OLIVE & PEGGY
Throughout my pregnancy I kept telling myself that staying calm was the most important thing I could do to help & at the end of 9 months I actually believed myself! I just thought ‘what will be, will be’ & that there was no use in me interfering with it.
I was 9 days overdue when my labour began. I’d had a lovely long walk in the countryside the day before & felt some light contractions. I had also seen an osteopath who had done some mad stuff with my hormones, who knows what worked.
There was something quite 9-5 about the way it started. I woke with a contraction at
8:30am & after I’d had a few more at about 20mins apart, I was fairly sure it had actually begun.
My boyfriend had just arrived at work so I rang to update him & he decided to head straight home again. I also called my best friend, Charlotte who is an exceptional midwife & who was hopefully also going to be with me through the labour.
The day was spent relaxing & trying to rest as much as possible. The contractions were roughly 25 mins apart all day. Most of the day was spent lying on my bed trying to rest or sleep, my boyfriend cuddled up behind me.
2pm - Charlotte appeared to check how dilated I was, 4cm.
At some point I spoke to my sister & she reminded me that her 2 labours had both followed a very distinctive pattern. A slow labour of about 12 hours with erratically spaced contractions, where nothing appeared to be happening, followed by a very fast progression & delivery…. Oh & plenty of vomiting!!
Not long after that, I started vomiting. I was probably sick about 4 times over the next 8 hours, this affected my planned use of water. It made me too shivery to want a bath or to use a birthing pool, so I stayed cosy.
7pm Charlotte checked how dilated I was, I was disappointed to discover I was only about 5cm, my contractions were still fairly erratically spaced at around 10-20mins apart.
I was starting to feel tired which made the pain harder to cope with. She advised me to try & stay upright & use gravity to progress things.
By now my house was fairly full with friends & neighbours who’d popped in to see me, some aware of what was occurring, some a little more alarmed! I was happy to have some distraction.
The birth ball seemed to be the most comfortable place for me & one poor friend had a numb hand from rubbing my lower back so hard! Within an hour my contractions had become far more intense, my brain would shut down a bit each time.
9:30pm I went to the toilet and a bit of fresh blood appeared, like a heavy period. Charlotte very diplomatically called it ‘a bit more than a show’ & that we better go to the hospital, she swiftly instructed my friend to get the car. I was mainly relieved that I might get some pain relief.
The journey was only 10mins, but by the time I got out of the car my contractions were considerably more intense & probably around 5mins apart.
I remember being in the lift up to labour ward & pulling against the hand-rail as I felt the 1st really intense ‘heave’ that made me want to push. I was also sounding a bit more primal by this point!
The next contraction was in an empty waiting room, I had to force my face into the wall to counteract the intensity, at hearing the noise I was making the receptionist remarked “ah, right, I think we should get you into a room straight away”
10pm Everything seemed to speed up at this point (details a bit uncertain) I was in a room, on a bed, the midwives had ascertained that the bleed had come from my cervix as it dilated from 5-10cm in around an hour.
I recall lots of people in the room (by that point I didn’t care how many people were there) this was mostly down to it being a quiet night on the labour ward & the registrar wanting to attend a ‘normal’ birth.
My waters hadn’t broken so they broke them for me as the baby’s heart rate was a little faster than they liked & they were keen to get her out.
The registrar was attempting to instruct me to push / or not, but between the gas & air and my brain periodically shutting down with the intensity of contractions, it was hard to follow instructions.
I was more than happy to have him instruct me as I had no recollection of anything I’d learnt in any classes! At some point I took a big deep breath & just kept pushing again & again until I went blue.
She came out in 2-3 big pushes. Apparently the whole second stage took 15mins. I believe the assembled audience were suitably impressed!
10:45pm - Peggy May Stainer was born, 6.4lb & clearly very hungry. I remember shaking uncontrollably with adrenalin & asking Charlotte to support the baby.
Suddenly the room was empty again & it was just the midwife on duty, my boyfriend, Charlotte, myself & Peggy. I was so happy that I was intact & despite the drama I had had a fast, efficient , drug free labour. I had a shower, a sandwich & the best tasting sugary cuppa ever!!!
I am very proud of my body & so grateful to my boyfriend, Charlotte & of course the wonderful NHS.