My First Birth
I was shit at being pregnant. I was really in the midst of believing that you carry on as per until you have to birth, then, when the baby gets here, you have a lovely long holiday and then carry on as if it never happened only now you have another person.
I had a really easy time with my first pregnancy. Bought a hypnobirthing book, half ready it, bought a birth ball, loved that but what the fuck else was I meant to do? I was sitting about waiting on someone telling me. Pretty sure there was surely some kind of new parent debrief class, when they tell you all the things you need to know. But there isn’t. Apparently you just sort yourself out with one of them. My only want was a water birth and minimal pain relief.
Why don’t people know that? Why does no one tell you that in terms of education you get none. We did a breastfeeding course when I was pregnant with Fraser, an NHS one. All it did was tell you that formula was expensive and show you a video......it wasn’t helpful, not really.
I’ve forever and ever had ‘at the high end of normal’ blood pressure, I apparently have white coat syndrome, so I get the fear, from medical professionals, especially ones who try to take my blood pressure. It has and always will stress me out. So with Fraser I asked them to always do it manually, it gives the best reading.
On week 40 of my pregnancy, on my actual due date, I went to my midwife appointment, to show her I was still with child and still at the start of July, swollen like a human ball. She took one single look at me and her face looked scared. Then I was scared. She then took my blood pressure, I don’t remember exactly what it was, but it was 159/something also too high.
She was going to call me an ambulance but I stopped her and told her I was going to call my husband. Got him on the phone and told him we needed to go to Ninewells as soon as possible.....he came and got me, and I made him take me to the shop for food and snacks. Then I went home and had my tea, because I wasn’t game for going in on an empty stomach.
So eventually we made our way to the hospital. I was told I was being induced. I was so far from aware that not one single person in that building could tell me what to do, so I just sat back and let them get on. They put the pessary in, I was already 3cm, so it just kept slipping out, and burning. Then I was genuinely uncomfortable for ages, I remember asking what was going on, and just being told to go back to bed. I didn’t know if I was really really cramping or actually having the start of labour.
I had a tramadol in the night because the pain was so bad, so that was grim. Very sick in the morning, and was then told, that no one could break my waters, potentially until the next day. By this point I was fucking FURIOUS, I was so uncomfortable I couldn’t lie down, stand, sit or be on a ball, so I went for a bath.
About 5 mins after I got out of said bath my waters went all by themselves. Big huge green splooshy mess, all over the place, meconium. A midwife came in, and said very sternly that I was going to have to go to labour ward, shitty waters being the final nail in the water birth coffin....
After my waters went I was in agony. My contractions we BRUTAL and long, and with next to no break between them. I messaged my husband on the way down to the ward, but fortunately he was on his way.
I have really vivid memories of getting down to the ward, and there being literally not a soul on the ward, all the curtains were pulled back, it was really eerie, I asked several times for pain relief but was told that I would have to wait until they had handed me over and gotten me into a room.
At that point, if things hadn’t already been out the fucking window, there truly were, because I basically gave up, as soon as I was with Grant and in a room I huffed the gas and air, and tried to get an handle on myself and what was happening.
The midwife came in and asked me if I had a play list or anything, (I didn’t, I was just going to go for it on the day) but we weirdly just ended up watching the original Charlie and the Chocolate Factory......it was at that point I had the diamorphine injection, I can remember briefly asking how many MORE of these am I allowed please......incidentally off my tits at this point.
I rode it out for a while longer, but the midwife was around mentioning epidurals, and saying to me that if I wanted one, now would be a good time, so I figured, why the hell not. This was a disaster, let’s go all in, so as soon as I had confirmed I was game I was signing a form and alas it was done. Grant did say a few times, ‘are you really sure?’, and I was, because I was wasted, disillusioned and just ready for the good bit. No one had told me what as going on, I was just there, so throw it at me, let’s just get it done so I can have this person.
I was also very aware that because I had meconium in my water that there was a chance that something might be wrong with Fraser, we were briefed when we got to labour ward that I would have to have a monitor on his head, and that if he wasn’t breathing when he came out, they would take him away right there and then without us seeing him.
Very quickly after the epidural, I was 10cm, I was told not to push to button anymore, and to wait an hour until I could feel the urge to push, I think I managed to wait about 45 minutes before I was ready to push, I used the gas and air and I remember when I was told they could see his hair shouting ‘fucking grab it then’ at the midwife, but 20 mins after starting to push, he was here. And he was glorious. And we were elated.
I lay back to feed him while I waited for the placenta to come, this is where it really gets fucking grim. My son was born at 5.35pm 7lb 11oz and I lay on a bed with no placenta making an appearance, with five, yes FIVE different people coming into the room to have a tug on the cord to see if they could get it out. My husband was standing with me, while I lay on a bed, just slowly bleeding, asking what it was I could feel. The midwife just kept telling me it was nothing to worry about just fluid (aye hen, it’s fluid alright, that’s my blood), just to keep resting, but that I might have to sign a form for a blood transfusion.......
I didn’t get into theatre to have it manually removed until 11pm. I am now on reflection ASTOUNDED that no one told me what was happening.
I was in hospital for six more days, with Fraser, because my iron count was too low, and because I was so ill. I struggled to get him latched (thats a whole other post though! So I will come back to that one!)
I was grateful that he was fine, and I was grateful for the care I received after, because everyone was so lovely and helpful. But everything in the 2 days before it was really truly rubbish. And really truly hard hard going. I wish I had known then what I do now, but I am fairly certain that if I hadn’t had that experience then I wouldn’t be here today, carving this path for myself.