I am sitting here, watching my two beautiful boys play.
Four years ago today, I bought my first born son, Kellan home. I remember the joy of being allowed home after three days in hospital. Kellan was born on the 14th August 2013 at 23:34pm.
My emotions have been up and down not only because he is now four years old, but more because he is starting school in September, and I just can’t believe how quick it has come around.
I have been thinking about my labour a lot over these past few days, how it happened, what went wrong and more importantly, the fact that I actually birthed a healthy baby boy.
It was Monday the 12th of August 2013, I had been to see the midwife the previous Friday for a stretch and sweep. All went well, and I was told that baby was, in-fact, still engaged and ready to go. I woke Monday morning feeling a little under the weather with slight cramps but I didn’t really think anything of it. I was scheduled for another midwife appointment, for another stretch and sweep. Things were looking promising.
Mum came and picked me up and we went for a walk around the shops, just to keep me moving and getting out – at this point I was 6 days overdue. I was big and uncomfortable, and also going through one hell of a heatwave.
By about 12pm, the pains were getting more frequent, no longer cramps, but a dull pain under my bump, coming across from my hips and spreading round. I remember being in Pound Stretcher, and mum wanted cleaning products and one of the ladies behind the till said “oh wow, you look like your ready to drop!” I smiled and said “yup, 6 days overdue, pains have started” by this point they were about 10-15 minutes apart. I was rather proud of myself, still walking around thinking this was a breeze. I called Dan and told him that the contractions were getting more frequent, but not to leave work, I would call him if they progressed into something more.
My mum took me back to her place, and I remember sitting in her massive paddling pool on my pregnancy ball bouncing away. Dan came home about 5pm, picked me up and took me back to our home in Wickford. I decided to go upstairs, have a bath, wash my hair and sort my lady bits out – just in case.
The pains had eased off slightly and now dropped down to about 25-30 minutes apart. I still remember i was wearing Alice In Wonderland PJs. A vest and short set. I laid on the sofa, hands on my bump just thinking that the next couple of days, we would have our baby in our arms. Dan had gone for a shower and came down fully dressed.
After a shower, Dan always comes down in jogging bottoms and a t-shirt, this time he had jeans and a t-shirt on with his shoes ready to go. I laughed at him and asked what he was doing, he simply replied: “tonights the night.” I said, “Oh, don’t be stupid, I will have to be induced at this rate.”
He went to the kitchen and poured a couple of drinks. The past couple of days, Tazz (our Jack Russell) hadn’t left my side. I swinged my legs round to sit up, to drink my drink. Dan asked me if I wanted to watch the new Star Trek movie, I rolled my eyes and said no, I just think i am going to take myself to bed. I was tired, hot and uncomfortable. As I slid forward, I felt an almighty blow and a sharp pain shoot down into my lady bits. I shouted. "Either the baby has just punched me in my lady bits or my waters have gone,” I said to Dan.
I had been saying for the past couple of weeks that my waters had gone, Dan wasn’t believing me anymore. he said “Ash, if you are joking I swear to God,” and I slid a bit more to pull myself up and i thought, yup, my waters have gone.
I remember being told it would be a trickle or a slight gush. This definitely wasn’t a gush, it was a full blown waterfall. The dog got covered, it was all over the sofa and the floors. Me and Dan started laughing, nervously. Dan called my mum to tell her what was happening, he picked up my hospital bag, I threw some clothes on, leggings and a pink top and off we went to Broomfield.
We got there about 8pm, I was monitored and had an internal. 3 cms dilated, sent home about 11 pm. We got home and I decided to put myself to bed, but from when my waters went the pain was just getting unbearable. Dan couldn’t settle, he was up and down constantly checking on me. At about 1 am, we called the maternity unit who advised me to have a bath and some paracetamol – like that was going to work.
3:30am: Enough was enough – I was going in. We went and picked mum up, and then Dan was driving so slowly, I begged him to hurry up. We arrived at 4 am, I was 4cms dilated. Woohoo, I got to stay.
6am: I was just 5cm’s – the midwives were a little concerned but decided they would check on me at 9 am, after the handover. Dan’s face was a picture, he thought I would have pushed the baby out and we would have been on our way home by then. Men.
9am: Still 5cms, I remember my midwife, Ally, going to get another midwife to check, nope. Still 5cms. I could tell by their faces they were concerned.
The midwife with Ally decided that it was best for me to go on a hormone drip to get things moving in the right direction. It all went down hill from there, my birth plan went out the window. No more was I imagining a warm water birth and playing my selected playlist. Instead, i was being wheeled to an high risk ward, being told I couldn’t move too far due to the drip. By Wednesday morning, I was completely exhausted.
I was so high on gas and air, i was talking so much crap. I felt like I was having an out of body experience. It was as if I was watching what was going on from a birds eye view. They gave me a shot of morphine, I was still only 8cm’s. The head midwife suggested that they tear me to try and get me to 9cms. Dan was horrified, mum was just sitting there watching everything.
Finally, I was told to push. I gave it my all. My body was tired, my mind was tired and so was our baby. His heart rate was dropping, but this point I had been pushing for nearly two hours. After God knows how many internals, the midwives couldn’t feel where the baby’s head was. Becky (the midwife) suggested, that maybe another hour or so pushing. That's when my mum lost it. She stated that I didn’t have another hour or so of pushing left in me, this had gone on long enough and it was quite obvious that this baby wasn’t coming out naturally. It had just gone 8 pm, handover time.
In walked my hero, our savior, Dr Zam Zam. He took one look at my notes, and asked quite abruptly “why had she been pushing for over two hours when clearly this baby wasn’t coming out?" After another quick internal he shouted “get her ready for surgery. Forceps, and if they fail, emergency cesarean.” I just crumbled. The two things i feared the most were about to happen. Everything happened so quickly, I remember looking over, Dan was just pacing and staring, mum was praying while rocking back and forth in her chair, and me, I was signing the bit of paper stating I give permission for this to happen, so if myself or our baby didn’t make it we didn’t sue.
Straight down into theatre, they administered an epidural. I immediately relaxed and started to doze off. Dan kept waking me up, he was worried that if I fell asleep I wouldn’t wake up. First the forceps, they cut me underneath right the way to my bum. Trying to push with an epidural administered was awful, I didn’t know if I was pushing or if it was even working. It didn’t work, so there, wonderful Dr Zam Zam carried out my cesarean.
23:34 pm on Wednesday, the 14th of August, weighing 9lb 0oz, our beautiful baby boy was born.
Dr Zam Zam said he was never going to come out naturally, he was back to back AND he hadn’t even dropped into my birth canal. He was sitting in my pelvis, so for those two and a bit hours of pushing, all I was doing was pushing his delicate head into my pelvis. I couldn’t believe he was here. I was allowed a quick photo with him before he was whisked off, while the doctors got me sewn up. I lost a lot of blood, Dan said he would never get the image of the theatre out of his head.
I was whisked into recovery and was allowed to hold my son for 5 minutes, he was then passed back to Dan. We had no happy tears, no skin to skin, none of that stuff they tell you about in your ante-natal appointments. I didn’t get that rush of love when I first laid my eyes on him. It took me a long while to bond with Kellan. I did suffer from post natal depression. Unfortunately, I didn’t realise until a lot later on. Everybody around me noticed it, so why didn’t they step in?
You don't hear the bad when you are newly pregnant, you think you are going to breeze through labour. I hear my friends tell me how they have their babies within hours, how everything went perfectly. That always hits me hard, I would have loved for everything to have gone smoothly and for my babies to be born naturally. The worst feeling is when people insinuate that ladies who have sections, didn't give birth. It's hard enough trying to bond with your baby, but to hear that. No, that's not right.
My traumatic labour is now just a memory, I have gone on to have another healthy baby boy via elective section, and my eldest is starting school. Their births will stay with me a lifetime, and you know what? I would go through both of them again, every single second of every single day, just to see their beautiful little faces again.