My due date was 25th May and I was pretty certain that the little man would not be making his arrival on this date. I was right and things didn't begin until 9 days later on 2nd June when I started getting mild contractions. They were really more like dull period cramps and not bothersome at all. When I went to bed that night I woke at about 2.30 am and I was starting to have slightly stronger contractions although still not anything that bothered me to any extent. I whipped out my phone as I'd installed a contraction timer app on it and started to monitor how frequently they were coming and for how long. I stayed awake for about 2.5 hours and they were coming every 7/8 minutes and lasting roughly one minute each. I was getting pretty excited at this point thinking that it might be the start of something. Sadly, it wasn't and they faded away when I got up in the morning and wandered around. I'd still have the odd one here and there but they were definitely not what you would call regular!
The next day on the 4th I was due a visit by the midwife to see how things were getting along. She told me that I was 2cm dilated and that she would book me in for an induction on 6th June if things hadn't moved along. She told me she didn't think that it would be likely that I would need the induction and that I would probably go in to established labour later on that evening.
Not long after she had left, I started noticing the contractions again. They begin to build throughout the day and by about 5pm they had started to become more uncomfortable. I tried to get some sleep but I was quite excited and found it hard to relax. By 10pm things were really starting to get pretty painful. I called the triage at about 11 to ask them when they thought I should come in as by this point my contractions were lasting between 45 seconds to 1 minute and coming every 5 minutes. They weren't very helpful and just told me to take some paracetamol and try and stay at home for as long as possible. Great.
After pacing around in considerable pain at this point, we decided (stupidly) to try and get some sleep at about 1am and head to the hospital for around 3am. This proved completely impossible as my contractions were really painful now and it was giving me the most horrendous back ache, my boyfriend had to massage the base of my spine every time I had one and they were causing me to cry out in pain, which is really not like me at all! I usually deal with things quietly so I knew that it was now time to head to the hospital.
Fortunately the hospital is literally 5 minutes away from our house and my hospital bag had been packed and ready to go for a good few weeks (after a scare I had a couple of weeks before where I was sent to hospital for a scan and thought I might need a C-Section because naughty baby was lying transverse which meant if my waters broke the cord could prolapse... Yikes.)
When we got there, we buzzed to be let in but no one was answering so we had to wander around to the other side of the hospital and buzz round there, not great when I'm huffing and puffing every few minutes!
We were shown to a room where I had my blood pressure taken and after about 25 minutes the midwife in charge that night came and examined me and told me I was 5cm dilated. This meant I could now get in the pool as I wanted a water birth and also use the gas and air.
The pool really helped relieve my contractions when I first got in, it was nice and relaxing and that coupled with the gas and air had me foolishly thinking "this isn't so bad now!" I managed to deal with about another hours worth of contractions until I decided to give up on the gas and air. I found it distracting trying to breath it in when I was contracting so I decided to go it alone. The next few hours are a blur of contractions and I don't remember all that much in huge detail due to being so tired at this point.
I remember looking at the clock at 5am and asking when I'd next be examined as I'd been having the urge to push for a while. The midwife who was in the room with me the whole time told me not until 6.30am which was so disappointing. My contractions were horribly painful at this point and she was urging me to try the gas and air again but I just found dealing with it on my own easier. I was making a massive racket every time I had a contraction which I was surprised at but that was pretty much my pain management!
At 5.30 my waters broke which was the weirdest feeling, I felt a pop but obviously didn't notice the water as I was in the pool. My belly noticeably deflated a little and although the midwife said my contractions would increase in intensity at this point, I actually found it a relief and a bit easier to deal with. At 6.30 I was examined and she told me I was fully dilated and ready to push. I tried pushing in the pool for about 45 minutes but kept on nearly falling asleep in between contractions due to the heat and I'd been told all the windows now had to be closed so it was warm enough for when baby made his entrance. This made the pool quite uncomfortable and it also seemed to slow down my contractions so I was told to get out of the pool to push.
After an hour and a half of pushing and getting nowhere, I was told to try the birthing stool and push on there. When the midwife did her routine 15 minute check on baba's heartbeat, after being 'perfect' throughout my entire labour, it was now really slow. She told the student midwife to pull the emergency cord immediately and within seconds, there were people rushing everywhere and telling me to get in a bed and they were going to wheel me down to the delivery suite to help get baby out. When I got down there, they checked on his heartbeat again and it had fortunately gone up but he'd pooped inside me meaning he was in distress.
The whole team were lovely and amazing and I felt really calm throughout because I knew that they would deliver him safely. They told me to push whenever I had the urge to and that they were going to use the ventouse to get him out. I was given a couple of injections of local anesthesia and unfortunately had to be cut so that they could get him out as quickly as possible. Within 2-3 pushes I first felt his head come out and with one final push little Oscar finally made his arrival at 8.26 am. He was checked over and then passed to me to give his first cuddle.
I have never been so tired in my whole life after finally giving birth, I'd been awake for 26 hours and I felt completely delirious at this point, I kept asking my boyfriend if everything was real, haha! I can't imagine what I would have been like had I had some drugs as I felt like I was in some weird dream world. After being abandoned in the delivery suite for about an hour whilst various people drifted in and out doing checks on me and Oscar, I was finally allowed to get up and have a shower and then I was wheeled back up to the ward to rest. My parents came and visited us and then I was asked if I'd like to go home later that evening. My answer was a definite yes please and after waiting around for a midwife to come and give Oscar his check ups, we were allowed to leave the hospital at 9pm.
Although the birth didn't go exactly as I had planned, I'm still really proud that I managed to do it (not that you really have much choice in the matter, they've got to come out at some point!) especially without any pain relief, although not that it makes it any less of an achievement if you had every drug going, it's whatever works best for you.
Ten days on, Oscar is absolutely amazing and he's been so good so far, he's a joy to have around. He's already developing his own little personality and I can't wait to see the little person that he's going to become.
Excuse the rather revealing shot of me, I just love that it's all of us together.