You may be thinking, this is my second child, I’ve been through this before – how could I not know I was in labour?? Well that’s exactly it, I was comparing it to labour with Tyler and as it was so different, I didn’t realise!
So the last bit I wrote in my 40 week pregnancy update was about Monday morning on the 27th June:
(Sunday night) And weirdly my left ear popped. It felt like there was water in my ear, it was so out of the blue. I asked my sister to google if it was a sign of labour, but she couldn’t find anything about it.
In the middle of the night, Tyler woke me to come and sleep next to him, so I got up and felt this awful backache. I assumed I had just slept funny.
Monday morning came (40 + 2), and I woke with the backache, and the weird water in my ear sensation. So we just chilled out in the morning. My husband worked from home as I had told him my worries about being home alone with Tyler if I go into labour. And thank god he was at home.
Tyler randomly wet himself watching trains out of the window. This never happens, he’s completely toilet trained, he must have got too excited or something. So I put him in the bath, it was around 11am. And I suddenly got what felt like a constant period pain. I bounced on my ball, and Tyler joined in with his space hopper.
While Tyler was in the bath, I sat on my bouncy ball and googled period pain feeling before labour, and I read on forums of women having these pains for 2 days before anything happened. I was expecting my mucus plug to come out before I had any contractions, but there was absolutely nothing in my knickers. And this period pain feeling was constant, it wasn’t like how it was with Tyler – back then it was pain for a minute and then nothing for 10/15 minutes.
I mentioned it to my husband who was working on his laptop in the bedroom, and he said I’d better message my brother to be on alert, as he was on call to pick up Tyler to stay at my parents’ house. This was at 11.52am.
I got Tyler out of the bath, dressed him, and put some pasta on for his lunch. I started checking my hospital bags and adding in toiletries. My hypnobirthing book said to bring something for the labour room that I could focus on, so I threw in my pink inflatable flamingo. It also said to use aromatherapy, so I got out Tyler’s Peppa Pig flannel and put on a few drops on lavender oil to inhale. The scent really calmed me.
I bounced on my bouncy ball while going on Facebook on my phone. Tyler joined in on his space hopper, he thought it was hilarious.
The pain still felt like constant period pain, nothing like contractions, so I just thought this must be some sort of really early pre-labour pain. It was bearable, so I was commenting on blog posts on my phone, joining in on Facebook conversations, just normal stuff. I had a bit of leftover chilli con carne and rice for lunch. Tyler fell asleep on the sofa. My mum messaged me at 1.50pm:
I had a missed call from my friend at 2pm. I felt I couldn’t talk through the pain so didn’t call her back (hmm thinking back, isn’t that a clue this is labour?!)
I decided to go for a nap around 2.30pm to sleep through it, so I lay next to my husband who was still working, and put my hypnobirthing tracks on my headphones, with the lavender flannel in one hand and holding a hot water bottle with the other on where the pain was – it was seriously similar to period pain, so I was sure this couldn’t be labour.
I woke at 4.30pm to a text message from my friend that had called earlier, asking me how I was doing. I replied:
I had never considered that the mucus plug didn’t have to come out first until I read this message. And when I read back my text “…can’t talk it hurts” I thought, hold on, I can’t talk, that’s a sign surely. And then I thought, what if this feels like constant period pain because they are actually contractions that are so close together that it feels like it is constant. I was washing up dishes at the sink then, and had to stop because of the pain. Hold on – why do I have to stop?! So then I really concentrated on the pain, to see if it came and went or was it constant.
I looked at the clock, it was 4.45pm and I felt the pain for roughly a minute before it died down. Then it came again at about 4.5opm and again at 4.55pm. OMG – these were contractions!!! I messaged the family:
I messaged my friend back:
I downloaded a contraction timer app, and they were lasting 35 seconds and coming every 3 and 1/2 minutes.
The pain was bearable, it was nothing like how it was with Tyler, when I was screaming out with pain. This time when I felt a wave of pain, I stood and held on to the changing table and breathed in the lavender flannel and breathed out using my hypnobirthing techniques, and saying the affirmations in my head – ‘my body will soften and expand during each contraction, each contraction is bringing me closer to meeting my baby, my body relaxes between contractions’
I was sure I had hours until I had to go to the hospital because of how bearable the pain was. But the app was saying the contractions were getting longer and to get ready to go to the hospital. I thought maybe I’d get my brother to wait around rather than just take Tyler straight away.
The last message from my mum made my husband and I giggle – FEED TYLER!
My brother got to us at 5.50pm and he was ready to just take Tyler, but I said no, you’re taking us to the hospital, just hang around. I phoned up the birthing centre and spoke to a midwife called Kirsty who took all my details and said she didn’t want me to come in just for them to send me home, so she said to have a meal and call back when the contractions were lasting 1 minute. I did not want to go in early because of what happened with my first labour with Tyler. I also wanted to get off the phone as it was so hard to talk!
I carried on timing the contractions on the app, and chatting between contractions – it was so chilled out. Ganesh said shall we go out to get something to eat. I was like NO!! He quickly made me the tortellini that was in our fridge and I ate that, running to the changing table whenever I had a contraction. Tyler thought it was so funny each time, and my brother was saying to him, don’t laugh at your poor mummy!
The contractions were getting more intense now, I had to bend my knees and moan a bit through them. They were getting to 45 – 50 seconds long and still 3 and 1/2 minutes apart. Ganesh said shall we call them now? I said no lets wait until 7pm and see. At 7pm they were still 50 seconds so I told Ganesh to call the centre and just say they are 1 minute long and 3 minutes apart. They said to come to the hospital now.
I went into the living room and said “Right, let’s go to the hospital” and Tyler jumped off the sofa and raced to the door going “LET’S GO!” really excited. It was so funny, I had that image of him for the rest of the night, my funny funny boy. I made Ganesh fill my tiny little hot water bottle. The boys grabbed my bags, I had one more contraction and then we raced to the lift to get down to the car park before I had another contraction. I got to my brother’s car and had one more contraction so had to hold on to the roof of his car. I had my lavender flannel and my hot water bottle to help get through it. Then we were in the car and off to the hospital which took less than 10 minutes. I was so relieved the school rush hour was over, as there are FOUR primary schools on the way to the hospital. The roads were quiet at 7pm, thank god! I had one more contraction in the car and sat up straight for it, holding on to the seat in front of me. Tyler laughed at me again!
My bro had just parked up at the hospital. I had another contraction as I got out, so had to hold on to the parking meter! Then we waved my bro and Tyler off and rushed off to the birthing centre. I must have had adrenaline in me or something, as I raced up the stairs to the first floor. I had another contraction at the door to the birthing centre, and then yelled at Ganesh to press the call button so they could let us in. I went up to reception where Kirsty was, and she said “Things have stepped up since we last spoke!” I breathed out a ‘yeah!’ I had to give her a urine sample, so somehow I squeezed one out in the loo. Then I had to make my way to the assessment room, and it was suddenly hard to walk so Ganesh helped me there.
In the assessment room, I looked out of the window and there was a little hospital garden with a family sitting there. And then a family of ducks waddled out of a bush! 5 ducklings and a mummy duck – I was like oh my god, that is so nice! People might say that Slough is a s***hole, but what other hospital would you see a family of ducks just before you’re about to give birth?!
When the contractions came, I held onto the sink, which was not as nice to hold on to as a padded changing table, but what else could I do?!? Kirsty came in with a doppler to check baby’s heartbeat and it was too fast – 168. She asked me if I could feel baby moving. I was like, I don’t know, all I can feel is pain now. I had another contraction and Kirsty rubbed my back and said I was doing really well. She said they have to find out why baby’s heartbeat is so high before they decide if I should go to Labour Ward or stay in the Birthing Centre. She had to call another midwife.
I thought I’d put my hypnobirthing track on my earphones, but as the contraction came, it irritated me, so I threw it off saying “It’s not working! Ganesh get rid of it!”
Kirsty came back to check how dilated I was, and tried to do it quickly between contractions. I had to lie down, which is not what you want to do in labour, it’s so uncomfortable. I squeezed Ganesh’s hand as it’s awful, and she said I’m 4cm and the cervix is very soft, whatever that meant. Another contraction was coming so I jumped off the bed and held on to the sink. Kirsty went to get the other midwife. This contraction was soooo intense, I could feel something in my bottom, and had to bend my knees and I was sobbing through this contraction. I tried to keep my breathing techniques but it hurt sooooo bad. Then Ganesh said “Something’s happening” as a few drops of blood dripped out of me.
Kirsty came with the other midwife who checked baby’s heartbeat, and it was still 168, too high. She asked her to check my notes to see if there was a history of high heartbeat, but I answered no there wasn’t, her heartbeat’s has been about 148 throughout. Another contraction came and it was so intense, I cried out “I can’t do this” to them all saying “You can!” and I called out to Ganesh to hold me or something (he was sitting on the chair before then). They asked if I felt the need to push. I said I can feel something in my bottom! I begged for some gas and air. So we finally went off to the birthing room two doors down.
I was in the water birth room and the pool was filling with water. Kirsty told me to kneel in front of the bed where there were pillows to rest my head on. Now I understand why these beds had a dip in them. The gas and air pump was there and I puffed on it, it felt like it did nothing but it must have as my mouth became numb. The contractions hurt so bad, I was screaming into the gas and air pump. Ganesh said “At least you have the soothing sound of water” which was true, the bath being filled up sounded like a waterfall. But there was no time for the bath, I was told to push, push the scream down.
In between contractions I asked rather wearily if I could have some music. I said it hurts so bad, I feel like I’m going to die! Kirsty said I’m not going to die! She was sorry though, they had no plug points in this room. I was like, what, this was the room they gave the hospital tour in, where she said they have a CD player and iPod dock. A fleeting though crossed my mind that I’d have to correct my blog post! I said I wanted Heart FM! Another contraction came, meanwhile both Ganesh and Kirsty were trying to get Heart FM on their phones. G downloaded the app, while I was saying “It’s okay, don’t worry about it, I don’t give a f*** right now!” But he got it and put the phone by my head so I had music – phew!
Kirsty’s shift was ending so she told me another midwife, Tracey, would be taking over. She didn’t leave straight away, so I had both midwives for a while. My screams were getting worse and the pain was unbearable, each time a contraction came, I was like “Oh no, oh no… AAAAHHHHH” I could feel everything, this head coming through me, my legs were shaking. Kirsty’s head popped round and I looked at her, she said “You can do this, you’re doing so well” and I turned to my left and saw Ganesh’s head and he said the same. That really helped, gave me some motivation to keep going. Then she said she was leaving me with Tracey but would see me in the morning. And I remember hearing Tracey say she was sorry to meet me like this, seeing my back only and not my face. I really did not care at that point. I think my waters broke then, I just felt a gush of water. Tracey could see the head and was telling me to push, not just suck on the gas. “Not those little pushes, a proper push!” I heard her say to Ganesh, she’s not listening to me! But I was, it just hurt so much! She said jokingly to me, “I’m going to take that gas away! If you push at the next contraction, baby will come quicker and this will be over!”
Somewhere during all this, I heard that ‘Stitches’ song by Sean Mendes and the line “I’ll be needing stitches” and in my head I thought that was such a funny line to hear, as I could be having stitches, and I really did not want stitches. What an appropriate song.
8.44pm – HONEY NUT IS BORN!
I had been pushing for half and hour. And at 8.44pm, Honey Nut came out, crying and crying! Tracey told me to sit back, and I nearly flattened her against the bath that was behind us as she handed me Honey Nut through my legs, still attached to me! That was so weird, and so amazing at the same time. It was over! And I was holding my baby! This time I wasn’t bawling my eyes out like I did with Tyler. It was weird she was still attached to me, every movement tugged on my insides, ugh. Ganesh cut the umbilical cord, and then somehow I had to get on to the bed.
I handed Honey Nut to Tracey so I could get up and then lie on my back on the bed. My body started shaking then, it was uncontrollable shivers. Ganesh said “Are you cold?” and Tracey said no this is normal, the body is in shock. She put Honey Nut under my top so her skin was on my tummy, and her head poking out at through the neck of my top, so she got ‘skin on skin’ contact. She was so alert, eyes wide open and just looking. She had so much hair, and it was curly as it was wet.
I still had to deliver the placenta, so she gave me an injection so this stage would be quicker. Ganesh put the music back on and Olly Murs came on. Ganesh said, “Sorry Lily, the first song you hear is Olly Murs :(” Then it was Heart’s ’90s at 9′ and I remember thinking wow she’s here in time for that! They played Toni Braxton’s Unbreak my Heart, the fast version. I puffed on the gas and air as it was still painful, and I heard Tracey say don’t push yet, but I did, I just pushed it out in 11 minutes. Then she had to check if I needed stitches. I puffed on the gas and air again and this was uncomfortable, ugh. She said “You have a tiny tear but the way you’re jumping around, I’m guessing you don’t want a stitch” I was like, NO, it’ll heal by itself right?! So I escaped having stitches, which made hearing that Sean Mendes song even funnier.
Honey Nut had started rooting now. I had heard about newborn babies doing this, and now have witnesses it myself. It’s amazing, her mouth was making sucking noises and her head was looking for my boob. How do babies know?! So she had her first feed while I was lying on my back, not having stitches!
Ganesh held Honey Nut next, while I lay down for ages waiting to get some energy back, I just could not get up. After a while Honey Nut was weighed – 7lb 7oz, and then given a Vitamin K injection – she screamed during that. What a welcome to the world?! Tracey put a nappy on her and then Ganesh was told to put her first outfit on 🙂
I then sat up, gave Honey Nut another feed, after which we took photos and texted family. Wow, all this and it wasn’t even 10pm yet!
Check out Honey Nut’s nails – so long!
I had a shower and another midwife came in asking if I wanted a toast and a drink. I was like YES! Suddenly I was starving
We went into the postnatal room, which was handily in the birthing centre, and I had a lovely corner with a window. It was so nice having a hot chocolate. Ganesh put the butter and jam on my toast and cut it up for me so I could eat it while holding Honey Nut. He wasn’t allowed to stay overnight, so he left at 11.30pm, to return the following morning at 9am. Then it was just me and Honey Nut.
I had a little crib by my bad, but the mattress seemed so hard, so I put a pillow on top of it. I rolled some blankets to put on the sides of Honey Nut and she slept all the way till 7am. Which was good, I had to do quite a few loo runs. I tried to sleep, but I couldn’t. All I kept thinking about was my Nany, and how on earth did she give birth like 15 times at home with no pain relief?! I was trying to forget the pain, but I heard two more women screaming out in pain as they were giving birth next door. I nearly cried for them. Honestly there are no words to describe or explain the pain. I just know this is something that bonds all mums, whatever background they are from, to give birth is such an achievement. I am proud of myself that I did it. But I’m definitely NEVER giving birth ever again!
And I don’t need to as I have my beautiful boy and girl now. Look at Tyler meeting Honey Nut the next day when they picked me up from the hospital 🙂
All in all, I would say my labour started around 11am, so it was 9 hours and 45 minutes (of which I did not realise I was in labour for 6 hours!), and my established labour was 1 hour and 14 minutes.
I would say the hypnobirthing did help, maybe that was the reason I did not feel like I was in labour for 6 hours, I must have trained my body to deal with it. The breathing techniques helped me through the contractions up until the transition stage and established labour when the pain got too much, but that was only the last bit. Also the fact that I did not need any stitches and that my cervix was soft at 4 cm meant my body was doing what it needed to, perhaps I had trained it to expand and soften. If you are interested, the book I used was Sophie Fletcher’s Mindful Hypnobirthing, together with the tracks downloaded from her website.
I must say thank you to my brother Zu for dropping everything to come and pick up Tyler, and for driving us so calmly to the hospital, and to both him and my sister Angie for picking us up from the hospital the next day to drive us home. Thank you to my friend Cassie for sending me the text that made me realise I was in labour. Thank you to my midwives Kirsty and Tracey at Wexham Park Hospital for delivering Honey Nut. And most importantly thank you to my husband Ganesh for being my birthing partner, I could not have got through it without him. He said afterwards he was glad he took his wedding ring off, as I had squeezed his hand so hard during labour!
Welcome to the world Honey Nut. Now our adventures begin!