The birth story is the favourite topic of every new mum. I've met quite a few now and I've heard every detail of all their births. The longest labour I've heard about was 38 hours, the shortest was my own - 6 hours. I'm no different, I love to share my birth story, so here we go:
I had planned to work up to 2 weeks before Poppy was due. I had quite an easy pregnancy and I was feeling good. Why waste your maternity leave on the weeks before the baby is there? I wanted to have as much time off work with Poppy as possible and that meant working to as close to the due date as work allowed. I was in my final week at work and to say I was looking forward to finishing was an understatement.
On the Tuesday of that final week I had planned dinner with a group on Uni friends I hadn't seen in close to a year. On the Thursday I had leaving drinks planned with my office. On the Wednesday I had planned to work from home, (I worked from home 1 day a week every week in my final trimester).
Monday night when getting up to go to the toilet, (something I did alot by that stage), I felt slight period pains. When I woke Tuesday morning I felt fine and had forgotten all about it. I went off to work feeling fine. It was my final week so I was definitely winding down. At some point in the morning I went to the toilet and had "the show". The show is when the mucus plug comes out - it is a bit gungy and a little bit bloody - kinda like a really big bogey! I had learnt this wasn't really a big deal - there is no need to call the midwife when this happens as it doesn't not mean labour is iniment. That was a good job too as I wasn't carrying my maternity record with me and I didn't have the midwife or birth centres phone numbers anyway. Still, I couldn't help but feel a little bit of excitement. I was bored of being pregnant and the end was in sight.
Throughout the morning I needed to keep going to the toilet and just a tiny bit would trickle out. I remembered it was possible that instead of your waters breaking in a big gush, it could be a slow trickle and I wondered if that was happening to me. I kept working though and managed to get everything I needed to get done for the whole week finished. I was done! I called my husband Jon to let him know what I thought was happening. At the time he was a Director on the TV show "Cash In The Attic". He was on a shoot and suffering from food poisoning, so really not having a good day!
At 4.30pm I decided I needed to cancel my dinner date with my friends that night and go home. I said good bye to my assistant Andrew knowing that I might not be coming back! He was the only person at work that knew what was going on.
Jon had finished the shoot early so he was already home when I got home at 6pm. I phoned the birthing unit and explained I thought my waters might have broken and they said pack my bag and come in. On the way in, I started to experience pains in my stomach. Jon had downloaded an App for his iPhone that timed contractions so he started using that.
At the birthing unit they took my temperature, blood pressure and had a look down below. She said she couldn't confirm if my waters had broken or not. She then went off shift and I was introduced to a new midwife and a student. I had to explain everything that had happened again. At the point about my waters the midwife asked if I was wearing a pad. I wasn't and it was the first time anyone had mentioned it. She didn't give me one. Jon and I were left in a room on our own as my pains got worse and I had to keep going to the loo. My wee smelled of Chardonnay - I had been told in my NCT classes that when your waters break it smells of Chardonnay. I kept saying this to the midwives but they kept looking at me as if I was crazy and asking me if I was wearing a pad. They also explained how the excruciating pains I was experiencing were not contractions. They did not explain what the pains were though, and because of what they said Jon stopped bothering to measure them. Eventually a midwife gave me a pad to wear and told me to go home. Just as I was leaving I felt a gush. they checked and they confirmed my waters had broken. They booked me in for an induction at 9am the following morning and sent me home.
They told me to take 2 paracetamol, have a bath and eat some food. I was in agony and very naive as I listened to what they said and went home. The time was now 9pm, it had been 3 hours since I had got home from work. I took my two little pills, leaned on my big inflatable ball and basically writhed around in agony. Meanwhile, Jon cooked me some pasta. On the TV was "Million Pound Drop" but I couldn't concentrate on that! I had some food but then it all got too much and decided a bath would help. WHAT WAS I STILL DOING AT HOME??!?!!
Me: "What the hell is that??!"
Jon: "Jesus! what is that? It's grey"
Me: "I don't know, phone the hospital"
The hospital told him to hang up and phone 999. A midwife was on the way but he had to phone 999.
999 told him to get towels, (not boil the kettle and hot towels so it wasn't cliched), and get me off the toilet and onto the floor. The babies head was coming out and the operator talked Jon through what to do. Within minutes the paramedic arrived so Jon had to leave me and go and answer the door. In what felt like minutes there was a baby screaming and our daughter had arrived - Jon had helped unwrap the cord from around her neck - a full hands on role in this delivery! At some point during all of this two ambulance crews had arrived and the midwife and student. They couldn't all fit in the bathroom so they were wondering about the house looking for the central eating control. Jon was left holding the baby as ambulance people wandered our house looking for things and they kept asking me where stuff was! I had just given birth, felt like crap and was lying naked on my bathroom floor - can't you ask Jon! Jon kept yelling - ask me! The rest of the ambulance men were sat in our bedroom watching Million Pound Drop!
Anyway - back to the birth. Poppy was born at 10.50pm, less than 2 hours after being sent home from the hospital. The placenta came within minutes of Poppy so the long discussion we had had at NCT about to use drugs or not to use drugs to bring on delivery of the placenta was pointless. In fact all the discussions about pain relief were pointless - no one had mentioned I might only get paracetamol.
I was then taken to the hospital in the ambulance with Poppy and Jon following behind. I had 2nd degree tear that needed stitching. It seemed to take forever, but wasn't painful so that was OK. I drank all the drinks in my bag but was still having problems with my blood pressure so ended up being put on a drip. Basically they don't take you to the ward until you have wee'd. I couldn't stand or even sit up so couldn't go to the loo. Hence the drip. They tried to put the cannula in but failed - that's one large bruise on my hand. They then tried putting it in the other hand - another failure, another big bruise. They then got someone else and she successfully, to an extent go the cannula in my hand and the drip was attached. The only problem was if I moved my had the drip stopped working so it was very awkward! I basically stayed there all night and was taken to the ward in the morning. Every time a new mid wife came on shift she would say "So tell me what happened" They all seemed shocked about my experience and couldn't believe it.
I've been told by many people since then that I should have made a complaint. I haven't because it turned out really well in the end.. I would never plan to give birth in that way, but at the end of the day, I had a short labour, I missed the speeches at work and I got a great story!