Friday, 9 October 2015

My Labour and Birth Story...

I have attempted to write this blog post so many times since Emme was born but with a new baby and with her, a new way of life, I just haven't managed to get around to it, until now. I have written paragraphs here and there whilst Emme has napped or I've woken up at 3am, pregnancy habit continued, but most of it is pretty hazy to me and it really is hard to put it all into words. So tonight I've sent Dan to bed with Emme so that I can have a little me time and finally try to share my labour and delivery story with you lovely people!

Warning - lengthy, moany and non sugar coated, proceed with caution...

....On 1st July, at 38 weeks and 5 days pregnant, I woke up around 6.30am feeling quite uncomfortable and pretty peed off at Dan as he was taking up the majority of the bed, I was trying to decide whether to push him back over to his side of the bed and get some more sleep or just get up and get something done. Before I had even had time to process my thoughts, my waters started trickling, at first I thought I was imagining it but within seconds I was running to the bathroom, luckily the en-suite door is right next to my side of the bed, and I was shouting to Dan to get up because my waters had well and truly gone! I could never truly imagine what it would be like for my waters to break but oh my gosh, is it messy?! I was so excited that I text my mum, I wanted to ring but Dan reminded me how early it was, Dan let his mum know too and then I rang the hospital to let them know. I had a feeling that Emme was well on her way so I jumped in the shower and got dressed, which is pretty hard to do when your waters are coming so quick and my contractions were coming fast and strong by around 7.30am, around 30mins after they began. I was just so excited to meet my baby girl that the contractions/waters/thoughts of labour just did not phase me at first, all I remember thinking is 'I'm going to meet my baby girl today!' Dan was of course his typical laid back self, eating his breakfast on the sofa while I walked around holding onto anything I could to get me through the contractions.

Just after 9am I realised that my hospital notes had my old address on and so the midwife would be going to the wrong address, when I rang up to tell them, they asked me to come in and get checked, presumably because I only live around the corner from the hospital. So by 9.30am I was heading to the hospital with my bags. One thing that had never even entered my mind until that exact car ride was having contractions in the car, WOW, sitting in a queue at the traffic lights, whilst having a contraction and trying to pull it off isn't quite what I expected! 

When we got to the hospital I remember panicking about getting from the car to the labour ward without having a contraction. I really do think labour wards should have their own entrance on the side away from everyone else as i'm sure i'm not the only woman to have felt like this. When I arrived on the labour ward, I was taken into a room where there were a few other beds and I was put on a bed and hooked up to a monitor to check that baby was doing ok. I was left for quite some time as the machine kept running out of paper, it was working on and off as well, meaning that they weren't getting a true recording and they kept having to start it all over again, so what should have taken around 20 minutes actually took around an hour, pretty frustrating to say the least.

To be honest I wish I would have told the hospital no when they asked me to come in and just stayed at home for as long as I could, being in a room with other people whilst having contractions wasn't easy for me, I wanted to scream but I was so embarrassed to do so that I became really frustrated and I soon started to panic that this was the way the whole labour was going to be. After what seemed like forever, the lady came to examine me, which hurt like crazy and I was told I was only 2-3cm but by this point I was in so much pain that she decided not to send me home. I was told to go and walk around downstairs in the hospital for two hours, get some lunch and a drink and then come back up but walking around a hospital in front of so many other people whilst contracting had me wanting to punch someone so I ended up sitting/walking/standing in the stair well where nobody else was. 

I remember walking down the first stretch of the hospital and looking at people in a complete haze, the pain made me feel so unbalanced, kind of like being drunk, and with each contraction I just wanted to scream but there were so many people around I became so frustrated that I couldn't just let go. So I told Dan that I needed to go back, I started walking, assuming that with me being in labour he would be at my feet like a puppy dog but half way down I realised he hadn't spoke, I looked back and he was reading the sodding history article on the wall on how the hospital was used during world war two. I didn't have the energy to walk back and he was too far away to shout so I rang my mum and said 'i'm going to frigging kill Dan, he's useless!' he's just far too laid back sometimes. After around 15 minutes I went back upstairs and told the lady that I couldn't do it, that I was in too much pain, I was asked if I'd had paracetamol and I was given two co-codamol and told to go and walk around for another 2 hours, I wanted to do more than punch someone at this point and I was still quite a way off labour. The co-codamol did absolutely nothing and again I just hid under the stair well. 

Dan was adamant we needed lunch but I couldn't even think about food, the pain was all I could think about, I told him I couldn't walk that far and I wouldn't let him leave, typically he left me anyway and went to get us some sandwiches and a drink, looking back I know he was trying to get me to eat and drink to give me energy, he was actually trying to be so helpful but honestly he's lucky I was in too much pain to scream at him. My friend works in the hospital and was on her way into work when she found me on my own, next to the stairs, mid contraction, I remember her telling me how I looked like I was in so much pain and to go and demand more pain relief, I remember just leaning against the wall, attempting to listen to her but I just couldn't focus and kept staring at her in confusion. Once I could talk again, she helped me walk up the stairs and I went back in to the room where Dan told the lady I wasn't coping too well. I was examined again and I was still only 2-3cm, I clearly don't tolerate pain well, this time I screamed when she examined me and she decided to send me over into another section of the ward. When I arrived there I was put in a smaller room but again I was with someone, I just remember telling the midwife I couldn't do it and I was told to go and have a bath. The bath didn't help at all, in fact I think this made me worse as the bath was tilted at the back, which I think is so you can lay your head back and relax but there was no way I was relaxing and it caused me to keep tipping slightly backwards, which really frustrated me because I couldn't get a grip on the bath and I found this made the contractions so hard to deal with. I was in the bath for quite some time and by this point I was screaming as each contraction waved over me, I told Dan to get me help and he pressed the buzzer, after around 10 minutes a cleaner came in and said she'd get a midwife, 30 minutes later and still nobody had to come to check on me, so he pressed the buzzer again and someone else came in and said that I needed to get out and get dressed before anyone would see me.

 When I arrived back at my bed, I was offered diamorphine, I wanted to try a natural labour but I was really struggling to cope, I agreed and was told it would take around 15 minutes to kick in, it kicked in within seconds and I was asleep on the bed within minutes, however 20 minutes later I woke screaming with another contraction. The contractions were getting a lot stronger and I told Dan that I needed to be examined, the midwife came and said the diamorphine should have lasted a lot longer but that she couldn't examine me yet as it hadn't been 2 hours since my last one and there was risk of infection so I was given a tens machine. The tens machine did nothing for me and within ten minutes I was begging for the midwife to examine me, I was fed up of just being offered things that weren't helping and I think because I was screaming so much she finally agreed to examine me. The midwife was pretty surprised as I was 7cm but fully effaced so they sent me straight into my own room to deliver. 

On the way through to my room I remember seeing people at reception staring at me as I was screaming at the top of my lungs, by this point I couldn't stop them, they felt so involuntary and I was so embarrassed that I apologised after each contraction and continued to do so throughout labour. The midwife asked if I needed to push and I remember saying 'i don't know, maybe, yes' so I was moved from one bed onto another, given gas and air and was told to start pushing. Again the gas and air just seemed to do nothing for me so I handed it back. Labour definitely lives up to its name and I was pretty exhausted, it was the hottest day recorded for years, my hair was still down as I hadn't had the time or head space to think about putting it up and I still had my dress on. I kept falling asleep in between contractions and after two long exhausting hours, I was asked if the doctor could help me, I was told that baby was very happy but that I was exhausted and running out of energy. I remember getting so close, getting to a point with each contraction that I could feel her head crowning but I just couldn't gather the energy or strength to give that last push to get her out. I remember when I was told the best option was to be cut and to use a ventouse, I was just thinking do what the hell you want to do to me, just get my baby here safely, I was so tired and I just wanted my baby, I didn't care what they had to do to me to get her out, I just wanted my baby in my arms. Everything is really hazy but I remember a hell of a lot of pain all at once with that last push as they helped pull her out and then all of a sudden my baby was on my chest, the most amazing yet surreal and oh so blurry moment of my life! It's hard to believe that the baby they put on your chest is the baby that was in your womb seconds ago, it's such a strange yet amazing feeling that you can never truly understand until your there. 

Emme Sienna was born at 6.26pm weighing 6lb 12oz

Everything following labour is a complete blur, I vaguely remember being stitched up, Emme was checked over and weighed and then a lady came in to help me latch Emme on for me to breastfeed and we were pretty much left then until gone 11pm. Emme was amazing with breastfeeding and it was such a lovely experience to bond with her like that immediately, once Emme had finished feeding I had a bath and put some fresh pj's on while Dan had some skin to skin cuddles and then we both awkwardly tried to handle our fragile little baby girl to change her bum and put her a sleepsuit on ready for our first night. It felt so strange being left with this tiny little baby and being expected to know what to do but we did it. We had to spend our first night in hospital because it was so late, Dan had to go home which really bothered me, although he was loving it as he had the house to himself to watch the womens world cup, he constantly reminded me, jokingly, during the labour that the birth needed to be over by midnight so he could get home to watch England, I wanted to spend our first night as a family together and honestly I felt so scared to look after my baby alone. At around 4.30pm the following day we finally left the hospital and brought our baby home, it was the most amazing feeling bringing our baby girl home to the house we had been preparing for the last nine months ready for her arrival.

Although Dan was far too laid back throughout labour at times, he even took selfies of us whilst I was pushing, which I had no clue about until after, he really was such an amazing support and I really do not know how I would have done it without him! I guess his laid back and joking nature is just who he is but he is also my rock and I love him for it. Aside from going to get lunch, he stayed by my side every step of the way, he told the midwifes what I needed when I could no longer talk, he pulled my legs back when I needed to push and he held my hand throughout each contraction. To say he was terrified beforehand he did amazing and I'm so proud of our little family.

Sometimes I look at Emme and I can't believe that I went through labour to bring her here, my experience wasn't what I expected and it definitely didn't go to plan, however it was the most amazing yet surreal moment of my life and I am so proud of what I achieved. Knowing that my body was able to carry Emme for nine months, to grow every inch of her and allow me to give birth to her makes me feel pretty incredible!

Love Abbie x

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