Firstly I’d like to wish you all a Happy New Year!
So, I know I have been MIA for quite a while now and I thought that before I come back to writing and finishing the posts I started that I would tell you all what has been going on.
In June 2016… So long ago now; we found out I was pregnant after trying for a short period of time to have a baby, I say this because it really did feel too wonderful to be true. I have suffered with Endometriosis for a very long time with several surgeries and numerous types of medication to help at least ease the symptoms, there was always a question mark over whether I would even be able to fall pregnant, so when I saw that amazing word on the test we couldn’t believe it. Everything was going wonderfully with the pregnancy, my stomach was slowly swelling and I “felt pregnant”. Then a week before our 12 week scan I bled a bit, not much but was concerned so I went to Hospital to get checked over. They couldn’t do a scan until the next morning but after checking me over they said all looked well but when we went to the scan and looked at the screen, the amniotic sac was empty. We were told the devastating news that I had suffered a miscarriage and judging but the size it had happened when I was eight weeks along but my body for some reason (I don’t think i will ever understand why) didn’t let them go. So I continued to feel pregnant, even after our world was shattered I still felt pregnant. We were given options of the next step, either to wait for the full miscarriage to take place, have medication or have surgery. I was told the first two options would not be guaranteed to work as I had lost the baby three weeks prior and had not fully miscarried so we decided to go for the surgery option. It was only after this that I felt the empty feeling I should have felt nearly a month before. In honesty I hated myself, I felt like I had failed, like my body had failed. Not just for the miscarriage but for the fact my body couldn’t do that properly, I felt tortured by it. By the fake belief I was growing my son or daughter and in actual fact I wasn’t. It took some time, words from my wonderful family and friends and mostly my husband telling me to focus on the fact that I could get pregnant, which was something we scarcely believed before for me to start to trust myself again and allow myself to dream once more of becoming a Mum.
Then in the December I took a test, I wasn’t going to as I felt “normal” but the fertility tracking app I used flashed up on my phone saying ‘today is a good day to take a test’ so i did, I expected the test to be negative but to our astonishment it said pregnant and that I was two to three weeks along. I immediately contacted my Dr, after the miscarriage I was advised to have an eight week scan so I wanted to get it arranged. We were quietly excited but nervous too and tried not to get our hopes up before we had been to the scan. The scan was booked in for January and we decided to tell our family the news on Christmas day as my Mum and Sister would soon question why I wasn’t drinking. I don’t think I have ever been as scared as I was while we were waiting for the scan, I was trembling until the picture was on the screen and you could see a tiny flickering heartbeat. Our Rainbow. It was the most beautiful sight, both myself and J were overcome with emotion that this time everything could be okay, we were over the first hurdle.
The morning sickness soon hit, it would come in waves throughout the day. Nothing would help to ease it, not even ginger so I ended up on anti-sickness tablets to help but they only helped in the evening as they would cause drowsiness so could only take them at night, it wasn’t until I was in my third trimester that I had some Volvic Lemon and Lime water and that kept the sickness mostly at bay during the day so long as that’s all I drank throughout the day. I’m normally a huge tea drinker but I could never finish a cup because it would make me feel sick. Chicken was also a trigger for nausea, but only if it “looked like chicken meat”, as strange as that sounds, if it was coated in a sauce or something then it was okay until I looked at it cut in half; then I wouldn’t be able to eat any more. When going for a check-up with my Doctor they told me that I was one of the lucky 1 in 100 who would suffer with sickness for the duration of my pregnancy. Feeling our little one move, hearing their heartbeat and seeing them on scans made it all worth it though. At our 20 week scan we found out we were having a boy, he was perfect and we couldn’t wait to meet him.
I have always been terrified about the prospect of giving birth, I have a weak lower back and I was so scared of it going into spasm during labour. I was reading Giovanna Fletcher’s book Happy Mum, Happy Baby and she talked about Hypnobirthing. I had never heard of it before but was curious so decided to look it up. I discovered it was all about learning techniques through both hypnosis and mindfulness to keep calm and relaxed and ultimately trust yourself during labour, I decided it was worth a go and found a book on Amazon by Sophie Fletcher called Mindful Hypnobirthing. I was so excited for it to arrive and start reading. It was like a course in a book with links to a website for print outs and also access to free tracks to accompany the book. There are classes that you can go to for Hypnobirthing that would have been very beneficial but money was tight for us so I self-taught through the book. I listened to the tracks each night before bed as they would often send me off to sleep from my relaxed state and practised the exercises daily as I worked my way through the book. The transformation in my head was incredible, after only a few days of reading and listening to the tracks I felt so relaxed and even excited about the thought of giving birth, I learnt to love my body and the incredible job it was doing; creating and nurturing life. I was a new person, I wrote out my birth preferences and was hoping for an intervention free water birth (to help keep my back relaxed) on the midwife led unit (MLU) at my local hospital. I was adamant I didn’t want an epidural as I was scared of needles and I didn’t want to feel ‘out of control’ or ‘out of sync’ with my body during contractions. In the book it suggested putting the print outs and affirmations around the house or work to be able to see them every day, I decided to make myself a ‘birth book’ with the print outs, affirmations and images important to me; I could then take this with me when I went into labour to help keep me focused on my breathing, my body and my baby.
My due date arrived, I’d been having a few twinges and lots of Braxton Hicks in the days leading up to it but our little boy was too comfy. I was conscious of my birth preferences and tried all sorts to help hurry him up from bouncing all day on my birthing ball, dancing around the living room, to having a curry and eating pineapple but nothing seemed to work. On the third day past my due date I met up with a friend to do a bit of shopping in the morning and then went to our local John Lewis in the afternoon on my own to use a tea and cake voucher I’d got a while back. I had literally just put the tray on the table and I felt it, being completely honest I knew I hadn’t wet myself but something happened. I sat down and looked for a sign for the toilets from the cafe but couldn’t see one so I scrambled for my phone to call my husband but there was no signal, I tried to calmly connect to the in store WIFI so I could contact him on Whatsapp. I explained to him what I felt and I got the extremely helpful reply of ‘Check your knickers?’ I decided to drink my tea and leave via a toilet if I could spot one. There was no sign to be seen until I was halfway down the stairs on my way out. I didn’t want to turn back so headed for the car and drove home. When I got home I went straight to the loo and my pad was wet, (now any story about going into labour is going to get ‘graphic’ so be warned before reading on…) I’d had a bloody show, and the other liquid on my pad looked a bit strange to what I was expecting. I phoned my husband to tell him what I had found and also my best friend who was my other birthing partner, they both told me to ring the hospital and keep them updated. I spoke to the MLU who invited me in for an examination. J came home from work and we grabbed my notes and birth book and made our way to the hospital. I was put on a monitor and on examination of my pad, it was confirmed that my waters had broken but the next part threw my birth preferences out of the window. There was Meconium in my waters meaning I could no longer be looked after on the MLU, I’d have to be on the consultant led Labour Ward as I now had 24 hours to give birth.
I was moved to labour ward at around 6pm accompanied by J and my best friend, put on a monitor and given a birthing ball to use to help with the contractions that had started to slowly creep in. I was examined at 7:30pm and was only 1 centimetre dilated so was given some gel to help move things along. Over the next few hours the contractions got a lot stronger, I was able to use my birthing book and listen to the tracks I had put on a playlist to help me breathe through them and focus but they ended up being mainly in my back causing it to try and spasm which was the last thing I needed and something I had always been worried about if not having a water birth. I couldn’t focus on them. I tried Gas and Air to help with the pain but because of my nausea throughout the pregnancy I couldn’t deal with it so was offered Pethidine and accepted. I was in so much pain, because my back was trying to spasm; there was no let up between the contractions so I was in constant agony, screaming and crying wanting it to stop. I was given the Pethidine at around 10pm with anti-sickness (which didn’t work, i haven’t been able to eat a tuna sandwich since). The Pethidine spaced me out but didn’t help with the back pain so after having a chat with both J and my best friend I decided to go for an epidural, it was the only thing that was going to help my back. I was examined but still only 1 centimetre, my body couldn’t do what it needed because I was too focused on my back. I couldn’t relax at all. I was given the epidural around 10:45 and I went from screaming through each contraction/back spasm to just sighing through the contractions, I felt so relaxed and like I could actually do the job in hand. I was given the epidural around 10:45, it was a bit of a comedy of errors… As my wonderful midwife was putting the cannula in my hand, the anaesthetist walked in banging the door against the wall and announcing himself Dr. Nick Riviera style making her jump and pulling it out of my hand, he then decided to do it himself with a new cannula, it was put in successfully however the bung wasn’t on the end so blood went e.v.e.r.y.w.h.e.r.e!! After all this commotion though I was so relieved to be getting somewhere. I was so relaxed that I was playing with Snapchat filters and sending images to our family Whatsapp group.
I was examined again around 5am and was fully dilated and now was the time to push however I was exhausted and my contractions had slowed so I was put on a hormone drip to help get them going again, the hormone helped and every time a contraction came I pushed as hard as I could. At 7am the midwives and consultant with me decided I needed an instrumental delivery as I was so tired. At 7:20am via Kiwi Cup and Episiotomy our beautiful Son Thomas was born weighing 7lbs exactly. He was perfect and we were instantly in love.
The support I had from J and my best friend was priceless, I couldn’t have chosen two better people to have by my side during labour and the care I received from the staff at the hospital was perfect.
Writing this blog post has been so lovely for me to be able to look back on my labour with fresh eyes and going through the Whatsapp group messages has been wonderful too as there were so many I hadn’t read until now.
Thank you for taking the time to read about the birth of Thomas. Here is a picture of him now, where does the time go?