My due date came and went like a mid-summers breeze!
Didn’t matter how much walking up and down the stairs, acupuncture, reflexology and bouncing on a ball I did… this baby didn’t want to come out!
On Saturday we were having pizzas in the garden a week after my due date and an odd thing happened. I felt I had peed myself, so tottered off to the loo thinking OMG my waters have broken – but nothing. So carried on as usual. That night I woke up again thinking water was trickling out but as soon as I stood up, nothing again. On Sunday night my Braxton Hicks were getting stronger and at about 3 am, I felt more water. At this point, I thought this has to be my waters breaking as feelings like the beginnings of labour started to get stronger. By the morning they were slow but regular.
The same happened again on Monday, but this time in the morning…. I started sniffing Clary sage to try to bring the contractions on more and walk up and down the stairs sideways. By midnight I thought its best to try and sleep and go to bed. However, by the morning they had stopped again.
I went back to see my acupuncturist to see if he could bring on the labour. I also called the hospital to say my waters had been trickling as I know as soon as they ‘break’ you are on a 24-hour count down, which I didn’t want to be restricted to.
It seemed that this baby wasn’t coming out to play – he was very comfy in there.
The John Radcliff Oxford hospital told me that if by 6 am the baby wasn’t here we had to come in to be assessed. At that point, I knew this meant that my dreams of a home birth were out the window. I called my friend Marie Louise who is a senior midwife to ask her what ALL my options were before I got there, so I was informed. Simon and I went out for dinner and I had a glass of rose (first sip since being pregnant!) to chill me out and hopefully help bring on labour.
Wednesday morning came and no baby so we packed the car up, dropped Lottie off at our friend’s house and off we went. My doula met us there and we waited to be seen. They wanted to put me on antibiotics straight away – which I refused. I wanted to know if the trickling really was my waters breaking, so they did a test which was a bit like a pregnancy test to see if it was. They had.
My doula was amazing she was prepping me for what was going to happen. She was also a midwife in training so knew both sides to the story. She calmly said to me that it was very likely that this would end in a C-section as everything we had done holistically to bring on the contractions wasn’t working – so she doubted very much the drip would do any different and she wasn’t wrong…
I was so reluctant to go through the induction drip as knew what it would do to me and the baby. So many of my friends ended up after this with a C-section, I thought it would be better to just jump straight to that. However, the hospital wouldn’t allow me to and took me to my room. I had a melt down when we were there as felt so out of control of what I wanted for me and the baby.
I decided to have an epidural straight away before they started the drip. It was the one thing I didn’t mind in my birth plan as it doesn’t cross over into the baby. I also was fully aware of how intense the drip was from my friend’s story – and it was inevitable at some point. I was also already exhausted I had not slept properly for three nights as was having ‘mild contractions’ for three days.
I have to say the midwives were amazing. I had no idea you got one midwife dedicated to you for an entire 12-hour shift. I saw my first one twice! They tried to make it as close to my birth plan as possible. My midwife Emma read it (all two pages!) and scurried off to get me some essential oils and diffuser to make the room smell lovely.
The anaesthetist arrived…. F*&k me it’s painful and scary all at the same time! Having to keep still while they put this long needle into your back was petrifying. I got in such a state that it raised my temperature which they thought was an infection so refused to put me on the drip without the antibiotics. At this point, I had to let go and realise that I was on a slippery slope to every drug under the sun being given to me ‘just in case’. They were just doing their job and making sure I was safe and so was the baby.
The drip started and so did the waiting game! I sent Simon home to have a shower and get a change of clothes as it was going to be a long night for him too.
I had my Hypno-birthing tracks on repeat for the entire 16 hours while on the drip. The drip made me feel so drowsy and hideous but it really was the only thing that got me through it.
Every time they wanted to assess me internally the babies heart rate dropped so dramatically that they twice had to push the emergency button where about 8 nurses and doctors rushed in. It was petrifying. So after each time, they had to turn the drip down. The only time he was happy was when I was lying on my right-hand side so for the entire 16 hours I was on my right.
Having an epidural feels like you have legs like an elephant. So heavy and numb, impossible to move your legs up to lift up to have a pee on the bed pan… yup all dignity was out the window!
After 12 hours I was 1cm dilated. Yup, you heard me…. 1cm, but they said because they had to keep turning the drip down, on paper I hadn’t had enough to justify a C-section. So another four hours later and a change in midwives again they assessed me and I was 2cm. 16 hours and 2cm! The doctor said that he felt it best to stop the drip and take me into theatre. The baby was getting distressed every time they turned up the drip and I had gone too long with not enough progress. As they turned the drip off my contractions stopped. My body wasn’t’ ready to go into labour – my doula was right.
Simon was on his way back at this point as he went home again for a shower as he had been sleeping in the back of the car to try and get some kip over night (comfier than a hospital chair). We waited until he was back and he got into his scrubs and I was prepped for surgery.
My midwife was amazing she knew I wanted skin on skin straight away, delayed chord clamping, save my placenta, use my own cord tie and delayed checks on the baby, no Vitamin K injection and to use my own nappies. She made sure of all of my wishes, and in that scenario, I couldn’t have been more grateful.
Simon sat by my head telling me to breathe – something you forget to do when about to be cut open – while I listened to my Hypno-birthing tracks to stay calm. As I was being tugged around Simon felt a bit faint and all I could hear was the anaesthetist saying ‘sit on the floor if you feel faint’ at that point, I think I turned to my hubby and said ‘man up you pussy, I’m the one being cut open!’ (obviously joking). 10 minutes later our baby boy was being lifted up for me to see and then put on my chest. It was the most unbelievably overwhelming emotions flooding through me. All three of us cried and our little boy lay on my chest while they stitched me back up. I was so amazed that he went straight to breast feed it was magical to watch his instincts kick in.
So at 11.22am on 8th June our baby boy Rudy was born into this big bad world and even though it wasn’t the birth I had planned, I would do it all again just to get him out safely. I couldn’t have been more looked after by the doctors and nurses at the JR Oxford, we were so lucky to have such an amazing team.