I went into labour naturally, in the early hours of the morning on 20th July 2011, at 38+4.
I had been in bed for an hour when I had my first pains. I checked the time, 1.19am, and decided to empty my bladder. My mucus plug had come away.
the pains were frequent right away, every few minutes. I tried to go back to sleep, knowing that I’d only had an hour and would need the energy. I didn’t wake my husband.
After a couple of hours, I woke him for his help in setting up the TENS machine. By now I couldn’t sit still, i had to constantly pace the floor. My husband called the hospital, to let them know that labour had begun. The birthing centre was free. They encouraged me to stay at home and try a bath.
I took the TENS machine off and tried to get in, but I couldn’t lay still, I just felt i had to keep pacing, like an animal. I would walk around ours and the spare bedroom, crouching between contractions to get some rest. They were close together and intense. I started to vomit. We also inflated the birth ball, but i felt that i couldn’t sit down.
We called the labour ward a few more times. The birthing centre was now occupied. The contractions were only a couple of minutes apart by now. I began to want some pain relief. We agreed I should go in.
I struggled on the car journey there, unable to sit down. I arrived at the labour ward at about 10am. I gave a urine sample. There was protein in my urine. I was told they needed to break my waters to put a monitor on baby’s head. I also had an armband on to check my blood pressure as I was pre eclamptic. I was examined and I was 9.5cm. I remember the relief that I was close to the end.
My husband went to the car to get my bags, and I was kneeling over the top of the bed in the room alone when I felt the urge to push. I was told that I could only push for two hours, due to the pre eclampsia. My contractions began to slow down, so I was put on a drip to speed them up.
I started on gas and air, and things are more blurry from here. I was on my back, still trying to push. It was coming to the end of the two hours. A doctor was called. They agreed to use ventouse. My feet were put in stirrups and I was given a local anaesthetic and an episotomy. There were lots of people, bright lights, stirrups, intervention, drips, chemicals, all the things I didn’t want my birth to be.
M was pulled from me, I reached down to touch her. She was placed on my chest and I began to whimper. I was injected to deliver my placenta, although I had asked that this didn’t happen. My husband told me that we had had a girl.
My placenta was delivered and I asked to see it. They briefly showed me the dish and then took it away. I had wanted to examine it, perhaps keep it. M was then taken from me and the midwife began pushing on my stomach. I shouted that I was in pain and they told me to have more gas and air. The doctor began shoving handfuls of gauze inside me. I knew something was wrong.
The next memory i have is waking in theatre. I must have been told that they couldn’t stop the bleeding as I remember begging them to not give me a hysterectomy. My body went into shock, I was shaking uncontrollably. A woman was stroking my face, trying to get me to lay still. Two people were arguing about how to treat me. One was suggesting lots of fluid, the other didn’t want to as I was pre eclamptic. some blood results had gone missing, they couldn’t get blood for me quickly. I was begging to be put to sleep. They were trying to get me to stay still to put lines into me. I was moved to another bed, legs in stirrups. I was asked to sit to drink anti sickness medication. My TENS machine was ripped off me. A mask came down over my face.
When I woke, I was back in the delivery suite. My husband was there. M was in the cot by the bed, with a knitted hat on. My mouth was so dry. I had a catheter in, a blood pressure monitor on that went off every 15 minutes. I was offered a cheese sandwich and it was so difficult to eat.
I had heamorrhaged. They had hit the red button and the room had filled with people. M was passed to my husband. I was whisked from the room. He was left alone with M, watching the cleaning staff mop the blood from the floor. They had put me under to stitch up a fourth degree tear and give me fluid and stop the blood loss. A doctor came to see me the following day to make sure that I understood what had happened to me. High on codeine, I replied that I did and consented to a blood transfusion.
It’s only now that I look back at my birth and are saddened by a lot of what happened to M, my husband and I. Why was my husband left alone for so long, not told what was happening to me? Why wasn’t I encouraged to keep active so that my labour didn’t slow down? Why didn’t anyone read my birth plan? Why was I given the injection that I hadn’t consented to?
I will always have questions, and I’m sure most can’t be answered. My birth experience, and the ones that followed, mean that my husband and I aren’t planning any more children. I don’t want to risk another heamorrhage or post natal depression again. But I look at M, playing with her bricks or laughing at Iggle Piggle, and it all seems worth it.