My experience with a dramatic natural birth of my second child
My mum always says that having a child is not easy; it’s almost like a life or a death situation for some. Well, that’s what we were facing when I had my son on 16 September 2017. It was a three-day intense natural birth, indeed!
High risk labour candidate?
This was my second pregnancy. I suffered from Pelvic Girdle pain during this pregnancy but other than that there was no issue with the baby and he positioned himself head down, an ideal position for natural virginal delivery. I was still classed as a high risk by the medical professionals due to the caesarean session delivery with my daughter two and a half years prior to this delivery. When you are a high risk for whatever reason, you have to deliver the baby at the hospital due to higher chance of complication, which I was fine with. I am no stranger to the hospital delivery suite and it didn’t scare me anymore like it did the first time.
Day 1 – Start of Contractions:
It was around 3am on Thursday morning on 14 September 2017 when I started to feel the mild contractions which woke me up from my sleep. I wasn’t sleeping well anyway due to severe pelvic pain and just being 39 weeks pregnant. I started to time the contractions and they started off with 5 minutes apart and got shorter to about 3 minutes apart.
First hospital visit:
I woke my husband around 5.30am to discuss our next step; do we still send our daughter to the nursery that day or do we send her to the grandparents. In the end, we decided to drop her off at grand parent’s house with her pre-packed bag and we headed to the Whipps Cross hospital in Ilford. We were seen within 2 hours of getting there but after the examination, the midwife advised me that my cervix wasn’t open, and the contractions were not strong enough to stay at the hospital.
So, after getting home, I took paracetamol for the pain to get some sleep.
Day 2 of contractions:
I couldn’t sleep that evening; I still had pains similar to period pain but much stronger and prominent. Friday morning, the pain took a different form where I could tell that this was definitely a strong labour pain as I couldn’t talk anymore during the contractions but the problem was that they were irregular. When I stood up the contractions were regular but as soon as I lie down or even sit down then the contractions started to vary in time and durations.
Second Hospital visit:
This time around I had to wait about 4 hours before I was seen, which was a torture. Finally, my turn for examination and the midwife advised us that my baby’s heart rate was fine, but my contractions were irregular but they don’t know why. The bad news was that I was only 1 cm dilated. I was in shock horror and ready to break down right there and then. More than a day of pain for 1 cm dilation, are you kidding me?
I was then transferred to a prenatal suite to be monitored. The Prenatal suite I was in had about 4 beds with curtains giving us privacy. I spent the Friday evening in pain, walking up and down the corridor to keep the contractions at regular intervals, whilst my next bed neighbour was snoring away. I was so desperate to ask her what she took to sleep through the whole night.
Day 3 of contractions:
During the very early morning examination on Saturday, I was told that I was about 3cm – 4cm dilated so they were going to transfer me to the labour suite. At that point I was thinking, DAMN, that means I still have about 6cm – 7cm to go still after two days of pain and no sleep… I am not going to make it!
At the labour suite, I was given the hospital gown to get changed into and one of the midwives showed me how to use the gas and air properly. I wasn’t so keen on the gas and air as it was making me really dizzy since I haven’t slept for two days or eaten anything. Midwives and doctors advised me against eating since they can’t eliminate the possibility of a surgery. They gave me sugar water to keep me hydrated but I managed to bring all that back out and some more. I felt like I was in some sort of alien movie spitting out buckets and buckets of slime substance. My advise at this point would be to keep yourself hydrated and drink Lucozade sport (without the fizziness) to give you energy to last till the end without collapsing.
Not sure if you read my previous post on my experience with caesarean session delivery, so as before, I was using the gas and air liberally when a midwife and a doctor was trying to inject the cannula in to my veins to get me ready for pain killers and blood transfusion if necessary. Yep, two attempts and they both failed.
Around mid-afternoon, the midwives were discussing about breaking my water bag to speed things up. As we were discussing, I felt a leak from my bladder, so I gave a heads up to the midwives. But they were sceptical and dismissed me by saying that there would be loads more water than what was on the sheets already. When they examined me, they realised that the water has indeed broken. They assisted more by wearing special gloves to break any membrane that was still intact.
Ladies, always trust your body and instinct, don’t let others tell you that you are wrong because they don’t know about your body like you do.
On top of water breaking, the midwives were also discussing giving me oxytocin to speed up the labour process and they advised me to seriously considering epidural since it was my third day of no sleep or rest. I finally said yes to epidural after telling myself, ‘enough is enough!’ I wasn’t proving anything to anyone by being in pain.
The preparation of injecting the needle was similar to spinal; sit down and bend your head to touch the knee and push the back out so they can inject local anaesthetic to numb the area of the spine before inserting a needle with a fine plastic epidural catheter between the bones of the back. They then remove the needle leaving just the catheter in and they seal the back safely with some sort of massive Band-Aid that covers the whole back. You can get information on epidural on this NHS website.
The procedure for inserting the catheter went better than I anticipated. I was lying down on my back after the tube insertion and couldn’t feel the tube or any discomfort.
Bonus point, the anaesthetist also managed to insert a canula in my arm with his first attempt without making me suffer more.
The outcome of taking the epidural was…. BOY! Where did my pain go and why DIDN’T I take this before?
I was given hormone called Oxytocin to speed up the labour as I was only about 6cm dilated. The bad news got worse when the hormone was interfering with my baby’s heart rate and mine. It was spiking higher than the doctors were comfortable with. So they dropped the hormone level down to the lowest they could possible administer. My temperature also shot up high and it looked like I caught an infection.
A senior midwife took a blood culture for analysis and whilst we were waiting for the result, I was given antibiotics to see if it would calm things with the baby and me. Sure enough, it did help but our heart rates were still high.
Surgery or not?
Around 9ish pm, the doctors weren’t comfortable with our situation so they went to prepare the operation theatre to take me for assisted birth and if that fails, then caesarean. Luckily for me, at this point I was finally 10cm dilated, Alleluia!
The doctors gave us 30 minutes to try naturally whilst they were preparing the theatre room. So the midwife and I decided to work together and give it everything I got to push the baby out without having the need for the assisted birth or the surgery;
After about 30 minutes of serious pushing (but it felt like eternity), I mean every single part of my body was pushing, even my toes; and finally my son’s head came out. And this is the pain I want to forget in my life, the burning sensation of the skin ripping. It felt like someone touched me alive. I almost couldn’t breath for a few seconds to absorb the pain but had to get right back to pushing before he suffocates. After about couple of pushes he came out screaming.
Did I hold the baby straight away?
I remember the midwife trying to give the baby in my hand and I wouldn’t hold him, not because I didn’t want to but because I was still in shock. An utter shock from the pain I felt. My whole body was turning ice cold and my hands wouldn’t stop shaking and I couldn’t even speak.
Was the pain over?
No, not yet. I had a second-degree tear (apparently so) but the midwife wasn’t comfortable stitching so she requested the surgeon to do the stitching.
The surgeon gave me a local anaesthetic via injection and she began stitching. Considering what I have gone through during the delivery you would think the stitching wouldn’t be a bother. Well, you are wrong. Not sure if the anaesthetic wasn’t enough or I was over sensitive because of the long delivery I went through; let’s just say I felt every needle prick. I turned into this annoying kid that kept asking, ‘are we done yet?’ Eventually she stopped stitching and I left out a biggest exhale and stopped clinching my jaws.
I know this whole experience sounds like a nightmare and a negative and traumatic experience but things could have gone worse. For our relief, my son was born without a single scratch on his body, healthy and absolutely beautiful. What more could I ask for?
I want to say a massive thank you to everyone at the Whipps Hospital for all their care and love for their job. Without their expert care and advise, my baby and I would have suffered immensely.
I hope I gave you some insight into what to expect when things don’t go the way you expect. I have friends who have had the baby in 5 hours and that’s what all of us want but we are all different and so are our body capabilities.
Don’t be afraid to take painkiller if you are in pain, there is no point in fighting yourself and trying to prove something that’s not anywhere beneficial for you or the baby. Make sure you have the strength to push the baby out, as pushing the baby out might be the most strenuous thing we can possibly do in our life.
Don’t lose hope and believe in yourself and be strong. If I hadn’t stayed strong through all the drama we had that day, things would have been worse. Stay positive!
I would love to know your experience with your delivery. Please comment below and share. If you want to know more let me know and I will come back to you.
Hope you enjoyed this read and somehow it helped you. My intention is to pass my experience and knowledge to other mums to be and mums and assure them that they are not alone!