This is a great Forceps Delivery story from Elaine, who tells it in a very jolly manner (she warns at the beginning that that’s just how she is!) but if you stop to think about what she actually went through – an emergency forceps delivery within 30 mins of being in hospital – you’ll realise that this was quite a shocking experience that Elaine and her partner went through, not least because she was told and believed that her entire labour had been Braxton Hicks!!

Thank you for sharing this incredible story, Elaine! xxx

Elaine’s Forceps Delivery

I’ve been trying to put this story into words now for several weeks, and each time failing miserably. I’m sorry if it seems that I’m making a joke the whole way through, but that’s just how I am!!

I had a completely normal pregnancy, sickness up until I was about 19 weeks, then heartburn constantly that started as soon as the sickness went, which was delightful! I got sent for a growth scan at 32 weeks, as the midwife was concerned that baby was going to be on the large side. As I am 5’1 and my partner is 6’5, this wasn’t a massive shock to us, but after having the scan I was SLIGHTLY concerned to be told that if she continued growing at the rate she had been, by my due date she would likely be around 10 and a half pounds. Ouch.

Thankfully, all the conversations I had with the Tiny Human asking her not to be huge paid off, and my waters broke on Sunday 5th May at about 12 o clock.

As a bit of background information, after attending all of our anti natal classes and several discussions (arguments), my partner and I had decided to have the baby at the local hospital, which is ten minutes walk from our house and has a small birth centre. I was concerned in case the baby was overly large, or if there were any complications, as Tiverton hospital, as lovely as they are there, will only take you if you are incredibly low risk. They don’t have the resources to deal with any complications or anything other than a minor tear, they also won’t deal with births before 37 weeks. But, as it is close to us and our family, and offers breastfeeding support, I finally agreed to put my fears aside and try a water birth. This plan was completely scuppered when my waters broke, as the Tiny Human wasn’t actually due until 29th May. That made me 36+4. Balls.

After phoning the birth centre at around 5 o clock (my partner works nights and by that point had only managed 4 hours sleep), I was told to make my way to Exeter hospital which is 17 miles away. Double balls.

When we got there, I was put on the monitor for 20 minutes as I had been having pains coming and going, enough to make me take paracetamol and catch my breath slightly, but not the screaming agony I’d been led to believe I would be in! After taking a picture of my belly, because up until that point we didn’t actually have one (I know, I’m rubbish), I was given an examination, which basically involved the midwife leaning in my general direction. There was no physical contact, which I found slightly strange to say the least! She said I was only having Braxton hicks, and I would definitely know when I was in labour.

Now, I had been having Braxton Hicks for the last month. These were NOT them. The relief on my partners face was indescribable when he realised that we wouldn’t be taking a baby home in the next few hours! I pointed out to the midwife that if I had to come back in at three in the morning in full blown labour, I was not going to be impressed, but she just smiled and said she’d been doing this for a long time. Hmmmm.

After returning home and having dinner, the pains were definitely getting worse so I took myself off for a bath then decided to have a lie down because I was sure I was going to need to save my energy!

My heavy breathing woke my partner up at 1 am. He kept desperately telling me that ‘It’s just Braxton Hicks!! The midwife SAID!!!’ The one thing he remembered from the anti natal classes was that the hospital wouldn’t want us to go in until I couldn’t talk through a contraction – anyone who has ever met me will know that it takes more than that to shut me up!! I decided at that point that if he wouldn’t phone the hospital, I would make enough noise so that the neighbours would! I was milking it. Well and truly.

Don’t get me wrong, it was definitely hurting by this point, but still not enough to convince either of us that birth was imminent. Finally he gave in and phoned Exeter back, who informed me that I MIGHT be in early labour, and to ‘pop’ down if I was concerned.

After a fairly painful at journey, with contractions every 3-4 minutes at this point, we arrived at Exeter to be seen to by the truly wonderful Nicky and student midwife, Charlotte. It was at this point that my wonderful partner (he’ll kill me for this) said to me ‘If this is how you cope with Braxton Hicks, how are you going to cope in actual labour?!’

Poor Charlotte had the task of examining me, and as I said to her ‘If you tell me I’m only two centimetres and have to go home again, I will HURT you!’ She replied, ‘Oh. There’s a head.’

Action stations then. Gloves were put on, and I was told that if I felt ready, I could try a few pushes. I politely informed the midwife that before that happened, we could try a few drugs, as the paracetamol I’d had about 7 hours beforehand were wearing off. I was given gas and air, but after a several pushes nothing was happening except baby’s heart rate was decreasing.

Enter the lovely Tariq (I have no idea what his surname is, but he was brilliant), who scanned me and said baby was stuck as she was facing sideways and they were taking us to theatre. Best case scenario would be turning the baby with forceps, worst case would be an emergency Caesarian.

Another side note here I’m afraid. All throughout my pregnancy, I had a massive fear of the dreaded ‘salad tongs’. My partners biggest fear, was me having a c section and being laid up for weeks while he had to go back to work. It’s debatable at that point, who was more terrified, but I was going to theatre regardless so we just had to suck it up.

Once in theatre, I was given an epidural and hooked up to various different drips and monitors. Quite a different experience from the soothing water birth I’d had in mind. Instead of low lighting and no one really at the business end, I had floodlights, stirrups and a medical team of 14 people milling about. Smashing. I’ll be honest, as planned by the wonderful anaesthetist, I felt nothing. I asked after a couple of pushes if the baby was going to be here soon, and my partner looked at me in shock and said ‘The head’s out!’ It was at that point I had meltdown. Shock well and truly set in, and all of a sudden, I was lying in an operating theatre, legs akimbo, sobbing. To distract myself, I looked up and… Big mistake. I had a birds eye view of EVERYTHING the surgeon was doing. They don’t tell you that in the classes.

Luckily, baby Kaitlyn was born at 5.45am, 2 and a half hour after we arrived at the hospital. She weighed 6lbs 13ozs, and apart from looking like she had gone ten rounds with Mike Tyson from the forceps, she was fine.

I, however, managed to well and truly disgrace myself by being violently sick minutes after being taken to the post natal ward. This turned out to be a blessing in disguise, as we found out the next day that Kaitlyn had high jaundice and needed to have light therapy for several days, so we ended up in a private room complete with shower.

Five days later we came home. Kaitlyn is now seven months old, and is the happiest baby you could ever meet. Even if she is already nearly as tall as me!!

Forceps Delivery