It was long, it was painful and did I mention it was long.

Amy at and1more means four is about to give birth for the fifth time, she’s a pro by now and I’m sure will sail through this next one with no trouble. Just to torture herself though she’s putting together a birth story carnival on her blog on the 12th April. 


It could not have come at a better time as Mini Mck will be one on the 13th April and this time last year my labour had started, so what better way to mark the occasion than with his birth story.


Saturday 11th April 2009


Today was due date and right on cue I woke at 5am to my water breaking, I phoned the hospital and was told go in that evening if things had not progressed before then. 


The waiting game began. Mild contractions started in the afternoon but nothing to get excited about. As instructed we called the hospital in the evening and were told to go in so that I could be checked over.


Why does everything take so long in hospitals? Before I was even looked at there was much form filling and questions to answer. Plus they wanted to monitor the baby for a while. We ended up being there for a couple of hours and the outcome of this was that only my hind-waters had broken, just the bit at the front. Baby’s heartbeat was fine and so we were sent home, back to limbo.


What I should have done at the point was taken some pain killers and got as much sleep as possible. What I actually did was time the contractions all night and only drift in and out of sleep – BIG MISTAKE!!


Sunday 12th April 2009


I can sum up Easter Sunday in a few words:


Old episodes of Friends
Contractions
Birthing Ball
Dancing to iPod playlist in an attempt to get ‘things moving’
TENS machine
Using lots of maternity pads




By around 7pm I was really flagging, it had now been over 24 hours since the contractions had started and I’d had little sleep. Things just weren’t progressing, the contractions were a bit more painful, but not regular at all and after some tears and another call to the hospital they suggested we go in again. 


After a lot of waiting around and even more form filling, enter Lovely Midwife #1 who told me I was only 3cm dilated and I could either stay in hospital and get a sleeping draft or go home and just sleep.She told me not to worry about timing any contractions and I could come back when I felt I needed to. She assured me that I would know when it was right to do so. She did want us to go back in the morning for an induction though as my waters had been broken for a while.


I had always planned to stay at home as long as possible and the thought of sleeping in my own bed was appealing. I also felt reassured that I could come back if I needed and relieved that I needn’t monitor my contractions any longer. So we opted to go home.


Monday 13th April 2009


When we got home I went to bed and MckDaddy pottered around downstairs for a while and just as he came to bed, about 1am, I informed him that things were much worse and we needed to go to hospital. He wasn’t best pleased and I seem to remember him actually asking if I was sure or was I joking. 


With my TENS machine still strapped on we made our way back to the hospital for the third time. This time I knew I wasn’t coming home until my baby had arrived. The contractions were strong enough now to stop me walking when they came, although they still weren’t regular.


Enter, Lovely Midwife #2. 


The first thing she did was look at my Birth Plan. It wasn’t very detailed but did say that I wanted to try and keep things as natural as possible, with very little reliance on drugs or intervention if possible, to have the baby put on me as soon as it was born, for MckDaddy to cut the cord and tell me the sex and that breastfeeding was important to me so I wanted help getting started with that as soon as possible. I’m so glad I had put some of the important things on paper as it’s easy to get distracted from what you intended when you are in the moment.


She impressed me even more after she’d examined me by saying “I’m not going to say how dilated you are or someone is going to want to intervene.” It was official, she was on my side. 


By now, I’d had only a few hours sleep in the last 48. I was exhausted, so after being hooked up to a monitor for and me and Mini Mck’s heartbeat I was given a sleeping draft and told to try and sleep. MckDaddy was in charge of looking at the monitor for the next contraction and pressing the boost button on the TENS machine. Which he did for the next fours hours. Something that he points out was very difficult, what with all the concentrating and staying awake. (ahem) Apparently I was very strange throughout this period as I would wake at the height of my contraction, cry out in pain and then go back to sleep.


At about 6am I woke up and was eager to get the show on the road. My waters had still not fully broken and Lovely Midwife #2 said things were going to get more painful after that.


When I said I wanted to keep things natural I also pointed out that I was happy to have a bit of gas and air and I kept thinking they would offer it to me, they didn’t. I figured I’d better save that option for after they had broken my waters. 


Lovely Midwife #2 did this and then changed her clothes and the bedsheets and mopped the floor, we’ll say no more about that, I think. By now it was 7am and shift changeover time, also it was time to start pushing.


Enter Lovely Midwife #3 who also looked at my birth plan straight away. Lovely Midwife #2 hung around for a while and said how disappointed she was not to see it through to the end and that she had been sure she would. She stayed over her time by around half an hour but unfortunately she had to leave before the big finale.


I was apprehensive about a change in midwife at this late stage, but Lovely Midwife #3 was so lovely and had actually seen us on the Saturday night, so wasn’t totally unfamiliar. What can you do anyway? All of us had expected it to be over by now. I was starting to think it was never going to end and was becoming quite demoralised, tired and emotional.


I clearly wasn’t pushing in the right way. They tried me sitting on the loo and kneeling up and lying down and I just couldn’t get the hang of it. I was becoming frustrated, stressed and was already very tired. I kept saying that I couldn’t do it and obviously the Midwife and MckDaddy kept telling me I could but none of it was making a difference. 


Lovely Midwife #3 then gave me some really clear instruction about how to push and to rest in between each contraction. I told her I didn’t know when the contractions were, any longer, but she assured me I did, as I’d been pushing on them.


I put my head in my hands and went very quiet, I turned inwards and told myself I had to find some strength from somewhere. I was giving myself a pep talk. Reminding myself that I’d wanted this for so long and it really was nearly over. That I had to do it and that I could do it, even though I was finding this pushing part of labour the most difficult and the most painful.


I found some strength from somewhere and straight away things started to progress as they should. It was extremely painful now but too late for any gas and air and so I accepted that I was going to have to do this the hard way. 


The baby’s heartbeat was still being monitored using a belt monitor but they were finding it hard to get an accurate reading so they used one of those scary looking spiky clips on his head to check it. His heart rate wasn’t recovering after each contraction so there started to be talk of ‘intervention’. Lovely Midwife #3 was doing her best to be a good cheerleader. 


“Come on, Mummy Limited, you need to push otherwise those interfering doctors are going to be poking their noses in, we need to get this baby out before they do.” 


By this stage the idea of some help was sounding rather appealing to me and so when Fresh Faced Jolly Doctor came in with Slighty Scary Midwife Sister came in I was relieved. Three people were now peering at my nether regions and Fresh Faced Jolly Doctor says


“Oh, you don’t need any help, you’re nearly there, you can do this on your own”


“Noooooooooooooo, I do need help, I do”


Slightly Scary Midwife Sister took me in hand “Now, come on Mummy Limited, nothing is going to get this baby out except you pushing it out and we can’t do that for you” (See I told you she was a bit scary, but it was just what I needed)


I’m not really sure how long the next bit was, not very, maybe two or three pushes, but suddenly Lovely Midwife #3 was confirming that I wanted the baby put straight on my chest and because I did she covered it with a protective changing mat.


I had a moment of clarity, I realised that if she was doing that, then they really were telling the truth and it was nearly over. It gave me the last little bit of strength I needed


At 8.52am, weighing 6lb 12oz that Mini Mck was born. He was back to back until the very last moment when he turned and he had his hand up beside his head, just to make things that little harder. It had taken 52 hours, 2 sets of TENS pads, 4 midwifes, a doctor, a brilliant partner and zero pain drugs but we were finally done.

Mckdaddy didn’t really get to tell me the sex as I’d seen for myself before he was able to construct a sentence, but he did cut the cord. After a short cuddle Mini Mck was weighed and bought back to Mckdaddy while I was checked over. No stitches needed, but just a graze where Mini Mck has caught me with his nail. 


He was here, at last. I felt a rush of so many different emotions, joy, shock and relief all mixed together with the practicalities that are going on around. I couldn’t stop gazing at this tiny creature who celebrated his entry into the world with a feed and a lovely sleep.


We had to stay in hospital for the rest of the day and that night which I was bitterly disappointed about at first. In hindsight, although it was noisy and hot, it was a good thing for us. We’d had a few problems feeding and it gave me some time to be alone with Mini Mck to learn together what we were supposed to be doing, while still having someone on hand if we needed them.



As I look out of the window now, a year later, the weather is very similar. Sunny but breezy. The year has gone so quickly but thinking about giving birth to Mini Mck seems like such a long time ago. It is a vivid memory but also a blur at the same time. I seemed to experience a daze of confusion during labour and a daze of wonderment afterwards and sometimes, when I watch Mini Mck sleep or play on his own, that daze comes upon me all over again.

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