I have birth story that could resinate with as many as 1 in 5 of you (according to the NHS). Abi’s story starts with her being diagnosed with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome at a young age. As a result, her chances of fertility were reduced. Happily though, Abi did conceive and went on to have a lovely little baby…eventually!
My Birth Story – from Polycystic Ovary Syndrome to Baby
Firstly I think I should tell you a little bit about myself; I’m 23 years old and a Registered General Nurse. I was diagnosed with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome when I was 18 years old, as you may know this condition can reduce your fertility and chances of becoming pregnant, this risk increases the older you get; with this in mind myself and my partner (Rob) of nearly 5 years decided to try for a baby (I’ve always wanted to be a Mum but maybe we started trying earlier than we would have otherwise).
I had my implant removed and we let nature take its course, a month later my period missed and with much excitement I took a pregnancy test and it was negative. This happened a few times over the next 5 months and still no positive pregnancy test. I became very disheartened and believed that I may never get pregnant, I again missed my period of month 6 but decided not to test because I could not bear to see another negative test so chose not to take one; 4 weeks after this I began feeling sick and still no period…. Finally that positive test that we had been waiting for arrived. I can still remember that feeling of pure joy mingled with an incredible fear that we were going to be responsible for a person!
After a fairly normal and uneventful pregnancy, albeit uncomfortable and with continuous and horrific heartburn, week 37 arrived and the hospital bag was packed. NowI was considered to be ‘full-term’, I decided it was time to get our baby out, so I slowly and steadily worked my way through all the things that can induce labour. Long walks everyday, pineapple, pineapple juice, I bounced on my birthing ball for hours, sex, ridiculously hot curries that I had to force myself to eat, liquorice and bouncing down the stairs on my bum were among the things I attempted to get my baby out! Even with all that, my due date came and went (I blame my mother for this, she always said I would go overdue!).
7 days over I had my first stretch and sweep. After this I had cramping pains all day and late that evening I had a show and believed that labour was imminent. I excitedly went to bed hoping to wake up in labour but again morning came and no baby or signs of labour.
10 days over I had another stretch and sweep, again the same thing happened but still no baby! By this point I was desperate to have my baby, I had wanted as natural as possible water birth and I knew that if I was induced that the chances of this were minimal. I DID NOT want to be induced. I kept saying I don’t mind when baby comes as long as I don’t have to be induced.
14 DAYS OVERDUE – INDUCTION DAY
I awoke at 6am on this day and the first thing I said to Rob was, ‘We are going to have a baby today!’ (how wrong I was) I was so ready to meet our baby. I rang the hospital at 7am and they told me to head in as soon as we were ready (I didn’t tell her I was ready 5 weeks ago)! 8.30am and I was banging on the labour ward’s doors. We were taken through to a four bedded ward where the midwife assessed me and decided a pessary was the best option as even though my cervix was about 1.5cm dilated she wanted it to thin out a bit more before breaking my waters.
The pessary caused bad period type pains and (TMI coming up) absolutely awful discharge, so much so that it kept falling out and I had to have it replaced 3 times over the course of my induction. The day went slowly with lots of wandering around the hospital, awful hospital food, boredom and watching everyone else on the unit go into labour and be moved to a private room!
As the day progressed the pains started getting stronger but remained highly irregular. Evening came and they asked Rob to leave as they could not facilitate him staying overnight, I was devastated and when he went burst into tears, I don’t think I have ever felt more alone or as scared as I did at that moment. I managed to get some sleep; eventually falling asleep at about 11pm, however, I was woken at 2am by my contractions starting for real. I spent the rest of the night wandering around the ward, rocking on the window sill and the contractions getting continually stronger, more regular and closer together. I watched the sun come up and at bang on 6am I rang Rob and told him to come in as soon as he could. I needed him more than anything at that moment in time.
DAY 15 OVERDUE – EARLY LABOUR
Rob arrived at the hospital at 8am and shortly after that the midwife came to assess me, she said I was only about 2cm but my cervix had thinned out nicely. She attached me to a monitor to check on baby and went to get me some paracetamol (FYI paracetamol does nothing to touch the pain of a contraction). When she returned I asked her if I could get a bath, she said as soon as I came off the monitor I could get one. Unfortunately during the reading she noticed that baby was having the odd random drop in heart rate during a contraction and therefore I couldn’t have that bath anymore because I had to stay on the monitor constantly to ensure that baby was ok.
The midwife that had came on shift that morning was lovely, we got on great and I was excited that she was going to deliver my baby (wrong again). By 11am I was taken to my private room where my waters were broken, what a bizarre feeling that is!!!!! And then when you stand up more comes out and it feels like your peeing but you have no control over it! After my waters were broken my labour progressed well and the doctors felt that I didn’t warrant any IV drugs yet, they felt I could do it without.
The pain was becoming agonising and I asked for some gas and air. That stuff is some good shit! I wanted to walk around the room to help alleviate the pain but being strapped up I wasn’t able to so instead my midwife got me a birthing ball to bounce about on. That, combined with the gas and air, meant I managed to cope for a while! At some point during the afternoon (time all gets a bit sketchy), the pain and exhaustion combined with my labour plans having complete gone out if the window, meant I was fed up and wanted it all to stop! My midwife examined me and I was only 3-4cm dilated, that was the final straw, I needed some DRUGS.
She got me some pethadine (Now that REALLY is good shit) and once it kicked in I slept for 20mins (the most reviving sleep I’ve ever had). I woke up in a completely different frame of mind and continued labouring with gas and air on my birthing ball as happy as possible whilst in labour! It came to shift change time (8pm) and I was still only 5cm and the Dr’s finally decided it was time to give me some help and I was given IV drugs to make my contractions stronger after this everything became so much more painful and stronger instantly.
A couple of hours later I had given up all hope and requested the one thing I really did not want, an epidural. When I think back on this decision I believe the midwife persuaded me more than maybe she should have, all I remember her saying is ‘You don’t get any awards doing it by yourself’. I believe if I’d been in a different frame of mind I wouldn’t have requested one. The midwife returned to tell me that both the anaesthetists were busy (one in theatre and one doing another epidural) so I was forced to carry on unaided.
At this point I was about 8cm dilated. About an hour later still no anaesthetist and my body was pushing, I could not stop it, I knew it was time but my midwife kept telling me not to push; that I would hurt my baby’s head if I pushed but I couldn’t help it! It was natural and my body was pushing baby out. Out of fear I tried to stop the push, which caused the worst pain EVER! Trying to fight a body’s natural reflex is a) impossible and b) highly stupid. After about 15mins (I’m told it was only this long but in my memory it feels like hours) of persuading the midwife to examine me she eventually did and found out I was fully dilated and ready to push………What had I been telling her for ages?!
DAY 16 OVERDUE – TIME TO PUSH (FINALLY)
It was time, time to push and meet my baby! I began pushing with all the force and might my exhausted, agony wracked body had left. After I had been pushing for about 20mins there was a knock on the door, followed by ‘I’m here to do the epidural’, quickly followed by me screaming ‘Your too f**king late, I’m already pushing!’ The only time during my labour I gave anyone abuse and it was to the poor anaesthetist. If you are reading I am sorry! He just said ‘oh ok’ in such a quite voice, if I hadn’t been attempting to push a human out of my vagina it would have been funny!
I continued to push as hard as I could and another midwife joined the room. I became aware that they were discussing something and had a feeling that something wasn’t right. I worked out that baby’s heart rate was dropping during every contraction (I found out later that baby’s heart rate was dropping to only 60bpm during contractions, dangerously low). Before I knew it, it had gone from being one midwife in the room to two midwives and 3 doctors. My feet where thrown into stirrups (one of which collapsed and I remember Rob elbowing the midwife out of the way to tighten it properly). I lay there legs in the air and asked ‘why is everyone panicking?’ They said they weren’t but they blatantly were, even to a woman giving birth on pethadine and gas and air they were panicking!
The Dr performed an episiotomy and two contractions later our beautiful baby boy was born by an emergency forceps delivery. I can not thank that Dr enough, he was amazing and so quick and effective and in all honesty saved our baby’s life. Without him he probably wouldn’t be here. They quickly touched my baby on my chest for a second and then he was taken away to be examined by the Dr.
Thankfully he was OK and soon returned to me so we were finally able to discover the sex! A boy. Harrison Robert Maurice, 8lb 4oz born at 00.46. The most amazing experience of my life, there are no words to describe holding my boy for the first time apart from I knew in that second that I would do anything for him, with him and to protect him. The most important person in my world.
He is now 10 months old and is still the most amazing gift I have ever received. Everyday I am thankful that he is here with us and I think about my labour often! I’m hoping that writing this will allow me to ‘put it to bed’ if you will! I’d like to thank Rob for being the best birthing partner a woman could have wanted. He really showed how well he knows me as he knew exactly when to leave me alone to get on with it and when to be by my side holding my hand and mopping my brow. Thank you too for reading if you have reached this far!
Thank you Abi! Of course we reached this far!
This is another one of those stories where I got a bit angry in the middle. I honestly believe that if you have to be induced you should NOT have to do it alone. Forcing Abi’s husband to leave her in such a vulnerable state is just awful and my heart goes out to 14 days overdue Abi. It must have been terrifying. What a long drawn out affair though! They do like to take their time and thank goodness your hero Doctor was there to be swift and efficient. What a scary job they have! Thanks again Abi xxx
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