Ok, if you haven’t given birth or are pregnant chances are you won’t find this post very interesting…At least other people’s birth stories didn’t really mean much to me before I got pregnant and went through it myself. I still want to write down how it all happened, because knowing myself I’ll forget about all the details within two weeks if I don’t!
Lana’s due date was Sunday the 8th of February, and she did actually decide to start her journey into this world on this particular day! I had some spicy Mexican food on Friday night, walked a fair bit on Saturday and Sunday and had been drinking raspberry leaf tea for a few weeks – not sure if this had anything to do with my waters breaking, but it happened on Sunday around 5 pm when I was sitting at the table doing yet another jigsaw…I didn’t know that only about one in ten women have their waters break before labour!
I called the hospital and asked what to do, and they told me to come in for a check-up, but that we would probably be sent home for the night. Matthew’s dad gave us a lift and we arrived around 7 pm. We started timing the contractions with the help of an app, and immediately they were very regular – around 3 minutes apart and 30-45 seconds long. They kept getting stronger, which I told the midwife who finally saw us at around 9 pm. She checked how far back my cervix was with the help of a flashlight (which both Matthew and I found pretty funny). Apparently the cervix was still so far back that I was sent home. But I had a feeling that we would be back very soon…
We got home at 10 pm and had dinner whilst continuing to time the contractions, which by 11 pm started to be painful. The contractions were still around 3 minutes apart, but were now lasting around 60 seconds. At 1 am the contractions were so painful that I knew I had to get to hospital when I could still walk, so we called a taxi and headed back. By 2 am I was 4 cm open and in the birthing pool (it looks a lot smaller in the photo than it really was). I stayed in the pool until around 7 am when I had to get out because I had to have a catheter inserted as I wasn’t able to pass urine (Lana’s head was pressing on my urethra). After getting out and on the bed I was too tired to get back in, so just decided to stay where I was.
The warm water in the pool was nice and calming and being weightless helped me cope with the contractions that I mostly felt as an intense pressure in my lower back and tailbone. I was also offered gas and air that I found difficult to use at first since it made me feel a bit dizzy and I wasn’t able to concentrate long enough to keep breathing it throughout the duration of the contraction. The midwife kept encouraging me to stick with it and it wasn’t long until the inhaler was glued to my hand.
When they checked how much I had dilated at 2 am they told me that they wouldn’t check again before 9 am in the morning – which I thought was quite late…I’m not sure about the exact times, but at some point after I got out of the pool at 7 am the midwife asked if I want her to check how much I had dilated, which I agreed to. It turned out I was already 9 cm open. After getting out of the water the contractions eased a little bit to the point where the midwife asked if she can do reflexology massage on my feet to make them more intense again. Reluctantly I agreed again and it did seem to work.
Around 8 am the shift of the midwife that had been sitting by my side all night ended and I was introduced to two new midwifes. Don’t know why, but they didn’t check how much I had dilated until after 10 am. When they did they realised that I had probably been fully dilated for a good while already! So around 10.30 am I was finally allowed to start pushing – although I had felt like doing so for hours, already in the pool.
The pushing part was somehow easier as I finally felt like something was really happening. The intense dull pain in the back became a burning sensation as the head was coming out, and I was a bit scared to push too much as I could just feel how places were tearing. Matthew had a peek (or several) during labour when the head started to show – I was convinced he would’ve fainted doing so, but he was just fascinated and excited. I knew that the baby needed to come out though, so I kept pushing, until at 10.52 am on Monday the 9th of February our beautiful little Lana was born. She was a perfect 9 girl (apparently no one ever gets a 10 because no baby is perfectly pink when they enter the world!)
The midwife put Lana on my chest straight away, while Matthew cut the umbilical cord. Words cannot describe the feeling of finally meeting your baby, it was just an overwhelmingly happy moment. She only screamed a little bit, after that she was busy making suckling noises and trying to feed – she even tried to suck on Matthew’s nipples when he was holding her 🙂
In my birth plan I had written that I didn’t want an injection to help deliver the placenta, although it would’ve meant less bleeding and speeded up the whole thing. Luckily it was very quick and painless to get the placenta out, and we both had a good look close up what it looked like…What a fascinating thing it is!
Lana was an impressive 4 kg, which resulted in some tearing and me having to have some stitches shortly after giving birth. It was all done in the same birth unit, which meant I could have the procedure done whilst watching Matthew bonding with Lana (and taking hundreds of photos of her).
In the photo above Lana is getting a hearing check – we took the photo because it looked like she had a pair of headphones on 🙂
I wanted to go home the same day, but soon realised that I wasn’t being realistic as I was bleeding a fair bit and I needed help with breastfeeding Lana. Matthew had to leave the hospital at 10 pm, so I was left alone with Lana in a room with 3 other mothers and their newborns. Needless to say I barely slept at all – the second night in a row…Luckily I could only press a button and someone would turn up and help me out with whatever I needed. The following day a well-rested Matthew came to the hospital to keep us company when Lana was having all sorts of tests and check-ups done. Around 6 pm we could finally take our wee girl home.
Have to say I’m quite impressed with the NHS (National Health Service) – the midwives and other staff were all nice and very helpful, the birth centre was spacious and cosy at the same time, I had all the help I needed during my overnight stay etc. All in all it was a good experience and I guess I can consider myself lucky to have had such a straight forward and easy labour. Only a couple of days later I already felt like I could do it again 🙂
Ok, gotta go, somebody is hungry…again 🙂
x Nina x