A new midwife came in and woke us up at 3pm. I staggered up feeling guilty that I hadn’t managed to stay upright and get things moving more.
I had to get straight back down again as she wanted to see how I was getting on. I felt sick, I thought we’d probably be sent home and I just wanted it to end. She told me I was 4cm dilated – I felt even worse! Though it was further along than I expected to be it was still not enough to get me into the pool and some relief!
She stayed up there as a massive contraction hit me and my waters broke! It felt like a water balloon exploding, suddenly my legs and the midwife were soaked! She was pleased and said that it should speed things up and make contractions stronger! I certainly wasn’t looking forward to that. I thought I was already at my limit!
She said she’d discuss what to do with the other midwife and be back in a bit and we should keep moving. Charly trailed me as I padded about the room, following a little obstacle course he’d set up and periodically diving for the loo – I was suddenly feeling like I really needed to go but nothing was coming.
Every 1-3 minutes I would grab the wall and wail. A low, awful sound that I wasn’t even sure was me anymore. I was still forcing my breath up to extend my uterus and down to open my cervix but it was now ragged and virtually impossible to control the pain.
I was just willing my cervix to open and really desperately trying to hold onto the visualisations that it was helping but honestly I was losing the will to carry on. I mentally decided I would have to have an epidural. I didn’t want to feel anymore. “I can’t do it” I told Chuck, I was so disappointed in myself.
I want an epidural
Half an hour later, the midwife came back. I told her I wanted an epidural… well, wimpered it.
“I thought you wanted a natural birth?” she helpfully pointed out. I wimpered again, pretty much ready to sob. I have a feeling my bottom lip was going.
I asked her how long I’d have to keep going like this. She told that me in her professional opinion (based on 8 years of midwifery apparently – not sure why this stat was thrown in there but it sticks out in my mind and not a lot else is clear about this period…) I would be labouring for another 7-10 hours!!! I bleached. My bottom lip went.
I couldn’t do it. I’d been contracting for 20 hours already. “I can’t!!!” I started to cry. She told me to try some gas and air and asked if I’d like to try Pethadin. I told her I’d try the gas and air but I didn’t want Pethadin! I didn’t want to numb myself, I wanted the pain gone! I still wanted the epidural.
Chuck told the midwife he’d talk to me and come and get her when we’d made a decision. I sucked on the gas and air and nothing changed!! The pain was searing through me and I’d thrown myself over the huge beanbag on the bed, howling like something inhuman with each out breath!
I thought something had changed. It feels like pushing, I screamed.
The midwife came back in. I was contracting every minute. It was absolute agony. Since my waters broke it had been 45 minutes and I was making sounds I didn’t even recognise as human. Low, gutteral, growls with every shattered slow breath – I was STILL doing the Hypno techniques but they were no longer controlling the pain.
The contractions were faster, harder and now unbelievably painful but something had changed – my body was forcing down! The fabled natural expulsive reflex! I was doing nothing and I could feel pushing and pulsing inside me.
“I’m gonna shit myself” I wailed. She looked at me with surprise and asked if I felt like pushing. “It feels like pushing” I screamed. Now every contraction was ending with this unholy feeling of bearing down that I had no control over!
Somehow I got back on my back and the midwife got her fingers inside me as I started to scream.
She couldn’t believe it. I’d gone from 4 to 9cm dilated in 45 minutes!
I want an epidural, I wailed into the gas tube. “It’s too late, your baby is coming now” she said and ran to the door to get her stuff.
The gas and air pipe was clutched in my fist but my contractions were so fierce that making these epic loud growl sounds and breathing down seemed right – the midwife and Chuck kept reminding me to put the pipe in my mouth but as it wasn’t touching the contraction I would throw it away time and again. At one point I ripped the end off with my teeth – relaxed jaw had gone out the window!
I’d taken off my nightie and was now naked, I don’t even know how that happened and then I was back on my feet, torso thrown onto the giant beanbag on the low bed. Five minutes later, I thought I was going to tear apart. I briefly recalled reading that the pressure of the head on the perineum numbed it but it didn’t feel numb it felt like someone had set it on fire!!
I still felt like I was going to poo myself when I realised I should be helping the baby with “birth breaths”! It was all happening so fast!
I changed my breathing to J breaths trying to send them down and out, the gas pipe fell out of my mouth again as a new terrifying sound escaped and suddenly I felt a pop as the head came, I continued to breath down and a second later another pop as her shoulders escaped and then pow… with an absolute almighty groan, wail, scream that outweighed every weird noise I’d ever made and certainly wasn’t human, I felt her slither out and the midwife only just about got there in time!
I looked down and there was my girl. Blue, wet and covered in vernix and a bit of blood but totally perfect! She wasn’t crying, she just looked a bit shocked.
I turned round to lay on my back on the beanbag as the precious little parcel was handed to me. I felt her hard, slithery little body all warm against my chest and started to cry, I looked up and Chuck was crying too! It was so emotional! He looked so proud of us and I just felt so overwhelmed. I’d done it.
Then I realised the gas and air had been working and I was completely out of it.
I didn’t care. She was here, she was healthy and the pain was gone!
Thea, my little Thea.
Alethea-Eve was born at 17.18 on the 4th July 2012.
She weighed just 5.9lbs (2.66kg)
Labour started at 20.20 on 3rd July