Summer is in full swing (I think I actually said yesterday to my husband in a teeny tiny voice that it was too hot). I’m doing my visits on my bike today and life is good! Hope you all had a wonderful weekend and nobody got too burnt. Saw some hideous sun burn at our local Lido yesterday, ouch! Factor 30 people or you will look like a stripy lobster.
Today’s birth story comes from Rachel who writes a hilarious blog which I discovered when the Kirsty Allsop vs NCT row erupted on Twitter. Rachel writes with such honesty about Motherhood and says exactly what most of us are thinking, but don’t have the balls to say it. Here is her story
Blog: When The Baby Sleeps
There are many things people tell you about giving birth that are true. The rest of what people tell you is irrelevant. One of the truest things I’ve read about giving birth is this:
“When you’ve done it (given birth) you look back and realised that everything that happened, somebody had … told you would happen, but nobody put the information in the right order and they failed to really stress the important bits. They will tell you curiosities with more energy than they tell you about the main bits, where an actual baby comes out.” Zoe Williams, Bring it on, Baby (2010)
‘Ms Williams is 100% correct. As it turned out my labour featured a lot of the trivial details people had suggested it might, but the delivery was something else altogether.
It started with a sweep. A really vigorous and painful sweep, given as a way of trying to avoid a 39 week induction due to a (mistaken, in my humble opinion) diagnosis of gestational diabetes. Four hours later I was cramping and shitting and texting my husband urgently to ‘BRING HOME LOO ROLL!’. Body clearing out for labour? Check. We had a quiet evening in the bath, trying to time what were very half arsed contractions. There was a lot of standing up, sitting down and wondering if this was it.
I had a doula sorted to try and support me through an experience I was expecting to find very difficult. My husband’s amazing but he was keen to have a doula too, to help with practical things and provide a different dynamic to the one we feared might kick in if we both got tired and scared. I had many fears about childbirth which I’m sure most women share, and I felt I’d spent literally years preparing for something that I knew I couldn’t really prepare for.
My doula came over about midnight and we sat up for the next few hours talking, listening to music and pausing silent for contractions when they came. I’d had lots of things lined up to support me through labour such as a TENS machine, birthing ball and the like but when it came to it I just didn’t fancy any of it. As the contractions got stronger my doula got out her homeopathy kit, read me a poem and rubbed my back; all of these things seemed preposterous at the time (because they were) and I was still very much thinking through my labour at this point. I knew I time would come when I’d stop thinking, go inside myself and probably turn a bit feral but it hadn’t come yet.
About 5am I got a bit restless so insisted we go to hospital. Looking back on it I was wildly perky at this point and if my doula had been firmer with me she could have persuaded me out of going and kept me at home to progress. We arrived, I puked on a few people, peed in a bucket and then was told I was only 1cm dilated. Obviously. So home we went in a taxi that I had to get out of half way home because I was convinced I’d peed myself. I hadn’t. This was the thing that shocked me about labour; the total loss of control I felt. I was doing all of the bodily functions all the way through and it was weird. My body was starting to become ‘not-my-own’. Eeek.
Back at home I rested in the bath while my husband got some sleep, and my lovely doula stroked my hair, kept me positive and helped me relax enough to sleep through what were some intense contractions. I’d done hypobirthing during my pregnancy and it was at this point that I think it really kicked in. I was definitely in unrest mentally and physically very uncomfortable but what I felt wasn’t pain. That is until my waters broke. Two hours after getting into the bath I bit into a biscuit, threw up immediately and with my sick came the most almightly gush of stuff. I was sitting in a bath of puke, wee, womb water and all manner of bits that I could not identify. As well as the gunk there was this hard, intense pain and all I could think was ‘Get! This! Baby! Out! Of! Me! Now!
This is where labour memories become hazy as I shut my eyes and didn’t open them until it was more or less all over. Getting to the hospital was the hardest bit by far. I have vivid memories of trying to sit in the back of the car thinking it would be much less hassle to get out of the car and have the baby on the goddamn road. I think it may have been transition, folks. My doula and I shuffled into the hospital and were found a room on labour ward, while my husband left the car somewhere hugely inappropriate for which we got a parking ticket around the time my boy was born.
I was hoping to get straight into a birthing pool but the midwives had other ideas. My diagnosis meant close monitoring so I was strapped up to monitors – pre-labour I was adamant I’d still try for an active labour and wouldn’t be getting onto any beds to push. As it turned out I was so far gone by this point both physically and mentally that it was all I could do to crawl onto that bed and stay there. I was good for nothing else, too weak to stand and plus I was already ready to push. I tried gas and air around this time but it made me feel too light headed and scared to persevere, and although I did politely request an epidural even I knew that was pointless by now. Gulp. “You can start pushing on the next contraction.” It all felt too sudden and I had no time to acclimatise to the hospital setting, although the pain was telling me this baby couldn’t come soon enough.
The pain stopped for the first time in what felt like hours and I had a real moment of clarity. I looked around the room and asked ‘Will this bit really hurt?’ The answer was an emphatic No, as apparently I’d done the hard bit. Well, pushing a baby out is really hard to get the hang of isn’t it? I got all the ‘like you’re having a poo’ instructions but just couldn’t cut it. After every contraction I got the strong sense that I was doing pretty poorly as the midwives all looked very disappointed. And then they looked concerned. They were gathered around the monitor which was printing out my baby’s heartbeat, telling me to ‘push whenever you want!’ and then all of a sudden everything changed. An emergency cord was pulled and about 6 new extra people appeared out of nowhere. Equipment was gathered, lots of instructions were barked, and it became clear we had to get this baby out PDQ.
First up the doctor tried a ventouse, which hurt like hell and was ineffective, so thanks for that guys. She tried a cut too, which didn’t really hurt at all much to my surprise. It was the big guns that brought out my baby in the end: the dreaded forceps. Which, turns out, aren’t as bad as you think. I mean, it’s no picnic and I did immediately report it as ‘like being ripped apart by wild animals’ but considering what a brilliant job they do of getting your baby out they’re not quite deserving of their terror inducing status. I had a local for the forceps so couldn’t feel anything except pressure, and when baby came out he was just fine. It was all done there and then so there was minimal hanging around and the whole awful saga was over within 20 minutes. My boy came out screaming but well and he shot out with such force that he sprayed birth blood and gunk all over everybody – a fact I am more than a little proud of. Well, it’s the least they deserved for the drama right?
He was well. 6Lb 5 and the spit of my husband as a baby. We were relieved beyond measure, swallowing our terror and trying not to think about what we thought might go wrong. Shell shocked, I think.
The next day I was visited by the doctor who delivered my baby. Now she’d definitely done an ‘oops’ face when she saw the state my genitals were in once my baby was born. She talked me through everything that had happened, reassured me that my baby was fine but that they’d been very worried, and explained that I’d take some time to heal. “Did I just not push hard enough?” I asked her. “No. You did a really good job.” I thanked her, and she left me to it.’