Yep – you read that right. I have a baby and that’s also my excuse for the lack of blog posts for the last few months too! I’m not intending to blog about mini JenkinSunts much, or if I do I may post them on a different blog but I do want to write about my birth story before it becomes a distant memory!
My last day at work was Wednesday 27th November, when I was 38 weeks and one day. I was pretty tired by this stage and glad to be able to be lazy and restful! However, that feeling didn’t last too long as I was soon a little bit bored too. I did try to do at least one ‘thing’ every day so that I had something to structure the day around, even if it was just a quick walk to the shops. I had an appointment with my midwife at 39 weeks and 6 days and at that stage I had no signs at all the labour was imminent. I was still 3/5ths engaged, I had no back pain and no show but I was definitely getting fed up of feeling enormous and struggling to get about and generally feeling pretty grumpy. However, I did manage to make it to the South Yorkshire Federation WI Carol Service in town. There was a lot of standing up and sitting down (literally up and down for every carol!!) and I did my best to sing but it probably wasn’t my best effort since it felt like a considerable part of my lung capacity was filled with teeny feet!
Warning: Do not read on if you’re squeamish or easily embarrassed or just don’t want to read personal stuff!
We had chilli con carne for tea before I finally got so fed up that I told Mr.J that he’d helped to put this baby inside me and he could help try to get it out. 10 minutes later (about 11pm) I felt a really sharp twinge and about two minutes after that there was a gush as my waters broke and I exclaimed “ooooh” to Mr.J. At Parentcraft they told us it wasn’t like you see in the films but I totally disagree. I hopped out of bed and the gush of liquid continued; incidentally this sent Lyra (the cat) into 5 minutes of uber-craziness of running all around the house – don’t know what that’s about but guess it’s a smell thing?? We had been told that your waters can break before labour starts and that you should go in and get checked out so it was at this point that we phoned the labour ward triage. Well, we tried but the number the midwife had written in my notes was wrong but a quick Google got us sorted out! Although I was 99.9% certain that it was my waters breaking, as a first time mum I probably sounded a little uncertain when she was asking me questions so I was advised to have a lie down for half an hour with a pad on and then get up and walk around for a bit and to phone back after that. So, we started watching Fresh Meat and waited for a bit. Even though I was lying down I could still feel a trickle so after half an hour, Mr.J had a quick shower and I phoned them straight back as the pad was soaked already and we were told to come in.
We went into the triage area and I gave a urine sample and had my blood pressure and pulse taken. We were shown to a triage room and had some monitors put on. I was a bit worried at this point as I hadn’t felt the baby move since my waters broke but the midwife said that was normal as it would feel different now that my waters had broken. She left us for about 20 minutes and when she came back and checked the traces she was happy that the baby was fine but said that nothing else was happening. I had to take some swabs to check for Group B strep, I was given some delightful but amazingly practical disposal knickers and a leaflet explaining what to do now that my waters had broken prematurely. The take home message was to phone back in about 48 hours if nothing had started happening and at that point they’d work out when to induce me. At about 1am we made our way home and I told Mr.J that I’d started to get period-like cramps. I took some paracetamol when we got home and we both tried to get some sleep. Mr.J went to bed and for some reason I decided to lie on the floor in the nursery with a pillow. The pain started to get a bit worse so I microwaved my lavender heat pack and whacked that on and managed to doze for an hour or so but kept waking up during painful moments. I sat on my birth ball for a bit and did some rocking and that helped for a bit but at about 3am I decided I’d try a bath.
Mr.J got up at this stage as he was worried I might fall asleep in the bath. I listened to radio 4 quietly – sadly, I was too distracted by the pain to fully take it in but there was an interesting piece on chemolithoautotrophs, though the presenter wasn’t pronouncing it to my liking. The bath worked for a while but as it cooled it wasn’t very helpful so I asked Mr.J to get the TENS machine. At this point I regretted the fact that I hadn’t made him read the instructions but to give him credit he quickly read the instructions and had the pads stuck on me. It was at about 3.30am that I suggested we started timing the contractions and again I had to show Mr.J the app I’d got for my phone! I have to say I wasn’t really aware how frequent the contractions were but because I was trying to do deep breaths in and out I was more aware of how long they were lasting as I was counting a bit in my head. I started to pace up and down the landing a bit and also used the birthing ball again to stretch out on to but it was starting to get quite painful and just breathing in and out and using the TENS machine wasn’t cutting it and I did start to sound like the women I’ve heard on the few episodes of ‘One Born Every Minute’ that I’ve watched with a lot more ‘oooooooohing’ at the peak of the contraction.
At about 5am, I told Mr.J that I really wanted to call the labour ward again and I took some more paracetamol, just because I could! He was really reluctant for me to call as he said the contractions weren’t 5 minutes apart yet or lasting for 1 minute and he thought they’d just tell me to stay at home and he wanted to manage my expectations. What I didn’t realise (as I was so out of it) was that they were about 3.5 minutes apart and lasting 45-50 seconds. I told him again that I wanted to phone and he was still clutching the phone but when the next contraction came I demanded that he let me call back. It was engaged. It stayed engaged for what felt like about 10 minutes. When the next contraction came I had a bit of a pathetic sob and he said that they might just tell me to stay at home and I told him that I needed to go in as if it was going to get any worse then I definitely wanted an epidural despite my ‘natural as possible’ birth plan. I was still using the TENS machine and starting to hold the trigger button with a vice like grip during the contractions and this became almost sub-conscious.
I eventually got through to the triage nurse and had a couple of contractions whilst I was on the phone. She asked me what had happened so far and I explained, in between contractions. She said that as this was my first baby it was unlikely that I was that far along and that the labour ward was very busy but that if I wasn’t coping I should go in but I should be aware that there was a strong chance I’d be sent back home.
As soon as I got off the phone I had another contraction and the overwhelming urge to push. I told Mr.J and he told me not to push. That’s a lot harder than it might sound.
We got back in the car and I have no idea what happened other than we made it back to Jessops with me doing a lot of heavy breathing in and out with my eyes closed and telling Mr.J that I needed to push and him telling me definitely not to push no matter what. I do remember having to tell Mr.J not to turn left into the wrong place though, despite our previous trip! We walked back in and went into the triage area and I said “I really need to push”. What felt like 10 seconds later, I was on a bed, my pants were being whipped off and I was being examined. She said I was 9cm dilated and the next thing I knew I was walking down a corridor and getting onto a bed in a labour room with 5 midwives all introducing themselves to me and telling me to do whatever came naturally and that it was brilliant that I’d stayed at home up until that point.
I asked if I could have some gas and air but I didn’t listen at all to the instruction on how to use it and didn’t even manage one proper go at it and I just ended up squeezing the tube in my hand as a distraction. It evened up my hands as the TENS button was in the other hand! I asked if the pain was likely to get any worse and I think the student midwife almost laughed when she said no and that the baby could be here in 30-60 minutes. I started to push with the contractions and after the first couple of pushes it was as though someone had flicked a switch and turned the pain off. The midwives were all really encouraging when I was pushing and helping me to make the most of each contraction. They suggested I get on all fours so I gave that a go and at some point I also took my top off as I was hot so I was butt naked but I couldn’t have cared less. At some point the midwives all switched over and the 4 or 5 who thought they might have got another delivery in before the end of their shift were replaced with one midwife, who was absolutely brilliant.
After about an hour of pushing the midwife examined me and said that the baby’s head was at slightly the wrong angle and she suggested I tried to have a wee and to walk about to try and get the head to move. I have to say that beforehand I had expected to find it really annoying when someone was shouting at me to keep pushing, etc but I think it really helped me as I felt as though I had to do my absolute best and I really was trying my absolute hardest with every push and I felt like she knew that too! (I burst a bllod vessel in my eye from all the pushing so I think that’s evidence of the effort!) Mr.J did say that I had an Alan Partridge face at one point – whatever that looks like! After another hour ish of pushing the midwife said that they might need to prep me for theatre as the baby wasn’t getting far enough fast enough and I had noticed that my contractions weren’t as strong anymore. The doctor came and examined me and agreed that baby JenkinSunts needed a helping hand but she was happy to sort it out where we were and I didn’t need to go to theatre, which was a bit of a relief.
I had to put my legs up in those ridiculous looking stirrups, had a local anaesthetic which felt like the ones you get at the dentist, and I had a catheter put in to empty my bladder. This wasn’t painful but it felt really odd and I vaguely remember telling Mr.J that I was scared and I didn’t like it. During the next contraction the doctor put the suction cup on the baby’s head. This was painful as instead of a normal contraction where the head comes out a bit and stretches everything and then goes back, there was no going back part so I was all stretched out and there was no abatement to the worst sensation until the next contraction. It took one more contraction to get the head out and then one more for the rest of mini JenkinSunts’ long body and so it was that the midwife announced that we’d had a baby boy at 08.58am – 10 hours after my waters broke or 8 hours after my contractions started, on his due date and with no pain meds (unless you count paracetamol).
Lots of other stuff happened then I think but all I really remember is looking at the teeny amazing new person crying his little heart out on my chest! That’s probably the best distraction ever from having stitches on a second degree tear or delivering your placenta. We had to stay in hospital overnight because of the ventouse but in hindsight that was good as I got lots of support for breastfeeding and lots of TLC. I thought the midwife who looked after me was brilliant and I really couldn’t fault the care and attention we got at all.
It’s now 11 days since mini JenkinSunts was born and so far things seem to be going as expected. He was back to his birth weight at 6 days and seems to be feeding really well; we’ve both been poo’ed and wee’d on, we’re
pretty very knackered and not getting much sleep but we’re completely overjoyed and especially looking forwards to our first Christmas together as a family 🙂