Despite knowing deep down that labour could not be planned for, I still had an idea of what I wanted my labour to be like.I think most women do though, it is the biggest moment in your life, and its so unpredictable and more often than not you end up swept along by the momentum of it all.
So, in my head, we would labour at home for as long as possible, I would have a bath, head to hospital, have the baby in the birthing pool without pain relief and we would be home the day after, a trio at last.
Saying this, I am a huge believer in the right birth on the day, so I was completely open to anything that would make my little ones appearance safe.
I woke up at about 1am to go for one of my many nighttime wees. I got back into bed and realised I felt pretty uncomfortable. Conor asked me if I was ok, and I said, I had a bit of a tummy ache, just like cramps. This immediately made him sit up and ask me if I thought it was time. I wasn’t sure, and we ummed and errr’d in bed for about 45 minutes (and I went for a wee about 5 more times!) before we decided it had to be.
We came downstairs and put The Big Bang Theory on, and I bounced away on my exercise ball. The pains came and went, and I breathed through them fairly easily. I called the maternity ward just to say I was in labour and they advised a nice warm bath, and to come in when my waters broke. I soaked for about 15 minutes listening to the Chris Moyles podcast before I couldn’t get comfy. I came back down and got back on my ball and I was getting incredibly uncomfortable, and my waters still hadn’t gone.
It hit 6am and my waters went, nothing more than a little trickle so we rang maternity again and they told us to come in, so we rang my Mum who would meet us there, and off we went! I had my eyes closed for most of the journey as my contractions where every couple of minutes and lasted for at least a minute at a time, my waters continued to go with every contraction and when I got out the car at the car park I couldn’t walk without feeling like I’d wet myself.
We were taken into the labour ward so I could be examined. I was thinking I’d be at least 4-5cm, given the intensity and frequency of my contractions, but I almost burst into tears when the midwife told me I was only 2cm. I waddled back up to the maternity ward, expecting to be sent home for a little while longer, but another midwife admitted me, saying that Peanut was in the back to back position. I was furious. I had read my hypnobirthing book, which stated that good posture, which can be achieved on the birthing ball (where I had spent the last week!), would decrease the risk of baby being in the wrong position. She advised me to stay as upright as I could and walk around as much as possible, which was fine with me, I couldn’t lay down even if I wanted to, the pressure was too much.
Now that I look back on it, the day was such a strange blur. It was sunny outside, quite warm for October and my bed was right next to the window, so I was able to get some fresh air through the window. I went from sitting looking out of the window to leaning forward on the bed, to waddling back and forth to the toilet. It was 6.30am when I arrived at the hospital, and it was 4pm when I was finally able to go back down to the labour ward, being told she had turned and I was 5cm. I was exhausted, and so were my Mum and Conor, who hadn’t eaten properly despite me telling them to tuck into all the snacks we had packed.
I was able to get into the pool (YAY!) which was like heaven. As soon as I sunk my bump down into the water it felt different. I was more relaxed in the water, and knew I would get through the rest of my labour without pain relief. It had been offered to me twice, and I refused, knowing I wanted to do it without. Conor put Ed Sheeran on and I focused purely on breathing through the contractions, and imagined my little one making her way down to me.
My midwife was with me the whole time, but for the most part, I was left to labour independently. She would pop over every few minutes to check Pea’s heart rate but didn’t coach me, which was fine with me. Mum and Conor were fab, they let me break their hands with each contraction and coached me through my labour just the right amount.
When we got to 8pm I honestly thought she wouldn’t make an appearance, and all I could think of was that I would have to stay in the hospital tonight, alone, because we wouldn’t be able to take the baby home the same day. My midwife encouraged me by saying the shift change was at 8.30, so it would be good to get the baby out by then. I could feel that Pea was right there, just being incredibly stubborn and didn’t want to greet the outside world yet. When it got to the shift change, I was pretty much birthing her myself. As the midwives changed, (to the lovely lady that originally examined me at 6.30!) I knew she was coming. I pushed with literally everything I had left and she was in my hands, slippery and warm. My little peanut arrived at 20:53, almost 19 hours after labour started.
With Daisy’s (midwife) help, I bought her up onto my chest, and I looked at Conor and he had tears in his eyes, I don’t know who kissed me first, him or my Mum, but our baby was here. She was this mass of thick black hair, pink wrinkly skin and no cry. I knew then that she was our Amelia, no other name would do. Daisy held out a towel and began rubbing her to get her going, and as soon as she opened her mouth, brown liquid came trickling out. Conor cut the cord and Daisy took Amelia away, to get her sorted.
This must have happened in no more than a few minutes. I can’t really remember this as I was focusing on getting out of the pool and onto the bed, but Conor said there was a rush of doctors and midwives out in the corridor, all following our baby. I think I must have gone into shock because I was so incredibly calm, and completely exhausted by this point, I don’t know how long it was until they bought her back in the room, in an incubator. But knowing that I couldn’t hold her, or kiss her, or have that skin to skin that I had craved, almost destroyed me.
Wow this is a long one! I knew it would be and that’s why it’s been so long inbetween my posts, I knew I had to give this some time and thought and knew it would be a tough one to write. My next post will continue on from this, and will explain exactly what was wrong with Amelia, and how we reacted.
With love, Amelia & Me x