To say i was apprehensive about my second birth experience, would be an understatement.
Bit of a bizarre thing to say considering I’d given birth before and had an ultimately positive experience at that. But as most of you know by now, it happened at 35 weeks….
The fact I’d made it to full term, brought with it, not only a sense of achievement and relief, but also a whole bag of unknowns;
‘Will my labour be longer/harder/less straightforward because I’ve gone to term?’
‘Will i cope as well with a larger baby?!’
‘What symptoms will indicate early labour, considering EVERY symptom in late pregnancy feels like it might lead to labour….? ‘
It felt weird to be actively wanting labour to happen this time round – i still never felt fully ready, but with each passing day, i was becoming more and more uncomfortable and ready for baby to be here. The week leading up to D-Day, it seemed every new day brought with it a new symptoms of impending labour…. To the point where most nights I’d go to bed expecting labour to begin that night. Period pains, pelvic pressure, the loss of my mucous plug, a bloody show, you name it, it happened. Yet frustratingly enough, every morning, i was waking up, still pregnant and with said symptoms all but disappeared.
By the Monday night, i had pretty much resigned myself to the fact that i was in it for the long haul and was feeling pretty relaxed.
Funnily enough, except from the now familiar pelvic pressure, Monday night was the first time i had gone to bed without any symptoms – so waking up in the early hours of Tuesday morning to my waters breaking was a bit of a shock!
And unlike what i had been told/expected, it was EXACTLY like the movies for me – a little pop and an absolute gush of fluid…..RIP mattress…
Waddling off to the bathroom in a little bit of shock, it took me a little while to realise i wasn’t feeling any cramps, pains or anything, really. In fact, if it weren’t for the fact my waters were still going, i could’ve maybe convinced myself I’d pee’d myself. After phoning triage, i was advised that I’d most likely put myself into labour but if nothing had happened by 10pm that next evening, i was to go in and be assessed due to the infection risk.
Naively thinking i could get a bit more sleep, armed with 5437 towels, i went back to bed. It took about half an hour of staring at the ceiling before i admitted defeat and went in the shower. I went about my normal morning routine before realising that the period cramping had begun. Soon enough, the rest of the house was awake and we made the last minute preperations and packed the last of my stuff. Ryan nipped out with the dog and we phoned his mum for Olivia to be dropped off. By this point, although it was still only cramps i was feeling, they were very regular and coming quite close together. After phoning triage again, they advised me to come in and be assessed as I’d had a fairly quick first labour.
It was about 10am by the time I arrived at the maternity unit, by which point, i was experiencing cramping pain, although nothing i couldn’t manage and still not in a noticeable consistent pattern. I was taken into a room by a lovely midwife and checked over. She offered me an examination but advised that it wasnt necessary as such and although knowing that they try to avoid invasive examinations once your waters have broken, i asked if she would as if i wasnt dilated, I’d have been keen to go home to progress in my home comforts.
As it turned out, i was 4cm…..
The midwife noticed that some of my waters were still intact and thought that was maybe a reason my labour wouldn’t progress immediately – Because of this and the fact i was managing the pain, she suggested we have a wander along to the hospital cafe for a couple of hours and see if it helps progress anything.
Ryan had literally taken a sip of his tea before i said to him that i needed to get back to the unit – the pain had ramped up a gear and i really needed to focus on breathing through the pain. The cafe was packed and i was suddenly very aware that everyone was looking at me (they werent…) and it was making me feel a bit stressed.
It was fortunate enough that we did leave when we did because i literally reached the top of the stairs before i felt the all-too-familiar gush of the rest of my waters going…
Back in the unit, the poor midwife had not long finished filling up the pool, with boiling water as she had assumed I’d be a couple of hours. I was swaying my hips and rocking back and forward to help relieve the pain whilst the midwife was frantically adding cold water to the pool. I had a feeling it wouldn’t be long but after getting in the pool, grabbing the gas and air, it was less than an hour later before I had reached the transition phase. After various panicked outbursts of ‘I am actually going to die here’, i was ready to push.
Rosie was born after 9minutes of active pushing….
Fast and intense but so, so amazing.
Its hard to tell whether the water helped me with my pain relief. I was very aware of the whole labour process this time in comparison to my first, where I’d pretty much consumed the whole gas & air cylinder within the first hour it felt. Whether it was because it was faster or i was less effective in my use of the G&A, i felt like this labour was a lot more intense and one which i won’t forget for a long time.
A lot of people are quick to say that im so lucky having fast labours, and i definitely agree to an extent. But at the same time, it can be scary. Going from very, very tolerable pain to suddenly feeling like you can’t cope is a horrible experience, as are contractions with no time to recover in between.
Despite this, i feel so lucky to have safely brought two healthy, beautiful girls into the world and will be forever thankful to my body for that.