Labour - The Good, The Bad, and My Ugliesby Rachel Hazelwood
I was 36 weeks pregnant taking some holiday leave before my maternity officially started. My partner and I had just been away on a babymoon; a long weekend sightseeing around Oxford. I was quite glad to be home again as I’d never walked so much in my life. Everything was packed, I had my birth plan ready so everyone knew what they were doing and had prepared (or at least tried) my partner with classes so he knew what NOT to do. I had one last growth scan tomorrow then I’d have a couple of weeks to chill, slob around the house and stuff my face while watching terrible daytime telly. I was going to have a water birth with relaxing music and be zen-like the Buddha that I looked like. Yeah, because that was gonna happen (eye roll)…
At my scan, we were told that we had to wait to be spoken to by the consultant. She informed us that our baby had stopped growing and I would be scheduled for induction via hormone drip on the day he turned 37 weeks. They were fearful that my placenta would fail completely and he would be stillborn. My partner and I were terrified and once she had left the room we cried together. I was given strict instructions to be hyper-aware of my baby’s movements so three days later when I couldn’t remember his last movements I was anxious. A trip to MAU and a couple of hours later I was allowed home as they had decided he was ok and an examination revealed I was already 2cm dilated and in early labour. I managed to soldier on for 2 days with pains coming and going and by 36+6 I was ready to murder someone. I took paracetamol at 5 am and went to MAU. My baby’s heart rate kept dropping and they decided that they would do the induction a day early just in case. I was given IV fluids and taken up to the delivery suite at 7 am. My hormone drip and water broke at 7:15.
By 7:20 I was convinced that I was going to die. I was four contractions in and already asking for an epidural. My midwife offered me the gas and air and left the room to get her the paperwork. Now, I’d heard amazing things about this stuff and was very excited about trying it. It was awful, I don’t understand what people see in it. It coupled with the pain meant I was heaving the whole way through and every time I heaved I wet myself because of the IV I had been given previously. Pretty sure every time anyone had a peak between my legs I wee’d on them. It was all very undignified.
I turned to my partner and came out with the weirdest request I’d ever made. I said “Josh, I think I’m pooing. I need you to have a look.” He scoffed at me and flat out refused at first but when I explained it could mean that the baby was close he relented. “Yeah, you are.” Damnit, I knew it. The worst part was I couldn’t do anything about it, I literally had to wait for the midwife to clean me up.
I repositioned myself on the end of the bed and had the overwhelming urge. And you know as soon as my body started pushing about 10 doctors wandered in for morning rounds and introductions. Typical. My fanny’s on show and I’ve just shit myself. They were trying to introduce themselves and I really couldn’t care less, I needed to push. When I voiced this one of them told me she would have a look and I proceeded to flash everyone and wee in her face because of the heaving. Thankfully she thought it might be a good idea to empty my bladder and save me from any more shame (as if I was gonna live any of this stuff down anyway!). She told me I was 7cm dilated and I couldn’t push but I had no choice. I had been hijacked. My body was doing everything and I felt like I was the passenger seat about to be involved in a car crash. But to be honest, I’m glad my body took over because I had no idea what the fuck I was doing.
Everyone cleared the room except me, my partner and a couple of midwives because he was coming and I didn’t feel prepared at all. By the time he crowned, I was in full-blown hysterics. I don’t know why but I just couldn’t force myself to calm down. It wasn’t as painful now so it couldn’t have been that. Everyone was telling me to calm down and keep pushing. Baby Oscar was born at 9:01 am. Everyone was stunned that the whole thing took just 1 hour and 45 minutes (to be fair I was too, it felt like it had lasted an eternity with the contractions). My partner is super squeamish and faints at the sight of blood so I was half expecting him to keel over in the middle of everything but he didn’t. He was amazing. He watched him came out and even cut the cord. I don’t know who I was most proud of, me or him. Someone plonked this skinny purple alien on my chest and I just couldn’t believe what my body had done. Everyone will tell you that you will have a rush of love when you see or hold your baby. I gotta admit that I didn’t and that’s ok, it didn’t mean I didn’t love my baby. I didn’t sleep for a week after I had him because I was so terrified that if I closed my eyes something would happen to him. That’s when I realised how much I loved him and I would do absolutely anything for him. Even if he did ruin my vagina, desecrate my dignity and make me pee myself when I sneeze.