Yes, that’s right! From start to finish, 39 hours and then he was here!
Joshua was born on Friday June 29th at 13:17 and it was on the Tuesday prior that I started to feel like shit!
I’d had an uncomfortable Monday night, and woke up not feeling so great, but I forced myself to go to my aqua natal class that I’d been attending since week 15. It was great, I loved the chatter with the other mums to be, and it meant I got some exercise, I knew I’d feel better after the class, so I dragged myself out of bed and made my way across Plymouth to the Life Centre.
One of the ladies there was already over due and was waiting for her little one to come any day now…I thought she was crazy even being in the pool! We chatted and I told her how crappy I felt. I then compared symptoms with another lady who was due the same day as me, and got on with the class. I didn’t feel any better afterwards as I thought I would, and just a few hours later, after peeing for the millionth time already that day, I looked down…I’ll spare you details, but some of my plug had come away. I knew it wasn’t all of it, I had googled it when my friend had her baby a few weeks before (you’re googling it now huh?! beware its pretty gross). I carried on with my day, I read that it could still take weeks to go into labour, and the mucus plug can even grow back!
After another restless night and still not feeling any better, I had a lazy day on Wednesday and later that day more of my plug came away! Eeek, I was getting nervous now!
I went to bed that night and after being asleep for only an hour or so, I started to get contractions. I was getting pretty sore, and I really couldn’t get comfortable. I told Andy, took some painkillers and tried my best to get back to sleep.
Around 1am it was starting to get really painful, and I couldn’t handle much more, so I called triage and let them know, but they knew that if I was going to go into labour, it was going to be a long while yet. I went back to bed, then around 3am, woke again in pain. I called triage again, even though I knew deep down there was nothing they could do, It was great to have some re-assurance on the end of the phone. They told me to go back to bed and hang tight!
As I walked back into our bedroom, trying to stay quiet, I was a second away from sitting down, then GUSH!! Now, I had had a few episodes of incontinence during pregnancy, I’ll be honest, but this was like nothing else! I made a pretty loud ‘OOOH’ waking Andy and admitting that I thought my waters had just broken.
I quickly got into the bathroom and stood in the shower, where the waters were gushing out…I mean seriously gushing…every time I thought it had finished, more would come.
I rang triage again, just minutes after hanging up with them, and told them. They advised that I go strait in for an assessment. Andy came into the bathroom, and then the reality hit us…our baby is coming soon!
He got ready, and called his mum to pick us up (If we were going into hospital to have him, there was no way we were paying for god knows how long to park for!).
As I did my best to get myself dry (every time I grabbed more toilet roll, more poured out of me!) my contractions were getting worse, but I was so excited to finally be able to meet our son almost 3 weeks early!
The journey to the hospital sucked…every bump and turn and break and exceleration was painfully uncomfortable, but I held on tight and was certain that my cervix must be fully dilated by now, surely?!
Urm….nope! I was seen quickly as luckily is was quiet at 4am, only to be told that I was only half a cm dilated and that I would certainly have to go home, however, as my waters had already broken, if I hadn’t gone into labour by 10pm the following day, they would have to induce me as it was too risky to leave the baby inside without waters after 24 hours. (It would usually have been 24 hours that they would wait to induce, but who wants to be waiting around until 4am?!)
So back home again, the journey sucked, my mother in law drove us home, but kept Ollie dog with her as he wasn’t going to help me get any sleep…he’s bad enough when you don’t have a baby trying to force its way out, and I really didn’t want to have to keep pushing him off me.
A rough rest of the night…well, morning by the time we got home. I had a cup of tea, Andy had some tea and biscuits and we went back to bed again, this time covering my side of the bed with large pads to absorb anything else that might makes its way out of me, without ruining our bed.
I didn’t really sleep, maybe an hour or so, but I was getting contractions all morning and they were slowly getting worse. I think we finally got out of bed and downstairs by 10 am, Andy had some breakfast, after already calling work at 3am saying he wasn’t going in, and I managed to eat some melon. It was all I wanted, just water and juicy fruit, but I can’t say it filled me up, I felt pretty shitty and didn’t really want to eat anything.
Throughout the day I was messaging our closest friends, who had only just had a baby 7 weeks before us, and they popped over to see how I was doing. I was leaning against the banister with every contraction, as sitting did nothing to help me. Sometimes it got so bad that I screamed at Andy to rub my back…I’m not sure if it really helped or just distracted me from the pain, but either way it gave some relief.
The hours went on and on, I managed to eat a quarter of a jam sandwich, I really didn’t want to eat anything but thought I should force something down, and the pain got stronger and stronger. By 4pm I’d had enough, surely I must be at least 8cm dilated by now? Back to the hospital we went.
NOPE…1cm….are you fricking kidding me right now? I was in so much pain, screaming out in the waiting room surrounded by people who were on slightly pregnant and not in any way going into labour that day…why were people going infront of me?!!! At this time I really had no patience. I was told to go home, get in the bath and just keep going. I really couldn’t.
Luckily, the midwife who was breaking that news to me, was the first lady I met when I had my initial appointment at 10 weeks, and I’d seen her a few times since. She was amazing, and could clearly see that there was no point sending me home at 6pm, which it now was, only to be brought back in at 10pm for an induction. She found me a bed on a ward with a bath next door, and so we waddled up there and ran the bath as fast as I could.
I’d always wanted a water birth ever since I can remember thinking about having a baby, even before that. The idea of a little relaxing spa and then taking a baby home after a nice warm dip had always appealed to me. Unfortunately the water did diddly squat for pain relief and I struggled so much to get comfortable that I gave up and just wanted to lay down in a bed.
After a couple of hours, someone came and offered me some food…I still couldn’t stomach anything and it had been at least 24 hours since I had eaten, but I forced down half a dry cracker, and half a bottle of isotonic orange juice to try and keep my energy levels up.
They always say that isotonic drinks will help and that you should definitely pack them in your labour bag…it didn’t help! In fact it had the opposite affect and I threw up everywhere. The little food that I had eaten, all came up and was a disgusting shade of orange from the juice. Never again!
I resigned myself to leaning over the edge of the bed and trying my best to breathe through it, whilst Andy got frustrated at rubbing my back every 3 minutes for 5 hours.
it was 9pm, and something changed.
I had this strong urge to push, like the feeling you get when you need to poo and you know its coming soon…I pressed the call button so fast Andy wondered what had happened ‘What are you doing?’ I told him how I felt, I knew he had moved down, I just wasn’t sure how far…fingers crossed enough that I could finally get some pain relief other than paracetamol which seemed to do nothing given the amount that I had taken in the last 24 hours!
The midwife came and examined me and finally we were at 4cm! YES…pain relief was imminent!
‘We can move you down to the labour ward now, would you like some pain relief?’
YES GIVE ME ALL THE DRUGS!
After 9 months of planning and focusing of hypno-birthing methods, thinking of my relaxing baby spa, and writing up my calm and centred birth plan, I said fuck it, and took everything I could get.
We made our way downstairs, and entered my little room with two lovely midwives. ‘Do you want to try the gas and air first before deciding on an epidural?’ urm…no I really didn’t want to, just make me numb…they called the anaesthetist who was on his way but could be 10 minutes of so. ‘Do you want some gas and air in the meantime?’ ….Ok sure, I’ve heard its fun…and fun it was! It made my voice go like Darth Vader and suddenly everything was hilarious…I am apparently a hoot on gas and air.
It was 30 degrees, swelteringly hot, I’m naked and not giving a shit, and now I’m high on gas and air. It didn’t make the pain go away, but it did put a smile on my face as I waited.
‘The anaesthetist is on his way, do you want something covering you?’…Fuck no, Im sweltering, as long as Andy didn’t mind me being naked in front of another man, then I quite frankly couldn’t care less. Luckily he’s cool, and whatever I was comfortable with, he was happy to go along with, although the anaesthetist had quite a shock as the midwives hadn’t pre warned him… we all laughed when this young guy went bright red.
And so then it was all chilled and relaxed, I managed to get some sleep and apart from having to be wheeled into another room, as one of the lights cut out, I was pretty much left alone. I had regular observations, but nothing that would bother me.
The baby was making his way down, just very slowly, but nothing else had to be done to help him along.
I did need a top up epidural about 6 hours in when it started to wear off and he wasn’t coming out anytime soon, then another 6 hours later it started wearing off again, but by then I was already 10cm dilated and starting to push him out.
It was a blessing in disguise that my epidural was wearing off. It meant I could push when I felt the contraction coming, and I didn’t need to look at the monitors or to be told when to push, so it felt good, and wasn’t painful, just a little uncomfortable. With one midwife ready to catch, another holding my left hand and Andy holding my right I was pushing with all my strength.
Unfortunately, as much as I was pushing, the baby was having trouble getting out, and I knew that pushing him out around the bend would be tricky, it was part of the reason I never wanted an epidural. But as I couldn’t move my legs or flip myself over, the only option was an episiotomy. I didn’t feel it, I didn’t want it, but by that time I didn’t care, I just wanted him out safe and sound. With one push he was out, and on my chest and I was being stitched up.
What a feeling. My baby was here and he was perfect, and still is!
It was the most painful thing I have ever experienced, but as soon as I had him laying on my chest, I knew I would do it all again. They say you forget the pain…I won’t, but it was worth every second of it.
I wrote a post on instagram a few days later, it took me so long to try and put the feeling across, but I think I nailed it…
‘Words alone cannot describe the feeling that comes suddenly when you become a parent…but I can try.
It’s like my heart has just levelled up, grown a new layer and qualified for the next round of life…and it’s so overwhelming that alongside this new strength, a new weakness has developed-a feeling beyond worry, beyond caring for someone else’s welfare, a totally all encompassing feeling that it has me thinking about life, birth, death and the part that I play in it all.
Never did I think that ‘sleepless nights’ really meant completely sleepless, but when it’s for him, my body just gets on with it and runs surprisingly well on auto pilot.
I never knew just how naive I was to think that my breathing practice was so on point that birthing a child would be easy-when it really is the most excruciating pain I have ever felt, so painful that I didn’t care what happened to me or how many people saw me so completely naked, ‘Just get my baby out!’…and I would do it all again tomorrow.
Unless you’re a parent, you’ll never understand the change I’ve been through and that I will do anything to protect my little human.
I don’t even recognise the person I was before Friday, she was so different, so 2D, so young…this is Ashley 2.0, in 3D, levelled up.
So hello world, I’m new here. I didn’t just birth my baby, I’ve been reborn and upgraded to Mummy 💕‘.
A close friend of mine had some negative feelings about my words…I’m not sure why, its only how I felt and still feel, and to this day they haven’t told me their reasons for it. It hasn’t quite been the same between us, and that makes me sad. I would never do anything to hurt anyone intentionally, and they’ve known me long enough to know that, but I guess things are different now. When I sought comfort from another close friend, who is also a mum, she told me that now I’m a parent, I should expect some friendships to be lost.
I don’t know if my unhappy friend can’t have children or if I’ve offended her in another way? She has never told me anything of the sort, which I’m sure given how close we were that she would’ve done, and if that is the reason, then I’m deeply sorry, and to anyone that it may offend, but I stand by my words, as I stand by my baby, my prince charming, my little human.
Joshua, You’re here, and I love you more than anything in the whole wide world, you’ll never understand how much I love you until you are a Daddy yourself. I would do anything for you, live for you and die for you, you are my world, Love Mama xxx