This is the story I wrote of how my little man, Joshua, came into the world. This is a note that I posted on Facebook a couple of weeks after he was born:
Its been a rocky couple of weeks. Not sure where to start exactly. Not sure how much detail I should go into as some of my friends are pregnant and I don't want to freak them out but my advise even if you hear stories of bad child births is dont worry. Whatever happens will happen and chances are you'll have a perfectly normal childbirth!!
Anyway, my story is that I had my sweep on the Saturday. Then that afternoon I started getting contractions. First they were quite in frequent (every hour maybe) and then they started coming more regularly. By 9pm they were around every 4-5 minutes. So I rang the delivery suite and they told me to ring again later as the contractions were not that strong. but they carried on coming and when they were 2-3 mins apart we decided to go in. After being checked out it turned out I was still only a cm dilated and also my contractions went really irregular and slowed down pretty much as soon as we got to the maternity ward... so we were sent home. We managed to get a few hours sleep (was gone 3am by t time we got home and i think we were up at 7 - or I was) before the contractions started again with avengence on Sunday. By the afternoon the contractions were very painful and getting closer together but Still irregular - ie one would be 2 mins apart then another would be 10 mins then 4 then 3 then 6 etc. We went in again but unfortunately I was still only 1.5cms dilated so we were sent home again. However, the contractions got worse and worse until I just couldnt cope with the pain anymore! So we went in and told them I needed pain relief. This was Sunday evening quite late by this point. After examining me I was 2-3 cm dilated so still not that far along (for those of you not familiar with childbirth terms you have to be 10cm dilated before baby will come out). I was allocated a room in the delivery suite and given gas and air to breathe and continued using my Tens machine (like a slendatone but plugs into your back and electric pulses (attempt) to block out the pain). It was getting very late on Sunday night and my pains were getting very bad but I wasnt really getting anywhere so they said I could have some pethadin which would allow me to sleep ad they sent Ben home for the night. The pethadin was great and totally blocked out the pain although (at least until I fell asleep) i could feel that they were happening but they didnt hurt anymore. I slept until about 5am when the pethadin started to wear off and I started to feel the contractions again. They were still very painful but less frequent than they had been before (between 5 and 20 mins apart - still irregular). Ben came back to the hospital that morning (around 8 or 9) and I was examined again and found to be still only about 2-3 cm dilated. I was told to keep taking the gas and air and that going for a little walk might bring the contractions on more regularly. So Ben and I went for a little walk around the hospital and boy did it work. It got to the point I could barely walk as I was doubled over in pain and I was crying as we got back to the delivery suite. I asked for more pain relief but because I was still only maximum 3cm dilated they couldnt give me pethadin (im not sure Im remembering all the details correctly as its all turning into a bit of a blur now!). So they suggested I have a bath which I did and it didn’t really help at all. I can’t remember the timings but later on I pretty much demanded an epidural. After that was in place everything stopped hurting. It was fabulous!!! However they didn’t get me the boost button within the 20 minutes (that’s how long the first dose is supposed to last) and so it started to wear off and even once the boost was in place it wasn’t having the desired effect (could feel pain in a small area of my back and started to feel the contractions again in my tummy). So they got the anaesthetist back to give me another boost and that seemed to resolve it. Sometime that afternoon they examined me again (last time they checked I’d been about 2-3 cms dilated). To their surprise I was already 9cm dilated. But I was told that I wasn’t ready to start pushing yet as they had to wait for the head to descend. So that took a little longer!!!! Never thought that labour would involve so much waiting around!!! Eventually it was time to start pushing. As I had the epidural in place they had to monitor my stomach so that they could tell me when the contractions were coming – although I could sometimes feel a slight tightening of the stomach when they happened – and I had to push down (like when you’re having a poo). Its very strange pushing when you can’t feel a thing down there. I likened it to trying to sing in tune when you can’t hear yourself. Still, I’d rather that than the pain! Thank god for epidurals!!!! I was pushing for about an hour and a half when they decided that they should call the consultant and find out what to do. To be honest, at that stage I didn’t care what they did I was so exhausted!
They used forceps and had to give me an episiotomy. As with everything since I had the epidural, I didn’t feel a thing painwise. I could feel movement and stuff being done down there but no pain. At 19:56 my baby came out. They handed him straight to me but as my legs were still in stirrups and I started to feel faint, I had to hand him back to the midwives (and to Ben). They gave me an injection to get the placenta out and was told to give one more push. However, as the placenta came out I started bleeding profusely. Basically I had what is called Post Partum Haemorrhage. While they were all fussing about trying to work out where the bleeding was coming from and stop it, I could see Ben holding JJ who was crying and I was lying on the table with my legs up in stirrups feeling like I was invisible…. Seemed like no-one would tell me what was going on. Felt like I’d done my part now, I was going to be ignored!!! Ridiculous really but I wasn’t really very with it!!! The staff were just busy trying to “fix” me and Ben was trying to comfort our new baby. I can’t remember what happened first – feeling sick or feeling sleepy. I think I was sick first. I said “I think I’m going to be sick” and everyone was too busy to get me one of those cardboard sick bucket things…. Ben managed to get one in the end but I think only after I had started being sick on myself – all over my shoulder and hair and even when I managed to get it in the tray that ben was holding for me, I filled that one up and another one and another one. It was horrible. Then I started feeling sleepy and everyone kept saying to ben, don’t let her go to sleep! I remember them asking me if I felt dizzy and me just replying that I just wanted to go to sleep!!! Apparently my blood pressure had shot right down (due to the blood loss – almost a litre and a half by all accounts) to 70 over almost nothing (not even sure what that means but it was very low) and so the midwives were scurrying round me trying to get a drip into me while the consultant and his people or person (there were at least 6 people in the room not including me and ben) were busy stitching me up.
I can’t remember much after that. I slept for a while. I’m not sure when ben left to go home. But I was woken up at about 10/10.30pm by my midwife Jackie who asked me if I wanted to breast feed or bottle feed. I said breast and she showed me how to latch JJ on. This was in fact the first time I’d held him since that first time and I had been worrying about bonding as I’d been separated from him for (what felt like) so long but I think the breast feeding really helped me feel close to him.
Am running out of time now as the little boob monster is waking up and I want to post this this morning. I stayed in the delivery suite Monday night and all of Tuesday while they monitored my blood pressure and gave me 3 units of blood and then I was transferred to the ward that night at around 9pm. Ben was allowed to stay long enough to help me get settled in with all my things and then was kicked out and I was left on my own. I struggled quite a lot as I still couldn’t get out of bed properly – the forceps bruised me front and back and it was incredibly painful to sit and get onto and off the bed and as I had to lie down to feed JJ it was quite tricky getting him out of his cot and onto the bed while lying down!! And the midwives in the ward were (understandably) much busier and didn’t come for ages (if at all) when I rang the bell so I just had to manage. Suffice to say that by Wednesday morning I had well and truly had enough of that place and decided that I wanted to go home Id rather feel rubbish and have ben’s and family’s support than be on my own in the maternity ward – for all those midwives and staff you are left pretty much on your own responsible for this new little creature you’ve created.
It was such a relief to be home. Its been a struggle – with the soreness and bruising and constipation and tiredness. But I’m starting to get the hang of it I think. One thing I’m very proud of is that I seem to have the breast feeding thing down when I know that a lot of women have a lot of problems with it. I guess I’ve been very lucky! Although it is hard being tied to the baby almost constantly – however, that is what expressing is all about – I tried out our fancy expressing machine the other day and its fab. Really quick.
Anyway, Im so glad I’m starting to feel a bit more normal again (slowly). I can’t wait to be taking JJ places with me… showing him off.
Something I didn't mention here, which is something that made my experience worse (sorry to make this all sound so negative - I did get little JJ out of it). On the night after he was born, he woke up for a feed and needed a nappy change. This was in fact my first go at changing a nappy. I'd been too out of it during the first day and the nurses and Ben had done it for me as I struggled to get in and out of bed due to a lot of bruising and a problem with my coxxyx which would mean that I was unable to sit down for a couple of months. I mentioned above that I had to lie down to feed Joshua but we had been told that when the baby wakes up at night you have to take him to the feeding room so as not to disturb the other mothers. So when he woke up, I picked him up and carried him to the feeding room. Forgetting completely that I wasn't supposed to carry him. I was supposed to move him in the trolley - this is in case a mother faints and drops her baby. So I'd tried to sit and feed him but it wasn't going well. I couldn't get comfortable and JJ wouldn't latch on. Then I realised (I think almost at the same time) that JJ needed changing and I also needed changing. My pad had leaked and I had bled all over the seat and all over the back of my nightie. A midwife came in and told me off for carrying the baby, went to get it and then ushered me to the bathroom and said she'd deal with the nappy. I was in an awful way anyway and to get such a telling off like that.... It didn't do me any good, put it that way. I went and got changed and when I got back Joshua had been changed and we went back to bed, after I changed my nightie presumably. That memory will stick with me forever. The horror of realising I'd bled all over the seat. The panic because I didn't know what to do first (or what to do at all). When I got out of hospital eventually I was so relieved!!! Ben had gone back to work because they thought I would stay in hospital for another night. But to be honest I didn't want to stay another minute after that night. I rang my mum and asked if she would come pick me up. She came and got me and drove me home, after a bit of palarva around fitting the car seat into her car - and fitting Joshua into his snow suit. He was too long for it. We had to leave his feet out. When I got home I remember the house being really tidy. I think my mum and mother in law, perhaps, had been around to make sure the house was tidy for my return. I must thank my mum and MIL again for that. Remembering it, it was really lovely to be able to just lie on the sofa (couldn't sit) and not have mess all around. Ben made me a full fry up as I'd not eaten much the last few days and made me eat black pudding, which I really don't like, but I was very anaemic through the blood loss. My sister in law came round at some point and sent me off to bed with a glass of red wine. The way she was with me, I will never forget. I have my differences with her and we have gone from as close as can be to at eachother's throats but I will never forget the way she bundled me off to bed. She seemed to know (of course she did she had 3 kids of her own at the time - one more to come later) and I felt like at that point we instantly had a new bond. An understanding. I still want to kill her half the time though. And her me!!!
So that's more or less how my beloved boy came into the world. Thanks for reading and I hope I haven't scared you off!