Not to sound like a total misery but I hated pregnancy both times. I suffered from a variety of symptoms when I was pregnant with my daughter Belle, like sickness, dizziness, fainting, a cracked rib and nose bleeds. This time around, when I was pregnant with my son, I had all similar symptoms as I had previously plus the added nightmare of SPD (Symphysis pubis dysfunction) which resulted in me barely being able to walk for 4 months, and I ended up on crutches at 8 months pregnant. The benefit to awful pregnancies is that I was looking forward to birth both times because I knew that it would be the end of pregnancy! With my daughter, labour was long (19 hours) but fairly fuss free. I did a hypnobirthing course, and without sounding too dramatic, I genuinely think that course changed my life!
I was told that due to my SPD and his head being engaged very early on that I would give birth around the 38 week mark. It turns out they got it wrong and I ended up going 9 days over (talk about managing expectations!) One Saturday morning I had ‘the show.’ Anticipating that I would be giving birth soon, I called my mum to get her to collect Belle and I stayed home with my husband. Being in a calm environment was really important to me as it helped me keep my zen, so I had a playlist of my favourite music on repeat and totally zoned out.
I remember being excited that it would all kick off soon but little did I know at that time that my contractions would be 20 minutes apart from Saturday evening, until 5am on Monday morning when I had a bit of bleeding. I called the hospital and they told me to come in and get checked. Still having intense contractions every 20 minutes I assumed that I would have dilated but when they checked me at 6am I was SO disappointed to hear that I wasn’t even 1cm! We were sent home at 7am, got into bed to catch up on sleep and woke at 10am with contractions that were suddenly 3 minutes apart. Whilst my husband called the hospital, and in the space of 5 minutes, the contractions suddenly sped up to 1 a minute and I couldn’t even make it to my bedroom door, never mind the hospital! An ambulance was called, and my poor squeamish husband was given instructions on how to deliver the baby himself! We’d just moved into our new house, I somehow made it downstairs and was laying in the hall on the floor. He was told to keep the front door open (so the ambulance crew could come right in) lay towels, get string (to tie the umbilical cord- do people even have string in their home?!) and to check if he could see the head. Luckily, the ambulance turned up and then my contractions unusually slowed down (I was later told this was because the baby was in distress which made me feel worse.) I was taken to hospital (in a total daze after I’d already gone through almost 40 hours of contractions) and by the time I got there I was 5cm.
I was taken to the Natural Birth Centre which is where I had wanted to deliver. I was told that I wouldn’t be checked for another 4 hours. As the midwife was walking out I told her that there was no way I was lasting another 4 hours! I started taking gas and air, and within 30 minutes my contractions were so fast and so intense and I felt the urge to push. My waters hadn’t broken so they told me that I had to hold him in and not push until they told me to. This was the most painful thing I’ve ever experienced. All of a sudden I heard an alarm go off, I opened my eyes to see doctors and nurses running in and my husband being pushed to the back of the room. I remember closing my eyes quickly as I didn’t want to know or see what was going on and tried so hard to keep breathing and stay in my zen state of mind (otherwise known as being delirious!) I was then told to push and finally he came out.
He was placed on my chest but he was totally lifeless, and I was in total shock. He was then taken off me and taken out the room. I was shaking and can still hear in my head now myself screaming ‘Is he ok, where is my baby.’ The 2 midwives who had been with me from the start stayed with me and kept me calm, while my husband went with the baby. I didn’t know at the time but they had told Breegs that extra help was needed and a resuscitation table was ready outside the room. It turns out that he had his cord around his neck and the cord had a knot in it, he got his shoulder stuck and he was in meconium. I was told that he came around quickly but I wasn’t able to see him for over an hour. I was finally taken up to the ICU where he was, and it was just so emotional. I wasn’t allowed to hold him for a while as they were still checking him but when I got to it was the most unbelievably emotional moment of my life. I haven’t let go of him since!!
I was always aware that birth wouldn’t always go as you plan for it to go, but for some reason I always knew I would have a natural birth. I think I was so focused on that, and therefore it didn’t ever really cross my mind that anything would go wrong, which I guess is a good thing.
Ace is a sensitive little soul and for the first couple of months I’m sure he was affected by the birth as much as I was. He really struggled to get comfortable and I took him to a cranial osteopathy when he was about 6 weeks old, who looked at him and asked if his left shoulder got stuck in labour. I was flabbergasted because I hadn’t mentioned anything to him, and didn’t hugely believe that a cranial osteopathy. He helped so much and I instantly noticed a difference.
Hypnobirthing was a life saver for me because it helped to keep me calm despite the situation. I can’t recommend it enough!