It’s scary you know, those last few days where you begin to think about getting that hospital bag ready, packing the car and making sure you know how to put the car seat in, plus trying to get some last minute sleep and shopping done. You’d think at 38 weeks you would have been ready… I wasn’t.
Alice’s bedroom had only been finished a week before and my hospital bag I had packed, unpacked, packed and unpacked multiple times. I changed Alice’s clothes so many times I lost count and I don’t even remember how much food I ate or where I went.
At 38 weeks on the 14th of June, I had the majority of my family and friends telling me I’d pop soon or hurry up Alice we want to meet you! I had started to go swimming three/four times a week by this point to help shift Alice into position and by the 16th of June I had my last midwife appointment (I didn’t know at the time) and heard Alice’s heartbeat from the inside before she decided to make her grand entrance.
That Thursday I was feeling a little hot headed and I was already becoming inpatient as so many of the mums I knew had already given birth to their babies and I was one of the last ones at the finishing line. Will was also getting inpatient, which of course didn’t help especially with my intense nagging and worrying. The Friday came (17th of June) and myself, William and two of Alice’s Godparents had just come back from swimming, hungry. Sat in Tesco’s car park we stuffed our faces with Mc Donald’s and KFC unbeknown to me Alice was about to kick start something.
I remember feeling this big thud of pain on my right side and around. I mentioned to Ellie (god parent) I felt it and she begged me not to go into labour while there was chicken being eaten. Of course, I laughed this off, mentioned to Will and sooner or later we got home late in the night. I told my mum and off we went to bed. By the Saturday I was just having dull aches and pains, nothing too strong but enough to make me think about I may have been in slow labour.
We ended up at Will’s parent’s house for the most of Saturday, while I bounced on my birth ball in the hopes something would happen, of course, nothing did. The only worry I began to have was my little dancer had become very quiet during the course of the day and I had barely felt her kick. I decided to call up the maternity ward in the hospital and see if I could come and be assessed. Going in, the midwife on duty strapped me up to the monitor and for 45 minutes I laid on a hospital bed listening to my little girl’s heartbeat but barely feeling any movement.
Now the fun began! I was put forward for a scan on Tuesday (21st of June) and was told I would now be consultant lad as I had already been in three times before with reduced movement. This upset William and I as we had such set plans on Alice being hopefully being born via a water birth but of course if she was having trouble we were in good hands.
From then on I went back and forth to the hospital from Saturday right through to Monday to be monitored as advised by the midwife on Saturday. Sunday evening I was given the option for a sweep as there were clear indications I was in slow labour and had been since Friday evening. I messaged my mum and sisters to see what they thought I should do and all said to take the sweep as it could ease things along.
Now this is where it gets a little bit gross. A sweep isn’t a very pleasant experience, its almost like having a smear done only a little bit more rougher. The midwife tried to be ever so gentle and would stop if I was into much pain and the pain wasn’t a ‘oh dear lordy that hurts’ pain, it was a dull pain that you knew was there.
Off I went Sunday night home to have a bath and a relax, catch up on some sleep as I knew deep down I wasn’t going to sleep very much after that. By Monday the morning went in a blur because of paracetamol. By Monday afternoon I could hardly stand without being in pain. Fearing something was wrong, I asked Will to phone up the ward again and sort out my monitoring appointment that evening.
We went up Monday night stocked with snacks and the hospital bags left in the boot of the car just in case. I was monitored and they checked to see if any changes had happened and I had only gone to 2cm’s, I was offered yet another sweep. Defeated and upset, we left.
William decided I should take a shower to help with the pain and of course to wash my hair and make sure I was all clean if we were rushed into hospital. It was at that point I thought I needed the toilet and as I sat there I felt this gush and heard a pop… My back waters had broken. As I cleaned myself up, (warning tmi) I could feel a ‘goo’ almost fall out of me and as I got up off the loo I quickly sat back down as Will’s eyes from across the bathroom widened and asked me in a panicked voice, what the hell is that?! It would appear, my plug had gone.
I decided to wait to phone any of the maternity wards until Tuesday morning as they had already sent me home that day and there was no way I was going to suddenly go from 2cm’s up to 8cm’s in a matter of an hour or two. I was taking co-codamol by this point and it was numbing as much pain as my body could but sleeping and relaxing were becoming much harder to do.
Tuesday morning and afternoon went. Myself, William and my mum all running on next to no sleep as I would wake up Monday night crying from lying down or sitting or doing anything. It would appear Alice had become back to back. William phoned the maternity ward up to ask should we come in and for me to be looked at. We went in around five o’clock for me to be accused of overdosing on pain meds (I hadn’t) and was assessed by a midwife in one of the side rooms so she could check if my waters had indeed gone.
She offered me yet another sweep as I had finally reached 3cm’s and then told me to wait in the waiting area until a bed was free for me to be monitored. By this point my contractions had started picking up and I was made to wait another hour before being seen. We were seen by a doctor who we had already previously meet at one of the very first appointments I had and she was livid I had even been accused of taking to many pain killers when I wasn’t even having the bare minimum the hospital would give me.
Sadly, we were sent home. I remember crying to William as he argued with the midwife on call and told her I had to stay but I was ready to go home, I wanted a bath and to sleep. He phoned his mum to come and collect us and when we got to the car she herself didn’t want me to go home. However, I am very stubborn and just wanted to go home even if I was contracting in the car all the way.
Much of what happened Tuesday evening after 9pm is hazy. My oldest sister concerned by what was going on turned up after work and phoned 999 as I was on the floor and every contraction was coming between 2 & 3 minutes apart and lasting for over a minute or 2.
I will say now ladies, if they offer you gas & air take it! Once you get past that funny smell and a bit of dry mouth the results are amazing. I felt as if my pain was whisked away and finally after many attempts I was taken back up to the consultant delivery ward where a wonderful midwife admitted me and sent me down to the labouring ward. It would appear I am one of the unlucky people who have active labour contractions even during slow labour (yay me!).
Thankfully by 4am Wednesday morning I was assessed and was finally 4cm’s! That golden word made a whole lot of difference and I was sent back upstairs with William to finally get the ball rolling and bring Alice into the world. It would be a number of hours until I was really contracting and Ceri, my midwife was amazing from start to finish. She kept the room calm, looked after William and helped with anything I needed.
Around 1pm Ceri checked and could see my front waters still hadn’t gone and Alice’s head wasn’t yet lined up in the full position, this would later cause a few problems. Manually popping my front waters, that’s when the real pain started. Falling in and out of consciousness from being so exhausted, I would be woken up every time with immense amount of pain and would only take the gas & air when I felt it was needed, other than that I was mainly going through my contractions without any medical aid. Both William and Ceri yelled at me for not taking advantage of having the gas & air but for some reason, I just liked holding the handle and pooling all of my pain into holding it.
By 1.30pm I was about ready to give up, Alice just wasn’t coming and I had been pushing for a while but nothing was happening. Fearing that something truly was wrong I begged Ceri to get me extra help even after William protested as he knew I wanted to do this all on my own, but I no longer had the energy to do anything. I was allowed to push for 1 hour with Ceri’s help and then the doctor came in, assessed the situation and gave me my options, pushing for another half hour Alice just wasn’t turning up.
This is when I decided to take the epidural and agreed to have Alice born via forceps. Once I signed the forms and was taken down to theatre. I was given the epidural which no matter what people tell you, it doesn’t hurt and honestly it is a God send when you have been trying for so many hours. And by 3.24pm and three pushes Alice arrived!
We had already asked about delayed cord clamping so Alice was placed on my chest while the doctor checked me over and Alice was silent, she was just observing everything and taking in the whole world. Crying my eyes out at our amazing journey together I was so excited to see what she looked like, I had given birth to a mini version of William.
That overwhelming feeling you get when you first see your baby, its true… You forget all about the pain you had before they arrived and all you can see is your baby.