I always wanted as a natural delivery as possible. I was not anti pain relief at all (although the though of an epidural terrified me) but my Mum had three children all naturally, with a little bit of pethidine, and I felt (stupidly) this pressure that I must do the same. I wanted to make her proud. I know she would say this was really silly, and that the main thing is getting the babies out safely, but I felt like if I could do it pain-free, it would be some kind of testimony to being a good mother.
I have had two labours, and given birth to three babies and each delivery could not have been more different in regards to pain relief. You see, the thing is what we want and what actually happen are two completely different things.
My water broke first with BBin the middle of the night. Nothing happened. Not a twinge, a flinch or cramp to be had. I waited an hour and then ran the midwife at the delivery suite. She asked me if I was still ‘leaking’ to which I replied ‘yes’ and then she asked me what colour it was.
‘A brown, snotty colour,’ I said.
‘Mmmm…I think that could be Meconium, you had better come in.’
Two hours after my waters had broken I was hooked up to monitors and still no sign of labour.
‘We will have to put up a drip to get you started.’ She said.
‘Ok’ I replied, bored of the wait. I was four days overdue and now just wanted something to happen.
My first contraction arrived. Ok, this is not comfortable, but I can handle this, I thought. Fours hours later and they were coming thick and fast! The drip kept being increased, and they kept asking if I wanted anything to help relieve the pain.
I said no every time, because it was getting intense, and I didn’t want to run out of options and use all my life lines (like in who wants to be a Millionaire) before I had to.
Nine hours in and the contractions were coming back to back. I finally agreed to some pethidine, as they told me I was only four centimeters dilated! Four…after 9 hours! I was exhausted. The pethidine, however, just made me feel stoned (or what I imagine stoned feels like, as I have never taken a drug in my life) and I felt out of control. I hated it immensely. I wanted to sleep but the contractions kept pulling me away from my slumber and then the vomiting started. It was horrendous and I would never have it again.
Twelve hours in and the Midwives had changed shifts. My new midwife told me that she really thought an epidural was the best option and that she had never seen a woman on this high a dose drip that had not had one. I don’t know if that is true, or if she were humouring me but I was pretty convinced it was true at the time and finally agreed to the one thing I never wanted. An epidural!
The consultant walked into the room to find me bent over the bed mid contraction with one of those gowns on that only tie at the top. My bottom was out for all to see and I did not care for one moment. At that point in time they could have told me the entire rugby team wanted to observe and I would have told them ‘bring it on!’
I remember panicking as the epidural occurred, as the doctor told me not to move and yet I was now I was not getting any breathing space between contractions. It was however, done safe and sound. The relief was instant. I thought what a fool I have been to be such a martyr. No one thanks you for it!
As luck would have it, I went from 4cm dilated at the point of epidural, to nine within an hour. They told me push….I could not feel anything, I had no idea what I was doing! Then things got complicated. BBgot stuck and went into distress. They could not get him out. Suddenly I was signing consent forms and being rushed to theatre to get him out.
A top up of the epidural and it was a success delivery with forceps. A healthy but very bruised little man! Unfortunately I had to have an episiotomy and when I asked the surgeon how many stitches, he told me he had lost count! No one prepares you for the aftermath. Sore does not even begin to describe the discomfort. Thank goodness for painkillers and cushions with holes in!
Following the birth I text my best friend. I told her that my proudest moment ever was giving birth to my son, and that second proudest moment was having a poo! It felt like such an achievement!
Summery – A 14 hour labour with every bit of pain relief under the sun! Lots of damage.
The twins birth
Again my waters (for twin 1) went first. I thought I would have ages but no, contractions came on thick and fast. I didn’t think we would make it to the hospital. As I was pre-37 weeks pregnant with twins, no-one was allowed to check me over until the consultant had seen me. I kept saying I needed to push, but they didn’t believe me, saying it had only been 40 minutes since I had rung them and that I had ages to go.
I was allowed a little gas and air to make thing more comfortable whilst I waited. The first drag threw me a little and then I got my rhythm. I quite liked biting down and sucking it in, and found it very useful!
The consultant appeared, took one look and said the baby could be seen! It was all go. It was too late in the labour; I was not allowed any other pain relief. I kept sucking hard on the gas and air until they detached me from the pipe!
Twin 1 (Little Madam) came out brilliantly, but twin 2 (Chilled out Boy) decided he could not be bothered to turn and so would come out feet first instead. They told me his head would sting. STING! A bee stings, nettles sting! Pushing a head out a tiny hole is a little more than a sting. I thought I couldn’t do it, and then I panicked about another episiotomy. I decided this baby was coming out with all my might, gave a large push and…job done!
Summery: One hour and forty minute labour with gas and air! No damage.
It could not be more different in terms of pain relief for each labour and with no rhyme or reason why? My advice – don’t predetermine what you will and will not have or use. Keep your options open so that you have choice. Never underestimate what your amazing body can do and tolerate!
This blog was written as part of the Netmum’s blogging prompt, to coincide with the new series of One Born Every Minute which is on Channel 4, 9pm Wednesdays