Wednesday, 7 May 2014

My Labour and Birth Story

Can't believe I'm writing my labour and birth story, doesn't feel real!

So Baby Knott decided that the due date of the 24th of April wasn't going to work in her calendar and decided to come a week early instead on Thursday the 17th of April!

World meet Isla Amelia. Born at 16.01 and weighing in at 8lbs 11ozs (that was a shock!!!). 


And onto the main purpose of this post...the detailed, no holding back birth and labour story!

It was late Wednesday night and we'd just finished watching a Law and Order UK episode (love that programme) and the Brad Pitt movie World War Z. I'd been bouncing about on my ball but at around midnight I had started to feel sick so was sitting on the floor cross legged talking to the cat. All of a sudden I felt a warm trickle down below and thought 'oh, that's weird'. I said to Robert 'something strange is going on' and explained what I'd felt. He was the first one to go 'maybe your waters have gone' but I was in denial and was convinced I'd just peed myself for the first time! All of sudden there was a much larger gush of liquid so I ran upstairs to the toilet. The liquid was clear and didn't smell of pee but I still wasn't convinced my waters had gone. I think I was just too scared to admit it!

The liquid just kept coming and coming so Robert went 'let's phone the hospital's bleep system' that we had been told to call when we thought I was in labour. You basically call up, speak to an operator who then gets the appropriate person to call you back. We called and the midwife who phoned back asked if we wanted to come in because it was our first baby and it would be good to confirm the waters had gone. I wasn't having any contractions at this point...


I panicked like a mad woman and started shaking because I was in complete shock that I might be in labour. I finished packing my hospital bag just in case I needed to stay in there and then, jumped in the shower and found something comfy to wear.

We drove to Portsmouth Queen Alexandra Hospital at about 1am and, because there was zero traffic, we got there in just over 15 mins. We were expecting it to take half an hour (google maps prediction!). Luckily we had blagged a tour the weekend before so knew where we were going to get to Ward B5 - The Birthing Centre. At my hospital in London I was going to be on the labour ward but when I moved to Portsmouth the midwives here were happy for me to be on the birth centre instead.

When we came in, there was a lovely midwife on the front desk and she took us through to one of the delivery rooms. There didn't seem to be anyone else around at that time. She asked me a lot of questions about the fluid that was leaking and took my blood pressure. I also had to do a urine sample and leave my pad in the bathroom for her to check the colour of the waters.

The colour of the water was fine and because I was having no contractions the midwife booked me in for an induction 24 hours later (which would have been on the labour ward) and told me to come back before then if my contractions started.

We got home around 2.30am and went straight to bed. About half an hour later I woke up feeling really uncomfortable. Within another half an hour my contractions kicked in big time. I tried to listen to my hypnobirthing session on my iPhone but it didn't really take my mind off the pain unfortunately. The contractions were coming around every 7 mins for a an hour and then got the point (around 4am) where I had to get out of bed as they were coming every 5 mins and lasting up to a minute. I woke Robert up and he ran a bath for me. I got in but was still in a lot of pain. I soon realised that it helped (slightly!) if I turned on my side every time I got a contraction and submerged my tummy in the warm water. I really didn't expect the contractions to be as painful as they were, I was clearly far too naive about the whole thing!

I only lasted in the bath for about an hour and then had to get out. I felt the need to walk around. It literally was too painful to sit or lie down so I spent the next 6 hours on my feet or knees through contractions! It was exhausting. I was also violently sick about 3 or 4 times, lovely!

Eventually they were coming every 2 to 3 minutes and were lasting over a minute each time. Sometimes they doubled up and there was no break in between - very unfair.

I did have a TENS machine on but it only helped me slightly. I think it ended up being more of a psychological thing. The boost button ended up being on most of the time by the time the contractions were coming every two mins (there is a funny story about the TENS machine later...)


At 10.30am we called the bleep line again and I could barely speak to the midwife on duty so we got told to make our way in. This time the traffic was horrific and I literally had to close my eyes and pretend I was somewhere else otherwise I think I would have had a breakdown. I was in so much pain and hated having to be in a sitting position!

We got to the hospital and Robert dropped me off so I could make my way up whilst he parked. The corridor through to the birth centre felt like the longest walk of my life! I was shuffling along and having to stop with every contraction so it took forever.

I got through to the birth centre and was greeted by a lovely male, student midwife who showed me through to a different delivery room and did the general observations on me (blood pressure, urine check, fetal heart rate) whilst Robert made his way up. Another really friendly female midwife came through to examine me and said I was 5cm dilated and that babies head was becoming visible. 

I told them I really would like to be in the birthing pool but unfortunately there was someone else in it. I couldn't believe it!! It was the only thing I had down in my birth plan!.To be honest it panicked me a bit because I didn't want to give birth on a bed and didn't know what on earth I wanted to do birth wise in a room without a pool.

But I didn't really have time to think about things and panic because the contractions kept coming stronger and stronger. We settled into the room and I got changed into a cheeky Primark nightie so I could throw it away after! The midwifes came in and out and regularly checked babies heart rate and offered us tea and drinks. I still felt really sick and could't eat or drink anything which left me feeling even more exhausted. I was given a bowl to be sick in and managed to be sick all over Rob at one point, oops!



(Last bump photo)

I still didn't want to lie or sit down and after a few hours I started getting a huge pressure in my bum. I felt like I was going to poo myself!!!!! Rob called one of the midwifes in and they didn't think they could see any of my cervix left. At this point I took the gas and air and in the beginning it made me feel so sick and my whole face had pins and needles, an odd sensation.

They still didn't think I was quite ready to push but it was really strange as I felt I was. I can't remember exactly how long after that it was that I could start pushing but it didn't feel like too long. It was a blur of pain. I thought I'd be pushing for half an hour or so, I'm not sure why I thought this but I had misinformed myself spectacularly! Something that shocked me once I felt the need to start pushing was the noises I made, they were almost animal sounding. But the midwifes said that I was quite a quiet one compared to others which surprised me haha.

I was pushing for 2 hours in all sorts of positions. I was trying my best to be upright and standing or on all fours on the bed but things just weren't progressing. The midwifes kept asking me which position I wanted to be in and I had no idea because I was so tired and just wanted to be in the birthing pool! I tried being on my back on the bed in the position you always see people on TV in (hello One Born Every Minute) and the midwifes seemed keen on this position but I wasn't. They had me on the toilet at one point using the bars next to it to push up and down on when I was pushing through contractions. When I was pushing I was only allowed the gas and air at some points in between contractions but the rest of the time I didn't have it!

I never realised that as you pushed, and baby was coming round the 'u-bend' of your birthing canal, that baby would come out a bit then go back in a bit. I found it the most demoralising thing to keep hearing that baby was coming out slowly but surely. I assumed that you pushed and they just came out bit by bit. None of this going back in business! I almost had a breakdown over it and kept saying 'I can't doooooo thiiiiisssss, I want to go home, what's the point the baby clearly isn't coming, it's stuck' etc etc haha. They said, as well, that Isla kept turning her head as she was coming out with each push which was making it harder for me. The reason for this didn't become apparent till she was born...

I got back on the bed, as the midwifes felt I was pushing strongest on there, and one of the midwifes then said that they could only give me another 20 mins before they'd have to get the doctors in. I went to pieces at this point as the main thing I was trying to avoid, by doing everything as naturally as possible, was any assisted delivery scenarios. They got 2 senior midwives in and I really really started pushing as much as I could and eventually, about 15 mins later, Isla's head was out. I have never felt pain like it!!! The male midwife had warned me that it would be an incredible stinging sensation like nothing I'd every felt before but nothing can prepare you. I then tried my best to listen to them as they started telling me to hold off pushing and start panting. It felt like forever before the next contraction came to get her body out.

Robert said it was the most amazing thing he's ever seen and part of me has a bit of regret over banning photos or videos as I would have actually liked to have been able to see it. I also didn't feel her head when it was coming out because I was panicking too much and I do regret that too.

They placed her up on my chest and then left the umbilical cord in tact for a few minutes as Isla had a bit of a shock coming out. Then Robert cut it. He said he was shocked at the blood that came out of it and didn't expect it to be so tough to cut through! She got wrapped up quickly in towels and handed to Robert as they gave me the injection to stimulate my uterus to get my placenta out. Delivering the placenta was bizarre. It felt really strange, like a huge fluid sack being burst. Robert said it was a strange looking thing too, again I wish I could have had a look.

At this point one of the midwives in the room cracked a joke and went 'Oh the pool is free now' - a part of me did think ' too soon'!

I had to have a couple stitches so as this was happening, Isla was handed to Robert. It was then that they noticed that she had a fluid filled large cyst on her neck that hadn't been noticed on any scans. The paediatricians were called and came down to look at her. I was in shock because I hadn't noticed when she was handed to me. They had a look at her and said she was in great health but they thought it could be a Cystic Hygroma. This could have been why she was turning her head during delivery. Another consultant came to have a look and we are now on a journey with it that will have to be a whole separate post.

Afterwards we were left alone so I could shower and have some tea and toast. After about an hour we moved over to the postnatal ward which I'll write about separately. As I was getting ready to go in the shower Robert noticed that I still had the TENS electrode pads on my back, I'd had them on the whole time! I also noticed at this point that I had only had one side of the pads working throughout the whole of my labour so they were only working at half their capacity, what a ninny!

And there you have it. My very very long, overly detailed birth story.

I still can't believe she's here and she is the most beautiful thing I've every seen.


Binky Linky

10 comments :

  1. Aww she is beautiful, Congratulations! My waters going was the first sign of labour for me too although I wasn't completely sure they had gone! X #binkylinky

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  2. She's beautiful! What a lovely surprise! She was obviously ready to come out and meet you! Thanks for linking up to the #binkylinky

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  3. She's a real cutie isn't she! It sounds like you've all done an amazing job. Big congratulations to all of you #binkylinky http://zenas-suitcase.co.uk/

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  4. Shes big! Congrats! I love the last photo! Happy mothers day too! #binkylinky

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  5. seems like lots of people who wanted pool birth didnt have it, i think i will have to stick to my open-mindedness on that day)

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  6. Congratulations, she's beautiful and was obviously far too eager to meet you in person! #binkylinky

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  7. I remember feeling a bit cheated by hypnobirthing - I really hadn't expected it to hurt so much! Congratulations - she is gorgeous. Xx

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  8. It is fascinating to read a really good description of how contractions feel - I had the epidural so early due to being induced that I didn't really feel proper ones. How frustrating not to be able to have the birthing pool because someone else was in it!!!! And definitely too soon for the midwife to joke about it! Thank you so much for linking your #birthstory.

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