Thursday, 4 February 2016

My labour story : Part One

I debated whether to share my labour story or not. It's something that's so very personal and is quite an intimate and immensely special time for parents to be. But, I really think labour gets a bad name. It's no wonder mums to be are petrified of giving birth. Amidst all the blood and gore, the tears, the pain and giving birth in a toilet/car/Asda, the natural and horror free labours go a bit unnoticed.  Of course it hurts.  Of course its hard.  But that doesn't mean its a negative thing.  So, here's the labour story of my second baby.   

Four days before my due date I was sitting at the local playgroup singing wind the bobbin up and seriously contemplating why on earth I had taken my three year old daughter there that day. I felt huge, really tired and totally not with it. It was the last place I wanted to be, and I was cursing in my head as we moved onto a rendition of humpty dumpty. 

Later that day, I started to feel cramps. They weren't particular painful, but they were happening about every 10 minutes and I just felt uncomfortable. I carried on as normal, preparing tea and bathing my daughter.  I knew something was happening, but I wasn't convinced it was labour.  I just thought maybe my body was getting ready, and to be fair, I'd convinced myself I was going into labour most days from week 28, so by now I'd given up on labour even occurring. 

I went to bed as normal, then woke around 1am with the cramping being that bit more painful- enough to wake me up. Was this it? Was this labour? 

I didn't wake my husband, and I just tried to doze back off, but every time I got a cramp I'd wake up again. This happened until about 3am and then I thought I had better time them. I must have messed around for about half an hour deciding which labour app to download (which is obviously a huge decision!), and then eventually I started timing them. They were coming around every 8 minutes and were getting more painful so I had to breathe through them. 

By 7am I'd been up most of the night, and I started thinking that I needed to get my daughter up to take her to preschool.  So I got out of bed, and it was literally almost instant that the cramps stop. I was a little disappointed that I'd been up all night when actually nothing was happening and it was just a false alarm. 

My husband went to work and my daughter to preschool and I started Googling 'false labour'.  Alot of the forums said that if cramping stopping it wasn't labour at all, which got me worried as the cramps had been painful.  If that wasn't labour how on Earth would I cope with the real thing??  

All day nothing happened so I carried on as usual.  I had a feeling of disappointment that it wasn't labour, but then relief that I could get some sleep that night.  But, around 4pm the cramps started again. They felt exactly the same as the night before. Was this it?? 

My husband came home from work and we thought we'd give it a few hours until we rang my parents to come and babysit our daughter if we needed to go to the hospital. The cramps were certainly uncomfortable but I still kept questioning whether this was it. 

At around 9pm the pains were coming every 8 minutes and I was having to breathe through them because of the pain.  Again, I still wasn't convinced, but my husband rang my parents anyway, who arrived about 10pm.  

I really didn't want to go to the hospital early to be sent home, so I strapped on my TENS machine and thought we'd probably end up going the hospital in the morning.  I tried to get some sleep but couldn't because of the pain.  I just kept focusing on my breathing and counting to ten by which time the pain had passed.  

By 11.30 the pain was more intense and the contractions were coming around every 4 minutes.  My husband wanted to go to the labour ward, but I just wanted to stay at home. I ended up waddling to the toilet, but after 15 minutes and my husband trying to cajole me out, I just wanted to stay put and focus, he said we were going. He rang the labour ward and after asking him a few questions (he gave them a wrong date of birth for me) we were told to go straight in. 

We arrived onto the labour ward around midnight and I was examined where they told me I was 4cm dilated. Only 4cm!!!!!! I couldn't believe I was 4cm and I felt so disappointed that I'd come to the hospital too early. 

My midwife was amazing and inbetween my contractions which were getting more intense she chatted to me about the kind of birth I wanted. I told her I wanted to try and stay away from an epidural and I wanted an active birth. I had wanted a water birth, but the pool wasn't available.

So we settled down in a birthing room and I immediately got on all fours and knelt over the bed.  This was the most comfiest and felt the most natural position.  Little did I know that in less than 3 hours I'd be holding a baby. To be continued...

As a side note, this is the most flattering picture of me in my labour position.  I've been through our photos five times and this is as good as it gets.  I've read countless other labour stories and seen others perfect labour pictures of mums-to-be where they look oh so serene and focused.  I on the other hand look like I'm about to bunny hop over a bed.  

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