Here is a most requested post… my labour story. When I was pregnant I loved reading other peoples stories as some made me feel better and others struck me with the fear of god. Before I start I should mention that my birth plan was literally…..
For the OB to do what he needed to to get my daughter out safe and keep me as well as possible.
It was that simple for me. We had no other plans.
When Milly was around 34 weeks in pregnancy my OB mentioned that we may need to talk about a Csection. She had been sizing in large at every scan, which for me was every 4 weeks in pregnancy until the end when it became every 2 weeks then weekly, and he was unsure if my hips could cope. The ideal situation would be an induction before she got to large but if this wasn’t possible I should be open to a C section. Ideally I wanted a vaginal birth and felt sure it would happen so I didn’t worry too much. At around 36 weeks Milly was not only large but also brow presenting which would have caused more pressure on my pelvis. Due to her being brow presenting she was unlikely to drop enough for an inducion to be sucessful and as such a Csection was scheduled for when I was 39 weeks pregnant.
In all honesty I was a little upset by this. I knew that to have a scheduled C section was my preference over a long, hard labour which had a high risk of ending in emergency C section but I had really wished for a vaginal birth. Because I felt so wobbly about it all I was sent to a second OB which allowed me to have the situation explained to me again as well as a second opinion, I also was scheduled for a final sizing scan a few days prior to the C section. All of this, we felt, would allow me to feel strong in my descision. Basically the thoughtless comments made by a few people, who really didnt know my situation, made me feel like people thought I hadnt tried hard enough and was opting out! This wasnt the case, I just wanted what was best for both my daughter and I.
On the friday we were all excited to meet our little bubba in a few days and I had got my head around having the CSection. We went for the scan and would you know it she had moved! She also sized in only a little above average. We went back to the OB in shock and he told me there was no medical requirement for a C Section and asked what I wanted to do. I think I would have been allowed it anyway as we were all set for that date and emotionally we were ready. I didnt want it.
In the end I went into hospital at 5pm on my due date. They were going to put gel on my cervix to ripen it for an induction the next day. Over the past week I had been walking and walking and each time i did a big walk i felt she dropped down further. Also, towards the end of pregnancy I had little stomach room and the two days before I went into hospital I had massive hunger ( and I mean massive!). The gel was applied and my mum and husband stayed with me until 8pm. I felt teary as they left but wanted them to get a good nights sleep at home as tomorrow was going to be a big day!.
In the night at 2am i was in quite a bit of pain. I had been having a lot of back cramps the past few weeks and they were getting quite strong and frequent at this point. I told the midwife and had a sleeping tablet and panadol and got another two hours sleep. By 4am I was quite sore and was wandering the coridors- If this is what the gel feels like imagine how painful labour will be – was the thought running through my mind. I texted my husband to say I couldnt sleep as I was sore and could they come as soon as they were up. By half five there were there ( my husband and mum) and I had told the nurse that the gel was making me sore so I wanted an epidural for the labour when it started please…. she did an internal examination and told me that I was infact 1cm dilated and already in labour! Brilliant.
My epidural was scheduled for 7am but a lot of other ladies jumped in first as they were screaming loudly and on second babies which tend to come quicker. I had a bath at this point with my husband putting cold face cloths on my head which felt amazing. I was silent and just focussing on breathing through the contractions which were really quite painful. I was also a bit sick at this point. At 7 ish the epidural was given and my OB came to check me, I was 5cm. In and hour and a half I had dilated 4 cm- no wonder it hurt. He also wanted to break my waters but it went on its own accord as he examined me.
For the next six hours I was just dilating, roughly 1cm per hour. I had infact been experiencing my contractions for a while before I went into hospital but hadnt recognised them as that as I was having what they call a back labour. This was because Milly, whilst being the right way up, was spine to spine with me or posterior. At 1pm the OB checked me again and told me she is not a c section baby now, I can get her out in 3 minutes if I need to now.
Because of her position the pushing was going to be hard so he decided I could have 20 minutes to try and get her out on my own. If I couldnt he would assist and turn her using a vacuum hat or ventouse. Apparently I could safely try for an hour but he felt we would know after 20 minutes if I could do it and he didnt want me to get exhausted as I would still have to do most of the work even with him assisting. As it was I needed help. I was topped up with the epidural as it was painfull and we did it. At 14.14, with the best coaching and encouragement from the staff and the assistance of my OB, Milly Rose was born.
Millys dad and my mum saw her head come out and dad cut her cord. Through the whole labour it had been really peacefull I had not made one noise I was just doing my breathing. She came out pretty relaxed too. She lay on my chest, did a massive poo on me, and then latched straight onto the breast.
I feel so positive about my labour. I felt it was really well managed and the series of descisions made ensured I had a safe labour. I know a lot of people are against epidurals but I really felt having one made all the difference. If I had not had those few hours to dilate in relative comfort and rest it is unlikely I could have got this baby out without some serious assistance. After the birth the doctor visited me daily in hospital and when he told me I had actually had quite a hard labour compared to lots of others I was so shocked, I had genuinely thought mine was a straightforward stress free one! I also really think all the exercise classes ( pilates and aqua) which I did with physios, and contained a lot of breathing and pelvic floor work, really helped as my breathing really got me through both the pain and the pushing.
Anyway I suppose the main lesson for me was dont listen to others. You and your OB need to determine what you believe is the best approach, at the time, with the information you have. Yes with hindsite you may have done something different but to be honest you will never be in that moment again so as long as you are comfortable with your OB’s advice then I dont think there should be any regrets as you did your best. Since giving birth I have had people make comments about the epidural etc to me and I stand my ground. I believe having the epidural meant my daughter was born vaginally in a very calm manner all of which I prioritised over a drug free labour.
How was your labour? Did you have drugs? Do you have a birth plan?