I promised you this birth story as if you read my first story you will know that this was a pretty different experience to giving birth to Nathan.
Lets start with how I was feeling. Mostly, as I can be a bit of bury your head in the sand girl, I didn't really think about the labour throughout my pregnancy. Only when we got to the end and the discussions at my midwife appointments were about his position and whether his head was engaged.
But I was scared. I had made it clear that I did not want another induction unless either my baby's or my own life was in danger. The idea of going through what I went through the first time made me want to run away. I discussed the haemorrhaging with the midwife and they assured me it was in my notes and that everyone would be monitoring me closely. I knew I was taking all the pain meds.
I read a hypnobirthing book to help with keeping me calm so I felt prepared. I was informed that I had a particularly large separation of my abdominal muscles by my midwife but other than being told to wear support pants I was given no more information regarding this. (this affected my baby's position but more on that later)
Anyway back to the labour, it was Easter Sunday and I was 5 days overdue. Everyone I knew who had been pregnant had already given birth, even those due after me, and I cried about that. I think at this point I wasn't so worried about labour as I was just so uncomfortable.
I was at my mums for our annual Easter gathering and Simon was eating every chocolate egg in sight. I told him to maybe lay of the chocolate as I might go into labour. He foolishly dismissed me and told me I had to be induced last time so I had plenty of time left. One day he will learn to listen to me.
So we were all playing cards and I had been feeling contractions for a while and I thought it was time to start timing them. Everyone was oblivious to it and we continued to play. The pain was getting intense but I did not want to be stuck in hospital the way I was before so I threw myself into the game and after beating everyone, I told them I had been having contractions for some time and they were only a few minutes apart now. My poor brother panicked and got pretty hyper along with Simon, who was still riding that sugar high. The midwives asked me to come to be assessed.
Off we went to the hospital at 1 in the morning and they assessed me and I was only about 3 cms, I was deflated and thought they were going to send me home but they informed me that I could stay due to my previous situation and the labour may progress quickly. They got me settled into a private room so Simon could stay and told me to get some rest.
Simon went through a sugar crash and it was painful to listen to him moan about how uncomfortable the chair was so he was going to lie on the floor but that was too cold. I got so irritated by him I told him to go home. The contractions had stopped and he needed to get sleep or he would be no use to me. He gladly ran out the door. I was just drifting off to sleep when the auxilliary came in and opened the curtains about put the lights on and told me to get up. I was so tired and in hindsight I should have told her to go away and let me sleep. She sent me off to get something to eat.
I was examined by the midwife then the consultant who told me that my baby was lying transverse (sideways) and he obviously couldn't come out that way. Since labour had started they didn't want to leave me so they worked out a plan. They would take me to the labour suite and try move him and if not they would have to give me a section. I wasn't allowed to eat or drink anything else.
This felt like hell.
When Simon arrived (with a McDonalds for me that I couldn't eat) I begged him to get me some water. I was then allowed little sips of water. The relief from being able to drink was amazing.
Then the fun began. Into the labour suite we went and found we had the same midwife that delivered Nathan so I instantly felt at ease because I really liked her. Simon was back to being helpful since he had slept so that was the right decision.
As I was being examined again by the doctor the baby popped into a head down position. What ensued was what appeared to be a chaotic dance as the doctor and midwife switched positions and the midwife held the baby's head in position from inside and the doctor and student midwife guided his body into the best position. The doctor shouted 'We need another pair of hands' towards the door of the room. And Simon piped up 'Can I help?' If it hadn't been a little bit overwhelming and a whole lot painful I would have burst out laughing. They got another midwife to help.
The baby was in position so they progressed the labour and everything went along as I would have suspected a regular vaginal birth occurs.
I got given the bloody brilliant Gas and Air and all was right with the world. I wasn't as tired as the first time round so I was already feeling a more positive energy from Simon and I. When I had taken all I thought I could take I asked for the epidural.
As I was getting prepared to have the epidural, sitting over the bed with my back out for the anaesthetist to get started, I heard a commotion near the bed. Simon was being helped to a chair as he had felt funny and almost fainted, then the student nurse did the same. The midwives were giving them cold compresses for their heads while holding my gas and air just out my reach. I kinda shouted at them to give it back as contraction was getting intense and I was getting pretty upset about the fact that my thunder was being stolen!
The focus was brought back to me and I began to feel sorry for the poor women who was moaning in the other room.
Then I realised it was me.
Epidural was administered and I relaxed as I waited for it to kick in. It never did, not then or after the 2nd and 3rd time. Who knew that it didn't always work.
The contractions were getting pretty unbearable by now and I could feel myself starting to lose my composure. I think I started to cry but nobody really noticed as they told me it was time to push. Sure enough I felt a sudden urge to push. I hadn't felt this with Nathan because of the epidural so it was amazing to feel your body take over and just know what to do.
I don't remember feeling like I was pushing for long but I was getting pretty tired and quite frankly a little worried that I may have been doing a poo! Who knows if I did but I choose not to think about that too much because right after that thought I felt the sting of his head coming out. They asked me if I wanted to feel and the midwife pulled my hand down. That was odd but my god it took my mind away from the sting. And that was my baby. He was nearly here.
After the head was out the rest just went by quickly. I was handed my gorgeous little boy who looked so like a blonde little Nathan. He was perfect and the worry I had about having enough love for 2 just melted away when I looked into his little face. The relief that I managed even though the epidural didn't kick in and I didn't need forceps this time was immense.
Anyway I was panicking about the haemorrhage but the midwife put me at ease and I stayed in recovery longer this time round just to make sure that I was ok. And thankfully I was.
The epidural kicked in after Noah was born so I had all the down sides of it and none of the benefits which I am not going to lie was pretty damn annoying but I was with my new little baby and I was fine so I knew I was going to have a good first night.
This labour was a completely different experience. It wasn't as hard despite the lack of meds and I was proud of myself for staying calm. I was home by 1pm the following day so I could start to enjoy life with our new little family unit.
What did I learn from this labour?
Your labour can be very different for each baby. I knew I would be able to have another baby due to this being an easier and less traumatic birth.
I am stronger than I sometimes give myself credit for and listening to my instincts and body can be a beautiful thing.
Telling the people around you about your concerns will do a lot for your mind. Just knowing they are looking after me was the reassurance I needed to stay calm. So advocate for yourself and what you need.
I hope you enjoyed reading this. It didn't quite stir up the same emotions as the last story for me so I think I may still have some trauma to work through with my first experience.
Look out for my final story next month to find out about my experience with a planned C-section.