So I’ve decided to write up my labour story, it wasn’t the best experience, but was by no means the worst either. My baby arrived safe and healthy and I’ve come out the other side doing just fine too. I’m not writing this to unsettle any pregnant ladies, I think the more you know and are prepared for labour, the easier it is when unexpected events crop up. I found that my ante-natal classes were quite basic and didn’t cover a lot of things that happened to me, and didn’t say anything about what can happen when you are induced. Considering 9 out of 10 of us at the class were having our first baby, I really think we should have been told about the induction process, and what this REALLY means for your labour, as its common for first babies to go over their due date. According to the NHS, one in five labours are induced.
I told my pregnant friend all the gory details of my labour, and a few months later when it was her turn, a couple of things went the same way for her and she was more prepared for it as she knew about them from my story. So I am hoping to just spread a bit more information about what can happen in labour, and also I do want to record this as I don’t want to forget about it (…I think).
I feel like this is going to be such a long post that I am splitting it, so here goes with the first part, the couple of days before I gave birth and waiting for something to happen- the long game.
My due date was the 28th October 2016. From the day I found out I was pregnant I said I wasn’t going to live by this as I didn’t want everyone to keep asking around the due date, and be fixated on that date. So naturally my body decided that this baby wasn’t going to come out anytime close to that date. My due date came and went, and people began asking “have you had the baby yet” (including an immediate family member!) and it got to the point where I felt like answering “yes, actually we had him last week but thought it would be hilarious not to tell you”. But in reality I just mumbled “no” with a belly full of rage. In those last few weeks I felt physically fine, since I had finished work at 36 weeks it was like a pressure was relieved from my body from getting up early every morning and going to work. My Pelvic Girdle Pain eased, my back felt a lot better, I had more energy. I was much more mentally fed up of being pregnant by this point.
I went to my 40 week midwife appointment on my due date, where a trainee midwife attempted a sweep on me, however my cervix was still set back and firmly closed so she was unable to do anything. She booked me another appointment and said she was hoping I wouldn’t need to come to it so she could have a little break. I think I cried when I left the appointment as I had been hoping she could do it and get things going. I knew that this confirmed that my body wasn’t ready yet and I couldn’t bare the thought of being pregnant for another week. I was even more annoyed because my husband was on half term now and we had hoped baby would arrive so he could get an extra week with us. So we spent the week trying to go out and do things to take my mind off things.
I spent the next week trying to be patient, resting and trying not to stress. Everyone kept asking have I had any signs or twinges but I literally had nothing. I was obsessively checking for a show, on edge for any cramps or back pains, but nothing came! The 4th November came around which meant I was 41 weeks pregnant, and another trip to the midwife. I remember walking in and saying “I bet you were hoping not to see me today so you could get that brew and a biscuit!”. We had a laugh about it as by this point I felt like the baby would never come so I had entered a state of humour fuelled delirium. My midwife attempted another sweep, this time she said she had managed to… wait for this… “walk my cervix forward”. I still feel a bit funny thinking about that. It was still closed though, I wasn’t dilated at all. She booked me in to be induced on the 9th of November which would be 41+5. She said I would get a call on the morning with a time to come in between 8am-12pm. We went on our way now convinced that this baby wasn’t going to come naturally.
I then spent the next few days googling what happens when you’re induced, reading lots of horror stories on net mums and starting to feel extremely anxious about being induced and what it might mean. Everything said that being induced means a more intense and painful labour, with a higher chance of needing an assisted delivery. It also could mean having a pessary, going home and if nothing happened, going back for another. A lot of waiting and messing around.
All through the pregnancy I wasn’t too scared about labour, the pain, pushing etc. My main fear was tearing, being a small and petite woman I was really scared about this and I felt it was inevitable. But after reading about being induced I had started to feel very anxious about the whole thing. Well done if you are still with me at this point, this is turning into quite the essay.
Wednesday 8th November – to set the scene, a very large filling had fallen out and I had panicked as I was due to be induced the next day so wouldn’t be able to deal with it for a while with a newborn… I managed to get in at 4pm to have a temporary filling put in. It’s highly amusing seeing people’s faces such as the receptionist when she asked how far gone I was and I said 41 weeks and 5 days – she look terrified! I was on the way home on the M60 in rush hour traffic with my FIL who had kindly driven me to the dentist, we were at a standstill and I remember he was really uptight and said “this would be a really bad time for your waters to break”. About half an hour later we had made it closer to home but my bladder was going to burst so we stopped off at Tesco to use the toilets. It was strange though as when I got there I couldn’t go, nothing came out. We had a quick wizz round the shop, I got some stuff in for sandwiches ready for taking to the hospital. I remember feeling really weird walking around but I thought it was just from the shock of the dentist and being tired and fed up.
As soon as we got back in his car, I wet myself. Or did I. It took me a few seconds to tune in to my body and work out what was happening, it didn’t quite feel like I was weeing. Luckily I was wearing a pad so I didn’t leave a puddle behind. I didn’t say anything to my FIL at this point as I still wasn’t sure what was going on and he would have probably freaked out. On the way home I kept leaking, he went over some speed bumps and said “if this doesn’t break your waters, nothing will” and that’s when it hit me that my waters had broken. Once we got to my house I ran in, shouted at him to make himself a brew and I ran upstairs to see what was going on, and yes my waters were leaking out. Not a huge gush like some people, but more of a constant leak like you are weeing but you’re not in control of it. After running back and fourth from the bathroom and the bedroom in a bit of a muddle of what to do, I sorted myself out with a fresh pad and cleared up the small puddle I had left on the floor. Such a bizarre experience!
I went downstairs and told my FIL what was happening and I wish I could watch us back as it was quite comical, he kept saying “oh…. ah…. erm… oh… right….” and I was in total organised mode “don’t worry its fine, you make a drink and I will ring the midwife and David”. After various questions the midwife told me to come to triage at 11pm as they wanted to see me by 6 hours after my waters had broken to check me over. David (my husband) was working an open evening so I messaged him “I think my waters have broken… don’t panic though nothing happening yet and your dad is with me”. He was delighted for an excuse to get to leave a little early, so he got home around 7.30pm.
By 11pm nothing more had happened, I was a bit nervous of this as I had assumed some contractions or a show would have followed. We went to triage and she checked to confirm that my waters had broken. Top Tip – if your waters break and you catch some in a pad, bag this up and take it with you… nobody tells you this but when you arrive I was asked for my pad as this is how they test it – luckily my mum had suggested I took it so I had fished it out of the bin! She confirmed my waters had broken, and whilst I was waiting my show appeared which I had been told would be a pinkish coloured mucous – so was rather alarmed when mine was much more like a period with clots (sorry for gross detail but I think its important to share as I wasn’t aware it could be like this). There is a lot of blood involved in labour and nobody told me this so I was a bit alarmed throughout. She did a stretch and sweep and I was 1cm dilated. I was sent home and told unless anything happens just wait for the call in the morning to come to be induced.
That was the most restless night ever, nothing more happened, no more waters or show, no contractions, NOTHING. I was also aware that once your waters break they want the baby out within 48 hours as there’s a high risk of infection. I woke up on Wednesday 9th November firstly to the news that Trump was confirmed as the next president of the United States, and secondly to a phone call from the hospital who told me to come at 6pm to be induced. 6pm. 6 f***ing pm. I cried my eyes out. I was so fed up and couldn’t believe I had to wait all day with this anxious feeling and nothing happening. As I had been told it would be in the morning I was so annoyed and upset. David had started his paternity leave so he insisted on taking me out for lunch, I just kept crying and saying I didn’t want to leave the house but I was so glad he made me as once we were sat eating our Nando’s it did make me feel better and took my mind of everything, and most importantly it took out a nice chunk of the day.
Well done if you read of that – may be boring to some people but those few days felt like a lifetime to me and I hadn’t been prepared for my labour to go this way. I had been so looking forward to David being at work and my contractions starting and doing the dramatic “GET HOME NOW” phone call, or if he was teaching phone the College and telling reception and a dramatic “Find David” co-ordinated search between the receptionist and security to find what room he was in and go and give him the news. But no. I would be going in at 6pm and I felt disappointed that it wasn’t going to be a spontaneous labour. Part 2 to follow – being induced and Xavier’s birth story.