When I had a hamster, whenever I mentioned to people that I had a hamster their instant reaction was to tell me horror stories of how their hamster died, much the same with labour, everyone has a dramatic story, no one wakes up one morning to find their baby had fallen out over night. When I was pregnant I had lots of questions, mainly, does it hurt? Everyone revels in telling you how painful it is but never elaborates….leaving you terrified. I know being shot in the leg would be so painful but if you told me in 9 months I’d be shot in the leg I would be terrified, the irony is fear itself makes labour 100 times worse, so I planned to give an honest post of how Jasmine came in to the world.
So here it is… Firstly, I planned a water birth, truth be told I had planned a spa day! I had private hypnobirthing sessions to focus on my breathing and visualisation to make it as painless as possible, I didn’t feel scared about giving birth, I was excited, I had a playlist, snacks and a new bikini. I had packed like I would do for a spa day. I knew how I wanted to look, how I wanted my hair and I was so excited to share with everyone my pain free birthing story.
Sunday December 17th (the day before Jasmine due date)
I was the size of a house, not a mansion but certainly not a studio apartment. In short, I was ready to get this baby out. But no signs of her making an entrance. I went to Sainsbury’s to get some snacks and once I got back I notice a small wet patch on my jogging bottoms (told you I was big). I told Dave and we sat and debated whether it was waters or if I had just peed myself. Both first time parents we debated this for ages and eventually called delivery suite who would monitor me at 9pm that night….I was still worried I’d just wet myself while at Sainsbury’s but once they tested me they confirmed it was in fact my back waters (you have front and back waters – who knew?)
They monitored me and said it looked like I was having braxton hicks or as Dave renamed them, Toni Braxton hicks – helpful. They let me go home to see if I naturally went in to labour other wise they said they would have to induce me due to risk of infection. ‘I can’t be induced, I’m having a water birth’ they smiled awkwardly at me and I trotted off home on the eve of my due date still envisaging myself in the birthing pool listening to Enya drinking an alcohol free mojito.
Monday 18th December – Jasmines due date.
I woke up in the morning and wasn’t in labour, I had aches coming and going every 10 minutes but that wasn’t it. The hospital called and asked when I was going to be induced ‘oh I’m not being induced’ I explained again ‘I’m having a water birth’ (you can’t go in the water if you’re induced.) We agreed that we would go in midday and I’d discuss induction….still thinking in the back of my mind I’d convince them to let me in the pool.
So I walked the dogs and was still a bit uncomfortable but off we went to the hospital leaving all our bags in the boot of the car.
I was taken on to a ward with women who were there for check ups and scans before they carried on with their Christmas shopping. The nurse told me they were running behind and would get to me as soon as possible, so I laid on the bed whilst Dave helpfully played ‘football manager’ on his phone. ‘These beds are so uncomfortable they’re giving me back spasms’ I complained, Dave agreed although wasn’t really listening, he was too busy selling and signing football players on his phone. These back spasms went on for an hour to the point I had to close my eyes and breathe through them….weird. All the time hearing chit chat…. the nurse finally came around to talk about induction and I suggested she examined me, I was 7cms dilated. She wanted to talk about pain relief, I once again told her I was having a water birth, after telling me it was unlikely, I gave Dave the death stare. ‘Get me in the pool’ he tried and failed. On the plus side he had put down his phone now and had taken to asking me if I was ok with every contraction. Yep, it’s a festival of fun!
I still made no noise and used my hypnobirthing to focus me to breathe and visualise something away from the pain, this helped. I was also falling asleep between contractions as the relief was so nice. She brought me an A4 Leaflet on the different pain relief available. ‘Sorry I took so long, the printers playing up’ she chuckled but now I couldn’t read the leaflet, I was too focused on my breathing which is why I got to 10cms without pain relief and then ended up pushing for four hours without any either. Let’s take a moment to think of poor Dave who hadn’t eaten yet, what a brave little solider, so off he went to get the snack bags. Phew, again… poor Dave. I tried some gas and air and instantly felt like I’d drunk a whole bottle of Pinot Grigio (bearing in mind I had been sober for nine months.)
Little miss Jasmine was doing the Macarena with her hands above her head! So I told them it was game over at this point. Let’s fast forward to 20 minutes later, I was being induced to make the contractions stronger, things got dramatic in theatre and a nurse accidentally ripped out my cannula, it was like a hose pipe spraying blood everywhere from my hand, my contractions were now on top of each other and painful (but let’s remember – we are designed to do this.) Yes, the pain was intense and then they gave me an epidural and instantly the pain vanished straight away. Then I was treated to an episiotomy, forceps delivery, a blood transfusion and a partridge in a pear tree! And she was here!!!
10.16pm and 7lb 11oz she looked like a little alien. She cried, Dave cried, I sucked an ice cube on a stick as I was so thirsty and not allowed liquids in theatre. But she was here…..what a babe!
Nine months of a tough pregnancy, dramatic labour, pain, worry, stress, body changing, anxiety, sickness, drugs, I had endured it all and she came out looking like……HER DAD!!! What’s that all about?!
She was safe. She had a great pair of lungs and I without doubt would have died without our fantastic NHS. The midwives and doctors at Norfolk and Norwich hospital were incredible, I was in awe of their kindness and compassion, that night and throughout my whole stay . From the student midwife who worked overtime to make sure Jasmine arrived safely to the night nurse who pushed Jasmine around the hospital so I could sleep (wish I had taken her number now as could do with her again!) There are not enough words to thank them. We are so lucky in this country and should never loose sight of that.
And here I was a mummy. With so much pain and so many challenges ahead but it’s no cliche when I say I could do it all again for her! Everyone has a labour story would love to hear yours…
‘The course of true love never did run smooth’ William Shakespeare Act 1, Scene 1 A midsummer nights dream