Everyone I know who has given birth recently have all had varying experiences of the labour itself, the teams assisting on the birth and the afterbirth. What we did have in common was that most of us did not actually follow our birth plans. I never made it to the Queen’s Birth Centre in the end but managed an induced midwife led birth on a couple of paracetamol and gas and air with the help of the lovely midwife Isabel and my husband in the labour room. They empowered me to control the environment with the dimmed lighting I wanted, put my play list on rotation and helped me try a few birthing positions other than sitting up in a bed. Unfortunately I was also wired up to a baby heartbeat monitor the whole time and a cannula for water and just in case surgery was an outcome.
It all started with the induction at 9am on Thursday morning recommended by the community midwife at 10 days plus my due date (I’d love to debate more on whether that was entirely necessary at some point). A new outpatient induction had just been introduced but with the condition that all goes well during an initial monitoring period. In my case, I didn’t get to take the propess and go home until labour started as we’d intended. The propess pessary works over a 24 hour period slowly releasing to soften the cervix. While the drug doesn’t work for everyone with prostin being the usual follow up drug, my contractions began at 7pm on the same day. By midnight strong contractions less than 5 minutes apart had begun in the antenatal ward and it was time to recall the husband and walk over to the labour room. A ‘normal’ first stage of labour can take up to 12 hours and in my case it took 4 hours with the second stage of delivery taking 2 hours. With the timings so compressed so was the time I had to manage any build up of the painful contractions. Gas and air were my new best friends at this point! Not having been on a bender in quite some time, four puffs later I was in a kind of very temporary drunken haze.
By the second stage the gas and air began to not be as effective in managing the pain but it was something to distract away from the intensity of it all. I actually remember falling asleep every now and again in between contractions with the sheer exhaustion of it all. Just before 6am the next day there she was, head first, eyes apparently wide open gazing around the room before the relatively easy bit of pushing out the body. She’s remained so curious to this day! And through all the pain there is the most amazing high of being in love with your baby and yes I’d do it all over again (the oxytocin effect)!
Happy seven week birthday little one! Off we go to Westfield to celebrate (and get some new shoes!)…