My Birth Story - Little, January 2016

Yesterday I was talking to someone at baby group who said they were still traumatised by the birth of their daughter 10 weeks before. It reminded me that at 6 months post birth I hadn't written Little's birth story. It also made me grateful that I had a birth I was happy with so I thought I would see how much of it I remember.

(Warning: birth is messy so don't read this post if that is going to offend you. I've only included the non gory pictures though).
Me standing sideways wearing black showing my pregnant belly
40 weeks pregnant

Around 2.30am I woke up needing to wee, a common occurrence at 40 weeks pregnant. When I got back into bed I noticed a mild cramping. "Ooo" I thought excitedly hoping that labour was starting. I wanted to make sure the cramps didn't go away so I pushed a few pressure points and gave my boobs a bit of stimulation (much better options than curry, pineapple or castor oil). 

I had a few more contractions and an hour later had to rush to the loo as my body tried to clear it's self out. I continued to get mild contractions for the next few hours and got very little sleep as I was calculating how long I had before I could take M to nursery. When G woke up I suggested he might not want to go into work so he set himself up to work from home.

Just before 7am I had to rush to the toilet again and when wiping I noticed some blood so I was starting to lose my mucous plug.

After taking M to nursery (with G driving) G and I went for a walk to really help the contractions set in. I then sat around bored for a few hours until it was time to go for coffee with my friends (a prearranged date). 

At 1.30pm, shortly before going out, the contractions were starting to build so I put on my Tens machine. I kept it on as I went to the coffee shop and sat at the table pressing the boost button every time a contraction came.

By 3pm the pain reached a level where I was having to do controlled breathing through it and it was becoming obvious that one of the heavily pregnant ladies in the corner might be in labour.

I called G to take me home where I sat bouncing on my birth ball and got a bit bored again before deciding to watch Mama Mia. If you haven't tried singing through contractions I really recommend it. I guess it's the controlled breathing and the distraction of singing Abba songs, but it really helped me manage the contractions and to pass the time.

Just before 6 o'clock I paused the film and called the midwives as the contractions were becoming more intense and regular. While I could still just about talk through them I told the midwife my last labour progressed quickly. She said "oh you are one of those, you better come in". So I told G he could finish work and we headed to the hospital.

We arrived at the midwife led unit at 6.45pm at which point my contractions were a couple of minutes apart. We were shown into one of the birthing rooms where I was asked to provide a urine sample. 
Birthing room in a midwife led unit
This the birthing room I got to see briefly 
Shortly after I was moved from the private birthing room with birth pool, controllable lighting and music to a 6 bed ward where there was another lady in labour. A midwife came to see me, asked about my contractions and clearly decided I was still in quite early labour. She then went away.

An hour later, at 8 o'clock the contractions were really painful. G asked the midwives to bring me some gas and air. All this time I was walking around and standing up (with support) during the contractions. By the time they brought the gas and air I told them I felt like I needed to push. The midwife asked me to get on the bed so they could see how dilated I was (they hadn't previously checked). As I tried to get into a position on the bed my waters broke. The midwife assessed me and said I was fully dilated except for a small lip, but that she thought I would push through that. She quickly assessed that there wasn't enough time to get me back to a birthing room so they brought the necessary equipment to the ward.

I found out later that the other couple who were in that ward went for a walk during this time, but I don't know if they decided to go when I was swearing, groaning or when I shouted "I think I'm going to poo" (I didn't do one by the way). I suspect her walking around was not to give me privacy, but rather to stop her getting scared of progressing further.

I ended up in a slightly reclined sitting position on the bed as I started to push. I remember thinking it hurt too much and I couldn't cope any more, but at that point I reached down and could feel the top of Little's head. I remember searing pain as I pushed her head out and then a brief rest before I had to do a really long push to force her shoulders out. The rest of her body just slid out. She was born at 8.52pm.
Baby Little a few minutes after being born wrapped in a towel
Little at minutes old (and a dignity elephant)
The midwife helped me lift Little up and hold her on my chest. I allowed her some time to try and find my nipple, but when she did she kept putting her hand in the way so she couldn't latch on. They kept the cord attached until it finished pulsing and while the midwife cut the cord I don't really remember when in the timeline that happened.
I moved Little's hand so she could feed and she had a bit of milk. She stayed on me having skin to skin while I delivered the placenta. This happened really quickly (about 15 minutes post birth) and I didn't need an injection to deliver it.

It's strange giving birth to the placenta because you have contractions and have to push again, although it's much easier than a baby's head. It came out with a wave of blood. My partner said later that he expected to look at me and find me unconscious because of the level of blood, but the midwife was calm so he realised/ hoped there was nothing to worry about.

Apparently my placenta was rather large. I don't remember delivering it in my first labour and I definitely wasn't given the opportunity to see it. This time the midwife even kindly held it up as I was trying to take a picture of it and I was impressed by this organ which had been caring for my newborn up until a few minutes before.

Little was passed to G so he could provide skin to skin while the midwife assessed the damage to me and although I had a small tear she decided it didn't need stitches. Little was then weighed and measured, a nappy was put on and she was passed back to G so I could get cleaned up.
On the scales
I climbed off the bed so they could removed the soaking sheets. I must have been given a wedge of something to put between my legs and I waddled to the shower. I remember I was steadily dripping blood because it was a challenge to get in and out of the shower without leaving a mess. I eventually managed to get out and put pants on with a thick maternity pad and feel less of a mess. 

Once I was dressed I was settled into the postnatal ward with Little. G stayed with me for a while and I was brought some toast.
A newborn Little asleep on me
Sleeping baby
After G left around 11.30pm I spent a long night with my new baby girl. Throughout the night a number of other ladies gave birth. Each time I could hear their screams followed by the cry of the baby and then some time later they appeared on the ward. By morning each of the 6 bays were full. This meant very little sleep and often a symphony of crying babies.

After a very brief sleep I woke up and discovered I had bled all over the sheets. I asked for a waterproof mat and put on more pads and was told they would come change the sheets in a bit (they never got changed). I was worried by the amount of blood I was passing but the midwife said it was a normal amount. I got through the stash of pads I had brought and had to keep asking the midwife for more.

I was starving hungry by 6am when I gave up on sleep, but it was several hours before I got much food. I was later told there was a kitchen where I could have made myself toast and tea whenever I wanted! Fortunately I had a had a Mars bar in my bag, but I really wanted something savoury.

Visiting hours were from 10am so I spent the morning cuddling and feeding my baby and worrying about the bloody mess I was in.
Little in the hospital crib on her first morning
In the hospital crib her on her first morning
They gave a talk to the 6 mum's together covering essentials like how to know when baby is hungry, cosleeping, what happens next and sex (telling us to use protection as if the baby and bruised bits weren't enough of a barrier). I then spent my time waiting for the paediatrician to do the newborn checks and a hearing test. All of these were fine and I was eventually told I could leave sometime after lunch.

G picked M up from nursery about 11am and brought her to visit me. I met her at the door to the birthing unit and we walked to the ward together so she could meet her sister. M instantly loved Little and she helped us choose the name (it's not really 'Little', nor is it 'Dora' which was M's first choice name).
M the big sister meeting her new born sister for the first time
The four of us left the unit together and carefully drove home to our new life together.

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