This is a super long post so settle in for it!
Elizabeth’s birth was a complete shock to us. One day I was pregnant, the next I was being prepped for an emergency c-section. It took me a long long time to come to terms with this after Elizabeth was born. It wasnt what I planned, wasn’t what I wanted. Yes I was happy that she was here and safe but was sad at not getting the birth I wanted.
I was determined this time around I wouldn’t have that same experience.
I was monitored much more closely with Oliver. With almost weekly appointments. I relaxed a little more, sure that should something be wrong, we’d know in plenty of time and be able to fix it.
When week 32 came around I was nervous and really emotional. Would the same happy again? Was our baby going to arrive earlier like his sister? As we got to week 33, I felt I could breathe a little easier and enjoy the last few weeks of pregnancy.
At one hospital appointment my obstetrician decided it would be best to book me in for a c-section on 4th September, the day after my due date. I didn’t question this or argue at the time, believing that she knew best for me and my baby. Though almost as soon as I left the hospital that day, I began to question this. Other than a few episodes of reduced movements, this pregnancy had gone smoothly. Why was I being pushed for a section only 1 day after my due date? At my next appointment I asked that this be changed, only to be told it couldn’t and that was when it would be happening.
My due date came closer and closer and still I didn’t feel comfortable. I knew I only wanted 2 children so this was to be my one and only chance at a natural child birth, one which I really wanted to experience. Again, I asked for the section date to be changed and again, was told no.
I became quite upset about it, especially as I was getting closer and closer to my due date with no signs of Oliver arriving.
A week before he was due, I started to get very strong but very irregular contractions. My midwife said I was probably in slow labour so I became really excited at this stage!
A few days before my section was due I was determined that I would give birth naturally. I felt, given a little time, this baby wanted to arrive by himself . I contacted the hospital to say that I would be refusing the section. Brave, stupid….who knows! They asked that I still come in on the 4th to discuss this. So Craig and I headed to hospital for a discussion. When we arrived, everything was ready for my section. Craig’s scrubs were ready, a cot was ready, I even had a chat with the anethetist about what would happen. The hospital clearly had their own ideas about what would be happening that day but it made me more determined to stick to my guns.
The midwife was wonderful and fully supported my decision, as did the first doctor who came to see me. The second had clearly been sent to give me the hard word and was quite rude, telling me if anything went wrong it would be my fault etc. I wobbled a little and nearly gave in but no, I wanted this and I knew my body. So we agreed that I would be given 1 week to try and deliver naturally before my waters would be broken or a section would be performed. I was happy with this. I knew that going any longer than a week overdue and I would start to become anxious anyway.
At home the irregular contractions continued but they didn’t stop me doing anything. On Friday, before being due back in hospital on Monday I took Elizabeth swimming, determined to have some nice times with her before her brother arrived. The contractions continued and were getting stronger bit still very irregular.
At around 2.30am on Saturday morning Elizabeth shouted me. As I got up to go see her, I felt a little trickle. I thought nothing of it as it wasn’t much and went back to bed. The same happened at 4.30am then the same at 6am when I got up. I was so unsure as to whether it was my waters because it was only a little liqid. So I decided to contact the unit and get some advice. They asked me to go in and see them and when I arrived I was put on the monitors. Baby was happy in there and she could see tightenings on the monitors. A little later the midwife examined me and discovered my hind waters had broken!
I was excited, emotional and a little frightened all at once. Due to chances of infection I had to return to hospital at 2am on Sunday morning, 24 hours after I had felt the first water. Let me tell you the rest of the day dragged like hell!!!
We left Elizabeth at my mum’s and I cried. I knew that when I next saw her she wouldn’t be my only one. I would never only have her again. I was happy but also a little sad at loosing our little family of 3.
Craig and I went to bed to try and get some sleep but contractions woke me up and we decided to head in around 1am.
We were sent to the antenatal ward which confused me. I assumed I would be going to the birthing centre but they explained that I would be monitored overnight and if nothing happened, then my waters would be broken the following morning at 8am. So I got my nightie on and prepared to settle in for the night when I felt my waters go, for real this time! The midwife didn’t want to examine me incase of causing infection and so I tried to settle down for the night. But the contractions stsrtrd to get stronger andI knew I needed some pain relief. Still I was kept on the antenatal unit and not sent to the birth centre.
I had an injection of diamorphine and had a tens machine. This machine was my saviour! I recommend them to anyone who labours in their back. It definitely took most of the pain away for me. Again, I tried to settle down and get some sleep. The contractions were strong but I stayed quiet and practiced my hypno birthing techniques (another thing I’d recommend!) as other women were trying to sleep on the ward!
It got to around 5am and I had the urge to go to the toilet. So I went and went back to bed. This kept happening for a while every 5 minutes before I could stand the pain no longer. I ended up on the bed on all 4s mooing like a cow! The midwife came, saw me and examined me straight away. I was 4cm dilated!! So she went to grab a wheelchair and we rushed down to the birthing centre. By this point I was desperate to get in the birthing pool for a bit of relief but it wasn’t meant to be.
I got onto the bed in the birthing suite and was asking for pain relief or the bath to be run. The midwife said ‘Emma I can see your babies head, I’m afraid there’s no time for anything else other than gas and air!’ My midwife from the antenatal unit was still there at this point and said ‘Come on Emma, I’ve got handover in 10 minutes, let’s see the baby!’ I thought that she must be joking but 10 minutes later at 7.10am, after 6 pushes, our son arrived. I’ve never felt as euphoric in my life! He was placed on my tummy and my doubts of making room in my heart melted away. This perfect little boy was ours and we were allowed to love him and add him to our family.
Afterwards I was stitched before we were left alone for an hour with our son and it was a beautiful time. I remember the morning sun streaming through the window, having a wonderful shower, eating toast and drinking tea with Craig and our boy, who still didn’t have a name! I felt all the trauma and upset of Elizabeth’s birth leaving me. Almost like having achieved what I wanted had erased the pain, sadness and guilt I felt. The time we spent together in that room was so special to me and I will never ever forget it.