We settled into our room and I clung to the windowsill and breathed through each contraction- they were coming every four minutes or so and were increasingly unbearable. It took over an hour for someone to examine me and I still thought at this point I would be sent home. I half expected someone to say still that this wasn’t really labour and I was being dramatic! My angel of a midwife, Sarah-Jane, did my first internal examination (nothing in comparison to contractions!) and I was 3cm dilated! Not a massive amount but this definitely meant I was actually in labour, and wouldn’t be going home. Sarah had given me the gas and air at this point which made me very light headed but definitely helped with the pain and was a good distraction- maybe it’s having to concentrate and breath so much when using it as well as the entonox gas that made it work well for me. I stayed as active as possible through the contractions and stood and swayed through a lot of them, but they were quickly becoming pretty unbearable. The next hours are somewhat a blur and the whole labour sped up- I dilated very quickly and went from 3-10cm in just six hours, which apparently is quite quick! At some point in the evening my blood pressure was taken and was very high- 180/120 and I was beginning to feel quite ill. Some emergency bloods were sent and it seemed I had pre-eclampsia- something which was later confirmed in the bloods. I had a massive headache and it was important to get my blood pressure down- I had a blood pressure tablet and discussed having the remifentanyl PCA or an epidural. The contractions were obviously excruciating which wasn’t helping my blood pressure- so I opted for an epidural which would help both.
Things sped up very quickly from here on- I had to wait about an hour in the end for the epidural as my bloods had been delayed. Staying still and bent over a pillow whilst having near continuous contractions was the hardest part of the whole labour but the relief when it finally worked was amazing! For the first time in hours I took stock of the room and noticed who was there. My blood pressure came down immediately and I felt so much better.
By this point however Ava was in distress and her heartrate was dipping with each contraction. After another examination (whereby I was pretty much fully dilated) I was given half an hour to get her out naturally or the doctors would try forceps/suction. However her heartrate dipped again and again, and those moments were incredibly slow. The room was filled with doctors and more midwives and waiting for her heartrate to come up each time felt like eternity. I remember looking accross at my mum terrified at that moment.
My legs were put up into stirrups and equipment was assembled but by this time I was pushing myself, determined to get her out and safe. I’ve never been so determined to do anything in my life, and pushed with every ounce of my being. After only six pushes and just a couple of minutes Ava was born at 12.50 am, weighing 4lbs 10oz. I was in labour a total of just under 24 hours and spent the final 8 hours in hospital.
Tiny, precious and safe.
Ava’s tiny birth weight and a whole week In hospital…