Odette is now two weeks old and a few of you have asked when I will be sharing her birth story, so without any more delay and whilst it is still very fresh in my mind, here it is…
First of all, you should know that this is a very different story to Ivy’s. Odette’s birth didn’t necessarily go ‘to plan’, but it was a much more positive experience and it happened A LOT quicker.
According to my maternity notes, my labour is recorded as just 2 hours and 5 mins. This however, is not completely true. This is just the record of ‘active’ labour. I was in fact in early labour, also known as the ‘latent phase’ for about 29 hours prior to this.
On Friday 26th October, at about 1pm I started to have contractions. Having had braxton hicks on and off for quite a few weeks already I wasn’t sure at first, but it was soon apparent that these were much stronger, so I text Rob to warn him things could be starting and I carried on my day as usual. That evening they started to ramp up a bit and at around 11pm we contacted my parents to come and collect Ivy, and the hospital so they knew to expect us at some point. The midwife that I spoke to, said to stay at home a little longer and maybe have a lie down in a dark room until my contractions were a little more frequent.
Ivy was collected (she was such a superstar and didn’t even question being taken from her bed in the middle of the night!) and Rob and I went to bed, following the advice of the midwife.
I awoke at 5am…my contractions had completely stopped and I was overwhelmed with disappointment. I then found it very difficult to get back to sleep with my mind going a mile a minute feeling guilty for putting both of our parents out, having arranged for Ivy’s collection and then for Rob’s parents to drive down early Saturday morning to look after Ivy for the day. We had wasted everyone’s time and we were now torn between cancelling all childcare plans and going to pick Ivy up ourselves…or leave plans in place in the hope that things may start again. We went with the latter and decided to try and take an easy child free day to encourage things to get going.
They did, luckily! My contractions started again at about 9am, this coincided with when I started moving around again. I was keen to get out of the house and keep moving, so Rob and I walked into town through the parks and went for coffee. All the while I was experiencing strong contractions, but they were very irregular and spaced out. It began to rain at about midday so we headed home and set ourselves up for an afternoon of netflix. We binge watched ‘Making a Murderer’ season 2, all the while I was timing contractions and moving between the pregnancy ball and the sofa.
At 5pm, we decided it was time to head to the hospital. Finally!
By the time we were at Triage, it was close to 6pm. They settled us in and then they examined me…and said the dreaded words…
Only 2cm dilated!
Only 2cm!!! I had been 2cm since a sweep I’d had one week earlier. I suddenly felt very deflated. All the contractions over the last 24 hours or so had done absolutely NOTHING! They then put me on the monitors, and you guessed it, my contractions started to ease off and I looked like a crazy women who clearly wasn’t in labour.
The midwives made a plan- they decided not to send me home, as I was due to be induced early the next morning anyway. So they would send me onto the ward and Rob would need to go home once I was moved. I came off the monitors and straight away got myself up and moving about knowing that it was more likely to happen if I moved around and stayed positive. To my luck, my contractions started again very quickly after moving around and soon they were becoming very intense. I managed to get hold of a birthing ball, and I knelt on the floor in our little curtained off cubicle in triage leaning on the ball whilst Rob rubbed my back.
Suddenly my contractions were coming thick and fast, I asked for some paracetamol. I then asked for some gas & air- I felt like this was suddenly very appropriate but I was refused. They offered diamorphine, which I refused, knowing that it had made me momentarily crazy when I had Ivy. So I had some codeine instead and then requested to be re-examined. My contractions were practically back to back and I had become the crazy screaming lady, putting all the other patients off.
To the midwife’s surprise I was fully dilated and my waters were bulging. I had gone from 2 to 10cm in less than an hour!! Suddenly my bed was surrounded by people and all the plugs were ripped out of the wall. I was being wheeled straight to delivery and someone was saying…
This baby is coming NOW!
I then heard someone say- we’re going to room nine, and I practically shouted at them…
I’M HAVING A WATER BIRTH!
Unfortunately the only pool had just been occupied and so it was room nine after all. I didn’t have time to be disappointed or upset because as soon as they wheeled me through the doors I said ‘I need to push.’
Very soon after that (I think around 30mins) and after A LOT of gas & air, Odette arrived into the world at 9:29pm weighing 8lb 9oz. The sensation of pushing was so incredibly different to what I had experienced with Ivy. Although I pushed Ivy for 2.5hours, I never felt the sensation of her moving down the birth canal. It was so bizarre and not how I had imagined at all.
As soon as she was out, Rob announced that we had another girl and she was placed on my chest. I was so overwhelmed and incredibly proud of myself.
I feel so lucky and blessed to have had the opportunity to birth my baby naturally – it was starting to look so likely that I would be induced again, and the fact that she came naturally makes me so emotional and happy as it was all I wanted.
Thank you to all the amazing staff at Gloucester Royal.