My Pregnancy: The Birth

If you read my third trimester post then you'll know that I was admitted to a maternity ward for observations due to high blood pressure on Friday the 4th of January. Ian stayed with me the whole time. We had our hospital bags in the car already, just in case! We weren't sure what was happening at first as we'd been advised that I'd probably get to go home after being observed for a few hours. When I was asked what I'd like to order for supper, I started to wonder if we would indeed be going home or staying in overnight! That evening, a consultant came to see us and basically said the only way to cure the high blood pressure (which can turn into pre-eclampsia at any time) was to get the baby out... So, I was to be booked into the next available slot on Saturday to be induced. I was scared but also excited that we'd soon be meeting our baby girl!

Later that evening I had my first internal examination and was pleased to hear that I was 1cm dilated. I also agreed to have a membrane sweep at this point; quite uncomfortable but not as bad as I'd imagined! I had regular blood pressure checks up until the night shift staff came on. We were basically forgotten about until morning and as we were on an observation ward where women were admitted at all hours (most being in active labour), we barely got any sleep and felt like crap.

On Saturday morning, a midwife came to see us and said I'd be getting examined and induced around 9am and we'd be taken to a quieter room. We were taken to an empty ward where I was to be induced using a fairly new method called a cook balloon; a water-filled catheter which is inserted into the cervix to soften and dilate it until the balloon naturally falls out. Most people are able to return home with this method, but of course I'd be staying put! I had my legs up in stirrups and upon my second examination I was thrilled to hear that I was now 3cm dilated so didn't need the balloon! We were then taken to our own room on the ward which had en-suite facilities. It was now a waiting game until there was a space on the labour ward. We were so happy to have our own, quiet room and managed to get some sleep and I took the opportunity to have a shower here. My blood pressure was monitored throughout the day and I was still getting medication for it.

We had just finished eating supper when a midwife knocked on the door and asked if I was ready to go have a baby! We gathered our bags and followed her to the labour ward. It was a rather clinical setting (basically the opposite of what I'd wanted for the birth), but the midwife was pleasant and made us feel at ease. I was to have my waters broken and then be induced via an IV drip of syntocinon - a synthetic version of the hormone oxytocin, which stimulates the muscles of the uterus to produce contractions.
I enquired if the drip was necessary considering I was already 3cm dilated without any chemical intervention. I hadn't progressed any further since the morning so agreed to the drip because at the end of the day, we all just wanted baby out! I hate needles etc and so I closed my eyes while the midwife inserted a canula into my left hand. I felt warm liquid gushing over my hand and just knew it was blood! She had to wipe down the side of the bed and everything! Not a good start and now my body was shaking uncontrollably - I don't know why but maybe due to a mix of nerves and anxiety? So you can imagine how difficult it was to "just relax" while the midwife inserted what looked like a crochet hook inside me to break my waters and I tried not to kick her off the bed! My waters breaking was a strange sensation - a warm gush of liquid and feeling like you'd pee'd yourself! So the time was now around 6:15pm and I was starting to get very anxious at the thought of what lay ahead. Ian asked when I'd like him to call my Mum to come in as my second birth partner and I asked him to call her then as I wanted her there. She arrived within an hour or so.

Not long after the drip had been started, a new midwife came on for the night shift. She was very clinically-orientated and was sat at her computer inputting notes for a lot of the time. She was very focused on guidelines and time-frames etc. Nothing was happening for a while and the drip was increased every fifteen minutes until the maximum dosage. Once the contractions started, I held off on the gas and air until it got too painful. I was adamant I didn't want any pain relief such as morphine. I'd say the gas and air acts more as a distraction than pain relief and it made me feel quite drunk, but in a good way. I actually remember getting the giggles early on and Ian and Mum laughing at me. I also remember telling Ian to "piss off" once or twice and asking him to do it instead.

I was very sensitive to the drip and it had to be turned down then up again a few times as at some points I was getting continuous contractions without a moment to breathe! It was very tiring and so by the time I was pushing, when my two hours were up I had to have a small cut to help deliver the baby's head. I also got leg cramp whilst pushing which was awful! Although I was numbed, I felt the cut and it was horrible! And then our gorgeous baby girl was born and placed on my chest. She cried briefly and was looking around, eyes wide open! Ian and I looked at each other and agreed she was called Charlotte Emily. She was born on Sunday the 6th of January at 2:50am and weighed 6lbs 8¼oz. My labour lasted approximately 8.5 hours which is pretty quick for a first baby! I'd say the worst bit was getting stitches immediately after giving birth. I was numbed but could feel all the tugging and pulling!
We were offered toast and a drink, then when I felt ready, I went and had a shower. Afterwards, Ian gathered up our bags and the midwife handed me little Charlotte, all swaddled and cosy in a blanket, then wheeled me through to another ward. We remained on this ward until Monday evening, when we were discharged. During our time on the ward, different staff would pop their head in to see how we were getting on with feeding and there was a booklet to fill out which stated feeding times, duration of the feed and how well the baby was feeding on the breast. Strangely, we were advised to feed 3-4 hourly and not on demand - bad advice right there! Newborns should be fed as and when required, most likely every two hours, but Charlotte slept so well and rarely cried, so we thought she was satisfied.
Despite having to buzz for assistance almost every time Charlotte needed fed, due to her not latching on well and coming off too quickly, we weren't really given much help or advice - someone would come in, position Charlotte on me and shove my boob in her mouth, then leave. We managed what felt like a few good feeds towards the end of our stay, so we got to go home. Charlotte slept really well in the car and it was great to get home! We saw a midwife at home the next day and she advised us that Charlotte was slightly jaundiced and because of this she would send a maternity assistant the next day to weigh her. I had my stitches checked and a swab was taken as they looked to be infected so I was started on antibiotics as a precaution. Having stitches was so uncomfortable and having a horrible cold/cough at the time really didn't help! The swab actually came back negative, but I was happy to have the antibiotics anyway.

I'll leave it there for today's post and in my next baby-related blog post I will cover the first month or two of parenthood, including our re-admission to hospital and how you really can't pre-plan anything where babies are concerned - every baby is unique and you just have to go with the flow!

Did your birth(s) go to plan or were they completely different to how you'd hoped or imagined?

Speak soon,


  1. I'm sad you didn't get the birth plan you wanted Emma, but so glad your little girl arrived safely! I suppose that's what matters at the end of the day :-) I very nearly had to be induced, my midwife told me the different procedures I could have, all of which didn't sound nice at all, so props to you for that! My stitches hurt SO much afterwards too! It's crazy, you go through the pain of labour, but for me those stitches at the end were horrendous! Ha. I found I had to buzz for help breastfeeding, I found it really difficult. We swapped to formula after a week, tbh I wish I stuck with it for longer now, but a fed baby is a happy baby :-) Lovely photos too btw. I love looking back at Amelia's hospital photos. It's crazy how much they change isn't it.

    1. Thanks for your comment Claire! I'm sorry you didn't get on with breast-feeding either, but it's also reassuring to hear that you're not alone and that lots of people experience problems - no-one tells you just how difficult it can be! I think the stitches and after care is actually worth than the birth haha. Yes, they change so much in such a short space of time!
      Emma xxx


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