Tuesday 23rd September- My life has changed forever…..

Shortly before midnight on the 23rd, I succumbed to the idea of using painkillers. Not that I was adverse to using pain relief, I just couldn’t estimate how painful my contractions were and ended up being. The only thing on offer at first was paracetamol. I was initially surprised at the offer of something I’d normally use if there was no ibuprofen in the house, you know as a last resort sort of thing. However, as it was the only relief they provided, I immediately took it.

Unsurprisingly, paracetamol did not work and within a few moments I was begging for something stronger.

The midwives consulted with each other and ended up prescribing codeine. A much more powerful painkiller. Yet on consumption, there was no real pain relief. Clearly my contraction pain was at it’s peak. My husband spoke with the nurses, concerned at how I had gone from zero to one hundred in the matter of minutes. A doctor was called to check my dilation and discovered I was 1 cm gone – not much at all but as my waters had broken the week before, I needed to be closely monitored. She decided it would be sensible to send me to the labour ward.

I packed up my belongings and slowly walked to the exit. I was met by a midwife named Amy. Little did I know then that Amy would be my salvation for the next five hours.

Once in the labour ward and into what would be my room for the following few hours, I couldn’t believe how the pain had increased. My husband, who had been my rock coaching me through each contraction, was now beginning to worry and panic. I suppose he knew what was approaching. My temper was wearing thin and I started to snap at him. The pain was not only excruciating but terrifying too. The right side of my back throbbed uncontrollably at each contraction and the cramping made my body spasm. I wanted to cry and scream but somehow I held it together knowing that it would only make me more anxious. Plus, I was incredibly worried any screaming would induce a panic attack which then in turn could inspire an Asthma attack. I absolutely did not want that to happen.

I told Amy that I was really struggling. At one in the morning, she gave me diamorphine. A drug that was injected into my thigh. She told me that it would make me very drowsy – a prospect I was very happy about (I hadn’t slept for over 24 hours). It did make me drowsy. However, the strength of the contractions by then were so forceful that I was waking every two minutes in unbearable pain, waking my sleeping husband each time as I let out a groan of despair. Both exhausted, the next two hours consisted of a combination of agitated sleep, mind-numbing pain and a strong urge to go to the toilet every so often. The third feeling was crucial to what was happening at that point in my labour.

Amy spent time coming in and out of the labour room, checking mine and baby’s stats. She could see the depths of my pain and as I complained that I needed the toilet for the seventeenth time, she decided to check on my dilation. In the space of three hours, I had gone from 1 cm to 6 cm dilated. I was now in full labour.

A baby doctor came into the room to discuss what would happen as soon as baby was born. In all honesty, my mind was on other things at that point. The doctor came at a really inappropriate time. I was still dosed up on diamorphine and that combined with the agonising pain made me just nod at her whilst she fired a list of things at me. Climbing back onto the bed having changed into a hospital gown, I questioned Amy on further pain relief. My labour had progressed rather quickly and although the pain was horrific, she was impressed by how well I had been handling it all.

The subject of an epidural arose.

Everybody I had spoken to in my pregnancy recommended it. I was never one to turn away pain relief, I hadn’t gone into the pregnancy hoping for a purely natural birth. Up until that point I had been terrified at pain. I wince at the dentists for crying out loud and that’s just on a routine check up! However, I was doing okay. Better than okay. Perhaps I didn’t need the epidural. Amy certainly thought so and practically refused to give me one! She positively told me I could do it without. She had the confidence in me. Pushed on by my encouraging and supportive midwife, I accepted that I could do it alone.

I don’t need to say how painful labour actually is. I’m sure all you mothers out there know already. I can say it is an amazing experience and although it seems like a blur and a dream, I can see myself doing it again. I would only hope that next time, my baby arrives on time and not so early 🙂

Ivy-Wren was born at five in the morning weighing five pounds.

The doctors took her away to the Neonatal Unit almost immediately after she was born. She wasn’t placed on my chest naked nor did I breastfeed her within moments. My baby was taken away from me. I did get one chance to hold her after demanding it. The doctor didn’t seem happy but I knew my baby needed it. All wrapped up, she was placed in my arms.

I held her tight and promised her it wouldn’t be long till we’d be all together. She was a fighter and I knew she’d prove that to everyone.

And that she did.

Sunday 21st September – No time like the present!

Having been sent home on Friday, I was preparing myself for a full week of last minute preparation until I was to be induced into labour on the 29th September. My husband and I spent the Saturday morning shopping for smaller sized clothes for baby. We then washed all of the baby’s bedding and clothes ready for it’s arrival the week after.

My mum had been planning a traditional Bengali party for me on Sunday a month before. When I was taken to hospital when my waters broke, we contemplated cancelling the get-together. However, as it had been planned to the very last detail and didn’t include a huge guest list, we decided it would be a greater loss NOT to go ahead with it. Obviously, I was under orders to relax and not overdo it and my mother understood that I may have needed a break during a five hour party.

I felt quite overwhelmed come Sunday at the prospect of dealing with fifteen people all asking me how I was and felt. I lingered before I eventually made it downstairs to greet everyone. My friend Kat found me stalling upstairs in my bedroom and coaxed me out. Luckily, it wasn’t too chaotic when I finally made my entrance. My husband headed straight for me knowing how uncomfortable large, interrogating groups of people made me feel when pregnant.

The party itself was a success. It lasted for around four hours and was very chilled. It was a much more relaxed atmosphere than I had expected which made the whole thing a whole lot better. After everyone had gone home, I felt an overwhelming feeling of exhaustion. Putting it down to third trimester symptoms, I went to have a nap. Almost immediately after lying down, I got a tremendous ache in my side. I questioned it briefly but assumed it was nothing. That was until after ten minutes when it occurred again and after ten minutes when it happened again.

Regular cramps happening every ten minutes………..??

Where had I heard that before? Were these……….contractions?

No!

I ran a warm bath and took a long soak. Of course they weren’t contractions! Only two days before I was told that baby was nowhere near to it’s arrival. It could not be contractions.

Half an hour later, relaxed from my bath, I was relieved to see the cramps had disappeared. Yet, an hour later at dinner, they suddenly reappeared. Frightened, I mentioned the regularity to my husband and mother. They both seemed anxious and began to monitor each one. Unfortunately for me, it looked as though my fate had been made.

Was I in labour?

Yes. Yes I was. And at midnight, I made my way to hospital.

Baby just could not wait to come out!

Friday 19th September – No sign of baby.

By Friday 19th September I had developed cabin fever in hospital. I had been lucky to receive a bigger than average cubicle so my husband David could stay comfortably with me for my duration on the ward. Two days may not seem long, but for a pregnant lady whose waters had broken and was surrounded by other pregnant women about to go into or enduring the beginning of labour, it was a little overwhelming to say the least.

For the most part and especially at night, I just listened to the groaning and wailing of these poor women. It didn’t bode well for my future. Not only did it freak me out but the lack of sleep was highly annoying. Every few hours, a nurse or midwife would appear to monitor baby and me. I would be strapped up to a machine for many minutes sometimes hours. God forbid I needed the toilet which I often did! I was pregnant after all.

monitored

I was undoubtedly ready to go home on Friday. It was very clear that baby was not appearing at that point and I just wanted to be in my own space. The doctors agreed that I should go home. Baby’s lungs were now matured with the help of that horribly painful injection so I didn’t need to worry. At the morning walk round, the consultant decided that I could return home.

I was so relieved.

They told me that as I was nowhere near dilated and there were no signs that baby was coming immediately, it made sense and was safe to go home. It had been planned that I would return to hospital on the 29th to be induced. Any longer than that could cause harm to baby and nobody wanted that.

Little did I know then that baby had no intention of waiting another twelve days to appear…………