I did it! I am now OFFICIALLY a mummy! And as expected I had absolutely no idea what I was in for or how labour would go!! So here for you all is a breakdown of my ENTIRE labour with Maddison, from the technical stuff down to all my emotions (and boy there was a lot!) So sorry but this is a bit of a long post! Anyway, background story.. I had just had a Stretch and Sweep at the midwife the day before, as mentioned on my Thursday evening blog post (CLICK HERE TO READ - which I actually published while in early labour!!) However she said she couldn't do it properly as I wasn't dilate yet, so my cervix was ripe and soft but not yet open! Anyway it was the next day when it all kicked off.. I was 40 weeks and 5 days..
22/06 - 16:20
After trying a little bit of nipple stimulation, (as advised by midwife to potentially bring on labour) I started getting these mild but constant period cramps, which initially I didn't think anything of as I had been getting the odd on and off period pains for the past 2 weeks and they had gone nowhere further! *SIGH*
22/06 - 18:10
Okay, so after having these constant period cramps for nearly 2 hours I did think something could be going on.. So I done a tiny bit more nipple stimulation but this time with my breast pump. And would you believe it, almost immediately after I'd finished my 10 minutes each side, the constant lingering cramp turned into on and off period cramps! However, I really didn't want to get my hopes up in case it was just me being so desperate to have my baby, but I started to try and time them anyway to see if there was any sort of pattern going on!!
22/06 - 19:30
Oohhhh yes, these cramps were getting stronger and stronger lasting about 1-1:30 minutes and roughly 5 minutes apart!! After calling my mum (several times) to get her opinion, I finally called Josh to say "I think you need to come home as this potentially is the real deal!!" He had been at work teaching evening classes (as Personal Trainers we have long and odd hours!) I really didn't want to make him come home and cancel on people if this was going to be a false alarm!! I still didn't want to believe that this could be the real thing! Mainly because I didn't want to be disappointed but also because I'm not sure what I imagined contractions to feel like, but I didn't think they would feel like this (menstrual cramps or that they would be so low down)!! I made sure that my mum and Josh didn't tell anyone else in the family what was going on.. as again I didn't want to get their hopes up either!!
22/06 - 20:15
So I got the courage to call the hospital and say I think I'm in labour! I feel so lucky that the John Radcliffe hospital in Oxford is SUCH a good hospital and all the midwifes and doctors are so lovely and helpful! Anyway I was told that it sounds like I'm in labour (although I still didn't fully believe it!) and to keep timing my contractions and if they stay as constant as they had been, or get closer together, to come in for an assessment!!
22/06 - 22:00
Ah crap.. my contractions had gone from 5 minutes to 10 minutes apart! That's not the right direction?!?! I kept thinking to myself "I knew this was too good to be true!" So I called the hospital again to let them know, but to my amazement they still asked me to come in to have a look and see whats going on...
23/06 - 00:00
Home, in bed, fed up and upset. Contractions now 10-15 minutes apart and guess what.. cervix STILL not dilate! ARGH! I'M NEVER GOING TO HAVE THIS BABY! (Yes, I was being very dramatic haha!) I was apparently in the "latent phase of labour" (basically very early when you're between 0-3 cm dilate), so got sent off home to bed and advised to try and get some sleep as apparently it wouldn't be much longer now... although I was still very pessimistic at this point and being a bit mopey (sorry Josh!)
23/06 - 6:20
Oh holy s***!! Contractions are fully back up to speed, even more painful and even closer together than originally!! After stupidly going against the advise of sleep, sitting up all night desperately timing my contractions and praying for them to come back properly, I probably got no more than about 20 minutes dose.. Ouch I'm going to be tired! I called up the hospital once again to let them know that my contractions were now 3-4 minute apart and lasting an agonising 2 minutes every time, but that I wanted to try to hold out at home for as long as possible. The last thing I wanted was to get to hospital and be turned away AGAIN if I still wasn't dilate or that I was only 1-2 cm.
23/06 - 8:30
I am in the bath, as I had been for the past nearly 2 hours, topping it up with warm water trying to cope with the pain, which personally I don't feel like it did anything at all.. it just made my feet and hands prune and shrivel up!! Struggling to breathe, and probably having woken everyone up who lives down our road, I got Josh to call up the hospital and say we will now come in as I just couldn't take it any longer!! Although at the same time I was still feeling sick with nerves, constantly going through in the back of my mind of what the worst case scenario would be if I STILL wasn't dilate.. then what the hell would I do?! KILL ME NOW (another overly dramatic moment haha).
23/06 - 9:45
YES! I AM 4 CM DILATE!! So I got admitted straight away there and then, and an anaesthetist was on their way for my epidural (which I had always planned for and known I wanted - phew!!) The relief when the examining midwife said "do you want the good news..."! So it was straight up to a delivery suite room and onto the gas & air in the meantime! In my head, at that moment there I was so ready for this.. it all of a sudden became incredibly real!! My mum had also just arrived at the hospital (perfect timing!), as she was my second birthing partner. Literally don't know what I'd do without my mum!
23/06 - 12:30
Okay so the last few hours, I admit I can't really remember other than it was disgustingly painful!! Basically my first epidural (yes FIRST), didn't work. Unfortunately it had been put in wrong so it wasn't hitting the right nerves, meaning all the drugs being pumped into me weren't doing ANYTHING pain relief wise, just making me feel incredibly sick and also light headed from too much gas & air! Contractions were still strong and still 4 minutes apart.. kind of pleased I can't remember this part, as it was probably the worst part of my labour (which I'm also grateful for as there is a lot worse that could've happened!) So a second anaesthetist, who was also one of the top consultants came and redid my epidural... finally, I could breathe! Once all numbed up, I had a second internal examination and I was now 6 cm dilate!!
23/06 - 20:00
Another BIG time jump, but I don't really feel I need to tell you all how relaxed I was snoozing and chatting away - it's not that interesting but definitely more favourable than killer contractions! What did happen though was I needed to have a catheter put in, as it was impossible to pee on my own by that point. And would you believe (after everything I have/was about to go through) I had a panic attack!! I think it was the "fear of the unknown" and despite not being able to feel my contractions thanks to the epidural, I was still tired having been over 24 hours labour by that point, and I just freaked! Anyway.. By this point I was 9 cm dilate but my waters hadn't popped yet, so the midwives had to do it for me. I was then told to wait 2 more hours (which would hopefully bring me to the magical 10 cm!) and then we could prepare to PUSH!!!
23/06 - 23:30
ITS PUSHING TIME!! Again I had literally just come out of another panic attack and was desperately trying to focus. This time I freaked because due to the amount of drugs in my body I was just shaking/shivering uncontrollably and I also was being sick! The sickness right before the second stage of labour is common, not to do with the epidural but still just as unpleasant! That just caused me to have to worst mental block of 'I can't do this!' The one moment when I wanted to be in TOTAL control of my body and I wasn't due to this shaking and sickness, I just couldn't see how I was going to do it?! Again, there was probably that element of "fear of the unknown" creeping in as well. Thank god for Josh and my mum who knew exactly how to calm me down, I had them each side of me squeezing and holding my hands.. it was time to go!
24/06 - 00:30
I had been pushing for an hour now, and even though I was pumped with Adrenalin and completely focused, I knew I was getting exhausted! I was squeezing Josh and my mums hands less and less to channel every bit of energy I had into pushing down into my pelvis. This was starting to feel like the longest and most emotional day of my life and although I didn't want to admit it, I knew I was starting to flake.. but I kept going the best I could, the midwives said they were really impressed actually! (must be all the old ballet training!) I was sooooo unbelievably close! In the end the midwives decided to call a doctor and assist the last bit of my delivery, mainly because my temperature had rocketed up and Maddison's heart rate had gone really high, just to be safe and speed things along. The doctor used a new type of Ventouse that I hadn't heard of called a 'Kiwi', which apparently is a softer version of a Ventouse! By this point I didn't care what he was using as I just wanted my baby here now! Just a few more pushes!!
24/06 - 1:05
Her head was out so I lent forward and pulled the rest of my baby girl out and popped her straight onto my chest... Oh, My, God, I'D DONE IT!!! My beautiful girl Maddison Grace was here! Those first baby cries are the best and most rewarding sound. It was like music!! Anything after that.. again I couldn't really tell you, I don't remember noticing my placenta being delivered, (other than being told to push once more) and I don't even remember being stitched! Maybe due to the epidural haha, but I was just so absorbed in her, I had Josh's arm around me kissing me and we were both big emotional crying wrecks!! I remember also being ridiculously shocked at how LONG she was! Literally pulling this baby out and her body just kept going and then these long legs came out of nowhere also?! How the bloody hell did that fit in me?!?! She weighed 7lbs 8oz. The best moment of my life was right here. As I was crying with happiness and saying her name over and over again, she tilted her head back and looked right up at me! These gorgeous big deep blue eyes! (Think my heart melted!!!)
So there we have it!! 32 hours and 15 minutes of labour (if you include my first 2 hours of period pain before the contractions officially started!) I am so unbelievably relieved that something hadn't gone wrong so I could get the pain relief I knew I wanted or anything else complicated happened. I have no shame in saying I needed it and I believe my labour experience wouldn't have been anywhere near as calm, special (and dare I say enjoyable?), without it. In fact, I actually turned round and said to everyone in the room that I would do it all again there and then!! I guess you could say I had a backwards labour, as it started off awful, and by the end it was calm, pain free and I'm not mentally scarred for life haha!! I would 100% do it all again in a heartbeat!
I'm a totally open book, so if anyone has more questions or wants more details on anything particular feel free to ask me! Obviously I'm not a midwife or birthing guru but I believe the more we share, we can help one another and quash any fears or worries for mums-to-be!!!
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