Here is Claire’s childbirth story for you – Long, Exhausting, Dramatic at the end, but still Amazing! There are bits (the waiting bits at night!) that made me feel really nostalgic and think back to how exciting it all was before the pain. When I was preparing for  childbirth, I had kind of imagined mine would have been like that (rather than the lonely pain (I must have a very low pain threshold!) I experienced at home and elephant ankles from pacing for 24 hours!). I thought I would be watching a film or something, with only a dog for company (we don’t actually have a dog but it would’ve been nice!).

Claire’s Childbirth Story – George, born 18th December 2011

George, or Baby Um as he was known at the time, was due on 5th December. Well, after a very healthy 40 weeks that day came and went without so much as a Braxton Hicks. I went to see the midwife for a stretch and sweep on the 8th December, which was very uneventful!

I saw the midwife on Thursday 15th December for my second stretch and sweep. My cervix was soft but not able to do full stretch and sweep. She had a bit of a poke and prod in the hope might do something and she booked my induction for the Saturday. I fully prepared myself for my Baby being born that weekend as I was pretty sure nothing was going to happen naturally! I was a bit disappointed as I was booked in to the midwife led Birthing Unit and I wouldn’t be able to go there if I was to be induced. I hadn’t even been on the tour of central delivery as I wanted to have my ‘natural’ birth.

Thursday night around 9pm (whilst watching spiderman) I started getting twinges although I was not sure what they were. By 11pm I was sure they were contractions and started timing them. Around 1am I asked my other half to phone the Birthing Unit, where I was booked in, and he accidently phoned his sister! She listened to him explaining everything before telling him who he’d called. Then he phoned the hospital and they said come in and get checked. 20 minutes drive to the hospital in the middle of the night and I was only 1cm dialted so I got sent home. I tried to go to bed and get some sleep but I wasn’t comfy in any position other than upright. So spent the night sat on the sofa with the Dog and a couple of hot water bottles.

Friday morning I thought my waters had gone, no sudden gush but there was a trickling with every contraction and I went through several pads. I called the hospital again and they arranged for me to go to local midwife to get checked. They were unsure if it was my waters but I was 4cm dilated (yay!) and regular contractions so could go to the hospital. I got to the Birthing Unit around 2 o clock and they sent us to get some lunch. I went back to the room and my contractions stopped! They got us walking round the hospital, up the stairs sideways, etc. I had the odd contraction but nothing regular so they sent me home with some sleeping tablets so I could get some rest as was booked for induction the next day anyway.

I got home and took my tablets, and spent about 1/2 hour in bed before my contractions started again. So I spent another night on the sofa with regular strong contractions but I didn’t bother calling the hospital this time as knew I’d be going in in the morning anyway and I just couldn’t be bothered to go there and get sent home again. Well my body decided at about 5 in the morning that it really needed some sleep. I woke at around 7am and guess what my contractions had stopped again! I called the ward, as advised, for induction. They said “we’ll see if we can fit you in as we’re quite busy.” I explained the situation and they said to come in at 10.30. When we got there we were sent for more food as they wouldn’t be ready for me for another hour. I then got strapped to the monitors and she explained all about induction but said “hopefully you won’t need much as you’ve been contracting already”.

I was a bit disappointed as I wasn’t in the midwife led unit but pleased we were finally going to meet Baby Um one way or another. She left us for 1/2 hour then came back and checked graphs. Then she examined me and I was 7cm dilated (so at least two sleepless nights of contractions had done it’s job)!

Now came the dilemma, they had to decide what to do with me as I’d got so far without intervention and wanted to go to the birthing unit so they wanted to avoid induction. Also they weren’t sure if my waters had gone, so they didn’t want to attempt breaking them. The Birthing Unit said they’d take me and see what happened.

They popped me in the pool for a couple of hours to try and relax me, and get things kicked off again. That didn’t work so went in to one of the rooms to relax. In the end a wise old midwife said give the girl some time and some sleep so gave me some pethadine to knock me out. I had a couple of hours sleep and then hooray the contractions started. I used the equipment in the room, which was brilliant especially this strange horseshoe shaped seat where your partner can sit behind you and you have a rope to hold for support. We spent most of out time there with my other half on back rubbing duty. I only started needing gas and air as I got near the end. I thought “well this isn’t as bad as I’d thought it would be.”

Then I started to feel the need to push so the midwife encouraged me but nothing happened.

I got on to the bed and this is where things started to go wrong. The Midwife examine me and said I was only 9cm dilated so I shouldn’t be needing to push and had a bit further to go. Then she checked mine and babies heart and my temp. She kept rechecking and I thought hello something’s wrong here. She said mine and babies heart rates had gone up and my temp was through the roof, and they were going to have to take me down to central delivery. By this point I’d stopped contracting again. It’s funny the things that go through your mind at this point but my first question was can I take the gas and air with me!

We got down to the central delivery suite, which was no where near as nice as the birthing unit. The consultant came in strapped me up to the monitors and took some blood from George to check his oxygen levels, they were just under ok. They strapped me to the monitors and stuck me on a drip for fluids and the stuff they use to start your contractions.

They were talking about caesareans or instrumental deliveries and wouldn’t give me any pain relief as were unsure what they were going to do. They put my legs in stirrups and took the end off the bed to prepare for theatre and the contractions restarted. I can honestly say the worst and most painful way to have full blown contractions is laying flat on your back with your legs strapped in the air. Also being short of leg the stirrups were too long for me and my calves kept cramping.

I was so hot with my temperature and the fan in the room was broken! My other half was given a bowl of ice water and a flannel to mop my brow. At one point he decided he needed to mop my boobs too! My response was ”what the hell do you think you’re doing??” Bless him, he said ”I really don’t know”. The consultant put a speculum in me to examine me and take George’s blood again and I had a contraction so she asked me to push. She said I was ready to go and they were going to give me the chance to push George out as our heart rates had dropped back down, and Georges oxygen had gone back up. I was exhausted and was so hot that I was convinced I couldn’t do it. The midwife was brilliant and told me I had no choice.

I started pushing with my contractions which made them much more bearable. I still only had the gas and air. The Midwife said I was brilliant at pushing for a first time Mum but that was because I wanted it to be over with. I pushed George out in around 45mins.

The next thing I knew all hell broke loose. She threw the baby on my tummy shot across the room to hit the emergency button and a whole team of people flew in. The midwife literally threw the baby at one of them and then came back to me. OH said I was really out of it and kept asking where’s my baby. Luckily all he needed was some oxygen and by the time the midwife had given me the drugs to deliver my placenta he was screaming on the scales and then with me.

Claire's Birth Story

Claire and George’s Birth Story – 18th December 2011

So after over 72 hours of labouring on and off with no sleep, the euphoria of holding my Baby Boy in my arms took over me. What a wonderful feeling. We had a go at getting George to latch and squirted the poor midwife with colostrum! I had a cup of tea and some toast, which was amazing, and then the midwife ran me a hot lavender bath, which was the best bath ever! We then got to go down to the ward. My legs were jelly from the cramping in the stirrups but I wanted to push George down there myself. Me and George got sent home the next day. So George was born one week before Christmas 2 weeks and one day late at 1.31 am on the 18th December.

Thank you for your Birth Story Claire!

Who else is welling up?! Originally when I read this I thought when Claire said “all hell broke loose” that maybe Claire had a massive tear or something but it was because George wasn’t breathing. Aparently it took a while to get him breathing (which was scarier for her partner as she was “out of it”) but then George recovered well and they were out the next day! He’s also a very healthy little boy and despite being a bit wee when he was born he soon packed on the weight and has spent the rest of his time in the top centiles!

Claire's Birth Story

Here he is in a recent photo in his Dad’s Fire Engine!

Claire also wanted to add this footnote…”despite quite a long labour and the pain I would do it all again. Although,I do get birth to envy for those that have a nice, quick, simple birth! I think I would opt for a home birth next time, if possible, as I’m pretty sure my body didn’t like the hospital.”

Does anyone else feel like their body “didn’t like hospital”?