Like the Wee Man and Bubby D before her, Little B’s entrance to the world was begun through induction of labour.
The initial induction process took two days, and was fairly similar to what I’d experienced before, in many respects. Lots of waiting, lots of midwives rummaging around in my lady bits and lots and lots of books read.
But in a lot of ways it was different too.
Arriving at the hospital, we were invited into the labour ward and I got my first glimpse of the before unseen environment where I would be giving birth. The hospital used to run tours of the ward, but now relies on an online ‘walkthrough’ to give you an idea of what to expect. I didn’t like that. It made me somehow feel less in control, less prepared for what was going to happen (even though I knew, to an extent, what was going to happen anyway).
The way in which we were greeted helped allay these fears somewhat. The midwives were so welcoming and friendly, the ward was clean and inviting and there was a whole folder of useful information about the midwives, babies, and everything that might be relevant during our stay (a bit like the information folder you’d get in a hotel!) that I immediately felt much more at ease.
And there was also no real waiting around for things to get started – as soon as I was settled, the examinations began and induction was underway…
…two days later, and I was just starting to wonder if anything was ever going to happen when I started feeling like the tightenings I’d been having for several weeks were beginning to get a bit more intense, and a bit more regular. Was Little B finally on her way?
The midwives hooked me up to their machine thingy, I whipped out the contraction timer app on my phone and both confirmed what I suspected – things were starting to move on!
And it didn’t take long before the intensity had really ramped up. Chloe, the lovely midwife who was looking after me at that point had a quick feel and proclaimed that I was 2-3 centimetres dilated. She’d obviously read my birth plan, which said that I’d like to use water as pain relief, and asked if I’d like her to run me a bath? Yes please!
A few minutes later and I was relaxing in lovely warm water. Well, as much as you can relax when you’re having a contraction every two minutes anyway! It wasn’t long before I started feeling a little bit more pushy and making a sound that I knew sounded vaguely like a cow mooing – which in my head I recognised as meaning that it wouldn’t be long before I was holding my newborn in my arms.
The Other Half recognised this too, and quickly summoned the midwife who was a bit alarmed at how quickly things seemed to have changed (my previous labours were very quick, but unfortunately my previous hospital was nowhere near as fast at actually sending an overview of my notes – which meant that there was no record of my previous pregnancies and births available for the midwives to look at this time). So they decided an examination was required, and then finding I was six centimetres, it was into a delivery room and onto the bed, on all fours.
And that’s where I stayed for a while, hugging the entonox and retreating into my own little world. It’s happened every time – I hear the midwife and the Other Half talking to me and I understand what they’re saying, but I just can’t interact with them. It’s like I’m totally focused on the contractions and what my body is doing and there’s no room for any other processes like interacting.
I lost awareness of time.
I lost awareness of the room around me.
It was all about Little B, and thinking about her progress further and further down, until finally I felt the need to really push – and spectacularly drenched everything in the delivery room as my waters forcefully broke! (The Other Half was lucky he’d moved to the left literally seconds before, or he would have been absolutely soaked! He tells me that the midwife laughed at him and said that’s why she wears a waterproof apron…).
A couple of pushes later, and Little B was welcomed into the world!
Jean, our midwife, let us discover for ourselves that we had a little girl, and then placed her on my chest while we let the umbilical cord finish pulsing. That’s something that wasn’t allowed in our previous hospital and I was glad that we got to do it this time. Then the Other Half was able to cut the cord (he’d said he didn’t want to when we were discussing it at home before the induction, but it’s testament to how brilliant and reassuring the midwives were that he felt confident and able to do it when the time actually came) and we snuggled up for Little B’s first feed.
In total, it took an hour and forty minutes.
That sounds quick, I know – but it’s my slowest labour by far!
It was painful, and intense, and something that I’m glad I won’t be doing again – but at the same time it was a kind of enjoyable experience in an odd way. I felt like I was in control of my body and what it was doing, and I felt empowered and supported to go with the flow and get Little B out the way I knew I could.
And I did tear, and I did need stitches. But it was nowhere near as bad as the first two times – and again the repair process was much more pleasant than it has been in the past. The consultant really put me at ease and kept up friendly conversation, distracting me from what he was doing. Being allowed to keep Little B on my chest and concentrating on staring into to her gorgeous little face as she latched on for a feed really helped too.
My legs starting shaking shortly after Little B was out, and didn’t stop for about 15 minutes – that’s how quick and intense everything was. It’s like my body suddenly realised what it had been through and the shock kicked in for a bit. I was a lot more aware of delivering the placenta too. Jean asked if I would like to see it, and I said I would. She set it down next to me, and went through all the different parts – the cord, the membranes and the placenta itself – and explained what they check for to make sure everything has been delivered as it should. I’d never had the opportunity to see my placenta before and it was very interesting!
I didn’t get a home birth, which I knew I wouldn’t but always kind of wanted.
I didn’t get a water birth, which I’d have loved to have experienced.
But I did get a really great birth experience, the best I could have hoped for.
And we got a gorgeous little daughter, a wonderful little sister for the Wee Man and Bubby D.
Welcome to the world, Little B!