This week, we meet Kelly, from and Jacob makes three. Kelly’s birth experience wasn’t anything like what she’d planned, but she maintains it was a positive experience nonetheless. I’m so glad she decided to share her story here.
I’m going to start this story with a disclaimer: There may be times when this birth story sounds anything but positive. I promise you, though, it was a good experience overall.
I was desperate to have a natural, non-medicated, as natural-as-possible birth. There were several reasons for that. Firstly, and most importantly, I am terrified of doctors, needles, surgery, hospitals … the list goes on. I was petrified of getting a serious birth injury if I needed an instrumental birth. I’d heard some horror stories and I didn’t know how I’d cope with recovering from surgery for a C-section or a severe cut/tear if an instrument was used. I’d read that epidurals made needing an assisted birth more likely, and my fear of that was greater than my fear of pain in labour. I don’t know how true that is, but it stuck in my head.
So, for that reason, I planned to use the midwife-led birth centre. There are no epidurals there, no doctors, and it’s more relaxed than the labour ward, so I thought I’d be happiest there. I stupidly hadn’t even considered that I might end up on the labour ward.
My waters broke at 10am on Sunday, before contractions had started. I called the midwife-led unit and they asked me to pop down to confirm my waters had broken. They had, so they told me to go home and see if contractions started, but said I’d need to come back the next morning for monitoring if things hadn’t ramped up.
We went home, went for a little walk, and mild contractions started. My husband went to bed to get a few hours sleep that evening. I was up all night with my TENS machine, watching the 2016 Olympics, breathing through contractions, feeling okay. At 2am, I called the midwives to let them know my contractions were ramping up. They encouraged me to stay at home until I couldn’t cope. At 6am, I felt like they were too intense so I called them and told them I was coming in. As soon as we arrived, the contractions slowed down. I stayed for a couple of hours, and was told the doctor would like me to have IV antibiotics because it had been twenty-four hours since my waters broke. I asked my lovely midwife if I had to have them. She said: ‘Of course not. You don’t HAVE to do anything’. The doctor agreed I could go home for twelve more hours then come back for monitoring. So, off home we went. At home, the contractions came back and I spent the day breathing through and coping well. Despite being pretty tired. By the time I had to go back, they’d ramped up again.
We went back to the hospital, this time to the labour ward, to be monitored. Lying on the bed to be strapped to the heart monitor was awful. I was so uncomfortable in that position. The doctor came and said he wanted to induce me. I told him ‘no, I’m in labour!’ He then examined me and was surprised to find I was 3cm dilated. So he then said he wanted to take some blood to check for infection. The results came back showing I had markers for infection, so I consented to IV antibiotics, despite being skeptical. I was told the midwife-led unit was no longer suitable for me and it would have to be the labour ward. I was admitted to an induction ward, the cannula was inserted, and antibiotics were given. Then I was left. The contractions were ramping up, but everyone in my bay was sleeping so I felt self-conscious and awkward. My husband encouraged me to walk up and down the deserted corridor; we did that for three hours, with me leaning on him through the contractions. At 5am, a midwife saw me have a contraction and decided she thought I was progressing, so examined me and found I was 5cm. She whisked me to a delivery room.
In the delivery room, I was strapped to the heart rate monitor. Little did I know that’s where I’d remain for the next fourteen hours. The midwife tried her best to let me move as freely as possible, but I did feel restricted. Two hours after arriving in the delivery room, it was shift change. My nice midwife left, and the evil midwife arrived. Evil is clearly an exaggeration. She wasn’t evil. She just wasn’t cut out to be a midwife. She wasn’t encouraging, she told me off for moving and messing up her trace on the monitor, she made some negative comments. I have no idea what made her become a midwife, but it wasn’t the vocation for her.
At around 9am, I was examined again and found to be 6cm. At 12ish I was still at 6cm, so I was strongly encouraged by the consultant to have my labour augmented with the syntocin drip. Despite my reluctance, I agreed. I felt a bit like I didn’t have a choice. I was recommended to have an epidural at that point but I said no. The evil midwife told me ‘everyone who has the drip has one eventually … the contractions are ten times more painful’. Again, full of encouragement! I had a brief respite from her negative attitude when she had a lunch break and a lovely, friendly midwife took over for a bit. She told me I could do it, which really helped. Sometimes all you need is a little bit of a motivational talk! I managed to cope with the more painful contractions with just gas and air. They were more painful than before, but not ten times more painful!
Hours went by and I still wasn’t full dilated. At 9cm, the consultant tried to flip over the remaining cervix (gross I know, sorry!) and told me I could push in an hour. After about ten minutes, I felt the urge to start pushing. I ignored evil midwife who told me not to – I literally couldn’t stop!
I kept endlessly pushing and at 7pm evil midwife went home (after huffily telling me ‘I THOUGHT I was going to deliver a baby today’) and she was replaced by an angel. This midwife had a totally different attitude. She was everything a midwife should be: calm, friendly, reassuring and positive. Then, thirty-one minutes after she came on shift, Jacob was born. I don’t think it was a coincidence, I really think my body couldn’t relax with the other midwife being so negative. The actual crowning part didn’t hurt anywhere near as much as I expected. It was perfectly manageable with a few puffs of gas and air. I didn’t need any stitches as I only had two small grazes.
After Jacob was born, we had a minor emergency when the midwife thought I was bleeding too heavily; the emergency button was pressed and the placenta was pulled out quickly, but I was fine once that was done. It was decided I’d lost a normal amount of blood. Again, that sounds so negative, but it really wasn’t as scary as it sounds. I felt reassured that everyone knew what they were doing and I was just exhausted, so I didn’t really care!
Although Jacob’s birth didn’t go exactly as I planned, I honestly found it a positive experience. I’ve learned to listen to my body and go with my instincts. I realised that it doesn’t matter if things don’t go to plan. You just have to adapt to it and not lose your calm. Don’t worry if you end up not being able to give birth where you want. Your state of mind is the most important thing.
Thanks so much, Kelly, for sharing your amazing story! Next week, we’ll have a story from Jo, so come on back to read about her water birth! (Please note that submissions for this series have closed.)
Kelly is a 29-year-old first-time mum to Jacob, who is notorious among those who know him for being a cheeky little monkey who will not sit still! She blogs about pregnancy and life with a baby. Her posts are a mixture of tips and tricks she’s found as a parent, reviews of products she loves and hates, and the ups and downs of motherhood.
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!
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