Urrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr. Wisdom teeth removal has been no walk in the park. I’ve had one of the worst weeks of my life. First I developed something called a ‘dry socket’ which if any of you have had then you’ll understand the pain I have experienced. And then my dentist was flooded on Wednesday by a freak burst water main and they are closed for another week! So I carried on with really strong pain killers from my GP which made me so drowsy I could barely work so had to stop being on call. And then when the pain hit the point where I was thinking ‘If I had a gun I’d shoot myself in the head’ my husband took me to A&E at 11pm and we waited 3 hours to see a doctor to tell me I had a raging infection in my mouth and started me on a course on 2 different antibiotics. Phew, so here I am feeling better at last and giving you lovely lot another fabulous birth story. This weeks comes from Steph who had both her children at home.
‘Finding out I was pregnant with my second baby was a happy surprise, little did I realise that element of surprise would become a theme – I can honestly say the birth wasn’t what I’d anticipated, in fact I still feel a little shell-shocked when I replay events in my head. Our first baby, Elijah, appeared 5 days early after a fairly calm 15 hour labour, which I spent almost entirely in water. Knowing that subsequent labours tend to be shorter I figured our second baby would arrive in less than 15 hours (for some reason 10 hours seemed like a good number!) and I fully expected to give birth in the pool because it felt like absolute bliss with Elijah.
Now I realise (after two quite different birth experiences) it’s impossible to predict how birth will pan out. One thing I can say for sure is that the deep breathing techniques and birth affirmations I practiced during both pregnancies definitely helped. And more than anything, the support and encouragement of my husband got me through; I certainly wouldn’t have stayed as calm without him.
Three days before my due date I decided to get an early night. I was tired and emotional (looking back I think this was a sign that things were stirring) and I thought a long sleep would do me good. I went to bed at about 9pm and got a text from my sister checking how I was. Unfortunately being so highly strung it opened the floodgates and I replied with lots of very long, rambling messages about how low I was feeling. My poor sister! She attempted to calm me down but by the time I’d poured my heart out it was about midnight and I was feeling more unhinged than ever. I listened to a hypnobirthing relaxation track and fell asleep. Then at about 1.30am I felt the oddest popping sensation – it was partly a noise and partly a feeling. I’d been asleep so I couldn’t be sure that it wasn’t a dream. My waters didn’t break naturally during Elijah’s birth so I wasn’t sure what it felt like, but the ‘pop pop’ was strange enough for me to go to the loo to investigate.
There was no Niagara Falls moment but I was pretty convinced that my waters had broken, & I was having uncomfortable tightenings so I went downstairs to let Joe know that things might be kicking off. I got to the living room and managed to tell him I thought my waters had gone before feeling a large trickle and running upstairs to sit on a towel. By this point (and I’m talking just a few minutes from when I’d woken up) the tightenings felt more like surges and were quite uncomfortable, so I started timing them on my iPhone app. Joe told me to call the birth unit to let them know what was going on even though I was sure we were in the very early stages of labour and that they wouldn’t be interested. As it happens when I looked at my contraction timer they were happening every couple of minutes and lasting for 30 to 40 seconds at a time. I couldn’t for the life of me remember how long they needed to be but I was pretty sure the regularity implied labour was establishing. I called the unit but wasn’t able to talk much as the surges were so intense. At this point I remember thinking that either my pain threshold had decreased dramatically since Elijah’s birth or that I’d just forgotten what it felt like. It was only an hour in and it was so intense.
After speaking to the birth unit who said they’d send out a midwife I decided to get in the bath. The water had been amazing pain relief during my first birth so I expected to climb in and feel the discomfort trail off for a bit. This didn’t happen. Even in the warm water I was rocking and trying hard to breathe through the surges. Then, all of a sudden and quite dramatically I needed the toilet. I knew this was my body telling me baby was coming. I hobbled to the loo and found myself clinging onto the towels hanging off the back of the door and bearing down. I was confused. I wondered if I was being dramatic and if I just need to calm down. I focused on my breathing and tried my hardest not to overreact. I was still bearing down. We decided I needed to head downstairs so as not to wake Elijah. I managed to peg it down the stairs in between surges and promptly threw myself onto the living room floor on all 4s and on top of Joe. By this point Joe and I were both a bit bewildered. Neither of said anything but I knew we were as confused as each other by what was happening. It was an hour-ish since I’d been woken by the ‘pops’ and now I was flat out on all 4s, unable to talk and half-humming, half-mooing through the surges. I was panicking, thinking that I’d forgotten the reality of birth, that I had at least another 10 hours to go, how would I cope?! I could feel burning. Joe could sense my panic (he’s since told me that by this point he could see the head!) so he told me to breathe, focus on the baby, stay calm, to stop resisting and to work with my body.
Then, thankfully, the midwife and a lovely trainee turned up. All of a sudden the room was a hive of activity. The first midwife was on the phone to the second who hadn’t made it to the house. She lifted up my towel and I heard her say “the vertex is being delivered”. Shit, that’s the head, I thought. At this point I remember saying out loud “right, ok” in a very calm way, as if to jolt myself into action. This is actually happening.
The trainee told me if I felt a bit pushy I should go with it. I’d felt a LOT pushy sat on the toilet half an hour previously, but I hadn’t believed what my body was telling me. I wanted to avoid forced pushing at all costs so I waited for those primitive, intense, expulsive surges and just let my body do what it needed to. I ‘hummed’ and ‘mooed’ the head out. Short break. Then, I hummed and mooed the slippery body out. Bean was born; 3 days early, on dry land and so very quickly.
The time from those dreamlike ‘pop pops’ to little Jonah being passed to me was an astonishing hour and a half. We hadn’t had time to fill up the birth pool, and we were in such a state of shock that we forgot to take a photo until a good few hours after the birth. I was in shock, Joe was in shock, the midwives were in shock – the second midwife hadn’t made it in time for the birth, she did catch me delivering the placenta, but I’m guessing that experience wasn’t quite as thrilling! Joe kept laughing at what had happened, the trainee midwife seemed quite emotional, and they were joking that I hadn’t needed them. Me? I sat slumped by the sofa, glancing every so often at our quiet, dark-haired boy and my gorgeous, elated husband and felt like I’d had a supernatural experience. I didn’t laugh or cry. It was as though all my emotions and feelings had been turned down to mute. I felt like I’d been completely overwhelmed by my own body. Like the rational, thinking, feeling, me had been shoved violently to one side by the primitive me. I was in awe.
Joe waited for the cord to stop pulsating before cutting it and then midwives gave me a few stitches while I chugged down as much gas and air as possible – I LOVE that stuff and as I didn’t get a chance to use it during the birth I figured I deserved a good go afterwards.
Elijah was still asleep, miraculously he hadn’t stirred once and we hadn’t needed to call on anyone to collect him which was my biggest worry. So Joe and I had a few lovely hours to snuggle in bed and process Jonah’s whirlwind birth. People often comment on how lucky I was to have such a quick birth but I do feel sorry for little Jonah – he shot out of my body so quickly I can’t help but think it must have been traumatic for him, and I’m convinced it had some part to play in the terrible colic he suffered during his first months. Now, thankfully, he’s a much happier little boy. Nothing compares to the love and joy I feel when I watch him with his brother. He’s such a perfect part of our family, it’s as though our happy surprise was always meant to be.’