Bethan is a pre-baby buddy who I used to go cycling with. The first time I met her I knew she was my cup of tea (despite being a wee bit star struck because she’s a super talented illustrator and I’d already bought a book she’d written!) and for 2 long cycle rides (over 150 miles each) plus training sessions, we’d laugh until I cried. Fast forward to today and Bethan has 2 beautiful daughters, Charlotte and Georgia. I’ve been badgering Bethan for a while for her labour and birth story, (she’d given me the highlights in an Indian Restaurant. The hilarity that ensued resulted in a grumpy man next to us telling us to shhhh. Asshole!), because her labour and birth with Georgie was sooooo dramatic! Bethan decided on Georgie’s Birthday she was ready to finally write it down with a glass of fizz. She said the experience was very cathartic!
I was sorely tempted to save this post for Christmas Day as my nod to Eastenders’ drama, but who’s going to be online on Christmas Day? And this story deserves to be read! I’m not going to spoil it for you but I didn’t know it was possible to laugh and cry at the same time.
Georgie Rose is one today. Here is her labour and birth story
21st November 2013
My waters popped on Sunday at midnight when I got up for a wee. They looked clear… no meconium so I was pleased I wouldn’t have to be induced (like last time). I was also pleased it didn’t happen in the bed or on the floor.
I woke Matt up and went to get my phone to call the Maternity Assessment Unit. By the time I got off the phone Matt was back in bed! I woke him again and said we had to go in to book an induction. We debated calling a pal who lives on the street to come over because we might be back in half an hour (our 2 year old was asleep). Instinct said I’d be having the baby and to get my mum and dad over to be there for Charlotte in the morning. They live further away but I thought I would start contracting and probably end up staying at the hospital for the labour and birth. We put on fresh bedding and, when my parents got there, told them to go to bed.
When we got to the unit I almost went to the doctor led ward, rather then the midwife led unit, because I was scared of having another big baby. My first was 10lb 4oz! There was no incident then, but I considered that lucky as I had seen an horrific shoulder dystopia episode of One Born!
We got to the Midwife led unit at 1.00am. I started to contract whilst waiting but it was very quiet so we didn’t wait long. The midwife examined me and I was 3 cm. She said we needed to book a 12 or 18 hour induction and advised that because we lived close we should go home for two hours. We could stay in the hospital and walk about but would not be allowed in the unit yet.
I got matt to put my tens machine on. I was pacing and I kept needing a wee but couldn’t go. I said I was contracting and she asked when. I just kept saying “now…now…now…now…”
They were very fast and frequent. I wasn’t howling or anything, just pacing. She gave me some paracetemol. I suppose she seemed a bit irritated by me!
We asked for some time to think; the pain was making it difficult to make a decision. I was really concentrating on my breathing to hold it together. I really didn’t want to go home for lots of reasons: Distance from drugs; mum and dad had come all the way over at midnight, should they go back?; Who’d go in the bed?; and, I’d be embarrassed for them to see me in pain and we don’t have the kind of relationship where I can f and blind and cry in front of them…which I knew I wanted to do already!
We also discussed my last labour and how the midwife had been caught out by the speed and given me diamorphine only 10 minutes before I needed to push.
When the midwife came back we asked to book in for a 12 induction but stay for an hour…just to see how things were developing. We mentioned fast labours but, because I’d been induced last time, I didn’t know if it would work that way a second time? She very assertively said there was no way she would reexamine me after an hour. It was about 2am. We went to put the bags in the car. There were a few smokers and stragglers in the entrance and, because I couldn’t bare for them to be looking at me whilst contracting, I just said to get in the car. I can only remember it was so hard to sit in the seat.
We stopped for diesel!? Typically prepared husband! I could barely sit in my seat.
We got back to the house about 2.15 and Matt couldn’t get his key in the door. I can remember saying under my breath ‘for fucks sake get your shit together.’
My mum promptly came downstairs…it was probably a good thing because I really wanted to vent my pain anger at Matt. I kept walking away from her because I didn’t want to be seen.
I went for a wee but there was a lot of blood so I asked Matt to phone them and ask if that was normal. I stayed in the bathroom mainly to hide and because I felt like I needed the loo. I think it must have been the need to push but the drugs had masked the sensation last time, so I didn’t recognise it.
I must have made a noise because my mum came in. She had been a midwife before I was born. I was really pleased she was there…but a tiny bit fearful. In my first pregnancy she kept telling me things from her time at work… Days when she visited patients on her push bike, the NHS gave you Guinness on the ward, you had 10 days bed rest after a baby…And that you should scrub your nipples with a nail brush to prepare for nursing…The midwife would check my nipples soon!?
I remember Matt bringing her the phone and her talking to the midwife while matt did something to the cars/bags, who knows?! There was talk of getting back in the car to come in.
I was given the phone to talk to the midwife. She asked how I was coping. “Not very well I’m in a lot of pain…I suppose I could get in the bath to try and stay away.” In my head I HAD to last 2 hours. I didn’t even consider it possible the baby could be coming now because of how finite the midwife at the unit had been with her 2 hour rule.
My mum starting running the bath.
I think the pain lessened a bit as the baby descended but I remember saying, “I need to push.”
They said not to get in the car and told me an ambulance was coming. I asked if I could push but they said only if you have to. The lady told my mum to get towels to catch the baby and make sure I was on the floor. I knelt over the bath…my trousers were still around my ankles.
There was a moment of quiet while we just waited. I felt pleased I’d had a new towel cupboard built in the bathroom and had the sealant done.
Matt went to look for the ambulance and I remember saying that I couldn’t believe I was going to have this baby on the bathroom floor. I felt like frickin Sonia from EastEnders! My mum dipped a sponge in the bath water and mopped my head. I couldn’t imagine my husband being that sensitive or doing anything so thoughtful. He spent the whole of my first (6 hour) labour whinneting about his next sandwich and eating the food and sweets I had packed for myself but wasn’t allowed to eat.
They came up the stairs. Matt asked if we were going to hospital. He said, ‘No, she’s crowning.’
He pulled off my trousers properly and I asked if I could push….I had sort of held off the last one. He looked like he was trying to remember how to do it, but said, “Yes.”
The contraction came and I just had to yell out, which I had been trying not to do in case I woke Charlie. (There was none of this chin down candle breathe shite)
My mum said, ‘The heads out!’ And I thought, “Ah well, not so bad, the worst is over.”
The ambulance man sort of tapped my leg and said, ‘Go on! Keep going!!”
I continued pushing and felt massive relief as she wriggled out.
I heard baby shouts, which was good, but I couldn’t see her because the other ambulance guy didn’t fit in our bathroom and was on the landing rubbing and wrapping her. We all seemed to just sit there. I was still sort of hanging over the bath. The placenta came quite quickly without an injection…they said 11 mins for third stage on their sheet, but to me it felt like a couple of minutes.
I asked for the baby and tried lift my top to do skin on skin whilst still hanging over the bath. Ambulance Man Ian, my new best pal, said we should just get to the hospital.
Charlie started crying. As I sat up on the loo, I asked Matt to go settle Charlie and mum to get me some pj bottoms and pass a towel. I scraped baby gunk off my legs and put on my jamas. I told Matt to go in the car and bring the bags, and asked if mum would come in the ambulance with me. I asked for the baby and we walked down to the ambulance. They strapped me on the bed. And, I just looked at my new baby. I couldn’t work out why she wasn’t charlotte? She had really dark hair.
At the unit I had Gas and Air so they could examine me. I only had a small tear – so no stitches. We got back to hospital about 3am. They recorded the entire labour as 55 mins. The midwife still seemed irritated by me.
Then we finally did skin on skin and she fed very quickly. We had tea and toast, and my mum went back.
Georgie had a dimple on her back that needed looking at and I kept thinking that maybe this was the thing to go wrong. It turned out to be nothing. I had a wonderful shower and we both stayed in the unit overnight, which I was pleased about so we could digest it all a bit.
My dad cleaned the carnage that was our bathroom (He told me rather regretfully that he’d had to through away the bath matt!).
I couldn’t quite believe I’d had a baby like that and there were no consequences. I didn’t sleep. They weighed her – another whopper 9lb 10oz. Ambulance man Ian came in to wish us well looking decidedly chuffed.
Georgie was so wakeful and vomity. She hadn’t had drugs nor a 2 hour wrestle down the birth canal…she had shot out all round headed and unsquished. She was spitting out gunk and gnawed at my boob for 2 days until my milk came.
My birth story spread like wildfire across the toddler groups and local coffee shops…Matt was not exactly dining out on it but definitely coffee and biscuiting. I told everyone who asked me about it that I’d be able to tell it better after a pint but it hadn’t really sunk in yet.
I suppose in the sleep deprived, reflux dominated first weeks I wondered if the birth affected my bonding with Georgie. I wish I’d seen her come out. I can remember feeding her and being so flushed with love for Matt and Charlotte. But mothering a newborn and a toddler was very different. With my first baby I had hours of quiet to sit and watch Charlotte sleep. I was high on adrenalin and diamorphine and in awe of her wonder.
I loved her and wanted to look after her and feed her. I didn’t feel an instant ferocious protective bond but one that grew very steadily and surely and fiercely. With Georgie I didn’t have the same luxurious time to pause and even google ‘bonding.’ I just wiped off the baby gunk and cracked on with it. But just as her first birthday has snuck up on me, (it is the fastest year of my life.) so has my total adoration for her. She is delicious. I feel lucky every day.
Thank you for your extraordinary labour and birth story, Bethan xxx even editing this now, I’m still welling up! Please do go on over to Bethan’s Facebook Page, say hello and give her a Like!
If you would like to read more about fast labours, you can read Sarah’s Fast Labour story here, and for more about baby bonding, read Sarah’s post about Baby Bond (a different Sarah!).
So! Were you sent home from hospital only to experience labour and birth on the bathroom floor?! Or similar.