My (real) Birth Story – Part 2
Continuation from My (real) Birth Story Part 1….
WARNING! If you don’t want to hear the nitty gritty about what child birth can really involve, then I suggest you don’t bother reading this blog post! It’s the truth of what happened to me (warts an’ all!) and how it made me feel.
On the Delivery Suite
So at 9:30pm they trundled me off to the delivery suite (a foreign place to me!) where dulcet moans, groans and toe curling screeches could be heard! What was I letting myself in for?!!!
It was at this stage that it started to become apparent that perhaps the hospitals expectations of me having a successful VBAC (vaginal birth after caesarian section) were not as high as the hopes I had or that had previously been suggested.
I was asked to undress and put on a hospital robe. All my jewellery and makeup was removed. I had a cannula inserted and was told not to eat anything and just drink clear waters. I was then hooked up to monitor the baby and my contractions.
The midwife that was then called to break my waters (they didn’t hide the fact that they had to hunt down the one with the longest fingers!) was suggesting my cervix wasn’t particularly ‘ripe’ and I would have probably have benefited from having the pessary after all. After a bit of a faff, a lot of rummaging and a few prods and pokes later my waters were successfully broken! Yippeee!
All geared up – but for what?
Next a hormone drip was set up into the cannula in my wrist. By this stage I felt pretty immobile and confined to the bed. When I asked about moving around she said I’d do better to remain lying down for the labour process but that I could unhook the monitor and drip to go to the toilet if I needed to! So far, everything was totally opposite to what I was expecting labour to be like!!!!
It was at this stage that they told me I had just one chance. There was a maximum dosage of hormone they could give me and that if at any point things didn’t progress or either myself or the baby showed any signs of distress then I was to be taken to theatre for an emergency section.
It was now gone 11pm. For a couple of hours the midwife just kept increasing the hormone dosage every 30mins and yes I could feel some tightening happening but no actual contractions. I was getting hungry and really quite tired even though I wasn’t doing anything. Eventually the midwife said she was upping the dosage to the maximum and if nothing happened I would be heading to theatre.
Then the contractions start…
Within 10minutes of being at maximum dosage, at about 1am, I had my first contraction. Holy cow! Boy did I feel it. I’m not afraid of pain. In fact I actually like putting myself in situations when I’m stretched both physically and emotionally and seeing how well I cope. But that hurt! A strange kind of pain, not one that can be explained or likened to anything else I’ve experienced. It was a pain that there was no escaping from.
When I raced in my Ironman events, if the pain got too much you could slow down, stop, have a break, whatever, you were in control. Also, and probably more importantly you knew exactly what was ahead of you in an Ironman race…how far left to go etc. With this…I had no idea and no control!
I’d already been told that labour contractions are more painful when you’re induced compared to spontaneous labour but I had nothing to compare it to!
I asked for some pain relief. The midwife’s reply was pretty much “you’re doing great!”. She then gave me some gas and air. Within the hour I went from 2cm dilated to 8cm dilated. The gas and air was a huge help. Then the following hour I progressed to being 10cm (fully) dilated.
I was asking for more pain relief at this point. Little did I know there wasn’t enough time. In fact, nature took over and it was actually time to push. I was told at this stage the gas and air wasn’t doing anything and to just push when I had a contraction. Wow! Stinging, pain, pressure, total loss of any of my dignity, I just didn’t care less by this stage!
She finally made an appearance!
So only 3 hours after my first real contraction I’d given birth to a healthy 7lb7oz baby girl! Phew!
But the sheer speed at which she arrived came with its own complications! I suffered a spontaneous rupture of the perineum. Ouchy.
Obviously baby was passed straight to me for skin to skin and she took straight to the breast for a feed, which was great.
Sewn back together again
Meanwhile the midwife went off to get the doctor to assess whether I needed to go to theatre to be repaired or whether it was something the doctor was happy to do in the delivery room. Luckily he decided it was a second degree tear and he was happy to mend me where I was! Now this is when the gas and air came in handy again! My eyes are watering just thinking about it! We were both theatre gowned up and 45 uncomfortable minutes later I was all stitched up!
They left us to bond with our new baby for an hour or so where we both did skin to skin with her. They then came back and encouraged me to have a shower. To be honest it looked like someone had been murdered in the shower! Both baby and I were then taken back up to the post natal ward.
Just a short time later they came around and did the discharge procedure with us. Baby was checked over by the doctor (she failed her hearing check and has been referred for a hip dysplasia ultrasound scan at the Children’s Hospital) and I was checked over, notes filled in and bye…home time! What a whirlwind of events the previous 24hours proved to be! Oh, and can I have a paracetamol please?
I felt like I’d won the lottery!
I’d managed, against the odds, to have a vaginal delivery following a caesarian section at the age of 42, with over 2 weeks of static growth and an induction with only gas and air! No scar rupture, no distress for baby and no danger to me! Great!
The days that followed were, ummmm, uncomfortable to say the least! For, well at least the first week I wondered whether I’d have been better off just having a section as my under carriage was so incredibly sore. Swollen, bruised, bleeding and stinging! There were only so many paracetamol and ibuprofen I could take. As for the tea tree oil infused water spray each and every time I went to the loo!
On day three my milk came in and Elsie was cluster feeding and my boobs became so sore…all I could think was, it’ll only be for 2 weeks then it will all settle down!
And it has. Elsie is 2 weeks old now and my boobs have settled, feeding has become less uncomfortable, my bits are feeling less sore, although somewhat unrecognisable. At last I’m truly glad I didn’t have to contend with a c-section recovery with a toddler after all!