As I sit here writing this I am staring at my sleeping 11-day old daughter in her bassinet and wanting to pinch myself! I can’t believe she is finally in the world. My heart is so full and I’m so grateful she chose me to be her mummy!
I have loved documenting my pregnancy journey with you and I’m excited to be sharing my birth story. Whether you’ve had children, are currently pregnant or want children one day I must say as women we are absolutely incredible, powerful beings when it becomes to creating life. I’m proud to have experienced a healthy and enjoyable pregnancy and I can now say the same for my labour and delivery experience.
On the 22nd January 2016 I awoke around 2am with bad stomach cramps and a backache. I felt like my insides were being squeezed, tugged and twisted all at the same time and the feeling was coming in waves. Being 41 weeks and 4 days pregnant I’d gotten a membrane sweep the day before so I was expecting things to start moving but I really wasn’t sure if what I was experiencing was labour pains or if I really needed to go to the toilet! After spending a good 15 minutes sitting on the toilet with nothing happening and the feeling still coming on and off I decided to take a bath and see how things progressed from there.
While in the bath the cramps and backache were now becoming quite intense and coming in more consistent waves so I decided to start timing them. They were coming every 6-7 minutes so I decided to call the midwife to explain what I was experiencing and see if it sounded like early labour. The midwife told me it absolutely did sound like I was in early labour and to try and get some rest and phone back when the contractions were around 4 minutes apart.
I must have stayed in the bath for a good two hours all the while the contractions were becoming more intense. I decided to get out of the bath and tell my husband what was going on. As I was still able to get through each contraction myself we decided it was best that he got some more sleep as he was going to be my rock for the rest of the labour, I needed him rested.
I decided to go downstairs and fold some washing and tidy up a little while watching TV, being on my feet was helping at that point. As each contraction came I would hold onto something and breathe until it passed and continue doing what I was doing. It got to around 5am and the contractions were now coming every 4-5 minutes and were now very intense, I couldn’t even talk through them.
Though I’d still not had my waters break or lost any of my mucus plug I phoned the midwife again to see what I should do. She told me to come in and get examined and we’d go from there. I woke the husband up and off we went to the hospital. I was in so much pain but so excited at the same time!
We arrived at the hospital around 6am and I was now in agony, the contractions were coming every 3-4 minutes. I couldn’t move or talk through them (aside from the odd swear word here and there). I had about 3 contractions from the car park to the foetal assessment unit, all the while groaning like some sort of wild beast clutching onto my husband. When one contraction subsided we’d walk a few more metres until my next one. It felt like eternity until we got to the ward.
When the midwife examined me I was only 2-3 centimetres dilated! I can’t explain the fear that set in at that point as I knew we were going to be sent home to keep labouring and I already felt that I couldn’t bare the pain I was already experiencing.
(I’d read about the pain, heard my friends stories and watched countless episodes of one born every minute but nothing, and I mean nothing could prepare me for what it was actually like!)
The midwife said that she wanted me to go home and keep going as I had been until I felt I could no longer take it, I remember looking at my husband and he looked me straight in the eye and told me that I’ve got this. He said I’m the strongest women he’s ever met and he knows I’m going to get through this like a boss. He made me believe in myself and I remember re-focusing on what was actually happening, the pain was horrible but it meant something! It meant my body was doing what it was designed to do and with each contraction I was closer and closer to meeting our daughter. Ok Em, you’ve got this!
We got home from the hospital around 7.30am and I went straight back into the bath, I laboured in there until around 9am where I felt I needed to get out and move around through them. So I put some comfortable clothes on and I used a fit ball to lean over while on all fours and I laboured like this for a good hour and a half, all while my husband was applying pressure to my back through each one, I literally did not move from that ball for anything.
At this point we were no longer timing my contractions as they were coming so close together there was no point, we knew we were in labour haha! All I could do was breath and recover before the next one came and as each came, the next was more intense! I decided it was time go back to the hospital, I got the hubby to call up the midwife as I couldn’t talk and she must have been able to hear me through the phone because she told us to come straight in. Off we went again, the same horrible car ride (labouring in a car sucks!) The same excitement!
We’d now arrived back at the hospital for 11.45am and my husband wanted to drop me at the front of the hospital while he went and parked the car. The thought of being apart from him was too much as he was getting me through this, I didn’t want anyone else’s help (if someone came to my aid) or to be left waiting on my own so I went with him to park the car. We did the painful walk to the entrance and once we got there the staff rushed up to us and offered to put me in a wheel chair. I was hesitant as I just wanted to get up to that ward and there was still no sight of the offered wheel chair, they went off to get one and it felt like eternity. When I finally got on it, it was so awkward! I was sitting in this stupid wheel chair, having a gut wrenching contraction. The hospital staff and my husband were trying to shove my hospital bags until my legs so that my husband had his hands free to wheel me upstairs. I remember yelling at all of them to just give the bags to me to carry on my lap (I must have sounded like Satan haha.) Once we sorted the bag situation my man started wheeling me on what was the slowest friggin wheelchair ever made!
We’d again reached the ward (I was determined this was the last trip here, I was not going home again). The midwife was notified we’d arrived and as we were waiting for her there was another couple in the hallway who were just in for a regular antenatal appointment, I honestly feel so sorry for that woman and her husband! I was hard-core labouring right in front of them, I can’t even remember half of it but I know there were a lot of made up words, swearing, tears and I sounded possessed! I do remember turning around and the look on their faces I will never forget! I think I scarred them for life! (poor thing was going to go through this soon).
The midwife took her sweet time to come and get us! Once she finally did it was time to be examined again and I was now 5 centimetres dilated! Hallelujah, I’d made progress! The midwife was still examining me when she said she could feel my waters bulging but they were still intact. She’d finished the internal and placed her hand on my stomach, that’s when the baby kicked and we all heard a pop, out gushed my waters! Little miss was more than ready to get things happening!
It was then that things got much more intense, which I wouldn’t have thought possible! The midwife told me that Alina was posterior. My husband had actually noticed this because as I had each contraction he had seen a dip in my stomach but didn’t want to tell me because my friend had just given birth to a posterior baby and her birth was very traumatic, he knew that would scare me. Well, the position of bubs explained the pain. Apparently labour with a back-to-back baby is the most intense (lucky me).
For those of you who’ve read previous posts you’ll know that I wanted a natural, drug free birth. Well in that moment I didn’t care about what I wanted, all I wanted was relief from this awful pain I was in, I was begging the midwife for an epidural, drugs, anything please don’t let me go through this anymore! That’s when my man stepped in and reminded me of what I wanted and why I wanted it, that even I had said I know there’ll be a point where I want drugs but don’t let anyone give them to me no matter how much I say I need them. My choice to have a natural birth was not to be a hero or to prove anything to anyone. I wanted to experience the birth for all that it was which obviously includes the pain. It was a very personal choice and I’m so glad my husband stepped in when he did and reminded me why I wanted it.
I was offered gas and air and I had about 6 breaths on that but it made me feel disgusting so I didn’t continue to use it.
This is where the water birth came into play. My hospital has a birthing tub and they had started to run it for me as a form of pain relief because they knew I didn’t want any other form of pain relief and using the bath at home had helped me in the early stages.
It was about 1.30pm by this point and I’d gotten into the birthing tub, my man put on some soothing music and I had a cup of ice to chew and suck on (this actually assisted greatly). The second I got into that bath something changed within me, there was this power that entered me and I went deep within myself. The pain I was in was another level, I was actually having an out of body experience. It became me the water and my baby. We were all working together and after about two houes in the bath my body was telling me it needed to push. Without me even trying, as each contraction came I was pushing. The midwife just thought my body was getting prepared and practicing for when it was time to push. I remember saying that I felt something was coming down with each contraction and then going back in each time it subsided so I was told to get out of the tub and she’d check how far dilated I was. When she examined me she had this look on her face that worried me for a second and then said ‘your baby’s head is right here, it’s time go get back into the tub and deliver her’. I couldn’t believe how fast this was all happening!
Back into the tub I went, my husband directly behind me soothing me with his words and breathing through each contraction with me. The midwife had a mirror for me so that I could see Alina as she came out. As each contraction came I was baring down with everything I had within me. For the whole labour I was breathing through and exhaling out noise, for the pushing I was silent, that’s what I remember. I remember this one contraction came and I looked right at the midwife and told her it burns!!! She said I know lovely, that’s because she’s coming out, give me one big push and that’s what I did! I gave one mighty push and out came Alina’s head! I’ll never forget that moment, seeing her beautiful head for the first time. Then with the next contraction out came her shoulders and then with one last push Alina had pushed off of me and was out into the water. That’s when her daddy reached over me into the water and scooped her up. He was crying and just looking from her to me and put her on my chest… That was the most delicious moment of all! Our lives had forever changed and we’d fallen so in love with our child and so much more in love with each other. I wish I could re-live that moment for the rest of my life! It was 3.41pm and our angel was born.
We’d gotten out of the tub and I’d lain down on the bed. I still had to deliver my placenta so I lay there with Alina while hubby and I were just looking at her and loving her. She started to cry and I had an urge to offer her my breast, when I did she took it straight away. There I was, laying on the bed with my baby in my arms, my husband by my side and feeding her straight away.
After I’d delivered my placenta we were taken into my room and I needed to be examined because I had a tear to my labia (how on earth), I didn’t have any tearing to my perineum which was great but my goodness the place I did tear was very sore. I got some stitches and was able to have a shower afterwards, which was so relaxing! I put my pj’s on and spent the night with my beautiful baby girl feeding, cuddling and loving her. It was amazing to bond with her just the two of us (dad’s aren’t allowed to stay over night).
We were discharged from hospital the next day as everything was going well and bub and I were healthy. It was so nice to be back in my own environment so soon, I really dislike hospitals and I didn’t like being away from my husband so it was lovely to be home and start the journey of life as a family!
For the past week we have been getting to know our beautiful girl, she is such a good baby. Breastfeeding is working really well for her and I, she feeds often and at first wasn’t sleeping for longer than 30mins to an hour but this week she’s decided that she loves to sleep and I am actually finding myself wanting her to wake up! I have had a few cries here and there, sleep deprivation and hormones are a b*tch but I’m taking every day as it comes. A lot has changed in a really short amount of time, my body has changed, no sleep, no one on one time with my man, no time for myself BUT I know I’m doing an amazing job! I keep finding myself staring at her and just being amazed at every part of her, the love is deep and ever lasting. I look forward to the future and watching this beautiful little soul flourish in life, I’m blessed to be her mother.
Love Emily x
Follow Emlily & Alina's journey @emily.and.alina