I’ve have tried to write this post numerous times over the last few weeks but always tinkered with it because it’s too long/short/graphic/rose-tinted etc! So I’m just putting it out there and hopefully it’s just right!
On Thursday 7th May 2015, I gave birth to Sorsha Rose. That fact still amazes me, despite carrying her for almost 42 weeks and all that that entails, it seems a bit surreal that I am now a mother!
Sorsha’s birth definitely did not go to plan. We had hopes of a natural birth, with pain relief as and when necessary, skin-to-skin contact immediately after birth and breast feeding from the word go. But we also knew that a birthing plan was a wishlist and to expect the unexpected, and we knew that as long as our baby was happy and healthy we’d be over the moon.
I’d had a few hours of mild contractions on the Tuesday morning which was exciting but they disappeared as quickly as they had appeared. However, on Wednesday morning I woke up with pains which were much stronger and called the hospital for advice. I was told to keep timing them and call again when there were three full contractions within ten minutes. For the next ten hours these contractions slowly built and subsided with a pain that was much more than expected. I lay in bed, in the bath and on the floor, timing everything with an app on my phone and clutching the controls for my TENS machine until I finally hit the target and calling it in around noon.
We headed straight to the Midwife’s Unit and I cried tears of joy as we headed in. I was in so much pain and so relieved to be somewhere where they’d take care of me, give me some relief and start our birthing journey! Until, that is, we were told to go home. My cervix wasn’t dilated enough and despite my pain they couldn’t give me anything. I know that everything was done by the book and that they might need the bed for someone further on but I was so disappointed and felt let down.
By this point every step I took, every movement I made, was agony. We slowly made our way out, but only reached about 40 feet away in 15 minutes. I was constantly hunched against the wall and started vomiting, then a wonderful lady who worked at the hospital went to get a wheelchair and took me back to the midwife. She explained how she’d found us in the corridor in a bad way so she’d brought me back “ok?!”. I never saw her, but she stood up for us and I was so glad for her help. We were seen by a midwife who gave me morphine and I was able to start moving around and adopting some of the recommended positions and exercises to help bring childbirth along. All the movement meant that I soon became 4cms dilated, which was the minimum I had to reach before I would be allowed to stay!
At 7pm the staff shift change happened and the care we received from that point on was amazing! We had a fantastic midwife who did everything in her power to make things comfortable, explaining everything along the way, and she was so genuinely nice that we felt relaxed and safe. I was allowed gas and air and we were both given food. Our bags had been taken in, I was in my own nightie and we were so comfortable in our birthing suite.
Later in the evening the baby’s heart rate dipped, so we were moved to the Labour Ward to be monitored, where there are also doctors available to provide extra care. I was exhausted by this point and didn’t have the energy to move around any longer. The next few hours were a blur of contractions, assessments, and napping until early morning. I was given an epidural at around 2am as I had reached about 6cms dilated. I barely felt it and it worked so brilliantly, so quickly, I was amazed!
Both the baby’s and my heart rate were now fast, so it was decided that my waters should be broken shortly after in a hope that things would naturally progress.
Hours passed and at 7am our fantastic midwife left and was replaced by an equally lovely midwife and a number of specialists. After a few more hours of monitoring us, we had to make a decision. Along with our heart rate issues, I was still only 6cm dilated and the lack of progress was still concerning them, plus we were advised that the baby may have swallowed myconium. We could either have an emergency c-section now, or wait for another couple of hours to see if there was any change, at which point it would really be an emergency. That seemed like an easy choice, so I was prepped for the operating theatre.
The operating team were fantastic. They explained everything that was going to happen, checked I understood and answered any questions I had. I was wheeled through to the theatre and Allan went away to change into scrubs before joining me. My gown was lifted over a screen so they could operate and I wouldn’t be able to see, and Allan sat at my head, holding my hand. I was constantly reassured and checked throughout by the anaesthetist but it only took about 10 minutes of a numb, kneading feeling in my stomach before Allan was asked to look around my gown to see our baby being born!
They immediately took baby and Allan to one side whilst they put me back together and a few minutes later a lady came over to tell me that it was a girl! Although we hadn’t found out the sex we both really liked the idea of having a girl, and they brought her over to show me and asked us if we had a name before finishing up and moving me to a different room. I was so happy!
To be continued…