Here is the story of how George came into the world!
I had been in pre-labour since about 36-37 weeks with regular contractions which did get quite painful and sometimes came every 3-4 minutes but never turned into anything. On 19th March, 2 days before my due date, I went to the doctors for a routine medication check up, nothing pregnancy related. The doctor had two medical students in with her and so she did lots of checks they wouldn’t normally do, to show the students a bit about obstetrics. When they checked my blood pressure it was high – it had been normal for the whole pregnancy although it was on the higher end of normal. They checked my urine and found +1 protein, so they sent me to the hospital to be checked. At the hospital they monitored me (George was moving so much they had to monitor him for ages to get a good trace on his heartbeat!), checked my BP and urine again and did blood tests. They weren’t able to tell if I had pre-eclampsia, but that combined with how difficult I was finding it (sick every day, SPD so bad I could barely walk and get to the toilet) they suggested induction as soon as possible. They booked me in for induction at 11am on 21st March, my due date, and gave me a sweep to try and start things naturally. The doctor said I was already 1-2cm dilated and she could feel George’s head! I started cramping during the sweep and it basically never stopped. We went home and the cramps got worse and spread to my back. They were constant all the time with peaks every now and then. The next day it carried on and got more painful, and I lost my plug. It didn’t start labour properly though, so we went to the hospital for the induction on the morning of the 21st. On the way there we stopped at Asda and bought George a little Easter outfit! I was induced with the pessary at about 1pm, and after that the midwife told me to go for a walk to try and get things going. We went for a little walk around the hospital, and about 5 minutes into it I started having painful contractions and the cramping got much worse. I kept having to stop and lean on the walls, and it just felt like people were staring at me! We went back to the labour ward quickly so I could sit down, and I spent the next few hours on the birthing ball and leaning over the bed, using my TENS machine. By about 7pm the contractions were horribly painful but not very consistent – the midwife came and examined me and I was still 1-2cm but my cervix had moved a little bit – I was sure that more must have happened and I felt really discouraged! They suggested I try having a bath and some paracetamol so I did, went to the toilet and my pessary fell out into the toilet! We told the midwife and she said carry in with the bath and then they would replace it afterwards (this was about 8pm). However when they did shift handover they forgot to mention it to the night staff, so when the night midwife came to check on me at midnight, I said “you do know my pessary fell out don’t you” and she said “no… If it’s not in there it won’t be doing anything!”. She checked me and said that I was now 3cm and as things had happened naturally since the pessary fell out she wouldn’t replace it and I could have my waters broken to get active labour started. She said that they could have sent me down to delivery suite there and then to have it done but she would prefer to leave it for another four hours to see if my waters would break on their own. She told me to get some sleep and sent my wife home – I slept for a few hours but the contractions were super painful. She came back at 6am and said that delivery suite were ready for me and I could go down, but I should get showered and dressed first and there was no rush. I texted my wife to tell her to come back and went off for a shower. When I got back they said I couldn’t go down to delivery suite now as there wasn’t any room anymore – I was so disappointed! They didn’t have room for me all day and my contractions were getting more and more painful – they put me in a private room in the end because I was in so much pain and I just didn’t want to be around people. They were finally ready for me at 8pm and I waddled down as fast as I could! My waters were broken at 9, 32 hours after induction started, and I was already at 5cm. I had a male midwife called Dale and he was awesome! As he was breaking my waters and trying to stop it from gushing he said “I feel like the little Dutch boy with his finger in the dyke!” – as soon as he realised what he’d said he was really embarrassed and apologetic – we thought it was hilarious! The other midwives thought it was great and said they wouldn’t let him forget it! There was meconium in my waters so even if I hadn’t been induced I wouldn’t have been able to have the water birth I wanted. After my waters broke I got up to go to the toilet and active labour kicked in – the contractions were so painful I could barely move! I got back on the bed and leant over the back on my knees, much more comfortable! I started on the gas and air at that point and it was hilarious… It felt like I was on drugs and I couldn’t stop giggling – I thought the fact that I was in labour was really funny! I laughed at the trainee midwife for not being qualified and made my wife tell stories about how our cat gets into your pants when you’re on the toilet! She said “I don’t think they want to know” and I was very insistent that they had to know because it was really important! I was being monitored constantly and because I was upright the contraction monitor wasn’t picking anything up so the midwife was drawing them onto the sheet based on when I was taking the gas – I was quite out of it and wasn’t really aware of when I needed it so I was kind of on autopilot and I kept asking them if I was taking it too often and what if I was only pretending I was having contractions! After about 4 hours they checked me and I still hadn’t got past 5-6cm, so they started the pitocin drip to move things along. The contractions got much closer together and more painful, but after that my blood pressure spiked and they got the doctor in who said they needed to do an epidural to bring my blood pressure down and stop the pitocin. I was happy with this as the pain was really bad (George was back to back). After having the epidural I felt even more out of it and woozy, and I completely lost awareness of what was going on around me. It didnt take any of the pain away and because I was now flat on my back I was in agony, and I knew it hadn’t worked, I was desperately trying to tell them I was in pain but I couldn’t, and they kept telling me “you’re just feeling pressure in your bottom”…. I was really upset as they didn’t seem to understand! Eventually my wife convinced them that I must still be in pain, and they gave me a button to top it up – I was pressing and pressing it and nothing was happening. It didn’t bring my blood pressure down either and they brought in some senior registrars and more doctors and put me on pre-eclampsia protocol – apparently I had about 6 different drips coming out of me and lots of people in there – my wife couldn’t get near me as there was no room and I remember opening my eyes and seeing her sitting in a beanbag crying. I was begging for a section and saying “just cut him out of me!”… The midwife told me afterwards that lots of women do that and they never give in to it! Although because they had to stop the pitocin I stopped progressing and got stuck at 6cm, and they had said that if after 4 hours I hadn’t dilated any more they would consider a section. Eventually they stabilised my blood pressure but I was still in so much pain – I was constantly biting the gas and air nozzle and had cut my mouth to pieces (it was so sore after!) and I was screaming so loud the doctors couldn’t concentrate! They had decided to redo my epidural but said that because it hadn’t worked the first time, the chances of it working the second time were low, so they would get a more senior anaesthetist to do it – but he hadn’t started work yet so I had to wait! I started to feel almost like I needed to push and asked them to check me – the midwife said she wouldn’t because if she checked me again and I was still only 6cm I’d get really discouraged and upset. I kept begging to be checked and then apparently I started mooing…. So then she decided to check me and I had got to 8cm. The anaesthetist arrived shortly after and redid the epidural – I was so worried that I would move while he was doing it as the contractions were so strong, but apparently I stayed really still! It worked instantly and all the pain just disappeared – I was crying and saying thank you over and over again! Pretty much straight away my blood pressure dropped super low and all the doctors came back in – they gave me oxygen and laid me on my side – I was feeling really sleepy and didn’t really notice. It stabilised pretty quickly and I started feeling like I was pushing – I wasn’t due to be checked for another hour and a half but I asked to be checked anyway so she did, and she said “um, are you ready to push a baby out?” – apparently his head was sitting right there! It was lovely that the pain had gone as I could really enjoy pushing him out and it only took 20 minutes! George Oliver was born at 10:35 on 23rd march. When he was put on my chest it was absolutely amazing, I couldn’t believe my baby was finally here! The 3rd stage was a blur as I was just transfixed by George! I did notice the stitches being done (had a 2nd degree tear) – it was so weird seeing someone with a needle and thread down there! Because I was still on the pre-eclampsia protocol I had to be on magnesium sulphate and a nutrition drip for 24 hours after delivery and have my fluid output monitored. We had 24 hour care from a midwife and stayed in delivery suite until the next morning. I was nil by mouth and was miserable as I was desperate to have a drink! I had been vomiting constantly in labour due to hyperemesis and the oxygen had made my mouth really dry so I just wanted some water – I wasn’t allowed any because I was retaining a lot of fluid and my urine output was tiny. Eventually they let me have 100ml of water per hour… I really savoured it!!! About 24 hours after having him my body suddenly released all the fluid and I could come off the drips and eat something!!! I had developed a really bad headache after the delivery and the doctor said it was a side effect of the second epidural – the anaesthetist had stuck the needle in too far and given me a spinal block, but because the epidural needle is bigger than the spinal block needle it punctured a fluid sac in my spine, which means there’s less pressure in the spine to support the body. I couldn’t sit or stand for more than a few seconds without being in intense pain and feeling like I was going to pass out. they treat it by inserting blood into the spine to form a clot and repair the hole, but it can only be done 48 hours after the epidural, so i had another 2 days in hospital before they could fix it. I couldn’t do anything with George except lay on the bed with him, and I couldn’t breast feed him which was heartbreaking. They did the blood patch on the 25th and it worked perfectly, goodbye headache! George was monitored too because of the medication I had been given in labour, but he was quickly signed off as he was doing really well. We were in hospital until the 26th, and by then I was desperate to go home! When we finally got home I just cried for about an hour with relief that it was all over! Although I found it really traumatic it was totally worth it for little George and I would do it again in a heartbeat.