Over the past months I have expressed on here and different forums my hopes for a very serene labour and birth. I had a birth plan and real (secret) desire to end up giving birth at home, in my own little “bubble”. Part of my plan was to keep the labour and birth a very private affair, especially after reading a post on Our Ordinary Life blog.
I kept a live blog journal as a draft, recording snapshots of the events, to edit and publish afterwards into a post:
Mumonthebrink – Sun 23:40
My cold and cough are zapping all my energy. I’m feeling really heavy. Any distance of walking and I am gasping for air. When I lie down I need to be sucking on Gaviscon as heartburn is so bad it can be mistaken for chest pains of a different nature.
This evening I saw a couple of minutes of One Born Every Minute on Channel 4 in which the woman in labour said- “I feel like my bottom is about to fall out!” Well I’ve felt like that for days, yet still nothing happening.
Sticky Bean is moving around a lot less and has fewer hiccups too, as if he is conserving his energy. When he moves I really do feel every slightest move though!
Mumonthebrink – Mon 11:42
Woke at 8:30 this morning, but still haven’t made it downstairs for breakfast/ brunch/ lunch, just been sitting on the edge of the bed getting undressed & dressed very slowly. Stick Bean just feels so heavy on my pelvic floor this morning. No contraction though.
Mumonthebrink – Mon 18:10
Time for eviction measures to commence- We’ve just come out for a curry at our local Indian. We walked the way here…probably the longest I’ve walked in ages. My back was in a tight knot, total agony!
Mumonthebrink – Tue 04:23
I’m wide awake after a mere 3 hours of sleep, having tried a number of methods suggested to induce labour yesterday…and still no sign of labour. My lower back, on the other hand, is in knots. From that point of view I’m not too pleased with having walked to the restaurant last night.
My intention of keeping private, however, changed:
On Tuesday morning a little after the journal entry I started having mild but consistent contractions. I called the community midwives to ask for a quick check up. I knew I was progressing, just wasn’t sure how much. I asked to pop into the midwifery led unit at our hospital for a quick exam. I also called Jennie, my friend who was going to be at the birth as an advocate to help ensure all the points agreed would be kept- (allowing a water birth and keeping interventions to a minimal). I forewarned her that I might be going into labour, but not to hurry, just get ready to come in a couple of hours’ time.
I drove in, just me and my handbag, saying I’ll be home in an hour.
As I arrived at the midwifery led unit they assumed I was in labour and in line with my care plan they check pool availabilities and said that only one on the Delivery Suite was available. I declined and said I don’t think I’ll be staying in as it’s too early and I don’t have anything with me (most women at my stage are sent home anyway). By this time any contractions I did have totally stopped.
It was totally OK to have a student midwife in on the exam acknowledging they need to learn too (this was completely contrary to my birth plan, which requested only those absolutely necessary to be in the room) … and I was thinking I won’t be staying anyway.
Then just as I lay down on the bed for the exam I felt a gush. My waters had broken, the floodgates had opened. The bed was totally soaked and amniotic fluid was dripping onto the floor. There was a LOT of water and there was bad and good news: The bad news- My waters were not clear it was meconium stained. The good news- it was thin meconium (which is more likely a sign of gut maturity as opposed to the baby being distressed).
As the midwife left the room to get the bed changed and discuss the implications with her colleagues, I remembered having some research results on the bottom of my old birthplan (which was still in my folder. I had this info from previous birth, when I went 19 days overdue). I quickly brushed up on the stats and the risk factors. I was slightly reassured, up to date with the facts and armed for the onslaught of risk management from the staff…. I also knew that, for the baby’s sake, I will be delivering in hospital.
The shock of my waters going so early in labour and having to stay in hospital was the game changer: people, strangers, kept coming and going, knocking, my contractions completely stopped (they were supposed to intensify once waters broke). I rang Dadonthebrink to pack the hospital bags- Yeap, I hadn’t actually packed these, I had put all the things into 2 drawers and into the baby’s cot… I had totally expected to stay at home, but at least have time to dump everything into a bag if I needed to come in.
In my shock of this totally unexpected turn of events (after all I had never really experienced what my water breaking was like as they had gone just on the cusp of second stage labour in the previous 2 labours, while I was in a birthing pool), I escaped to the community who had supported me in the ups and downs of this pregnancy and started tweeting.
… Tweeting gave me my little bubble of calm and support, took me away from the alien real world that I so feared.
And I owe a big THANK YOU to all those who did reach out and were there supporting me in spirit!
… (to be continued…)