Let me just start by saying labour was the most painful experience I have ever had. I thought I was going to die BUT looking back on it, it was definitely the best and most rewarding experience too.
So as you may know I had done no preparation whatsoever for my labour. Well actually I did watch Sam Faiers Mummy diaries but really, I had no idea what was going to happen. I knew afterwards I’d have a baby but to get him here? I was stumped. My contractions started at 12pm sunday afternoon. They were just like period pains that would come every 20 minutes. They were bearable and I didn’t really think anything of it. Now I think about it, I knew I was going into labour but I didn’t want to admit it to anyone. I went round my mum’s with J and had a roast dinner on the Sunday night and my parents both assumed I had Braxton Hicks. Woah they were wrong!!
I woke up 3am the Monday morning and they were too painful to sleep through. I got out of bed and pitched myself up in the living room. The pains were now coming every 5 minutes and were making me double over and I had to breathe through them. I eventually woke J up and told him he wasn’t going to work in the morning. The next few hours were spent bent over the arm of my sofa whinging and crapping myself (mentally, thank god) about what was going to happen. By 7am I thought I was ready to go in to hospital. We’d rang the midwife unit twice and were told I was probably in early labour, no need to come in yet. I was certain I needed to go so we headed off.
We waited over an hour to be seen in the hospital. The whole time I threw myself round the delivery suite crying to see someone as soon as possible. The midwife eventually came in, examined me and said I was 1-2cm. WHAT? All this pain for a poxy 2cm? I was furious. The midwife gave me some oral morphine and sent me home. We grabbed a Greggs on the way home which just shows how not in labour I was!
When we got back, J stuck a film on and we got comfy on the sofa. The morphine made me drowsy but as soon as I drifted off a contraction would come. They were now every 2/3 minutes. This continued for a few hours and I went between pacing, bathing and bouncing on my yoga ball. We managed to watch 2 films (Gone Girl was an excellent choice as I threatened J with it if he ever touched me again) before things got bad. The pains had gradually worsened throughout the day but around 1pm they were horrific. The pain is undescribable. It took over my entire body and all I could do was lean on something, breathe and grunt until it was over. I couldn’t see or hear when I got one, it consumed me entirely. I told J to leave me to get on with it and spent the next 3 hours pacing up and down our hall way until I thought I was on the brink of death. I didn’t want to go back to the hospital too early in case we got sent away again, I don’t think I could of handled being turned away for a second time. I made it to 3.30pm and told J we needed to go. He half heartedly started packing things up and I felt something inside me shift. I screamed and told J something had happened. He whipped my leggings down and saw my waters had broke. It’s a strange feeling, like something inside you has just popped and you’ve wet yourself. J instantly flew into serious mode and rushed me to the car.
We got to the hospital at 4pm and I was so out of control. I was panicking, I was in agony and just wanted pain relief. When we’d arrived, we only had a student midwife in our delivery suite and she couldn’t administer any medication. Hearing this I completely freaked and told her I couldn’t do it any more. I was losing it. She immediately told me to calm down, relax my shoulders and breathe. This did help and and shortly afterwards our midwife arrived. I asked for an epidural before she’d even shut the door. She explained she’d need to examine me first and put some latex gloves on (not an appealing image). She also started running the bath for me but it must of filled up an inch when I felt the urge to push. I can only describe it as feeling enormously constipated. You suddenly get huge pressure on your bum and you just know that you need to get this baby out. I climbed up onto the bed and stayed on all fours until N was born.
I FINALLY got some gas and air when I got onto the bed – it felt like heaven. It didn’t really take the pain away but made me high enough to deal with it better. I started pushing, or I should say, my body started pushing. I had no control over it, my body pushed when it wanted to and I just went with it, grunting as and when. I didn’t feel my contractions at this point as there was so much going on but they were obviously there as I was getting this baby out. It feels like exactly what it is. Like there’s a baby coming out of your vagina. You feel stretching, obviously and the pain that comes with it but compared to the pain of the contractions combined with the thought that their actually coming out, it’s so much easier. His head started coming out and this is when the midwives tell you to slow down, little pushes. I don’t think I really listened and to be honest I had no control over what I was doing so I wasn’t great at that part. With one huge grunt from me his head was out and I could not believe it. I actually said ‘shut up’ Essex style when they told me. I was chatting away throughout the whole thing as the gas and air made me a bit loopy but I loved it. Rather that then screaming. Getting the body out literally only takes 1 push from this point but it’s a massive one. I screamed when N’s body came out of me but like that, he was born and it was all over. Or so I thought.
They slid N up the bed to me in a good few inches of bodily fluids. He pooped on his way out so he was covered in that, so was I. He wasn’t breathing strongly at first and it took a good few minutes for him to cry. They were the worst few minutes of my life. Me and J exchanged panicked looks and I don’t think I’ve ever gripped his hand so tightly. But N was fine, J cut the cord and they handed him over to him. They then told me it was the time for the placenta to come out. My reply is probably too obscene to type. I had just pushed a 9 pound baby out of me, I was done thank you very much. Of course I wasn’t. It had to come out and I had to push it. After about 20 minutes still on all fours, pretending I was pushing and still sucking madly on gas and air, they decided to move me to the toilet. Now please picture me waddling to the toilet, naked, covered in blood and poo with an umbilical cord and metal clamp dangling between my legs. Great right? I sat on the loo with a cardboard bowl below me to catch the placenta and they put N on me for some skin to skin. Eventually I thought let’s get this over with and one strong push got the placenta out of me. If your squeamish at all, don’t look at it. It’s absolutely huge and has the same look and texture of raw liver.
So that was it, it was all over. I had my baby. I climbed back into the bed I gave birth in while N had all his checks and luckily he was all OK. They then gave me an exam to see if I needed any stitches. Thankfully they let me use the gas and air whilst they did this as it is pretty uncomfortable. They prod and poke you and see what damage has been done ( they put a finger up your bum beware). I had been so lucky and got away with minor tears and no stitches. N – I am forever thankful. By the time this happens your on cloud 9 so you really won’t care what’s happened to you.
Prepare yourself for the bleeding. There is LOTS of it. My bed was absolutely soaked through and resembled something from a cheap horror movie. I’d bought Always Ultra to the hospital for the afterbirth bleeds. Ha. Always Ultra are the little leagues. You need the proper maternity pads. Take as many as you can from the hospital, they are huge and bulky but you bloody (scuse’ the pun) need them. I got through about 10 of these and 4 pairs of knickers in the 1 night I stayed in. I bled for about 3 weeks after birth so stock up!!
Thing’s to remember during labour:
- Wait until your very limits before going to hospital, if you can still talk during a contraction, your not there yet!
- Keep calm. Your body was designed to do this. There’s no stopping it, the baby is coming out, deal with it.
- Breathe. Ridiculous that breathing could help such an intense pain but it really does.
- Listen to the midwives. Even if what there saying sounds ludicrous, they do this everyday. It may help, it won’t make it any worse.
- Do everything you want to do. If you want to take pictures take them. If you want someone to cut the cord, tell them. This is the only time you’ll give birth to this baby – make it perfect for you!
- Pack toiletries. I forgot and washed with the antibac hand soap.
- Pack loads of underwear, pads and clothes. You’ll probably bleed through your going home outfit before you actually go home so have back ups.
- It’s not a fashion show. I wanted to look nice during labour, by the end of it I looked like a huge sweaty mess. You need to give it your all and if your worrying about your appearance you won’t.
- If you want the drugs get the drugs. Don’t bloody hesitate.
If I can do it with no preperation, no clue and no hope – you’ll breeze it.