Blogger Katrina from Cool Bananas' labour didn't go at all to plan, as she explains here...
As humans, we’re creatures of habit, but I’m the first to admit, I like to be in control, or at least feel in control. The structure of routine not only helps the day to day running of life a smooth operation, it makes me feel comfortable to know things are all tickety boo. I wasn’t naïve going into pregnancy and I knew having a baby wasn’t always textbook, or played out as we see on One Born Every Minute (hands up, who else watched this as preparation for their own birth?). Despite the best will in the world and iron clad plans, events can occur outside of our command. This didn’t stop me preparing for my ‘ideal birth’, including natal hypnotherapy and keeping as active as I could throughout my pregnancy. I was hoping for a natural birth, with just gas and air, and immersing myself into a birthing pool.
In the back of my mind I always had a bit of a niggling feeling something would crop up to throw a spanner in the works for my desired birth plan: My entire pregnancy seemed plagued by what can only be described as bad luck, employment discrimination due to pregnancy, food poisoning, a dislocated knee, and countless extra growth scans. I KNOW. All the fun right? BUT, here’s the thing, with all these annoyances, circumstances which I had no power over, I felt like they helped prepare me and I was confident to go with the flow, something I’d perfected to a fine art over the previous 9 months! Which is just as well, because pretty much NOTHING went to plan.
The day after my due date, I was standing in the bathroom when I felt a gush and my waters broke all over the floor. The amount of fluid surprised me and after calling the hospital, the midwife suggested we came in for a check, even though I wasn’t experiencing any pain. I wasn’t worried and felt completely relaxed at this point. The examination showed I was already 3cm dilated, which was great news. ‘This could be easy and smooth!’ I thought. Just incase labour didn’t progress, I was booked in for an induction the following evening and sent home. In the car, I noticed tightenings in my stomach that felt like strong period pains - first contractions, waa hoo!
That night, these became more intense and I sat dozing in my rocking chair. The pain intensified and it became near on impossible to sleep. In the morning I tried going for a walk, but with every few steps I felt like I needed the loo. Despite being in so much pain, I was happy things seemed to be progressing and an induction wouldn’t be required. That evening, the pain was almost constant so we went back to hospital where I was devastated to learn I was still only 3cm dilated. HOW was it possible to be in so much pain without progressing? I was transferred to the labour ward and felt really upset, especially because my husband wasn’t allowed to stay with me, leaving me feeling lonely and confused.
By the morning, I’d progressed to 7cm and my spirits were lifted. I suddenly realised at this point, it had already been 35 hours since my waters had broken, and I was exhausted- a shot of pethadine had done nothing to relieve my pain either. But still, I was determined to hold out for my ‘natural’ water birth so I refused an epidural. Early that afternoon, the midwife’s face fell when she examined me again “You seem to have gone back down to 3cm,” she reported. Frustratingly, no one could give me a proper explanation as to why this happened. But later I was told that my baby’s head was pushing on the wrong part of my cervic, explaining why it had closed. Instead of progressing, I was going backwards, and felt demoralised. If I wanted to get my baby out vaginially, the doctors suggested a syntocinon drip to speed things along, and an epidural to allow me to rest- I realised it was the only option. By this point I was too exhausted to worry about my natural birth. However, by 10pm that evening, and over 3 days into my labour, I was still only 7cm dilated so the doctors wanted to perform a c-section, they needed to get baby out. After a few tears, I resigned myself to it. Everything happened so fast. As soon as I heard my baby cry, all I wanted to do was hold him. When he was finally placed on top of me, I gazed at his face for what felt like forever.
It wasn’t until a good few moths following my birth, I was able to understand and take in just what had happened (after bombarding medical staff with questions, and looking into my notes). The constant pain I experienced, instead of the ‘text book’ coming and goings of contractions, was caused because my baby was ‘back to back’. The closing of my cervix (it has a special medical name) is very rare, and was caused by swelling: the baby’s head was pushing into the wrong part and causing it to swell, therefore close. And on delivery, it was also noted that the umbilical cord was wrapped around his neck, fortunately this didn’t restrict his oxygen supply, but it could have contributed to the resistance in progression.
So that is my birth story. A tale of epic proportion. I know it sounds so cliché, but I would go through it all again in an instant. I refuse to dwell on the ‘what if’s’- “What If I’d had a natural birth?”- The fact is I had to have a c-section and I was blessed with a healthy baby. My recovery was reasonably quick, without complications and I decided to concentrate on celebrating the miracle of bringing a child into the world, not the means by which he made his entrance!
What was your labour like? Share your story by commenting below. Now read: What it's like to give birth when you have gestational diabetes and What it's like to give birth to twins.