My daughter Jasmyn decided to arrive on the 13th day past the due date! Fashionably late!
I had a straightforward pregnancy, but had to have a diabetes test because of my ethnicity and my bump was measuring large, so I had extra scans. From 39 weeks onwards I was experiencing the latent phase of labour, mostly at night time. The contractions would start and become regular for about 6 hours, and then they would stop in the morning. The midwife came to the house (I was hoping for a home and pool birth). She examined my cervix and I was 1 cm dilated. GREAT! Something must be happening then! The starting and stopping made me exhausted, luckily I was able to sleep sometimes in the daytime to try and rest.
Due date came and nothing. A few days of nothing at all. Then the start and stop of the latent phase began again. By 40+11 I was fed up, tired, had no energy and wanted this baby to come already! Tomorrow was my induction date and I wanted to avoid it so much, otherwise I wouldn’t get my homebirth! I was sitting eating my roast dinner around 3pm and the contractions started, more frequently this time and all of a sudden, my mother in law said, this was different to what I had been experiencing as they were at night. After every couple of mouthfuls I was getting up from my chair and rocking from side to side then sitting back down when they were gone. A little while later I was at home and called the midwife to come and assess me. 2cm dilated! At the time I was gutted, but now I know that was progress. She went home for a while to let me rest and continue the latent phase. I had a bath, used breathing techniques, but it wasn’t long before I called her back around midnight saying I felt like I couldn’t cope. She came back, I was sat on my ball, using the Entonox and had Magic FM playing on the TV. We must have heard a particular same song every hour!
Midwife examined me again around 6 am………. Still 2cm. It was time to go in to hospital. As my midwife was a friend she took me in her car while my hubby drove ours in to the grounds. Walking through triage, delivery suite and then to the antenatal ward was like walking a marathon. When I got to the ward my blood pressure was checked and it was high, for now the birth centre was put pf the question. I had a dose of pethidine to try helping me relax. Then the Ward round team came to review my situation and to make plan safest for me and the baby. The Dr said as long as my blood pressure stayed in the normal perimeters I could still go to the birth centre, and being as I was 2 cm dilated, they could A.R.M (Artificial Rupture of Membranes aka break my waters) as a form of induction. Well!! On just the words, A.R.M…. POP and Gush, the bed was soaked! “erm, I have either just pee’d myself or my waters have gone.” I said. “My work here is done then!” the Dr laughed and then left.
My bp sorted itself and I went up to the birth centre. It had been around 4 hours since I was last examined, the Birth centre midwife examined me and there it was the magic 4cm!!!! Finally I was in established labour! I straight away got in the pool, being as I never got to pump mine up at home. The water was soothing, but my contractions were becoming irregular.
4 hours later, and the pressure in my bottom was overwhelming. I wanted to push. I was sitting on the birthing stool now for the gravity, but there were no signs of progress. Midwife examined and I was 6cm and the baby was back to back, and there was still forewaters intact, the midwife broke them! I had another shot of pethidine and it took the edge off. Hubby was trying to sleep beside me when I was but the throws of labour were sending me out of control and I lost the plot. I remember nearly rolling off the bed and had hubby one side and the midwife the other stopping me from falling. No position was comfortable.
8pm and shift change for the midwives. Midwife D came in and I remember screaming. “Right she said, you’re still 6 cm and your contractions are spacing out too much now” (even though they were still painful) “and we need to transfer you to labour ward, do you want an epidural?” I had already said in my birth plan I didn’t want an epidural, but right then at that time, I didn’t care anymore. I arrived on labour ward around half 8 pm. (been in hospital for 14 hours now. Still no baby. I felt like my back was breaking with every contraction, definitely a back to back baby. I don’t remember feeling the contractions at the front, just in the back.
The labour ward was busy and the anaesthetist’s were all either in theatre or a and e. I had to wait. It was about 10:30 pm when they came to do it. I have a bit of memory block between that time. But I do remember hubby standing in front of me making sure we could hear baby’s heart rate. Anaesthetist told me off for not keeping still, but it was impossible every time I had a contraction and it was killing my back. Eventually it was done. Next thing I remember is being pain free and me again. And hungry! Hubby went and got us a McDonalds!
My bp was creeping up again. This really bothered me for some reason. But D told me to sleep. My contractions were so irregular and short lasting now I had to have to the hormone infusion bringing the labour back up to speed. I slept for a few hours. When I woke up it was time for another examination. At 04:00 on 28th April I had made it! 10 cm fully dilated. I was given an hour for the baby to come down further and I started pushing at 05:00. I pushed for an hour, and made good progress, but because my epidural was so effective I couldn’t feel where I pushing or where the pressure was. The baby was at a standstill with a small amount of the head showing. The Dr’s gave me another 30 minutes to see if I could do it without any intervention. But it was minimal. They came in and discussed a KIWI suction cup to deliver the baby. By now I had run out of steam, and had given up, “do what you have to do, please help me!” I said. The head delivered well, but all eyes were watching closely. The back of the bed lay flat as they were all worried the baby’s shoulder would get stuck. But they didn’t.
28th April at 06:33 am, my daughter was born and placed into my arms. The tears were flowing, from joy, relief and unconditional love! I was still pain free while my tear was being sutured, but I didn’t care, I had the best thing in my life in my arms. I looked at hubby and he was crying too. When I asked if he was crying, he said it was the look of relief and accomplishment on my face and of course he was a daddy!
Tamsyn is an experienced midwife and teaches antenatal courses for Bump and Baby Club in St.Albans. You can find her here: https://www.instagram.com/tamsynruth/