Birth Story of The Week – Charlotte and Lil

This is major, I’m on annual leave. The pager and work phone are both turned off and we’re going camping in a few days to Dorset. I’m not particularly into sleeping under canvas (excluding a good old festie) but there’s hot showers, electric sockets for hair dryers and iphone chargers and the weather forecast is looking good! I’ve just spent a great 4 days at my Mum’s who lives by the sea in Whitstable. The sun shone, Marnie loved the beach and I finally got to hang out with the amazing Charlotte and Lil. Charlotte writes the brilliant blog I’m Only Saying What You’re Thinking  and she is even better in real life. Especially after we devoured a bottle of red in the local tapas restaurant and almost wet ourselves laughing and forgetting that we are responsible Mamas over G&T’s. Ahem. Charlotte agreed (sober) that she would finally share her birth story and true to her word she did despite coming down with a cold. That girl is card core and she’s only 5ft 2. Respect!

Blog: onlysayingwhatyourethinking

Twitter: yesimcharlotte

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‘It’s been almost two and a half years now since I gave birth, although technically I’m probably not allowed to use that term, seeing as she didn’t actually come out of my vagina.

In my head, I thought she’d be early. Not dangerously early, just a week or two. My pregnancy wasn’t much fun so I wished the majority of it away. I was devastated to reach day seven past my due date. And then on day ten, they took my whinging arse in to induce me. But that kid would not shift.

After a few attempts at getting her out using drugs, my contractions finally started two days after I’d been admitted. The pain was bearable at first, like a wave of ouch every now and then. But soon after it all got a bit mental so I asked for the Pethidine. I waited patiently for it to kick in but nothing. So they whisked me round to the delivery suite to break my waters. I was all baby, which was a bit terrifying. I wondered how the hell I was supposed to push her out. The contractions were coming thick and fast and I was so tired that I just wanted the pain to go away. Not at all bothered about the thought of an epidural (I have a needle phobia), I asked the midwife to hit me up. Twenty minutes later, after keeping scarily still during a painful contraction while the anaesthetist inserted the needle in to my spine, I was swimming around the room (although not literally, you understand – I was paralysed from the waist down). I only knew I was having contractions by looking at the monitor. I cannot begin to explain how heavenly it felt, pushing that button to top up the pain relief. I was hooked.

After a while, the contractions started to get worryingly closer together and my baby’s heart rate was very fast so they gave me more drugs to slow them down. Seven hours after it all began, I was told that they were concerned as the baby’s heart rate showed no signs of slowing. I was six centimetres dilated and she’d got stuck. My hips might be wide but this kid wasn’t going anywhere. Time for a C-section, they said. From the moment they admitted me to hospital four days prior, I knew this was how the story was going to end. Call it Mother’s intuition. I was ready for sleep by the time they’d gowned up. I remember my husband telling me to stay awake and promising me a Mulberry bag (of course, I never got my ‘push’ present…). I just wanted to curl and snooze but before I knew it I heard a shrill scream.

At 4:12am on 7th April, they pulled her out of the cosy little nook she’d spent almost nine months in. She was not happy.  7lb 8oz of perfect, pink flesh. I don’t remember much after this, other than I was moved into a recovery room, given a shot of morphine (it tasted of vodka and blackcurrant), and nibbled on toast, which I violently threw back up. The midwife cleaned me up and passed me the little monster who had made my pregnancy hell. My first thought? ‘Oh fucking hell, now what?’.

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At the time, I was so high on drugs that I felt a bit like a robot. I didn’t feel or think much at all. My birth experience still feels so surreal but it’s only now I can see just how delicious it really was. As I write this, my two and a half year old naps beside me. And I wish, I wish so hard that I could be transported back to those mental few days, just so I could soak it all up again. Because although I didn’t think so then, those were the most amazing few days of my life.’

 

Birth Story Of The Week – Emma and Orla

This beautifully written birth story comes from Emma. Emma and I met when we were at Sixth Form studying for our A-Levels. Emma was always a dreamer, travelled, did amazing things in amazing parts of the world. She was one of those friends on Facebook who had the most incredible photos, you just ached to be doing what she was doing instead of being stuck in the cold British Winters. Then one Christmas eve I had a call from Emma asking if she could take Paracetamol for a cold…… because she was pregnant! I was so thrilled, my first friend in our school group to become a Mama! Emma shares her story with you all, it makes me cry every time I read it. Enjoy.

Emma and Orla

Emma and Orla

‘I’ve just been into your room to check on you sleeping before I go to bed myself. It’s 10:30pm and you’re sideways in your cot, tangled in your blankets. I still catch my breath every night when I do this; and then I hear your shallow breathing and I can feel your chest rising and falling. When you were first born I was in a state of perpetual anxiety, scared that at any point you would just decide to stop breathing.

I still feel like I’ve just had a baby, but I’m starting to think about your 1st birthday party and what to do. I try and remember your birth and some parts are still so present in my memory yet some have faded or were never there due to being exhausted or drugged up.

I remember tiptoeing into the spare bedroom, my Tens machine wired up to my lower back and onto my upper buttocks. The vibrations humming away, reassuringly helpful. My Mum was staying and I woke her up. The contractions were only every 7 minutes or so but I wanted her to know and I thought, I can do this. I went back to bed. This went on the next night too, each night starting around 2am and easing off around 7am. I had a midwife appointment pre-booked the next day and so we went. I had a membrane sweep, “to get things going”. Then there were the crescendo of contractions, one after the other, as if a marching band were on its way through my entire body.

I walked down my road to Sainsburys, I bent over in the customer toilets, outside against lamp posts and in the Indian takeaway restaurant where the man said, “Shouldn’t you be in a hospital?” My boyfriend Tom came home and I thought, “Ok, this is it”. The drive to hospital was uncomfortable, least of all because I was giving the directions. We arrived, and I was admitted. I was 4cm dilated but they needed to get my room ready so we walked around the hospital. I held Toms hand. My mum rang the family. My Tens machine buzzed away.

Inside the hospital again my birthing pool was ready and my pregnancy yoga music was playing. I got into the water and wallowed like a hippo. I relaxed. Too much. I started quoting lines from the Life Of Brian. Tom and mum exchanged concerned looks. My contractions stopped.

A new midwife started her shift, along with a trainee midwife who had an annoyingly deep voice. I lost my concentration. The midwife examined me and gave me another membrane sweep. This time it was agony. The gas and air I sucked on only made me tired. My knees were now knocking together. I could barely stand. I cried. Tom held my hand and my mother pressed and lifted my lower back during each and every contraction helping to relieve the weight, the pain.

Now my memory is hazy and I see parts of the process which aren’t necessarily in order and it spans hours, where every contraction, every few minutes was exhausting. I remember trying to go to the loo and being unable to sit and needing help from Tom. Bending over a ball and saying, “I’m too tired, I don’t have the energy any more . Tom then asking for some drugs and me telling the midwife “I want everything”. Then I remember waiting.

Then finally, being wheeled down the hall to the other ward and given Pethidine which allowed instant pain relief. Respite from the contractions was amazing. I was laid on my side and asked to tell the Anaesthetist when I was having a contraction for the epidural. Then, beautiful numbness. I saw my contractions on a screen. We waited. Tom laid out a place to nap and I slept. I must have slowly come round. I listened to my mum and Tom talk to the midwife, to the new playlist of “Relaxtion” music which I still listen to during sleep.

Then I said “I think I need to poo, or push”. And so I did. Even though I still wasn’t fully dilated. This went on for 20 minutes, with my legs nearly up by my ears. My body a contortion. I should have been in the water of course, squatting. This wasn’t my birth plan. I was lying on my back, trying to push, exactly the way I hadn’t wanted it. Yet I pushed, not knowing how hard or if it was good enough, just numbly pushing until my face went purple. Finally, a head could be seen, I was told to bear down, to push harder, to take another big breath, I was doing well, a snip by the midwife and out she finally came.

After 14 hours, my beautiful girl was born, at 03:37 on the 28th August 2012. She came straight into my arms and Tom cut the umbilical cord. I cried, never having known how such a feeling could be brought into your life in one second. She was perfect, healthy, weighing 7lbs 9.5oz.

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Suddenly I was a mummy, and I’m still getting used to it. She slept soundly the first night beside me in hospital in her glass box. I checked on her every 10 minutes despite the tiredness, to see if she was ok. I sat in my hospital bed, next to her, practising saying her name. Having only been decided when Tom had first held her and the midwife had asked “So, what’s she called?” And I looked at him, hoping he’d come round to the one I’d wanted. After what he’d seen me go through I must have convinced him as he then said “I think she looks like Orla”. Me too, I said. And that was that.’