You may remember that I was desperate to avoid an induction and after a failed sweep at 41+1, I managed to get in for another one at 41+4, which got things started! Our beautiful baby Martha is now 3 days old and here’s her birth story.
Just as a side note, I have gone into detail here and there is a photo with the placenta, just in case that’s not something you want to see!
On Saturday, at 41+4, I waddled to see the midwife with Toby and Phil. My first sweep had been unsuccessful and I wasn’t surprised because the midwife had said that my cervix was quite far back and she’d struggled to bring it forward. The whole thing was extremely painful, too! This time, the midwife was surprised to find that my cervix was completely forward and during the pain free sweep, she had no issues getting the job done.
Almost immediately I felt different, the pressure was suddenly so low I could barely walk and I was cramping a lot. We went for some breakfast in town then decided to drop Toby off at my parents’ because although I couldn’t be sure labour would start, if either it did or indeed I went to be induced the following day, Phil and I could do with some rest that evening.
By 2pm the tightenings and cramps were uncomfortable and by 6pm they were fairly regular. I wasn’t timing them properly because I knew they could stop at any moment, but they were definitely building in intensity. We had an early night and I managed to sleep for about 3 hours, but by midnight I knew labour was starting.
From midnight until 4am the contractions were 5-7 minutes apart and I was able to breathe through them and sleep between them. At 4am I was needing the TENS machine, so I woke Phil up and he got me padded up. Things started to really heat up after that and within a couple of hours the contractions were 3-5 minutes apart and really bloody painful! I called the unit, had a shower, Phil got us each some toast and we drove to the hospital.
This is were it got a lot harder. By the book, our midwife should have sent us packing because the contractions weren’t lasting longer than about 45 seconds and were still up to 5 minutes apart, and I was only 3cm dilated. Thankfully, she used a lot of common sense through the whole labour and that helped a lot; She trusted my instincts and her intuition on seeing me. We were taken to a room in the midwife led unit and I was in agony – Phil and our midwife could tell that I was struggling even though technically I wasn’t in active labour. Unlike with Toby, when I was jovial and active until pretty much pushing time, I crashed.
I was on the floor lying on my side on a beanbag with my TENS machine ramped up, in some weird state of uselessness. The pain was horrific and when the midwife examined me it transpired that my cervix had moved right back again, so the pressure was really far back in my bottom and lower back as well as at the business end. I went on the gas and air and I was basically muttering to myself about being overheated, not being able to take it any more and the such, in between contractions that were making me whimper and cry. I could hear Phil and the midwife quietly talking and all of us felt that we were in for a long road to delivery. I was convinced by this point that I’d need help to deliver, either by forceps or indeed a cesarean. It was a strange feeling because I never once felt like I needed help during Toby’s labour but I was almost resigned to it by this point.
The midwife went off to fill the birthing pool for me and I was still over the beanbag but had moved on to all fours, with the pressure feeling too intense to cope with. At about 10:20am I needed to do some pushing and with a huge heave, my waters broke and I suddenly felt in control. I begged Phil to get the midwife back and I can remember him saying that she was filling the pool and that we had plenty of time. “I wouldn’t count on it”, I replied and he buzzed for help.
Things moved very quickly. The midwife came back and told me to hold on whilst she got our birth photographer in. I somehow managed and then at 10:40 I delivered Martha’s head, followed by the rest of her body a mere minute later.
Our beautiful, perfect daughter was officially born at 10:41 in May 1st after what I can only describe as a bloody horrible labour but an amazing delivery!
I was on my hands and knees so Martha was passed between my legs and I was then helped on to my back on the beanbag where we had immediate skin to skin. It was amazing and when I delivered the placenta the midwife suggested a sort of semi lotus birth, which basically meant that we didn’t cut the cord for a couple of hours to allow as much blood as possible to get through the cord and into Martha’s body. A full lotus birth means carrying the placenta around for days until the umbilical cord detaches naturally but that isn’t really for me.
Martha breastfed fairly quickly, for about 20 minutes and I guess maybe an hour after birth we weighed her. I thought she looked smaller than Toby’s 7lb 9oz so imagine our shock when she weighed a whopping 8lb 8oz! I felt pretty proud of myself, I won’t lie! Phil and I both had lovely skin to skin time in her first few hours before we wrapped her up and she fed once more in that time too.
I’ll write a different post about her first 24 hours, introducing Toby to his sister and everything, but that is the full version of how Martha came into the world.
If you’re pregnant and reading this, please don’t let it panic you. Yes this labour was hard for me but even so, by trusting my body I had a beautiful delivery which I wouldn’t have changed for the world. By the same token, had I not have been able to deliver and more time had have passed, I wouldn’t have hesitated to ask what our logical next step was and whether intervention was needed. Don’t be afraid of intervention, don’t be afraid of your body, just try to roll with it and do whatever you need to do from one minute to the next. When I was struggling, Phil kept saying to me:
What do you need to do for the next minute? Just think about that, one minute at a time.
Isn’t he wise?!
Phil, Toby and I would like to thanks each and every one of you who has taken the time to congratulate us on Martha’s arrival. It means a lot that you have done so, you all rock!xXx