I wrote this when Destructo Girl was 2 days old, she was a much easier baby than her big sister so I had time to write. I might have written something for Mighty Girl when she was born, but I can’t find it off hand so will just do DG’s for now.
BIRTH STORY FOR THOSE OF A NERVOUS DISPOSITION
Mild contractions started around 8.30-9pm on Thursday evening, and after a few hours were lasting 30 seconds 3-5 minutes apart with lower back discomfort that was bearable but uncomfortable. As we’d been told we were likely to have a quick labour, I called the hospital who advised us to come in. We got there at 4am and I was measured as 3cm dilated at 5am and taken to a delivery room. The contractions were more painful but I could breathe through the pain. Then I shot from 3-10cm dilated in 90 minutes and Destructo Girl was born at 6.39am on Friday. Gas and Air is wonderful. The End!
GRAPHIC BIRTH STORY
On the evening of Thursday 21st, I thought I was having contractions as I was having bump tightening and lower back discomfort which started around 8.30-9pm but I’d had the feeling once or twice before (although I never really had Braxton Hicks) and it had previously disappeared within an hour at best so I tried not to get too excited but as these continued over a couple of hours (not really increasing but not dying down) I started to get excited although I was also trying not to get my hopes up and figured it was probably wishful thinking because I had wanted the baby to be born on 22nd of the month like big sister (even said that to my midwife on my check on the Monday.)
I didn’t go to bed but kept moving and monitoring how I was feeling and spent ages looking up the difference between Braxton Hicks and early contractions on Google and getting more convinced that I was actually in labour. Having been induced at 42 weeks for my first labour, I really didn’t know what to expect. I printed off the birth plan and put it in my maternity notes. At 1am DH went to bed but I said I wouldn’t and actually I couldn’t sleep at that point because the lower back discomfort was more uncomfortable and it was happening every 2-4 minutes so there wasn’t really a chance for me to get comfortable enough to sleep. It was bearable though and contractions lasting only 30 seconds so I thought it would probably die down then remembered that having a bath was a good way to find out if it was labour as a bath would ease fake contractions. So I went into a warm bath with lavender oil at 2am for 40 minutes and the contractions didn’t die down. At this point as I’d been having 30-40 second contractions every 3-5 minutes for over an hour so I thought it was an idea to phone the hospital and ask whether it was worth coming in as I’d been told that I was likely to have a very quick labour after only 7 hours active labour after induction with the first.
I phoned the delivery suite and they asked about how I was and I said the contractions were only 30 seconds and I could talk through them but about the previous labour but also no waters broken and no mucous plug and was 3 days before due date etc and they advised that we came in to be checked over to be on the safe side. So I woke DH (3am) and phoned his mum to look after MG and we got together last bits and pieces in case we did end up having the baby. MG was of course sound asleep but I kissed her goodbye and told her where we were going so that if she did hear me in her sleep she’d know! We got to the hospital at 4am by the time DH’s mum had managed to get to us and we’d driven there. At this time, the contractions were more painful but still quite bearable and I could still speak through them but they’d obviously progressed even though still only 30 seconds long, but every 2-4 minutes.
We were taken into an admission room and a midwife checked my urine, blood pressure and the baby etc plus there was waiting around to be seen and I was at the stage where I was having to breathe slowly through contractions (but still bearable!) and had taken to kneeling on a chair and leaning over the back of it to get more comfortable. I remember being checked when it was 5am and the midwife said I was 3cm dilated and we would go to the delivery room. Later she said she wasn’t sure whether I was in active labour at this point but it seemed likely so she went to set up a room and we walked to it. As we walked down the corridor I saw where we were going and said “Are we in room 10?!” as that was where we were heading and she said yes – which was the very room I had MG in!! So that was nice – same hospital, same room, I wore the same nightie, we put them in the same sleepsuit as their first outfit 🙂
In the delivery room I changed into my nice HUGE comfy nightie and the contractions got more painful very quickly. I was on my knees leaning over a beanbag and in about 20 minutes was no longer able to just breathe through the contractions but was on the gas and air too and clutching the mouthpiece as if my life depended on it! I was saying to DH I was a wimp with pain and he was asking if he should get the midwife to ask for the epidural. As we’d only been there such a short time I felt like it must be too soon but it was getting so painful so we called for her and she said she’d just been discussing me with the anaesthetist and a doctor had to come in to talk to me. Everything is a bit of a blur as it all happened so quickly and I was in a lot of pain! So around about 6am, a doctor came in and talked, the midwife set up the epidural stuff for the anaesthetist, I complained lots, had a cannula in my hand for fluids because of the epidural and they had just managed to put in the epidural line between my (very very painful) contractions when I felt myself “pop” and I mumbled “my water’s have broken” through the gas and air mouthpiece. (DH told me that was actually the only coherent thing I said and I said it quite calmly – before and after I was incoherent and I also possibly nearly broke his fingers I was squeezing so hard!!)
Then everything happened really quickly, within about a minute of the waters breaking I was in agony and started to scream “no no no!!!” They’d literally just put a tiny bit of drug in the epidural line which would take 20 minutes to take effect and I was in pain and all I knew was I didn’t have the pain relief and it all just hit me. I lay back on the bed, the midwife was trying to talk to me and saying “Anne-Marie, Anne-Marie, is it a contraction or are you wanting to push?” and through the fog of pain (and that utterly fuzzy gas-and-air feeling) I realised that I wanted to push so managed to grunt “push!” so she grabbed the mouthpiece from me and I guess several people got me lying down and I was incoherent with lots of “no no no”s because I didn’t have the epidural and was just in pain! Two pushes and she was out! I vaguely remember them saying it’s a girl, and I think I was sitting up because I remember seeing her lying there and she hadn’t started to cry but then she did and they cut the cord and whisked her to one side for a whiff of oxygen and put in the injection for the placenta (which I’d asked to avoid but she said afterwards that they had to do everything quickly so I didn’t mind!) I felt the placenta coming out (weird feeling) which with the epidural I didn’t even notice with MG!
So I went from 3-10cm dilated within 90 minutes! In retrospect, we’re not sure why I wasn’t examined before the epidural as there wasn’t enough time really but I guess they assumed that I couldn’t be that far gone so quickly. The midwife also said that she’d been back-to-back and came out looking upwards which was why it had been so painful in my lower back. Then things slowed down. DH cuddled DG while I was tidied up – the bed was like a scene from a horror movie as I’d been lying in my waters, DG had pooed on the way out, then there was the blood splatter!! This time I was injected with local anaesthetic before the internal stitches so felt all that, whereas with MG I’d had the epidural so just didn’t feel a thing. I had no problems getting up as the epidural had never really hit so I didn’t have numb legs and I wasn’t sick afterwards like I had been with MG. So directly after birth, I felt a lot healthier than I had with MG, despite being awake all night. I also managed to have a shower easily so was nicely refreshed by the time we got taken to a ward at 10.30am.
Annoyingly, despite me being perfectly healthy and despite DG being perfectly healthy (even though she had a whiff of oxygen, her Agpar scores were 9, 10, 10 the same as MG) as she’d passed meconium when she was being born she had to stay in to be observed in case she’d swallowed or inhaled any so we had to stay in until the next day. And we didn’t get discharged until 5pm the next day because she had to see the paediatrician before she could be discharged. So it was pretty dull andso hot in hospital I couldn’t really sleep either. It was lovely having lots of snuggle time with DG but by the time we got home I was completely shattered.
I don’t think I was particularly good at keeping healthy during pregnancy and I do feel extremely lucky and blessed to have had two full term pregnancies and to have two healthy daughters. However, depression is something I have experience of and I hope my story might help others to look for help when they need it.
Warning: Potentially upsetting content, depressed thoughts during pregnancy.
When my eldest daughter was 18 months old, my husband and I were blessed with another pregnancy. Except I felt far from blessed. On seeing the word “pregnant” on the test (it would be a digital, no squinting for a line here) I burst into tears, and they weren’t tears of happiness. I was taking fluoxetine for depression as it was (for the past 11 months) so I went straight to see my GP. “Take one every other day for 2 weeks and then stop taking them” she said…
So I dutifully did. I bought folic acid. I tried to feel happy. I was too tired to feel anything really. Inside my head these little thoughts kept appearing “It will go wrong, I won’t have to have it.” The baby was always “it”. I vomited daily from 6 weeks pregnant, just as in my first pregnancy. This time with added all day nausea.
At my booking in, my BMI was 40 so my midwife put me down as consultant led and gave me Slimming World vouchers. I never used them, I didn’t care. I never went to the consultant appointments, what was the point? At my 12 week scan, there it was: a little jumping bean. “Lots of movement, good strong heartbeat” said the sonographer and gave us scan pictures. On the way home, I burst into tears, I had been hoping that I had a missed miscarriage.
To the outside world, I faked it. I showed the scan pictures, I talked about potential names, I talked about gender guesses. Inside I just hated “it”. At 17 weeks the sickness and all day nausea were more than unbearable. I went to the GP and begged for something to make it go away. She gave me blurb about how it could harm the baby but prescribed something because she knew what it was like. I didn’t care what it could do to “it”. I didn’t want “it”.
Every day I thought about terminating “it”. I talked to my husband about the 20 week scan: If there’s anything wrong with it, we won’t keep it? I got him to agree. I hoped there was a problem. There wasn’t, it was a perfect 20 week scan. There were more scan pictures, an actual baby looking creature in black and white. I still felt nothing but despair.
At 24 weeks all the thoughts and feelings were just too much. I planned to go to my GP and beg for a late termination. I couldn’t have this thing. I couldn’t love it. I couldn’t keep it.
I went to my GP. I asked to go back on the fluoxetine because of how I was feeling. I was referred to see a psychologist because of the risks of anti-depressants in pregnancy. I had to manage another week trying to keep a vague grasp on sanity. I was missing so many work days from sickness I only just scraped missing a disciplinary (I found this out a long time later, the fact I was pregnant was a mitigating factor.)
Almost as soon as I started back on anti-depressants, the thoughts of terminating “it” faded. I still feel so much guilt for those feelings. I can never forgive myself, although I know it was the depression, it was the illness, it wasn’t really me.
And where were the health professionals during all of this? My midwife had an operation so I saw her at 12 weeks and 38+ weeks of pregnancy only, in between was a different cover midwife every time. My GP was on a sabatical so I saw a different GP every time. The psychologist approved my anti-depressants but didn’t think the fact I wanted to kill my unborn child was an issue, I’d get over it…
Although the anti-depressants removed my thoughts of termination, I still didn’t want “it”. I looked up how to put “it” up for adoption (not an option, both parents have to agree). I’d talk to my toddler daughter about how much I loved her, how we’d feed baby and keep it alive and well when it was born but wouldn’t love it. I loved my eldest with an intensity bordering on obsessiveness, focussing all the love I wasn’t feeling for my unborn child onto her.
At 26 weeks, the sickness and nausea finally stopped (the same as with my first pregnancy) and something amazing happened: I met my lovely health visitor.
It was my eldest daughter’s two-year check and the first time I met this health visitor as she was new to my surgery. We talked about eldest’s development (fine) and she asked about the baby, saying she’d probably be my health visitor. And it all came flooding out…
Surprised that I’d been feeling like that for so long she suggested she visited me for “talking therapy”. And she did. Before my second daughter was born, after she was born, months later when she heard my mum had been admitted to hospital for an emergency heart operation… Sometimes weekly, sometimes monthly, she would visit and we would chat. About families, about raising children, about what her children were doing or had done, about anything and everything. I can never thank her enough for that time. I didn’t know I needed it but that small amount of time and those uncritical chats were the most valuable health care I’ve ever had.
Tommy’s 5 Point Pregnancy Plan – Make a difference
This is part of a blog hop started by Merry from Patch of Puddles. She says: “I joined up with Tommy’s Baby charity and Bounty UK to help them launch their new 5 Point Plan for healthy pregnancy. This is a plan aimed at empowering women to make small changes to improve the health of themselves and their baby. It’s about making thoughtful choices and making a difference. Too often women feel there is nothing they can do once they are pregnant to keep themselves healthy and that all the ‘inevitable damage’ that they do during pregnancy can be fixed afterwards. This campaign is about supporting women to make good health choices, small changes that can make big differences.
The 5 Point Pregnancy Plan
Tommy’s and Bounty UK are encouraging women and health carers to address 5 areas of wellbeing:-
Women have a right to good information and supportive assistance in these areas, whether it is help to know what foods they should eat, or managing stress, which can contribute to pre-term labour, finding a gentle exercise programme to suit them or giving up smoking. 17% of pregnant mothers still smoke. 1 in 5 pregnant mothers are obese. There are common misconceptions surrounding ‘dieting’ as opposed to nutritional and healthy food and how safe exercise is during pregnancy. Tommy’s and Bounty UK aim to help women get easy access to this information by placing an information card in all new pregnancy packs given to expectant mothers.”
How You Can Help
Join in the blog hop hosted at Patch of Puddles. I can’t add a linky, please click for the original post, there’s an incentive for joining in – not that you need one, do you? 🙂 Use the #healthypregnancy hash tag on twitter to spread the word.