My Birth Story
If you would like to know what happened when I started the Induction process, then please read this post.
This post continues on from my Induction post.
So on delivery suite, I was 4cm when I had gas and air, and pethidine injection followed shortly afterwards. I hadn’t really got the hang of using the gas and air, and I wish someone had talked it through with me before the pain got so bad and I couldn’t concentrate. I didn’t realise you breathe in the gas and air and feel the effects as you breathe it in – I thought you sucked on it and then had a ‘hit’, as it were. By the time I’d worked it out, I’d already had the pethidine injection. This was jabbed into my thigh mid-contraction by a student doctor who was supporting the midwife who was with me from this point. The midwife grabbed my leg as he jabbed it, me flinging myself all over the place. Since coming to delivery suite to have my waters broken, I had already had 3 other midwives. The place was chock-a-block of women giving birth and it was very chaotic.
The room I was in wasn’t the best room to be honest. It looked a bit like a spare room, bits and bobs all over the counters. There were no chairs for My sister or Dan to sit on, there was no side table in there, and there was no crib either. In the left hand corner was a cubicle for a toilet, shower and sink. However there was no light in there and so it was rather dark. There was also no equipment such as birth ball, I was told these were for the birth suite. So it really was bare, stark, clinical.Thism and the fact that I had to wear a hospital gown instead of my own nightie I had chosen for the birth, made me feel worse. It was not what I had wanted, and I felt my heart sink a little when I saw the room, although I tried to make the best of it. Dan and Lyd eventually found some chairs, but we never got a side table for me so drinks etc had to be passed to me. Even after Bubs was born, there still wasn’t a crib, and the midwife had to go scrabbling around to find one.
The pethidine didn’t take too long to take effect. I remember the student doctor saying ‘ Can you feel anything yet?’ and me saying “I feel a bit floaty” and after that everything becomes a bit blurry, a bit dream-like, and very strange. I managed to control my breathing and was using the gas and air almost continuously. I felt ok as long as I stuck to my pattern of breathing – if someone talked to me, or asked me a question, or put me off my stride, it messed everything up and I would get quite upset. I was spouting off some ridiculous talk, jabbering on about Richard Branson and apparently I said “I don’t have a Jeremy Hunt what’s going on”. I was strapped to the bed as they needed to monitor the baby’s heartbeat. They didn’t actually tell me, but as the midwife was explaining to the student doctor right in front of me, that the baby’s heartbeat kept decelerating, and they needed to keep an eye on it, I knew what was going on. However, being on that bed was agony. It was so uncomfortable, I kept slipping down it, I kept trying to wriggle myself into some comfortable position, but it was useless. I just wanted to walk around. At times I had enough and just pulled the wires that were strapped round my stomach out of the machine and just got up – albeit in a bit of a pethidine induced hyperness. I kept wanting to go to the loo – I felt like I desperately needed a wee – and was becoming very distressed as every time I went to the loo, nothing happened. In the end they cathertised me to drain out anything in my bladder – they managed to get a bit off, but not much. I kept having this feeling that I needed a wee though. It was like I was going to wee myself any moment but not. So strange.
Throughout this time, doctors kept coming in and out, looking at the monitor, signing it and then walking off. The midwife also kept leaving the room as she had other babies to catch. The student doctor was with us most of the time, and he was actually really lovely and I am glad he was there. I remember telling him he was making a big mistake joining the NHS in my pethidine madness!
Timings go awry as I was off my face on pethidine but eventually the midwife said to examine me to see how far I got, as it could be that this feeling of needing to go the loo was me starting to get the urge to push. By this time I had this feeling which was very similar to the feeling you get when you start involuntary retching when you are sick – that feeling that doesn’t stop even after you have been sick and nothing more will come out. Well, it felt a bit like this, but a bit lower down obviously. That was making me make those ‘moo’ like sounds you hear people talking about. In my mind a light had gone off, I suddenly thought ‘of course! I need to push’ and I sort of suddenly snapped out of the pethidine fog I had been in – I was now wide awake. I was 9-10cm dilated.
The Pushing Part
It’s funny but I couldn’t feel the pain as I had when I had been having the contractions early on – I know this is because they change as once you are dilated you then are pushing the baby out, but I could feel the contractions but they weren’t that bad – I could tolerate it. Maybe the pethidine had something to do with this. I started to get confused though as I couldn’t tell at times where one contraction ended and another began, in order to push efficiently. I kept saying ‘help me!’ as in, help me know when to push, but the midwife assumed I was just going crazy due to the pain and kept saying ‘we are helping you’. Not in the way I meant, however!
I was pushing, and pushing, I couldn’t really feel anything with each push, it just felt like I was pushing down into my bum, but I kept having positive comments coming from the midwives; Lyd and Dan were practically cheering me on like they were at a football match. My legs were in stirrups and whilst now I think ‘oh god how awful’ I really didn’t care at the time! A Doctor was in the room suddenly telling/asking me that we may need to have a venteuse, which I of course agreed to. I had an overwhelming feeling I just wanted this thing to be over, I wanted it gone. I pushed really well but the last three pushes were with the aid of the venteuse. I was then told/asked that I needed a episiotomy, I of course agreed as I really didn;t care by this point. I remember half crying, saying I couldn’t do it, saying it stung, but then suddenly there was this blue, purple, thing on my stomach. A baby. I wanted Dan to tell me the sex, as we hadn’t known, but he was in so much shock, he was just looking. There was a sense of urgency as the cord had been around the neck, and she was clearly purple and needing help. Eventually it was decided it was a girl, and she was rushed off to the resusitair where the peadiatric team were rubbing her, and giving her a bit of oxygen. At the same time the doctor was delivering the placenta, which eventually flopped out. I remember thinking it looked a lot smaller than I imagined. The blood loss wasn’t as bad as I had imagined either; there was a sudden rush of blood but it wasn’t constantly flowing out of me like I had imagined!!
It is all a blur to me and I can’t remember what happened and in what order, but I remember they got her breathing and handed her to me, but at the same time the doctor was stitching me up, and telling me how to look after my stitches (as if I’d remember that!) at the same time. She looked like an alien, she was still quite blue looking, and I couldn’t register. I wanted to be comfortable, warm, and then snuggle up with her. I handed her to Dan, and Lyd, who held her, and called various family members between them. I was stitched up, and then they took the baby to weigh and check her over. After this they gave her to me and I tried to do some skin to skin.
We discussed names; We had three in mind, and decided Nancy there and then; the middle name took a bit longer. Someone came and gave me a cup of tea and toast, which was heaven. I was still in this hideous hospital gown, Lyd helped to get my things out of the bag and got dressed and felt much better immediately. I held the baby and photos were taken. At some point the midwife came to help me feed her, but this was not successful, as I have discussed in my previous post.
It was about 4am when Dan and Lyd left me as they were told I was going down to the postnatal ward. I had no idea what happened next. I hadn’t even thought about it. I was so so tired, I was exhausted. I waited for someone to help me feed again as the first time hadn’t been successful, and so I just lay there, there was no duvet, so I had to use my dressing gown to keep me warm. Nancy was next to me in the crib they eventually found for her. I looked at her, too scared to touch her really, not knowing what to do. At some point someone told me there wasn’t someone to help me shower, so I did this on my own, with the baby in her crib next to the shower, in the cubicle that had no light, so I was practically showering in the dark, the glow of the light outside of the cubicle and in my room the only light source. I remember Bubs looking at me as I quickly washed. It was not the relaxing, warm, comforting bath I had imagined I would be having. I was asked to provide a wee sample, but I couldn’t wee very much, and so had to drink a jug of water and then try again, although no-one came to take my second sample from me. They got me a wheelchair and got my things together, at about 7/8am (so three hours after Dan had left) and handed me the baby. They asked me where my notes were, and I said I didn’t have them, and the went off to find them. They asked me who my midwife was, and I didn’t have a clue! So I waited, holding the baby, sat in the wheelchair. Someone eventually came and took me down to the postnatal ward at 9am.
Pain wise, I didn’t feel too bad. Even with the stitches it wasn’t too painful. Probably because of the local anaesthetic I was given and the pethidine! But even after a few days, the pain wasn’t too bad at all, more like mild period pains. I felt tired, bruised, my muscles ached, especially my arms where I had pressed down onto the handles on the bed when I was pushing. But most of all I felt tired. So, so tired. I had already been awake since Sunday morning, and by the time I had given birth at 1.50am, and then got sorted out, I had an hours snooze waiting to go down to the postnatal ward, which I eventually got to at 9am, I had been awake for over 24 hours. I don’t think I actually slept any sort of properly until I eventually got back home, which was on the Saturday!
Anyway this is all I can remember about my birth story. I don’t know what to think about it really; I feel disappointed that giving birth was not how I wanted it to be, I feel let down that so many things happened, so much waiting, I feel sad that the room looked awful and didn’t have the right equipment, I feel a bit miffed that I didn’t have help to wash, and I had to wait so long in delivery suite before going down to the ward. I feel bittersweet about this experience. I can’t say I felt so in love with my baby at the time, as I was so shocked, and so confused, and so tired, I couldn’t feel anything (I wrote a poem about this if you’d like to see!). I just hope if I ever have another baby I can learn from this experience and it can be a lot better.
I have also asked me sister to write a bit about the birth which I will post soon, as I really can’t remember the timing of things, and to get her perspective as one of my birth partners.