Sunday, 16 February 2014


Hi all, I'm Kat, and thank you to Emma for allowing me to post on her blog. So mummies to be, let's talk birth. I have two beautiful children, who entered this world, eventually, in the same manner, but how we got there was really quite different. 

My son Patrick was expected on 12th of April 2009. Pregnancy had been very straight forward. There had been one blip of hypertension Mother's Day weekend where I had to be admitted till it settled itself, but all in all, pregnancy was pretty much text book. And the fact that the 12th came and went with no sign of his arrival wasn't unusual by any stretch of the imagination.

Being overdue, and already on the consultant's list because of my own medical history (that thankfully took no part in my pregnancies), I had an appointment for 15:30 on the 15th to discuss what our plans were if he really didn't budge in the next week. While we were there the consultant asked if I'd like to have my membranes swept. Considering the fact I was really rather huge, sore, and exhausted by this point, and more than ready to meet my baby having gone on maternity leave and now bored, I said yes. I was warned I would find it really uncomfortable, and I am sure that it is for a lot of women, but honestly.... I didn't feel a thing. I certainly felt the after effects, the tightenings I had been warned about, Braxton Hicks contractions in full force by the time I walked out of the hospital and headed home. They were certainly uncomfortable enough that later that evening I opted to have a bath while my dinner was cooking. 

While I rested and relaxed, and watched my tenant shift around inside my belly happily as he loved it when I had a bath, I felt something. There's no way to be polite about it, it felt like I'd had a wee in the bath, but without actually doing it. I actually had only just been to the toilet and knew I didn't need to go. A sudden gush. Odd. It wasn't till I got out of the bath and that my belly tightened and there was another gush that I caught on. Oh. I told my husband, the bright spark asking if I was sure as I stood there in our kitchen in a towel. I didn't get to answer, my belly tightened, there was a gush, and I had a mess to clean up off the floor. He was convinced. I called ahead to the hospital, found some clothes to throw on and got myself ready to go while hubby grabbed my hospital bag and got the car ready while I breathed through early labour contractions. We had a forty minute drive to the hospital ahead of us thanks to bad traffic and I was really very unhappy for those forty minutes. 

Wretchedly, almost as soon as we arrived at hospital, despite the waters I had lost, labour stalled and stopped! I could have screamed. Because of our distance from hospital, my medical history and the fact that my hind waters had gone, though the main membranes remained intact, I was admitted, with a plan to induce the next day because of the infection risk to me and baby. Unfortunately, that didn't happen. It seemed the entire city was all having babies all at once and they can only have so many women being induced at any one time. So I stayed another night. 

The morning of the 17th arrived, and I was awake in the early hours due to discomfort, and the other lady in the bed opposite was clearly in labour and very quickly moved round to labour and delivery, leaving me alone in the 4 bed bay. Shortly after at 5am a midwife came to clear down the empty bed and get it ready for the morning, cheerily informing me that permission for my induction to start this morning had come in about midnight, so she would be along to get me going before they changed their minds. It was nearly 6 amwhen she did return with the prostin gel that would be nestled against my cervix to ripen it. And once she did that, this would be it, we would be having our baby one way or another. I was so excited. I asked if my husband could come in seeing as things were finally happening. Partners weren't supposed to be allowed onto the antenatal ward before ten, but considering I was the only one in the bay, I was told to tell him to ask very nicely at the ward door at eight. I phoned him and waited for him to come in, anticipating a check at midday to see how I was doing. 

But it was a good bit before then that I felt those early labour contractions return. I was given Co-codamol for the pain, and I managed to eat some lunch, knowing I was in for the long haul now, but restless, sore and moving around. My check finally came at one in the afternoon and I was hooked up to the monitor. Normally not a problem but for some reason I had to be flat on my back for it. That was awful. I was contracting every two minutes already, without a second dose of the gel as would normally be needed. The midwife suggested that we try and break my waters seeing as I was already progressing, though she didn't succeed. In that moment and position it hurt too much. I could not be happier to be allowed up and off the machine. Sore, and unable to have more pain relief till we went round to labour and delivery I showed hubby the giant bath that was on the ward. This thing is truly enormous. I filled it till it came up to my arm pits and had a soak. It was wonderful relief, and it made me sad that a water birth was not an option for me, but it passed the time and I finally got out when the water was cold and no longer helping. 

It was half two, and as we walk back to the bay I hear 'Lisa, this is the lady you're looking for!' It turned out a midwife from L&D had come for me and I had nearly missed her. It was fantastic news. We packed up bag and baggage and round we went, and I was checked again. More progress, but a long way to go, and again, breaking my waters was the plan of action. This time with gas and air in play. Oh its good stuff, and I didn't notice anything aside from the gush. And the sudden increase in intensity of my contractions! I laboured for a couple of hours on gas and air, struggling and failing to find a position that wasn't just sat on the bed that wasn't agony. After a while I was struggling and asked for pethadine. Its a very strange drug, I was asleep for two out of three contractions, waking up to suck down gas and air for the third and then falling asleep again, but it was much needed rest. I spent four hours that way, and it was very hard for my husband. When it wore off though, my blood pressure was not behaving, and I was struggling with the pain. I didn't think I could handle another 4 hours on pethadine so asked for the epidural, which pleased them as they wanted me to have one to control my blood pressure, but they were respecting my wishes not to offer pain relief but wait for me to ask for it. 

While we waited for an anaesthetist there was a change of midwives due to the shift change, a lovely midwife named Hazel who I was ecstatic to see. I'd met her a few weeks earlier during an early labour scare and she had been brilliant. I was happy to be in her hands. Epidural went in and instantly life was much better. Later on, it wasn't. I had stopped progressing. A discussing was had with the doctor. He wanted to check my son's oxygen levels, which had to be done via a probe on the top of his head. Getting it in there was a highly undignified process! But Patrick was doing fine, so given a couple more hours to progress. Two more hours, no more progress. He was stuck. He'd come down into my pelvis with his back against my back, instead of my tummy, and was presenting just above his right ear, instead of with the top of his head. In that position he simply could not go any further. I was exhausted, he was tiring too according to the monitors. We all knew what had to happen for him to get into the world safely, there was no other way that didn't risk us both terribly. 

I was prepared for surgery, signed the forms and my husband changed into scrubs. I was led into surgery first without my husband, but the anaesthetist, the same one from my epidural held my hand while things were made ready and before my husband allowed in. That was very sweet. I wasn't scared. I knew this was for the best, I just wanted him in the world safely. My husband sat beside me in theatre anxiously. Then at 3:30 am he was born. The next couple of minutes were hell, because he was silent. The paediatrician was working on him and I didn't know that he was breathing within a minute. I was lying on the table with surgeons doing their job. I gripped onto hubby's hand for grim death. And finally, two and half minutes after he was born, he started to cry. Then of course so did I. When he was all wrapped up he was brought to me and hubby and we got to cuddle while the surgeons worked. The anaesthatist even took our first pictures together while everything was going on. 

Unfortunately being so tired, I bled very badly, and it took an hour for them to patch me back up, but they did, and I was soon settled back in our room, and I had my son in my arms, safely in the world, and a nice size at 8lbs 1oz. Yes, I was exhausted, yes, he had put me through the wringer, but I was very much in love and had forgiven him the moment he cried. 

He was born on the 18th of April, sharing a birthday with his Great Grandmother, and no, his birth certainly did not go to plan. But every step of the way the staff at the hospital were brilliant, caring and kind. They always took my wishes into account and I never felt pushed into anything. It all happened on my terms. So birth plans are very much ideal scenarios in an ideal world, but they still have a place, even when the curve balls are thrown your way!

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