The morning started with my midwife check-up. I had all the usual checks; urine sample, blood pressure and measurement of belly. I was then told Bump Lentil was still not engaged but at least he was head down (He better be as my belly feels so much heavier and uncomfortable!) My parents visit that afternoon and i was looking forward to the massage my Mama gives me on my back and arms, since the last few weeks. In the evening, Martin runs a hot bubble bath. I’m usually a shower type person, but this felt so warming and relaxing. My senses and body take a welcome break in the hot water surrounding me. Afterwards I check my belly – I’ve never really notice the spider veins under my belly. That’s because I don’t have eyes down there! I only noticed them on my sides. To end our night, Martin and I usually read the Day by Day Pregnancy Book, so that we can understand what is happening to Bump and to me. Also so that bump can hear and be familiar with our voices. Usually we have to catch up a couple of days. I have been adamant to try and get ahead, especially because of the scare a few weeks ago. (Also that I made a bet with him that Lentil would arrive this week so wanted to know anything further ie like Labour procedures. As I get comfortable (at least try to) a trickle of liquid runs by leg. I momentarily think quietly. Could this be my waters breaking? Or has my lack of pelvic exercises led to urinary incontinence? How am I meant to tell Martin as a grown adult I’ve just peed the bed, irrespective if it’s a symptom of pregnancy? I should have bought one of those waterproof covers for the mattress! I turn to Martin, disrupting his reading and indicated I’ve have to check what the watery substance is and head to my best friend, the toilet. It has seen me oh so many times today and throughout my pregnancy.
My knickers fall between my feet to the floor whilst I figure out what is happening whilst my bottom is parked on the toilet seat. Possibly a good 3-4 minutes later I shout to Martin that I’m sure it’s my waters breaking. Kind of disappointed it’s not like the stories you hear where it’s a gush of water. It slowly continues. I do question myself, maybe it’s just a prolonged pee! Whilst I sit on the loo, I get Martin to call the maternity ward. They advise to put wear a sanitary towel for an hour, with legs raised and analyse at the end if it is completely soaked. So that’s what I did! It blatantly was 10minutes later but I continued to raise my feet. Panicking deep down, I ask Martin to check my hospital bag/repack it all. I panic about the unknown, the uncertainty of it all but recall happy thoughts equals oxytocin, to help aid the labour process. We call the Maternity Ward again and after that call we are on the way to the hospital. The journey there leads me so many worries. Firstly, why are we not relaxing at home like NCT advised before the labour progresses? Is this it – I haven’t been educated yet on the whole labour process! Am I really ready? Will I be a good mum? How do I change a nappy!? How is Martin feeling? I look at Martin whom radiates a cool calm exterior. At least he’s not making me panic!
I advise the midwives as per my notes on my phone the time the water started etc. They check my sanitry towel, something I am so familiar with now. As usual a urine sample, blood sample, blood pressure is taken along. Lentils heart beat is monitored again and so are my contractions. Turns out I am not even experiencing miniscule contractions yet. They explain that as the waters broke prior to contractions, that I and Lentil is prone to an infection, especially that I am slightly early to full term at 36 weeks and 2 days. They also wanted to induce labour but were happy for me to wait 24 hours in case it would happen naturally. Whilst I impatiently waited I had to have antibiotics.
The other pregnant ladies in the same room were being induced with the pessary. One of them had severe contractions but not strong enough, and the other nothing. Whilst they were more likely to meet their little munchkins soon, the midwives constantly checked on me and bump. Not to mention my waters were also looked at. Who knew that waters would still carry on dripping?! I had some show and plug where the water had light pink discharge and blood. That did scare the hell out of me, but this was all normal. Lentil was being stubborn and did not want to show himself at all. On Friday 1st April, the midwives sent me to the delivery ward for an induction. I didn’t understand why they were sending me first than the other ladies but I’m not going to complain.
At 12pm, Helen, the midwife that was going to assist me during labour introduced herself. She was from Bogna Regis, catering for cover as Epsom had been quite busy. She was so friendly and helpful with such a delicate voice. Before inducing me with the pessary she wanted to do an internal check. Her gloves went on and her fingers inside my vagina. It was a bit uncomfortable but to my astonishment I was already 2cm dilated. I thought I am meant to feel pain/contractions here? So instead of the pessary she gave me the drip. This would also do a 2 in 1 job so the antibiotics could still be given. Disappointed that the Birth Centre was in a faraway land, the midwife tried to make the experience as easy as possible. I wasn’t stuck to the bed and could use the birthing ball, but had to be careful as the drip and monitoring equipment was attached to me. Whatever the hormone was in the drip, it started to get the contractions to rear its ugly head, eventually. With each contraction I would breathe in and out whilst my butt was on the ball. Martin would pour some water or cranberry juice into a plastic cup for me to drink with a straw, along with feeding me snacks. He would assist my granny liken symptons, as I would be walking slow to the toilet with all the attachments. I had also asked Martin to inform my parents, but knew that they wouldn’t understand his accent. So he kept my cousins in the loop to tell them. As it’s April 1st, they did think it was a joke being April fools day!
The contractions got slightly more intense the more the hormone was increased but unfortunately it was big contractions but far apart, rather than close together. She then reduced it, and hours later they were close together. Don’t hate me but it wasn’t that bad – I just kept breathing at each contraction to reduce the pain. Agony wanted to say hello later when my back felt like a house fell on top of me. I tried bending down on the floor whilst resting my upper body over the ball but that did nothing to help. Now – I needed something to release the pain away from my back. The midwife gave paracetamol but it was so useless – it just made me tired. At this point I order Martin to massage my back. I stumbled onto the bed and the midwife checked how far dilated I was. She was expecting about 3-4cm but I was 6cm. Hurrah! At this point – the gas and air was given to me. It took a while to kick in but I loved it. It was a great high feeling. I only remember a few parts of this whole process – that being me begging for the epidural – which was too late by the time the anesthetist came as I was 9cm!
Here is everything I remember saying among all the screaming:
“Does this mean I have to do this on gas and air?!!”.
“I hate you Martin”
“I love you Martin”
“Why are you taking away the gas?”
“Don’t take away the gas. How can you do that to me?”
“How am I meant to be pushing?”
“You have the baby then!”
“I want to push!”
“I need to push!”
“I can’t do this”
“Can’t you get forceps?”
“Have I pooed? “
“Pull him out!”
“I can only hear you now Martin, and no-one else.”
“How do I know when a contraction comes for me to push?”
“I’ve got a cramp! Massage my leg!”
The midwifes shift finished at this point and a new one replaced her. Worst moment ever!! I recall the midwife saying to push as if I’m doing a poo! Ahahahaha. That must have been great to hear from Martins ears. My first push – actually did not make a dent. Apparently I was too high to actually push. I also got told off for screaming too much. Let me freaking scream woman. It’s a killer! Once I figured out the pushing which freaking cains like a bitch – I could feel him entering our world. I could obviously feel my vagina being stretched and felt like pushing when I wasn’t meant to but didn’t. I wanted him out as he was taking all the energy from me to push any more. It is excruciating pain every time he slides further. How second time mothers wish to go through this again is beyond me! I get that it shows the things we would do for our children – but really – this painful!? There was no way I could carry on any longer but somehow I found all that power to do so. Martin had explained that the umbilical cord was wrapped around his neck twice, and that he looked purple. On my birth plan Martin was supposed to cut the chord however the midwives had to react quickly to untie the chord. The midwives did all they can urgently to make our baby at ease. My placenta came out as well after they pressed on my tummy. That was totally awkward. Did Martin see that? What ugliness comes out! People really eat that? WTF! Eventually soon after, with no stitches required, I get to hold Joshua James Southam in my arms on my chest with Martin beside me. I could not have done this without Martin as he was a great birth partner who provided all the support and encouragement I needed. (Awesome Martin, thank you) The 9 month pregnancy of crappy symptoms and the hell of labour, as everyone says was all worth it in the end. April 1st 2016, Martin and I welcome Joshua James Southam into this world, at 20:44, weighing 7lbs.