Oh my goodness, I can’t believe I am finally writing this post. I’ve said so many times that pregnancy seems to fly by and last forever at the same time. For 39 weeks and 2 days I carried our little girl in my tummy and in the space of one crazy afternoon and evening she was here.
I thought I would share my experience with you, not to scare you or put you off having babies, simply as a way for me to document our beautiful little girl’s arrival.
After my last pregnancy update most of you will know that we were booked in for an induction at 39 weeks due to reduced movements and low fluid levels so we were ready to go on Friday 14th October and waiting patiently for a call from the hospital.
I was so nervous waiting for the phone to ring, knowing that once I got to the hospital I wouldn’t be leaving without a baby and that the reality of labour was finally upon me and I couldn’t put it off any longer.
We got to the hospital at 5pm on Friday evening for a CTG scan as the induction ward was full and there was no space for me. The first scan didn’t go too well, the readings were stable so we were sent away for dinner and we tried again at 9pm.
After the second scan it was decided that we were definitely going to be induced and would be getting the first bed to become free. I was praying for one of the ladies to go into labour so we could get started. I was taken to the anti-natal ward to get some sleep beforehand but didn’t even manage to hit the pillow before I was called to go to the ward.
It was now 1am on Saturday 15th October, I met my first midwife named Liz. I didn’t know it then but she was about to become the most wonderful midwife ever. She got my treatment started straight away; another CTG scan which was very hard work. What should have taken only 20 minutes took over an hour as we couldn’t get a stable reading again, in the end Liz sat with me and we each held a probe in place and waiting for the recording to come out clear. Eventually she was happy with the scan and we started treatment.
I was given an internal pessary, spent another 2 hours on the CTG machine having the same problems and was eventually able to get some sleep at 4am. Liz came to check on me again before her shift ended at 8am and I thought that would be the last time I would see her. At 10am a new midwife named Cara gave me a second pessary with another hour on the CTG machine.
If you can’t tell already there is a lot of hanging around and lying in bed hooked up to machines when you’re being induced. Each course of pessary treatment takes up to 8 hours to work and the hospital will administer up to three rounds of treatment before trying other options. By the time we got finished with the second round of treatment it was midday, given all the hanging around Kev had decided to stay at home for a few hours and rest in case I needed him for the main event later in the day.
I decided to take a wander for some lunch at about 1pm and opted for a Costa, I couldn’t even enjoy it as I was started to get annoying cramps in my lower back and lower belly. They started off like twinges and were getting stronger and stronger as the afternoon went on, I wandered the halls of the hospital trying to distract myself and eventually called Kev to come to the hospital at 4pm when I needed more than bouncing on a ball and wandering the corridors to take my mind off the discomfort.
When Cara came to see me again at 6pm the cramps were very strong, she gave me some paracetimol and morphine which to be honest did nothing to help. She examined me again and confirmed I was 2cm dilated but that meant I still had a long way to go. By about 8pm the cramps were definitely contractions, they were coming regularly every few minutes and were getting stronger. I was about to ask Cara for stronger pain relief but she told me I was going to be moved to the labour ward.
I was given my own delivery room which was much nicer than the 4 bed ward I had been in all day, my new midwife came in to see me and it was Liz again. She set me up with some gas and air and started setting up more CTG machines to monitor baby’s heart rate during contractions. She was just incredible, I don’t know if each woman in labour has a dedicated midwife or if my labour just progressed so quickly that she didn’t get a chance to leave us.
We were still having problems with the CTG machine picking up a signal so Liz opted for an internal probe, a long thing metal conductor that is placed under baby’s hair and provides a much better reading as baby can’t move away from the probe. Liz examined me to see if she could break my waters manually only to find out that they were gone. She asked if I remember them breaking and I explained that I felt something earlier in the afternoon by Cara had checked me over and didn’t think they had broken. At some point they must have but it certainly isn’t the waterfall they would have you believe in the movies.
With my waters gone, Liz gave me an injection in my bum, I have no idea what this was for. Something to do with encouraging dilation to come on a little faster and it certainly worked. A little too well I think, the contractions really stepped up after this.
I have no idea what time it was, in fact i wasn’t really aware of much. The gas and air is some seriously powerful stuff, I was totally out of it. We were having some trouble getting baby’s head in the correct position and Liz wanted me to turn over between contractions to try and encourage baby to move into the correct position to allow her to pass through my pelvis. I could hear Liz telling me to turn over but I couldn’t react to her words. I was so out of it but I do remember saying to her “I can hear you and I know what you’re asking me to but I can’t do it”. I just wasn’t able to move before the next contraction hit and they were getting so strong.
Liz kept telling me not to push, it wasn’t time to push yet but I couldn’t stop it, the need to push wasn’t even a conscious one it was literally my body doing it what it wanted without any direction from me. It was so painful when the contractions hit that I couldn’t fight it, each time I could feel liquid. I was convinced I was wetting myself and I kept saying to Kev “I think I just wee’d” it seems so funny to me now but at the time I was a little embarrassed. It wasn’t until the next day when Kev told me it wasn’t wee, it was blood. I’m very glad he didn’t tell me this at the time, I would have freaked out!
I need to give a shout out here to Kev, he was freaking incredible. He was so calm, held my hand, fetched me water, put lip balm on my cracked lips in between contractions and kept reminded me to breath deeply and not to push. He was my absolute rock for hours and I defiantly wouldn’t have been able to do it without him.
At 11pm the shit hit the fan, not literally although I was worried about that, Liz told me that the baby was in distress and that we needed to have an emergency c-section. She pressed a button and suddenly the room was filled with what felt like hundreds of doctors all talking at once. There’s so much about the next 30 mins that I don’t remember. A cannula was put in my wrist, I was wheeled away and taken to Theatre. In the corridors Liz was explaining that I would be given a general anesthetic and that I needed to listen to what the doctors were telling me. I couldn’t even tell you who the doctor was I was so gone and so confused. I just lay on the trolley nodding my agreement to everything they asked without having a clue what anyone was saying.
Once inside Theatre a doctor suddenly stopped everything and said that baby’s heart rate was improving and they didn’t need to give the general anymore. I was examined again and told I was 9cm dilated but her position still wasn’t right so they would give me a spinal anesthetic and perform the c-section the ‘normal’ way.
Someone went back to the room to get Kev and he was able to come into the Theatre in his scrubs to be there for the birth. It was amazing to see him walk into the room, with so many strangers shouting things and telling me what to do all I wanted was for him to sit there and hold my hand.
The c-section itself is the strangest thing, I was completely numb from my boobs down, couldn’t feel a thing except for lots of jiggling around. I could feel my belly moving, almost like waves of the ocean as more and more hands and apparatus where being used but with the screen up in front of us we couldn’t see anything. The numbness is so complete that I was completely unaware of the doctors fitting a catheter or a drain into my tummy to remove excess blood and grossness.
Then we heard her, the moment she was born and her little lungs opened for the first time. My God did she scream! It was the happiest moment I can remember, my baby was here safely, amidst all the drama and people and beeping machines, our little girl had arrived.
Welcome Amelia Grace Ebuehi, born at 11.33pm Saturday 15th October.
She was weighed by the midwife, wrapped in a towel and Kev was offered to cut the cord. He declined as he didn’t want to have to see behind the screen at my open belly lying on the table and I don’t blame him either, once you see that you can never un-see it. Both of us are blissfully unaware of what was really going on down there.
The ‘clean up’ if you like took forever, over an hour and half after she was born I was still being stitched up. I still couldn’t feel anything but our baby was getting more and more hungry by the second, she wanted boobs and was not impressed with the wait. In the end our midwife took her away and let her suck on her finger whilst we waiting to be taken to recovery.
We were eventually taken to the recovery area at around 1am and I was finally able to hold her properly and give her a proper feed. After being taken back to the delivery room I was given a blood thinning injection in my belly which I didn’t feel at all and we did some more feeding. Liz was great and helped me get her latched on properly, all fine and lovely until little madam wee’d all over me.
Cue her first nappy and getting her dressed, I couldn’t move so Kev and Liz did this and put her down to sleep in her little see-through plastic box, she slept like an angel that first night and so did we. Me in the bed, no feeling in my body at all and Kev in a chair with his feet on the window sill. We were so exhausted we just slept, until Liz came back to say goodbye at 8am when her shift ended.
We were kept in hospital until Monday evening, my parents came to meet her on the Sunday afternoon and I was finally able to feel my legs enough to stand up that afternoon too. It’s the strangest feeling being numb, I couldn’t make my legs move and didn’t even realise I had a catheter in for a long time. I asked Kev whether I had been for a wee in the night? He just laughed at me and pointed out the very full bag of piss hanging on the bed, who knew you could pee and not know it!
Being let home on Monday was a huge relief and also the scariest thing in the world. In hospital there are people everywhere, midwives checking on you every hour and on hand to help with nappy changing, breast-feeding, going to the bathroom. Once at home, you’re on your own. Now you have this perfect little human and she’s counting on you to get it right…
Here are some labour and birth stats for you:
Named – Amelia Grace Ebuehi
DOB – 15th October 2016
Time – 11.33pm
Weight – 6 pounds 12 ounces
Induction treatment – 2 rounds of pessary tablets
Contractions started – 1pm Saturday 15th October whilst sat in Costa Coffee
Dilation – 6pm Saturday 2cm dilated, 9pm Saturday 4cm, 11pm Saturday 9cm
Delivery – emergency category 1 c-section due to distress and low heart rate
Time in hospital – 3 days
At home recovery – 6 weeks, no driving, no lifting, daily pain killers and blood thinning injections in my tummy. My nerves in my tummy and bum are still numb, the feeling will come back slowly over the course of the 6 week recovery.
Anyway, that’s my birth story. It’s not glamorous, it’s not pretty and there’s certainly no dignity left after birth. I know my birth isn’t the more traumatic or long or painful. There are women who have suffered so much to bring their babies into the world but this is my story exactly as it happened.
Please don’t be put off, for some of you who are already expecting it’s too late now anyway but trust me, nothing can prepare you for labour and birth. Just go into it knowing you will have your baby at the end, the midwives do know what they’re doing so trust them. Do exactly what they say and listen to your own body, it will guide you. It was made for this.
Thanks for reading, Rachel xx