On Sunday 16th July at 6.56am, our precious son Harry was born. It felt as though I’d been pregnant forever this time around (even though the nine months did seem to also go pretty quick!) but I could never get my head into the fact that I was actually going to have another baby!
So when I went into labour late on Saturday evening, two days before my due date, I didn’t quite believe it. I’d been having frequent Braxton Hicks contractions for months, so I didn’t immediately think that these contractions were the real deal. I lay in bed next to my sleeping other half, Googling ‘how to tell the difference between Braxton Hicks and real labour’…
I absently started to check my phone to time how far apart the contractions were. Ten minutes….ten minutes again (perhaps just a coincidence?) Ten minutes…ten minutes again…<painful contraction> Shit! <whacks sleeping other half> “I’M IN LABOUR!”
My parents were on standby to make the two hour trip from Nottinghamshire to look after Taylor. We didn’t expect such little warning, and of course neither did they. Obviously I wasn’t there to witness the scene, but I have visions of my dear mum jumping from her bed, running around the house and throwing her overnight bag together in a frenzy.
My contractions were soon six minutes apart, and since my previous labour with Taylor was so quick (and I had the GBS infection this time around), we decided not to wait and took Taylor to the hospital with us. Of course, we were told by triage to hang fire and stay a little longer at home, but all I will say is that a woman knows her body and should trust her instinct. My instinct was telling me to get there fast, so that’s what we did.
Once at the hospital I was examined and told that I was about 3cm dilated and the cervix was ‘soft’ – apparently a good thing. A cannula was put into my wrist for the IV antibiotics (as a precaution for the GBS). Within about half an hour, my contractions were becoming more and more severe and lasting about 30 seconds. My parents arrived and Taylor thankfully escaped from the groans of her mummy.
I was taken down to the delivery suite. Well, actually I said that I was okay walking, which was a BIG mistake! I totally underestimated how hard it is to walk forward when you’re in labour…luckily I had the IV drip to hold onto!
Once there, I quickly demanded gas and air and then within what seemed like no time at all I felt as though I’d reached the ‘next stage’. You know, the stage where you know that a full-grown baby is trying to get out from inside of your womb…
They examined me and concluded that I was 8cm dilated at this stage.
My waters broke and then that was it. My whole body was telling me to push.
Perhaps previous experience at this point was not helpful since in my head I was thinking that baby was pretty much here. With my first pregnancy, this stage of pushing seemed to be over relatively quickly and it was bearable as I’d been told by the midwife that I was “going to meet my baby very soon”…
This time around nothing at all seemed to be happening. Just horrendous pain over and over again. I was told that I was way beyond the point of having any other pain relief and the gas and air was just not cutting it.
My body was telling me to push and I was giving it my all. But absolutely nothing seemed to be happening. Of course, the midwives assured me that it was progressing and I was “doing really well!”, but I couldn’t help but feel completely deflated and like something must be going wrong.
My state of mind was probably not helping matters since I was completely knackered. I’d had an emotional night (hormones) and when I went to bed at 11pm I remember thinking to myself that tonight would really not be a good time to go into labour. Little did I know that three hours later I’d be in the delivery room!
I kept looking at the hours on the clock passing by and wondering how I could still be pushing. They emptied my bladder with a catheter in case it was ‘getting in the way’ of baby’s descent. I tried various positions but baby wasn’t budging. I remember feeling my still pregnant tummy and thinking that this baby couldn’t possibly come out and I remember the cruel sound of a newborn cry in the room next door and the resentment I felt at it not being ours. I swore a lot and screamed to levels I’m now a little embarrassed about…
The sun came up and five hours after pushing for dear life, the midwife inspected me again and something happened!! I’m not sure of the biology, but she told me that she pushed back the last bit of cervix behind baby’s head as that’s what was stopping him come. Baby’s head coming out is obviously not the most comfortable part, but to be honest, I was so relieved that the ongoing pain was finally coming to an end and that I was going to meet our little man.
And then he was there.
On my chest looking so perfect. He didn’t even cry, he just seemed so content – like he didn’t have a clue about the journey he’d just been on to get here. He had so much hair. And he looked so tiny and cute.
All was forgiven.
And then I fell asleep.
Have you given birth more than once? Did you find your subsequent labours were easier or more difficult than your first?