Hello! Ava is now four weeks old! I can’t believe it- in some ways its been the slowest, most incredible, exhausting, emotional, loving four weeks of my life. In others, it feels like she’s been here forever and I can’t imagine what I did before having her!
I’ve started quite a few blog posts detailing my experiences with motherhood over the last few weeks, including the first week, the dreadful baby blues and my breast/bottle feeding journey which I’ll post just as soon as they are finished. For now, here’s my birth story….
***WARNING- CONTAINS AN HONEST, GRAPHIC ACCOUNT OF BIRTH. IF YOU KNOW ME, AND DON’T WANT TO READ ABOUT MY CERVIX, BODILY FLUIDS OR POST BIRTH INJURIES YOU PROBABLY SHOULDN’T READ ON…..***
I was 38+3 when I woke up at 2.30am with a short, strong ‘cramp’. It was like a period pain it came on and went so quickly I almost wondered if it had happened or whether I had imagined it. Fifteen minutes later and another pain, exactly the same. Another fifteen minutes and there it was again. This went on for two hours, each one the same, every 15 minutes, like clockwork. At this point I was so excited at the thought that labour could actually be happening and didn’t want it to stop, so I got out of bed and started walking around. I was restless. I think I went into the nursery and started touching things and just doing the ‘final’ checks that definitely didn’t need doing! I also woke Andrew (who has fallen asleep on the sofa!) and said to him “Just to let you know, I’m getting some pains….”. I’m not sure if he thought I was being dramatic or if he even took me seriously…I’m sure over the weeks previous to this I had wondered aloud at every little niggle!
Anyway I went back to bed for a while but the pains at this point were getting a little painful and lasting longer- I started timing them and they were about 7 minutes apart and lasting 30 seconds. But definitely regular! Could this be it?? I woke Andrew up at about 5.30 with a simple “you have to wake up now!”. Although I knew I had hours to go I was also incredibly restless and didn’t want to be by myself. I ran a bath, took some paracetamol and rang my mum (my second birth partner) to let her know that I was most probably in labour and just to let her know that I would need her today! I also phoned my sister who was about to start shift at the hospital next to the maternity hospital and told her excitedly that I thought today would be the day so to come across and see us when we got to hospital.
About 8am I got a ‘bloody show’. I thought I had had some shows during the week but they were nothing like this- now I’ve seen one I know that they were just increased discharge/mucus. This was A LOT of mucus, a massive glob and a lot of fresh looking blood. So much, in fact that I decided it was a good time to phone ‘labour line’ (a central phoneline for our local maternity services that you phone when in labour so they can notify the local hospital and give you advice throughout your time at home). They reassured me on the phone that my ‘show’ was normal and to give them a call later on when my contractions were closer together, or if I felt that I could no longer cope at home.
By about 11am mum, Andrew and I were in our lounge, and I could no longer breathe through the contractions. I was in and out of the bath and using my birth ball to lean on. I also had my tens machine on. We were timing the contractions and they were 5 minutes apart and lasting about a minute. I thought it was all coming along swimmingly…until about 12pm when they stopped. Just stopped. No pain. At all. It was like I had imagined the whole thing. I didn’t have a pain for a whole hour and honestly thought the whole thing had been a false start! I went for a nap at this point and managed to get 40 minutes sleep.
The contractions started again but at 10-12 minutes apart again! I had gone back to the start and was so frustrated as I just wanted to get on with it! I tried to stay up and active on the ball but I was pretty tired at this point and wanted to have another nap. Mum went out to get me a mcdonalds (This seems to be a running theme in the birth stories I have read- do we all crave fast food?), and I asked Andrew to come and nap with me and rub my back. At this point the contractions were about 8 minutes apart but REALLY painful. I couldn’t talk through them and my TENS wasn’t helping brilliantly. I couldn’t wait for each one to end and each one was incredibly painful in my back, like a twisting hot pain right down into my bottom. I never really has any pain at the front where I imagined it would be- I definitely had a back labour!
At this point hours has gone by and at 5pm the contractions were about 5 minutes apart again and I wanted to go into hospital. Each one was more painful and I wanted to be there so I could have some gas and air and reassurance that everything was progressing as it should. I was expecting them to send me back home and was dreading them telling me I was only a few centimetres dilated but even so, I wanted to go in and have some pain relief! So Andrew loaded the carseat and hospital bags into the car and in we got. I was so excited to think that the next time I came home it would hopefully be with our baby (And I wouldn’t be sent home). The hospital is only a few minutes away but I had the most awful contraction in the car- it was so difficult to stay sat down and still.
We arrived at hospital at 5.30pm and were shown to our room….I had two more contractions in the corridor so they were definitely coming more regularly. You imagine this moment for so long, walking the corridors and pausing to breathe through the pain, setting your bags down in the room and meeting your midwife. Even though each contraction was painful, in between I was so excited to be in labour and was fairly calm at this point.
I’ll continue with the hospital part of my birth story in the next post. And if you’ve read this far then thank you!