It was only last night when I was immersed in writing another blog post, that I realised I have never shared Ivy’s birth story. I then spent my day with a friend talking all about birth and my experiences from having Ivy, and it has made me want to get it written down. And in doing so, hopefully you will enjoy reading it too…I know I love reading a birth story.
Ivy’s birth was a complicated one. However, through all of it’s complications it is still a time that I look back on in fondness and my memories of it are of happy times and amazing empowerment.
The due date I was given was the 24th September, A date I very much had fixed in my head and regardless of what happened I always had the idea of a September baby firmly etched in my mind. I didn’t have a September baby. I actually had an October baby and never went into labour naturally.
On Saturday 8th October 2016 I was booked in for induction at 42 weeks pregnant. I was told to call the hospital at 8am and they would tell me to come in. At 8am I was all set, Rob and I had everything ready, the car was packed and we were excited to finally be having our baby. Only, when I called at 8am, I was told to call back at 12pm as they were busy. Those 4 hours dragged horrendously. The anticipation and the waiting were just too much and 12pm couldn’t come quick enough. Eventually it did. I rang at 12pm on the dot, only to be told that they could take me at 3pm another 3 hours of waiting!!! But I couldn’t complain, it was at least still happening and come 3pm I would be in the hospital ready for the adventure that we had been so eagerly awaiting for so long. I mean it wasn’t just the 7 hours that had passed since 8 am that morning, we’d been waiting 9.5 long months for this moment to happen.
When we arrived at the hospital and I was all settled in on the induction ward, I was hooked up to the monitors and given a pessary induction. For anyone that doesn’t know what this is, it is a bit like a tampon that administers a hormone to try to encourage your cervix to soften and your body to begin labour. Once administered I was free to wander the hospital corridors and do as I please, just as long as I stayed on the premises. They planned on leaving the pessary for 24 hours and therefore wouldn’t be examining me again until the following afternoon. More waiting!
Rob and I walked around again and again waiting for things to happen, knowing that it was likely to take its time and feeling a little deflated but still excited. We were both positive that things would happen within those 24 hours.
Come the evening, unfortunately Rob wasn’t allowed to stay. He wasn’t allowed on the ward any longer and was therefore sent home to wait it out whilst I was left to ‘get some rest’. That night was the worst part of the entire experience. I was suddenly all alone. I know that technically I was on a ward with a number of other women all in very similar situations but it wasn’t a friendly environment with open curtains and the chance to make friends. It was clinical, closed off and noisy. I felt like Rachel in friends, when everyone keeps coming and going before her. I was frustrated, scared and beginning to feel anxious…because I was alone. I no longer had my support system there to keep me going, to keep me positive, to help me through a really big deal. That night was probably the hardest night of my life. I was emotional, and even as I write this now, almost 2 years later I can still feel all those emotions washing over me. I cried, a lot that night.
During the night I was beginning to get twinges and the idea of sleep had completely gone out the window. Unfortunately I did not feel very supported by the ward midwife on duty that night and it is definitely safe to say that I didn’t like her very much. Not something I say about many people. And I understand that my situation to her, was just another night on the job. I was just another women coming to terms with the beginnings of labour. But when I called her in to say:
‘I think my contractions have started!’
and she responded with:
‘You think? Believe me love, you’d know if they had. Go back to sleep.’
I was, as I’m sure you can imagine, hugely deflated and angered by her response. I was in a place of care, yet I felt anything but cared for. I felt brushed off and ignored. I cried to myself for the rest of that night, trying not to be heard by the other women around me. Trying to stay strong. Trying to not let her words impact on me too much, although with my already wobbling state of emotions this was a very hard task. I remember laying their just wishing and hoping that 8 am would come quickly so that A) I could see Rob again, and B) the shift change would take place.
I am pleased to say that come 8am things did improve and I was greeted by a lovely midwife doing the rounds, coming to say good morning. Straight away she noticed how upset and anxious I was looking. She showed more care in those 10 minutes than anyone else had in the last 12 hours and I was so grateful for her support and love at that time. Rob soon arrived too and I felt instantly happier. I pulled myself together, and knew that it was only going to get better. It had to get better, because in my eyes it couldn’t get much worse.
Rob and I got up and about and we wandered the corridors aimlessly for a while, stopped off for a coffee in the coffee shop and took all the stairs we could find! It was about 11am and I needed the loo, so popped into the nearest toilets. To my surprise whilst I was doing my business, my pessary fell out! I couldn’t believe it. What do you even do in that situation? I decided, having seen it sitting at the bottom of the toilet, that it was a total goner and so I flushed it.
This was apparently not the right thing to have done, as I found out when I returned to the ward and was asked to hand it over. So apparently, I was meant to have fished that thing out of the toilet and walked back through the hospital holding it, ready to hand it over. No chance! Unfortunately for me, this meant I had to wait…again. They wanted to administer another pessary and even though I only had 4 hours until the end of those first 24 hours left, it would have to be left for a further 24 hours. Well, 3 hours passed before they could get a doctor to sign off another pessary for me, and when they finally came to give me a new one it was a case of being back on the monitors and having an internal examination before administering. This is where our luck changed for the better. My examination confirmed that my early labour had started and I was 3 cm dilated. This meant I didn’t need the second pessary, and it also meant I could be moved to delivery suite to have my waters broken. We were now feeling ecstatic and our excitement and positivity was beginning to return.
To be continued…