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    Blogs — Author:Kelly-Molcher

    My very honest account of Dorothea’s birth story*

    My very honest account of Dorothea’s birth story*

    My induction of labour was planned for the Friday of my due date; this was due to being classed a 'high risk' pregnancy due to many issues ( IVF pregnancy, family history of maternal hypertension, asthma and rheumatoid arthritis). 

    The first Induction pessary was given at 11.30 on the Friday and at this point I was 1cm dilated with a soft cervix! There wasn't much movement during the day; lots of walking the corridors, visiting the coffee shop and colouring in books. I must say I didn't realise how boring induction could be! There were several other women in the hospital bay with me and in the same boat. 

    Some mild practise contractions started in the evening; like mild tummy cramps that gripped the whole of my lower abdomen. Luckily I made a friend, ‘Katie', in the next bed who was on her fourth baby, being induced due to lower water levels. It was nice to share a chat and bounce on gym balls together. A lady in a nearby room was having a very very noisy labour (think stereotypical screaming!) so sleep was a stranger. 

    At midnight contractions started coming thick and fast (well I thought so at the time!), every two minutes lasting for a minute each, meaning very little break. I had some paracetamol and codeine for this which helped initially. I never managed to relax or be pain free enough to sleep at all; at 4am the contraction pain was really ramping up. The midwife offered more pain relief and suggested a warm bath. So I followed her advise and reclined in the hospital bath with a nice smelly bath bomb. THIS DID NOT HELP! I remember lying in the bath moaning and groaning, saying “oh my god, oh my god” and “ouch this hurts” over and over again.  Yes I was that woman! 

    At 5am the contractions were very painful - I mean VERY painful. I couldn't control my loud moans and the pain relief was doing nothing! The midwife examined me and broke my waters (at 3cm dilated) and moved me to a delivery room where I started using gas and air. Worringly the waters were slightly bloodied. My partner was called in when I was settled in the delivery room - I think he was shocked that I went from calm, cheerful and happy at 23.30 to a deranged crazy shouty woman by 06.30! 

    At 8am contractions were very intense; they examined me again and found I was only 3-4cm. It was at this point I requested an epidural, something I was quite determined not to have during pregnancy - for no other reason than fear! This was the best decision I'd made! 

    I then had a nice relaxed morning/afternoon and managed some naps. My partner and mum were present, mainly watching rugby and feeding me mints (I wasn't allowed to eat but was very hungry). I was still regularly getting strong contractions two mins apart still (only felt as mild tightenings due to epidural). My cervix was showing little progression so I was started in a syntocin drip to speed up labour. 

    Unfortunately, Little Miss had decelerations of heart rate (to 80-100bpm) when I was sitting/lying on bottom/back - so during the whole of labour I had to be on my side. This was very uncomfortable and gave me hip pain (something I suffer with anyway due to rheumatoid arthritis). 

    In the evening I started to show signs of sepsis - a high temperature, heart rate and breathing rate. Although I felt okay, I was started on antibiotics and told I would have to stay in hospital for at least 24 hours. I was really disappointed by this as wanted to get home with my baby ASAP. I reached fully dilated at about 10pm and by this point Dorothea was having increased heart rate decelerations so was told to be prepared for a c-section! They decided to give an hour for the head to descend and at 11pm request I started pushing in the hope of delivering vaginally. 

    The joy of the epidural I had was that it was a 'mobile epidural' so was actually able to move onto all fours etc to push which really helped - it was due to this I was able to have the birth I wanted. 

    I was told I was doing really well pushing, but Little Miss dropped her heart rate to 85, so the drs were called in to assist (by called in, I mean an emergency bell was sounded and my room suddenly filled). I was told we had 3-4 contractions to move her or would have to be a c-section - I  was super determined not to go to theatre! 

    We managed to get her out with the Drs assistance with a kiwi (suction cup device) and an episiotomy (also tore a little). I must say the pushing and actual birth was nowhere near as bad as I'd imagined - although the epidural must have helped loads! The pushing part went so quickly and afterwards I couldn't believe it was 65 minutes. 

    During the end stage of labour I was told that I would be unlikely to be able to hold the baby as due to decelerations she was going to be tired and would be whisked away! Fortunately this didn't happen- she came out screaming and was put on me immediately. It took about 35 minutes to stitch me up, but to be honest, at this point I was breast feeding my daughter so really didn't care. My partner got to cut the cord (we had delayed cord clamping) and we both had skin to skin for the first hour. She fed within a couple of minutes and Daddy had skin to skin too.

    My estimated blood loss was 600mls, but my partner said it looked like a horrifically gory horror movie - I guess we women don't see the worst of it. I was told afterwards that her cord gas showed her oxygen levels were really dropping and that we’d got her out just in time. Also my placenta was quite ‘gritty’ according to the midwife. I was so relieved that I didn't go too far overdue as this is a first sign of deterioration. 

    Top tip from me? Don't be brave - take the epidural! I would never have been able to push her out if it wasn't for the rest the epidural allowed me to have in the afternoon. Also, try not to worry; your body does so much naturally and you don't remember the bad bits afterward.

    (*Picture for reference only)

    Reflection on maternity leave

    Reflection on maternity leave

    So at the start it's all batch cooking, house cleaning and lunch with friends - then the baby arrives! 

    After the initial few weeks the visitors decline and you're left with a special few- your real support, your real friends and your valued family. 

    Some 'friends' won't even show an interest- will never send a card or see your baby; even friends that you really helped and supported through their maternity leave. 

    Then you'll find some friends are angels - texts just when you need it, offers of a meet up with cakes and cuddles. These friends are often not the ones you expect it from - but really appreciate. 

    And of course there's your new 'mummy friends' - the ones you can compare with; night wake ups, nappies, weaning, funny stories - people you didn't know before but now have the most wonderful thing in common with. These mummy friends are amazing - your lifeline in the middle of the night- the most amazing find. 

    You will think it's all naps, cake with friends and baby cuddles but it's really not the 'holiday' your other half teases about. Each day involves several loads of washing, lots of changes of clothing for you and baby ( a reflux baby doubles this), stinky nappies, episodes or crying for no apparent reason (both you and baby!) and desperately chasing your tail trying to keep the house clean! 

    You will do things you say you wouldn't - you'll co-sleep occasionally due to exhaustion, let your baby watch tv (just to grab a cup of tea), drop your regular workouts, stop eating salad and not respond to texts and calls for a week or so! 

    The leisurely coffee and cake with friends - it'll happen more at the start but then you'll realise (a) coffee and cake is expensive - especially as your maternity pay dwindles and dwindles; (b) making a catch up longer than an hour is impossible with an irritable baby or your friends active toddler; (c) finding a diary date is hard between yours and your friends baby groups, other appointments and returns to work. 

    Tiredness is extreme but it gets so mental that your 'normal' is just tired zombie! You will wash your hair once a week with the support of dry shampoo, you won't remember the last time you shaved your legs and will never paint your toenails! I thought I'd always paint my nails (something I can't do when at work as I'm a nurse) but nine months later and I have not done it once. 

    Your baby will have everything and you'll forget yourself (and others sometimes). You won't mind the self neglect but will often feel bad for the lack of attention your partner and the dog gets. 

    You will return to your pre-baby weight and size. I did after three months but the consistency will never be the same; a strange wrinkly belly, inside out belly button and wonky boobs (from breastfeeding). You both won't care and will care massively about this dependant on how you're feeling that day! This week, I've decided I need to make an effort with skincare and makeup but still don't even brush my hair much! 

    I'm sorry if I've made it all sound negative, it's not. I have the most wonderful little thing in my life! She's always happy to see me in the morning (and the middle of the night), always accepts a cuddle, is happy to tag along on a shopping trip, accepts any food I make with excitement, listens intently to everything I say or sing. We have the most wonderful days together (if somewhat monotonous), have taken in a full range of baby groups, spent days snuggling, sunny carrier walks, special family day trips and a number of family holidays. 

    To be honest I'm both dreading and looking forward to my return to work. Being a mummy is the most rewarding but tiring thing and a day at work means I can be me - feel like a have a brain and feel valued. However, I will never have this time again - never get so much time to see her change and grow hour to hour, day to day- I will miss new skills and milestones - and I hate that. 

    See you maternity leave- you've been amazing!