Miss E's arrival - my birth story

This is a long post, so plonk yourself down in a comfy chair with a cup (or glass!) of something nice!

E's due date was 11th September 2012 but she actually arrived on the 25th August (a Saturday). The fortnight before she arrived, it had been very hot and I had been feeling more and more uncomfortable. I was suffering with PGP (pelvic girdle pain) and had been experiencing Braxton Hicks.

On the Thursday, I went to meet my niece who was three days old (and two weeks overdue!). I cooed over her and fed her a bottle, whilst what I thought were Braxton Hicks were kicking in. As we were sat there, there were jokes about me going home and going into labour - little did we know!

That evening, I went to my workroom to sit and answer some emails. As I stood up, at 8.30pm, I felt what I can only describe as a leak, and went to the bathroom. My legs went to jelly! My husband was laying on the bed, watching TV, and was much calmer than me as I phoned the midwife. I was told that if I still felt the same after half an hour to go up to the delivery suite with my bags! Half an hour passed and off we went!

The midwife examined me and didn't think my waters had broken so I was sent back home with instructions to attend my already booked appointment with the midwife. The contractions started within an hour of getting home, coming every 10 minutes, then 8 and then 5. I called the hospital and was told to return when they were at every 4 minutes. Of course, after this, they become irregular - needless to say, we didn't get much sleep!

The following day (Friday), we went to see the midwife. My waters were still leaking and I was told that if things didn't progress any further I would need to be induced the next day. My husband (D) took me home and went to work. I had irregular contractions all day and spent most of it bouncing up and down on the birthing ball. We didn't sleep much that night either. I was told to have a long hot bath to ease the back pain but as my bump was so large I hadn't been able to fit in the bath from 5 months, so I had a long hot shower and managed to get an hour and a bit sleep.

The next morning, we were up early, ready to go to the hospital. I was too anxious to eat anything for breakfast but I managed half a yogurt! I realised we had no small baby clothes in case she wasn't as big as predicted so we went into Mothercare on the way to the hospital. The lady serving us was making small talk, asking when the baby was due - I think the lady that served us was surprised when I told her I was having contractions and was on the way to hospital!!

When we got to the hospital, I was terrified! I hadn't been to any classes or groups and I didn't know what to expect (other than a baby!). I almost feel daft admitting this, but I was (am!) so squeamish, I hate the sight of blood and was worried about that aspect of it.

We were shown to the delivery suite and shortly after we arrived, I was examined and my waters were properly broken and I was put on a drip to bring on the contractions. I remember laying on the bed in my t-shirt, feeling very self-conscious, to begin with, but by the end of the evening that all went out of the window! D kept an eye on the monitor to tell me when the contractions were coming so that I could get plenty of gas and air - it took me a while to master that! I found it made me feel very thirsty and I was sick several times. After 2-3 hours of labour I had an epidural (despite my being adamant whilst pregnant that I wouldn't have one!!) and that was followed by fentanyl. Towards the end, the pain relief wore off because E was in a 'funny' position (back to back, I think).

Despite strict instructions to the contrary, D watched E crown and be born at 11.35pm, weighing 7lb 6oz. Everything seems a bit hazy looking back. I lost 1.5 litres of blood during delivery and had to have an episiotomy so whilst E was being weighed and dressed etc, I was being stitched and cleaned up. In all, labour lasted just over 8 hours. During my pregnancy, the thought of giving birth absolutely terrified me, E had been breech throughout (until the week before she arrived, in fact) so I was torn between wanting a natural birth and a C-section. Looking back though, it really (honestly!) wasn't as horrendous as I had been expecting.

D stayed with us for a couple of hours before going home to get some sleep. I had a shower and was taken to my room. I remember feeling completely euphoric and high as a kite! I had about 45 minutes' sleep (I remember waking up and feeling like I'd slept for a week!) and I just couldn't stop looking at E and cuddling her. We were lucky enough to be discharged the next day.

In the following days, I couldn't believe how well I felt! I was a bit tired and achy but still felt like I was on a high. I couldn't believe - and still can't! - that I had done it, I'd given birth to a baby!

Ten days later (a Wednesday), the midwife visited us because I felt unwell and had started to bleed a lot, despite my initial blood loss being minimal. The midwife didn't seem unduly concerned and I was told everything was OK and not to worry but by that evening it was getting worse and after calling the hospital I was told to go for an examination. Because I was breastfeeding, E had to come with me.

I was examined and re-admitted. My Stepmum is a midwife and was on hand to speak with. It was quite obvious what was happening to me but for unknown reasons, I was observed over night where I continued to bleed. I can quite honestly say it was the worst night of my life - I was in pain, tired, upset and felt utterly humiliated as I had to buzz the midwives each time I had to go to the toilet so they could measure how much blood I was losing. Looking at my maternity notes afterwards, I was calling them every fifteen minutes.

The following day I was given a scan, mid-morning, which confirmed what we all thought, which was that there was some 'product' (placenta) left inside me and I was told an operation would be performed early evening. This was brought forward to the early afternoon after I 'crashed' - I hadn't been allowed out of bed for several hours and needed to wee and begged the midwife looking after me to let me go in the bathroom, which is where everything goes hazy! I was later told I blacked out on the toilet, the emergency cord was pulled and the room was filled with nurses and surgeons. The operation took place soon after and I then received a blood transfusion. Having lost a substantial amount of blood during labour (a litre and a half) and during the haemorrhage (a further litre and a half), I was left with little alternative. We were discharged on the Friday evening with strict instructions to rest and eat and drink plenty.

The effects of the hemorrhage meant that my milk supply was dramatically cut and I struggled to get it back, meaning I had to finish breastfeeding and switch to formula milk, much to my disappointment, but I'll discuss more of that another time.

Its been somewhat cathartic, getting this written down. Whilst I was very well cared for in hospital, I found my re-admission incredibly traumatic and ten months on still get flashbacks about it.

Since having E, I've gone from someone who was very squeamish and never wanted to hear about childbirth, to someone who wants to hear people's experiences. I find it amazing just how different it is for women and how they feel about it. Have you blogged about your birth experience? Leave me a comment below so I can find out more. 

You can read more about my haemorrhage here and my experiences with breastfeeding here.

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