Having a relaxing evening and it suddenly dawned on me that three years ago today I was in Labour, well it was actually the early hours of Monday morning that I first felt the onset of labour take place.
I recall waking my husband asking for a hot water bottle, I was a little bit excited about the prospect of meeting our baby soon, however it turned out not to be as soon as I had anticipated. I was unlucky enough to experience a 4 day slow labour, which was exhausting and painful. After two full days they admitted me to hospital and gave me some Diamorphine to help with the pain so I could get some rest. There was still no sign of the baby so they sent me home. The contractions continued and were getting more frequent but alas nothing was happening. I went into hospital again on the Thursday night because I couldn’t handle the pain and the exhaustion. They yet again kept me in, gave me some Diamorphine to get some rest, but that night I got no sleep at all. I had finally gone into ‘proper’ Labour as they call it. From midnight to 5am I dilated 6.5cms. I finally succumbed to an epidural and then I finally got some sleep! As I woke up a consultant and a couple of other midwifes appeared in the room checking over the baby. They broke my waters and they were brown so baby had kindly pooed inside me! They did some checks and all was well. It got to 8am and due to the epidural I was making slow progress and they recommended a caesarean section. I wasn’t phased by any of this, I think I was too out of it and exhausted, if anything it was a relief to get everything over and done with. Emily was born on the Friday morning just in time for some breakfast! My labour was far from what I had anticipated or even expected. Luckily Emily was healthy and I could finally relax a little.
The whole labour subject has got me thinking of some of the things people don’t tell you about labour and birth.
The Importance of Silence
Don’t tell people when you are in Labour, it may seem like an exciting time and you want to share the news. However the realism can be the constant flow of texts of people asking how things are going, any sign of the baby yet. None of this you need to be dealing with when you are in labour. Just concentrate on yourself and your baby and then have the excitement of telling everyone when the baby is born.
Make sure you have your birth/hospital notes that have been put together over a period of time with your midwife, including your birth plan. Despite having this wonderful pile of notes be prepared to still be asked questions and be given forms to sign when you least expect it. Be prepared.
The word Partner gives the impression you are in this together, sharing it all. But you are not, They are not sharing or helping with your pains. The other role of the birth partner is to drive you mental. The questions asking how you are or if you want something to eat mid contraction, where as all you want to do is scream at them. This isn’t the birth partners fault, they are more likely to be feeling helpless, even so they can be irritating. I found I listened more to the midwives than my husband who probably felt a bit like a spare part. He did however get to share in the joy of when the baby was born. Once E was cleaned up from the caesarean they gave her to him and the first thing she did was poo on him, a great reward for being my birthing partner.
They are amazing, well in my experiences they were. My midwife during the nine months was wonderful, so friendly and caring. Really could not fault her. The same applied when I went into hospital, the midwives were kind, caring and did a great job at being really friendly and trying to distract me from the situation in hand. The other important thing about midwives is that they can give you the pain relief required, bonus!
The majority of women find contractions painful. You expect it to be. What I did not expect was with the contractions came a form of Tourette’s. The pain of contractions made me curse and curse and curse and talk through gritted teeth.
The Cringe Factor
Giving birth is messy. The midwives have seen it all before. Your birth partner is shielded from a lot of it and to be honest they forget the horror film parts because they witness the amazing part and that is what will stick with them. Fear of pooing, farting, vomiting, bleeding, leaking and all the rest will be there. After you have given birth little will phase you ever again, dignity walks out of the door when you give birth, but all of that I forgotten once you have your new baby in your arms.
The I Cannot Do This
I defy anybody to give birth without uttering these words. But you can and you do. The day before I went into labour I told my midwife amid some tears that I had changed my mind about having a baby, little to late for that decision.
Then there is a baby. A beautiful stunning baby. That first cry is the most amazing sound you will ever hear. Those few seconds of waiting for a baby to cry also seems like a lifetime. Finally your birth partner becomes useful because they are as excited and instantly in love with this baby as you are. The excitement was immense despite being exhausted. And after a few cuddles and E having a feed it was time to break the silence and spread the good news with our family.