17th July 2011
I awoke in bed with a contraction. I was sleeping on Toby's side of the bed for reasons I can no longer remember, and lay there waiting. A few minutes later I had another, definitely a contraction but manageable. I decided to leave Toby asleep and to head downstairs and watch a film to see what happened. I sat on my birth ball and watched Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief. At around 6 I decided to make a cup of tea and as I stood up my waters broke. I called the hospital and was advised to wait until my community midwife came on duty at 8.
I called and called but no response from the midwife. Eventually I called the hospital again to be advised that my midwife was off sick and to come in. I woke Toby. He is not a morning person and I've never seen him move so fast.
10.00 am (ish)
Arrived at the hospital. They said yes waters had broken but not in established labour and to go home. I had my TENS on and was coping. I was booked for an induction at 7.30 am the following morning if I had not gone into spontaneous labour before then due to my waters having already broken.
8.30 pm (ish - half way through Top Gear!)
Contractions intensified and were more regular. We called and then returned to the hospital. I was examined and was only at 1cm - devastated was not the word! She gave me a sweep and sent me home.
In agony! I woke Toby with my screaming though I was downstairs and at the other end of the house. We called and once again returned to the hospital. I was examined again and told that I was at 4cm and given gas and air. We had a Labour ward midwife who was medically minded and insisted that I was on continual monitoring due to my gestational diabetes and completely ignored my consultant midwife plan. Due to my waters having been gone for 24 hours I could not use the pool and they couldn't do internal checks more often than 4 hourly.
Midwife service was changed as day staff cam on duty. She was a lovely community midwife who took me off the monitoring, which had been ineffective anyway, and let me have a bath. Sometime around 9.30-10 I was reexamined and told that actually I was not at 4 but only 2cm! This nearly broke me! They prepped for me to go on the drip and the lead midwife came to discuss pain relief options with us. Drip was put in by 10.30.
Having asked pertinent questions about recovery and effect on baby we decided to opt for an epidural which was put in by a really lovely, kind anaesthetist. It was such a blessing to finally be out of pain and be able to relax after 33 hours of pain and no sleep.
Over the next few hours I dozed on and off, listened to my music and chatted to Toby and my lovely, lovely midwife Harriet. The monitoring continued to be rubbish and not register my contractions though the midwife could feel them.
I was finally fully dilated! I was now left for an hour to rest and allow the head to descend. During this hour the doctors came to introduce themselves to us incase we needed intervention. As it happened a wise move!
I began pushing. Against everything we had been advised in NCT, but as I couldn't feel anything I had to trust and do I as I was told by the midwife. After nearly an hour of pushing with no success they decided intervention was necessary. The doctor explained the need for forceps as ventouse would be ineffective due to the swelling on her head from being in labour so long. After an episiotimy and the use of forceps the head was born. This was the point they realised that her shoulders were stuck. Because of the gestational diabetes they had expected and prepared for this so there was no panic and there were already people in the room.
Tabitha Alice Susan was born! Toby was able to cut the cord, though he was rushed to do it and she was taken out of the room to be warmed up. She was returned to me for skin to skin while they stitched me up. I think this was the most precious moment of my entire life. I was filled with so much love and overwhelming emotion. She was tiny but strong and was feeding from me soon after, though I couldn't tell you just how quickly. I had lost a lot of blood and was left in the delivery suite overnight on the drip and epidural to encourage my uterus to contract and stem the flow of blood. Toby went home and I spent my first night with my beautiful daughter. No feeling in this world with ever compare!