Wednesday, 20 April 2016

Our Birth Story...


It feels as though I haven't blogged in forever even though it was only the beginning of last week however since then my entire world has changed. In case you don't follow me on social media, you may not be aware that at 4.33pm on Sunday 10th April 2016, my darling daughter Sophie came into the world and made my heart swell. It may take me a few attempts to get this story out and I apologise now if I ramble on but needless to say things did not go to plan. We went in with a fairly open mind and no strict birth plan as essentially baby will come when they want to and we wanted to stay as relaxed as possible due to my cardiac anomaly. After weeks of meetings with consultants and obstetricians we had been given the all clear for a natural birth and although had agreed on an epidural from the word "go", we wanted things as laid back as possible.

I'll admit we tried every trick in the book to get Sophie to arrive on time, I had a stretch and sweep on Thursday 7th April which was the day before my due date followed by a spicy nandos-esque dinner, a long walk and some alone time with James (if you know what I mean!) and then we waited, perched on my birthing ball desperately crossing our fingers that she would make an appearance. I woke up on Friday 8th April with what felt like the worst period pain of my life. Occasionally James will try and "cuddle" me by way of basically putting his elbow into the small of my back so at first I thought it was just that I'd been uncomfortable and shoved him off but by 6.30am I was still no better and knew that something was different. I went to the loo and it was confirmed that things were progressing as my "show" was there to greet me and I padded downstairs to tell James the good news. My waters hadn't broken yet so we weren't getting ahead of ourselves but I spent a good few hours on my birthing ball before going out for a drive to distract myself. My car has a handy journey timer on it and it was using this that I noticed that my pain was coming and going at just over 10 minute intervals. I made my way home and got back on that trusty birthing ball!

We decided that it was time to send the dog off on his holidays to Grandma's house and at around 7pm dropped him off for his stay, thinking we'd probably see him the next evening or Sunday at the latest and made our way to our local Chinese to get me the spiciest dish I liked. By this point I was getting uncomfortable every time a contraction came around and having to breath my way through them but they were still around 8 minutes apart and only lasting around 30/40 seconds. We figured that things would progress and we'd be woken up in the middle of the night. Come 1.30am I was awake and in agony every time a contraction came, they were still varying between 6 minutes and 9 minutes apart but were lasting longer and getting more and more unbearable. James came upstairs to join me at around 3am (He'd been on the sofa to get as much sleep as possible whilst I tried to catch some shut eye between contractions) and I rang the labour ward to warn them of what was happening, they advised a hot bath and some paracetamol however the paracetamol did absolutely nothing and by 5am I had to have James run me a bath.

By 6am I got out of the bath and managed to do my hair and makeup (don't ask me how, I've no idea) and ponder downstairs to go between the comfort of my sofa and the birthing ball. We rang the labour ward again at 8.30am as I was convinced I couldn't do it anymore, it took us over an hour to get ready as I had to leave the house looking spotless for when my daughter came home with us and we didn't arrive until 10am however upon examining me I was only 2cm dilated and they advised us to go home at 12pm otherwise we'd have to wait on a ward. They tried to give me some codeine however I threw it straight back up again which they assured me was a good sign...

When we got home we put on a film (I can't remember the name of it for the life of me) and I managed to sleep through it for around 2 hours and then had another bath at around half past 4. I didn't last as long this time and had to get out was out of the bath and lay on my bed writhing in pain with every contraction. I couldn't even bare to have my pyjamas on as I was convinced that they were making it worse. By 8.30pm my Mum was on her way to me as I couldn't cope and James looked to be fast running out of ways to comfort me which broke my heart. She had to turn around and meet us at the hospital, however as no sooner had I put the phone down to her I had decided that enough was enough and I needed to get to where I wanted to be. Needless to say the house was not left spotless this time and we left in pretty quick time. We met Mum in the carpark of the hospital and I couldn't even speak I was in so much pain and had to stop to lean on a lamp post with my passing contractions. They let me stay in as I think they could see that I was extremely anxious and needed to be in the right place for me however we were warned that we had a long wait ahead of us.

Mum's job was to rub my tummy where Sophie was laying inside me (she's always been on the right hand side of my tummy) and James was to stroke my hair and guide my breathing through each contraction. I got to the point where I couldn't keep still when my contractions came and at 2am Mum pressed the magic red button to call them to come and intervene. Luckily at this point I was 4cm dilated and officially aloud my epidural. They had this all in place by 3am and I felt so much better, I was able to completely relax and James and I both got some sleep whilst Mum sat watching over me (she really should have got some shut eye but now I'm a mother myself I understand why she couldn't'!). By 8am I was 8cm dilated which they were extremely happy with and they advised that they didn't think she'd be much longer. At 12pm they broke my waters as they still hadn't gone. By half past 12 I was starting to feel an immense pressure like I needed to push but was advised not to until they'd examined me and confirmed I was 10cm which luckily, I was. I started to just push using my instincts as and when the feeling came but by 1pm the midwife was helping me with different positions and techniques.

At half past 1 she was just a fingertip away from crowning but unfortunately stayed that way until 3pm when they called in the Doctor to intervene. They attempted a forceps delivery on the labour ward but I was too tense and tired and so I was advised that they needed to up my epidural and take me into theatre to perform a forceps delivery however I needed to sign the caesarean disclaimer in case the forceps didn't work. It was all a bit of a blur and a case of "do whatever you need to get her out safely" and before I knew it I was in theatre with a screen to protect me from seeing anything and James was in scrubs by my side. Needless to say on my next urge I was to push and them pull her out but she just wouldn't budge. They gave me two attempts but discovered that I have a tilted pelvis and as such there was no way in which she would come out the way nature intended. They had to perform an emergency caesarean. I have never been so terrified in my life and James looked petrified too, he stayed with me the whole time even though I could tell that it was torturing him and he kept me as calm as humanly possible. She was presented to us at 4.33pm and I was given the chance to kiss her before James went to "trim" her umbilical chord. She was given the all clear from the doctors and weighed at 6lbs 9 (and a half!) oz. I was aloud a cuddle for a short while before they cleaned her up and James took her back to the labour ward whilst they sorted me out.

I can remember asking random members of staff in the theatre inappropriate questions such as when do I restart contraception and will I ever give birth naturally. Some poor guy had to hold my hand as I no longer had anyone in there and I was still extremely scared. It took them a long time to put me back together due to the amount of trauma it took to get Sophie out (apparently they were literally on top of me pulling her out and were trying to get the bed to go lower and lower for more leverage) and it took around an hour and a half for them to finish with me. All of the staff in that theatre were amazing and they all came to congratulate me before they left the room. I was taken back to the labour ward and was greeted by the sight of James cradling our precious Sophie and Mum looking on adoringly. I was aloud a cuddle and James went to get changed whilst I tried breast feeding. At first she took really well but I'll go into our breast feeding journey more in another post.

Mum had a cuddle and then left to get some much needed sleep before James' parents arrived to meet her and then we were whisked up to the Maternity Ward to start our life as new parents. I stayed in until 11pm on Tuesday 12th April but again, that's a whole other story as Sophie was absolutely fine (I essentially had lost too much blood and had to have a transfusion). But let me end this post on a high, after days of stress, panic, confusion and agonising pain I am now left with the best present that anyone could have ever given me. I have never felt love like this both towards Sophie and also towards James. We are such a strong little unit (plus Max too!) and I couldn't be more proud of all of us. Let me officially introduce you all to Sophie Charlotte Wood, born 10th April 2016 at 4.33pm weighing a precious 6lb 9oz...





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