Born on 29th June 2012, at 20.05, weighing 9lb 7oz. A little sun-sign Cancer. She’s rather round! Labour was established at 16.00, with duration of second stage lasting 32 minutes.
In the end I agreed to induction and it was fairly assumed that breaking my waters would start things off and this was done at around 11.30am. It didn’t really appear to have much effect, save for making me really wet and uncomfortable – we’d gone to get John some food (as lunch was served at the hospital not too long after I’d gone in and I’d had some, but I was worried that John also get a decent meal inside him) and I just leaked around the hospital, so in the end he had to sit by himself whilst I went to find a toilet and then came and stood (as I was rather wary of sitting down as I was convinced that at least by standing, my tights were soaking up any trickling water and any attempt at sitting down would soak my dress).
A drip was stuck into me at around 2.30/3pm and that initially wasn’t having much effect either, probably not helped by the fact that needles make me feel rather stressed at the best of time and I was having to concentrate on trying to ignore the canula in my hand (which hurt and also, for some reason, meant it hurt to bend my wrist back and as I’m used to rotating my wrists quite a bit, because they get sore, this was annoying me). To add to my discomfort, I couldn’t follow my natural inclination to move around as once the drip went in, they needed to monitor Anna’s heart-rate and the mobile heart monitor just wasn’t picking her up consistently.
The dosage on the drip was increased a couple of times and finally my body started to respond to the drip and then things got rather unpleasant. The false nature of the effect on my body was that when the contractions kicked in, they came hard, fast and painful. Due to not being able to move around, I just couldn’t shift around to try to find a more comfortable position – I couldn’t even kneel on the bed because it was affecting the heart monitoring. In addition to this, despite only being about 7-8cm the urge to push was pretty uncontrollable and I started to panic. Anna’s heart-rate kept dipping and I had a horrible feeling that I really, really wasn’t coping at all. I was given gas and air but it didn’t appear to be working either.
At this point things became a little ‘odd’.
I found myself in a forest and a Lady welcomed me. She took me to a pool and told me she was going to help me. I got into the pool and she called birds – every time I had the urge to push, the birds pulled me upwards to help me not to and to enable me to breathe (as every time the urge to push came it was so intense I was struggling to breathe at all).
I was still hazily aware of what was going on in the room, John was holding my hand and stroking my head and I was able, sporadically to say that I still really wanted to push. However, I was fairly lost in the visualisation and was more ‘there’ than ‘here’. Apparently through all of this I was muttering aloud about the birds and fish and although I was clearly ‘somewhere else’ I’d suddenly become much calmer and was responding far better.
After what seemed like an age, I could hear the midwife telling me that it was safe to push and then the birds flew off and the fish came to help. Strangely enough, by this point, although I was still inhaling gas and air, I was finding it easier to manage without it and breathe whilst pushing. The Lady told me to lay my head on her lap and she would help too. As I was pushing all I could think of was, “The Lady blesses and protects you.” Over and over and over and I felt strong and positive. I think I was probably chanting this too.
She was delivered up and onto my chest and a little while later John cut the cord (he was really happy he’d been able to see her physically come out too and was able to describe that too me). The relief was absolutely immense! She was a little blue, but fine and quite happily settled down to feed and we were left completely alone (she wasn’t weighed, etc, till after the canula was out and I’d had a bath).
I still had to keep the drip in for an hour after delivery, so it was wonderful to get the canula out and be able to have a bath and freshen up. Thankfully no tears, not even a graze, so a bath was really comfortable.
As she’d poo-ed inside me, we had to stay in for 12 hours observation. This was fairly awful because I was shattered and desperately wanted to sleep but had pretty much no chance of doing so on a busy ward, plus I prefer to co-sleep and this isn’t possible on the ward either. I probably didn’t manage more than about 10 or 15 minutes at a time and it was really frustrating as other people just seemed to be so loud!
The next day we had to wait till about 1pm to be discharged and by that point I was desperate to get home. It was so good to get back and settle down in a decent-sized bed to feed and then nod off knowing that Anna would be settled because she was close to me and not in a plastic bassinet. I felt so much fresher after just a couple of hours sleep, although I was absolutely ravenous (I don’t seem to be able to eat or drink enough at the moment!)
Last night was so much easier because she was directly next to me and able to feed through the night. She’s clearly a bit of a night owl and pretty much wanted to constantly feed until the early hours of the morning. Once it started to get light she settled for a longer sleep and I probably managed all-in-all to get a good few hours myself, which is not bad going with a newborn, just need to work on her latching-on skills (she’s got a very little mouth and it takes a bit to encourage her to open wide enough to get a decent enough amount of breast-tissue in to feed properly), but this should come in time.
She’s really beautiful and appears to be very content (although she doesn’t like having her nappy changed). Although I initially didn’t have the birth story I would’ve preferred – being stuck on a bed went against every natural inclination I have (!) – it appears a little divine intervention was given to me to cope and it has made all the difference to how I feel about the birth (and also given my faith, of late lagging, a bit of a kickstart too).