Ellie is now 4 weeks old. 4 weeks! How on earth did that happen?? As she turns 1 month old, I thought it would be a good time to share my birth story. And boy am I pleased to have a positive birth story to write.
My birth story with Alex was a really difficult one to put into words, it was long and tiring and by all accounts quite traumatic (although I am aware that others have had much much more traumatic births than me, this is how I felt and still feel for my experience). Although Ellie’s birth wasn’t as straight forward and plain sailing as most positive birth stories, and on paper it was still fairly traumatic, I still feel that this was an extremely positive story and I wanted to put it out there that although a birth might not be easy, it can still be positive.
I want to start at my 37 week consultant appointment. We went ahead to this appointment ready to finalise how our baby girl would be delivered. At the previous appointment we were given a few options to discuss and choose from – all of which seemed to end in a caesarean section. After 2 weeks of discussion and tears, I made the decision with Tim’s help that we would opt for an elective caesarean. We booked the operation for 4th April and went home with our pre-op and section dates in the diary feeling a whole mixture of emotions.
The pre-op date came and we went along not really knowing what to expect. I had bloods taken in preparation, signed paperwork to say we understood the risks of a caesarean and had my usual weekly monitoring and were then sent on our way. Me and Tim then decided that we would have a TGI Friday’s lunch to celebrate the end of our pregnancy as we did at the start after our 6 week scan when we found that we had a baby with a healthy heartbeat on board.
The rest of the week was spent clearing our bedroom in preparation for our new carpet. This was fitted on the Wednesday morning and then that afternoon my mum popped over and between me and her we put together the furniture we had got from Ikea and getting our bedroom all ready for baby’s arrival the following week.
All of the hard work we had done earlier in the week took it’s toll and my back would not stop hurting, however we had plans for the Friday to go over to my friends house so our sons could have a bit of a play. Throughout the day I experienced a few painful braxton hicks but thought nothing of them. I even managed a fish & chip shop dinner that evening at the in laws!
Within a few hours of returning home I noticed that there was a pattern to the braxton hicks and so started timing them. When it was evident that they were lasting 50 seconds and coming every 5 minutes we called the delivery unit and was told to go in just to be checked over. Both me and Tim fully expected to be sent home – this would not be the case. I didn’t get chance to see Alex one last time as my only child.
I was checked over and examined to be told I was at 1cm and that they would keep me in (although I’m not 100% sure why – I think it was because I was so uncomfortable and possibly because of how long my previous labour lasted. Or it could have been because of the cholestasis). Tim stayed with me, I had a couple of doses of Pethdaine, and eventually at around 4am on the Saturday, I called my mum. She came to the hospital and we sent Tim home to get some rest. I had a third dose of Pethadine and even tried using a bath as pain relief. I found I was able to breath through my contractions as they got stronger, even if they weren’t as controlled at Tim, my mum or the midwives would have liked. I started on the gas and air but made sure that this time I used it to try and help control my breathing rather than as a pain relief method.
I eventually asked for an epidural and this was granted. It took 2 attempts but eventually it was in and I slowly started to feel a bit better – even managed a bit of sleep. Eventually they had to stop the epidural for a short while as my blood pressure was dropping which was causing baby’s heart rate to drop. This made everything a lot more difficult until I was eventually allowed to start it up again.
They continued to monitor the situation and after a while a doctor came to speak to me to say that I wasn’t progressing in my labour and although they could let me go until I was fully dilated and assist with forceps, baby was already getting stressed and it would be more beneficial to do a caesarean. As this is what was planned and I had mentally prepared for anyway, I was happy with this. Especially as I just wanted her here safe.
It was stated that it would be a category 2 section, albeit a ‘swift’ category 2. They started preparing and Tim was given his scrubs and I was wheeled down to theatre. No sooner had we got there and I had been hauled onto the operating table, the ‘swift’ category 2 section very quickly turned into a category 1. She needed to be delivered fast. My blood pressure had dropped even more and her heart rate had dropped even lower.
And then, before I could even question when they would be starting the operation, we were informed that, at 9:28pm on Saturday 31st March, our little girl had been born. We could only watch at this point as she was taken straight over to the baby doctor and midwife. We could only watch as our baby girl lay lifeless and being given oxygen through a mask. A few times they lifted her little arm and it flopped back down onto the table. It was only 60 seconds but it felt like an eternity. Then, she cried. And they called Tim over to see our daughter. He was able to take some pictures before being handed her to bring across to see me.
It may have been quick and we may have had a panicky minute after she was born, but I feel like all in all my labour and birth was a much more positive one. I can remember much more of it – although those memories seem to be fading fast, too fast.