My labour and delivery story is not a really exciting one. As many of you know, I was induced at 39 weeks because of gestational hypertension and being in and out of hospital multiple times a week throughout the third trimester.
The 30th of November was my induction date. I headed to the hospital at 9pm. As visitors are only allowed between 9am-9pm, I was left alone on a ward later joined by another lady. I think not knowing what to expect or when the induction was going to happen was the worst! I was restless and it took a while for me to get to sleep. At 3am the midwife woke me to start the induction. It wasn’t a nice process, as you can imagine, but it was bearable. I tried to get some sleep and woke up again at 5am to be examined by the midwife.
Throughout the following day (1st December), the midwife checked my blood pressure and Elijah’s heart rate and movements every 1-2 hours. Because Elijah was a right old wiggler, I spent most of the day hooked up to the monitor - which with a bad back got quite uncomfortable. I also had a fluid drip for a while which wasn’t the best as the midwife accidentally went through my vein trying to put the cannula in which still makes me cringe just thinking about it.
After a little bit of walking and bouncing on an exercise ball, my waters finally broke at around 3.30pm. Then the contractions started thick and fast! I had a shower to try and relax but the pessary came out and I ended up having another one put back in... ouch. By 7pm the contractions were much closer together and more painful but I was only offered paracetamol as the midwife didn't think I was that far along and said they only do examinations 24 hours after the pessary is inserted, especially as it was my first baby.
But at 9pm, the contractions were a lot more painful and after a bit of nagging I was given pethidine which in the end didn’t work anyway. I was told by the midwife that it doesn’t work for everyone. But as 9pm was here again it was time for Josh to go home.
The contractions became more and more painful and closer together. I asked if I could go for a bath to try and ease the pain. After a struggle getting in the bath it wasn’t much help at all. It was more uncomfortable trying to navigate my way in and out while stopping every few minutes with contractions. Oh those sharp back pains were the worst! As soon as I got out the bath I had the “bloody show” - lovely. Honestly, it was so difficult to try and get clean, dry and dressed while wanting to keel over every few seconds. I waddled back to the ward and asked the midwife if she’d examine me, she said usually they don’t examine this early on as it usually takes a long time to work for first time moms. Well, how wrong this was! She examined me and low and behold I was 7cm! It was all a bit of a rush and a blur after that - it was just so unexpected.
The midwife helped carry my stuff to the delivery suite, with my belongings in hand and pulling a small suitcase behind, I waddled over to the suite. I rang Josh to come back to the hospital, even though he left less than two hours before. By the time I got to the delivery room, I was examined again and was 9cm. Honestly, I was so so relieved. I thought to myself if I found out I was only a few centimetres along with the pain I was going through I would have cried! Josh got to the hospital a little after midnight, just in time for me to start pushing! He walked in with his t-shirt inside out and back to front, which he won't let me forget.
Up until then my birth plan was to have an epidural, a decision recommended by my consultant due my spine curvature. But all this went out the window, it was too late for an epidural so gas and air it was. And, what amazing stuff it is! I've always heard how amazing gas and air was, but I never really believed it. Like how can it have such a good pain relief effect? But oh my, oh my, it is good stuff! Honestly, I hardly felt a thing!
After about an hour of pushing, Elijah was born at 2:17am weighing 8lb 3oz. I was so so happy and overjoyed. The most weird feeling was that after I gave birth, I felt no pain whatsoever and it was as if all the pain I felt during labour and delivery was forgotten about, a distant memory. I walked over to the ward and had some paracetamol and that was it. It's so so amazing what our bodies can do.
After we got to the ward, I noticed that Elijah was struggling with getting his mucus up, he was very snuffly and a little wheezy. So, they sent us both over to the NICU while they did checks and examined Elijah. They had to give him saline drops to try and clear some of the mucus and kept him under heat because his temperature was a little low. Thankfully, his breathing was fine and he was much better after been given saline drops every few hours. We were then back on the ward until we were discharged two days later. One of the things I struggled with the most was the few days I had to spend in hospital after giving birth but I’ll leave that for another blog post!
But all in all, my best advice would be that if you're feeling a certain way or think that something is not right then tell your midwife, even if you feel like you're annoying them (I definitely felt like this). You know best! After all, the guidelines suggest that we shouldn't be examined until 24 hours after the induction was started, but by this time Elijah was born. So, it's definitely true that each birth and labour is different and just because you're a first time mom doesn't mean you will be labouring for days on end. I'd also try not to worry too much and be quite flexible with your birth plan as most often than not, births don't go as planned anyway. Just try and relax and go with the flow.
I can't end this blog post without saying how amazing midwives, nurses, doctors, healthcare assistants, and students are. They do such an incredible job and I thank each and everyone one of them.