I love reading birth stories! After sharing my own two very different birth experiences [emergency c-section and natural VBAC] I decided to ask other mums and dads to share their wonderful birth stories with me too. I’m absolutely delighted that so many people want to share with me! If you’d like to share your birth story, send me an email or get in touch via Twitter or Facebook.
This week Sarah is sharing her beautiful birth story. She was induced after going 8 days overdue which then resulted in an emergency caesarean section.
Tell me your beautiful birth story…
We went in for induction Sunday morning at 8am due to high level of amniotic fluid and large estimated size of baby, 8 days over due date. I was examined by the midwife, I wasn’t dilated but she could just reach the cervix, and a pessary was inserted at 10am. I was put on a monitor for an hour and then we waited around having strolls in between to try and help things along.
I had had only had 3 hours’ sleep the night before due to excitement so at 8.30pm I had a nice shower and got ready for sleep (ha!). As nothing was happening Dan went home at 9pm and I had some food and got in to bed. Thankfully I had the ward to myself so it was nice and quiet.
I started to feel a bit crampy almost immediately but strong Braxton hicks were quite the norm for me in the evening especially in bed so I didn’t think too much about it… About 10 minutes later I felt a bang (not a pop!) and what felt like a strong kick. I turned over and suddenly felt a huuuuge gush. I pressed my buzzer for the midwife and told her my waters are gone. She said “Stand up and I’ll go get a pad”, as I stood up the fluid loss was just immense, the most she has ever witnessed (hurrah?).
Anyway she ended up going back to the cupboard and came back with about 20 pads and a whole linen trolley which I went through in about 10 minutes. About half hour later it was still coming out! It was a bit tricky as she had to get me on the monitor as soon as possible to check the baby’s heartbeat due to risk of prolapse with high and sudden loss of fluid. She just didn‘t know what to do first! It took her 3 bed changes before I could get on the bed, but we were having a bit of a laugh about it!
During this very glamorous time I text Mum and Dan to tell them my waters had gone, Dan had just got home and tucked in to bed but I told them just to be on standby, it could be a long wait and as I wasn‘t on the labour ward I wasn‘t allowed visitors at that time of night.
Once on the monitor the baby seemed happy so I got back into a clean bed and tried to rest. Almost immediately I started getting contractions, lasting a minute and then a minute’s break, so I put on my tens machine. It was so uncomfortable to lay down with the contractions so I kept pacing up and down by the bed instead.
At about 2am I was really starting to feel like I needed Dan and Mum there so I text them to come in soon, even though the only way they could visit was if we went to the dayroom. The midwife kept popping in to see me and was VERY persistent that I tried pethidine. I took 2 paracetamol but really wanted to avoid having anything else until I was further along and was just trying to stay relaxed and let my body do its job. In my mindset I wanted to labour with minimum drugs and intervention.
Once Dan and Mum arrived I felt a bit ‘safer’, we went and sat in the day room and they helped distract me through the contractions. At about 5am we decided to go back to the ward as I could hear the sound of gas and air so decided to follow it! As I got back to the ward I had a very long contraction and felt very sick. I was holding on gripping the sink to get through it and still the midwife was telling me to try pethidine instead of gas and air. I told her I would try pethidine if she gave me gas and air in the meantime and then she could have it back (she never did haha).
Well I must say the pethidine did absolutely bugger all. I was waiting for the contractions to calm down but they didn’t. I asked the midwife to examine me and I was only 3-4cm maximum so wasn’t actually ‘in labour’ (pfft). I was told later that I would have been a lot further along (the rough idea being your cervix dilates about 1cm per hour), but as babies head wasn’t fitting down into the pelvis the cervix wasn’t able to dilate anymore than that.
I was put back on the monitor and with every contraction the babies heart rate was dropping. I hated the feeling of gas and air but it was the only thing to stop me from crying. My tens machine was now on the ‘full-whack-pushing-pain-relief-stage’ (I‘d still recommend them as a drug free method of pain relief in the early stages). I was a bit spaced out at this point but I was suddenly aware of a doctor at the side of my bed saying I was being taken upstairs to the labour ward due to the dropping heart rate. I was whisked up there very quickly in a wheelchair which hurt so much to be sat down, but it hurt a lot more to be put onto another bed and again strapped to a tight monitor.
The contractions were pretty much back to back at this point. The pethidine hadn’t worked at all and the gas and air made me start being sick which isn’t my favourite thing at the best of times let alone when you can hardly move. I must add at this point that Dan and Mum were absolutely brilliant with me throughout the whole experience and I couldn’t have got as far as I did without their reassurance, patience and help, which is still ongoing.
I was examined again and told I was still 3-4cm and they could just about reach the head. Since I had been moved to the labour ward the babies heart rate was now doing the opposite, going very high with each contraction. Also, I had started to shake uncontrollably and my blood pressure and temperature shot up; later I found out this is because I had an infection and had started to go into a bit of shock.
Another midwife came in and said they had to put a trace on the babies head to keep an eye on the heart rate. This took a long time and 3 attempts and was incredibly painful to fit as they could just about reach the babies head the trace kept falling off. At this point the babies heart rate wasn’t dropping from 200 and the contractions weren’t stopping. My uterus was working so hard to try and push babies head down into pelvis that it was working overtime which was distressing the baby.
Quite quickly there were about 7 types of medical staff around the bed. A midwife asked if I would like an epidural, with my birth plan already gone out the window I agreed as I had no other way to deal with the pain. Luckily the anaesthetist arrived within about 10 minutes but it took about half an hour and 5 attempts to get it fitted. It seemed I quickly became a pin cushion with lots of drips, wires and tubes in my arms. It wasn’t a full doseage but it took the peak of the pain away.
A midwife asked me if I would like a blood sample taken from the top of babies head to further see why they were in distress, this seemed pointless as it wasn’t the reason I was worried about, it was just the fact it was happening. Also they wouldn’t have been able to perform it quickly as the head was out of reach and it didn‘t seem we had much time to wait.
A few more people came in the room and strongly suggested a caesarean. I had already had this in my mind as I just wanted my baby out safe, which ever way they had to do it. I also had kept an open mind that this would probably happen since I had been told that baby was a biggun, lets just call it mothers intuition that I knew they wouldn’t fit through the proper way!
Once I had said yes to the section a few more people came in the room (I’m glad they gave me the biggest room as it was getting quite crowded) and I had to sign a consent form and the surgeon was explaining the procedure to me. I was queue jumped up the list due to it being a stage 2 emergency and was told I would have my baby in my arms within half an hour. Mum then phoned Dad to tell him to get to the hospital and had to run out to the car to fetch the babies suitcase!
After saying bye to Mum I was whisked away pretty quickly. Once in theatre the staff all rallied round to get me ready as soon as possible with a spinal block. All dignity was gone at this point but I really didn’t care. It was a very strange feeling being numb but still feeling a very strong tugging at my belly. The anaesthetic told me to get ready to have baby put on my chest as it would be out in a couple of minutes.
As I felt them pull the head out I heard the surgeon say ‘meconium‘, I felt the rest of him come out and they announced it was a boy which I felt I knew already, again, mothers intuition! Due to the very high amount of distress he had been under he had passed a huge amount of meconium inside me, my chance of immediate skin to skin was also gone!
He was passed to a paediatrician who was trying to clear his airways and give him oxygen as he hadn’t cried since he was born. I hadn’t even seen his face at this point and he was right behind me so I couldn’t even turn to see him. Luckily Dan was able to go and see him and gave him a kiss while they started stitching me back up.
It seemed like a lifetime before they stopped clearing his airways, he was moving his hands but he still wasn’t crying; I was just expecting them to rush him away from me for treatment, but they said he was breathing and they would observe him closely. A member of staff went and told Mum that ‘a baby’ had been born - I wanted us to be the one to introduce him as a he.
While I was in recovery Dan was then allowed to take him into the room where Mum and Dad were waiting and introduced him as Edward. About 10 minutes later I was also wheeled in to the room where they were waiting for me. I couldn’t believe that Edward was finally here, I have never felt so exhausted and relieved as I did at that moment.
With no hanging around the midwife put Edward on to my chest for a feed, it felt incredibly awkward with all the wires in my hands and being so tired I felt like I couldn’t hold on to him like I wanted, but he latched immediately and fed for an entire hour. Everyone then took turns having a hello cuddle and a photo (or a few hundred) with Edward.
Everything following from that moment was a very straight forward although painful recovery on the postnatal ward, including a very theatrical faint the next morning as I attempted to shower! The staff at the hospital were all absolutely fantastic and I really cannot think about what would have happened to Edward if I hadn’t had the care that I had received.
Following on from the surgery the members of staff have reassured me that there was no other option than to do the caesarean, due to the shape of my pelvis there was no way that Edward would have been born naturally, and they got him out just in time due to the meconium and distress. My midwife has told me that with any subsequent labours I will most likely have to have caesareans, which is disappointing as I would have loved to have had a natural birth, but as long as a healthy baby is born at the end of it its just one of those things that cannot be changed.
Since its unlikely I will experience a full natural labour I am glad that I did get to experience the first labour stage and the feelings and pains of your body doing what it knows to do (or trying to). Since having the major surgery I can now see that a caesarean is never the ‘easy’ option. I’m just glad that next time I will be a little bit more prepared for the procedure. And yes, I did say “next time!”.
Goodness me, that was a very intense read with a lot of similarities to my first birth story. You sounded so calm and in control despite it all, Sarah! Thank you so much for sharing your beautiful birth story.
You can read more beautiful birth stories here.