Moo was due on the 5th of October. I remember the summer that year had been hot and uncomfortable and it was still quite mild even though Autumn was definitely on it's way.
At 10pm on October 4th, I stood up off our bed as Jamie Oliver came on to pop to the loo and that's when it happened; my water's broke. I remember looking to my husband (who was my fiancé at the time) and telling him. He looked down and then up very calmly and told me that I'd probably just wet myself before returning to what he was doing. Honestly, there are times when I'm sure his reactions are backwards. I told no, I was pretty sure it was my waters and after he frowned at me a little more he agreed to believe me. In his defence, I can have a habit of being a bit whingy. He no doubt though I was being over-dramatic (we'd had a couple of false labours also so I think he was just trying not to get his hopes up).
At this point I was excited but mostly thankful that it had happened when I got up off of the bed and not on the bed. I went and sat on the loo whilst the man in my life gave the carpet a quick wash. Nothing was happening. In the movies (which was all I had to go on), the waters break and then suddenly the woman is in full-on agonising pain! She's screaming, contractions are hitting hard and fast...I had nothing. I just kept...leaking.
We called the midwifery unit at the local hospital and told them what had happened. The midwife asked if I was sure it was my waters and that I hadn't just wee'd myself. I reassured her that I was pretty sure it was my waters and so I went on down where I was monitored. It was pretty much 11pm by this point and once checked over I was told to go home and come back at 4pm the next day for induction unless contractions started, in which case to follow the usual procedure. I was told it was REALLY important to get things moving within twenty-four hours of my waters breaking due to a risk of infection.
4pm rolled around and still nothing was happening apart from the leakage. We went back to the hospital, was checked in the day unit and then turned away. The unit was too full, they couldn't induce me and I'd have to come back an try again at 8am the next morning. I mentioned that they'd warned me about infection risk and they confirmed that but said there literally was nothing they could do.
So we went back home. At 10pm that night, almost dead on 24 hours after my waters broke, I started to feel funny. Achey with little twinges. I dared not to get my hopes up but low and behold, they got stronger through the night and come 4am I knew for definite I was having contractions. I resisted the urge to wake my husband and tell him at an unsociable hour though he kept waking to check on me so neither of us got much sleep from the excitement/anxiety. I called the hospital back just before 8 to explain I was due to be induced at 8am however my contractions had started though weren't frequent enough yet. She told me not to bother until they were at the recommended frequency. She was quite short with me, I'd find out later why.
I sat down to watch Jeremy Kyle (y'know, as you do...) and they started getting painful, my husband's Nan was pottering around offering me things but to be honest, all I wanted to do was curl up in a ball. I'm not known for having a very high pain threshold. By the end of the show, they were at the right sort of spacing to call back and find out what the next step was. I called and was invited down to the hospital, they were curious to know roughly what time to expect me and so I said ten minutes tops as we lived very close to the hospital. Turns out the reason for so many questions and the shortness on the phone earlier that day was because it had gone mad with women in labour and I was the last to be admitted to Eastbourne before it shut. Anyone who was unfortunate enough to go into labour after me was sent to Hastings which also shut later that day (people were then sent to Brighton and Crowborough).
Because the delivery suite was so busy they put me into an examination room whilst they prepared a delivery room...where I was promptly forgotten. After two hours of watching me in pain, my husband (who is quite reserved and quiet) went off in search of help as I was yet to be offered pain relief. The midwife who came back was very apologetic and got me gas and air strait away. Unfortunately for me gas and air (for whatever reason) didn't get on with me and I started being violently sick. I couldn't cope and begged for something else, my husband later told me that it had really terrified him as he'd never seen me look so ill the whole time he'd known me. Once I was moved into the delivery room, I received an epidural (best thing ever) and was told that things were progressing fast. It was mid-afternoon by this point. I spent the next few hours drifting in and out of sleep on anti-biotics (because of the infection risk) and high on what was left of the gas and air in my system. I vaguely remember calling my Dad to tell him I was high. He's a chemist so I thought he'd appreciate that information then I remember hanging up on him because Coach Trip was coming on. They told me at 9pm they'd come and see if I was ready to push...thinking back I was really disappointed, the Apprentice was starting that night and I was going to miss it if I started pushing at nine. I know that seems awful, but I was that away with it I was just so laid back! Because of my waters breaking early and the infection risk I was nil-by-mouth so my husband left to get himself some dinner and I slept some more...once I'd had the epidural. I basically spent the day sleeping and watching television, I thought I was the luckiest woman in the world and wondered what all the birthing fuss was about, this was easy!!
I started pushing not long after nine but because I'd had the epidural it was something I struggled to grasp the concept of at first, I didn't really sort of perfect this art until around ten. I'll be honest, I don't remember much about it just a lot of encouragement and pushing. It didn't hurt or feel like much of anything until she actually started to be born, then it felt a little bit like a sore burn. I certainly wouldn't describe it as the most painful experience of my life but this is because of the drugs I was on.
Moo was born at 11:47pm weighing 8.2lbs on October 6th, a gooey, pinkish-yellowish thing that hardly cried and spent a lot of time looking around in awe. I can honestly say that my birth experience, compared to a lot, was easy-going. The thing I struggled with the most was getting into the hospital and then the after-care I received (a story for another time). All of the negatives in my birthing story were down to the levels of staffing at my local hospital and the lack of funding to improve the situation. I'm a massive supported of the NHS, I think it's a wonderful thing but mistakes are made and I know I was lucky. Giving birth isn't always bad. I promise.
And now look at my now nearly-three-year-old!
Labels: Baby, birth, labour, life, My story Monday