only 1cm, Catia mentioned she most probably wouldn’t see our baby on her shift. Her shift was 12 hours long, so we were in for a long night!
Because I’d just been examined the next time, I would be looked at would be in 4 hours’ time, and I would need a hormone drip to speed things up a little. This can’t be administered until a doctor is able to do it or prescribe it, one of those, the doctor was in surgery performing a C Section so it would be an hour or so before the drip would be put on. Contractions were still happening, luckily, I was managing them really well. Visualising and following the breathing techniques from hypnobirthing. I was so surprised how much the breathing helped with each surge as my labour progressed, I think it helps to have something to think about other than the pressure.
An hour or so later the doctor came in to give me the drip, I did ask if they were going to re-examining me, but apparently it wasn’t needed as they had already checked, but now I wouldn’t be checked for a further 4 hours since the drip was put in.
The surges continued and I focused on the breath, leaning on Hiren when the surges appeared, as time progressed, they started to get more powerful, but I was managing them well. Catia couldn’t believe how well I was dealing with it for a first-time mum, mentioning I had a great poker face. At this point Catia said I can take ‘gas and air’ to help with the surges but I didn’t feel I needed it, moving around and using some of the Carries techniques really helped.
Because I was moving around a lot to help with the pressure, we kept losing the babies heartbeat on the monitor, the doctor came through and advised they needed to put something on the baby’s head to monitor the heartbeat.
This is when everything happened so fast, as the doctor started to put the cup inside, I was having a strong surge, it was at this point they realised I was 10cm dilated not 4cm which they predicted. At the time I didn’t know this, all I knew was that it was there was so much pressure, and this was the point where I thought I was only 4cm dilated and wouldn’t be able to deal with the pressure as it was so intense. Obviously, this wasn’t helped by the doctor trying to put something on the head of the baby as a surge was coming to bring the baby out.
All of a sudden, the emergency button was pressed, and the room was filled with what felt like everyone, legs went up in stirrups and I was told the baby had to come out now. I was being shouted at to push, they told me the baby had made such a quick decent it had got tired, so I needed to birth right away. At this point they were telling me to take gas and air but because I hadn’t taken any up to that point, it just didn’t work so I disregarded it.
Being shouted at by the midwives and Hiren by my side, I was breathing down as hard as possible and then it happened our baby was born. Out the baby came onto my chest surrounded with a rapturous congratulations. I couldn’t believe it happened so fast. I had gone from thinking I was 4cm to the baby being here. The doctor congratulated me, and I asked what it was, to which they replied a baby… I knew that but we didn’t know the sex. We’d had a baby girl she arrived at 1:23am, my midwife filled me in on a few of the bits about the birth adding that it had the fastest first-time mum birth in a record time for them at 1hr 24minutes. Whilst it felt so much longer than that it was all over and my baby girl was here.
They had to perform an episiotomy to help get our little girl out, stitching that was so painful afterwards, they had given a numbing injection, but it didn’t feel numb. A lovely post birth treat was the tea and toast, strange I know but if you know you know.