The long awaited birth story to follow on from “My labour in tweets” – it’s only taken me over a month to get round to it! It’s LONG so I thought I’d split it in two so it’s a bit easier to read!
Of course if you read my previous post, you’ll know that I didn’t quite believe I was in labour, having experienced strong Braxton Hicks for days prior to actually having my son. On the night of the 23rd December I couldn’t sleep, nothing unusual of course for someone the size of a small country with severe heartburn, SPD and carpal tunnel syndrome of course, but those pesky Braxton Hicks made me feel rather more uncomfortable than usual. I finally managed to get to sleep and was awoken at 6am on Christmas Eve with a really strong one and a bizarre feeling, which had me making a trip to the loo – turned out to be a show, or at least what I thought may be one as it was pretty unremarkable to say the least and nothing at all like I’d imagined. I headed back to bed but couldn’t settle, finally getting up an hour later after scaring my partner by telling him I’d had a show – not enough though clearly as he managed to go back to sleep! I pretty much carried on as normal throughout the day, even making two tiramisu’s for Christmas Dinner, laying on a “buffet” for lunch and generally pottering about before wearing myself out and managing to go to sleep for a few hours, all while contracting away and moaning on Twitter that as usual nothing would happen and all the pain would amount to nothing, little did I know!
The daughter went to bed all excited about opening her presents as my contractions got stronger and stronger, some lasting for as long as 3 minutes which were just pure evil, but nothing that was close enough together or for the same duration to make me think I was in labour. Infact I even went to bed at 1am, in agony, but assuming I would still make it through Christmas Day. By 2am the contractions were coming every 2 minutes and I really couldn’t hold out at home much longer so I decided to get up and pack a bag of things for my daughter to take to our friends – Christmas presents, clothes and not forgetting the tiramisu I’d slaved over that morning. I woke the man up by about 2.30am and told him we had to go, cue much running around like a mad thing by him while throwing bags etc into the car. I was determined not to show the daughter how much pain I was in and despite having some serious contractions I managed to wake her up and pretend that I was perfectly fine, even if that did involve hiding in the toilet at one point. We dropped her off at our friends and headed down the motorway to the hospital, finally arriving in the hospital itself at around 4am after negotiating roadworks, 3 flights of stairs from the car park and a hospital remodel which made finding anything pretty much impossible.
I was taken from the reception area to the maternity ward (another long walk while contracting which really wasn’t appreciated!) and hooked up to a monitor in what I can only describe as a holding area of cubicles. The midwife arrived an hour or so later to tell me the monitor hadn’t picked up any contractions – I could’ve told her that as it clearly wasn’t on properly! Then two other midwives arrived to cart me off into an examination room, while the man was asked to wait outside. I was asked a billion questions, including why I’d come to the hospital – “erm I’m in labour dumb arse” sprang to mind, but I managed to remain all sweetness and light (well for a while anyway!). Next up was being put in a hospital gown (so attractive!) and given a scan before the two of them decided to give me an internal examination. I could see the midwife’s eyes widen and whisper something to her colleague about a head before the other one decided to cop a feel too, then the first one very helpfully informed me that I was in labour at which point I almost blurted out “no shit Shirlock!”
I had a sheet wrapped round my waist to hide my modesty and was led through to a delivery room where I was joined by my partner and another midwife who I asked how many centimetres dilated I was. 8cm was her reply! (No wonder the two midwives examining me were mentioning the head – they could feel it!) She asked if I wanted an epidural (I didn’t think you could have them once you got to 8cm) to which I replied no to rather a shocked looking midwife (they dish them out when you so much as sneeze here!) I was plonked on a bed and hooked up to a monitor before the midwife told me to tell her when I felt like pushing and wandered off. I busied myself by trying to get my bed as upright as possible (turns out it was one of those weird bed/chair things so I could practically stand up while on it) and read a magazine and ordered the man to get some sleep in the chair. The midwife popped back in at one point to find me quietly reading and asked if I was ok, checked the monitor and kept gawping at me. When I asked what was wrong she said that no one could believe I was in labour because I looked so calm “my face wasn’t in labour” apparently! (I do wonder where these midwives get their qualifications as surely it wouldn’t be my face where the “magic” would be occurring!) It must have been about 7am by this point but by 8am I was in agony with contractions going off the chart of the monitor.
Come back tomorrow to read the rest of my birth story