Leila was my third pregnancy, so I guess I thought I was a bit of a dab hand, but (and this is something I always tell my ladies in class) every labour is different – not just for each woman but even for one woman for each different labour.
My waters broke at 35 weeks – I’d been in the bath, and when I came out I noticed I was leaking a little – no big gush or pop or anything dramatic like that. Actually no one believed me at first (although again, you’d think third time around I’d know). So eventually I waddled off the hospital where I was told “Ah, yes, you were right. But now we don’t want to let you leave!”.
After some monitoring and a lot of discussion I convinced them to allow me to go home for a bit. I hadn’t packed a bag yet (it was just after new year and we’d only just come back from holidays). So I headed homewards, telling them I’d be back asap…
…I took as long as I could. I knew that I would be monitored, because contractions still hadn’t started. I really wanted to give my body the best chance possible of getting things going on it’s own, and I thought that I would be best moving around at home, where I’d be more relaxed.
In the end – after they’d rung me a couple of times to see what was taking me so long – I did head in (it took me a total of 5 and a half hours to pack my bag… I stayed home long enough to put the boys to bed, and have a nice long snuggle with them), and not long after I was induced with a sweep.
The next 24 hours dragged. I somehow didn’t feel like I could just get up and wander about, even though I knew that I wanted to be doing that. My husband was home with the boys, so I was alone on the ward, and that was quite hard. I sat up, read, watched tv, had a second sweep… I do wish I’d had someone by my side to go for a walk together, or just to talk things through with. Hmm, hindsight!
Contractions eventually started but a few hours later I was told things weren’t moving along quickly enough and was put on a sytocinon drip. I also had antibiotics going into the other hand because of Group B Strep, so in all honesty, I felt pretty tied down to that bed. I sat upright though, the whole time – I don’t think that was a concsious decision, it just felt like thats what I needed to be doing. After a while, contractions starting coming on stronger so I called my husband to come in (Granny had arrived at the house by this point). He sat and ate his lunch while I dived into my birthing bubble and let the animal in me take over.
I actually quite enjoyed the labouring this time around. During contractions I was very inwardly focused, but between them I really enjoyed chatting to our midwife who’s son had just recently come out, and she was keen to tell us all about the changing dyanimcs in their family as a result.
Then, suddenly, things got a lot stronger.
Now in my previous two births I’ve not particularly liked cervical dilation checks, and have also only ever had gas and air. At this point however I asked for a check: my gut was telling me things were happening. I was SO disappointed to learn I was only 5cm, and only a few minutes later I felt things were becoming unbearable and asked for an epidural. My thought was that this was down to having had an induction, which can make contractions more painful for some women. Our midwife left to find the anaesthetist, and came back 3 minutes later with the news that he was otherwise occupied for the next 45 minutes (!). It didn’t matter though… I swear, she took one look at me and said “this baby’s on it’s way!”.
2 pushes later she was out.
Once I had Leila in my arms I quite quickly went into shock… my body was trembling terribly and I was sick: my body was reacting to such a quick ejection reflex. But despite that I felt amazing. My little girl was in my arms – all gunky and wrinkly and bloody and absolutely perfect.