We arrived at the hospital and thankfully as it was early morning, it didn’t take too long to get there. The bloody parking was a mare as per usual, just what you need! As i waddled towards the entrance I had to stop a couple of times whilst the contractions took over but once we eventually got into the hospital we were taken in to a room to wait for a midwife to come and assess me.
It had only been a couple of minutes but as the clock tick tocked, it felt like a couple of hours. I remember being quite agitated for having to wait ‘all that time’. Asking “Where is she?”, “Why is she taking so long?” as I was buckled over. The midwife finally showed up after a good solid 5 minutes and examined me. I was already 4cms dilated. They arranged for me to be taken up to the delivery suite accompanied by my best friend gas and air.
I was taken into a room and hooked up to the good stuff properly. I took my first breath of the gas and air and immediately I could feel the effects. I took a little stumble to the side and i felt like i was floating on air. My husband was desperate to have a go on it and decided the time was right when the midwife left the room to make a cup of tea. What he didn’t anticipate was her returning to ask if he took sugar; to which he replied in a very horse voice “one please” whilst throwing the pipe down on the bed as quickly as he could. She just looked at him, smirked, and left the room.
I was so adamant that I didn’t want an epidural that I was happy to give other pain relief a go. I don’t know about you but I wasn’t keen on the idea of a needle being inserted into my spine!? It totally freaked me out. Its such a taboo subject but ultimately it is down to the individual and how they cope with the pain, as to whether they decide to have it or not. I wanted to prove to me and me alone that I could do it without the need of an epidural but sometimes things happen that are out of your control. As I mentioned in my previous post Is It Possible To Have A Funny Labour? Part 1 everyone will want to tell you about their story and advise you on what you should and shouldn’t do.
Don’t worry you won’t find any advise here just my truth and experience and you can take that as you will.
Ok so at this point I was coping well with the gas and air. You know when people talk of having an out of body experience, well this is certainly something I could relate to. My contractions were getting quite strong so I took full advantage of the tools provided. You would have thought I was some kind of trumpet player the way I was chugging on it and throwing my head back. I wanted to squeeze every last bit of air out that I could.
I had read that standing up was the best position to be in as gravity will do a lot of the work for you. I’m not gonna lie I thought the longer I stood up, the head would then suddenly appear between my legs. Oh how nieve i was. I remember starting off on the left hand side of the bed and next thing I knew I was on the other side of the bed and with no recollection of getting there. It was almost like i was going in and out of consciousness as from then on I only recall little snippets.
You have to laugh really as you try and be as dignified as you can and cover yourself up and the next thing you know, your whole bottom half is off and you are pissing water all over your slippers or is that just me?
I had demanded toast from the midwife mid way through. And when I got it, I could barely chew it because my mouth was so dry. Then when a contraction came, still chewing on the stale toast, I would just push it to the side of my mouth and suck on the gas and air pipe. Needless to say, it wasn’t the experience I was expecting after all those stories of having the best toast you’ve ever tasted.
It became a habit just to use the gas and air like one of those E-Cigs or a shish pipe. I suddenly realised that I relied on it a little too much when I had pulled it from the air supply and started to suck the handle without noticing. You just don’t care at this point. I refused to go to the toilet because the gas and air didn’t reach that far so they gave me a paper hat instead in the hope that I would use it.
I have to feel for my husband really as he had to deal with watching me in this state. I barely spoke a word to him for hours, just the odd moan and groan whilst he stood there the whole time supporting me. It amazes me that he was so cold for a large part of my pregnancy and didn’t want to get too excited but when the time came, he really pulled through.
I would love to have been a fly on the wall watching myself as the gas and air slowly turned me delirious. At one point I came around crying my eyes out, bouncing on an exercise ball clutching my gas and air pipe absolutely convinced that id just given birth. I had this immediate sine of relief that it was over, but then i opened my eyes. When I looked down and realised this wasn’t my baby I just turned to the midwife and told her I felt totally “awks” for crying like that, as I hysterically cried. I mean “awks” I literally never use that word?
Your whole demeanor changes, you aren’t the person you would usually be. As well as the bat shit crazy part, a certain sense of strength and determination takes over .
I had been using the gas and air for 9 hours and when they examined me to see if I’d dilated any further I had only increased to 5cms. I felt so deflated and as I had been awake for 32 hours by this point I was exhausted. The midwives thought it was best for me to take the epidural at this stage. I wasn’t happy about this but I knew I was getting nowhere fast. They say that once you are in established labour then it usually equates to one centimeter an hour. I thought that I would have met my baby by now.
I really tried my best but in the end, its whatever is best for your baby. I signed off on the epidural and actually as I was still having regular contractions, the thought of the needle in my spine was the least of my worries. As soon as the anesthetist was finished and I was hooked up, it was like I became a different person. I was aware of my surroundings, I could actually have a conversation with my husband and I was in no pain. I could feel the tightness around my tummy but other than that I was sitting pretty.
My husband even went out for a Mcdonalds. I was gutted because I hadn’t eaten in so long. This feeling was only heightened more because the epidural meant that I now knew my name and where I lived, rather than being a delirious trumpet playing cry baby. I never knew that you became nil by mouth as soon as they plug you into that stuff god damn it.
We were having a lovely time watching Zoolander, thankfully he ate the Mcdonalds out of my eye view, and just chatting about the fact I was holding a conversation for the first time in about nine hours. I’m not sure if I would have rather been delirious or with it when I needed to be catheterized and had by bits wet wiped by the midwife after I complained of feeling dirty and smelly. The worst thing was, I used to work with her sister.
I had tubes coming out from all over the place as I was having some issues with my blood pressure again. The midwife came in and did another examination and I had increased to between five and six centimeters at this point. It still wasn’t what they expected of me and they had concerns about it. I starting going into shock and my body, to me, felt so cold. I was trying to find anything I could to cover me up as I was shivering but my stats said otherwise.
As i was trying to keep warm they were trying to do the opposite as they stripped me down, brought in a fan that looked like something out of the Starship Enterprise and opened all the windows to try and get rid of my temperature. I was already very hangry and now they were trying to take my covers away. Ordinarily i would have had a tussle over the bed sheets but I was too weak to fight back.
They had managed to bring my temperature down a touch and after a few more hours they reexamined me, unfortunately I had decreased to four centimeters. Oh come on, really? I became very swollen internally and this was putting pressure on the baby. They thought the best and safest option was to deliver the baby by C Section. I was actually glad, if not relieved, of this decision. The thought of having to go through the pushing stage filled me with dread as I was too tired to even comprehend it.
It was now 11pm and I had been in established labour for 18 hours. I just wanted to meet my baby!
Everything then started to happen very quickly. I was rushed down to surgery, where i was swiftly congratulated on being shaven as it saved them a job, then introduced to everyone before they worked their magic. It was all a bit surreal being surrounded by all these people, with all eyes on me, telling me their name and occupation. I felt like i was attending some kind of group meeting or seminar taking the minutes. I wasn’t scared or apprehensive, I was just so happy that in a few short minutes I would meet this little person who I had carried for all this time and I would finally know the sex.
Before I knew it, they had pulled my baby out and I heard that wonderful sound of the first cry, born at 11.27pm. They explained that he was positioned very awkwardly looking up to the stars and this was one of the reasons why I was having so much difficulty.
All my dreams had finally come true and I had the boy with ginger hair that id dreamed of for so long. He was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen and I instantly fell in love. I was allowed to hold him for a few minutes before they whisked him away to the Neonatal ward for monitoring.
After all the excitement, it suddenly dawned on me that one I was currently being stitched up and two I was absolutely starving. Who else would be pucking multiple times but still talking fondly about what she was going to get from Mcdonalds as soon as she was out!? My husband was desperately trying to find something to catch the sick in and thankfully those trusty paper hats came in handy once again. He just kept telling me how proud he was of me, as he wiped the sick away from my mouth, and how much he loved me. I will never forget those precious (and slightly gross) moments that we shared, ever.
After they had finished up, I was wheeled into a holding area until I was taken to a ward. I finally got to taste the famous tea and toast in all its glory without the dry mouth and it did not disappoint. We hadn’t officially decided on a name at this point, but I knew it was going to be Ernest, I just let my husband think he had a little control for a few hours. He absolutely loves the name now, apparently he liked it all along!? Or is it because people didn’t take the piss like he thought?
I have no idea if my story is relatable as everyone’s experience is different and there is also probably a lot that I don’t remember. What I do remember are mostly the funny parts, the humiliation, the weird behaviour, the rawness and actually the laughter.
What i know for sure that every mother can relate to is that when Ernest was finally returned to me and placed on my chest skin to skin, it was the best feeling in the world. In that moment, nothing compared or mattered, I had my boy.