Wednesday 28 June 2017

BABY #2: My Birth Story

I can't believe I'm finally getting to write my birth story after spending so many days in the world of being overdue and wandering what was about to unfold. To rewind to my 41 week midwife appointment, I had been booked in for a stretch and sweep at that appointment to try and get things started. However, when the midwife felt my bump and where the baby's head was she decided that her head wasn't engaged so they wouldn't be able to do the stretch and sweep. This was pretty disappointing, as I had worked myself up and mentally prepared myself to have one. I was also hoping to get things going before our baby grew into an even bigger baby in my tummy! As a result of not having the stretch and sweep I was booked in for an induction at 8.30am on Wednesday 14th June 2017, at 12 days overdue.

Fast forward a week of double guessing every twinge, spending a long time bouncing on the ball and eating spicy food and we found ourselves preparing for our last night at home before meeting our baby. I talk more about how I felt about being induced and the whole process over in this blog post, if you're interested. We were up early on the Wednesday morning getting Isabella ready for nursery, ensuring everything was packed and ready for Isabella's Grandad to look after her. It was so surreal knowing that I wouldn't be coming home until I'd had the baby, all very emotional. My husband dropped Isabella off at nursery at 7.30am, as usual, then came home to collect me and off we went. It's a 40 minute drive to the hospital, so we arrived at around 8.15am. I'd never seen the car park so empty!

We headed straight up to the induction ward, but were then directed to the front desk to sign up and collect all of my notes. It was then back up to the induction ward and I was shown to my bed. It felt so strange being back there, as last time it was to have Isabella a whole two years ago. I was in Bay C Bed 3, which was ideal as it was next to the table, bouncing balls and a window. The hospital was so hot and the air-conditioning unit in the room was leaking, so had to be turned off. Not ideal, but at this point I wasn't in labour so could handle heat relatively ok.

By the time I was settled in it was 9am and I was offered breakfast, which was a help yourself station in the foyer of the induction ward. I've always been so impressed with the food at our hospital, breakfast consisted of various cereal options, toast, tea/coffee/hot chocolate, orange/apple juice, fresh fruit etc. After breakfast it was a bit of a waiting game, as it was a few hours before anyone came and chatted to us about what the induction process was. I thought I knew because I'd experienced it last time, but that was because my waters had broken (which wasn't the case this time) so the process was slightly different. Eventually I was hooked up to the monitor to check baby's wellbeing and ensure she was ok for the induction process to start. The midwife then came to explain the induction process to us, gave us a couple of handouts and said that we would be starting with a pessary, which had to be prescribed by a doctor. This would require the midwife to go down to the labour ward to get the prescription from a doctor and then wait for a pessary to be available. It took a few hours for the midwife to return with the pessary, in which time I had a jacket potato for lunch and read a magazine. There is a lot of waiting around when it comes to be induced!
At around 1.30pm the midwife did an internal examination and informed me that I was a 'finger tip' dilated, at which point my husband and I burst out laughing. When I was in labour with Isabella I had been having really painful contractions for hours and after an internal examination the midwife said I was only a finger tip dilated. I cried a lot. So there had been a running joke that the last thing I wanted to hear this time was that I was only a finger tip dilated! Luckily this time I laughed because I hadn't been having contractions, so couldn't really complain.

The midwife then put in the pessary, which was just a bit uncomfortable (if you aren't familiar with what a pessary is, it is a bit like a tampon that goes up near your cervix and releases hormones to hopefully kick start labour). The plan was to leave the pessary in for 24 hours, have another internal examination to establish whether anything was progressing, if it wasn't then leave it in for a further 8 hours. If things were progressing then my waters may have been broken down on labour ward or the pessary would have been left in for a bit longer. If after the 24+8 hours things still weren't progressing I'd be given a 'rest' for 24 hours, so the pessary would be taken out. After the 24 hours a second pessary would be put in and left for 24 hours. Essentially, the process was long and we were setting ourselves up for a long old journey.
At this point I was feeling really unsettled at the idea of not only being in hospital so long, but also being apart for Isabella for days and the process eating into my husband's precious paternity leave. Little did I know there was nothing to worry about! After the pessary was put in I had to lie down, back on the monitor, for a further 30 minutes. We were then free to go for a walk, so we headed to the café because my husband hadn't eaten anything all day (the hospital food was for patients only). At this point I wasn't having tightening's, any pain or thoughts labour was imminent. We wandered down to the café, then outside and around to the second entrance where we stopped for a drink at the Costa before heading back up to the ward.

We returned to the ward at around 4pm, at which point it dawned on me that my husband would have to go home at 8.30pm and I'd be left on my own. I really didn't want this to happen, at the risk of something happening in the night and him not making it to the hospital in time. The ward dinner was served at 5pm, which was another jacket potato (vegetarian options aren't very varied, but tasty nonetheless). After lining up for a while to get dinner I sat on the ball to eat it at the table next to my bed. I was happily bouncing away when I started getting tightening's. They weren't very painful at all, so I put them down to being Braxton hicks and didn't think much of them. At this point I was sick and tired of false alarming everyone, so decided to keep them to myself! However pretty quickly I was having to stop what I was doing to breathe through the pain (though still not very painful compared to what I knew was to come).

I'd finished the jacket potato and was about to tuck into the ginger sponge when the contractions started getting too much, which just shows how quickly things were progressing. I was having to breathe pretty heavily through them and my husband had started timing them. At this point they were about 5 minutes apart; I'd gone from nothing to 5 minutes apart in less than an hour. After 2 hours of dealing with the pain myself I decided to let the midwife know what was going on, which was around 7pm. She hooked me back up to the monitoring machine, but things were getting pretty painful now. I just couldn't stay still for them to get a good reading of baby's heartbeat, the pain of lying on my back was too much. The only way to relieve the pain at this point was to lean forward and breathe really heavily, as well as my husband scratching my lower back (the pain from that took my mind off the contraction pain).

The midwife then became my best friend EVER when she wheeled in gas and air, that stuff is incredible! I was surprised I was allowed it on the induction ward, as I hadn't been last time but wasn't one to question! The speed and length of the contraction were getting longer and the pain was getting pretty bad. Still at this point I was expecting a long labour again, so was trying to avoid any other pain relief until later on in the process. I had an examination where the midwife said the pessary had come out and that I was 2-3cm dilated. It was recommended I tried having a bath as I wasn't meant to be having the gas and air, so off I toddled but the bath wasn't deep enough to take away the weight of my bump and I couldn't lie on my back due to the pain. After about 30 minutes I had to get out and was now really struggling with the pain. My husband told the midwife who said she'd get me co-codamol, but things progressed too quickly and they never did make it to me.

Things start to get a bit blurry after that. We went back to my bed where I was offered another internal examination. I remember the midwife saying 'do you think you can put up with another exanimation?' and my response was something along the lines of...if it gets me to the drugs on labour ward!! I was given back the gas and air, had an exanimation and was now 4cm dilated. That was my ticket to the labour ward!

At this point it was 8.30pm and the time of day staff handover to night staff, so we had to wait. I had the gas and air, which took the edge of the pain and made me completely out of it to be honest. At some point I was then wheeled down to the labour room, throughout which I kept my eyes shut. In fact I kept my eyes shut until I gave birth! The pain was really intense at this point and they had to take the gas and air off me while we were heading down to labour ward. That journey was intense and I remember screaming a lot. The hospital bed wouldn't fit in the labour room, so I had to get off it and walk to the other bed...oh the pain!

I was reunited with gas and air, whilst demanding an epidural. The midwife said I wouldn't have time to have one, at which point I went completely into my own hazy world of gas and air and pain. I could hear/take in everything that was happening around me, but was completely unable to communicate with anyone. The contractions were almost constant at this point. We didn't even have the bag of baby things with us, they'd been left in the car for the lengthy induction process. I remember my husband asking if he could go and get it and the midwife saying no as he would probably miss the birth.

Then out of nowhere I got the biggest urge to push, which is such a surreal experience. I was told to stop pushing because they weren't sure if I was fully dilated or not. After a quick examination it was evident I was already 8cm dilated. A few contractions later and the urge to push returned more than ever, it completely took over my body. In a matter of minutes I was fully dilated and pushed with all of my strength...out came her head. My husband commented on how much hair she had and that on the next push we'd have a baby! Almost instantly the urge to push came again and out came Poppy. It was the most surreal experience, not only because it happened so quickly. I think we were both in shock for a while. My husband cut the cord and Poppy was placed straight onto my chest for skin on skin. Also within ten minutes she was latched on and feeding, which she didn't stop doing all night.
I then had the injection to speed up the delivery of the placenta and with a couple of puffs of gas and air the placenta was out. It was huge! They checked for tears that needed stitches and luckily there weren't any. As someone who had an episiotomy last time I couldn't have been more relieved because the recovery last time was painful and lengthy. Poppy was weighed (8lb 13oz) and I had a much needed bath. The biggest pain I had were the after pains of my womb shrinking back down, especially as I spent so long breastfeeding her during that first night.
I gave birth to Poppy at 9.46pm and we headed up to the post labour ward at 1.30am. My husband helped settle us in and then went home. He could have stayed, but we decided it would be better for him to have a good sleep at home and then he'd be able to see Isabella too.

This labour was so different to my first in so many ways and now we're enjoying settling in to life as a family of four.

Feel free to leave a comment - I love reading every single one :)

Helen x

I'm linking up with Bump and Babies.


  1. Goodness! So fantastic that you put all this down I can totally relate to your reaction to gas and air I was like....why didn't I have this stuff earlier?! Well done mama and welcome to the world Poppy! xoxo

  2. You did so well!! I can't believe how quickly she came after keeping you waiting. Gas and air is amazing - it really does make your completely out of it doesn't it. I felt drunk.

  3. Gas and air is my best friend! I was only given paracetamol when I was induced so welcomed it with open arms when I was finally given it just before delivery!

  4. Congratulations. Gas and air is the best isn't it, can't believe how quickly she arrived for u.

  5. wow at least it didn't end up being too long of an induction! Gas and air is definitely the one haha! WElcome to the beautiful Poppy

  6. You did amazing! Its surprising how quickly the last bits always happen isnt it - gas and air is always a good friend to have!

  7. Awww congratulations, she is adorable. Sounds like it went nice and smoothly

  8. Congratulations you did a fab job x I can't imagine what it's like giving birth or being over due. My twins were born at 37 weeks and by c section.

  9. Wow The whole process of induction sounds extra long! I find it quite annoying that the food is only for the patience… What if your birthing partner decided to go for a quick coffee or a bite to eat and that's when labour happens? I don't think it's fair personally.
    Glad everything went quickly in the end :) xxx

  10. Gas and air. It's the boss. I had our second with gas
    and air and wondered why never opted this for the first!! Elinor x

  11. Amazing birth story! I'm so pleased the induction didn't take long at all for you this time around - it just goes to prove that every birth is different and even if induction has a reputation for taking forever, it's not necessarily a given. I'm glad you also left your bags in the car - we made the same mistake! My husband went to get them and did actually nearly miss it! I'm so so pleased for you - huge congratulations again!

  12. The moment I had my first gas and air, I was literally clinging on to it for dear life, it toally got me through my labour.

  13. Congrats and welcome to the world for your little one great birth story Thanks for linking to the #THAT FRIDAY LINKY come back next week please

  14. Congratulations, I wanted and induction but had to have a section instead :(

  15. So pleased it didn't take as long as you'd feared to bring your beautiful baby girl into the world. Also, reading this has really made me want a jacket potato! x #Bumps&Babies

  16. Oh wow, what a brilliant recollection of your daughters birth. I hated gas and air, it made me feel so out of control, not nice at all! #Bumps&Babies

  17. So pleased it went so quickly for you, a long labour is one thing I'm really nervous about this time around! Congratulations! #bumpsbabies

  18. Oh I really do love a good birth story. It's amazing what our bodies can do isn't it? I loved retelling my birth stories as I wasn't blogging then but did two flashback birth stories which was lovely after so many years to look back on. You will do the same to this in years to come. Thank you ever so much for linking up to Bumps and Babies hope to see you again next week and all the baby milestones to come. #bumpsbabies


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