Labour, Birth and Beyond!by Alice Howells
When watching TV, they make pregnancy, labour and birth so easy and let's not mention the fact that the episode after they are completely back to normal like nothing ever happened (although we know nothing did happen)
But let’s face it, ladies, it’s not like that at all!! It can be as short or as long as your body needs it to be!!
Now let’s talk Labour, it’s not pleasant but we all need to go through it at some point when having a baby, I’m not going to rosy around the edges, it's painful, you may not get the ‘strong’ labour pains until closer to the end but the fact is they are very uncomfortable and you will probably feel like you need a poo!!
My experience with both my labours have been completely different, first I was induced, OMGOSH no one prepared me for that experience, but that story is for another time. Gas and air was my best friend that day, I also had an injection of morphine into my leg which helped me to, both calm down and to have a little rest, for the hard work was yet to come. My labour pains started off slow, just like period type pains, and towards the end, they were taking over my whole body. Another thing no one informs you about is that you not technically in ‘active’ labour until you are between 5 and 6CM dilated, yes that’s between a size of a baby bell and a chocolate chip cookie, but don’t worry your halfway!! So when they examined me I was 5CM YAY!! Active labour and we are now on our way to the delivery suite. The time they had pushed me to the labour ward I had dilated to 7CM (the top of a can of coke for comparison) Trying to move me from the bed I was on to the bed that they needed it to be on, was not fun, I did not want to move, this is when I didn’t think that I could do it anymore and I didn’t know how I was going to be able to carry on. But I found the strength, somewhere, and moved to where they needed me. I was then being raised up on what I can only describe as a throne, I was sitting up somehow and my bottom half was free to allow the midwife to do what she needed to do. The next thing I knew I was being told to push, the midwife pressed a buzzer and called out the corridor for support, in came another lady, and at the time I really thought she was the cleaner. (Obviously, she wasn’t). Within 20 mins of being in the labour room, the baby’s head was starting to crown. The burn is another level, but I listened to my Midwife and baby was here, in what felt like a blink of an eye. A baby girl my husband told me, the baby was laid onto my chest and believe it or not the pain I had felt, disappears, we had delayed cord clamping and we just looked at her in awe of what had just happened. My husband then cut the cord and all I had left to do was ‘birth’ the placenta. To be honest, I didn’t feel anything, I was given an injection and then it was over.
I didn’t realise that they have to weigh the placenta and make sure that it is all intact, which thankfully it was fine. Baby girl was then weighed and she was a small 5lb 7oz, but then they realised that her temperature was low, so they put her under a heat lamp and monitored her temperature, which at the time was scary, as we didn’t know what to expect or if she would need to be put into an incubator as she was very chilly, I still couldn’t get up as the midwife was putting a few stitches in from where I had a small tear. Now I can remember very vividly the midwife wearing glasses and I can still see the images of the reflection in her glasses!! That has definitely scarred me for life!!
When I was allowed I wanted a shower, OMGOSH, you don’t realise the stratification of that first shower, it was the best shower I have had, but that is when you also realise how much blood you are losing, make sure that you pack a lot of maternity pads and black underwear!! I also packed a dark coloured towel as hospital towels are white.
After my amazing shower, we stood watching our baby girl under her heat lamp, wishing that her temperature would rise to where it needed to be. PHEW her temperature had risen enough and had stayed up for a period of time (I can’t remember the exact temp or time) but we got there, we dressed her and snuggled on the bed with milk, (I’m a formula feeding mum, but again my story for that is for another time)
There we were on a raining Thursday evening our little family grew by this beautiful baby girl and we couldn’t be more in love.
Now my second birth was only 19 months later (I know two under 2, we must be mad.) But again my pregnancy was easy and straight forward, and this time I was able to go to the end without being induced, at 40+2 I had a stretch and sweep, now this isn’t painful just uncomfortable.
Although I didn’t lose my ‘plug’ I went into labour spontaneously, which I didn’t know until I went to the hospital with some pains and reduced movements. After being awake most of Friday night I was so uncomfortable and just felt like I needed the loo all the time, when we phoned up DAU they told us to make our way in and to bring our hospital bags as we wouldn’t be leaving the hospital without our baby. I thought ‘that’s it I’m going to have to be induced again’ but to our complete surprise, when I was examined I was 5CM already, how did I do that??
Again we went round to the labour suit and this time I had to walk, by this time I was starting to get a lot of pain so again gas and air came to my rescue.
Now this labour was just as quick and I remember laying on my ‘throne’ legs wide open and then a group of doctors and her students came in, just when I am thinking I want this to be over with and I’m not sure if I can do it. The consultant then starts talking to me and begins to tell me that she thinks I need stronger pain killers, so I’m nodding along thinking YES I need whatever you think is best, I need something for the pain. The doctors all seemed to have a good look and then they leave the room, leaving my poor midwife to tell me that I haven’t got time to have any more pain killers, as the baby is coming and soon. And she was right within 15 minutes of the doctors entering my room for a ‘check’ baby girl number 2 was here.
Again we had delayed cord clamping and my husband cut her umbilical cord. The baby then laid on my chest but I was in so much shock, I didn’t know what to do or what to say, I just laid there and I remember the midwife saying, that she could see the colour draining from my face. My labour and birth happened so quickly I needed time to adjust what had happened, and that’s ok, you have just given birth take all the time you need, I kept telling myself. But I still had to ‘birth’ my placenta, and this time I felt everything, although I still had the same injection that I had with baby 1, this time it hurt and I still needed the gas and air to help with the pain. And I can still feel the pain now. Birth number two hurt a lot more and I can remember a lot more.
After some toast and a cup of sugary tea and I was all stitched up, the baby was weighed and she was a very healthy weight of 7lb 3oz and she was perfect.
We then stayed in our own room for the rest of the day, in our own little bubble.
Now after birth is when the fun begins. Now you will ache for what feels like weeks, but this will soon pass and you will forget all about the ache and pains. Make sure that you rest and ask for help, although you will feel that everything should just fall into place and that you ‘should’ be able to be a ‘mum’ but there is no manual, so say YES to help, say YES to the family making you dinner, and say YES to having a rest. Your little baby needs you and when you are feeling better with yourself, you will find it a little easier.
Just remember each day is new and you were given this baby as you are the mum that, that baby needs.
You can do it and you will forget all about the tough days and before you know it you will be wanting a second, third or fourth baby.