On this day 5 years ago my journey of being a mum began. And what a journey it has been. I have times when I can't believe I am a mum to 3 little people and the depend on me and their dad and there are times when I can't remember what it was like to not have them in my life.
Anyway I thought I would share with you my birth story from Nathan and how it led me down this path. I am not telling you this to scare anyone. But I think it is important that women get information on what some labours look like. My second and third births were very different experiences.
On Monday the 6th of Aug I went for a routine check up at the midwife. I was 6 days over my due date. My blood pressure was slightly up so off I went to the hospital to be monitored.
After waiting for ages to find out if everything was ok we were told that they were going to book me in for an induction and they would come back to me with a date. The nurse then popped her head in and said ok come back 4 today and we will get you started.
I was shocked that it was that quick and a little scared but so happy to know that my baby was coming because I was so uncomfortable and bored.
Off to the hospital we went. They started the process and told me it might take a while. I thought they meant by morning. We went for a walk round the hospital and they told me if nothing had happened by 9 that Simon would have to leave. I was scared about being left alone. I felt really vulnerable and I just wanted Simon there the whole time.
Nothing much happened.
Day 2 came and the pain increased a lot. My mum and mother in law were coming to visit but I told Simon I couldn't cope with visitors. It felt like really intense period pain and it was constant. I was miserable. Simon kept me laughing though.
It got to 30 mins before simon was to leave and I was getting pretty distressed about being left alone so to drag it out I made him help me have a bath so they didn't notice he was still there.
He went home after that and I had a pretty uncomfortable night. I was one of those woman that must have been so annoying to the other women on the ward as I couldn't help but make noise with every contraction. (Don't get me wrong, I wasn't wailing but it would have annoyed me in the middle of the night if I had heard me.)
The next day they had to scan me to find out why I wasn't progressing as they couldn't tell where his head was. Turns out he was banging his head off my pelvis and not going down the birth canal. Eventually they said they would check again and if he hadn't moved I would be taken to theatre.
He moved and off I went to the labour ward.
This was it. My baby was coming.
They hooked me up to a drip. Then they broke my waters and I flooded the room. The midwife said I had an unusual amount of fluid. Had to get into a hospital gown as I had already ruined my giving birth outfit.
Gas and air was awesome. But boy, my lips were dry. The contractions were ramping up now and I was so tired as I had been at this for nearly 48 hours.
When I was preparing to give birth I always said I will not get an epidural because they scared me so much. But my next words were "what is my next option for pain relief?" The midwife said "an epidural" and I thought "yup I am having one of those"
So I got one. It wasn't so bad. But it only fully numbed one side so I could still feel every contraction in my bum. It felt like someone was squeezing my muscle really tightly.
I went from 4cm to 10 cm very very quickly that they all didn't believe me when I said that it felt like I needed to push. They checked and sure enough it was time.
I pushed for an hour. I was getting quite worked up but I just kept doing as they told me. A lot of doctors came in and examined me. They checked the baby's oxygen levels and they were fine so they decided to go for forceps. I had an episiotomy. I was worried about the baby. Would they hurt the baby using the forceps? Was it really going to hurt me?
Well he was fine. A little bruised when he came out which upset me but he was healthy and I was too numb to really feel it. I didn't really get how much I was hurt from it until I started my recovery.
Then I was handed my lovely baby and the midwife exclaimed 'it's a boy!'
I cannot describe the feeling that washed over me. I completely forgot about the whole ordeal in that moment. It was pretty surreal.
He was tiny but he took to breastfeeding so easily that it really wasn't any work for me. So as I lay there feeding my little one while Simon called everyone to tell them I had finally given birth to our little boy, the doctor got on with dealing with the placenta and sewing me back up. I remember thinking I hope they hurry up because I am so tired.
We got the amazing tea and toast that I had heard so much about. It was the best tea and toast I had ever had. After 50.5 hours of Labour I was starving!
I wasn't looking forward to the next bit as we were getting closer to the time that simon would have to leave. We only got a couple of hours together before visiting time was up and he had to leave. This was what I thought was the most horrible part of having a baby. Simon looked so deflated about having to leave us. I could tell that he just wanted to stay, although a little bit of him wanted to sleep and get some decent food at my mums.
Once I was in the ward I started to feel a little woozy and the alarms kept going off on the blood pressure monitor. The midwife kept asking if I felt ok. I did other than feeling a little fuzzy.
The midwife got the doctor up to examine me just to be sure everything was ok. She felt my tummy and when she pressed down she asked if it hurt. It was slightly tender. Now what happened next sounds really dramatic and to be honest my memory is possibly pretty fuzzy but all I can recall is that the bed filled with blood.
I was taken immediately down to the labour ward again so they could check me out. I was a little scared but I didn't really understand what was going on.
From this point onwards was quite traumatic. Simon was at home completely unaware of what was going on with me. I was asked if I wanted him back and I was confused so the midwife said why don't we leave him to get some rest so he can look after you and Nathan tomorrow.
I agreed to this.
I wish I hadn't.
I kinda needed him but I know that for his sake and Nathan that it was better he wasn't there.
Around me were many doctors talking quite urgently, trying to explain to me that I had retained some of my placenta and it was making me haemorrhage and they just needed to stop it. They said I would probably feel quite uncomfortable while they did this.
I wasn't sure I was going to be ok. The urgency in their voices really scared me. I didn't know where Nathan was and if he was ok.
The midwife was lovely. She was reassuring and gentle. She told me my boy was ok and that I would be ok.
And I was ok.
But when I think back to my first night with Nathan that is not the night I recall. Maybe it's my brain protecting me or I just really can't remember much. All I recall is the first bit with the doctors, then a midwife taking Nathan off me as I had fallen asleep while trying to feed him because I was so tired. I also remember thinking that this wasn't how it was supposed to be.
Simon arrived the next day to find me in the labour ward again and he was pretty shocked at how I looked. He said I was almost unrecognisable because of my big puffy face. But I was so happy to see him and was ready to get on the ward and enjoy my baby. Everything was as it should be because he was there.
Now throughout the whole experience and the many emotions that I cycled through, not once did my faith in my medical team waiver. I fully trusted their advice and I felt completely taken care of. I am not going to lie, I was pretty scared when I was rushed back to labour ward but the team were amazing at reassuring me.
I was in hospital for 3 more days because they were considering giving me a blood transfusion but I ended up being well enough to not need one.
But I truly learned what an amazing resource our NHS is and that having a baby is the hardest, scariest but most rewarding experience of my life.
What have I learned from my first birth?
That sometimes your plan doesn't always work out. My plan was to have a water birth. It didn't go that way and I was a little bit disappointed after but mostly I was just glad my baby was here. I never once felt like a failure that I didn't achieve my plan. My goal was a healthy baby and mum. And despite my complications there is nothing that has happened that I can't fix.
I was naive going into this and I wished I had prepared myself a little bit more. I didn't even consider myself in the process. My decisions were based on how to keep my baby safe and healthy.
I wish I had known more about what the implications of having certain interventions was. I don't know if I would have made a different choice because it was overwhelming but I would like to have known
I wish I had been given more info on pelvic health and how I could have reduced the impact a forceps delivery had on my pelvic floor. I wouldn't have rushed into doing certain movements even though I think I can do anything.
I wish I had paid as much attention to my own recovery as I did to how I was doing with breastfeeding.
I wish I hadn't felt the pressure to get back into shape after my baby because I was a fitness professional.
Look out for my birth stories for Noah and Harley.