I wrote this first birth story not long after Dd1's birth, and am glad I have done so with each birth as the memory is fickle and even that which is dear washes away in its detail over time. Some birth stories have become blended in my mind too. I dearly want them to know their 'own story' and am glad I have my written memories for us to read and remember from. I have not edited these stories, though I will add some details in italics. They are my journey, my thoughts at that time, and while it is tempting to edit, these writings are history themselves, and it is interesting to see how my understanding changes through experience. I will edit in a few pictures soon when I can work out where they are.
29th October 10.30pm
I noticed regular cramp-like sensations. I decided not to tell Dh as he was due to start night-shift at 11pm and I had read that it could take quite a long time before there would be a need to worry, that and a week earlier I had similar cramps which went away. I didn't want to worry Dh over nothing. I went to sleep and had a good nights rest.
Dh came home at 7.30 am (30th October, Dd's due date) and I decided to sleep in with him for a while. I finally got up at 10am and noticed that I was still having regular pains (these shouldn't really be called pains, because they weren't, it was just what I thought to call them) coming every 10 minutes. I was due for a checkup at 4.30pm and we decided to go because the midwife would be able to tell for sure if it was true labour. We arrived late and must have missed my appointment because we had to wait an hour. (I can still remember the waiting room, and feeling so excited, and wondering if the other people in the room would notice that I was in labour) During that time the cramps became more painful but at this point the pain was more exciting than painful because it seemed to indicate that this would be it. When we finally saw the midwife she did a quick checkup and then sent me across to the main hospital so another midwife could do an internal exam. Which disappointingly revealed that I wasn't considered to be in labour yet officially. When I had the exam Dd did the biggest kick I had ever felt. I felt that surely I would burst. It was 6pm and we were sent home.
On the way back home the contractions started to get painful like a moderate period pain. When we got home I had something to eat and stood under the shower for the pain. When the contractions were 5 minutes apart I called the hospital but the midwife told me to call back in an hour. The contractions were requiring concentration now but between contractions I was fine. During this hour a lady from a housing company called and did her sell for their product. I tried to get rid of her politely but she wouldn't have it so I had to say to her 'look, I'm in labour and I really don't care right now'. She then asked if I needed help but I said all was fine I just didn't have the desire to talk on the phone anymore. She wished me luck.
Over this hour the pain got to a level where I thought, if I don't go in now it's going to be really uncomfortable in the car and also I wasn't sure how much longer I could cope without relief of some kind. The idea of going to hospital in itself was comforting. I rang the hospital back at exactly 9pm and said all this. The contractions were no closer together so I hoped they would let me come in if I said I couldn't last at home any longer. The midwife seemed reluctant but she spoke to someone else and then said it was okay to come in. I don't think they would have said to come in if I hadn't said this. I had read of a woman in labour who had said the same and been allowed to come in so I was happy I had read this and it had worked.
My bags were all packed and had been for weeks so it was just a matter of going, so I thought, but just as we went to leave the pain made me sick, all over the kitchen floor, unlucky Dh. I was concerned because I had dirtied my clothes a little bit and I had planned exactly what I was going to wear but in the end I thought the midwives wouldn't worry and we left. The trip wasn't as bad as I thought it would be but I was glad to get to the hospital. We arrived at 9.30pm. The only problem was that Dh decided to park around the side of the hospital not realising that the door we usually entered the hospital from was shut at this hour.
Dh offered to drive me to the front but I wasn't getting back into the car for anything at this point. So we had to walk around to the front. We had to stop about 6 times with me bracing against Dh before we got to the door. We didn't check in at the front like we were supposed to. I was beyond filling out forms, I just wanted to lay down somewhere. When we finally arrived at the help desk I was taken to an empty ward to lay on one of the beds to wait as my midwife was busy with someone else. I'm not really sure how long this was. The good thing was the midwife was the one I had seen most during my checkups.
I was taken to a labour room and I tried to do a few things I had read about and talked about in our prenatal classes, like kneeling on the floor resting my head and arms on a chair with Dh massaging my back but soon it didn't seem to help and I just wanted to lay on the bed which I did. The midwife did another internal which revealed I was only 4cm's dilated. Dh asked how much longer it would take and she said 6 hours, one for each centimeter. All I could think was that was a very long time and I didn't think I could make it. Certainly not without some kind of relief. I started using the gas but what I didn't realise till after labour was that I was not using it properly, it should have been making a rattling noise, which it didn't because I wasn't inhaling strongly enough. I also hoped the baby would realise somehow that I couldn't take 6 more hours of this and as if in reply my waters burst, within 10 or so minutes of my thinking this (At about 12am).
Not long after I felt like pushing. The midwife did another internal and was surprised to find that I was fully dilated and so she said I could start pushing. My body at any rate seemed to be the one doing the pushing not me. I didn't seem to have any strength. (I felt as if it would have been easier for me to push a truck up a hill. I was laying on my back and later, reading in preparation for the birth of my second baby realised this was why it felt that way) They started to give me oxygen and I was really starting to yell at this point, which I was mildly embarrassed about yet found helped.
The baby went into distress which was scary (quite likely this happened because I was laying on my back). Luckily I read that this was common or else I might have panicked but I had great confidence in the crowd of people who packed into the room to help (Some of these were student observers. There must have been about 6 medical staff or more in the room). The Doctor decided that a venthouse delivery would be necessary (Not to mention an episiotomy. But I was beyond noticing by this stage. You could have stuck pins in my foot and I wouldn't have felt it.) .
A heart monitor was put around my belly at some point but I barely noticed, the pain was excruciating. Dd's heartbeat went back to normal so they let me try to do it on my own. They brought in a mirror for me to see what was happening and I saw Dd's head and her black hair. I tried to hard to push but didn't seem to be able to have any effect. Before long she went into distress again so they started to use the venthouse again. They took the mirror away so I didn't get to see the actual birth. The mirror had made it all seem real though and gave me a renewed effort to help with the venthouse. In only a few pushes she was born, at 12.20am on the 31st of October. They put her straight to my chest. I didn't even look to see her gender until the midwife asked what she was. I was so overwhelmed I forgot to look. I was just enjoying looking at her and feeling her at last. She looked very clean and a good colour. Her breathing was funny at first though. I fed her within moments of holding her. She did a great big meuconium poo everywhere (I didn't notice this until the midwife took her for weighing. It was all over my shirt). She looked like a little china doll.