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Thank you for reading my labour and delivery story… it went quite differently to how I planned it! But that’s just what being a mum is, isn’t it? Never on time, and never what you thought would happen in your head! I am LauraJane by the way, and my beautiful daughter Ella-Grace is now a happy, healthy 4 month old. After the birth I experienced, lets just say it’s a miracle she’s here! But that just goes to show even the scariest experiences can have a happy ending. So here it is my birth story – a bit of a crazy one!
So just to explain for those who haven’t read my personal blog (feel free to catch up on my whole pregnancy story and start of my induction on there if you wish) I really wanted an all natural labour (homebirth, no pain relief, all that) but due to our baby girl having a 1 in 5 down syndrome risk we were advised to have her in the hospital, but still I wanted a natural birth DEFINITELY no c-section I said (ironically).
However, our little lady did not arrive on her due date though (10th March 2017), and then another week had passed, and it was finally decided I would be induced on Friday 17th March 2017. Friday and Saturday were uneventful, no progression even with the medication. My cervix had been checked again Saturday night and still 0cm dilated. I almost cried, this baby was never going to get here is how it felt. I was officially the eternally pregnant woman of Aberdeen. I know this sounds silly as the induction process is bound to take a while, but with my partner/ baby’s dad having to go back to work on Monday, and me being stuck in a hospital room seeing other women come and go, at the time it just feels that way, or did for me anyway.
The nurse told me that in 6 hours they would put in my first Pitocin tablet. My mood was far from happy, this process felt never ending! Trying to cheer me up my parents and my partner suggested going for a walk as this might help things going so the four of us went for a walk round the hospital.
6 hours passed and the nurse inserted the Pitocin tablet, 6 more hours later (around 2am) it would be time to check it again, I wasn’t expecting much but to my surprise.. 1CM!!! I WAS 1CM dilated!! 2am and here I am messaging everyone I know letting them know my progress, it felt like I’d come so far! Another Pitocin tablet was inserted and now another 6 hour wait, hopeful that this would be the last step before labour I forced myself to get some sleep. My baby girl would be here soon!!
Through my happiness of being 1cm dilated though I was concerned as the baby girl’s heart kept dropping on the monitor hence why I was stuck on that machine a lot of the time. Although the doctors said it was okay and not a major problem, I couldn’t help but have this horrible niggle in my head that something was wrong which later on I was to learn was correct.
Well that escalated quickly…
Again 6 hours had past this now being about 11am. Reece held my hand as my cervix was again checked we were hopeful for a big change.. 1cm and a half. This was so frustrating because 2cm was all I needed to get to in order have my waters broken. The doctor who examined me said that they were going to try to break my waters but it would be difficult, I agreed to let them try. This is when I got moved to the exciting but scary labour ward.
As my midwife went over the process of breaking my waters and starting the oxytocin drip I couldn’t help but be distracted by the screaming of the woman next door to me…. if I wasn’t nervous before, I was now. I was always planning on going through labour on only gas and air now doubting my ability, would I be that screaming woman in a few hours. I had to shove my lunch down through my nerves as this would be all I could eat for the next who knows how many long.
Gas and Air at the ready, the midwife was ready to break my waters. After a few tries she managed to break into the membrane thus starting my waters breaking. After this my oxytocin drip was put in and things started to pick up fast!
Contractions and Pain Relief…
I had been adamant from the start that I would be only using Gas and Air. I chose this method of pain relief for 2 reasons:
- I am very stubborn when it comes to people helping me, I want to be able to do things myself for as long as I can and
- Obviously throughout my pregnancy and induction there seemed to be a problem with baby’s heart and a lot of the pain relief (particularly morphine) can slow down baby’s heart which usually is safe enough, but with the uncertainty on the condition on baby’s heart, I didn’t want to take that chance.
So as my contractions picked up I breathed through them with my gas and air. My mum and my partner laughing at me between contractions as the gas and air was making me giggle. Contraction. Break. Contraction. Break. This went on for about 7/8 hours with the contractions getting stronger and stronger! I like to think I could have continued this way up until I had to push but I didn’t get that far as things took a turn.
Baby’s Heart Rate Dropping…
Hours were passing and even though I was dealing with contractions as best as I could, with each labour pain baby girl’s heart rate was dropping then going back then dropping. Doctors (at one point there was 5 doctors) and midwives coming in and out to discuss the issue I couldn’t help but worry. To find out what the problem was they tried to take blood from baby’s head but I was barely over 2cm dilated so this was not manageable. It was now a guessing game and a decision had to be made whether to continue or have an emergency C-section this being the situation I had dreaded and through all my hard-work was reluctant to get but baby was all that mattered so when the doctor asked what I wanted I didn’t even hesitate to say C-section.
Still having strong contractions, my oxytocin drip was detached hoping to stop my contractions before the C-section. My body had other ideas and naturally continued to contract right up until the C-section began. Anyway when the drip was switched off I was told another woman had been taken for a section so I would have at least an hours wait until it was my turn. I wasn’t really keeping up with the time but I swear it felt longer than an hour! In and out of contractions different specialists came in to go over the risks of C-section, what could happen if baby isn’t okay and how they would assess her downs syndrome risk. With my contractions still going strong and baby’s heart rate still continuing to drop my partner and I started to walk (well I was wheeled in my bed) to the theatre.
Being strong up to this point, the gas and air was wearing off, I was still getting contractions and my partner had to leave to get changed into scrubs I started to cry. Worried for the welfare of baby girl and without my partner by my side I started to get overwhelmed. Thank goodness for the amazing staff I had performing the spinal block and C-section on me, never in a million years did I think I would be calm in this situation let alone be able to laugh. For this I have high praise of the NHS staff of which were assigned to me.
My partner back in the room now, he was sat by my side holding my hand. All checks done (ironically, I had progressed to 6 cm dilated, another hour and I would have been pushing apparently), now numb from the waist down the surgeons started and told us in about 10-15 minutes we would see our baby girl. We anxiously waited for what felt like forever and to our relief, baby girl let out a massive cry. And so Ella-Grace was born (6 pounds 10 1/2 ounces, Time: 21.57, 19th March 2017). The best moment ever.
We found out at this moment that the chord had been wrapped round not only her neck but BOTH of her legs as well! This being the reason her heart was dropping as it was getting tighter and tighter as she was moving down, making me even more proud of the decision I made to have a C-section or the situation may have been very different and we wouldn’t have had her in our arms moments after birth or maybe even at all, the doctors said we were lucky the right decision was made. The doctor also checked for signs of down syndrome and nothing, even though we didn’t mind either way this made us happy as it would then be unlikely she would have other complications. And FINALLY after all the checking I told the midwife to let her daddy hold her next to me, I knew it would be an amazing moment for him to hold her first and I just loved looking at the two of them together. My entire world right in front of me, I started to take pictures and videos of this special moment.
Thank you for reading…
So that’s the story of how our beautiful daughter: Ella-Grace, came into the world (I said it was crazy). I hope everyone that read this has enjoyed it, found it interesting and is reassured that even if your birth doesn’t go as planned or is a crazy, scary experience there is still a happy, healthy baby at the end. C-section, assisted birth, V-BAC, Home Birth, Hospital Birth, whatever kind of birth you have…its beautiful. You are bringing a life into the world and through all the complications and the emergencies, no matter how, where or when your precious little one comes into the world that is what matters. That they arrived, breathing, healthy, alive. Focus on that and never look back to what could have been. And as a final message, to all the mums out there – well done! You are all doing a great job and for any expectant mothers – don’t be scared of labour, you can do this! (our bodies were made for it).
For more on this topic, check out the full Pregnancy Through Postpartum collection
Featured Contributor: LauraJane Bethune
LauraJane Bethune is a 20-year-old blogger/writer from Aberdeen, Scotland. She is engaged, and a mum to a beautiful little daughter, Ella-Grace. She blogs about motherhood, anxiety, lifestyle and more. She is also a feature writer for BabyGaGa.com.