HELEN & AGNES
Thankfully, I had a wonderful, healthy and happy pregnancy after having three pregnancies over the last 18 months that had very sadly ended in miscarriage.
The emotions at the start of the pregnancy were very raw yet hopeful and, after seeing our baby do a real time stretch at 12wks during the scan, we started to believe it to be real.
My conception dates made me due around the beginning of Jan however by the scan dates my EDD was 27/12/17. A Christmas baby!
I was lucky enough to finish work at the beginning of December knowing that my body and mind could do with at least two weeks to rest and focus on the birth. Being self-employed I had the luxury of taking a bit more time. In hindsight, this was well worth it and I highly recommend it if at all possible. Especially important during a busy birthday month and Christmas shopping!
So, by a few days before Christmas we felt ready and on 22 December awoke with contractions. Being my first, I did not know what a contraction felt like, I now know these were just painful Braxton Hicks! They lasted about seven hours during the night and then just stopped. Very exciting at the time but somewhat disappointing afterwards.
So then Christmas and Boxing Day happened (hardest challenge digesting the most delicious Christmas meal with a full-term baby inside!) and Crimbo limbo took on a new dimension. We walked loads, watched Christmas television a lot and caught up at the cinema. I started having sweeps every 2 days from edd but to no avail.
I had been having weekly acupuncture (from 36wks) in order to prepare my body and mind for birth when it is ready. This increased to 3x during due week. New Year’s Eve was spent feeling very faint and under the weather so went to bed early and awoke on New Year’s Day with a fresh head and fresh energy.
Having turned 40 at the beginning of December I was now considered to be higher risk as I was over term and felt pressure from the Obs and Gynae Guidelines to have an induction booked. I also would not be able to give birth at the birth centre of my choice over 40+6 so had been booked to have an induction on 2 January.
So, on new years day with new found energy, my boyfriend and I power marched around the marshes for a good two hours, tried twerking and dancing too! In the afternoon I had an acupuncture appointment which had begun to stimulate Braxton Hicks. I remember coming home from that not remembering much else and going to bed early!
At midnight I awoke with a start thinking “what was that?” and then two minutes later realised that I was having another contraction. I knew these were real contractions because they felt completely different from the painful Braxton Hicks I have been getting previously!! I started to time them (4-8 minutes apart) I was able to enjoy them for two or three hours. They then started to be quite intense and with 3-4 mins gap so I wanted to transfer to the birth centre as soon as possible!
Having 2 contractions in the 10 minute journey to the centre was a little challenging I just really needed to be in a different position. At 4.30am I was examined on arrival to be told that my cervix was closed and the babies head was slightly sideways therefore the crown was not pushing down on my cervix as it should be. We checked in to the room and the contractions continued to be about four minutes apart. The power of them continued to escalate. I remember looking at the clock and thinking that time was flying. It was! I was unable to hold down any liquid as pain always makes me sick. At 2pm I was re-examined to be told once again my cervix was still closed. I had a mental image of trying to open a door by pushing on both edges of it. It just wasn’t meant to open like that. Pressure was building up from the contractions and I was in a cycle of intense pressure with contractions every two minutes for the next 3 hours. I was expecting intensity but not this pain.
I actually felt a little let down with myself for not coping better..! In order to regain some control, I needed some more pain relief as any endorphins I was producing weren’t cutting it! So I had a pethidine injection. This brought me some comfort and allowed me to rest a little bit.. But then things changed quickly as I went to the toilet I heard a loud pop as my waters broke! I felt a huge amount of relief and this then obviously allowed the baby’s head to take a more direct approach. I got into the water for a few minutes and enjoyed feeling the endorphins released between each contraction once again. This had been missing for several hours! On examination I was 6 cm dilated! At last! Things were happening. As I got back into the pool I felt an immense, out of body, urge to push. One hour after my waters had broken our gorgeous little girl Agnes Grace came speedily into the world. I was able to literally catch her as she flew out and bring her up for her first breath.. a memory which I already cherish and I’m so grateful to have had. She took a little breath, made a little squeak and started to turn pink.
After 18 hours, the next hour involved cutting the cord, delivering the placenta and having the nicest cup of sweet tea and ham sandwich I have ever tasted!!
What a journey! We feel so very grateful for her and are now cherishing every second of our first few weeks together as a family.