9.5 pounds of pain

So my labour with H started pretty identically to N. I awoke in the early hours with the first contractions and knew it was time. I laboured for a couple of hours in our living room bouncing on the yoga ball, watching Project Runway to keep me occupied. J and N joined me around 7am-ish then J’s mum came to collect Noah. The contractions were still manageable then so I was able to say goodbye without too much grunting. Things seemed to ramp up soon after that and for a while I just stood under a steaming hot shower (I dread to think what our water bill was that month). After a while thing’s levelled out again and I actually managed to do some cleaning!! I think my nesting instinct had kicked in super late. I found watching a series really helped me get through the pain, the thought that when an episode finished I had just got through another 30 minutes of contractions really spurred me on! Given that N had nearly been born on the passenger seat of our car first time around, I thought we’d better head to the hospital earlier than last time and so we set off to have our second baby.

We arrived and were shown into the birthing suite, with huge fancy birthing pool, and suddenly everything STOPPED. NO CONTRACTIONS. NOTHING! I was mortified. Was I imagining it? Was it braxton hicks all along? The midwife explained this can sometimes happen when arriving at hospital and said she’d pop back in an hour to see how thing’s were moving. I decided not to get examined and just let my body do its thing. Well 10 minutes after she left the contractions returned with a vengeance and I knew it was nearing the time to push. When the midwife returned she seemed sceptical that I was anywhere near fully dialated and when I asked for pain relief, merrily suggested I take a paracetemol and ‘see how I went’. J held me back whilst I tried to rip her face off. She agreed to fill the pool to make me more ‘comfortable’ and murmured something about going to look at getting me some gas and air. Praise the fucking lord.

I went to climb into the tub then realised I had absolutely no idea what I was suppose to be wearing. Was I suppose to pack a bikini? Do I keep my bra on? Getting completely naked seemed strange as I was presumably going to have a couple of people watching H be born and the image of a whale stuck in shallow water sprang to mind. I opted to keep my bralet on and took the plunge. IT’S SO HOT! I don’t know what I was expecting but my goodness I was sweating from every orifice. I took a couple of puffs of gas and air and it was impossible to hold it and support myself at the same time so that got angrily thrown to the floor straight away. I instead turned to banging my face against the side of the pool to distract myself from the pain. The last few contractions before you need to push are excruciating, like please stab me and let this end excruciating, but they came and I knew it was nearly over. I could feel H turning as he came ‘down’ and it’s just unbearable but then it’s time to push (sort of ‘yay!’ sort of ‘oh fuck!’). I must of completely freaked out when H started crowning (what a horrible term) because J and the midwife both screamed at me to calm down and stay still. His head came out in a few seconds of pain and I thought that’s it. Hard bit over…

I couldn’t get his bloody shoulders out. Not at all. Nope. He was stuck and I was screaming for the midwife to help me and give him a pull. Every time I pushed it felt like I was pushing against a brick wall. There was no way he would fit. To my horror the midwife told me I’d have to stand up out of the water if I needed help as they’re not allowed to assist you in the tub (?!). So there I am, trying to navigate standing up whilst trying not to break the neck of the tiny upside down baby head sticking out my vagina. I managed to get to my feet and I think gravity took over. With one huge push I felt pain like I’ve never felt in my life, it was much worse than birthing N and I actually got the ‘witnessing’ midwife in a headlock when it happened whilst I screamed down her ear hole. Poor lady only popped in to have a look. My midwife caught him and with that H was in the world and it was over!! I had done it again, although I was pretty sure from the waist down I was now split into 2 people…..

I lost a lot of blood and had a 2nd degree tear, so really rather an anticlimax to the whole ordeal. My placenta came out super easy after having the jab (I really wish I’d had this first time round!) and I opted for delayed cord clamping too.

We spent the next few hours eating 1000’s of slices of toast and drinking 1000’s of cups of sugary tea. We took pictures of him and sniffed him and cuddled him and stroked him and just generally took him all in. It was amazing. You’ll never beat the feeling of woman who has just given birth. Even when the baby is 9.5 pounds and ginger. My little H.







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