10th September 2011.
Nottingham city Hospital.
Took Hannah to magical movers and then to the library. We also spent the morning having a massive tidy round and picking stuff up off the floor. We also went and posted bits and I took her to buy a little teddy for wavy baby that I had been saying we could do so she could bring it to the hospital. I suddenly really wanted to eat carby food so got sausage and chips at the chipper and was so hungry could barely wait to get in front door. Managed to make Hannah her lunch and then ate about as much food as I could fit in. I felt completely exhausted and when Hannah went for her nap, I went flat out on the sofa and woke up an hour and a half later. I felt much better for the sleep and lots of food but it is fairly unusual of me to go to sleep without thinking about it especially in the afternoon.
That night Dave went to bed early as he was tired from being up on Thursday night with Hannah, and me tossing and turning. I’d had some fairly regular contractions for about an hour or so, that felt different to Braxton hicks – but then stopped.
I sat and finished off a book and then had a look on line at baby centre, and read about early signs of labour.
I spent most of the night tossing and turning and feeling really uncomfortable and tight and wondered if I could manage it for another two weeks.
We left for the hospital just after 8, by which time I had had started having regular contractions.
When we went in to the labour suite, we were shown to a room by Bernie who was with us for the majority of the shift. It took a while to get going but we soon had the antibiotics while they were doing the monitoring. This needed doing initially to see where we were at with baby and check all was ok. Unfortunately the only position we could get a trace in was on the bed, anything else would lose the heart beat – even though we tried every possible way. By now I was still losing good bits of waters, and also having stronger contractions. So I put on the green top id got to labour on, and put the tens machine on so I could get to grips with it. While we were waiting, we thought we would try the ‘kiss’ that is alleged to get contractions moving – it definitely got them moving, so I can highly recommend it.
Once all the antibiotics were done and the monitoring was satisfactory, I got off the bed and went for walk round the room as I was waiting for them to bring other things down. I used the yoga camel walk and scooping walk and found it really helped, it definitely made a change to the contractions. When they bought the mat down, we put the mindful mamma cd on, and after that I just have memories of being really chilled out and going with the feelings and sensations. That really helped me get into the zone and again , noticed a difference in contractions stepping up as I was relaxing into the cd. I ended up on the mat using the cat poses and lizard as it just felt comfortable and helpful. Dave then put on the beach sounds and i found that it really helped with improving contractions, helped again by Dave stroking my hair for a while, which was my anchor. While I was still on the floor in child’s pose, I was under my blanket, hiding – in my own little world and found it all rather fabulous that I could just be there and feel the contractions that were bringing baby along. I gave myself regular Reiki, using the symbols and every time, I got a lot of movement from baby and then a stronger contraction. After a while I wanted to move so I had a walk around again and moved to sit on the ball leaning on my pillow on the bed. I carried on with the beach sounds and dave stroking my hair. We also got the photos out of my special memories, and that definitely made a big difference – sitting looking at them just made my heart feel full. Shortly after that I found that as well as tens I needed to use the golden thread breath which really helped me concentrate on taking the right breaths. I felt quite spacy from the extra breathing and definitely relaxed. It sounds odd probably to most, but I wasn’t bothered – if anything I was enjoying it, which I am sure is why then helped the contractions get stronger again and I found that I needed to hum my way through the out breaths to help – gave me something really great to concentrate on but felt quite meditative under my blanket, with beach noises and nice head strokes. I carried on with this for a while and then we put on the music cd. Again, adding this into the mix, rocking on the ball and humming really seemed to help. The cd of tracks really helped with the endorphin feeling, making me think of good times, people and looking forward to meeting our bump and being a family of 4. It made me feel rather full up and happy and just excited about baby coming and being in the world. Then it made me have some happy tears – but it all helped with the contractions.
And then suddenly I wanted to get out of the bath. I went from feeling really relaxed to just needing to get out but even getting out of the bath was hard. I must have had about 8 contractions before I could get out and back to the room, and I found them increasingly hard to deal with. We put the tens machine back on which helped, but somehow it felt different, I definitely didn’t feel relaxed and was becoming aware of it not feeling right.
I didn’t know what position I wanted to be in but settled on being on the mat with the yoga ball to lean on and rock with. It all changed a lot and the tens machine wasn’t helping and I found I just could not breath through the contractions. It felt like something was wrong. In my head, I was saying ‘trust that intuition’ which was something two of my yoga friends had said in the previous few days. It was definitely a different sensation, and instead of being a pleasure to experience the sensations of labour, it was really a proper pain, that somehow I felt familiar with. The tens made it feel worse, and I went from being in a happy, chilled out place to feeling completely spaced out and unable to comprehend what anyone was saying to me. All I was aware of was feeling in total agony and just that nothing was helping. Gas and air just made it feel floatier still and totally out of control.
I later found out from Dave, that I had dilated really quickly from 3-8 cm – I was 3 at 12pm and was at 8 by 5 so had all been looking good – but then I had got to 8.5 and not moved, and they were starting to get a bit concerned by the fact I had changed from being calm and coping to wild and out of control. I also didn’t know at the time, that when I had got off the bed in a strop, I had lost a large amount of blood, and they were worried about this because even though baby appeared to be well and coping, they couldn’t tell where it had come from. Apparently there were several doctors in with me, but I had no awareness of any of it. I just remember the ever increasing sensation that this was just not right. I felt like I was being pounded in the back with a heavy wait and that it just hurt too much to think. I knew then that it was wrong, it felt like it had with Hannah for a start – but in my head I was thinking about what we were told ‘pain tells us there is something wrong’. I’d not had the sensation of pain for the majority of the labour, and it suddenly changed, like a switch. That intuition in my head kept knocking until I thought about it. I had this overwhelming sensation that I needed to call it a day and go for the C-section, that there was no point in waiting for more hours to become more exhausted, that the pain was telling me things were wrong somehow. I had to mentally work out somehow whether I was just chickening out or what my reasons were for it –but somehow I knew, this was my attempt, and it had been the attempt I wanted it to be for as long as it had been progressing well.
Again, I later found out that the consultant could not believe I wasn’t asking for more pain relief, and when I agreed to the C-section and epidural, a collective sigh of relief went round the room.
Initially they were going to get me a spinal and take me to theatre – but then there were some emergencies so theatre was backed up. As baby was ok, and I was ok, they were in no rush. They had hoped that it might allow me to continue to progress, but they found baby’s position was really awkward and hadn’t come down far enough to allow me to fully dilate. I did ask the surgeon if I would be able to have more if I had another csection, which apparently they all were rather amused at, given baby 2 was still inside. But it felt really important to make them aware I wanted options to have more. I also had chance to question how they were going to go about preventing the issues I had with healing last time. With it being unrushed, they were able to explain everything, and it was a really relaxed and helpful conversation. I definitely felt well looked after and that time was taken. Debbie had taken over from Bernie at this point and she was just as great and supportive.
Dave suddenly noticed the music that was playing was ‘Doctor Doctor’ and commented on it. Turns out the surgeon likes her rock music so had made a bit of a compilation cd up that included status quo and eventually, Lynyrd Skynyrd ‘Freebird’ was playing when she was making the final cuts to deliver baby, which seemed pretty fitting. It made for a bit of a light atmosphere and connection also, having two babies who came to see iron maiden in utero, and now the surgeon playing great music, kind of made the day- given I had helloween, bonjovi and pals on my labour cd too.
After a little bit, I started feeling a bit funny so Dave held him. Apparently my blood pressure went down so I felt a bit sicky and achy. I got quite hot as well so they put a cold pack on my head to try and cool me down. I was really impressed with the anaesthetist who spoke to me all the way through and I generally felt was really calm but really efficient equally.
We spent a while in recovery as I had the raised temp – but I felt really well looked after – and it gave me a good time with Dave – as he wasn’t allowed on the ward at that time of night. We also had a good try to get breast feeding going – Michael was sucking really well from the moment he came out, and nearly took the nurses’ finger off. He wanted to go straight on to me so it made life a lot easier when we got up to the ward. We had some lovely skin to skin and again, as we rode through the corridors, I just felt amazing that I had my baby with me.
It could not have been a more wonderful experience. Admittedly, it would have been preferable to have the delivery I was trying for – but as labouring experiences go, I feel like it was as I wanted it to be.
all the tips and postures I have been using in yoga were great for helping me keep mobile and find that comfortable and relaxed position. Each of the ‘props’ we took, helped improve my contractions, and I can’t recommend the experience more highly. The outcome was perhaps not desirable – but ultimately I have the most handsome baby boy who arrived safely.
As it turned out, the surgeon felt there was no way he was going to come out or move down because he was head back again, and that was why he had not been coming down. The consultants suggested that it was related to the shape of my pelvic bone, that baby got into a certain point and could not move into the right position – how true that is I don’t know – but I’ve given it two goes to deliver and the same thing has happened both times – I think it is fair to say I’ve given it a blooming good go. Oddly though, if it wasn’t for the safety issues, I would still like to labour again if we have another one – I think even just a little while would make a big difference. I think secretly I hope I will go into labour a little early again as they still said they would wait until 39 weeks before going for a planned section.
I can’t fault the way in which all the staff adhered to my birth plan, to the point where they were almost in pain for me. I had no awareness of anything that was going on at the time, they were fully respectful of what I wanted as far as they safely could be – but at no point was I offered any pain relief, or told any information I didn’t want to know. One of the doctors later commented on how detailed and organised my birth plans were – like it was a really positive thing – which it was! I felt totally looked after, that I was treated like an individual and with respect. They just seemed interested in the plan, not at all judgemental and really, really flexible. Again, the information we gathered on the Mindful Mamma course gave us all the tools we needed and gave us the confidence to ask for it.
It was so freeing during the labour just to be under a blanket and focusing on my baby, while things I needed were sorted out and given to me. He took care to remove the bloody bed mat so I didn’t see how much blood I had lost - despite him hating anything vaguely blood like normally. He took on board everything we learned, asked the right questions and got the right information. Half the time I only had to think of something and he already had it sorted or the questions asked. Once again, he showed his true strength, and for the millionth time, I wonder how I managed to find that person who could be that strong and supportive and could come through for me in all the moments of my life that have needed that support. I know that I could not have imagined a more amazing partner for me – or father for our children and I feel blessed every single day.