With Honey Nut’s impending birth, I’ve found myself retelling Tyler’s birth story quite a few times recently – I guess it’s just the topic that comes up when you’re building up to that time for the second time. So I thought why not share it with you guys too! Although it was 4 years ago, I remember it like yesterday. It was the quickest labour, with me not realising I was in labour for half of it, from 4am to 11.30pm on May 8th.
SUNDAY 6TH MAY
His due date was May 6th, which was a Sunday and I was at my parents for the weekend (my brother had driven, I was not driving at that stage of pregnancy). Nothing happened that day, and to speed things along I was eating loads of pineapples. That evening, my siblings drove me back home, and we ate HOT chilli con carne for dinner, hoping that would help bring on labour too! This photo of the evening cracks me up still, everyone making silly faces 😀
MONDAY 7TH MAY
The next day was Bank Holiday Monday, so my husband was home and we got the bus to Clapham Junction for a Costa coffee in the station while he renewed his travelcard, and then we had a browse in Debenhams and TK Maxx. I remember buying blue socks and black DKNY pants from TK Maxx. When we got off the bus stop near our home, we bumped into my friend who had recently had a baby, and she said something like labour can just start without any warning.
TUESDAY 8TH MAY
So I went to bed with that thought in my head. And sure enough, at 4am I went to the loo and found my mucus plug in my knickers. Pretty gross. But I excitedly told Ganesh ‘I think it’s happening!’ before going back to sleep.
I started feeling these slight cramps that were like period pains in the morning of May 8th. I didn’t know if this was labour or not, it was very subtle.
I had a growth scan appointment that morning as baby was measuring small, so we went to that at Kings College Hospital, and it was a bunch of students doing it. Baby was fine. I said to them, I’m feeling these regular cramping pains, it that labour. They were so rubbish, they said your midwife can tell you at your appointment tomorrow, we just do the scan. Wow. Thanks a bunch moron doctors!
So we went home, I had a parcel to post, something I had sold on eBay, and whilst queueing up at the Post Office, the cramping seemed to be a bit stronger. We walked home and then my husband went to work. Then my cousin texted me that she was having a job interview down the road and if I wanted to meet for coffee around 12. I was considering saying no because of this weird cramp sensations I was having, but then thought hey why not, it wasn’t that bad.
So I met her at Costa in Brixton, which was newly opened back then. And by coincidence, my sister had had a job interview that morning so she was able to come meet us too, totally unplanned. So towards the end of our catchup, I told them I’d been feeling these sort of period pains all morning. My cousin was like ‘How often are you getting them?’ I said ‘Um, about every 10 minutes’. Her mouth dropped open and she goes ‘You’re in labour love!’
What?! My sister said she had to go home to get changed as she was going out in the evening, and my cousin saw the fear in my face, so she told my sister to stay with me. So my sister and I went for lunch at the Ritzy, and I don’t think that was a good idea. By the time the food came, the cramps were quite bad. Though they were short, I couldn’t talk through them. We ate really quick and somehow I walked the 10 minute walk home, having stop whenever I got a cramp.
I think it was about 1.30pm by the time we were home, and I hooked up my TENS machine and sat on my yoga ball, while my sister lay on the sofa and was just chatting about anything, just to keep my mind off it. We watched Friends and all them shows on E4. I had texted my husband to come back as I was in labour, He didn’t reply straightaway, but then he was on his way. Thing is he worked in Leatherhead so it would take him 2 hours to get back.
Meanwhile the cramps were getting closer together and more intense. I phoned the hospital to find out when I should go it. I think the midwife said when the contractions are 3 minutes apart, but if I feel it too painful, I can come in earlier.
It was about 6pm when my husband walked through the door, and by then I was standing holding on to the kitchen counter screaming through each contraction – oh the pain! My sister then legged it. It was so hilarious. She went ‘Ok, good luck guys!’ and then I never seen her run so fast, she was out the door! I guess it must have been scary for a 19-year-old student.
My husband started calling up for a taxi, but now that it was rush hour on a Tuesday after the bank holiday, all of them had a 45 minute to an hour wait. He kept phoning around and finally found one that could come quicker.
The taxi came and we grabbed my hospital bags, and I grabbed a fleecy blanket and cushion that was on the sofa. I said to the taxi driver ‘I’m sorry if I scream, I’m in labour, but just ignore me!’ I tried really hard not too, but I couldn’t hold the screams in. And everytime I screamed he sped up, he must have been freaked. And all those red lights, argh!
We got to Kings College hospital about 7pm, we’d never been to the labour ward before but I just followed my husband and we were there, it was on fourth floor of the Golden Jubilee Wing and we got a lift up. I was seen to by a midwife who measured me down there and said I’m 3cm dilated so this is early labout, I’d better go home. I said no I am NOT going home, we just had all the palava getting a taxi here, I was not leaving. So she said okay go for a walk outside, have a snack.
So we went outside, and it was dark like the sun had just set, so I’m guessing it was about 8.30pm or 9ish maybe. I remember going on all fours on these stone benches outside and just screaming though the contractions, and the screams echoed! It was some sort of primal instinct to go on all fours. It was too much. We went back inside on the ground floor. This area had no ceiling for 4 floors, the walls just went up, and I remember saying to my husband ‘It’s coming!” as I held on to him and screamed through another contraction. The screams echoed and I remember seeing people on their mobiles turn and look at me in fear.
So we went back up to the fourth floor. I remember some woman near the lifts said do I need to go to the labour ward, and I said it’s ok, they told me to go for a walk. Anyway, we went back up to fourth and into the waiting area of the Labour ward. The pain was unbearable, I was going on all fours on the chairs in the waiting room, and it felt like I needed a number two so I went to the loo and nothing. With hindsight I know that was the baby I was feeling, not a number two.
My screams were so scary, even the lady at reception had gone into hiding. The doors to the Labour Ward were locked and I was banging on the door saying ‘Help me, someone help me!’ My husband felt so helpless. There was a dad with his little 2-year-old girl in the waiting room, and everytime I screamed, I saw her frightened little face. I hated what was happening to me. I fact I wrote in my diary that I thought I was going to die.
An asian girl came into the room and asked me some questions, I can’t remember what. But now I know she wanted to see if I could talk through my contractions, to see how bad it was. Bastards. Yes I could talk, I talked all the way till Tyler was born, it doesn’t mean anything if you can talk!!!
So finally at about 10.30pm a room was free, and this older midwife said to come this way. I couldn’t walk, and she goes, ‘Come on, it’s only here’ like I was making a big fuss out of nothing. I was slightly hysterical by now, like really scared and wanting my epidural like I had put in my birth plan. I was still wearing my red dress that I had on all day. There were two midwives, and they told me to take my knickers off and there was blood in them which freaked me out. She went to see how dilated I was and that was when my waters broke. She goes “Oh, you’re 8cm, your baby’s coming now!” I was like WHAT?! It was too late for an epidural, and she goes “Well done for doing it all with no pain relief!” like I had a flipping chioce, I was stuck in that waiting room! I had never swore so much in my life.
That midwife left and I had Tess who was amazing, the best midwife ever. I said I need music, so they put Heart FM on. She told me to kneel up on the bed, with me holding on to the bed headboard, and she gave me gas and air. The gas and air was amazing, I felt like I was high or something. I was hot so told my husband to tie my hair. There was one moment where I remember his panic-ed face when I screamed out “Get me a ribena, take my socks off” but when he went to do that I grabbed him and screamed “Don’t leave me!” He didn’t know what to do first! I kept saying “I can’t do this” but then Tess’s face would pop round and she’d say “You CAN do this” and she said when a contraction comes, don’t put it all into your voice and scream, push it into your bottom. “Push like it’s the biggest poo of your life!” Yeah she said that.
Well it worked, I pushed the scream into my body. I couldn’t hear the music through the gas and air and I shouted out “I can’t hear the music!” so they put on Heart FM really really loud! And that’s when I felt I could do this, hearing the 90s music from my childhood. I remember hearing End of the Road by Boyz 2 Men. The midwife who had told me to go home was there too, her shift had ended but she stayed, feeling bad that they were going to send me home.
It got to around 11.30pm, and I heard Aerosmith’s ‘Don’t Want to Miss a Thing’ play, and I gasped out “Steven Tyler, and his name is Tyler!” and that was the last push! And…
Tyler was born at 11.39pm 🙂
It was strange as I was backwards so didn’t see him until I turned around. I lay down on the bed and Tyler was put on my chest for skin to skin contact. I was bawling my eyes out, I could not believe he was here.
WEDNESDAY 9TH MAY
I don’t remember the umbilical cord being cut, my husband must have done it, and then I was supposed to feed him but was so exhausted and out of it. Tyler was wrapped in a towel and my husband had him. Then Tess squeezed my boob to get the colostrum out into a syringe to give to Tyler and my husband gave him his first feed of SMA milk in a bottle. He was weighed and was 5lb 11oz.
We phoned our parents, and I remember my mum saying can she put it on Facebook. I was like NO! I remember looking around at what looked like a murder scene and blood all over myself, there was no way I wanted the news in public yet, plus it was our news to announce! Grandparents do get overexcited though don’t they.
I had some more gas and air while the placenta came out, I think they gave me something to speed that up, I can’t remember, and I had to have 1 stitch down there.
I think after that I breastfed Tyler for the first time with Tess’s help and was so pleased that I could do it.
Then I went to have a shower, they had a large ensuite, and then I could put my comfy nightie on. My husband was holding Tyler all this time and they had put Tyler in his first outfit. But they had put him in his going home outfit. He should have worn a babygro for now, his poor little legs and arms getting cold 😦
Anyway, at last I got to hold Tyler again, and I sat in a wheelchair and they wheeled me down to Postnatal but the premature baby unit as Tyler was so tiny, even though he was full term.
It was 3am by now, and a midwife came and said to wake at 6am to give him his next feed, aiming to feed him every 3 hours. Tyler was in one of those little see-through boxes with blankets, I slept on the bed next to him and my husband slept on the chair.
In the morning, there was breakfast, so I had some cereal. We had a few leaks with Tyler’s nappies, as he was too small for Size 1. I tried to feed every 3 hours, but it ended up being every hour, so I had some help with the breastfeeding to help him get more from each feed. Each feed was noted down on a chart. Tyler had to have his heel pricked every few hours to check his blood sugar as he was tiny. My husband went home to get some more babygros and freshen up.
At about 4pm my family came with the car seat to pick us up. A lady came to do some tests, where they drop Tyler for a second to check his reflexes. My baby! Anyway, we wanted to go home, so just got ready. Another lady came in saying, where are you going?! She checked, and it was okay for us to go, so at about 5pm we left the hospital and went home.
And that is the story of how Tyler came into the world 🙂