Thing One's Birth Story (2004)

Sunday, 2 March 2014

The thing about being pregnant is it makes you think about, well, pregnancy.  Who knew?  Inevitably that then makes you think of giving birth which if you've done before will predictably make you go all nostalgic.  So, I thought, why not bore you all with my previous birth stories seeing as later this year i'll be giving birth for the final time.

Thing one was born at the end of August, 2004.

In short

Duration of pregnancy: 41 weeks & 5 days
Time labour started: approx 9pm on Monday 23rd
Ambulance arrived at: 03:00am ish. 24/08/04
Foetal monitoring: Continual
Upon arrival: 4cm dilated, 100% effaced, -1/0 station, anterior & soft.
Pain relief & point at which recieved: Diamorphine when at 7cm. (two breaths of gas and air before this)
IV?: yes
waters broke?: Artifically broken at 04.20am
Maternal position at delivery : semi-recumbent
Duration of first stage: 12h50mins
Duration of 2nd stage: 00h22mins
Duration of 3rd stage:00h05mins

Baby's birth weight: 3,620.00g (8lbs)
Head circumference: 35.50cm
Apgar scores: 9 at 1min and 10 at 5 mins.

Born: Tuesday 24th August 2004 @ 10.12ama
Discharged: Thursday 26th August.

The Long story.

Fed up.  I was utterly and indescribably fed up.  We're all warned that the majority of first pregnancies, statistically, go overdue.  The Mother was overdue with all three of us.  I was expecting to go overdue and yet, when it's actually happening it still feels like an insufferable punishment.  You spend the majority of your pregnancy crossing your legs and praying to any gods that may have ever existed to keep them in, then the last month or so wondering of they'll ever come out.

I'd been signed off work due to that ugly beast called SPD for some time.  I'd got married. We'd bought everything we'd ever need and everything we'd later find out we'd never even use.  We were ready.  Totally and absolutely ready.

I'd been for a sweep at 41 weeks only to be told a sweep would not be possible.  My cervix wasn't favourable.  It sounded terribly like my midwife was reciting a Dear John Letter to my foof.  My faulty, lazy foof.    My cervix was posterior, hard, thick and tightly closed.  Arse.  Wonderful.  I was going to be pregnant, forever.  

I was now 40+10 and booked in to be induced.  To say I was bricking it would be absurdly understating things.  I'd read the horror stories.  Long painful labours that often result in using the old salad tongs of doom to drag them out or worse, several days in labour only to be taken into the OR at last minute as they open up the old sun roof.  

This was back in my pre-crunchy parent days.  I had no qualms about pain relief or being in hospital for the birth yet one always assumed you went shopping, giggled an oops as your waters gushed on your new shoes then went to hospital, took drugs and pushed out this little pug faced screaming baby.  That's how it was in the movies.  There was nothing about sweeps and naughty lazy foofs.

That morning I had a small 'show', yet no so much as a twinge.  I never even had BH's. I was booked to attend the hospital that evening.  Thing never boded well when I was lead to a bed with a broken tv, on a ward.  In case you're new to the blog you'll realise, I'm petrified of group situations or communal ones.  Even worse, The Husband was told that he'd have to go home and would be called if labour started.  They wanted me to stay there, alone.  Alone.  They explained that they'd be inserting some 'Gel' up the old tunnel to try and woo the old cervix into putting out.  I begged.  I pleaded. I just wanted to go home and let it work.  I promise, pinky promise, I'd return at first sign of labour.  Oh no, that wouldn't be possible.  I had to remain a prisoner there.  I couldn't possibly go home where I'd be much more relaxed. Obviously before they did that they'd have to have a good rummage first as they cracked out the rubber gloves.  

Good job too.  My cervix was obviously gellaphobic as the mention of it appeared to have kicked it into action.  I was 2cm! yes, 2cm! Egads, it bloody worked.  It wasn't faulty!  Granted it could have been the EPO I'd been taking since the last attempt to try as 'ripen' it.   Seeing as I was actually dilated now, she gave it a good ol' stretch and declared that if I really wanted to, I could go home.  I was to return at 9am the next morning so they could break my waters.  Go home?  I rather fancy I was halfway off the bed and out the door before she changed her mind.  Now the sweep itself wasn't the most dignified event in the world, rather like a military fisting and near immediately after I had some pretty mean cramps all of which i'd read were to be expected.  Ditto to the extra show I had upon visiting the loo before leaving.

I'm not quite sure what I expected really.  The evening had already prove radically different to what we had planned.  I knew the stats, generally a sweep has a 50% chance or success.  If successful you'll go into labour within 48 hours (anything later than that is usually co-incidence and not related to the sweep) Yet it all seemed by the by seeing as it was now 8.30pm and we were due back to have my waters broken at 9am.

Nerves don't half build up an appetite, we embarked upon our last supper, a takeaway. Nerves and cramps made eating somewhat difficult.  They weren't contractions, just cramps.  The show had continued too, each bit grosser than the previous becoming gloopier and bloodier than the last.  I took some paracetamol as apparently if it stops the cramps it's not really labour.

The cramps were still there yet now concentrating on my back too, how indecently unkind of them seeing as I already suffered from back issues.  I resorted to the bath, somewhere I seemed to have spent half my pregnancy, it being the only place I was ever truly relaxed and pain free.  I remember vaguely noticing how the pains were gained intensity every ten minutes yet denial isn't just a river.  The contractions the foetal monitor at the hospital picked up on had been at the top of my bump and I barely felt a thing.  Thus these couldn't be contractions, these were under my bump.  It felt like some thick belt being tightened under my bump until my insides were constricted, a crushing pain that felt like my stomach was being pushed through my spine and everything in-between was incinerated.

But of course, I wasn't in labour.

We tried to take my mind off things through playing Monopoly and Top Trumps yet I couldn't concentrate and threw in the towel.  A documentary was on tv yet I couldn't get comfy nor concentrate on that either.  Eventually I sent myself to bed.  I couldn't get comfy.  I couldn't sleep.  The pains were around every 5-7 minutes now.

I got out of bed, admitting defeat, and leaned against the top of the stairs sucking in a breath and wincing as another wave of pain pulled me under.  The Husband had finally come up to bed yet I was sucking sharp breaths inwards as I was assaulted by waves of unrelenting cramps.  

I wasn't in labour though.  Sweeps simply don't work that fast.  They're not immediate Therefore this absolutely wasn't labour.

This called for another bath…..I was sat in the bath with my mobile phone on stop watch mode, as The Husband sat next to me. I had a green envelope and a purple pen as I scribbled down how often the pain came and how long it lasted. The first pain lasted 42 seconds, 3 minutes and 16 seconds later another pain came and lasted for 51 seconds… the gap was only 2 minutes this time before a 53 second pain crushed inside the gap then went to one minute and forty five seconds and the next pain lasted 56 seconds. I'd had enough. I still have the envelope.

I no longer had a choice.  I'd tried and failed miserably to get through this.  It hurt too much.  I made the dreaded call to the delivery unit expecting to be told to take more paracetamol, to stop being ridiculous, that I was only 2cm and this wasn't labour.  I did not want to make that call.

The woman was lovely on the phone and said I should be making my way there, it was about 3am at this point. She asked if we knew where we were going to which I said know. She asked where we were coming from to which I said from Swinton by taxi. She wasn't keen on this and asked if there was nobody that could take us, not a chance…none of my family live near enough and we don't know our two neighbours. She mentioned an ambulance and said I was entitled to one and she'd arrange one to come and get us.

Wholly fuck, an ambulance.  It felt absurd, I wasn't dying.  I hadn't had an accident. It felt like years waiting downstairs in the kitchen, with both fear and excitement vague and prickly in my veins, spiking through ny concentration. We were waiting outside the house, as you can't actually access our three house street with a vehicle, so we needed to keep our eyes on the main road, I was dreading being bundled into an ambulance and was more then happy when it finally arrived and I was allowed to walk there without help or the offered chair and blankets.  That would have just been embarrassing.

The ambulance staff were lovely… she checked my bp and stuff and asked me various questions. I'm weird about pain, I hate showing it. I'm sure they weren't convinced I was in labour as I told them my contractions were about every 3 minutes and lasting 40-60 seconds and yet here I was talking away to them and smiling. When a contraction came I went vaguely quiet and my breathing was probably unnoticeabley all-nasal. I was offered gas and air and the young woman told me repeatedly that I was doing 'really well' and she kept asking me to tell her when a contraction hit so she could feel my abdomen/uterus (once again I still don't think she believed I was getting them that hard and fast until she actually felt them) I'm just not the vocal type… I'm quiet and understated when in pain maybe I was just used to it from the years of ankle problems.  Maybe it's an aversion to displaying weakness.

The ambulance drove into casualty by mistake and had to turn round, only in my life would that happen. When we got to the central delivery unit we waited outside to be let in which seemed to take ages! Was anybody even home? We were shown straight to a delivery room and I was told to 'make myself comfy' and change into something I was comfortable with.  It was the early ours of the morning, my uterus was trying to assassinate me and I was supposed to make myself comfy?  Sure love.  Great idea.  Why hadn't I thought of that? The Husband was pretty made up as there was not only a rocking chair in there but a blue leather lazy boy chair.  It was a decent sized room with it's own bathroom.

I handed the all important notes, the ones to be gurarded with your life for the majority of your pregnancy, and changed into my designated labour night shirt that had been purchased expecially for the occasion.  Cheap and comfy.  You spent ages agonising over yoru birth plan, inserting every detail you can think of yet I never actually expected anyone to ever read it yet evidently they did as the MW apologised profusely whist rigging me up to the monitor mentioning how she knew that on my birth plan I wanted to be as active as possible.  Active?  I actually wrote that?! Ha! fuck that sideways.  I wanted to curl up and not have to move ever again. Lay me down and leave me alone! Usually they monitor baby for the first 30 minutes yet seeing as I was ten days overdue she explained that the monitoring would have to be constant.  I should have been bothered.  I'd written in my birth plan that I didn't want that.  Why wasn't I bothered?  I couldn't have cared less.  I was just so incredibly tired.

It was at this point that she mentioned that seeing as they were due to break my waters at 9am anyway by means of inductions, she'd be able to do it herself considerably early.  Hooray. Or something.

Throughout the pregnancy, thanks to an anterior placenta, I was never kept awake with baby gymnastics.  I rarely felt movements and kicks to the extent where I'd had several traces carried out at the hospital so how bloody typical that Thing One chose now, of all times, to have a little race in there.  The little bugger kept wriggling out of place leading to a million adjustements of the monitor to catch him.  They mentioned the possibility of needing to attach a monitor to his scalp.  Okay that's enough.  All a bit too  sc-fi for my liking, reaching up through the old foof to attach something to my babies scalp.  Nuh uh.  Not happening.

The getting to know each other small talk over, all giuses of romance were cast aside as she went all hardcore on me and donned the rubber gloves.  Not even the offer of a drink or dinner and her hand was up there faster than a rat up a drainpipe rummaging around as if it were some lucky dip up there.  Still, she announced I was 100% effaced and a 'stretchy' 4cm with a now anterior cervix.  By now it was 04.20am.  It was working! My body really had decided to have a baby.  She asked if i'd like to see the instrument she'd break my waters with. Did I fuck as like..  She was positive she'd burst my waters and had placed a pad (oh the glamour!) beneath me yet there was no fluid.  No dramatic gush, no pathectic trickle just plenty of show.  The only explanation was that somehow he was so far descended he was blocking the fluids escape.

Some other person in scrubs entered the room, why wouldn't these people let me sleep damnit?  Her job,her one job, was to put an IV line in my hand.  What a mess, lets just say her trousers turned red.

I was peeing like a pissed up tramp, everytime I got up to go they had to go through the whole task of unhooking me from the monitors yet the piss had company, copious amounts of show. Gross.  It didn't look at all like Google told it should.  Bad Google.  Bad.

I caught The Husband through the corner of my eye comfortably reclined in the lazy boy, dozing peacefully.  Bastard. How very dare he.  They offered me gas and air yet it did fuck all for the pain and made my mouth dry.  It tasted of inhalers and the fact it had to be actively and continually used only served to annoy me tremendously.

The pain was coming thick and fast now viciously attacking me from the back and front, it was wickedly intense and brutally inescapable.  Another quick date with the MW and her magic fingers declared I was 7cm, possibly more.  Time to break out the big guys. Give me drugs.  Give me all the drugs. Diamorphone to be exact.  I specifically didn't want Pethadine as it's a sedative not technically a painkiller whereas Diamorphone is both (a derivative or heroine apparently. Perfect.)

Oh hello you. Bliss.  Absolute fucking bliss.  Off my face bliss.  I could still feel the contractions yet they were now more tightenings than actual agony.  My head felt thick and heavy, tripping my tits off.  I was hyper aware of the textures inside my cheeks as I kept licking them obsessively.  My head was silently conversing, a wry and astute observationlist, I was feeling warm and sleepy and actually managed to doze on and off.  Here I was, in hospital apparently having a baby yet I was pilling my head off all mellow and funkytastic.  They don't tell you this in the books.

The midwives changed shifts.  I barely notices.  I absolutely didn't care.

Bless their cotton socks though they did try to stick motivate me, suggesting I get active... they had a birthing ball, should they get it?  What was this, using my birth plan against me?  I changed my mind.  I retract my birth plan.  Active schmactive. I wasn't moving for anyone.  Nope.  I was spaced out, too much so to possibly even contemplate moving.  Why would I want to move?  Stupid idea.  I just wanted to stay there and concentrate on the fan as the biggest decision in my life at that moment was whether it was annoying or relieving the extreme heat,

The pain was coming back.  That wasn't fair. I asked for another dose of the good stuff but it did sweet F.A.  Great.  Fantastic. Ow.  I barely registered them hooking up fluids to my IV I was consumed with the urge to pee versus the inability to actually pee.  My back hurt, I could hardly walk and every time my arse greeted the loo seat a contraction would come.  The journey there and back felt weird. like walking with a bowling bowl between your legs, a huge heavy feeling.  They kept asking me if i felt the need to poo, apparently we were on poo chat closeness now, oh how our relationship was accelerating.  These MW's really should work harder on their chat up lines.  Of course I didn't want to poo.  I just wanted to wee.  It just so happened that I couldn't.

At some point some fluids were hooked up to my IV line.

Upon reflection, I was ready to push.  Really ready to push.  Super ready.  That weird heavy feeling?  It was
Thing One, very very very low.  However, at the time, I was convinced it couldn't possibly be time for that and thus ignored this powerful yet strange instinct for quite some time.

I wanted an epidural.  Fuck this.  The request spilled out of my mouth yet another quick root about down below (I was starting to feel somewhat used!) at 09.50am proved I was fully dilated!  She asked if I wanted to feel the head.  Was she for real?  Of course I didn't want to feel the head, what I wanted was an epidural.

The fact I'd held out so long and ignored the constipated feeling (aka urge to push) enabled him to super-descend.

It was time to push. 

By this time I was whimpering quietly that I couldn't do this, I wanted to go home, it was no use, it wasn't going to happen or work…suddenly it all felt insane, utterly absurd and I just wanted to be home….only nobody was listening to me and their words of encouragement made me want to bite off their noses and insert them up their arses whilst chewing off their knees. I didn't care that I'd done well (as the mw said over and over until her face looked like a very good punchbag in my mind) I also didn't care that she could see the head…I'd had enough…this was all insane and I wanted out of there thankyou very much.   Taxi!

Still through each contraction I breathed (wrongly apparently but it helped me so I didn't care.  Who knew, I couldn't even breath right!) in through my nose and held my breath till it finished occasionally very very quietly whimpering the word 'ow…ow…' like a right wally.  Yes really.  I said 'Ow'

My mind was logically making my mouth explain that if I was to stop pushing at the end of each contraction then they weren't long enough get him out so I'd be here for the rest of my life pushing him up only to have him slip back down again and again and again. I was assured that each time he'd slip less further down, I really didn't believe her …I was sure she was bullshitting me.

I didn't like pushing….it felt like extreme constipation…and I was sure if I pushed my arse would split open.

She kept saying again that I was 'doing really well' and my pushing was incredibly well controlled…. I was too busy grunting a little understated and quietish….I think it was caveman for 'this hurts I'm going home…if you touch me one more time I'll make a necklace out of your teeth' then again it could just as likely have been small meaningless grunts of pain. Someone mentioned that I'd get a sore throat …I think I quietly stated that I didn't fucking care because it fucking made me feel better. 


OW OW OW oh my god…OW. Burning stinging…like nothing I'd felt before and I had to hold it there until the next contraction. 

22 minutes after I started pushing he was born…he just came out …plopped out..The Husband said it was like watching a calf being born when they just slide out. He'd watched the whole thing…he was in tears.

Thing One was handed straight to me. I was in awe. Paralysed with it…this beautiful teeny person…was in my arms…part of me…..i just stared transfixed as The Husband was cutting the cord.   Bloody hell.  We made this perfect person.

Thing One was surprisingly un-yucky….possibly because he was so overdue….he had a bit of blood on his head and eyebrow and such but that was about it. 

His apgar score was 9 at 1 minute and 10 at five minutes.

I had an injection and the placenta was delivered 5 minutes after.

She said I'd torn and it probably didn't need stitches but because it was still bleeding she'd have to stitch me up. Joy.  Couldn't wait. I had about three stitches which I didn't feel, the anaesthetic was like a tiny scratch prick…I was too involved with falling……..irrevocably in love with the lil bundle in my arms. I later found out from reading my notes that I had a 2nd degree tear.

We remained with skin to skin contact for over an hour, some toast was brought in and The Husband went to text phone people and bought me a lil card and a helium balloon (because I'd said all along that was all I wanted when in hospital … I was later gutted when we got home and realised It had been left at the hospital)
I didn't want to let him go…. He'd been put to the breast but wasn't interested in the slightest. He was weighted at 3,620.00g (8lbs) with a head circumference of 35.50cm and the mw said he was very very long. I consented to the vitamin k by injection to be administered to him.

I knew I needed to clean up I felt yucky and couldn't settle so The Husband was happily holding him..mezmorised by him and I got up to use the shower. This is the first time i freaked… as I stood up blood just poured/dripped everywhere…urgh.  What the fuck? I was assured this was fine. FINE? Were they insane? Once in the shower I felt sick, infact I was sick (classy!)….it was a quick shower and I got out, changed into a clean nightshirt and half stumbled out to watch Thing One and The Husband only to return to the bathroom, to the sink…retching…..this time I freaked out more, as I vomited I felt this huge weight land in my knickers…when I looked it was a red gelatinous lump (like red berry jelly) about the size of my fist in my knickers…Surely I was dying? right?

The mw again reassured me and got me a chair to go up to the ward and I was tol
d my mother was outside (several hours -before- visiting hours… gah!!!) The Husband and The Father brought all my stuff up as I was wheeled to the post natal ward (no private room available -again- …I could have cried!) Thing One was tucked up against my chest under my nightie with towels wrapped around us.

I felt a lot better now, infact I was glowing.  Amazing what a pick me up vomit and blood loss can be.  My parents expected me to be half dead what with the M.E and stuff but I was buzzing…my mum said she'd never seen me look so well…she was horridly iffy after all her births. They said hello's and such and then left till the visiting hours later. 

Thing One and I remained in skin to skin for several hours but he still wouldn't take to the breast.

I could have cried that night when The Husband had to leave, I We was alone…. But at least I had the four bed ward all to myself, or that was until halfway through the night when two other woman were brought in.

I couldn't sleep…I couldn't tear my eyes away from him in his perspex crib beside my bed.

Mw's kept checking on us….and my breasts were pulled, tweaked, yanked, grabbed, shoved and still lil Thing One wouldn't even so much as sniff at them. This is why I had to stay in that first night, they won't let you go until feeding has been established. 

The next day he still wouldn't feed …he was starving too….i talked to a mw and I decided to put him on formula. I didn't 'want' to breastfeed, I just felt like I should give it a go, which I did but not only wasn't he interested at all, because my boobs are so big, I needed about another three hands to support him and my boobs…even the areola is about twice as big as his mouth.  No position would get him interested and every position hurt my back. As soon as he was given formula he -gulped- it down….he took to it straight away.

We were to be discharged that night, all my notes were done….then I mentioned I don't think he'd wee'd (he'd pooed about four times) so they said we had to stay. 20 minutes after The Husband went home…..he had a wee! I was so excited (I'd been so worried that there was a problem….worried sick) … I went to tell the mw and then I saw red….i was bleeding…..all down my legs…all on the floor……I just felt it warm and continual…. It had ruined the nasty thick white support stockings I had to wear (hoorah! Meant I could take the bastard things off!) when I got to the loo the double pads I had were saturated it was horrible not to mention frightening.

I was so proud of Thing One in the hospital he was such a darling. All the other baby's were -constantly- crying and my lil angel just slept, oblivious… only waking when he wanted feeding or changing.

He amazes me so much, by day two his eyes were wide open and alert.

He had his first bath on the Wednesday, they wouldn't bathe him on the Tuesday as they say they wait 24 hours before bathing newborns to help body temperature regulate.

We were told we could go first thing Thursday…but come Thursday I had to remind the midwives and pester them. See my parents were taking us home in their car so I had to let them know when they could set off as they live in a different town.

Finally an assistant midwife went through my discharge, I'd been shown the night before how to give myself the Tinziparin injections, and finally my prescription of them had arrived including my very own sharp boxes, such thoughtful leaving gifts.

It was weird going, there was nobody about and I was sure someone should have said something or done something more (turns out they should have…found out a few days later they should have given me a 'discharge pack' which I know nothing about, not even any exercise sheets and his registration info was sent by post a day later)

It's strange, all the build up to labour, the pain, the exhilaration .... all disappears the minute you meet your baby.  It isn't love at first sight, you already loved them.  It's more the continual falling in love, every time you look at them.

Congratulations if you got this far, next i'll bore you with Thing Two's birth story.



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