Nothing can prepare you fully for the moment you give birth to the tiny little human you’ve been carrying around for nine months. Every woman’s labour and delivery is completely different and that is what makes giving birth so beautiful but I hope my experience will be useful for those expecting their first baby and be a comfort to those who have already given birth.
Arlo was due on August 12th 2017 but he didn’t make an appearance until 3.15pm August 24th. To say I was going out of my mind with anticipation, excitement and nerves during the extra twelve days I was pregnant for, would be an understatement. It was a painful wait (quite literally too as for me those final days were the most uncomfortable physically).
On August 22nd I went to my final midwife appointment at the hospital and was preparing to be induced on the Friday. I had my final sweep and my midwife told me to go home and to keep drinking my raspberry leaf tea (this stuff was so yummy and is said to help bring on labour; you can find some here).
It was about 11.00am when I got home. I made a cup of coffee and put a couple of crumpets in the toaster (they were my absolute favourite when I was pregnant) and I sat down to watch This Morning. Little did I know that it was THIS morning that would be the start of my little Arlo’s entrance into the world.
I don’t think I actually got to take a bite of my crumpets when I was greeted with a puddle on the floor in front of me. Had my waters really broke? I wasn’t in any pain so I ran to the toilet and rang the hospital. The midwife on the other end asked me a few questions like what colour the liquid was and how I was feeling etc. and because I was feeling absolutely fine, they established that Arlo had done a poop in my womb (nice, I know). She told me that I needed to get to the hospital as soon as possible: “Oh and bring your hospital bag,” she said. Then it suddenly dawned on me that this was it, I was that bit closer to meeting my baby.
I rang my partner straight away to tell him to leave work and meet me at the hospital. I remember him commenting on how calm I seemed. For someone that was so worried about labour throughout their pregnancy to the point where I really didn’t like speaking about it, this was a very odd observation for him to make giving the circumstances. But truth be told, I was actually surprisingly calm. I guess it was because that I had been waiting all this time and now something was finally happening; I guess I was just fully embracing it.
No one was home so I cleaned up the mess I made on the floor as best I could (although my waters had just broke I wasn’t in any pain or discomfort, I literally felt normal) and booked an Uber to take me to the hospital. The driver also commented on how calm I seemed after I asked him to take the quickest way to the hospital as my waters had broke. He wished me luck as we pulled up to the hospital and that was the last time I was out in the fresh air a pregnant lady.
WHAT YOU MIGHT EXPECT IN LABOUR AND DELIVERY
Depending on your hospital, you may have to go through something called triage. I did and it’s honestly the longest thing ever. They check you and baby and and then I was waiting a good two hours in there for a hospital bed to become free. Just expect the wait if you’re not fully dilated.
You might not be able to stick to your birth plan
I opted for a birth suite. It was a lovely room with a big double bed and a heart shaped birthing pool. Did I get my birth suite? Nope. Arlo had done a poop in my womb and although this is quite common we were classed as “high risk” and my delivery had to be in labour ward. This was really disappointing at the time as I’d had a lovely pregnancy with no complications and it came as a shock that I suddenly was “high risk.”
Because I was post-term and Arlo had done a poop in the womb they needed to start the induction process as soon as I was admitted into the labour ward.
My Induction process:
1. Propess medication; Gel medication is inserted inside of you and releases hormones which softens the cervix.
2. Syntocinin hormone drip: Cannula is inserted into your hand where a small plastic tube is inserted into the vein using a needle. This medication is given slowly as a drip.
Being induced for me was extremely painful as your contractions are not brought on naturally; it’s what they call artificial pain. There was seriously no preparing for that pain. But every woman is different and I have heard that some women cope fine with it.
All that you said you would do will most probably go out the window
I said I’d use one of the bouncy balls that they give you during labour but I literally hated sitting on it as it didn’t help with the pain at all. I also said I’d chant positive statements to keep me calm during labour which was something they recommended to me at one of my NCT classes but the only statements I was chanting began with the letter f. Yes it’s true, you really do rinse every swear word in labour.
You may have a change in heart about the pain relief you want
I can hear myself now: “No I don’t want the epidural, no way.” But when I was howling in pain at 3.00am 12 hours into my labour being told by doctors that after the second induction the pain was due to get worse, I fully welcomed the epidural and I am so glad I had it. I would even go as far as recommending it to women who find that they just can’t cope with the pain.
You can’t eat
No one ever told me that once I had been induced that I couldn’t have anything to eat so I was starving! If you are lucky enough to get time before going into hospital, make sure you eat.
You could be pushing for a long time
I was pushing for over an hour before the midwife had to call the doctors in. This kick-ass doctor took over, changed my whole position and basically shouted at me: “If you don’t want to have a caesarian you need to push lady.” Before I knew it I’d found this strength I never knew I had inside of me and it was all because of this doctor. She was amazing and changed the whole dynamics of my labour for the better.
Expect to have a room full of people you’ve never seen before
“Who the **** are you?!” I remember shouting this several times at the new faces that kept appearing during my final moments in labour. Don’t worry I don’t think they took it too personally but be aware that you might have a few more doctors in there than you may have started with.
You might poop
Sorry to be disgusting but you might poop but if you think you’ll care about this whilst you’re in labour, you really don’t.
“Ok last one.” I can just hear the doctor now. And after ten times of saying that, it eventually was the last one. I can’t lie, having stitches was awful. The doctors had to cut me to help with the delivery and after you’ve been through all that pain of pushing, you have to suffer with more pain from these damn things. Be prepared that the healing process of stitches is a long one; I don’t think I fully healed until Arlo was about eight weeks old. Warm salt baths really helped me.
That first wee after you give birth is so painful
Expect it to sting like hell but once you’ve got the first one out the way, they do get better.
Stock up on Tena pads and bring lots of them with you to the hospital. I found these to be the most comfortable. The bleeding was seriously something else after I gave birth and there was a few occasions where my partner had to go out to get me more so save yourself the hassle and pack lots in your hospital bag before hand.
OK, now comes the apology. Sorry if I have put anyone off with the details but that was just my experience! Like mentioned at the start of this post, everyone is different, some women breeze through it, some don’t. I didn’t. But I think it’s important to know what you can expect just in case! I didn’t read much up on delivery and labour and what to expect before hand and a lot of it did catch me off guard. It’s pretty amazing what our bodies go through during labour and delivery but the pain is SO worth it. Wishing all you expectant mama’s the best of luck!