It’s kind of surreal reading back through my birth story, nine months after writing it, and 10 months after the experience. Honestly I can barely remember those first few weeks as it was just a haze of sleepiness and learning about this new life that depended on us entirely to survive.
I have to admit, the memory of the pain subsides so fast. I remember it being so hard, but actually looking back it seems so much more manageable than at the time. I miss that bubble of pure happiness straight after Henry was born, because honestly, for me, there has been no greater feeling. It’s all so overwhelming and amazing.
I’m also struck by how much just felt very instinctual, and looking back I can see how my body just did what it needed to. Yes, in some respects it’s terrifying, as you have this unimaginable drive to push that completely takes over your body and mind, and then it fades.The pain sweeps in and then fades back out. It’s like nothing you’ll ever experience anywhere else.
Would I do it all again? OMG yes! I’d do it all again, to get that amazing high, that little bundle of beauty that’s all yours.
I love my happy, almost to plan, birth story, and I can’t wait to have a go at it again. Here it is:
Henry’s story started officially from Saturday morning when I started getting contractions that were between 3-6 minutes apart. I’d been having irregular contractions for the last day and a half but genuinely thought nothing of them!
By 3pm on Saturday they were pretty regular with three in 10 minutes. I also couldn’t really remember feeling him move since that morning. My midwife had advised if movement reduced to call labour Line so I did. After a quick chat on the phone I was advised to go to the NFBC to get Henry monitored. After an hour of monitoring we were all happy that Henry was absolutely fine. Sitting upright for a little while made me focus on him rather than the contractions so I could feel him wriggling away as normal.
Due to my contractions I was also given an exam to see how we were progressing. I didn’t think it would be much so you can imagine my shock when the midwife said I was 3cm dilated and full effaced! We went home to wait it out a few hours knowing that Henry was in fact on his way!!
I lasted about an hour at home before the contractions were every three minutes and really distressing, so we called labour line and headed back to the NFBC. We had to wait a few hours after arrival for my contractions to regulate again after an adrenaline spike from going back, so I bounced on a ball and used a tens machine for the England vs Russia football game, and half of Die Hard before being examined again. I was 5cm dilated so offered Entonox and we started filling the birthing pool. My original plan was to have a water birth as I find water really relaxing. And it was really relaxing, combined with the Entonox I felt able to cope.
To cut a long story short (I was in established labour for about 11 hours) I had my waters broken at 9cm dilated which took me straight to 10cm. It also turned out that Henry was positioned back to back so needed to turn 180 degrees in the birth canal. After approximately two and a half hours of pushing, including a kind of threat from the midwives that if nothing changed in half an hour I’d have to be transferred to hospital for intervention, I managed to turn Henry and he arrived into the world naturally at 10:30am, with no pain relief!
Approximately 26 hours after I really went into labour, Dann said we had a son and he was placed on my chest for skin to skin contact.
Honestly it was the most painful and intense experience of my life but so utterly worth it in the end. And I’m so proud of myself that I found the strength to keep going even with pure exhaustion and a manoeuver.
And a note about the amazing team at the NFBC. They were seriously brilliant and supportive. Becky and Sarah were both angels and Sarah I genuinely think made it possible at the end for me to have Henry at the NFBC by guiding me through pushing. I’ll never be able to thank the amazing team there enough, and I would highly recommend anyone that can to go there.
Also their aftercare and breastfeeding support is so so good and I was able to leave a day after Henry was born feeling pretty confident on feeding.
Also a thank you to Dann who was an incredible birth partner. He fed me jelly and isotonic drinks throughout and was so supportive. I couldn’t have done it without him.
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