I’m going to write about something a little odd but it was an amazing experience (in hindsight).
Warning: This will be graphic and…icky…
This is my labour story.
My story starts with my midwife who I dislike because she didn’t do her job properly. She had no interest in talking to me, she wanted to do the basic tasks required then she wanted to see the next person. That would be fine if it wasn’t my first baby. Due to Mike’s job switch and driving test availability being poor I couldn’t make it to my last couple of appointments in Stone. I called Stafford hospital to ask what I should do if I go overdue and the horrible woman who picked up the phone kept asking if I was in any pain. I reiterated that I wasn’t in labour, I just wanted to know what to do if I didn’t go into labour soon (I think I was around 38 weeks at this point). The idiot told me that I would go into labour and to call back when I do (thanks, genius). Anyway, 2 days overdue I called Stafford hospital again and they made me an appointment for the following day (Sunday) to have a routine appointment with a midwife. Mike came in with me and they checked my blood pressure and tested my urine. This had been done countless times. The midwife came back in and told me that my blood pressure was almost double what it used to be and there was protein in my urine. Midwives and doctors seem to worry about both of these and I’ll never fully understand why but this lead to me bein taken to Stoke hospital in an ambulance.Stafford hospital don’t have any doctors in their labour unit. 2 paramedics arrived to the room with a bed. I had to lie down and be taken through down to the ambulance in the bed. I felt like such a twat. I also felt scared, the appointment was only meant to be 10 minutes, but instead I was in an ambulance with my pulse and blood pressure being monitored from Stafford to Stoke. Mike wasn’t with me because he needed to move the car so he drove there. The paramedics wheeled me up to assessment ward where I lay in a crappy bed for hours. A midwife asked me to give another urine sample, I had my stomach felt a few times and my blood pressure done. A doctor came in and asked me a few questions, he felt the bump and he got me to fold my leg, then he hit my knee and I wanted to hit him back. I hate my knees being touched, never mind hit urgh. I’m not sure how my reflexes were relevant. When he was done he told me that they were admitting me and I was going to be induced. After what felt like a lifetime, a midwife came for me and took us to the labour unit to discuss what would happen and to perform an internal examination to see if I was 2cm dilated. She said if I was 2cm they could break my waters to start labour but if I wasn’t they would use a pill or gel (I can’t recall which) to start the slow progress of labour. They expected this to at least get me to 2cm in 24 hours. I wasn’t dilated enough so I had the pill/gel and sent back to the assessment unit. During the time I spent in the labour unit my mom and sister had turned up, worried and with gifts (I text my mom in the ambulance). I wasn’t allowed visitors at that point so Mike went out to them to explain what was happening. I wasn’t meant to go home, as I had been admitted but I needed my hospital bags and we were hungry so Mike and I went to get a McDonalds through the drive threw and then we drove home. On the way home I saw mom and Jade walking so we picked them up and they came back to ours for a bit. I felt like a rebel, or an escaped mental patient or something. On the way back to the hospital I felt a bit guilty, I thought a midwife would question where I had been. No one did. Mike and I went to my bed and sat talking until he was asked to leave. I felt excited and content whilst we were sat there. I wasn’t thinking anything in particular but I felt important. Somehting huge was happening. Throughout my stay at hospital the baby’s heart rate and my contractions were monitored which I found frustrating. Before Mike left a midwife asked me an odd question, she wanted to know if I wanted any painkillers after looking at the sheet of paper being churned out by the monitoring device. I said no as I felt fine. I saw so many midwives and the heart rate monitoring was annoying because I couldn’t get up and had to stay in the same position, each time I was monitored for an hour, every 4 hours. Around 1am I started to have pains, they were like bad period pains. It was bad enough to stop me from sleeping. I felt quite alone at this point, Mike was at home asleep and I was in hospital in a shared room in pain. I could hear a woman opposite me in pain. I didn’t really know what was going on, I just thought that the pill or gel was causing the pain. At 8am the pain became quite bad so I pressed my buzzer to ask for some pain killers. Not too long after Mike arrived and saw that I wasn’t doing too well. He sat with me. At 10.40 my waters broke. I had no idea how much fluid would come out, it went everywhere, all over the bed and the leggings I was wearing. It felt really weird. Just after it happened I said ‘Ohh no’. You had to be there to hear the tone of my voice, it was amusing. I remember sounding disappointed and a little ashamed. A midwife came in and asked if I was okay and I told her I thought my waters had broken which amused her a little as she looked at the mess I was in. The pain instantly increased and I threw up into a cardboard container. My stomach clearly can’t cope with that type of pain as the same thing happened when I was a child experiencing bad period pain. A midwife told me that they needed to monitor me again which stressed me out because I was very aware that I was in a room where other women were being assessed. I wanted to go to the labour ward, in a private room with gas and air. But they like to do their monitoring! I don’t know how long I was in there for, it probably felt like a lot longer. At some point I had a strong contraction and I was convinced I had lost control of my bladder, I felt ashamed but mostly I didn’t care because of the pain. It turned out that it was my ‘bloody show’ which I couldn’t see but at least it wasn’t wee! A midwife told me to get out of my leggings and she put an absorbent sheet down on the bed. The same midwife who examined me came in with a wheelchair to get me to my room in the labour unit. I honestly thought I would never get there because the contractions were awful and the pressure felt horrendous. Mike and the midwife helped me get up off the bed and get to the wheelchair, they helped me get my slippers on and covered me up. I was slowly wheeled to my room. When I got there the midwife told me about the epidural and that she would call to see when the anaesthetist would be available. I asked if I could go to the toilet before having the epidural because I was worried about losing feeling and (again) weeing in the bed. So, my trip to the toilet and I should warn anyone who reads this that this next bit is disgusting…So, I went into the bathroom, I didn’t lock the door which turned out to be useful. I sat on the toilet, had my wee then I had a really strong contraction that made me throw up. I stood up to throw up in the sink which hurt my stomach area more because of the contraction. Whilst I was throwing up more of my waters spilled out onto the floor (at the time it was questionable what it was…), I saw the ‘show’ in my underwear that I left in front of the toilet, it was disgusting. I decided I needed to lie down to get through the contraction so I moved towards the hospital bath and more waters came out, I got to the floor and weakly called Mike to come in to help. At this point couldn’t see a way to get out of the bathroom on my own. This is what I consider to be an amusing low point in my life, no dignity. He came in and I must have got back to the bed without any of the lower half of clothing on. The bathroom was an abandoned mess. I can’t recall what time this was; time became irrelevant. At some point a bunch of doctors came in looking cheery, I might have acknowledged them, I can’t remember. Things are a blur because my contractions were constant and I had my eyes closed a lot. I think of the pain of labour as diabolical. It really is awful. However, I got a lot of praise for how calmly I dealt with it, I’m proud of that. Anyway, back to the epidural, the midwife looking after me told me that the anaesthetist was available but because my blood pressure was high they wanted to test samples of my blood. I agreed. I agreed to everything that day. They offered me pethadine in the meantime but first they wanted to extract blood samples from my arm and then perform another internal examination. Just like back at my appointment at Stafford hospital the previous day they struggled to get blood from my veins, they tried in 3 different places. The needle was wiggled and jammed into my arm, hand and wrist and I had bruises for a week. During all this my contractions continued. I didn’t care at all about the needle being wiggled and pressed on. Eventually they drew blood and honestly there should have been applause for how long it took. A doctor informed me that if I wasn’t dilated enough at this point that they would need to give me a drip that would increase contractions, making them occur quicker and become more painful. I was horrified…then he added that before they started the drip they would perform an epidural. I was 6cm at this point which was good. God knows how long later, the midwife injected my hand with pethadine. In my experience pethadine doesn’t take any pain away it just keeps you calm. During the worst hours of labour I didn’t speak at all aside from saying ‘fuck’ once during a particularly bad contraction. Because of my entire lack of interaction I wanted to let Mike know I was coping okay, I remember thinking I should stick my thumb up at him in-between contractions. I must have either had another really strong contraction or decided that it would be inappropriate to do that, either way I still had my sense of humour. Around 2 hours after my blood was taken the cheery anaesthetist came in to tell me she had good news, if I failed to smile my eyes should have lit up at least. Mercy. A whole team came in the room to help administer the epidural. Someone, a doctor I assume told me what I needed to do and what they would do. The room seemed to be full and I felt a little high.They told me to take my Foo Fighters t-shirt off and to replace it with a hospital gown so that they could stick a needle/tube thing into my back. I remember being aware that all the people behind me could see my ass then I immediately stopped caring. They asked me to sit up, which required their help, I couldn’t do anything for myself. I was told to swing my legs over to dangle from the bed and to hunch my back so that it was arched. They said Mike would hold the gas and air for me whilst the epidural was being put into place and that I was to tell them when I had a contraction. I needed to stay perfectly still and take the gas and air. The bed was highered so that they could see hat they were doing, in my drugged up state I felt like I was even further off the ground. I think I had three contractions whilst they were administering the epidural and I managed to stay perfectly still. I can’t put into words how relieved I was once it was done. It took up to 20 minutes to take effect and the pain was entirely gone. I had got through most of labour. I had done my time. I couldn’t stop talking. I was back to reality. Life was good again, I was literally delighted. I was on another kind of high. This was around 7pm. My midwife told me she would examine me again, she did and it turns out I had got through all of labour without the epidural, I was 10cm. It was time to meet my baby. This is when it settled in that I was actually having a baby. I was going to meet her soon. The midwife said we would wait an hour to give the baby plenty of time to get really low then I would start pushing. We chatted the whole hour away. Just as it was time to start pushing her shift was done and a different midwife came in. I felt a bit uneasy about this but this midwife was just as nice which made my experience better. There’s not a lot to say about the final stage of labour aside from how weird it was to know that I would meet my daughter at any point. Also I felt like an idiot pushing so hard, it’s probably more normal when you can feel the pain. It was going really well at the beginning. Then the baby’s heart rate changed, and the midwife consulted a doctor, she told him my pushes were great but the baby wasn’t budging anymore and she told him about her heart rate. The doctor decided it was best to do a forceps delivery, he asked my permission to use forceps and if he could make a cut to help get the baby out. I said yes. I saw the huge metal forceps come towards me. It didn’t take long until Eva was out. The doctor hacked away down there in a panic because the baby was stuck on the cord and I wouldn’t have got her out without his help. I’m lucky my blood pressure was high because I planned to give birth at Stafford which is a midwife led unit. They pulled her out and pulled the cord from around her arm. She was checked and wiped down then handed to me. A chubby baby girl, wide awake and peaceful. It was magical. She grabbed my hair with one hand and started making sucking noises with minutes of being born. She was already after food! She stared at me and I stared at her. Whilst I held my baby the doctor spent a long time performing an episiotomy. He seemed frustrated and I thought he wasn’t able to fix me. I won’t go into it but he fixed me after 40 minutes.
Mike and I dressed the baby together in a sleep suit we bought from John Lewis, an outfit we’ll keep forever. It was an amazing evening. We made a person. It’s mind-blowing to think that she started as a single cell and that cell multiplied over and over and grew everyday into the tiny, helpless person she is now. A little human. A person I would protect with my life.
My mom and sister were waiting with gifts to meet her for hours. They sat waiting near the unit. I felt awful because they weren’t allowed to see me. They saw me briefly as I as wheeled out from the labour unit into whatever the unit is called for women who have given birth.
The midwife said Mike could stay because I had a private room, I was really happy but then he had to drive my mom and sister home as it was after 1am. He was really disappointed. I didn’t sleep straight away. Eva and I just watched each other for a while, I took a picture of her whilst she was in her baby hospital bed next to my bed. That picture is really special.
Anyway, I’ve rambled enough, I just wanted to record the experience. I might add and change this when I have the time because I’ve no doubt missed some key things.
Eva Rose Coggins was born on the 10th of October at 9.25pm, she’s 3 weeks old today and she’s beautiful.
I hope that I haven’t hugely misspelled anything. I will change some of it soon so that it reads better and as I said add things in that I don’t want to forget. This weekend we’re printing the lovely photos of the first month of Eva’s life, I’m going to write the date of each of them on the back and put them into a photo album. That album will have huge sentimental value to me. I have never appreciated babies and how amazing it is to create life until now.
I’m going out for lunch with Emma tomorrow, it’s her Birthday and we’re taking the kids, I’m looking forward to it. My new life still hasn’t started properly yet. I’ve been watching The Big Bang Theory from the beginning for the 5th or 6th time. I plan to have quite a fulfilling year but it takes time to adjust.