Sophie is a sassy mama and on-maternity-leave HR professional, who blogs over at This Mama Can. She has overcome her initial hesitancy over talking bout herself to bring you stories about her family and motherhood journey. Here’s her birth story!
Even the word is terrifying! A whirlwind of pain, fear, excitement, strength, exhaustion and love. The female body is literally AMAZING! And sorry to be so cliché, but it’s true what they say: you do forget all about the pain afterwards (aside from spending the following weeks trying to avoid sitting on your stitches – yea, they don’t warn you about that part, do they!). So here’s my birth story on the arrival of my undiagnosed breech baby!
Rewind almost twelve weeks to 11 April 2017, and there I was, eight days overdue, feeling pretty damn fed up. What was taking my little man so long, and how was he not as impatient as his mama! After convincing myself he was going to arrive early and spending weeks revolving each day around every old wives’ tale going – drowning myself in raspberry leaf tea, bouncing on my ball, power walking with the dog, eating pineapple until my tongue went numb, cooking spicy meals, reflexology sessions, a failed sweep and the most awkward sex a normal sized me could have imagined – still no baby!
I went to bed that night plotting the death of the next person to call or message with some “friendly advice”: Any sign of baby yet? I’m ready to meet him now! He must be really comfy in there. Have you tried a hot curry?
Hello, contractions! I’d never been in real pain before, or ever been to hospital except as a visitor, so I had no idea what my pain threshold would be like (although if my squeamishness around anything to do with needles or blood was anything to go by, I was thinking not good!) But this was okay – surprisingly bearable actually. I was fairly chilled, but excited. I even managed to squeeze in a few episodes of Broadchurch on catch up while I timed the contractions on an app. Seven minutes apart … ten minutes apart … then a couple of hours break. I was told not to bother calling the maternity unit until I was having at least three in ten minutes, so I carried on my day as normal, thinking ‘surely I can’t be in actual labour – this isn’t that bad!’.
Another baby-less bedtime arrived, but after a worryingly heavy show (I told you blood freaked me out), Rich finally convinced me to call maternity triage and we plodded in to get checked out. We arrived to what looked like a scene from One Born Every Minute, as a woman was rushed past in a wheelchair, screaming and panting. I remember telling Rich how stupid I felt; who did I think I was just strolling in there? They were just going to send us home. We hadn’t even brought the bags in from the car (which had been packed for literally MONTHS).
So, I’ll try and spare you all the gory details, but this is genuinely how I want to remember the whole experience! I was hooked up to the monitors and told everything looked fine, baby was happy but I was still not in established labour, as my contractions weren’t strong or close together. I was still calm at this point, convinced it just wasn’t happening yet, he still wasn’t ready. I had spent nine days trying not to get my hopes up at every twinge! A few hours passed and upon examination, the midwife looked confused as hell as she confessed she couldn’t feel baby’s head. Huh? ‘What do you mean you can’t feel his head? He’s right there, head down and ready to go’. She returned a bit later with another midwife and they’re both having a poke around now (at this point I had no idea this was the easy part). ‘Okay, your waters still haven’t broken so it’s difficult to tell, but I’m either poking my finger in his mouth or this is his bumhole …’
My baby was breech?! Absolutely not. He couldn’t be. All that bouncing on a ball for nothing?! I was then told I was 9cm dilated and they needed to get me to delivery immediately. Okay, this is happening now. Cue the tears, the uncontrollable shakes and clasping Rich’s hand as I admitted it was time to call my mum! I had no specific birth plan but as I’d had a straightforward pregnancy, I was expecting to go to the midwife led unit – private rooms with birthing pools, mood lighting and relaxing music (because that makes childbirth sound like a dream right?!) … not this time. The consultant was very optimistic, telling me I’d already gotten this far, the rest would be a doddle, so he was all for me trying to proceed with a natural birth. The midwives faces, however, told a completely different story; three of them stood behind him eyeballing each other nervously – they weren’t filling me with much confidence in this plan at all!
‘This is very rare – we will probably prep you for a C-section just to be safe.’ This meant no food or drink, and I had to be fitted with a cannula (another example of how much of a wimp I am, as I had to try not to pass out while they took three attempts to find my veins). At first I was GUTTED that I wouldn’t be able to enjoy any of the snacks that made up most of the contents of my hospital bag (bourbons were like my comfort blanket throughout pregnancy). Then I realised I knew nothing about C-sections at al: ‘hang on, I haven’t read this part of the books!’ Cue the arrival of my super-mum who’d had two cesareans with me and my sister, who popped in to put my mind at rest and provide some extra motivation.
It was now the early hours of 13 April, and my contractions were gradually getting stronger and closer together. Rich did an amazing job mopping my brow and handing me the gas and air on demand (hero) and my midwife, Angie, was amazing, as well. The time in between contractions was the best feeling in the world, you could almost sail away in a cloud of gas and air forgetting that the pain would be back within minutes. The urge to push soon followed and my biggest fear was that I’d do a poo! Luckily, my baby boy had my back already as bum first, he’d already dropped about four poops. Angie had it under control though: ‘come and see, Dad!’. Rich waited for my nod of approval (bless him) as he took his position at the end I’d been telling him for nine months he was to steer well clear of. Before I knew it, there were about eight people waiting for the show as the pushing began, and Baby Ward slowly began making his appearance. At this point you really don’t care who’s down there, you just want him out!
Out popped (I use this term lightly) his bum, followed my his body with his legs up against his chest. Rich described his spine as looking like a piano and I could see him at this point – ‘OMG, he’s enormous!’. The exhaustion had well and truly sunk in, and I politely asked if I was done yet. ‘Umm, you’ve still got his head to push out!’ ‘I can’t do it anymoreeee!’
The next few minutes were a blur. From seeing the panic on the doctors’ and midwives’ faces as the monitor lost track of baby’s heartbeat, to the most excruciating pain as they had to do an episiotomy to get his head out as quickly as possible. During a breech birth, it’s best that there is as little interference as possible, but once the head was out, I felt like I was giving birth to an octopus as the doctor went back in to pull out what seemed like several limbs (just the two arms and legs, thankfully).
5.58am: 7lbs and 1oz of pure perfection. Jacob Joseph Ward. He was checked over and placed on my chest as Rich returned to the “safe” position while they stitched me back up. Six hours since I arrived at hospital, one hour of active pushing, and not one swear word had left my mouth – very unlike me – until Angie stuck a needle in my leg with the injection to speed up the placenta. It caught me off guard, so I tried grabbing it out her hand before she had to remind me what was happening. ‘Well, you could have f*cking told me!!!’ Oops 🙂
Not long after I said to Rich: ‘the hardest part was having my legs open for so long’. I don’t think I’ll ever live that down. But seriously, when you’re holding this new life in your arms, something that you have created together, the whole world just stops as if this is the only thing in life that will ever matter again. My little family. The love I felt was (and still is) so overwhelming, there’s nothing that can prepare you for that feeling. I couldn’t believe I’d actually done it, with just gas and air as well. I’d spent the whole previous day oblivious to the fact I was actually in labour as we walked the dog and I cooked our tea as normal (and no, it wasn’t a hot curry). The whole maternity ward had heard about ‘the breech baby lady’, I was like the local celeb – I had never felt such strength and pride. Just MAGICAL!
Welcome to the world little one xxx
**Originally published on This Mama Can**
Next week, we’ll hear from Bethanie! If you have a positive birth story you’d like to share, please email firstname.lastname@example.org for more info. Please note that submissions close on Sunday 12 November 2017 (AEST).
This Mama Can is a parenting and lifestyle blog documenting Sophie’s journey as a first time mama.
Mini Mummi Blogger is a first time mummy to a beautiful baby boy. Currently on maternity leave, she is looking to put her writing/publishing experience to good use through her blog, helping other mummies navigate through the wealth of often conflicting (and, sometimes, even discouraging) information out there about pregnancy and motherhood. She believes that every mummy knows what’s best for her own baby – even first time mums!
Welcome to a new guest series! Exercise and a certain level of fitness helps to…