Wow – I cannot believe I actually gave birth to a little human being! It was a lot harder than I thought it would be…
On Friday the 20th January I started to get early labour pains. I would describe them as severe menstrual cramps, but not ones you could sleep through!This was triggered by a delightful ‘stretch and sweep’ – I shan’t go into details with what this procedure entails – I shall leave google to explain this one! Moving on… the pains came and went over the following couple of days. I barely slept at all. On Sunday evening I noticed an increase in pain around 10pm, there was no way I could even attempt to sleep – I could barely lay down. I rang up the maternity unit at Treliske hospital only to be told my contractions were too far apart to come in. I decided to switch on my tens machine (definitely recommend getting one of these) and I somehow managed to get through each contraction. It got to 4am on Monday and I had well and truly had enough so I told the maternity unit I was coming in – whether they liked it or not! I remember the car journey being agonising – sitting down through contractions was hell. Chris and I picked my mum up on the way and we arrived at hospital with me in tears. At that point I just felt so tired and fed up of all the pain.
Finally, the midwife on shift examined me… I was 6cm dilated! I knew I was in bloody labour! As she examined me my waters broke – such a weird sensation. I was quickly informed that the baby had done a poo in the waters – a sign of distress. I suddenly thought – shit, I’m actually having a baby now! I was quite scared, but decided to stay calm for mine and baby’s wellbeing. I was moved up to the labour ward where I continued to use my tens machine. It provided a welcome distraction through contractions, but didn’t take the pain away. The gas and air was also a good distraction and made me feel a bit spaced out which I thought was great! The contractions intensified and I asked for an epidural. Eventually the anaesthetist came and told me about the procedure, the risks and side effects etc. I sat up holding Chris’s hands, trying to keep still through contractions. I didn’t feel the pain of the needle – just a cold rush down the left side of my back. It definitely took the edge off the contractions, but unfortunately it wore off and the top-ups didn’t work. The epidural hadn’t reached the right area so it was a waste of time really.
Baby was being monitored throughout due to the meconium (poo) in the waters. A doctor then appeared and told me she wasn’t happy with baby’s heart rate and the meconium – she wanted baby to come out soon… so it was time to push! I felt exhausted by this point. Both Chris and my mum were by my side cheering me on and encouraging me throughout. The midwives and doctor were also very encouraging, I can’t fault their professionalism and person-centered approach . As I was pushing I kept thinking to myself, I honestly can’t do this. I vocalised these thoughts at times too, I just felt my body couldn’t cope with the pain any longer. I pushed and pushed and pushed.. felt like I was going to poo out my entire digestive system at this point. The doctor informed me that she wanted baby out quickly so I had to have some assistance – Ventouse delivery (a suction attached to baby’s head). The pain was immense, every tug felt excruciating, but I kept focusing on staying calm and looking forward to meeting my baby. The doctor then said she was going to have to make a cut as I was tearing. Up until this point I had managed to compose myself. However, when she made the cut I let out an almighty expletive yelp! Something along the lines of.. ‘fu***ng hell!! Soon after this my baby crowned and my god, I see why it’s called the ring of fire! That pain has to be the worst part, but it was over fairly quickly thank goodness. The next thing I knew this little bundle was presented to me, screaming away. I couldn’t believe I had done it!! She was perfect. I felt weak and shaky as I delivered the placenta and was then stitched up. I was so relieved that it was over and to finally have my beautiful baby girl in my arms. Chris and mum were overjoyed. It was a very special moment – one I will cherish forever.
We had to stay in hospital for three nights unfortunately as our baby girl, who we finally named Molly Rita Clark, had a bit of jaundice. I must say I didn’t experience the best of care on the postnatal wards, but I know this comes down to the pressure on the NHS and limited number of beds. Those three nights in hospital were tough. I was sore, emotional and struggling to latch Molly on to breastfeed. It is so much harder than I thought – it should be easier considering it’s what nature intended us to use our boobies for! Perseverance is key and ask for lots of help and guidance, don’t be embarrassed. The nights are the hardest when all you want to do is sleep and you have a little monkey waking you up to feed every 2-3 hours, and it’s all down to you.. but I’ve learnt to enjoy this quiet time with my bubba. We mustn’t be too hard on ourselves, it’s such a massive change and breastfeeding is a skill that both mum and baby have to learn. I’m still learning and it’s been 2 weeks!
I was so relieved to get home with Molly and Chris. The last couple of weeks have been immensely challenging, tiring, emotional and stressful. However, the love and happiness Molly has brought to my life is so overwhelming. Every bit of stress is worth it. She’s simply perfect and I love her dearly. Let me know how your birth went and if you’ve faced any struggles with breastfeeding.