My Birth: The Beginning
I read over on Ohh Hey Mama, Terri’s blog, that the internet is filled with far too many horror stories of birth and I totally agree. It’s either a horror story or an ethereal, out of body experience where the lady simply breathed the baby out using the power of positive thought.
Neither of the above were true for me. I did not have a nightmare birth. I did not have the perfect birth. My son arrived healthy, noisy and in a flash after 40 plus hours. To me this can only be seen as positive.
High Blood Pressure Worries…or not
If you’ve kept up with my blog you’ll know that I had a fairly average pregnancy, nose-bleeds aside. I was hormonal and growing…oh and falling but it was pretty normal.
This was the case up until the end of May. 5 weeks before I was due I had my first bout of high blood pressure. My midwife sent me to the hospital to get a more detailed check with a trace of the baby’s heartbeat, urine samples and a blood test. All of these came back normal to the point that the doctor looking at my case actually questioned why I had been sent down to the hospital at all.
A great 4 hours spent. Totally validated by this lovely doctor.
High Blood Pressure Confirmed
In the following weeks I became a regular visitor to the hospital. Single-handedly funding at least one parking space, I’m sure! During these visits it became evident that my blood pressure was becoming a bit of an issue. Each time my blood pressure crept up but I still didn’t have any other symptoms. Unless you count the fact that I was swollen to the size of a hot air balloon!
I had already gone through my birth plan with my midwife and was really hoping to get to use the birthing pools. With each visit to the hospital this was becoming less and less likely.
A Little bit of History
Both my Mum and my Gran have three children. This is currently my aim but who knows how it will go.
My Gran had pre-eclampsia, or toxaemia as it was called at the time, with each pregnancy. Mum had gestational hypertension, high blood pressure, with all three. Gran had to be monitored in hospital but for both of them it meant that they had fast births.
I had confirmed gestational hypertension with some signs of pre-eclampsia. The latter was never confirmed.
I didn’t know what this would lead to other than just not being able to give birth in the pool. I didn’t for a minute think that there would be other implications.
The Beginning of Labour
I went into spontaneous labour a week before our due date. My waters broke in the middle of the night with contractions starting an hour later. We grabbed our pre-packed bags – yes for once I was actually organised, jumped in the car and headed off excitedly. Our baby was coming.
Once we arrived at the hospital we went to the birthing suite. I was clinging on to the hope that I could give birth in the pool!
This was not to be.
A lovely nurse offered us tea and toast. We didn’t end up getting the tea or the toast. It was confirmed that I was in labour and confirmed that my BP was too high for me to remain in the birthing suite or go home.
Off to the labour ward we went.
At this point I felt a little disappointed but I had said from the beginning, I would do whatever was necessary for the safe arrival of our baby.
The Labour Ward
Upon arriving at the labour ward we had to wait in the waiting area. This was probably the only part of my experience that I don’t particularly have a fond view of. It was completely understandable as there were women before me who were literally giving birth. However, pacing in a waiting room as my contractions increased was a little tough with people coming in and out.
After an hour we went through into the actual ward.
Our own room. A welcome break from what we had just been experiencing. A nurse took some observations and told me that I would be moving into one of the wards once a bed freed up. At this point I was just so happy to be on a bed.
We were then moved into our little ward. There were three other women. One had pre-eclampsia, another was being induced and the final lady wasn’t there for long as she was whisked off in active labour shortly after I arrived.
Little did we know that this was going to be our home for more than 14 hours. Fortunately we had our own space and a shared bathroom between the four of us. Mike and I decided to try and rest as things weren’t going particularly quickly. Michael took the chair and I had a rather nice sleep in the bed. I was still hooked up to the trace and having my BP taken regularly.
However, I was very happy. My husband and I were at the hospital and before we left we would have our baby. I felt safe and secure, exactly where I needed to be.
Oh Hello Drugs
Everyone talks about the pain killers in labour and people have lots of opinions. Take them all or none at all seemed to be the advice I was offered.
Well the first medication I was offered was blood pressure medicine. They really hadn’t discussed this in any of the classes I’d attended. The risks were explained to me that if my blood pressure continued to increase, I would potentially be at risk of a stroke. This was more than a little scary so I obliged and took the medication. Within 15 minutes of taking it my blood pressure had begun to come down. Unfortunately, an unanticipated side effect was that my contractions also pretty much stopped. I was a little deflated at this as we started to realise my labour would be longer than I had thought.
This continued to happen as a pattern. My contractions would increase, my blood pressure too, I’d take the medication and it would stop. This happened three times. I was pretty exhausted but my body took over the third time and the contractions refused to stop completely. We still weren’t going anywhere though so we decided Michael and my Mum should do a shift change.
Moving Towards Birth
Mum came down around 9pm, 20 hours after my waters had broken. She brought a lasagne with her for Michael and we sent him home with strict instructions to get some sleep. My next check wasn’t until 1am so he would be able to get a couple of hours sleep.
Well at 11pm they decided to give me a physical examination. The midwife seemed excited. She looked at us and with a smile told us that I was going to be moved to my own room. Labour was well established enough for me to move on! Then she told us I was the grand total of… 3cm dilated!
Was that it!? We both definitely thought she was going to at least 6cm!
Ah well onwards and upwards. Oh and we had to call Michael back as the arrival was obviously imminent!
Mike came back and we said goodbye to my hero Mum. He was still knackered but at least we’d tried. We were now on to our third midwife and thought this must be it! We had until 8.30am for this baby to arrive! Our calm and controlled midwife was sure it would happen! However, once again it was not to be. They offered me pethidine, I took it and had a fabulous sleep!
The sleep left me feeling renewed and refreshed!
Ready to start on the final straight! Or so we thought…!
Click here for part 2.
Click here to read how we announced our pregnancy!
You may enjoy a read of some of my first trials and tribulations during pregnancy!
Here’s a little insight into my mental state during pregnancy!