Thursday, 19 September 2013
I was 8 days overdue, and completely and utterly fed up! I wasn't sleeping well, or at all really, as baby was forever kicking me in the ribs, so Mitchell had took Alice downstairs and left me in bed to try and get a little more sleep. At this point I was convinced I was going to be pregnant for the next 25 years, because I’m nothing if not melodramatic!
I’d been having mild contractions on and off all week, but nothing super painful and nothing to convince me that baby was coming. I’d had 2 sweeps, and was booked in for a third on the Monday morning to try and get things moving along. I’d already pushed to delay induction to term+14 rather than term+12, and was beginning to resign myself to induction at some point. Mitch was fed up of the smell of Clary Sage which apparently smells like dirt and goth shops. I had walked and walked, marched up and down stairs, bounced on balls, and had plenty of curry. I would say the effectiveness of all these things was 0!
On the sunny Saturday morning I woke up and stumbled / waddled to the bathroom, and shouted Mitch upstairs. I wasn’t sure, but I thought my waters might have broken.
And that was pretty much the question all day Saturday – had they or hadn’t they?! With Alice it was such a definite so I was unsure and felt really silly for not knowing. I called the midwife around midday and they sent someone out just after lunch. I felt really negative as I thought I was just being silly and wasting everyone’s time, and I hated the uncertainty. The midwife wasn’t sure either, but explained the hospital’s policy – induction after 24 hours if labour hadn’t started. I explained how keen I was to avoid induction, especially if we weren’t even sure if it was my waters! She agreed to leave me a few hours to see what happened, and take it from there.
I spent the afternoon feeling sorry for myself on the sofa, and when the midwife called back later (4pm-ish) I still didn’t really know either way. She suggested I go to the hospital later for them to check if my waters had gone, and I reluctantly agreed – if only to see that they hadn’t gone and avoid induction / stop the uncertainty!
We sent Alice to go with Mitch’s mum and dad overnight, and I still felt really silly for wasting everyone’s time. Surely if it had been my waters I would have felt a twinge by now? I avoided telling people I was going up to hospital so I didn’t disappoint when I came home!
Around 7pm we headed up to hospital, only to find out that only 1 person was allowed in triage with me, so mum ended up in the hospital reception for the next 2 hours on her own – sorry mum! I was assured that we’d only be there an hour, but ended up waiting around until 9.30. Being in the hospital reminded me of all the reasons I wanted a homebirth. It was unorganized, I was uncomfortable, I couldn’t have the people I wanted there, and we were mostly ignored. Obviously I don’t blame the midwives, I wasn’t a priority as I wasn’t in labour! But I was fed up and just wanted to go home.
Silver lining though – my waters had definitely gone! They tried to schedule me for induction at 10am the next day till I told them they could book it, but I wouldn’t be turning up. Eventually we agreed on 4pm the next day. I was feeling confident my body would go into labour before then, and that everything would work out. I was also too tired for more of an argument!
We all headed home, and I tried to have some food, knowing I would be needing the energy at some point in the next few hours (hopefully!). At this point, I was kind of hoping I’d get at least a few hours sleep to prepare! I sent my mum and Mitchell to bed, and told them I’d wake them when needed.
I tried to go to bed around 10pm, and had a fitful sleep, waking up with pains but trying to ignore them. Around midnight I got up and decided that sleep wasn’t happening so I’d get up and have a potter round.
I spent the next hour bouncing on the birthing ball and chatting to my brother on Facebook. I’d decided to start timing the pains, and they were around every 4/5 mins lasting for 45 seconds. Around 12pm I could still breathe and type through them, but when it got to 1am I was having to really concentrate on them and close my eyes / breathe deeply.
After timing them for an hour, I decided I was definitely in early labour, but coping okay and was probably going to be a very long time! I rung the midwives just to say I was in labour, but that I probably didn’t need anyone just yet. I decided to go upstairs and give Mitchell a prod and see if he was awake, and let him know what was going on.
Mitch got up after 1ish and started filling the pool as we knew it took around an hour to fill. I tried to persuade him not to fill it yet, as I thought I’d be another 8+ hours and didn’t want the water to get cold! He put me the TENS machine on but it wasn’t doing a huge amount. I was concentrating on breathing and counting through contractions, but had given up timing them. When the pool was full I sent him in the living room to try and get some more sleep while I labored with some music on.
I tried to lie down and rest, and I think he managed 5 minutes before I jumped up and shouted out for help – on the contraction I’d felt the baby move down, and my waters went in a much more dramatic fashion. Suddenly the bearable contractions had become much more intense, and I was having to really breathe and moan through them. I was trying to avoid getting in the pool for as long as possible, as I knew it could slow labour down, and I was trying to make sure I really felt the benefit when I got in.
After a few more intense contractions, I decided to jump in the pool and see what happened. I had a few more contractions in the pool, and they were coming on much closer and stronger – around every 3/4 minutes for a minute. Around 2.30am I told Mitch to call the midwives and get them to head over at some point soon. He rung my mum at same time, and we told her not to rush over – just head over at some point in the next hour or so.
I was still joking and chatting in between contractions, but was having to really concentrate on trying to relax and breathe with the pains. My mum arrived around 2.45 and I still felt bad for getting her out of bed when it would probably be hours!
The midwife arrived around 15 mins later, around 3am. (I have no idea of any of these times I’m just bugging Mitch!) At this point I was remembering how painful was! I felt quite shaky and weak inbetween contractions, but could focus and concentrate on the pains. Mitch and my mum took it in turns rubbing my back for contractions and that really helped me focus and concentrate more.
I was contracting about every 3 minutes, so the midwife was trying to do her checks in the gaps! She checked babies heartbeat – contraction – my pulse – contraction – blood pressure – contraction. Then the dreaded words – “Would you like me to check how far along you are?”. I knew from reading lots of birth stories that it could be a double edged sword – if she said 3cm would I be able to cope? Would I want to give up and have all the drugs? I decided I needed to know! I have never been so thankful to hear someone say 8cm in my entire life!
This was around 3.15, so she quickly decided to get things out the car and call the second midwife – although I was well lost in labour land at this point and didn’t really notice!
After a few more contractions I knew that my body was pushing whether I wanted to or not. Whereas last time I found the pushing helpful to concentrate pain, this time it made it more painful, but I knew it meant it was getting to the end.
I had a few big contractions, lots of big pushing, and then a head! Her head was born, then I had to wait for another contraction – it seemed to take forever but was probably only a minute. Then, at 3.34am on 8th September 2013, Violet was born into the world!
There was no time for gas an air, no second midwife, and Mitch was definitely disappointed he didn’t have time for his buffet.
The second midwife turned up a little later, and she weighed Violet at 9lb 2oz! At this point I was convinced I would need lots of stitches, so was super relieved when I jumped out the pool to find I wouldn’t need any – for that I can only thank the pool!
The midwives stayed for a little while, I gave baby a feed which she took to like an absolute pro. Probably too well actually – she fed pretty much constantly for the first 5 days!
Around 4.30 everyone went home, Mitch saw me up to bed and tucked me in to feed Violet. He tidied round for an hour or so, then we were all alone as a family. Having a homebirth was an incredible experience – yes it was painful, but it was also empowering. I felt completely relaxed and comfortable in my environment, I got to go to my bed and eat my own food and listen to my own music! There was no mad rush to hospital – I’m not sure I would have made it as we wouldn’t have started to head in till around 3!
It also meant that the next day Alice came home to meet her baby sister, in her own environment. I was terrified how they would get along, but Alice completely dotes on her sister. We will see how well this lasts when Mitch goes back to work so she has to share me!
All in all, I had a fantastic birth experience. Today she is 11 days old and physically I feel great. Even the same day I was up and about and tidying / cleaning and lifting. I felt better that day than I had for the last few months of pregnancy!
We’ve struggled a lot more with breastfeeding this time, and I would say I’ve found feeding a lot harder than the birth. Because of her size, she was born starving! And whereas Alice slept a lot for the first few days, Violet just fed pretty much constantly. Up to around day 8/9 I had issues with cracks / bleeding when feeding and was finding it incredibly difficult to persuade myself to feed each time – it just hurt so bad!
But, we seem to have broken the back of feeding and not in pain anymore. Still feeding often, but that’s what babies do! Glad to have (hopefully) got through the other side of the misery!
Mitch’s paternity leave has completely flown by, and I’m really hoping for a lottery win this weekend. I have no idea how I’m going to manage with them both, and how I’m going to entertain Alice while I’m feeding, but we’ll just have to figure it out!
Violet is completely perfect. She is huge, and out of some of her newborn clothes already :(. She looks exactly like her sister did, but has much more hair, and its definitely a little darker – maybe not another blonde?
Posts may be a little thin on the ground while I figure out how to be a mum of 2! But wanted to write this all down before I forgot it.
TL;DR version – I had a baby. She is awesome. I had her at home without pain relief because I’m badass. We are all in love!
With love and light xo