I’m a week away from the 3rd Trimester and I’m really starting to think about labour and birth second time around. What with 'One Born Every Minute' being on TV at the moment and also a lot of my friends having had or on their way to having second babies it’s making me re-live the first experience in my head in a big way.
I’ve spoken about my first labour and birth experience before but never actually written about it. It’s really hard to make sense of it so long after the event and as is meant to happen my brain has chosen to make things seem easier than they actually were! So here goes....
It’s the early hours of Tuesday 14th July, and I start to get period style cramps, obviously I can’t keep this information to myself, I have to tell the OH who’s snoring next to me. I try to go back to sleep and do this on and off till about 6.30am when I get up as I cannot see how you can sleep being continually squeezed on the inside. They’re only about every 45 minutes or so but it can take me that long to relax and nod back off again, so I’m up and about. By late morning we’re on our way to the Maternal Assessment Unit (MAU) at the hospital because I think I’ve had a show (mucus plug has left the building!) and as its the first time I’m one of these women who needs to know what’s going on rather than staying at home, baking, relaxing and bouncing up and down on my birth ball.
We get to MAU and they hook me up to the monitor, big belt round my belly and yes I’m having contractions and scarily I can see the machine and every time the numbers on the display go up I think ‘uh, oh’. The midwife very hopefully says to us, ooh won’t be long now and sends us home as contractions are too far apart. Tuesday goes by with me and the other half at home watching films, me contracting intermittently and bouncing on my birthing ball, TENS machine hooked up to my back. The only relief I can say that the TENS gave was the distraction of playing around with the buttons/ turning the dial and swearing at it that it didn’t do more for the discomfort! I tried to sleep Tuesday night but it wasn’t happening, contractions about every half hour, needless to say I wasn’t very good at keeping my sleeplessness to myself....
Wednesday we had another day of films and box sets, think I managed to walk around the block but I was just so tired. We called the hospital but because contractions were not regular enough – sometimes every ten minutes, sometimes every 25 minutes, advice was to take some paracetamol or a nice warm bath. This only slowed them right down to about 40 minutes again at which point I’d get all upset and be in tears. We were regimentally writing down every contraction and timing them as well and it felt like it was going on forever! Wednesday night passed by and again I had little or no sleep, just couldn’t achieve it when I was doubled up in agony at least every 20 minutes!
Thursday, a new day. Contractions all day, another phone call to the hospital, more advice to have a warm bath and paracetamol – absolutely exhausted, as was OH. We were verging on delirium and I was starting to feel like I was under house arrest!! By the evening there was now some blood appearing and I decided that was enough to warrant me needing to get to the delivery suite, contractions were nearly always between 7 and 10 minutes and I made another tearful call to the hospital to say I just could not cope at home anymore with just the TENS machine, breathing and all the other things we were doing to alleviate the pain (it was more than discomfort by then!) and that I was now bleeding. So thankfully they finally said come in.
The drive to hospital while writhing around in the passenger seat wasn’t great and we weren’t exactly alert after having little sleep since Tuesday. On arrival at the hospital I was put in my own room and examined and joy of all joys I was told that I was 3 centimetres and I could stay. Just being there made me feel better and getting started on the Gas and Air felt like a step in the right direction! Unfortunately due to the blood loss I’d mentioned it meant that I had to be hooked up to the monitors and was immobile on the bed. This wasn’t how I’d wanted to give birth but I think on reflection considering how tired I was by then, not having slept for at least 48 hours at that point I don’t think I could have done the whole natural birth without drugs route.
And so I’ll leave part one there, part two is here