CAMILLA & TWO BIRTHTALES
I first realised I was in labour about mid-morning of the day before I gave birth, I wasn’t expecting labour because it was still a week to my due date. I’d been experiencing aches that I thought were Braxton Hicks contractions and had gone on a very long waddle all the way around the farm where we live, the aches began to get regular. When I got home I called my doula, Tracey-Ann who was quite surprised to hear from me as we’d only recently been emailing to book in a pre-labour reflexology session. She told me to keep her updated.
Sometime in the afternoon I can’t quite remember when we went to the hospital to see if my waters had broken because I wasn’t sure as there had been a tiny bit extra fluid than normal, the midwife said they hadn’t. The contractions became quite regular in the early evening and Tracey arrived at about 9pm, having driven through a terrible autumn storm all the way from London. I had just put the TENS machine having bought it the previous evening and we were figuring out how to work it. We had dinner and Tracey-Ann gave me a lovely reflexology massage. We didn’t finish till really quite late and as we went to bed Tracey-Ann told me I’d probably wake her up in the early morning 3am-ish and then we’d go to hospital 6am-ish. This is exactly what happened, I had a good sleep and awoke to renewed pains. I called the hospital at 4am or 5am-ish who told me to wait and call back when the pains were more established. When we called back around 6am they said I could come in.
I spent the drive to the hospital on my hand and knees in the back seat of the car. I shuffled up to the labour ward, it seemed miles away, doubled over and covered with a rug. Not that I particularly cared what I looked like but the woollen rug seemed to give just the right temperature. We were shown to a room and I had gas and air quite quickly. The contractions increased, and Tracey-Ann was incredible at keeping me calm and focused. Tony did not want to come into the labour room and I have always been happy that he made this choice, I didn't want him to put himself in a situation he did not want to be in. The labour progressed and I recollect the contractions mainly just increased slowly. I changed positions a number of times and was crouching against the bed when the midwife asked me to return to sitting on the bed because just there was suddenly a lot blood. The crowning of the head happened pretty soon afterwards and was very painful. The second effort for the shoulders was more than I expected but both were immediately forgotten. Freddy was born about 10.30am. One thing that stands out for me, especially since I have had my second baby, was that were there was no waters or fluid at any point in the whole labour. Freddy was placed on my chest. I hope I never forget the snuffly/snorty/grunty noise he made as he looked for and found my breast, it was very animal, he just seemed to know what to do as I was watching and holding him. This was a huge surprise!!
I had to have the injection to get the placenta to come out. Then I went very quickly to theatre for my tear. I was given an epidural and this stitching up was the least pleasant experience of the whole time, I felt like cardboard. But it was also a huge relief to see a team looking after me like they did, they were incredible. I can’t remember how long it all took but I was back with Freddy and Tony fairly quickly. I wasn’t prepared for having a catheter it wasn’t painful, just a surprise, and I certainly enjoyed the opioids. That evening, my first night with Freddy is difficult to describe, I remember worrying about a bone I could feel sticking out his back, I later realised was his shoulder! I stayed a second night in the hospital as I was wobbly and then we were discharged with the all clear. Our community midwife visited the next day and diagnosed a significant tongue-tie. We were breast feeding but it was a bit uncomfortable. She made us an appointment for the next day to have it cut. Freddy slept through this procedure! The next thing to overcome was basically how to sit down comfortably, with the quite big pads. It took some time to track down a ring to sit on, these could be easier to find! I was diagnosed with shingles due to the tiredness, although I had gone to the doctor for what I thought was a spider bite.
We had a scare during the pregnancy that this baby's head may be too big. After the 20 week scan we were referred to Princess Alexandra’s in Brighton to see a specialist because the midwife was concerned about the side of the ventricles. It was a worrying few days waiting for this appointment and we of course looked up all sorts of things on the internet. Yet the paediatrician we saw couldn’t have been more reassuring, he scanned and said they were big but within normal limits. And we didn’t give it another thought!
My second labour was very quick, I went to bed on Saturday evening and woke to regular aches about 6.30am. I was feeling very calm and had a bacon sandwich for breakfast. I regretted this in car to the hospital but was grateful for the energy later in the morning. We phone the hospital at perhaps 8.30am and they asked me to wait at home but something just told us we needed to go and we jumped in the car. The contractions came on quickly and the car journey plus walk to the labour ward was exactly the same as my first labour, Tracey-Ann met me in the entrance to the hospital while Tony was parking. The last stage of the labour was the same but quicker, I had gas and air and Tracey was again fantastic at keeping me straight. I clearly remember feeling that I couldn’t do any more much sooner than the first labour but as soon as I had said this to Tracey, the baby was born. I was on my hands and knees on the bed and he was passed forward to me underneath me and I will never forget the skinny blue slimy baby!! I had no tear or anything and his head was in the 99th percentile, still is.