I was never one of those pregnant ladies who had their birth plan ironed out. Regardless of the endless birthing classes we attended I still had no idea what labour would be like, I knew I would never really know until it was happening, therefore I felt it sensible to keep the plan loose and go with the flow.
That isn’t to say I don’t think people should have a plan, I think you should do what ever you can to prepare yourself for the big day, so you are relaxed as possible. For some people that might be planning, for me it was going with the flow.
I told myself it didn’t matter if I used the pain relief options available (and meant it), and just do what I needed to get me through. However surprisingly when the time came, I tried everything possible not to take the medication and when I couldn’t take it anymore without the meds, I did the very British thing and apologised profusely.
“I’m sorry, I can’t do this anymore” x 100
“I’m sorry, I have tried my best” x 100
So much so it led to the midwife telling me;
“Stop apologising, the next time you say sorry I am going to start charging you”
My top piece of advice is, don’t be a hero! In hindsight I should have just had the epidural earlier and enjoyed the experience more. As it was…
…in brief this is my labour story;
- Home; breathing & rotating on my birth ball (8 hours)
- Triage; breathing, examination & sweep (4 hours)
- Birth Centre; breathing, rotating on ball, birthing positions, gas & air, Pethidine (12 hours)
- Labour ward (8 hours) epidural, resting, 2hrs of pushing
- Operating Theatre (1 hour) more drugs, attempted forceps & C-Section
- Labour ward (1.5 hours) no idea, too many drugs
- Postnatal ward (33 hours) resting
Despite my best efforts a natural birth was never on the cards, her little head was at an impossible angle and only a C-Section could guarantee a save delivery.
Now at the time I was too tired, too high and too excited to see my baby delivered safely, that I didn’t give the operation a second though or anything that came with it, and I have to say it is not the horror story people imagine, quite the opposite, it was an exciting and positive experience, largely due to;
- The staff, who were very supportive and kept the atmosphere positive (especially the smiley anesthetist who had to respond to the same question I asked throughout “am I going to die?”
- My partner, who didn’t let go of my hand until the baby arrived and chatted rubbish too me the entire time
- My partner was the first to hold her and was allowed to cut the cord
- Documentation, a nurse who seemed to be there solely to video and take pictures for us
- I got to see my baby! As soon as the cord was cut she was brought straight to be (whilst I was being stitched up)
- A nurse ran back to the room to get the hat I picked out for Hallie
- As soon as the op was complete I was handed Hallie for skin on skin
I know it doesn’t always go as smoothly as this and it is scary, but the point I am trying to get across is, it can still be a beautiful and special experience. It doesn’t matter how your baby comes into the world as long as you and your baby are safe and well. After my many apologies, I now look back and realise there is no need to be sorry or disappointed, I did my best and that for me is good enough.
My pearls of wisdom;
- Keep your birth plan open
- Educate yourself on all the outcomes and how you can still keep it a positive experience, whether it be your partner cutting the cord or your baby wearing the outfit you chose, etc
- It is important to have faith in your hospital and be happy in your hospital choice
- Make sure you have support to hand, my mum and my sister waited around the hospital to get us food, water and positive vibes before my op
- Concentrate on your baby and let everyone else do everything else, (if nothing else a C-Section ensures you have plenty of time for baby cuddles and no time for cleaning 🙂 )
- If it does end in C-Section make sure you rest, rest and rest, just enjoy your baby