On Monday 6th January +MamaBabyBliss WestLondon posted the above Eviction Notice on my twitter feed. I found it hilarious and had to share it on facebook. Baby must have listened as I was reading it aloud because the following morning at 7.30am the contractions began.
At first I wasn't really sure I was in labour or not because it was like a dull period pain that would come every 6 or 7 minutes and last for about 30 seconds. They stayed the same for a few hours until around lunchtime when they completely disappeared. This left me feeling really deflated as I thought I was getting close to meeting my little man. Later on that evening the ache came back. I decided to go for a bath and catch up on hollyoaks. It was very unlike me but I ended up staying in the bath for a good 3 hours or so just watching episode after episode, I found the water to be really soothing - by now the contractions were coming every 4 to 5 minutes but still only lasting around 30 seconds each time. Sam told me to go to bed at this point because if labour was to progress over night I would need my energy.
I tried my hardest to go to sleep but the contractions were so irritating and coming that often that I couldn't sleep. They weren't painful, just a little niggle that would come and go every few minutes making sure I couldn't fall asleep. By 2am I decided to phone the labour ward to see if I needed to notify my midwife. After all I was having a home birth and didn't want to leave it too long before getting someone there to examine me. Last thing I wanted was for Sam to have to deliver our baby ha ha. When I finally got through (the phone rang for ages) I explained the contractions were coming every 4 minutes but only lasting 30 seconds, she told me to phone back when they were around 4 minutes apart but lasting longer, so around a minute. I decided to try get some sleep again, still with no avail I began cleaning - as you do ha ha. It got to around 7am and I went to the loo only to find a lot of blood which immediately rang alarm bells so I phoned the labour ward again. The lady on the other end didn't seem to react at all, she said it was normal but if I was worried about wrigglers movements then to go in to put my mind at ease. I hadn't really felt him move as much as normal so I woke Sam up and we went in for observations.
After about an hour or so on the observation machine the midwife decided everything was fine, baby was moving quite a lot and that I could go home. But first she decided to examine me and try give me another sweep to move things along so that I wouldn't need to be induced. When she was examining me I noticed her face change, I could feel the onset of panic. She then said that she couldn't let me go home because I was already 7.5cm! I was so shocked as was she, we couldn't understand how I'd progressed so far at home without really noticing anything. She was concerned that if she let me go home then they wouldn't be able to get a midwife to me quick enough and it was unsafe to let me go with this in mind. Therefore much to my dismay I was admitted to the labour ward. I wasn't going to get the home birth I'd planned, all that preparation and I still ended up in hospital without being given the chance to labour at home. I felt quite deflated by this point but soon snapped out of it when I realised I would be meeting my little man soon - or so I thought..........
Sam and I walked over to the labour ward (well I waddled) accompanied by one of the midwives. When we reached the ward I overheard one of the midwives mention that I was a "cool customer" ha ha. They'd obviously been talking about me before I arrived. We were taken to a private room and after having my blood pressure taken was left alone to labour in peace. The midwife popped back every now and again to monitor babies heart beat and ask how often my contractions were coming - still no change at this point. In fact I think they actually disappeared all together for an hour or so. As time went by we were both getting pretty hungry (we hadn't eaten since tea time the night before). We also didn't have the car seat, a hospital bag or anything we needed because as far as we knew we were only going in to monitor our babies movement - not to deliver! So I called my mum to the rescue bringing plenty of Lucozade and cereal bars =]
Mum sat with us for a while, then a while longer and again a while longer. It got to 3pm and the midwife examined me again, still no progress from 7.5cm although she said the neck of the womb was really stretchy so she couldn't understand why I wasn't progressing. After discussing with the senior midwives she decided to break my waters to see if that would make a difference. This is when mum decided it was time to leave - I don't think it's something you'd want to witness really. You're daughter laying on a bed, legs wide open with some stranger and a crochet hook ha ha.
I can't even begin to explain how having your waters broken feels. It wasn't painful at all, just disgusting. I felt like I was peeing constantly for hours, there wasn't a gush of water just a constant trickle every time I moved. Luckily my waters were nice and clear and baby hadn't had a poo, he was quite happy to stay in there! This meant that there was no need for baby to be monitored or any need for medical intervention at this stage. If there is meconium (babies first poo) present in the waters then this shows that the baby is or could have been in distress. If meconium is present there is a danger that the baby can inhale and be quite poorly, the midwife said if this happened we would have to stay in hospital under observation for a few days.
The lovely young midwife that had been with me all morning informed us that her shift had come to an end and we were introduced to the next team that would be taking care of us. This time around I had a senior Midwife and a lovely young student midwife that would be with me constantly until little man arrived or until her shift finished - whichever came sooner. She popped out of the room and shortly returned to ask if I wouldn't mind a trainee doctor from Cardiff observing the birth. I really didn't mind, I mean everyone has to learn somehow right? I asked Sam quickly just to make sure he didn't mind either and his response was - "Well it's up to you, it's your bits he'll be looking at" ha ha such a man's response!
My oh so loving husband taking a "selfie" while I'm mid contraction!!
Another two hours passed and another examination complete, finally some progress......... to 8cm!! I was so frustrated by this point, we'd been in the hospital for 9 hours and nothing had really changed. My contractions were still about 6 minutes apart and only lasting 60 seconds, not long enough to dilate the uterus. This is when they decided enough was enough and I needed help to get things going, they decided to put me on Syntocinon - an artificial hormone to stimulate the uterus. At first I wasn't keen on the idea because I thought it would mean I'd have to stay on the bed and I'd been happiest bouncing on the birthing ball. Having the drip meant I'd also need to have a monitor attached to see how baby's heart rate was doing and how/when my contractions were happening.
I distinctly remember the midwife coming to place the drip in my hand, I hate anything like that and remember telling her it hurt more than a contraction. I'm sure she thought I was bonkers, but at this point I didn't care, I was so impatient - I just wanted to meet my baby!
At first the drip was put on a really low dosage and wasn't really doing much so they upped it. I noticed the difference and the contractions were coming quite regularly but still only lasting 30 seconds which weren't really bothering me. They decided to up the dosage again to try and make them last a bit longer, they began to come quite often now, a little too often and were lasting a lot longer than 30 seconds. I put up with the intensity for a while but it was getting pretty exhausting and irritating - I needed something to take the edge off so finally asked for Gas and air. Well......I know they call it laughing gas but blimey. After the first big breath I burst into fits of laughter, there was no calming me down, I was laughing so much there were tears rolling down my face. The student midwife and trainee thought this was hilarious for a few minutes until the trace on the baby's heart disappeared and the machine was showing I was having crazy contractions because of the laughter - I was told off a little - which made me laugh even more!
It wasn't until the contractions were coming even stronger and faster that I stopped laughing, this wasn't funny anymore. The senior midwife came in to turn the drip down slightly as I was contracting around 8 times in every 10 minutes when really you're only supposed to have 4 or 5. It had gotten to around 7:30pm by now and I still didn't feel the need to push but I was getting extremely tired. I'd been awake for 36 hours, hadn't eaten very much and was basically just surviving on Lucozade. We had a visit from the Doctor who examined me, I'd finally reached 9cm and he told me to labour for another hour and he'd come check me then, he said I should be fully dilated when he came back.
Another hour passed and the Doctor arrived back to find I still wasn't quite fully dilated, there was still a little bit of the neck of the womb over baby's head. He asked me to give him a little push to see if baby's head would come down and it did slightly but the neck of the womb was just over his head stopping him from coming down far enough. He asked if I would be able to labour for another hour but I really couldn't carry on much longer. I was at the point where I started to drift in and out of sleep between contractions, I couldn't hold my head up because I was just so exhausted.
The Doctor gave me two options, I could stay as I was for another hour to see if anything changed or they could prep me for a C-Section by giving me a spinal and if I had progressed to 10cm by the time they got me to theatre I'd have to push. I was overcome with emotion at this point, slightly disappointed in myself mixed with the lack of sleep. The senior midwife asked everyone to leave the room so Sam and I could have a moment. I remember saying sorry to Sam repeatedly, I felt like I'd let him and the baby down. Once I pulled myself together I decided I would have the spinal but I'd try with all my might to deliver the baby naturally, so with every contraction, even though I didn't feel the urge I pushed anyway to try get him to move down. Again it came time for a shift change and my nice young midwife student told us her shift had ended and her and the senior midwife were leaving. However, the really lovely trainee doctor said he would stay with me until our little boy arrived which I thought was so nice seeing as he'd been working all day.
The anaesthetist arrived a short while later with a bunch of paperwork for me to sign which was pretty terrifying. I know they need to cover their own backs but you basically sign to say it's okay for them to disfigure your baby. Sam went off with one of the midwives to go and get scrubbed up - they gave him a pair of extra large trousers because that's all they had - Poor guy looked lost in them - he's pretty skinny ha ha. I was swiftly wheeled off into theatre and while Sam waited outside I was given the spinal. It wasn't long before I couldn't feel my feet, legs or stomach. The team rolled me off the bed and onto the operating table in a very undignified manner. At this point Sam was allowed in and stood by my side. Next to us we could hear the anaesthetist ask if the team were ready to put my legs up in stirrups when all of a sudden one of the midwives barked at him "Not yet, wait for the surgeon to get here. It's not very dignified" to which he responded "I didn't say do it now, I asked if the team were ready". It felt like they were an old married couple, having a domestic in the middle of theatre - hardly appropriate while I was lay there unable to move - talk about awkward.
I was examined once again and finally I'd reached 10cm! It was time to push, so maybe all that pre-pushing had actually worked? The midwife put her hand on my tummy and when she could feel a contraction brewing she told me to push. I managed to muster up some energy from somewhere and with everything I had left in me I pushed! After two pushes out came his head, Sam had a look and all he could see was a head full of jet black hair! I was convinced our little munchkin would come out ginger! (There's still time ha ha). Another contraction and another big push, one more would do it but the contractions had stopped - I was going to have to do this one on my own without the aid of a contraction. The Doctor gave me an episiotomy which is where a doctor or midwife makes a cut in a woman’s perineum (the area between the vagina and anus). The cut makes the opening of the vagina a bit wider, allowing the baby to come through it more easily. With everything I had left in me I pushed and with the help of forceps he was out! Our little bundle of joy had finally made it into the big wide world and he definitely let us know about it - His scream was deafening, a welcomed noise after such a long day.
After going into labour at around 7.30 am on Tuesday 7th January Dexter James finally arrived at 9.34 pm on Wednesday 8th January after a 38 hour journey. As soon as he was out Daddy cut the cord and they put him on my chest for some skin to skin, I couldn't see his face but just having him close to me was amazing. Just knowing that this little person had just left my belly and was finally here, after 9 long months waiting to meet him, he was on my chest. A few minutes went by and they took him away so that they could clamp the cord, give him the vitamin K injection then measure and weigh him. To my amazement he was 58cm long and 8lb 1oz. I couldn't believe how long he was! One of the midwives said it was because I was tall - at 5ft 6inches I would hardly class myself as tall but apparently my legs went on forever ha ha.
They brought him back over for cuddles while they stitched me up and we were soon on our way back to the labour ward but not before some photos were taken of our precious first meeting. There are no words to describe the first time you hold your baby in your arms, my heart wanted to explode with love. I can't believe that such a perfect little boy was created by Sam and I. I know I am biased but he really is beautiful! I may not have had the birth that I wanted but the end result was still the same, my beautiful baby boy was born nice and healthy and he's now home where he belongs.