When I saw the Pampers campaign for ♯Thankyoumidwife I had to get behind it following my experience in labour. I had such a wonderful team surrounding me throughout and words just can’t explain how grateful I am to each and every person that took care of me and helped to get Elliott here safely.
I had a birth plan for my labour but it wasn’t set in stone as I knew that labour doesn’t always go exactly as you plan it. I wrote my labour plan with the mindset of discussing each area that could possibly crop up so that Jack went in to it with me knowing exactly what I wanted and what, if could be helped, didn’t want. Looking back now I’m so glad I spoke through each option with him as he was great throughout and became my sane mind and reminded me of things like my breathing, which sounds silly because who forgets to breathe?! Each midwife read my birth plan that I came across throughout the day and they were able to really support me in making choices that fit with the type of birth that I ideally wanted. Originally when I wrote my birth plan in the 30+ week of labour I wanted a water birth at the local midwifery led unit. I was really anxious about birth and felt so calm and at home there. However, as I reached 41+5 I had to go to the local hospital to be induced but was still hopeful of a water birth there. Even though my labour wasn’t exactly what I had hoped for, I still think I had an extremely positive birth and that was down to the amazing staff that I had around me that supported me throughout.
So, at 41+5 I woke up at 4 in the morning, may I add not intentionally; feeling like it was Christmas day. I was going to go into hospital and knew that I would be coming out with my baby. I felt nervous, like I was about to take an exam that I hadn’t revised for before I got my baby boy, I just had no idea what would happen or what to expect. No amount of reading can fully prepare you.
The first wonderful midwife I was introduced to was Jo, who would be in charge of the induction process. She was so kind and talked me through exactly what would be happening and came back to check on me regularly throughout the day. She answered all my questions and included Jack in the process too which I really appreciated.
At 10:45am the induction begun where both Elliott and I were monitored before I was given 1 dose of gel. I would be given another dose of it at 5 if I needed to so it became a waiting game. Every hour I was monitored and in between we went for walks around the hospital ground to keep active and although there was no pattern to my contractions yet, they had started to pick up. Jo arranged for us to stay in a private room when the ward closed later in the day as my labour was progressing. There was a pull out bed for Jack to get a bit of sleep, although I can’t say he got much. I really appreciated him being allowed to stay with me as I was so worried he would have to leave when the visiting hours ended.
In this room I was looked after by the second midwife of the day Nicki, she had the most calming and softest voice ever! As the contractions were picking up and becoming more intense she really helped me to stay calm and work on my breathing like I had written in my birth plan. I had waves of sickness and an upset tummy. How very glamorous! She recommended an anti sickness injection to help as I couldn’t keep down the water I was drinking and I trusted her advice. She was such a calming presence in the room and just kept telling me what a good job I was doing and that really made me feel like I could do it, not that I had a choice any other way. She gave me my first exam just before midnight and wasn’t sure if he was head down so sent me to the delivery suite to be assessed. Even though I really wanted to freak out that he might not be head down and what did that mean for my labour, she helped me to stay calm and talked me through exactly what would happen depending upon what the scan showed.
The scan showed Elliott was head down which was brilliant and meant we got to see our baby boy on the screen inside of me for one last time. By this point it was 12 o clock and I was 3cm dilated. Harriet was the next midwife to take care of me and reassured me that she would be with me right until the end now. I was monitored on the bed and she helped me to keep changing positions as the wires restricted me. Harriet was preparing my water birth when I had a sudden urge to wee and it hurt. I thought I was delivering him but I wasn’t, my membrane sac starting to come out intact which she told me how that was meant to be lucky but she would need to assist me in helping my waters break as he was showing signs of getting distressed. The water birth was off the table as there was a lot of meconium in my waters. Harriet explained how even though it wasn’t the water birth I wanted we were going to make this brilliant for us both and I trusted her.
At 3am when she examined me next I was 10cm and told to push when I was ready. Anita the anesthetist supported Harriet throughout and was in and out of the room, I’m not sure at what point but she had to have a drip as everything was blurring and I felt so sick. The only really part of labour I can remember clearly is turning to Jack and telling him I was scared, everyone was going out of focus and I didn’t know what was happening. Harriet once again reassured me that it was going to be ok and a few more people were needed in the room just to keep things moving along smoothly. Harriet really understood my anxieties and was brilliant at keeping me calm and focused, so much so I didn’t even register the others in there at the time.
The breathing techniques helped so much to get through contractions, I started to count my breaths and that helped me to focus on something else other than the pain and I knew what number I roughly had to get to and it would be over. Jack was so great at repeating what the midwives and doctors were saying to me as I just found it hard to focus on them. At the end, no matter how hard I pushed he wasn’t coming and I needed a little assistance and with three more pushes he was here. It was such a wonderful feeling and I just remember her telling me that my baby boy was here did I want to feel him? And I just cried and I felt him and thanked them all over and over and over again! Harriet was great at ensuring I had the skin to skin contact I wanted whilst I was being stitched up and supported me on breast feeding straight away like I had written was really important for me. I couldn’t thank the midwives and not forgetting the helpful doctors all enough for getting Elliott here safely.
Even following labour, Harriet supported me in getting up and moving around, I felt like Bambi in the scene where he starts to walk. She even came back to check on us before she went home and said such lovely, kind things.
Words just don’t seem enough to show my appreciation to all of the midwives and staff that went through this process with me. So, for the long hours, the calm heads and the reassuring presence that they bring to such an important day; from myself and Jack Thank you!
Thank you for helping the most precious thing in my world arrive safely.
I will never be able to thank you enough.