Our Birth Story

Nothing I ever do seems to be normal or straightforward, and being pregnant was no different. By the 25 week mark Gestational Diabetes popped in to say hello and stuck around for the duration of the pregnancy, which meant any fancy ideas I had about birthing pools and wonderfulness were clamped down on with protocol and a feeling of no control.

So it came to the Thursday morning, I phoned up and was told that yes, a bed was ready for me – so off we went. I’d been told by the diabetes consultants I wouldn’t be allowed beyond my due date, so here I was in hospital being induced, as Madam showed no signs of wanting to make an appearance.

I was strapped up to a monitor and left, sitting around bored, a feeling that it was all going to work and I’d soon be meeting our little girl keeping us both going. Occasionally they took it off, and we escaped for the main hospital to wander around and get away from the maternity wards, we were bored and no private rooms were available, so I was on a ward with five others.

Eventually I had my first prostaglandin, so I sat, strapped to the monitor again waiting for it all to happen. Nope.. nothing. A second one was administered and Shaun was sent off home for the night, like I’d sleep or he would? Plus the following day was his birthday… oh goody, looks like madam might appear then, then? A whole day in the hospital and it was really dull and not at all exciting, just lots of waiting.

Friday came and it’s possible that overnight my waters broke, although nobody could confirm it. I was by now having contractions though, so I knew that’s what had happened, even if the midwife I spoke to wasn’t convinced. A friend of mine had been in and out of hospital with placenta troubles, and said one night one lady in labour kept her awake, so I do know that one of these nights I was having them, and whispering so as not to wake anyone up. Now THAT is difficult. I got no sleep, anyway. Two nights and no sleep and pains… oh and then Shaun getting sent home on his birthday, another unsuccessful day in the ward.

At one point they did give me a shot of pethidine in my leg – enough I got three or four hours sleep and it was wonderful, completely and utterly wonderful. Any thoughts of it harming my baby had gone from my head, and now I was just sleep deprived, in pain, whispering so as not to disturb anyone and feeling really quite horrible (it was hot, it was August).

On the Saturday I got the good news, they were moving me up to the delivery room – but Shaun hadn’t arrived. Fortunately he made it as I waddled up there, a midwife telling me to walk through the pain and contractions (yeah, I bet she’s never had kids), until I got into my room. I was asked if I’d mind having a student, to which I confirmed I didn’t – and for the next few hours I was trapped again with just gas and air and a small room to wander around (plus Shaun and the midwife) to keep me company. I’m happily puffing away on the entonox, and commenting on how lovely the lights are and how beautiful the midwife sings – I’d like to think I was in some way stoned by it all, but it’s possible I was also delirious with the lack of sleep.

The midwife went for her lunch and a more senior one came in. “What ARE you doing?!” she asked. “You’re only meant to do that WHEN you have a contraction”..

I felt a bit sick now from the gas and air, and wanted to walk more, but things weren’t progressing at all. At all. In fact, I didn’t want gas and air any more. My TENS machine was my lifesaver, but I’d had it on for two days now and I couldn’t feel anything. Maybe the batteries have gone, we think – so Shaun changes them. Cue me then having what can only be described as some kind of crazy shock as a fully powerful blast gets me in the back. I suspect the batteries had been flat for quite some time… but they’re working again.

One doctor suggests they rupture my membranes. I agree to this, she tries and says “hmm, your waters have already broken” (I KNEW it)

I get the dreaded question. “We think you need to go on the Syntocinon drip, do you agree to this?”. Now, fortunately in my NCT classes I got Epidurals as my form of pain relief to research, so I asked for one immediately. Alas, there was no anaesathist available to do it, so somehow in my lack of stubbornness they persuaded me to do it and I did.

It. Was. Agony.

An hour and a half later and I got my Epidural, and not long after that (as far as I’m aware, who knows!) they handed me a clipboard and told me that I’d have to have a c-section as it wasn’t progressing, and could I sign here. I have no idea what I wrote but I did and they put more drugs into me so I could get some rest while poor Shaun made a bed out of two chairs to also get some rest (to be fair here, he couldn’t sleep every night when he got home to our lovely comfy bed in case he got a call).

I recall opening my eyes as the doctor came, telling me it was time. I was wheeled and Shaun was dressed in a lovely blue hospital uniform, into the operating room where Magic FM played and the doctors chatted on their mobile phones. At 6.46am, H made her first appearance into this world and I forgot to listen to the song that was playing at that point in time (there were much more important things to think about, but I’d like to think it was something like Fat Larry’s Band’s ‘Zoom’).

As soon as we saw her we took photos and texted them to family – and within minutes Shaun’s phone was ringing. He was holding H, so I took the call (which was surreal to say the least), it was his sister in Australia. “I’d better go, I’m being stitched up” I said after a brief chat. Yes, very surreal.

Anyway, there is just one last thing to point out from this very long story. As previously stated, they wouldn’t let me go beyond my due date. H was born at 40+1. Take that, system – even if it was just by almost seven hours.

(this was originally sent to Dear Beautiful Boy in the birth stories section she did – though I don’t think it was ever published!)