I’d written an essay instead of a birth plan. It was probably one of the most detailed pieces of content I’d ever drafted. It was laughed at by family members and branded ‘control freak’ by friends. I wanted everything my own way, a natural birth, in the water, no interference so I could practice hypnobirthing techniques and have my own play list on throughout. There were strict instructions for midwives, my husband and also a little flow chart in case something went a little ‘off piste’. I was so naive as did not think for one second that my labour would deviate that much!
What actually happened was the complete opposite.
I had a couple of weeks left at work and was killing it, completely determined not to be one of those really pregnant people in the office. You know the ones that complain about swollen feet and back ache? At 2am on Friday morning, Feb 5 2016, I started leaking a little. I was a whole month away from my due date. ‘It will probably be nothing I told myself’ and then when I really thought about it, I realised it had been happening a bit over the last few days. A midwife had assured me it was nothing at a routine appointment. However, something was niggling me to go get it checked. I hadn’t packed a hospital bag, instead I went to the antenatal ward in some comfy clothes and my designer handbag fully expecting to go to work when the sun rose.
Nope. They tested me and my membrane had ruptured, it was amniotic fluid. Bye bye birth plan, hello hospital bed and induction.
6am now and it was clear the induction hadn’t worked so they explained due to the number of days I’d been leaking they were going to have to put me on Oxytocin.
If I’m honest, I think it was a bad day at the hospital so what followed was several hold ups which I don’t believe could have been helped. The teams in delivery suite and maternity wards were over-stretched at the time.
It somehow got to afternoon and we were kept in a waiting room while the teams found a space for me in delivery. You aren’t able to be left on your own with Oxytocin and hooked up to wires/monitors so I had to wait for the specialists. We hadn’t eaten or slept – most people have a sufficient hospital bag packed with snacks and magazines but we hadn’t got that far. Finally, at 6pm we were taken upstairs, tired, hungry but still excited at this point thinking it was now full steam ahead and we’d get to meet our baby real soon.
Once we were in the delivery room and had everything explained to us, we thought we were ready for what was to come but unfortunately the midwife assigned to me was called to an emergency so we were left waiting. The same thing happened again before finally being put on the oxytocin drip at 11pm. It felt like I’d waited an eternity and way too long for someone who was majorly at risk of infection.
It was time to revert back to parts of my birth plan. I used the ball to do my stretches, I used aromatherapy oils and I listened to my music. Mark turned the lights down and massaged me through the contractions, he spilt the massage oil all over himself but it did make him and the room smell very nice.
But these weren’t normal contractions. They didn’t start of light so my body could get used to them. They went from 0-100million mph! Popular in the US, no one had told me about the pros and cons of Oxytocin and I didn’t have any choice but to have it pumped into me by this point.
The labour and delivery
I dealt with the pain and thought ‘this is ok I can get through it’ but then we were delivered a blow and told that I was only 3cm dilated. I was tired, Mark was ‘man tired’ and there was about 1.5 seconds between each contraction so I couldn’t even catch my breath. The midwife could see I was struggling with the level of contractions and looked concerned when viewing the monitor.
But we HAD to do this, fight or flight completely takes over. Finally a third midwife came in for a shift (we’d been there that long) she kept checking on me and then I felt a pop! My stomach muscles had ripped. It felt like a basketball bursting in my belly. At this point my baby’s head was showing so I forgot all about my stomach. I’d been having horrendous contractions for a helluva long time but Harris-Alexander Rawlinson was delivered in just 20 minutes, coming into the world at 9.50am, Saturday, Feb 6. It was the natural delivery I really craved and count myself really lucky.
He was taken away briefly to be checked and it was clear that staff were worried about his birth weight. Thankfully I got to hold him and feed him, getting that all-important skin to skin.
I had a rough ride after being transferred to the maternity ward. Harris was extremely poorly and his glucose levels were too low. He was taken away again and cup fed. Then we learnt that blood samples had to be sent away to be tested and as a result, he was treated for Sepsis via an IV. He also had jaundice so had the photo light box therapy. I was pretty helpless if I’m honest.
While this sounds very traumatic and we needed a seven-day stint in hospital, we had made it and were safe.
You’ll find that every birth story is different, some will make you cringe, some will make you fearful and some will make you cry with emotion. Just don’t be a control freak like me and decide that everything will happen as you wish. It’s a bonus if it all goes your way but your baby will have its own little plan and that’s hard to adapt to.
Enjoy the highs and the lows, it’s what will make you an amazing mummy x