Emma sure knows the meaning of the words labour pains, what with her having the world’s longest labour at over SIXTY hours. That’s just not fair. But it does make for a good story. Expect demented Ostriches, midwives having to deal with a labouring woman who’s off her tits, and more swearing than you can shake a stick out. Yep, this story is LONG and good! Poor Emma, but I hope you enjoy the warts an’ all! The last couple of paragraphs are particularly priceless.
Baby Jessica took her time…something to do with the hat?
Labour Pains – Emma’s 63 hour extravaganza
I was crying I was so scared. I was having an “early scan” due to previous miscarriages and uncertainty of dates. My periods had put me at around 8 weeks but the last one I’d had was incredibly short and light. Also the morning sickness had started at what was thought to be 3 weeks, far too early. “Are you ok?” asked the sonographer. I was barely able to speak. “The last time I had one of these there was no heartbeat.” “Well let’s just get on with it” she said very sympathetically.
“Well, there’s the heartbeat and you’re way past 8 weeks!”
There was a heartbeat. I was just over 12 weeks. THERE WAS A HEARTBEAT. Time stood still. I’d never sobbed so hard in all my life. I looked at my partner of 11 years, Will, and he was smiling, tears rolling down his face. We left the hospital that day with a scan photo of our baby. Our baby who had a heartbeat.
I had a horrible pregnancy! There are many women who have had far worse but at the time, I hated being pregnant! I had terrible sickness the whole way through, so much so that in the first few months I lost over a stone in weight. Eventually I was able to manage a “routine” of being sick, eating scrambled eggs on toast and sleeping. We had the 20 week scan and found out we were having a little girl! The rest was pretty straight forward until I hit around 39 weeks and I was found to have high blood pressure. The concern was obviously for preeclampsia so they monitored me at the hospital every three days. I had a 40 week membrane sweep (ouch) and due to my blood pressure situation I was booked for an induction at 41 weeks. I’d seriously had enough and just wanted the darn thing out!!
1st March 2013 at 4.00AM, 40 weeks and 4 days. That’s when I realised labour had begun! I woke with a terrible tummy ache and got the impression I needed the loo. I wasn’t wrong! It didn’t occur to me till after that this was my body having its “clear out” in preparation for labour pains and birth. After quite some time I wandered back into the bedroom and asked Will, “how do you fancy a March the 1st baby?” I explained that the pains were not going away and being rather grumpy due to lack of sleep he told me that “if it turns out you just need another s**t I’m gonna be really p**ssed off!” Haha!
I pottered around, messaged my best friend to let her know the news and had a lengthy chat on the phone with my mum. By this time the contractions were becoming more then just uncomfortable and so the TENS machine came out the box and I started timing contractions. They were lasting around a minute and still around 7 mins apart but I called the hospital anyway, I think just for reassurance as I really had no idea what was to follow (other then a baby!). They obviously told me to stay home as long as possible but to call back if I needed anymore assistance. I think I only lasted another hour and around 11am after another quick call to the hospital, we were on our way there to see how I was progressing.
The long and the short of it is, I wasn’t. An hour or so in an active labour suit (totally like OBEM!!) and I was contracting strongly, roughly every 3 minutes and was only 1cm. Another sweep (mega ouch) and some paracetamol and I was leaving. As a friend was driving us and they lived nearer to the hospital, we went to their house. Everyone else sat in the lounge while I paced up and down the kitchen, groaning with each contraction. This time I probably lasted about 1 hour 20 but I wanted something more for the pain so off we went again. Another examination and I was still only 1cm and by this time I’d been labouring for 12 hours. This time I had a dose of oral morphine and went back home where I was told to drink lots of fluids and keep my sugar levels up.
Oral morphine is wicked! I felt so completely drunk that it took me aaaaaages to eat 2 donuts. I could see them, and I wanted to eat them but my arms wouldn’t work. I went up to lay on the bed and ripped the TENS off of my back as by now it was just getting on my god damn nerves and somehow, I managed to doze until around 11pm. I felt so horrible, tired, hungry and in pain. So back off to the hospital again. Another examination confirmed I was just 2cms and this only upset me further. The midwife was so very kind and understanding and told us due to the time of day, she thought it would be a good idea to give me some pethidine and keep me in overnight.
One of my fears throughout pregnancy was the thought of having to stay in hospital without Will, I hate being separated from him and so the midwifes words really brought on the tears. With that, a birthing sofa came out and she made him a bed on that for the night. All I could think was, “Eurgh, people have given birth on that and you’re sleeping on it!” Haha! That was the last trip I had to make to the hospital.
After a long night of silently breathing through each contraction, some tea and toast and ANOTHER examination told us I was 4cm. Jesus, this child was either really bloody lazy or there was something wrong with my body! The entire day was spent mooching around the hospital, tackling stairs to try and get the show on the road and wondering around the maternity ward where they’d moved me to. By 10pm they suggested Will went home to get some rest and they gave me another shot of pethidine to ease the pain. During the night though, things became a little serious…
I’d been labouring for 48 hours, I was exhausted and the pain was unbearable. I spent the whole night crawling backwards and forwards to the loo, crying and BEGGING for pain relief. Rolling around on the bed moaning and groaning, the midwives kept telling me to calm down and shhhh! because I was keeping all the other ladies awake! But they refused to give me anything for the pain. Baby’s heartbeat was “unsatisfactory”. No explanation as to what this meant and I was so sleep deprived I had no strength to start asking questions. “Just try and sleep” they said. I shan’t repeat what I replied with…
At 8am on Sunday 3rd March, Will pulled back the curtain around my bed and I was so relieved to see him I just broke down. I could hardly get my words out through the sobbing but somehow he managed to understand when I told him what had happened through the night. The midwives kept bringing me tea and toast but although I was starving hungry, I couldn’t manage to move between contractions to even butter the toast. 9.30 and FINALLY some good news. “We are taking you back down to the delivery suit, you’d better bring all your bags”. That means they weren’t expecting me back! That had to mean they had plans for me! GET THIS BABY OUT!
10am. You guessed it, another examination. STILL ONLY 4CMS! More tears. But I was right, they did have a plan! A consultant was going to be asked as to whether I was to be left for another 2 hours and re-examined or if they would break my waters now. I literally begged on my knees for the latter choice. 5 minutes later and some angel from heaven walked in my room and said, “Good news, we are going to break your waters. The consultant says you’ve been here long enough!” They weren’t freakin’ wrong! The show was finally on the road. Everything that happened next, happened so bloody quickly! Pain relief was discussed and due to sheer exhaustion I opted for more pethidine and gas and air. I was hooked up to a million machines and I got chuffing on the good stuff. Wow. I thought oral morphine was good but the gas and air pushed me right over the edge! I started by laughing my tits off after every puff but then it relaxed me so much I started to nod off between contractions. Forms were being filled and equipment was being prepared. The midwife broke my waters (the poor woman cried out as they gushed all up her arm!) and I felt a massive sense of relief as they went. But all was not well.
Every time I had a contraction, baby’s heart rate dropped dangerously low. Where it was happily sitting around 140bpm, with each contraction it dropped to around 44. Another OBEM moment and I was shouted at, thrown onto my left side and the midwife hit the panic button. I was high as a kite but I was crying as I was semi aware of what was going on around me and I thought it was my fault, I must of done something wrong. I was drifting in and out of consciousness, and I thought that some thing very bad was about to happen, either to me or my baby, or both. I assumed that it was quite likely that if I did wake up, there would be no baby. Pretty much everything after that is all a blur and what I do remember, isn’t necessarily in chronological order. I remember repeatedly being thrown onto my left (I could hear people shouting at me to roll over but I just couldn’t move). I remember rolling back over and seeing a whole sea of people standing at the bottom of the bed (and bizarrely being really happy to see them all, I even greeted them and gave them a wave!). There was a guy sticking a cannula in the back of my hand and I remember telling him off for not being gentle enough and they had to bandage it up because I kept trying to rip it out. I vaguely remember having to have a catheter twice and the midwife saying “Jesus! She’s still going, she’s peeing like a race horse!”
And then it came. The urge to push. I’d woken up to a contraction with the massive urge to bear down and I whispered “I need to push”. Next thing I know, the midwifes in my face saying “Emma, DO NOT PUSH. You’re not fully dilated, DO. NOT. PUSH.” I thought the next contraction was the one straight after this but it couldn’t have been because when I said again I needed to push the midwife simply said, “Well go on then!” It was roughly 5pm! So many hours had passed but it had only felt like one or two. And so I pushed. And pushed and pushed. According to Will I was making a sound like a demented ostrich! I remember talking myself through it in my head, telling myself, “Push like you need to poo!” The midwife said to me, “Come on Emma, I can see the head. She’s got dark hair!”
I thought to myself “oh fuck it! I wanted her to be ginger!” She asked me if I wanted to feel the head and I just shook my head. She asked if I wanted her to get a mirror so I could see and I just screamed at her “NOOOOO!” And then there was a strange lady at the end of my bed with a scalpel saying to me “Emma, if the head doesn’t come out and STAY out on the next push, I’m going to give you a little…”. And so I PUSHED! And there was the head.
“She’s the wrong way and the cords around her neck.” I didn’t find out till much later that due to this Will didn’t get to cut the cord which was very upsetting. I don’t know how long it was after that but I just kept thinking as soon as I get this bastard thing out I can relax. And I pushed for the last time, and fell asleep.
I had a baby on my chest. I don’t know how it got there but I said to Will “We have a baby!” and all he could do was nod his head, smile and cry. Within minutes he’d posted her picture to Facebook with the simple heading of “Hello Jessica!” I’d done it. After SIXTY THREE HOURS, I’d bloody done it! Delivery of the placenta was fairly straight forward but I had some bad tears and was loosing too much blood so they swiftly removed the lower half of the bed and started stitching me up. If I’d had the energy, I’d have cried yet again when I heard the senior midwife tell the junior one that, “This bit down here needs to meet that bit up there”. “There goes the sex life!” I thought.
My tummy felt strange. I said to the midwife with her face in my junk, “It feels like I’m going to have another contraction”. But it wasn’t that at all. With that, I farted in her face. Right. In. Her. Face! Not once, but 3 times! I was mortified but she saw the funny side and declared, “If my mouth had been open, I could of chewed on it!” Why does the ground never swallow you up when you need it to?!
Thank you, Emma, I LOVE this story! And, Happy Birthday to Jessica who will be 1 in just over a week.