Yes, I know… I haven’t been blogging for almost a month now. February just flew by! I was house-hunting (to no avail), preparing for Baby G’s arrival (that is, setting up the nursery in my tiny little apartment, shopping for last minute essentials, learning how to use the pram, car seat, etc, etc…). I thought I’d write something before the end of February or by the first week of March at the latest – after all, Baby G wasn’t due until 17 March! Little did I know the little angel decided to come early! It’s a good thing of course – I couldn’t wait to meet her, and I was already pretty bored with being pregnant. In fact, I made many attempts to induce labour naturally at home – I increased my raspberry tea leaf intake, I stayed active and did a lot of things around the house (hey, I heard gravity helps), I ate a lot of spicy food, and of course, I had sex. The day before my waters broke, I actually did all of those (including taking a nice long walk in the neighbourhood)… I guess, something must have kicked start the whole process.
Anyway, I was 37+1 when my waters broke in the early morning of 2 March 2015. There was no sign of labour, but I was advised by the Birth Centre to come in and get my pregnancy and baby’s health assessed. Everything was well and I was told that I should go into labour spontaneously within the next 24 to 48 hours. If I didn’t, I had the option to get an induction to ‘jump start’ labour. Obviously, I didn’t want to have to do that… I wanted everything to happen naturally and I wanted to give birth at the Birth Centre and not the Labour Ward! So I did everything I could that day to get my contractions starting – I walked around, I vacuumed, I bounced on my gym ball, etc, etc… and it worked (or maybe it was just a coincidence… but who cares)… I felt my first contraction at around 10pm (nearly 16 hours after my waters broke). It felt like cramps but more painful than your usual cramps – I remember telling my husband “this is bad” (although, looking back, it was actually very mild in comparison to the contractions I was getting at the ‘active labour‘ stage (that’s when your cervix begins to dilate more rapidly and contractions are longer, stronger and closer together)). My husband was a dear; he’s got this ‘contractions app’ on his phone, which I personally think helped us a lot in keeping track on how my labour was progressing. We called the Birth Centre at around midnight when I was having a 1 in 5/6 (that is, 1 contraction in 5 or 6 minutes) and was told to come in when I had a 1 in 2/3. That happened around 2am and by 2.30am, we were booked into our room.
My labour progressed very quickly. I’m guessing within an hour of being booked into our room, I went into ‘active labour‘. The pain was excruciating! It’s nothing like I’ve ever felt before! And the contractions were so close together I didn’t have time to catch my breath! I asked for painkillers and was put on Gas and Air (a mixture of oxygen and nitrous oxide gas)… it helped regulate my breathing but no, it didn’t take the pain away! So I asked for my birthing pool to be filled up – the warm water helped for a while, but it didn’t last. Towards the end (that is, during the ‘transition and second stage of labour‘) nothing helped! That was when I screamed for Epidural. I had to be transferred to the Labour Ward if I really wanted one, but I remember screaming “I don’t care, I want an Epidural!” But, I was actually already in the ‘pushing’ stage, so really, there was no point of getting an Epidural… I couldn’t at that stage have gotten out of the pool anyway. So I just got on with it… throughout the entire process, I somehow was able to remember everything I learnt from my antenatal classes with the NHS (not with the NCT!) and as a result, I was able to give birth to Baby G at exactly 6.49am without any assistance, interventions and drugs to help with the pain. I had a straightforward tear which required minor stitches, but again, I didn’t need any drugs to help with the pain and was able to move about the same day.
So, everything was over in 8-9 hours… not bad for a first timer, huh? And by the way, I didn’t have a Birth Plan written out – I personally think it’s overrated. The things that really helped me out throughout the entire process are: the NHS antenatal classes (especially the session on what to do and how to push during labour), hydrotherapy (seriously, water birth is amazing and I highly recommended it), the environment at the Birth Centre, the brilliant midwives at Lewisham Hospital, and of course, my dearest husband who’s been nothing but great the entire time.
Baby G was 38 weeks when she was born and she weighed 2.8kg. She’s my little angel who completes my life.