An honest view of motherhood.

My birth story

on 11/12/2011

The time has come. It was going to happen sooner or later, so you’re just gonna have to put up with it and let me have my air-time. Yes, it’s time to talk about the birth of our baby boy.

It’s a fairly traumatic tale and, to quote one of the nurses, a birth some of them had never witnessed before. If you don’t read any further than this, know these two things:

  1. My baby was an undiagnosed breech.
  2. I delivered naturally and it hurt. A lot.

To set the scene, I must first tell you I had a fairly normal pregnancy. Normal in the sense there were no real problems. At 6 weeks pregnant I had a crazy rash all over my body which they later discovered was shingles, and a week before I gave birth I went to hospital due to a mild panic over some ‘unusual activity’ down below. It was nothing (or so they thought!). Yep, my pregnancy was something I really enjoyed and, looking back, a part of me feels a little disappointed I didn’t make it to the end.

Rewind back to Sunday 10th July at 8:30pm. The reason I so clearly know what day of the week it was is because I always empty my work inbox on a Sunday afternoon, and that’s what I was doing just before my waters broke. I was just 33 weeks pregnant and my waters broke. I could not believe it. We’d just sat down to have a substantial Sunday night tea and BOOM. Yes, it was that dramatic. Like in the movies. It was everywhere and it wouldn’t stop. I should tell you at this point, that during the day we had been at our very first antenatal class at the hospital. We had booked on to a paid-for NCT course at the end of July, but I thought hey, you can’t know too much about this stuff can you, so I dragged my other half off the to freebie class at the hospital. The class was 10am-4pm – we were back at the hospital at 9pm catching the live show.

Back to the waters…Well, they just kept coming. I ran to the bathroom to sit on the loo and then change my clothes. I went through 3 pairs of trousers in about 5 minutes. Nothing was stopping it. Meanwhile, my other half called the hospital and they said, unsurprisingly, to bring me in ASAP. He then set about grabbing a rucksack and chucking anything and everything in it. I think the final result was 3 big towels (bath sheets size) and a pair of trainers. He then asked me how we should get the hospital – drive or get a taxi? I didn’t feel I could help with this decision due to the tricky waters-breaking situation I was in so screamed “YOU’RE GOING TO HAVE TO MAKE THE DECISION FOR US”. We ended up getting a taxi.

I made a rather undignified exit of our flat with a towel rolled up in between my legs. No, not one of the towels from the rucksack, so that made 4 massive towels we were taking to a building where they pretty much have an endless supply of towels.

The taxi driver was very understanding and drove like lightening to get us to the hospital in 10 minutes flat. We ran (I hobbled with towel between my legs) into the hospital and on to the labour ward. We were laughing. We didn’t really understand what was happening or even believe it had anything to do with a baby being born. I can honestly tell you we thought it was just a blip. A setback. Something that we’d get over with a little bit of R ‘n’ R.

The head midwife lady – who, incidentally, looked remarkably like Jimi Hendrix – settled us into a side room. She hooked me up to the machine thingy and put 2 straps on me. One to measure what was happening to me, and one to measure what was happening to the baby. She then skipped off, told me to relax, and said she was going to assign me a midwife. This confused me because I thought she was a midwife, but whatever.

We were stunned, and still laughing a little bit.

I was in no pain, and nothing much was happening other than my waters kept coming, albeit much slower. There was also a slight tightening of my tummy. The machine was printing out 2 wiggly lines. All looked fairly consistent so we weren’t worried. And we were definitely NOT having a baby, oh no.

9:30pm. Jimi Hendrix came back to check on us. We asked her if I was in labour. She said they were waiting to see but try and relax. Haha, try and relax. Funny. No really, it was funny. We were giggling at this point. And I was still in no pain. The lines on the print out were getting a little bit more wiggly and I could feel my tummy getting a bit tighter. Even though all this was going on, I was still not having this baby, oh no.

Next came the examination of the baby. They felt all around and suddenly I felt a slight panic in the room. They told me the baby was breech. Very strange considering I’d been checked just 2 weeks before and was told the baby was in the correct position. I’d also just like to add that at this point, they still hadn’t confirmed I was in labour.

9:45pm. My tummy was getting a little bit tighter and now I had a dull ache, like a period pain. Ooof, I thought. That hurt a bit. The wiggly lines were getting closer together.

10:30pm. More people came in the room and now we’re thinking, hmm, this maybe looks like I might be in labour. I know I know, it seems obvious now you’re reading about it, but seriously, we didn’t think we were having this baby. I’m pretty sure this is what mental health professionals would call ‘complete denial’.

10:45pm. The surgeon came in, with Jimi Hendrix, and tells me I’m in labour and because the baby was breech I had to have an emergency C-section. Hmm, no. No, I didn’t want a C-section so that wasn’t going to happen. I actually hadn’t given much thought to what sort of birth I wanted, but I had a very strong instinct all of a sudden that I didn’t want a C-section, and some guy telling me I was going to have one did not compute. They continued to monitor me and my other half was watching what we then knew were contractions. I was having contractions every few minutes and they were now getting owowow.

I was examined and told I was 3cms dilated. 3cms was enough time to get me ready for the C-section I didn’t want and deliver this baby. All the while we both strongly believed that we weren’t having this baby, oh no.

11pm. OWOWOWOWOW. The sensation to push was overwhelming. my contractions were happening every few minutes and they gave me some gas and air. I couldn’t seem to coordinate sucking and blowing the gas and air whilst having contractions so really, it was a bit of a waste of time. They examined me again and I was 9cms dilated. NINE. How the hell did this happen? From 3cms-9cms in about 10 minutes – CRAZY. My other half was helping me to breath and some nurses were trying to get DVT socks on me. I had to sign a consent form (mid-contraction) to say I was happy to have a C-section. I was not happy, but I scribbled on the paper anyway.

My memory form this point onwards gets a little sketchy, but I know that the sensation to push was something out of my control. The many people in the room were screaming “don’t push don’t push”. Now, I don’t know if you’ve ever been in labour, or know anything about it, but you can’t not push. It’s impossible. It really is impossible.

11:20pm. They told me someone was in theatre so I’d have to hang on. Hahahahaha. “Don’t push don’t push” they were screaming. I was screaming “the baby’s coming the baby’s coming”. Oh dear, things were getting tense. I then heard beeping and a lot more people came into the room.

I had somehow found a position on the bed I could cope with, which was on my right side. This didn’t fit in with how they wanted me to lie on the bed so kept trying to turn me on my back. Every time they pulled me on my back, my body sprung back on my right side. I wasn’t being deliberately difficult, my body just took over and started doing what it wanted. I had also developed a sort of on-the-bed-march, like I was in a marching band, but lying down. Highly inconvenient for the poor nurses trying to put those DVT socks on me – I ended up kicking them in the chest a few times. And the noise I was making resembled that of the noise you heard if you’ve even seen the movie Jurassic Park – you know, the noise the dinosaurs make in the distance? My other half said I turned primeval. I couldn’t make that noise now if someone paid me.

11:45pm. A nurse came in the room to tell us that theatre was now free and we could go in. Like lightening, they wheeled me into theatre (still on my right side, marching/kicking, half hanging off the bed) to get me ready for my C-section. They were still screaming “don’t push don’t push”. I really was trying, but nothing was stopping this baby. It was coming and that was that. I kept telling them they didn’t have time to do a C-section, but they kept screaming “don’t push”.

11:50pm. The room was chaotic. There were about 17 people, all shouting and busy, and there was me on the table, legs in the air telling them a baby was about to come. At this point the surgeon shouted “EVERYONE QUIET”. Gosh, it was like a teacher telling off a room of naughty kids. He said he only wanted to hear me, my other half and Jimi Hendrix. He examined me again and I’ve no idea what he did, but he somehow manipulated the baby. He didn’t turn him to the correct position, just flipped him clockwise. Then he said “I think I can deliver this baby”.

11:51pm. Whaaaaaat? The realisation was hitting me that I was actually having a baby and that I was going to have to deliver it naturally. The surgeon went on to say that on the next contraction he wanted me to push. Suddenly, the entire room went from shouting “don’t push” to “PUSH!”. I took this as my cue to get down to business. My screaming stopped and I put my chin on my chest (on the instruction from Jimi) and on the next contraction I pushed.

Midnight: Like magic a little foot and bottom came out! I could not believe it. All I could hear was the room shouting “PUSH, PUSH” and all I could see was my other half close up on the right hand side of my face, and Jimi on my left. Jimi said to me that on the next contraction she wanted me to really push. I said to her “am I actually having a baby?”. She said “yes, yes you are”. My other half tells me I screamed quite a few expletives throughout my labour, but the only one I actually remember is at this moment when I said, “SHIIIIIT!”.

12:06am. On the next contraction I pushed with all my might and the rest of my baby came flying out, like a torpedo. The whole room cheered and clapped. I saw a baby, all tiny, blue and shriveled. They put the baby on my chest for a millisecond and then whisked it away. My other half found out the sex of the baby and told me it was a boy. A BOY!

12:07am. Then I couldn’t hear anything. It was like silence descended on the room and I was worried for the very first time. It took a whole minute for my baby to breath. I heard a gasp of air and tiny whimper of a cry, and then I burst out laughing! I went into hysterical laughter which lasted about 5 minutes.

They then started to work on him. Initial reports were that he was fine and breathing on his own. They took us back to the side room where we had begun, both in utter shock and disbelief. We didn’t know what the hell just happened, and we had no baby with us. It was very hard to compute. Everything was so quick, so painful, and we had no baby.

My best friend came to the hospital and brought things I actually needed (I had called her whilst in the labour I didn’t know I was in), and we waited for further news. My other half went off to see our baby and came back to report to me he was beautiful and healthy.

We had no idea how big an adventure we were about to start, but I was just so thankful that, even though he was born early, he was a beautiful, healthy baby boy.

I just want to end by saying thank you to the nurses, midwives and surgeon at UCH hospital in London, and in particular, Jimi Hendrix – you were absolutely amazing.

7 responses to “My birth story

  1. Awwwww he looks so massive compared to my dinky dot. What an amazing and positive birth story, despite him being so early. Thanks for sharing

  2. Zoe Jenkins says:

    Well done you! What an amazing story. I wrote mine too but lost it when laptop died, however some stories in life will never be forgotten. Hope you and George enjoy your first Chrimbo together. X

  3. Celia Amodeo says:

    What an amazing tale! To go through labour like that at all is incredible, to do it without any notice or time to get mentally prepared is bloody brilliant! You are my hero! Love your tweets and blog, you’re six months ahead of me and my little one, so you’re preparing me for things to come. All the best to all three of you xx

    • ababytwit says:

      Thanks Celia, really kind of you to say. If we’re 6 months ahead then you must have *just* had your baby – congratulations!!! Hope you and your baby are well and you’re enjoying those first few weeks. Say goodbye to sleep, but hello to mega happiness! Xx

  4. […] sorts of challenges, but the main one for me was establishing feeding. To start off with I had a traumatic birth. My baby boy was an undiagnosed breech and I delivered him naturally (yeeouch!). The hospital […]

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