ALISON & ISOBEL
I ‘think’ my waters broke around midnight on my due date. I say ‘think’ because it wasn’t anything dramatic, but it was definitely something! I started getting twinges throughout the night, but nothing major just a mild achy feeling every so often.
This continued throughout the following day and I kept googling ‘early signs of labour’. Knowing how anxious I get we had arranged to have the support of a doula and I gave her a ring. We agreed to just keep in touch until things started getting properly going.
My husband came home from work early and we went for a walk and then just sat around impatiently. As the evening went on the pains got worse and my doula came over, ran me a bath and gave me some moral support and back rubs. By 2am the pains were much worse and more frequent and so we decided to go to the hospital. The journey was awful, I couldn’t get comfortable in the car and felt every tiny bump in the road. I was so relieved to arrive at the hospital because I was in so much pain; imagine my disappointment when I was examined, told I was only 2cm dilated and to go home and take some paracetamol.
I was so despondent; my doula went home to try and get a few hours’ sleep and memories of the next few hours are now just a blur. By 6am we knew it was time to go back to the hospital, the contractions were much stronger and frequent. Goodness knows what the neighbours must have thought of my yelling all night!
Being given the gas and air at the hospital was like winning the lottery! I was only 4 or 5cm dilated, but they agreed to keep me in. I had booked a birthing pool and had a nice big room where I felt much calmer. I clutched my birth plan and everyone was obliging, the Zero 7 Cd was played, lights dimmed, doula arrived and I plunged into the pool whilst husband had a pot of tea. All according to plan.
I’m not sure how long I was in the birthing pool, but it was certainly several hours, probably around 5 or 6 and then it was suggested I get out. My labour wasn’t progressing, it was suggested I was ‘too relaxed’! I didn’t want to get out; it was not in the plan to get out. Every time I got out it hurt more and I was terrified of intervention and epidurals. Eventually I gave in and vacated the pool, I felt disappointed as things weren’t going ‘according to plan’. The contractions were so intense outside of the pool I reluctantly agreed to having an epidural. We knew the baby was back-to-back and it wasn’t going to be an easy delivery.
I’m not going to lie; the epidural was the best thing that happened to me during my labour. The pain went immediately and not long after I even fell asleep!
It took another 10 hours before I was fully dilated, over 48 hours since I felt my waters break and I was exhausted. Although the epidural had been wonderful there had been some miscommunication and I was given too much so I was totally unable to push. I literally couldn’t feel anything below my tummy button. Everyone was shouting at me to ‘push like you’re doing a big poo!’, but I couldn’t. The delivery was stressful and I just remember a lot of people shouting things near my vagina. I ended up having an episiotomy and a ventouse and rather than joy, I just felt an enormous sense of relief when Isobel was finally born.
I’m so glad we hired a doula to go through this with us; she was able to help keep me and my husband calm and explain things when the midwives didn’t have time. Much as the midwives wanted to help, the hospital was very busy and I’d been there so long I’d already gone through 2 shifts of midwives, so it was great to have the continuity of a doula. If I had my time again, I’d scrap the birth plan!