Sooooo here goes. The start to my labour was a little shock – as it happened before Peach’s due date (Peach was our baby’s nickname), it all happened naturally and with little pain. No sudden gushing of my waters (like all the films would have you believe!) and no sudden onset pain from contractions. So here goes……
I’d had ‘stomach ache’ on and off all afternoon – I put it down to eating something odd/the cup of coffee I’d had (as this often made my tummy turn a little). Later that evening I called triage as the pain was getting stronger and more like a shooting sensation. They said to relax at home (as I had no other symptoms that meant they were concerned for me/baby) and if I still didn’t feel too good to call back. Well about an hour later I did, as the pains were still there, and roughly every 7 - 10 mins the pain came (not a completely set pattern, so I assumed maybe stomach ache still or Braxton hicks). I should add I had an achy back, but no more so than as per usual from sitting at my desk all day. So they said to come in for a once over at 1:15am. 1:30am my dad dutifully drove me to the hospital (as my husband had gone away for a final ‘before kids’ weekend with a good friend in London).
Once in triage I was greeted by a very friendly midwife and a trainee. They hooked me up to a machine to measure my pains and monitor Peach’s heartbeat. 1 hour passed, during which I was monitored regularly and they were happy with everything they saw, but noticed the pains were getting more intense. Both the trainee and midwife did an internal exam and very calmly confirmed that I was in labour, 3-4cm dilated already. At this I burst into tears and buried my face in my hands, I WAS NOT expecting them to say this! It was too early, I was only 36weeks and 6 days! They quickly took my shoulders and comforted me, reminding me it was all ok, baby’s heartbeat was strong, I was almost full term and it wasn’t going to happen instantly so there was plenty of time for my husband to get to the hospital. They asked if anyone was with me, then went to get my dad from the front entrance. They then offered to call whomever I needed, including my husband. They offered reassurance and drinks/ snacks too throughout my time in triage.
I was then moved to a delivery room, where I remained with another midwife and trainee. Who again were most supportive, checking my monitors, talking to me, finding out what I did and didn’t want and monitoring my pain levels to then give me anything to help the pain.
I should add my husband arrived at the hospital around 5:30am.
Further into my labour around 7am I was given gas and air, as my pain had begun to intensify with each contraction, this was my preferred method of pain relief. Prior to this I had simply been given paracetamol and one dose of codine – as my preference was to avoid all other pain medication, which the midwives respected.
Shift swap then took place at 8am, where I had a new midwife and trainee. Again both were super!!! Politely asking if I was happy with the trainee to do internal exams, and if I was not to just say and even during the examination to ask to stop if it was too uncomfortable. Again both were super supportive checking on me, talking to me and keeping me informed on what was happening. They even double checked some things I’d been asked previously (like did I want certain thing or not) I was left to move around as much as I wanted (with the only constraint being that I had to be attached to the monitor constantly). I had a bed I moved around freely, a ball to bounce on and was left to move and get into whatever positions I felt best suited me.
As labour progressed I was given immense amounts of encouragement from the midwives present – which was so reassuring. I was never left alone – again very reassuring. I was informed about what was showing on the monitors – which reassured me Peach was all ok too. The team were also sure to keep reminding me to breathe (utilising the gas and air as I did) and suggestions provided to move into different positions to help me be more comfortable and make delivery easier. The team only moved me when it was really necessary for examinations (they did try to work around what was comfortable for me as much as possible).
When pushing again loooooots of positive reinforcement was provided and I felt I was truly in a safe and supportive environment because of this. Regular changes of bedding were provided too, as these get wet and dirty during labour. My waters didn’t break until I actively started pushing, then 2 more pushes and Peach was here.
Once Peach arrived she was handed to me ASAP, for skin to skin. My husband was then able to cut the cord, as this was a request they had noted early on into my labour. The team provided support for the after birth, ensuring both myself and Peach were warm, well fed and as comfortable as possible. We were left alone to be a little family of 3 for a short while, and the team just checked in on us regularly. We were left in the delivery room to recover and relax for quite a while, even allowing me the chance to shower and refresh. It was amazing as we were not rushed out of the delivery room, so got a chance to really enjoy being with our beautiful new daughter.
I should add that throughout my time in the delivery suite I was visited by multiple other medical professionals. Often this was because they were checking the work of others, or it was necessary due to Peach being premature. But every time somebody entered they knocked first and asked if it was ok to come in, they also explained why they were there so that I understood they were there for a good reason.
Once on the ward I was given the same amazing care as during labour; lots of regular checks on both myself and Peach, as well as every call of the assistance buzzer being met with a friendly face and excellent support. Overall, I had a very straightforward birth, no major issues with delivery, no tears, no need for a c-section, respect and support constantly shown by all staff we encountered, and overall a relatively quick labour lasting from 1:30am-10:43am, with roughly just 20 mins of pushing.