Labour and birth

I thought I'd share my birth story to show that it is not always just a simple case of having either a normal vaginal birth or a c-section. The labour and birth of my baby were pretty hard going and it took me some weeks to look back on the time in any detail - and when I did, at first, it would bring me to tears. I must have blocked out some parts though, as my memory is patchy of the day itself - possibly due to the drugs or possibly due to me just trying to get through it mentally.

The labour itself took a while to get going. I went in to hospital to be induced on the Thursday evening having received a phone call from the hospital at 6:30pm. They told me that they had a bed on the ward and that I could go in then and there or risk not having a bed over the following few days - I had been ringing them for the past couple of days asking for a bed as advised by my Midwife. Luckily we decided to go for it and I ended up having my own room until I was moved to the delivery suite, which was ideal! (I say luckily as one of the ladies from my antenatal group tried to get admitted over the same weekend and was sent away a number of times).

Mild contractions started during the Thursday night and the following day but nothing substantial until the Friday evening. Just as Mr B was sent home on the Friday night the baby's heart rate started to go really low and really high, so this had to be monitored on a trace a few times. The heart rate changed so much that they decided to send me to the delivery suite so that they could keep a closer eye on me. So off I went in the wheelchair and Mr B was called back. The delivery suite team kept a trace on the baby's heartbeat and on my contractions for a while and as you would have it, they levelled out. The team started to talk about sending me back to the ward, which I really didn't want. Around then the heartbeat started going funny again so they decided to leave me where I was and keep doing traces.

I went through a few hours of contractions into the early hours and most of Saturday morning till the contractions became much stronger, my cervix dilated quite quickly (having taken ages initially) and the rest is a bit of a blur to me (having had to accept all sorts of drugs (including pethidine which was a no no to us on our birth plan but I was advised to take it) as well as an epidural later on (and a top up later still) - having already used gas and air etc). Exhaustion probably has a lot to do with my patchy memory as I was not able to have any food or drink due to the possibility of having a c-section later on but I was given a drip. I was also physically sick around 4 or 5 times during the labour and straight after the birth.

Mr B is still a bit traumatised by the events and we have barely spoken about the day itself. I did read through my maternity notes, before they were handed back to the midwife/health visitor. The worst part of the labour was when the baby's heartbeat was lost for some time. They think it was because they asked me to lie on my left hand side and then realised that the baby must have been lying on the cord in that position. I also lost a lot of blood during this.

The team then decided to whisk me into theatre and to prep me for a possible c-section but would try a forceps delivery first. As they had numbed the whole of my lower body, trying to push the baby out was quite tricky not being able to feel my legs which were now in the very glamorous stirrups. But after four lots of pushes, and the help of forceps, our baby girl finally arrived (great timing as if that second to last lot of pushes hadn't worked they were adamant about the c-section). When she was delivered she was a little purple and was shown to me briefly. I could see that she was crying but no sound was coming out – something I knew could be a problem. The team didn't even offer for Mr B to cut her cord but whisked her away to the corner of the room where I could see them working on her. I kept looking to Mr B but he told me not to look over there. Apparently, although her heartbeat was OK, her breathing was weak and her lungs hadn't caught her breath properly – I believe they even had to use mouth to mouth to get her going properly.

Luckily, it all worked out and we are now both fine - although we were both a bit battered and bruised. Our baby girl was born on the Saturday at 15:55 – around 42hrs from being induced!

In the beginning

I was a Lawyer, am a Lawyer. But for the next year I will be a full time Mother. Going from one demanding job to another.

It all began a little over a year ago when my husband (Mr B) and I decided we were ready to start trying for a baby. We had discussed this for some time beforehand as friends had announced their own pregnancies or arrivals over the years. During this time we were essentially trying to make the most of our free time – him, mostly cycling, me, mostly eating chocolate. 

The day you decide as a couple to start trying for a family is quite a milestone as you realise that once a baby comes along you will always be linked to each other. We knew that it may not be easy, it may not work at first, if at all, so we went into our decision trying not to put pressure on ourselves if we were not able to. As with most couples, we kept our decision to ourselves - like the first few days after our engagement, we had our own secret. We had time to reflect on our own. We weren't going to do any calculations on ovulation, checking temperatures etc...we would just see how it would go...the wait and see approach.

In fact, it only took us two months to get pregnant. We were both surprised, shocked and of course happy. It had happened a bit sooner than we had thought it would – knowing that these things can take time – so we had prepared ourselves for a longer wait.

The pregnancy was confirmed the week before Christmas of 2010. We decided to let just our immediate family know of our news, as we were going to be spending a lot of time with them over the following few days (and morning sickness had well and truly kicked in and lasted for the whole of the second part of the first trimester). Apart from this, I had a fairly straight forward pregnancy, despite growing what seemed to be an enormous bump (and yes there was just one baby in there!). I became a little uncomfortable, and mostly bored, towards the end, particularly as our baby eventually arrived two weeks overdue to the day after being induced – but that is for the next post.

During my pregnancy I decided to listen to my body and eat the things that I wanted (apart from the usual no-nos listed by the health professionals) but I also slowed down my exercise regime – something that I'm regretting a little now! I continued to do some swimming, walking and took up pregnancy yoga towards the end of the pregnancy – the breathing exercises really did help me through my labour!

Mr B and I decided to go to the NCT antenatal classes. Well, I decided and made him go not being convinced by his “how hard can it be?” school of thought. In any case, we made it through all the classes and were essentially “qualified” to look after our baby.

Now, the real waiting began...