Ah, my first labour. It was almost seven and a half years ago now, and yet I can still remember it like it was yesterday. Every little detail, which is funny because I’ve got a memory like a sieve. I can hardly remember what I had for lunch yesterday, yet I can recount the tale of my two labours almost minute by minute. I hold on to those memories. I want to keep them forever, because those two days, along with my wedding day, are the most significant in my life.
I wasn’t a blogger when I had my babies, so I never got to share my birth stories. I’ve decided now is as good a time as any to share them. If they’re written down, they can never be forgotten. Plus, everyone loves a good brith story, right?
I’ll obviously start with my first brith story. It was January 2009, and I was a naive 21 year old, slightly terrified about what was coming. I’d considered myself mature until I’d fallen pregnant a little while before my 21st birthday. I soon realised, I didn’t have a clue!
My pregnancy was tough. I was unable to keep most foods down for most of the nine months. My naive self had thought this was normal, or course I’d never been pregnant before and neither had any of my friends, so I didn’t know any different. Looking back, I’m sure I had Hypremesis gravidarum, which causes severe sickness during pregnancy, but at the time I didn’t tell anyone. I spent a lot of my pregnancy in the house, because I often felt dizzy if I went too far. Anyway, that another story on its own!
On the morning of the 30th of January, three days before my due date, my husband went to work as normal. About ten minutes after he’s left I started to feel pains in my tummy. They weren’t very strong, but seemed to have a rhythm to them. I thought maybe they were braxton hicks, which I hadn’t experienced before. I phoned my mam, and she asked if I wanted her to come over, just incase something happened. I didn’t want to call my home husband in case I was making a fuss over nothing, so I said yes.
When my mam arrived, we sat and watched crappy day time television, like Jeremy Kyle. My pains weren’t growing with intensity, but were still coming every ten minutes, and I started to believe that maybe I was in early labour. I couldn’t wait for Neil to get home! Funny though, by the time he arrived home the pains seemed to have slowed down a bit, and he laughed at me for making a fuss over nothing. The cheek of it!
My mam went home once my husband arrived back, and I was disappointed that nothing was really happening. The pains were coming and going, but seemed to have lost their rhythm, and felt like nothing more than mild period pains. We got our dinner like normal, faffed about the house, played on the xbox and the went to bed. This is when things started to happen. I’d been lying down for about half an hour when I started the feel strong pains. They felt like when you need the toilet, crossed with period pains, but about ten times stronger.
My husband was already asleep by this point, so I got up and paced the room a bit. Now the pains were coming every five minutes and were strong enough to double my over when they came. I tired to wake my husband but he was having none of it. In his half asleep stupor, he told me “It’s ok, come back to bed and watch Rocky, it’s alright, just watch Rocky”. At the time I was so cross that he wouldn’t get up, but now whenever we watch Rocky I think about it, and we often laugh about it together.
Anyway, since I couldn’t get him out of bed, I decided to head in to the living room to watch something on TV. Of course, at that time of night there is damn all on, and so I was forced to watch BBC news 24 for hours on end, feeling like I was slowly going mad while the contractions kept coming. Eventually, at about 6am, I managed to wake my husband. I think the intensity of my voice alerted him, waking him from his sleep. We phoned the hospital, who said I could come in if I wanted. Of course, we’d forgotten to put money in our hospital bag, and so had no cash to get a taxi to the hospital! We had to wait until 7am for the shop to open so we could get some money.
The contractions were coming every three minutes now, and lasting about 60 seconds. I”m not going to lie, it was painful. I spent a lot of time bent over, swaying from side to side and breathing heavily. Surprisingly though, despite my usually low tolerance for pain, I kept my composure. Like, they hurt, but I was managing fine.
When we eventually arrived at the hospital, I was examined and found to be 7cm dilated. We were sent straight to the labour ward. It was a little before nine, and the labour ward seemed quiet. It was obviously quiet enough for us to have a midwife with us throughout most of the rest of the morning. While I lay on the bed OD-ing on gas and air, my husband and the midwife sat and watched Jeremy Kyle! I can still remember them discussing it, while I lay thinking “Hello, I’m in pain here and you f****rs are watching Jeremy Kyle!?
The hours went by, the pains got stronger, and I continued to puff on my gas and air like it was free. Honestly, that stuff is amazing. I knew I was in pain, but I didn’t give a damn because I felt high as a kite. You’re only supposed to breath it in when you’re having a contraction but I had it in my mouth the whole time. I felt like I had to start pushing at around 1 o’clock, after about four hours in the hospital. When that urge comes, it’s hard to fight it off. One push and my waters burst, sorry exploded all over the wall in front of me. I was so high, I thought my baby had shot out, and I actually asked my husband. He still laughs about it today.
Now, I’d been quite reserved during the rest of the labour, quite quiet. I felt the pains were manageable and didn’t make much fuss. The pushing stage though, well, that was a whole different ball game. Whenever I pushed, I let out an awful scream. I couldn’t control it, it just came out. I feel for my husband and the midwife’s ears, because this went on for an hour. MAN the pushing was painful for me. Frustrating too, because it felt like it went on for ages. We tried different positions, got down on the floor, on all fours, everything, before eventually moving back on to my back.
Eventually, after an hour of pushing and a lot of screaming, little baby Neil was born at 2pm weighing 6lb 14 oz. The relief of the final push, coupled with meeting my son for the time, and I was a crying mess. It was the most amazing feeling in the world. Looking at my son, and watching my husband cry, I could have burst with the amount of love I felt in that moment.
I had torn a little, so the midwife called in someone else to do the stitches. She wasn’t the most gentle of women, and I remember thinking it felt worse than the labour. Of course looking back I know that’s nonsense, but you’d think they’d be a bit more gentle with you when you’d just pushed a human through your hooha. While I was getting stitched, a woman popped her head in to see if I’d had the baby. She was from the maternity ward, which was a few corridors away, and she said “Well done pet, we were all rooting for you up there”. My screams appeared to have travelled half of the hospital, and I was mortified!
EVENTUALLY we were left in peace with our new baby for a little, before being moved on to the maternity ward. We both just sat watching our son, so in love with this tiny little boy. He was gorgeous.
My husband then went home to fetch the car seat so we could go home. The next couple of hours are a blur for me. The adrenaline was starting to wear off and I was feeling the strain of being awake for over 30 hours. I fell in and out of sleep as my baby slept in the plastic cot beside me, all snuggled up. My husband arrived back at the hospital after 8pm, and we were discharged only six hour after I’d given birth. I hate hospitals, and really just wanted to be home, so it was the best decision for us.
My best friend drove us home, and popped in to meet baby Neil for a few minutes before heading home. While she was there, she took the first photo of me and my new baby together.
This photo always brings mixed emotions for me. Obviously I love it because it’s the first of us together. I also feel sad that I look so damn awful in it. Actually looking it is now, it’s scary. I look like a skeleton, look how thin my arms are! I was so thin, my baby bump had gone completely. In fact, if I lay down flat, my tummy was concaved. I don’t know how I managed to get through my pregnancy without someone realising how unhealthily thin I was. It really is quite scary!
Anyway, I think I’ve talked enough. That just about covers my first birth story! If you’ve read this far, well done, I’m sorry it was so long!
I have a much more dramatic tale to tell about my second labour, but that’s for another time. Check back next week for that!