20 June 2017

Bump to Birth!

I had a pretty wonderful pregnancy- textbook, really. I was big, round and fairly jolly by the end - only suffering severe queasiness in the first trimester which I now deem quite lucky compared to some very poorly mums-to-be. Bubba and bump grew well at each milestone check-up and I was even pleasantly surprised to find I was already 2cm dilated at 40 weeks when I saw the midwife - without even trying - easy... However, I should have known this was where the ease started and abruptly ended the minute I went into labour!

Bump & I sailed past due date and the impending date for being induced loomed overhead. I was quite irrationally terrified of being induced - and labour in general really. I have always been terrified of the idea of labour. As much as I have always wanted children, the prospect of childbirth absolutely petrified me, not least because I have a very low pain threshold but also because I harbour quite a significant fear of the unknown and having never squeezed a little creature out of me, this was the ultimate new territory.

Not only was I terrified of the idea that my labour would be brought on and essentially 'intensified' using hormones, I had also maniacally googled induction stories and worked myself into some kind of 'worst case scenario' frenzy. (Google and I have a love/hate relationship mainly because of this). Of course, there are many success stories surrounding being induced and I certainly am no expert - particularly since my main concern was the cannula that would be required to deposit required hormone (Syntocinon) if other methods hadn't started to move things along. I just hate needles!!!

In order to avoid said impending induction date, I think I tried every piece of advice and old wives tale in circulation. I ate curry and pineapple for breakfast, lunch and dinner (or at least it felt like it) whilst nesting furiously, walking, tidying, shopping - to no avail. Two painful membrane sweeps later, I was still disappointingly 2 cm dilated.

I was booked to be induced at 9am on a Thursday and I woke up Wednesday morning with abdominal pain. As I had been experiencing discomfort for a few weeks leading up to this, I disregarded it and carried on packing. For the remainder of the day, as the contractions intensified, I remained in denial - insistent that I was simply imagining things in anticipation of the events ahead.

By dinner time the pains were hard to deny and hubby called the hospital (after insistence from my Mum that I was, in fact, in labour). The midwife on the phone suggested that we refrain from making our way to the hospital until the pain was unbearable and that I should relax and take a bath. I must have had 4 baths that night - none of which were vaguely relaxing. I decided to embark on labour with as much ignorance as possible - refusing to hear horror stories or watch One Born Every Minute in order to maintain my sanity. That night I actively laboured until nearly fully dilated at home. Not out of choice, but ignorance! When I felt that the pain was unbearable and I could no longer sit or stand or lay or bend to absorb the pain, we drove the painstaking 40 minutes to the hospital. Upon being examined at around 11pm, I was dealt the crushing news that I was still only 2cm dilated. 2 bloody centimetres! But the pain! 

The midwife suggested I return home as I would simply have to sit on a ward if I stayed and wouldn't be very comfortable. I can whole heartedly say that during labour there is not one moment that I felt 'comfortable'. So after a final and excruciating membrane sweep, we were sent on our way. On the drive home the contractions seemed to intensify and increase almost immediately. I frantically clawed at the car interior as a contraction surged from my back, through to my abdomen. At this point hubby kindly suggested 'perhaps you are just imagining that the pain has worsened because you are just so disappointed that you haven't dilated any further'. Cue the first of only two times during the night that I gleefully envisaged knocking hubbys teeth out. The other was a repeated desire, each time he ardently encouraged me to 'breathe' as it would help me 'focus on something other than the pain'. For the record, when you're in pain, all you can think of is pain and the prospect of that pain subsiding. Full stop.

We returned home, with no time or energy to feel deflated from events thus far and plodded on with further bathing and breathing and pacing and pain. Without sounding indulgent at this point, it is important to note hubby was my hero that night. Not once did he leave my side, even leaning next to the bath, refilling water and soothing me through the waves of pain, not budging even when I had to pee (as contractions have no sense of etiquette or timing as to when they will come on). I often think back to that night (and get reminders when watching One Born Every Minute now that I no longer hold any fear) and realise how lucky I was as he coached me through the whole ordeal for over 14hrs without so much as a nap or even a sip of water - and none of the pain-induced adrenaline coursing through his veins that I was pumped on.

The one aspect of hubbys unwavering coaching that kept me hanging on, was the landmarks he kept providing - like targets for me to hit. So, just 45 more minutes and the sun would be coming up, and 'everything looked better in the daylight', or just an hour until 6am and we could 'think about making a move to go to the hospital as I would be induced in a matter of hours'. By 6am we practically ran to the car (well, I waddled as quickly as possible). The 40 minutes to the hospital were almost unbearable, heightened by my body's sudden desire to start pushing and hubbys understandable and quite palpable alarm at this development. I still cringe at the memory of our arrival at the labour ward - my hobbling and bowing in pain in the car park as each contraction hit, wholly refusing a wheelchair in my final stand as a capable woman, passers-by agape.

In reception, I unsuccessfully attempted to regain my composure as hubby reasoned with the receptionist that I was actively in labour -  I proceeded to wilt across a cluster of chairs. Finally, we were ushered into the room that had been booked for my being induced. My dedicated midwife reassuringly patted my leg as I insisted that my body wanted me to push, with the famous last words - 'don't worry, you wont be pushing this baby out just yet' and proceeded to continue her round on the ward! Upon her return 10 minute's later she discovered that I was fully dilated and my waters promptly broke.

If I hadn't been in so much pain, I would have felt positively smug! Even the slightest feeling of smugness however, disintegrated as the midwife frowned slightly whilst assessing the baby's heart rate and politely excused herself to consult a colleague. We were advised that baby's heart rate was dropping significantly at each contraction therefore a clip was attached to baby's head to monitor while I pushed. Despite much encouragement from the midwives that were now in strong numbers in the room, we weren't making enough progress and the heart rate was still dropping. In the end I had a ventouse delivery, in order to speed things up safely. It all happened so quickly that all I remember is agreeing but pleading that the Consultant was not going to give me an episiotomy (another irrational fear to add to the list). Little blue bodied Moo was born at 9.48am (with the umbilical cord wrapped around her neck - causing the heart dips & scaring us all; a result of too many back-flips as a tiny little bean) on that Thursday morning (just 48 minutes after she was booked to be induced) and for a split second looked straight at her Daddy with startled dark eyes - a moment he says he will remember for the rest of his life.


For those wanting a factual excerpt regarding Induced Labour, I've added the link below as I found it incredibly helpful - without inciting any fear, fortunately!!

Written by Charlotte Jones @novicemama_char 


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