A Memorable Christmas Day: My Birth Story
It was Christmas Eve, I was 4 days overdue, agitated, absolutely massive and there was still no sign of little Mr. so I attended (what I hoped was) my last midwife appointment hoping to get a stretch & sweep to kick off my labour naturally. After a few checks of the baby's positioning and heartbeat, all of which were good, the midwife discovered my blood pressure was slightly elevated and sent me up to the hospital to get checked out.
After an hour on the monitor, I was told that everything was fine with baby, they'd give me a sweep and send me on my way to enjoy a lovely (very pregnant) Christmas Day. After a very uncomfortable internal (and just a stretch, no sweep!), I was 1cm dilated and thought nothing else of it as I'd heard that stretch & sweep's weren't all that reliable.
Almost immediately I experienced a small amount of discomfort, so we popped to the local supermarket to pick up some milk and have a wander round. We got home, watched some TV and around 9pm the pains started to get more regular so I went to bed hoping to get some rest.
After a few hours (and no hope of sleep), the pain started to become slightly more intense and the contractions were coming every 7-8 minutes. I text my parents to let them know I was pretty sure I was in labour (to which they immediately replied at around 2am). I decided to call the hospital at 2:30am and they told me to hang on at home for as long as I possibly could.
I woke Mr J and we got dressed and went downstairs (forgetting the whole time that it was Christmas Day!), and I bounced on my birthing ball to ease the pains for as long as I could. At 5:30am, I told Mr J to call the hospital because the pain was becoming really intense. Thankfully, they told us to come in and I was lucky enough to endure the most horrendous car journey of my life.
All I remember is concentrating so hard on trying to be calm and ease the pain but with every bump, it just seemed to get worse. Somehow we managed to get from the car to the birthing suite and I was immediately checked by a midwife.
I remember apologsing and saying 'I'm probably being a wimp and you're going to send me home for being 1cm dilated!' to which she replied, 'No, you'll be staying here, you're 4-5cm'. I was completely shocked and thought it might not be too long considering I was half-way there.
Around 7am, we were shown to our (absolutely huge) room in the birth centre and I called my parents but could barely speak through the contractions. The midwife offered me gas & air at this point (which I gratefully took) and started to run me a bath (the original plan was always to have a waterbirth).
Once I was in the water, time seemed to slow right down and it felt as if the hours were dragging by. The pain was becoming so bad that the contractions were blending into one and the most frustrating thing was I was falling asleep inbetween them. I also wasn't able to communicate to Mr J when I needed the gas & air (he had to hold it because I was in agony) and I definitely hit the wall at that point. It all became too much and I remember telling the midwife I needed to have this baby now!
She thought I was almost 10cm dilated but when checked, I was only 7-8cm. At that point, I decided I had to get out of the water as I felt it was worsening the pain/slowing down my labour. I also screamed for an epidural but thankfully, she offered me pethadine instead and I agreed to try it.
I laid down on this sort-of bed (that was more like a sofa) and she injected my leg with pethadine followed by an anti-sickness jab. To me, it felt as if it had barely touched the pain, but apparently Mr J said I completely zonked out and caught a bit of shut-eye on and off inbetween contractions.
Eventually the pethadine started to wear off and I was starting to get the urge to push. My waters broke naturally whilst I was pushing (weird feeling, super warm) and after an age of pushing, the midwives asked me to try and stand-up so that gravity could help little A on his way.
First picture of Archie
Unfortunately, the pain was unbearable and I couldn't stand it so I had to get onto a hospital bed and use stirrups so I could gain enough force to push Archie out (as it was getting later & later). After a few huge pushes, I saw his head (no ring of fire for me, thank god!) and with the next push, I felt his wriggly little body come out.
He was placed straight onto my chest and I can't remember if he immediately started crying or not, the whole moment is kind of a blur. All I remember is a while later, she asked me if he had 10 fingers & toes and I told her I hadn't counted them! She said I would have noticed.
We waited for almost an hour for the placenta to vacate naturally but in the end, I opted for the injection so that it was over & done with. After that, all I remember is being checked (I was lucky enough to have no tearing), being moved to the sofa-bed, lots of texting and gazing at my newborn and alot of bleeding (though apparently it was a completely normal amount!).
Little A was born at 2.44pm on Christmas Day and weighed 6Ib 8oz. He was and is the most beautiful thing I've ever seen and everything I've been through has been 100% worth it to get him. Even though I had a normal labour, I was still put off having anymore children for at least the first 6 weeks after birth. Now I've forgotten about the pain (almost) and would definitely want lots more!
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