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As a lot of my regular readers will know I was pregnant with our first baby who was due on 20th March. I had a pretty easy pregnancy without any problems and quite enjoyed having a bump and my journey to becoming a mum. We decided not to find out what gender our baby was as I wanted the surprise - my husband wanted to find out but I managed to talk him round.
I thought I'd write up my birth story so I’ll start on the Thursday (24th February) it was an ordinary day. I’d made myself an appointment to have my hair cut as I thought that it was looking a bit messy and I wanted it to be looking nice for when the baby came for all the first pictures. I never quite thought that they would be taken so soon afterwards! I’d been and had my hair cut, and then went to Mamas and Papas to pick up the adapters for our travel system which meant we could fit the car seat into it. While I was there I popped into Tesco to collect a changing bag which I had ordered online. I felt fine, if not a little tired – I just put it down to not sleeping too well, pretty standard for someone who is one day short of being 37 weeks pregnant.
That afternoon I got a sudden urge to clean. We had guests coming over on the Thursday evening and I looked at our bathroom sink and thought it looked a bit grimy so started by giving that the once over. Before I knew it I was on my hands and knees scrubbing the bathroom floor and giving everything a really deep clean. When my husband came home he said “you’re nesting” and we both had a giggle about it as I usually hate cleaning. His friends came over in the evening and they went off to the shop, when they came back I was running round with a feather duster cleaning any cobwebs I could see from the ceilings. Next on my hit list was the hob in the kitchen but I thought it would be rude to go off and clean that when we had guests in the house – “I’ll do that tomorrow I thought”.
That night my husband was snoring and I was struggling to get comfy so I went and climbed into the spare bed. I had a really nice sleep, better than I’d had for a good few weeks. At 4am I woke up thought “I need the loo” turned over and suddenly felt all this wet down below. At first I thought I’d wet myself, then after about 30 seconds the penny dropped and I sleepily thought “crumbs (or possibly something a little stronger!) that couldn’t be my waters breaking could it?” when I got up it was all over the bed so made my way to the toilet and sat on it thinking “oh crumbs, I’m only 36 weeks 5 days”. By this point it was pretty obvious to me that it was my waters which had gone.
My husband was due to be going to Ipswich with work that day and at 7am was due to be making the 2hr journey to get there. I remember sitting on the loo for ages thinking “what do I do, do I wake him up” before going into our bedroom and saying to him “I know you probably don’t want to hear this as I know you are going to Ipswich today but I think my waters have just broken” He sat bolt upright and said “are you joking” I think he realised I was serious when I replied “I think we should call the hospital”. I started getting the occasional mildl pain in the bottom of my bump, and round the bottom of my spine a bit like period pains, I wasn’t sure if these were contractions at this point as they were not regular. After calling the delivery suite we were told they wanted us to go in – so I was trying to chuck the remaining things into my hospital bag, which was only three quarters packed I couldn’t remember what else I needed so I was just putting anything and everything in – most of which turned out to be totally useless when we got there!
I was hoping for a water birth with music playing in the background but I hadn’t actually sorted the music out so I was trying to transfer songs onto my iPhone, I even took a final bump picture just in case it was the last one I got to take! Meanwhile my husband was telling me to hurry up but I was totally calm and collected and wanted to make sure I had done everything in case we didn't end up coming back home without a baby in tow.
Luckily the hospital is about a 3 minute drive from our house so it didn’t take us long to get there. I think we got
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This is Jack at one day old.
into the delivery suite at about 5.30am by this time the pains, which I knew were contractions now were about 8 minutes apart and 1 minute long (thank god for the contraction timer application on my iPhone!). I whacked the TENs machine on as soon as we got there but didn’t turn it up too high as I didn’t want to find that if I needed to turn it up I had already turned it up too high too soon – I put it on cycle 1 level 3 (there are 2 cycles and each goes up to 15 in strength) and that was easing the pain quite well.The MW and checked me over but she couldn’t work out where baby was lying so two doctors came and gave me a scan which showed the baby was head down lying on its side with its back to my left hand side. They said they were pretty sure my waters had gone and said they wanted to send me to the labour ward to be monitored throughout the morning and if by 11.30am my contractions weren’t any closer or stronger they would consider inducing me. I really didn't want to be induced as we had been told in our ante-natal classes that a lot of people who are induced end up having other intervention like forceps or suction or a c-section which I really wanted to avoid if I could.
When on the labour ward they monitored my contractions and babies heartbeat using a trace machine. I kept as active as possible but walking was difficult as every time I stood up I lost a bit more of my waters. I had my gym ball and was sat on that most of the time as I really didn’t want to and up being induced and I was trying to do everything I could to avoid it and get baby moving. At one point I really needed the toilet, I was sat on the gym ball and when I stood up all this water just came flooding out of me – it was everywhere!!!! My trousers were soaked through and it was all over the floor I was so embarrassed as we had to get someone to come with loads of bed pads to soak it all up - I wondered if it was ever going to stop!
At 11.30am my contractions were about 5 minutes apart and 1 min 20 seconds long, they did an internal and I was only 1cm dilated, I was gutted! They told me to go home and if the baby hadn’t come by the following morning I was told I’d have to go back to be induced. We left the ward and started walking back to the car (about 5 minutes’ walk) the contractions were getting a lot stronger now and I had to keep stopping every time I got one. They had given me a prescription to pick up from the hospital pharmacy for antibiotics to ward off infection as my waters had broken but it was miles to the pharmacy so hubby told me to wait in the car while he went and got it for me. By time he got back I was in a lot of pain with each contraction – he said he wasn’t sure if we should go home but I said we would have to as they wouldn’t do anything as I was only 1cm.
When we got home I was in agony! Stupidly I never even thought about turning up the TENS machine I was writhing around and despite all my promises that I wouldn’t be a shouter I was making so much noise. As I walked into the lounge I had a massive contraction, I found if I was down low it eased them so I got on the floor on my hands and knees and was holding on to the edge of the sofa trying to breathe through it – the cat was looking at me like I’d gone mental! the pains just kept getting closer and stronger and more and more painful, it all seemed like it had picked up a bit. I decided I wanted a bath as I was still covered in my waters but after I started running one I was contracting so much I couldn't even get into it. I sat on the toilet, my poor husband was trying to stroke my leg and comfort me and I said to him “don’t touch me” (I hate being touched when I’m feeling poorly etc.) so he then said “’ll just leave you on your own” and then I was shouting “no don’t leave me” poor bloke couldn’t win!
After being home for 20 minutes I started feeling like I wanted to push which really scared me, I told my husband to phone the hospital as I just felt that everything was going really quickly. They immediately said to go back in, while he was on the phone I felt like the baby was going to come before we made it back to the hospital so knew I had to get there and quick. I had no trousers that were clean and fit me as the one pair I had were the ones I wore when we went in the morning and they had been put in the washing machine because my waters had gone all over them so I had to go back in a pair of pink pyjama bottoms! when we were walking from the car up to the delivery suite we had to stop every few steps as my contractions were 3 minutes apart and 2 minutes long by this point. I felt like everyone was looking at me because I must’ve looked a right state in my pyjama bottoms, big winter coat, bent over a bin with the wires from the TENS machine dangling down, making the most horrendous noises!
When we got into the hospital we had been told don’t use the lift if you are in labour in case it gets stuck but when we tried to walk up the stairs I was contracting so regularly that a nurse saw us and she said to my husband “TAKE HER IN THE LIFT” everyone seemed to look really panicky when they looked at me. There was an old man (who must’ve been about 90) waiting for the lift and when we stood waiting too he started frantically pressing the button and he looked like he was going to have a heart attack at any second! Then this random lady came along, she was pushing an empty wheelchair and she saw me bent over trying to breathe through a contraction hanging on to dear life to the wall and she said “awwwwww you poor thing, are you in labour? Are you in pain?” then she said “oh let me rub your back, you know how it really helps when you have a period pain, it will make you feel better” I was NOT in the mood for a random person rubbing my back at this point and I snarled at her “don’t touch me!!!!!” she then said “do you want to sit in the wheelchair?” again I snarled at her “if I sit in that I won’t be able to stand up again” I gave my husband a look that told him get her away from me as I wasn’t going to be held responsible for my actions if she carried on trying to touch me! So we are in the lift which has to be the slowest lift in the world (or felt like it) and she’s asking us “is this your first? Do you know what you’re having?” argh just leave us alone! Then she pipes up “wouldn’t it be funny if the lift broke down” yeah love absolutely bloody hilarious!
When we get to the delivery suite, the MW takes one look at me and gets us into a room as quickly as possible. They got me up on the bed, checked and told me I was 5cm – so in the space of about 45 minutes I’d gone from 1cm to 5cm. I remember someone coming in with gas and air, giving it to me and telling me to use it straight away! Next thing they were telling us they wanted to take me to another room as the room they’d put us in was an overflow room and they didn’t want me to stay in there. I don’t remember much apart from being wheeled along the corridor to the other room in the delivery suite on my bed.
Once we got in the other room it went so quickly. I carried on using the gas and air (amazing stuff) hubby was reminding me to do my breathing and the midwife we had, Molly was fantastic really encouraging me and making me feel comfortable. I kept saying “ I can do this” all the way through and she said how refreshing it was for someone to be so positive during labour. I remember seeing her getting the little crib ready and all the bits to deliver the baby and me saying to her “is the baby coming now” and her saying “no, no not yet I’m just getting myself ready” and I was thinking “but why are you getting ready if it isn’t coming?” she told me to lay on my left hand side as she said it would speed things up – literally a couple of minutes after I did that I remember getting this sudden urge to push. I told her “I feel like I need to push” and she had her back to me and she said “no, you don’t need to push yet” and then she turned round looked at me and said “oh actually maybe you could try pushing now” She was getting my husband to help out down the business end which is something I had said I didn’t want when we’d always discussed it between us but when push came to shove (pardon the pun) I really didn’t care and in a way I’m glad he did as he said it was such an amazing experience getting to see it all happen.
I kept saying to Molly “am I crowning yet” and she kept saying “no not yet, you will know when you are” and me thinking god it’s been ages! At this point I did look at my husband and say “I’ve changed my mind can I think I want some pain relief, I think I’d like an epidural and he was totally ignoring me then the MW said I was saying “what do you need that for? Your baby is going to come now” I said “this is it, we are going to meet you now, we are going to find out what you are” then in came a paediatrician and suddenly I was crowning, she was right I certainly knew that it was happening. My hubby started getting really excited and was saying “Oh my god the baby’s head is there, it has loads of hair!” and me yelling at him “I know it’s there I can bloody well feel it! I don’t care how much hair it has I just want it out now” then just another couple of pushes and our baby was born at 4.27pm on Friday 25th February.
I;d asked for my husband to tell me what sex the baby was after it was born. I remember saying "what is it, what sex is it" and him being so emotional he couldn't get the words out. He told me that we’d had a little boy and I said “I knew it” as most of the way through my pregnancy I’d had a feeling that the baby was a boy. As he was early the paediatrician had to check him over but he was perfect and then he was handed to me to have skin to skin and I can’t even begin to describe the moment when he opened his eyes and looked up at me – all I know was that it was AMAZING. We decided to name him Jack William the name we had decided on whilst I was pregnant but had kept to ourselves all the way through. He weighed just 6lbs and was so tiny!
Then I had to be given an injection to deliver the placenta, it came really quickly and the relief I felt when it came out was so strange, it was almost like my whole tummy had deflated the second it popped out! Realised the TENS machine was still on – I hadn’t even turned it up past level 3 on cycle 1 *doh* I probably could’ve saved myself quite a lot of pain had I have turned it up but my mind was concentrating on breathing and everything!
My labour in total was 3 hours 47 minutes. They don't class you as being in active labour until you are 4cm dilated but my 1st stage when I went from 4cm to 10cm was 2 hours 43 minutes and then the 2nd stage which is the pushing stage was 1 hour and 3 minutes which I think is quite long for the second stage all in all though my active labour was really quite short - I'm very glad it happened so quick as I have friends who were in labour for hours with their first babies.
After the birth we were transferred to the post-natal ward as Jack was classed as late pre-term because I was only 36w 5d. Unfortunately he had some issues with feeding and lost over 15% of his birth weight and he developed some Jaundice while we were there so we ended up being in hospital for a week which wasn’t nice but looking back it was necessary.
Our little man is twelve weeks old now and I totally love being a mummy. It totally turns your world upside down and it’s nothing like how you imagine it will be after reading all the books but I wouldn’t change it for the world – he only has to look at me with those big eyes of his and my heart just melts.
I’m so glad that my birth went so well, it was one of the things I was so worried about during my pregnancy. I don’t think I could’ve wished for a better first time experience, it all happened so fast that I didn’t have a chance to think about what was going on I just had to go with the flow. They have told me at the hospital that if we have another my labour could be even faster next time and they said I may even be able to have a homebirth (although not sure if I fancy that).
It’s so strange though, my friend asked me if it hurt and what it felt like and although I could wholeheartedly say yes it hurt, I’d be lying if I said it didn’t but I couldn’t describe what the pain felt like. It is true what they say though the moment you look into those eyes the love that you feel is absolutely indescribable, like nothing else you have ever felt. I totally love being a mummy and watching him grow and change every single day.
I hope you have enjoyed reading my birth story - I've attached some pictures of Jack as I just love to show him off. Thanks for reading xxx