It's took a year to write this, i am still not 100% sure i am ready but, with Albie turning 1 this week it felt the process of attempting to make sense of what happened would be good and allow me some reflection on that time one year ago.
If your pregnant i would say this may not be the best thing for you to read, if you like all the details then go ahead but remember this was my journey and all journeys are not the same. If you had your own traumatic experience of labour then be aware this could bring triggers, just make sure your looking after yourself as this is my honest and detailed account of what happened to me. I also want to share that although there were things that went wrong our midwife care was beyond exceptional and we felt cared for by those looking after us, things happen, decisions are made we understand that but the 5 midwifes who cared for us looked after us with unbelievable care, understanding and honesty and without them we couldn't have done it.
After taking so long to fall pregnant my two wishes were that we would make it to full term and that our labour would happen 'naturally' and induction wouldn't be the route we had to go down. I spoke openly about how this wasn't the type of labour i agreed with and how i knew the outcome would lead to assistance due to the fast pace of contractions, and my body not being totally ready for what would be occurring. However, it's what happened and after two weeks of waiting i knew my baby wasn't coming naturally, i spoke to my midwife and induction was booked, on the 28th July 2019 we walked into that induction suite with little idea what was to happen next but filled with excitement the time had come to meet our baby.
For those who don't know about induction it happens in many ways, mostly in the form of a pessarie or gel that's inserted into your vulva then if that starts to work and your cervix dilates into 'active labour' (which i think is around 6cms) your good to go. If you don't get to this stage you get put on a drip, which is like a pace maker for the womb, the drip is filled with a drug that forces contractions and throughout your labour your given larger doses, making the contractions bigger and hopefully your cervix begins to open more and your baby starts to move, active labour begins.
I went into the induction suite for 5pm on Sunday 28th, they settled me into a room with 4 other 'inductees' and throughout the evening everyone was given the gels to start labour moving, one by one women moved out as they progressed. At around 1am the midwifes shared i was contracting well and showing good signs, however when they did their internal check i sadly wasn't dilating and sadly was still only 1cm, not even enough to break my waters, this carried on for a few hours, we walked around and around the RVI and bounced and bounced but sadly things weren't moving as fast as they would like. They finally managed to break my waters on Monday morning, around 7am, 11hrs into the beginning stages of labour, the period style pain contractions. Things started to feel slightly out of my control of my own body at this stage, i was in discomfort and pain and felt powerless as to what was being prodded in me. Now, i am aware this happens to A LOT of women, however for me, this area of my body had experienced this prodding for 4yrs now, many investigations into my fertility, with ivf you always have some 'wand' being inserted to check for follicles, embryos, eggs etc etc so for this now to be happening throughout birth also was just adding to the trauma of feeling it was someone else's to do as they wanted.
At this point we spoke with the midwife and informed them i didn't want any sweeps, i didn't want to be prodded unless needed, and requested any checks that could be delayed until actual labour fully started would be. They were so understanding, asked what would help and offered me a bath, i remember so clearly getting in the bath with some clary sage and listening to the archers, it felt warm and comforting on my body and i lay there in this tiny bath, waters broken but feeling more at ease.
The next few hours turned into a blur as sadly i moved into a more pressing labour but there wasn't room for me in the delivery suite until 3pm Monday, 21hrs into first stage labour. I tried not to feel frustrated and knew i needed all my good hormones to flow but sadly this insane procedure they had in place for induction women meant my labour soon came to a stop as there was nowhere for me to move to and the 'holding rooms' were not the most relaxing.
When we finally moved into an available room the drip was waiting and any form of moving, swaying labour was heading out the door. After flapping and huffing for a bit, Sam calmed me down, he made the room lovely, diffuser, affirmation cards, music and massaged my back helping me guide back into the space, it felt good and i was happy to just be present with him.
Labour started to take hold around 8pm, around 26hrs in, i was starting to understand contractions and breathing through them with my yoga breathing, i felt in control of my body and was sniffing my lavender hanky like there was no tomorrow. I got to 12pm, 30hrs into labour and realised i needed something more, the gas and air was making me sick and my breath wasn't cutting it, after another hour of discussing and looking at the pluses and negatives we decided to opt for an epidural, the antitheist came, placed the site and administered the drug, i waited and expected that calm to come where i would get some sleep and contractions could move through me more freely. I waited and waited and as the drip was pushed higher i realised nothing was happening, it wasn't working, something was wrong, the epidural had failed me, i was now contracting big, but my cervix was only at 2.5cms (not classed as active labour) however my contractions were that of active labour, my midwife was confused and the look on Sam's face was of worry, and this is where it all just started to go wrong.
So i am aware that women have traumatic births every day, i am not saying mine is the worst ever but for me my birth was traumatic, it was everything i didn't want it to be and everything they didn't want it to be, it was raw and brutal and the journey it took was everything i did not want it to be, it lives with me still and i remember it daily, the trauma is held in my body, in my c section scar and although i have processed a lot of it its hard to forget something so monumental, the day my son came into the world, the most wonderful day ever is also the day my body and mind was slightly broken.
For the next 6hrs a number of things went wrong, they couldn't place any epidural so i was contracting strong every 2mins, not even in active labour with no pain relief, i was screaming for a c section at one point as i felt my body was about to explode, we were left alone for an hour when the 2nd epidural was placed, which again we were assured would work and it didn't, Sam actually walked out into the labour ward asking anyone for help, to be told we had to wait for our midwife to come back from lunch, which she deserved and needed but at that point we also needed someone to help. After 6hrs of no clue how i was going to do it they called the big leads in and the consultant visited me at 7am, horrified at what she found. The hierarchy of midwifes and antitheist played it's part and the consultant shared she should have been rung earlier, i was given pethidine and finally an epidural that worked, i finally found some calm and my drug fuelled haze set in to allow me some sleep, 49hrs after arriving at hospital.
52hrs after we first arrived they made the decision we needed to move to a c-section, i wasn't in immediate danger and Albie was fine but they knew he wasn't coming out, i didn't know at the time but he was back to back which basically means he was snug as a bug and not in the right position to push on the cervix properly to dilate it. As we entered theatre i remember i just needed Sam to hold my face, the drugs were hard at that point and my jaw wouldn't stay still, i remember thinking i can't bring my baby into the world like this and imagined how my Mum would have to look after him until i was well enough. I realise now i needed physical contact, everything felt so out of control i needed that touch from my husband to hold me and tell me it was all going to be okay.
Albie was born at 10.54am, 52hrs and 54mins later, he came out fully 'cooked' with not an ounce of amniotic fluid on him and was a strapping 9lb 30z and a face that made our world shine.
Those after hours feel a blur of drug tripping hazy waves, at times i didn't feel able to hold Albie as i was scared of dropping him, i was hearing voices of friends that weren't there and both Sam and I were falling asleep as hadn't slept properly since Sunday and it was now Tuesday afternoon. It was the most intense but powerful few hours having this new life in our arms, Sam did most of the skin to skin due to me not being well enough too. Our midwifes came and helped us soothe him to sleep, giving us a few hours to close our eyes before my Mum and Ron came to meet him.
When everyone left that evening and it was just me and him, i lay next to him watching him, not believing he was mine and we were one, he scared me but made me whole and this new chapter was about to begin.
Labour, she's a beast in many forms and i still don't know the exact words i use to describe her, i struggled to just forget what happened like others say you do, i couldn't forget the face of my husband as he watched me agonising in pain totally helpless and i couldn't forget the face of my midwife as she questioned what was going on, however i do remember the squidginess of my boy as he entered this world and for that it was worth it but i knew i wouldn't be putting myself through it again, he was here and now we were done.