I was in slow labour for a solid 2 weeks. I’d had 2 sweeps and I remember so vividly on New Year’s Day going into hospital for a midwife to say, “something is definitely happening, you’re 2cm now rather than 1.” Woohoo! One whole cm in a week, I thought to myself… I practically sulked in the car on the way home.
The next day, things picked up, so we went back up to the hospital. This time I was told; “okay, you’re 3cm. I don’t want to send you home as I can see your contractions are really picking up, but I really need either your waters to go or for you to be 4cm, can you try walking for me and we can get things going”, Despite being booked to be induced the next day on my due date…I became a woman on a mission.
After some lunges, walks and a bumpy car ride the midwife checked me again. “Yep, you’re 4cm…and….there go your waters, you’re in labour”… HALLELUJAH.
I remember looking at the midwife and saying “HA, you can’t send me home now!” The poor midwife, she had suffered enough with my waters going all over her hand, let alone me sassing her.
My labour progressed surprisingly quickly from then. I had pethidine and gas and air in labour, I slept pretty much most of it once I had pethidine, I would wake up, have a contraction, make some sort of moo-ing noise while using gas and air then go back to sleep. When I was around 9cm I remember my midwife just staring at the contraction monitor. Throughout the labour she had been coming in, checking the monitor and going again…but this time she wasn’t, she was staying in the room with me for longer and she looked concerned. There was an elephant in the room for sure (and that wasn’t in reference to the size of heavily pregnant me)!
“Is everything okay?” I heard my mother in-law at the time ask my midwife, Emily. Emily smiled sweetly and said, “I’m just going to get another midwife to check something, Amy can you just roll onto your right side for me, Baby isn’t liking how you’re laying.” Another midwife came in and looked at the monitor with Emily and it was very hushed and secretive, but I remember so clearly her saying, “yep, you’re right it’s classic…,” completing the sentence by gesturing her hands around her throat to mimic strangulation. Alarm bells were ringing in my head.
“Amy, we’re just going to fast bleep the doctor. Baby is having something called lates.”
Lates – Emily explained that during a contraction, a baby’s heart rate can drop, but it’s expected to pick up pretty quickly afterwards…except my little boy’s wasn’t. It was staying at about 50-60 bpm for a little longer than it should have (nearly half of what it should be). The doctor arrived promptly and again the hushed tones were talking and one of the sisters mentioned an emergency C-section but the doctor shook her head and said, “she’s 10cm, let’s look at another option, this isn’t cord around the neck, this is foetal distress.”
Foetal Distress- An uncommon complication of labour which is when the baby isn’t receiving enough oxygen.
“Amy, your baby is in distress. Now, we need to get him out as soon as possible, ideally. His heart rate isn’t picking up – you’re 10cm now so I would like to do an assisted delivery if that’s okay?” I nodded. “Just do whatever needs to be done,” I shouted, mid-contraction. My bladder was full and had to be emptied via catheter during my contractions, too – lush, eh?
“Okay Amy, what will happen is I will attach this to baby’s head and as you push, I will pull.”
I was ready to go. The pushing was a military operation.
“Okay, you did really well then. I want you to grasp your breath ready for the next contraction…I can see it’s building…1,2,3 Push!” The Doctor said. “Chin to chest, that’s it Amy, PUSH,” the sister said holding my hand.
I was tiring quickly, but every minute that passed my baby boy was getting more and more distressed. “Amy, I can see his head,” Oliver’s dad cried out. I remember throwing my head back saying, “I can’t do this”. The Senior midwife took my hand and placed it on my baby boy’s head (which I still to this day think was super gross). “Amy, that is your baby’s head, you are so nearly there. Now come on and push,” she ordered.
The maternity assistant patted my head down with a cool flannel (it might have been wet paper towel to be completely honest) but at 00:32, the room went silent. “Happy Birthday to you little man,” I heard the doctor say. “Amy, he’s beautiful,” another midwife added. I couldn’t see Oliver at this point, nor could I hear him crying. “Why can’t I hear him cry?” I asked, with an underlying tone of panic to my voice. “No, no, no he’s fine Amy. He’s perfect,”my mother-in law added. I didn’t get to hold Oliver straight away due to me needing a lot of stitches and Oliver needed checking over where he was in distress for so long.
The sister wanted to take the gas and air off of me while I was stitched, but I think the doctor saw how scared I was (either that or she did a real job on me with my episiotomy ) because she let me keep the gas and air while I was stitched. Of course, my problems continued, my placenta wasn’t delivering naturally. They gave me an injection to try and hurry it along, but alas…No placenta, the doctor grew concerned as my blood pressure started to drop rather quickly and placentas need to be out once baby is out. So she decided to remove it manually, which was probably more painful than the actual labour, but she was sweet and still let me keep the gas and air while she did this. Once my placenta was delivered I finally got to hold my baby boy, but only for a short while. The sister insisted I had a bath she had ran for me…Which was one of my less relaxing baths to say the least.
My labour started smoothly but towards the end became a bit traumatic, but I urge new mums to be not to be afraid, every womans labour is different so please don’t be scared and try to embrace what will be the most…unique experience of your life.