Now I feel that I have been very lucky in that I have experienced two very different births – medically, practically and emotionally. I don’t feel I would be giving a complete picture and sharing my experiences if I didn’t tell you about both, but that said, I am not going to go into the medical details of the whole birthing process on the basis that I am not qualified to do such things and there are some great pregnancy and birthing bibles out there that do a great job for this.
The natural singleton approach
The birth of my singleton followed what I would consider a straight forward natural labour with no complications during or after. I honestly remember this experience fondly and have always maintained I would do it all again (and said that immediately after the birth too) so I consider myself very lucky in this respect.
So one sunny day in June 2007, four days past my due date, I awoke at 5am feeling not quite right and that something was going on. As my husband was commuting to London to work on a daily basis I decided that I did not want him to go on this particular day. My contractions started in way that I identified them as such during an episode of the Weakest Link. My husband (spot the accountants here) rushed to get a pad and paper and we noted down the frequency of my contractions and length for a very very long time. This progressed for a good few hours and saw us through to the end of Season 5 of 24 (when we realised it was indeed President Logan who was the baddie, although I am not convinced this was the best television viewing as I had visions of President Logan throughout my advanced stages of labour).
Mid afternoon I started to consider the rush hour impact on my impending visit to local Maternity Unit and decided I could hold off, until I could no longer take the pain of the contractions anymore and we headed off at 7pm in search of medical attention and pain relief.
On arrival I was inspected and it was announced I was about 1cm dilated. Now the cervix needs to dilate to 10cm, and to be normally be admitted one has to be about 3cm. I could not believe it. How could this be. I was in incredible pain from the contractions. They sent me away with the advice of to have some paracetamol and a hot bath. All very well but really. I struggle to see how a nine month pregnant woman can have any kind of relaxing or pain relieving experience in a standard sized bath. I was feeling very sorry for myself until about 11.30pm when we decided to give it another shot.
This time I was inspected and it was announced I was 3cm dilated and was invited to stay. Yippee! Woo hoo! The midwife was Wendy and I just loved her. The relief of knowing that the process moving along coupled with the ‘Right, I am now here where I need to be and will be having a baby soon and have all the medical attention I will need’ was immense. I remember using one of the grey cardboard sick bucket/potty things as a party hat and having a good old bounce on the birthing ball whilst feeling the welcome relief of gas and air. I even tucked into my Haribo Star Mix. This was it. Bring it on.
Anyway it all progressed in the same slow fashion for a few hours and come 3am I was a bit tired of it all so had a welcome shot of pethadine to give me a few hours sleep to prepare me for the hours ahead. I could sleep through my contractions no longer at 8am and went into advanced labour. This next hour was not to be my finest as I forgot everything I had been told at antenatal classes and had read about and basically lost the plot. I had no routine or process on how to deal with the pain of the contractions. I sent my husband out because quite frankly he didn’t really know what to do with me and I had to get my mind on track and I was the only one who could do that. And I managed to pull it all back and get into a nice rhythm again. Two Property Ladder episodes later, my husband was welcomed back into the room. The pushing bit was all over quite quickly and after what I can only describe and can still feel now is a football then a pack of sausages all tumbling out of me, we were met with ‘it’s a boy’ and greeted our little bundle. Wonderful wonderful wonderful.
After a bit more pushing for the placenta (I never expected that bit), I was soon bathed, tucked into toast and tea, and transferred up to the maternity ward where I spent a night getting used to my little boy.
So that is my experience of a natural singleton birth which I consider to be quite a pleasant one.
As you can imagine, the next birth was somewhat different.