I’ll put my hands up right away and say this is how I remember labour from my drug induced state! If you want to check out how my pregnancy went you can read about the first, second and third trimesters first.
In the week before going into labour I was incredibly uncomfortable. Sitting was sore, lying was sore, standing was sore. Piglet was very high, right up in my ribs. I had seen the midwife on the Monday and she commented that his head wasn’t engaged and he was still high. On the Tuesday my consultant booked me in to be induced 2 weeks later. Despite my sister having had 2 early labours, for some reason it hadn’t really crossed my mind that I might go the same way!
Labour at Home
I woke up at around 4am on Thursday the 25th February and felt something going on “down there”. I didn’t know this at the time, but it was my waters breaking. It wasn’t at all how I had expected it! I was told it would continue to trickle, but for me it didn’t. A bit confused as to what was going on, I assumed it was probably something mucus plug related as there really wasn’t much fluid. I went back to bed and tried to get my self comfortable. I naively still didn’t consider that I might be in labour. My stomach started to be a little sore, a slightly cramping feeling. I got out of bed so as to not disturb JHogg and went down stairs to watch TV.
My parents were on a cruise travelling around the world, they were in New Zealand at this point and popped up to say hello on FaceTime. I mentioned I was uncomfortable and my mother rather bluntly informed me that I was in labour – whoops! I called the labour ward since my waters had broken and I was early (as a diabetic I had no option to delivery in the midwife unit). They said I should sit it out at home for a while, which I expected. I packed JHogg off to work, figuring he wouldn’t help me by just sitting around at home. In my infinite wisdom I decided to get some tidying up done around the house. I sorted the recycling and made sure I had all my medication in my hospital bag.
Three hours later I was in a lot more pain and called the labour ward again. This time they asked me to come in since it had been 5 hours from when my waters broke. JHogg came home from work to collect me and off we went to the hospital.
Labour at the Hospital
When we arrived I was shown to a room which they cheerily informed me was the smallest room in the labour ward. There was a radio planning which I demanded was turned off, I was getting close to chucking it out of the window. I don’t really cope with pain! Once I was all settled in I started the pain relief and this is where it all gets a big hazy. The exact time line is a bit sketchy but here are my memories!
I was only 1cm when I arrived at the hospital which was incredibly frustrating! I’m not sure how many hours later it was that they checked me again…. I was enjoying my pain relief too much. I hadn’t really progressed though and so they decided to give me some drugs to help speed things along. I was not a fan of that! I hyper stimulated and jumped to 9 and a half cm very quickly. Its not something I ever wish to experience again! I was full on crazy during that time.
I started off on gas and air. I mentioned up front that I wasn’t sure it would agree with me as things like that often make me throw up. The midwife was keen for me to try it anyway, so I did. As predicted I was being sick after just 1 contraction and it wouldn’t stop. I was treated to one of those incredibly painful anti-sickness injections. I was quick to ditch it as soon as I could for something a bit stronger! I had really liked the idea of hypnobirthing, but I didn’t discover it even existed until 2 weeks before my unexpected labour so I didn’t have time to really work it all out properly. So it was no surprise that my attempts during labour were fairly pitiful and didn’t work.
Due to my diabetes there was a risk of Piglet having issues maintaining his blood sugars when he was born and so the ability to eat straight away was important. I opted out of morphine as I didn’t want to risk him being drowsy after delivery.
I had remifentanil which was AMAZING at first. High as a kite and, although I could feel my contractions, I was in control of the pain. I have a vague memory of giving a thumbs up to a doctor when he asked how I was doing because I couldn’t bring myself to construct a sentence. Bliss. My first dose of remifentanil ran out around the same time I started hyper stimulating. The 2nd dose I was given wasn’t even touching the sides. I was back on the gas and air and generally flailing around like a mad woman. I’d been pretty clear upfront that I probably wanted an epidural, so I started spouting about that around then again.
The epidural took quite a while to come. I recall a lot of waiting around because someone was going to go into surgery, and then they weren’t, and then they were again. Either way – by the time the anaesthetist got to me I was beside myself. At one point I successfully pulled a cannula or two out and the midwife told me I had done it. I’m pretty sure my response was ” I don’t care”. I should have cared – those cannulas contained my insulin! By the time I eventually sat still long enough for the epidural to be put in my back I was fairly sure the world was ending. I was desperate for it to start to work and cursing myself for not asking for it earlier.
Eventually the epidural was working and the effects of the remifentanil wearing off. I was starting to get a clear head again. This is when they checked me and discovered I was almost fully dilated. In hindsight I was probably too far a long for the epidural so I’m so glad they didn’t check me before or I never would have had it!
Once I was fully dilated I had to wait 2hrs before pushing. I had a snooze in that time – I had been up for 19 hours and was exhausted. At around 1am they woke me to get things rolling. We found that whenever I pushed Piglet’s heart rate dropped. A doctor was called for and a forceps delivery required to keep us both safe. His chord was wrapped tight around his neck and it had to be cut free once his head was out. So unfortunately JHogg didn’t get it cut the chord.
Once Piglet was born they placed him on my chest. It was immediately obvious that he wasn’t breathing and he was rushed out to see the doctors. As I was being stitched up we could hear him start to cry from the hallway where he was being treated, so we knew he was ok. He came back to us and we did have some time together, but eventually he was taken to the neonatal unit.
My whole labour was 22hrs from waters breaking to delivery. It was both the longest and shortest 22hrs I’ve ever experienced – but I’d do it again in a heartbeat.
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