My first birth experience was over almost before it began. It happened almost three years ago now, but it still feels so real and recent; as if it only happened yesterday. Having recently given birth to my second rainbow baby, I began reminiscing about it and comparing the two. Today's post is the story of how R arrived in the world.
The night I gave birth to R, is one that I will never forget... and I don't think John will either! She gave us both a bit of a shock, by arriving way quicker than anyone - the midwives included - anticipated.
The night started off harmlessly enough. The Braxton Hicks I had been feeling for a few weeks by that point, were awful, but that was nothing new. At about midnight, John decided to sleep on the sofa because I kept disturbing him.
For the next few hours, I went from lying in bed with a hot water bottle, to resting in the bath, to pacing around the house, and also around the car park outside our maisonette. In fact, I was pacing around the car park, when I decided that the pains were different and that I was going in to labour. When I returned to the house to go for a wee prior to calling the hospital I discovered I was bleeding - heavily.
When I called the hospital, they asked me to go in immediately. I spoke to John (sort of, he was pretty deeply sleeping!) and let him know what was happening, and told him I'd keep him in the loop.
I checked the bags were in my car and drove myself (yes, that's right, I drove myself!) to hospital. By the time I arrived, it was three in the morning, and after being checked over, monitored and informed I was only 1cm dilated and not in labour, I called John, and he agreed to come and join me at eight in the morning, which was when they planned to review the bleeding and organise my induction.
I knew my body was changing, I could feel things happening that I didn't understand but knew must be signs of labour. Every time I asked the midwife to check she was insistent I wasn't in labour. To shut me up, she would put me on the ECG and, each time, would point out that I was not showing any signs of contractions or changes on the monitor.
She even went as far as telling me that she had been a midwife for over thirty years - longer than I had been alive - and that she knew what she was doing. Basically I was wrong, she was right and that was all there was to it.
The last time I was put on the monitor was just before seven. I told her I needed to go to the loo, and the next thing I remember is her hammering on the bathroom door, asking me what I was doing. Stupid question, right?
After unlocking the door from the outside, dragging me across the corridor with my jeans and knickers around my ankles, and pulling me up onto the bed in the delivery room opposite she said to me, "I can see your baby's head, you need to start pushing."
Needless to say, I was shocked and, I'm not going to lie, a bit angry. I shouted at her, "you told me I'm not in labour, literally ten minutes ago!" Her response was simply to ask why my husband wasn't there (I repeated furiously her own words that he didn't need to come until eight) and to concentrate on pushing.
I called John; screamed down the phone, "I'm having the baby!" and the midwife took my phone and demanded to know how long he was going to be. He was, of course, no where near. I was pushing out our baby, but it was fifty minutes before he was told to arrive at the hospital and so hadn't even left our home. He had a minimum of a twenty minute journey ahead of him.
I had no pain relief - there wasn't time.
I didn't scream because the first time I did, the midwife told me that I wasn't pushing effectively if I was using energy to scream.
I was on my own.
There was two midwives now, and they asked me if I wanted her cleaned or put straight onto my chest. Despite the OCD part of me grimacing slightly, I asked for her to be given straight to me.
I pushed her out in just twenty minutes.
However they didn't give me my baby. I knew something was wrong. They hit the emergency button, and a siren rang out. Multiple people ran into the room, and not matter how much I shouted, wanting to know where my baby was and how she was, no one answered me.
At that moment, John walked in. I have never been so grateful to have him by my side. He hugged me, and held my hand, but most importantly he was able to tell me that he could see our baby, and that she was moving, and was O.K. He even took a photo to show me.
It turns out that R was born with the umbilical cord wrapped around her neck and wasn't breathing, which was why they hadn't given her to me straight away.
When I finally held our quiet, content, newborn baby, it was an amazing moment. I was exhausted from not sleeping all night, and I knew in the moments that followed I would need stitches (as I had torn thanks to the speed of the birth) but I closed my eyes and drank in the moment.
The way that R was born was so unexpected. All I wanted was to have a natural birth - in the water bath - with my husband there. I had a birth plan written out and filed with my notes.
The natural part I got (if you can call having a first labour go from 1cm to baby in four and a half hours, natural!) the rest I didn't.
As she was born without any waters (and they didn't know when they had gone) we had to stay in hospital until the following morning.
There was nothing nicer than when we finally were able to go home with our little girl, and it didn't matter that things had gone quickly and happened in a way that I hadn't planned.