Convincing the Midwife I Was in Labourby Sophie Gillum-Webb
When it comes to birthing your baby, it's safe to say that we all have a perfect scenario mapped out in our heads. After a wholly unprepared and panicked forceps intervention with my first, I was determined that second time around I'd get that birth I had always planned. Only things don't quite work out as we plan, do they?
My midwife told me that after a traumatic birth, it's entirely normal to feel apprehensive about labour and delivery when you become pregnant again. It had been almost seven years since my first baby was born, and although I felt like I'd moved on from the experience, I was worried that it could all happen again. I suffered from some prenatal depression during pregnancy, and this seemed like additional anxiety I didn't need to worry about. I was determined that this time around, I would get the birth I wanted.
What was the ideal birth in my eyes? A friend suggested I watch a few episodes of One Born Every Minute, but I think I'd rather gouge my own eyes out. It's a TV show I previously enjoyed, but it seemed like the equivalent of watching Jaws before going swimming in the ocean! I researched a few different things online, and I soon realised that I liked the idea of a water birth and also incorporating hypnotherapy. I purchased battery-operated candles, room fragrance spritz, which is said to uplift mood, and I wrote an extensive birth plan. I felt prepared, even though I wasn't due for a few months!
At around twenty-two weeks, I began feeling a dull ache in my bump, and everything felt tight. I knew from my first that aches and pains were all part of the gig, but when the pain continued into the morning, I became worried. I rang the midwives at the hospital for reassurance, and they said I should come in and get checked over just to be safe. I took a seat amongst the other women, and I sobbed quietly in the corner out of complete fear and worry. Luckily I was seen quickly by a lovely midwife who took lots of tests but not before she let me hear my babies heartbeat, which put me at ease. It turned out I had an infection, and I was prescribed medication. A few weeks later, I received a letter stating that my test results showed I was Group B Strep positive.
Group B Strep
Group B Strep is a common type of bacteria that lives in the vagina. It's normally completely harmless, and most people don't even realise they have it. It only becomes a problem when you are pregnant as it can be passed on to the baby during birth and make them very ill. Finding out that I was a positive carrier of Group Strep B meant that I would need antibiotics during labour. This is to try and prevent the spread of infection to my baby during birth.
Going Into Labour
A week before I was due to give birth, I felt a sudden whoosh, and my waters had broken. I didn't feel any contractions, but when I rang the delivery suite, they advised that due to my Group Strep B, I should come in straight away. We arrived at the hospital, and I began feeling regular contractions that were getting stronger. When we were eventually seen by a midwife I was told that they weren't my waters had broken and they didn't think I was actually in labour at all. We were sent to put our bags back in the car and to see if a walk would bring labour on. By this point, my contractions were very close together and extremely painful. However, we were still made to wait in the waiting area as they were certain labour hadn't even begun yet. I was anxious as to me, it felt like labour was in full swing and progressing fast, and I still wasn't on the antibiotic drip that was needed for the Group B Strep.
After an hour, I was in complete agony practically on my knees in the waiting room amongst other patients waiting to be seen about minor ailments. I was sobbing and broken and completely worried about the fact that if this wasn't labour. How was I going to cope with the pain when it got to that point? The midwife eventually agreed to transfer me to the Midwifery Unit so that we could discuss the possibility of an epidural. She kept reiterating that it was unlikely that I would be having my baby today, but I think she was just glad to get rid of me.
I asked for what seemed like the millionth time about the antibiotics for the Group B Strep, and again I was told there was plenty of time. Only that wasn't true because six minutes later, my baby was in my arms. If he had come eight minutes before I would have delivered him on the floor in the waiting area!
I never got the antibiotics for the Group B Strep, so my baby was monitored closely afterwards, and luckily he was absolutely fine. All plans for that perfect birth had gone out of the window and not one midwife even looked at the extensive birth plan I designed. My bags were still in the car, and the anaesthetist was on the way to give me an epidural! So when people ask me how my birth went I tell them I spent four hours convincing the midwives II was actually in labour!!