CHARLOTTE & LAURIE
If you read my first Birthtale from the early days of 'Tell your Birthtale Tuesday' you know I was not in a great place towards the end of my second pregnancy. I was scared and felt lonely, I didn’t know how to begin to convey how I was feeling to anyone so it was easier to keep quiet. I did however instinctively believe that I would be ok if I could just not be pregnant any more! I had very much wanted a home birth with my first and it hadn’t happened.
There wasn’t much disappointment at the time but I do remember thinking ‘it will be ok because I’ll have a home birth next time’. Throughout my second pregnancy I had no doubt that this baby would be born at home.
One of the overriding memories of the anxiety I felt at the end of my pregnancy was a feeling of claustrophobia. I started to crave the labour ward! We lived in a small one bedroom flat and I found myself pacing it at night wanting to be anywhere else.
For someone so intent on home birth and having no desire previously to go anywhere near a hospital this craving for the bright strip lights and the hustle and bustle of a busy labour ward came as a big surprise.
The night before Laurie was born I woke with my usual anxiety and feelings of claustrophobia. It had become so difficult to fall asleep, once asleep to stay asleep, and once awake impossible to go back to sleep.
I was looking after my boisterous two year old during the day, I was exhausted. I will never forget the pacing, knowing how tired I was, fearful of the day ahead and how I would possibly cope.
That particular night I knew I had reached the end. I couldn’t take it anymore.
Once my mind was made up there was no going back. I knew I was saying good bye to my lifelong desire to have a home birth as this would probably be my last baby. But my mind was made up. I packed a bag and called an Uber, only waking Jon up after so he had no opportunity to talk me out of it. I kissed him goodbye and told him I was going in to the hospital to ask for induction. (He had to stay and look after Rollo). I had been in 4 nights earlier and felt fairly sure I would be able to convince them it was for the best.
Once I got to Kings I wasn’t made to feel stupid like I had feared. They were really busy and it took the whole night to be seen by the doctor but the midwives were kind. I felt safe in the triage and dozed on the couch. When the doctor did finally come just before the end of her shift I just told her clearly what had been happening and how and I felt. She thankfully agreed induction was for the best.
I was taken round to labour ward and given a propess around 8 am. My cervix was already dilated and the midwife said it would have been possible to break my waters but probably best to have the propess anyway. By 9 am I was having painful contractions. My friend Sooz was meant to be visiting me at home. I’d put her off when I knew I wouldn’t be there but realising that labour was starting and Jon was in Croydon dropping Rollo with his parents I called her and asked her to come to the hospital.
Sooz arrived pretty swiftly and helped my to put on the tens. Things were happening too quickly and to be honest I don’t feel like the best person to tell the story as it is a complete blur. At some point Jon arrived and seeing that I wasn’t coping well looked terrified at the concept of hours of this!
I remember no one taking me
seriously. ‘You can’t be in established labour the propess only just went in’. An assumption that I just wasn’t coping with early labour pains. There was a lot of discussion about using the birth pool.
A lovely junior bank midwife was looking after me and was obviously being told by the midwife in charge that I wouldn’t be able to use the pool. Every time she came back to me I would quote the guide lines and off she’d go again back to the coordinator.
Eventually I grabbed the only person who seemed to be available, (who I later discovered was the consultant obstetrician!) I remember holding her face in my hands and saying...from one woman, who knows what she’s talking about when it comes to labour, to another woman who know what she’s talking about when it comes to labour .....I am in established labour! I was petty high on the gas and air by this point. I was hyper-stimulating from the propess so the contractions were coming back to back with no rest in between.
She agreed to examine me and removed the propess. She told me I was 3cms and fully effaced and that she’d talk to the coordinator about me using the pool! Finally! The next thing I knew they were asking me to sit on a wheel chair to usher me through to a room with a pool. I knew there wasn’t a hope in hell I could sit down but boy did I want that pool. I practically leapt on the the chair in all fours and remember roaring ‘push’. Seconds after arriving in the room Laurie made his entrance into the world on a bean bag not in the pool. It was 30mins since I’d been told I was 3cms.
This photo conveys the shock I felt. I knew from looking after women experiencing precipitate labours how intense and difficult they could be but now I really knew. There is just never time to catch breath, for the mind to catch up with what is happening to the body.
Poor Sooz had never intended to see a baby come out of my vagina that day but there had never been an appropriate time to leave! She was a fantastic support and the entonox triggered some funny memories from our misspent youth which we had a good laugh about. And she took some great pictures. And Jon was just so relieved to be spared another epic two day labour like last time!
The relief I felt at no longer being pregnant was enormous and meeting Laurie Lou (once I’d got over the initial shock) was incredible. How birth can still intrigue and fascinate me so much after all the births I’ve been privileged to attend will never cease to amaze me. How did this beautiful boy come out if me? How?
He was placid and calm from the off and let me sleep. SLEEP. Hello my old friend.
Sooz left soon after Laurie's birth. She had to get home to walk Winnie the dog before she did the school run. Tragically Winnie was killed by a truck. When I found out the next day what had happened it shattered my little birth bubble. I felt the obvious what if she had not been up at the hospital supporting me? Would she have walked her at a different time? Would she still be alive? Poor Winnie. Life works in mysterious ways. Laurie was here but Winnie was gone. Sorry to end on such a sad note but I can’t tell Laurie's Birthtale without mentioning Winnie. Sooz is Laurie's special person and and we often talk of the day he was born and the sadness of losing Winnie.