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Home / Birth Stories / Birth Stories
25 Mar 2019

Long but positive labour

Whilst decorating, I had been having intermittent period type pains. I kept saying that these sorts of pains could happen for days on end, but Ben was adamant they were surges. Turned out he was right, because by 8pm, I couldn’t bear my dinner (Chinese takeaway!) and started to concentrate on my breathing. After a lovely bath, I spent the night nested in the lounge with my affirmations, my oil diffuser and tea lights on, sleeping between surges whilst Ben stayed upstairs getting proper sleep.

By 5pm the next day, I had 4 surges every 10 minutes and headed to the MLU, where I was assessed by a midwife and was 3cm dilated. We were left to our own devices and told to rest as much as possible. After 10 hours, surges had slowed down to every 30 minutes. The midwife said I should go home and return when surges were more frequent. This isn’t what I wanted to hear at all. She offered another examination, but didn’t want me to be disappointed if I hadn’t progressed any further. I was keen to know where I stood though and said yes to the examination. Getting into position on my back was really painful, so I ended up vomiting massively. Turned out I was 5-6cm dilated, I was not only allowed to stay, but also, finally got upgraded to the long awaited room with pool!

At 3am, I got changed into my bikini and got straight into the pool. It was lovely in there, and although surges had got more frequent at some point, but by 8am, surges had gone back to about every 20-30 minutes, and I was still only 6cm dilated. This is when the midwife on the morning shift bluntly told me I would have to be moved to the delivery suite to be started on an oxytocin infusion. I burst into tears, but Ben was very good in talking everything through and asking any questions, before being transferred to the ward.

On the ward, I was attached to a fetal monitor and the infusion was started, being told that it would be 2 hours before I felt any effects of it. After only 30 minutes, surges were getting stronger and more frequent!! My waters were also broken by the midwife, so I spent the next few hours feeling like I was wetting myself whilst breathing through surges. Gas and air worked for quite a while, and I was allowed to move around, but when I started to dread each surge coming, at around 4pm, I had pethidine. This was a very strange drug! I was completely spaced out, trying to join in the conversation between Ben and the midwife, but tailing off halfway through my sentences, and drunkenly singing along with the radio. It didn’t reduce my pain levels at all, so at around 9pm, I asked for an epidural. All 3 anaesthetists in the hospital were busy, but when one did arrive, the epidural was straightforward. The relief was amazing, and I was able to get some rest.

By midnight, I was visited by the consultant and her entourage, who said I would have another 1-2 hours on the infusion to see whether I would reach 10cm. When I was examined, I was still only 9 (and a half!) cm, with the registrar said our baby wasn’t coming out straight. My only option now was to have surgery. Although this was not the birth I had imagined, I knew I had done everything I could do myself do bring my baby into the world and gave consent to go to theatre.

After all this, the epidural stopped working on the left side of my body! I was taken to theatre to have a spinal block whilst Ben was taken to get changed into scrubs. I told the student midwife that I wanted Ben to tell me the sex of the baby, and she made sure the surgeon knew this. Henry was born at 2.38am, 54 hours after surges first started.

Hypnobirthing not only meant that I was able to stay calm for every stage of labour, but that I felt fully supported by my husband Ben. I felt like we worked in partnership to meet our baby, rather than me doing it alone. Even though my labour lasted so long, I will always remember it as a positive experience.