This post will probably be fairly graphic, please don't read if you have a low pain tolerence or ever want children.
I read a lot of "labour stories" on websites like mumsnet while I was waiting for Rose to come, and I feel like I should write mine down. For the first week after birth I wanted to stop dwelling on how traumatic labour was, we had a pretty rough one, but now I don't want to completely forget how it went so it seems a good time to get it out.
So on the Monday evening I started getting pains a lot like strong period pains, which had been happening on and off for weeks, so although I wanted it to be the start of something more I didn't get my hopes up too much. By 11pm I knew it was the start of labour; the pains were really bad and coming quite often. I spent the night sitting around, having a bath, and generally writhing around in agony. We went to hospital in the morning, I think maybe about 6am, and a midwife (who we recognised from One Born Every Minute, woo!) examined me. I wasn't enough cm to go into the delivery suite, I think about 3cm, so she asked us to wait an hour to be examined again for them to decide where I should go next. We walked around the hospital to try and help her push down, which was really hard as the contractions were really painful and had me doubled over every 5 minutes. When I got re-examined I still wasn't ready for the delivery suite but the midwife sent me to a ward for 3 hours to wait to see if things would progress. I was so tired by this point, I'd had no sleep and the contractions were really exhausting, so I had a lie-down for an hour or so before walking around again. I can still remember how bad the pain was when contractions came, I'd have to stop and hold onto something and try to breathe while I waited for it to pass. At the end of the 3 hours a midwife said that she didn't think the contractions were strong enough because I wasn't screaming, but I asked her to examine me any way. I was 5 and a half cm, you can go to the delivery suite at 4cm, so I just had to wait for a free bed and I could go and get some real pain relief. That felt such a relief. In the delivery suite I decided to have some diamorphine, after I found the gas and air didn't give me enough relief. I think some people might think that diamorphine and similar pain relief is to take the pain away and make labour easier right until birth, but it's really not. It's good for giving you a break, as although you feel the contractions you feel like you can cope, and feel spaced out so you can have a rest...exactly what I needed. But you can't have it within an hour of giving birth, so it's not for the last stages of labour really (because it passes over to baby and she'd be born all groggy and stuggle to breastfeed). So that slowed things down a bit, but gave me a chance to close my eyes. And then came the longest few hours EVER. I don't know what time I'd gone into the delivery suite, probably around 3pm, and Rose was eventually born at 5.30am the next morning...so this bit took a LONG time. Contractions were really really bad, and the midwife told me that my waters were bulging right under her head but despite standing and kneeling trying to help them to break they just wouldn't burst. I could feel a horrible pressure as well as the contractions, and gas and air was making me throw up. After hours and hours of this and finding out that things weren't really progressing I decided the time had come to have an epidural. I couldn't cope with it any longer. The epidural obviously took away the pain of the contractions, and I couldn't feel any urge to push because I was numb, but the midwives tell you when to push and after an hour of pushing (HARD WORK) they brought in a doctor. Rose's head was swollen from pushing and they had a good feel around and decided that she was facing back to back. This was why contractions were so bad and why it was taking so long. They had to turn her around, which meant going into theatre and them making a cut so that they could use forceps to turn her. This was so scary, after such a long and tiring labour I was exhausted and lying numb on a bed with people stood over me in scrubs in an operating theatre was terrorfying. Well obviously the ending is happy, Rose was safely pulled out of me(!) and plonked on my chest. It was emotional! It turned out that my cervix was torn by the forceps, which meant that I lost a lot of blood, which was a really odd feeling seeing the doctors looking a bit worried and stitching me up, without being able to feel anything. I was quite poorly from loosing all the blood, and the lack of sleep, and was barely able to feed her right at the start, but I got better pretty quickly.
So that was labour. The midwives who helped both pre and post labour were all amazing, I felt really well looked after and they calmed what should have been a much more upsetting situation. I couldn't wait to go home, and luckily they said that my iron levels before labour were great otherwise I'd have had to have a blood transfusion (go me and and my iron rich veggie pregnancy diet!), so I only stayed one night.
We're okay now.
x x x x