Two days before my due date I felt incredibly overwhelmed with emotion. I can’t tell you why, but I could not stop crying uncontrollably. I begged my husband not to go into work the following day because I couldn’t bear the thought of being alone. He suggested we went for a walk, so we packed up some tea and brownies and sat by the river. Thankfully tea saved the day and I calmed down. Little did we know that was the last night of our lives we would be just the two of us. *Tip: Look out for behaviour that is unusual to you, it might well be the start of labour*
Early the next morning, I woke at 3am with what I thought were period pains, I went to the loo and my period pains went. I got back into bed and my period pains came back again. This happened a couple more times before I thought ‘ah, this isn’t period pains, this is labour’. My husband was already awake, having been on tenterhooks every time I woke in the night and suggested we stayed in bed with the curtains closed and watch old episodes of Friends. We chilled at home for the next few hours and decided to walk to a local cafe for a huge breakfast *Tip: Eat as much as you possibly can whilst you’re still hungry. You’ll appreciate the energy later*
At midday and now back at home, I had a bleed so my husband called the hospital just to be safe, who said we should go in. We soon found out the bleed was because I dilated very quickly.On the way into hospital I went into active labour (we used the Freya app which was recommended by my hypnobirhthing teacher (@positivebirthjersey) and was absolutely amazing)). *Tip: If the status of your labour changes after speaking to the hospital, such as in this case, make sure you update them on your arrival*. We forgot to mention this so I was held in a waiting room for a long time. I was assessed at 13:00ish and was told I was 5cm dilated. Things really ramped up after that and my surges were very strong. My original preference was to go to the birthing centre but because of my bleed the hospital would not permit it. If I had known beforehand I think I would have been really upset but in the moment I just wanted to do whatever my baby needed to be safely brought into the world. At this point, still in the triage and having had no pain relief, I decided as my birth preferences had gone out the window that I would have an epidural as the surges were getting stronger.
At 13:30 / 14:00 we went across to the labour ward and I was talked through the risks of an epidural and told the anesthetist would be in shortly. A while later and literally as the anesthetist walked in the room my waters broke. The midwife said she’d examine me again before the anesthetist put the epidural in. She looked up, almost shocked and said, ‘You’re 10cm’s, the baby is on it’s way’. She said I could still have the epidural if I wanted to but I decided not to as I thought I could manage for a couple of hours more, so went with just gas and air (which is fab by the way!)
My friends think I am joking when I say I’d love to do it all again but I am not. I would love to do it all again and appreciate every stage of my labour and notice every thing that brought me closer to meeting the best little creature in my whole life. Someone said to be beforehand that I should film my birth which made me feel rather queasy at the time but every single week that goes by I wish I had done exactly that and could watch him arrive and re-live it all. I can honestly say I felt no pain when he came. My husband said I went into a trance in the delivery room and was just totally silent. At 16:12 on April 1st, Willoughby was placed on my naked chest, my very own April fool. I looked at him and said ‘he’s so tiny’ and then looked at my husband and said ‘we made him’. I cannot tell you how insignificant everything else in the world becomes when you meet your baby for the first time.
*Tip: take photos as you go along, my husband took lots and it’s lovely (and hilarious at the same time) to look back on them!
Thanks so much to my friend @lilyelizabethrose for your wonderful birth story.