Our Birth Story
On the 6th of September just before 5am the newest and smallest member of our family decided to join us, a week later than expected but still in quite a rush. She is now two weeks old and an officially registered person, we finally decided on her name too. Say hello to Eva Victoria Anderton.
I wanted to share our birth story because I absolutely loved reading other people's before I gave birth, I felt like they were preparing me for so many different eventualities and it was so good to be fully aware that whatever you plan for your perfect birth, it rarely goes exactly to plan! Ours didn't go to plan in the slightest but it was still a really positive (dare I say it, almost enjoyable) experience so I thought it would be worth sharing. So many people love to tell pregnant women horror stories about birth so I wanted to share a bit of positivity!
In the run up to the birth I'd been working my way through the Positive Birth Company online hypnobirthing course which I found incredibly useful, not necessarily for the breathing techniques which I thought I'd be most interested in, but more for the detailed descriptions of the different stages of labour and birth so I felt like I was prepared for anything that could happen. I'd thoroughly recommend this to anyone who's pregnant at the moment, it's only £35 and worth every single penny.
So, onto the birth story! It's a bit long and rambly but so is labour so I'm sticking with it.
Our due date came and went, sigh. I had assumed she'd be late (our original due date was the 5th of September so I had that in mind to try to stop me getting too impatient) so I wasn't too bothered and thankfully I wasn't uncomfortable yet. The worst thing about being late was the boredom! Because you're expecting to drop any minute, plans go out the window and I went from being busy every day to having to entertain myself at home. Boring as.
We saw our midwife the week before our due date and she booked us in for an appointment when I was 40 weeks +5 days in case nothing had happened by then. It hadn't... I was offered a sweep to get things moving along which I accepted even though a few people had told me it was worse than the birth itself! Mine was absolutely fine, almost like a smear test and not painful at all. It was the first stage of losing my dignity though as I it was a case of whipping off my jeans and undies at a moment's notice with our midwife, a student midwife and Joe in the room... But I knew it was going to get a lot worse very soon so sucked it up.
I woke up the following morning with period style pains but the midwife had mentioned this would be likely so I didn't think much of it. As the day continued the pains started to get more regular and I started thinking it might be the start of labour, exciting! I left it a few hours and went for a walk around the park still not 100% sure if it was labour or not, but rang Joe after lunch to say it might be worth him coming home just in case as my mum and sister's labours only lasted about 4 hours!
Joe got home about 2ish by which point the possible contractions had pretty much gone, popping up every half an hour or so. Joe busied himself getting the car seat sorted and things like that while I bounced on my exercise ball to encourage her out. By about 8.30pm they were regular again and we decided to go to the hospital to be checked and essentially just to be told I was in labour because I still wasn't sure, which sounds a bit silly now considering what was about to happen!
We got to the hospital and by the time we were seen it was about 10.30pm, the midwives popped in to say hello and my contractions were getting more regular and stronger but I was still able to talk through them mostly controlled by my breathing. The midwife checked me over and said I was in labour (hoorah!) but was only 1cm dilated (boo), they said we could either go home and let things progress or wait at the hospital. We decided to go home as I wanted to try and get some sleep if I was only 1cm dilated, it seemed sensible at the time!
I got straight into bed and immediately had 3 ridiculously strong contractions in about 5 minutes and had to get up to be sick because of how strong they were. I ran a bath and floated about in there for a while to try and get some relief but the contractions kept coming thick and fast, I had to get out the bath to be sick a few times so gave up on that too! I called the midwife and she said because it had been less than an hour since we'd got home it wasn't worth coming in yet but we could if we wanted to. I went downstairs to bounce on the ball, breathing through the contractions and was sick a couple more times thanks to the strength of the contractions, by this point I decided it was time to go back to the hospital and called ahead to say we were on our way. I genuinely think it was the speed bumps on the way home that moved things along!
We parked at the hospital and I felt the urge to push in the car but stopped myself, it didn't feel like the baby (no idea how you know that but you do!) so held on. We go into a room about 2am and the midwives were pretty relaxed as it hadn't been that long since I was 1cm dilated, I felt the urge to push again and let them know. A few seconds later I'd delivered my waters intact which took us all by surprise. The midwife checked me over and let us know I was somehow now fully dilated, we were about to have a baby, argh!
The midwives popped my waters and unfortunately there was meconium in there which showed the baby was in distress, but this is normal when the baby is overdue so they weren't too worried. We then kicked off with having a go at pushing at every contraction which was a bit crazy seeing as I wasn't even sure if I was in labour a few hours earlier. Annoyingly my blood pressure started going a bit mad (it hadn't moved from normal throughout my whole pregnancy) so we had to be wheeled in labour from the Midwife Led Unit to the Consultant Led Unit which was an experience in itself!
We got to the new room and it was all go by this point! I was in full on pushing mode with every contraction but in between I was completely normal, chatting with Joe and making jokes with the hospital staff, it was such a weird, almost fun experience. I didn't had any pain relief either as it all happened so quickly and adrenaline had taken over, Joe did keep offering me gas and air but I think that was because he wanted to try it! I thought gas and air might make me sick so I avoided it and by that point, I'd managed to breathe through everything so thought I'd firm it. Joe was amazing throughout the birth, he kept so calm which kept me calm too, it's one of his super powers. Even when during a contraction I'd managed to burst a cannula out of my hand so was sat in a pool of blood from that he just said it wasn't that bad while mopping it up with a towel. It was definitely pretty bad but I appreciated the white lie at the time!
They started monitoring the baby's heart rate as she wasn't moving down too much despite all the pushing and it was a bit erratic, they realised the cord was wrapped round her neck twice so made the decision to use the ventouse (a little vacuum that goes on their head to help suck her out) which meant I had to have an episiotomy which I really wanted to avoid but they could have done anything to me to get her out safely and I would have been fine with it. Because of the monitoring it meant I had to stay on my back with my legs up in stirrups, glam position. Not quite the relaxed, magical water birth surrounded by candles with music that I'd wanted!
The ventouse was attached and with the next push her head was out! I was overwhelmed with excitement at this point because I knew with one more push she'd be out, next thing I knew they'd plonked her on my chest and we met our new baby. We were both a bit shocked by how big she was even though she was a nice small-ish weight of 7lb 3, Joe and I both looked at each other with ohmygod looks on our faces. Because of the cord issue the doctor cut it quickly and took her to the incubator to get her checked over. I was still legs akimbo on the other side of the room at this point but Joe was with her making sure everything was ok. She was absolutely fine and healthy thankfully!
I accepted the injection to get the placenta out nice and quickly so I could have skin to skin with her as soon as possible. We waited about 10 minutes and nothing happened, they tried to pull the placenta out but nothing happened unfortunately so they gave me another injection in the other leg to get it out. Sadly still nothing happened and the decision was made that I'd have to go into theatre to have it manually removed, this would either be the doctor reaching into my uterus to scoop it out (wonderful) or a cesarean if that didn't work.
Obviously I wasn't keen so we waited a bit longer to see if we could get it out naturally but it was having none of it, we waited about an hour in total which is just about safe to do. I was wheeled away from our new baby into surgery and given an epidural, after going through the whole labour and birth with no drugs whatsoever it was just a little bit annoying! I was in surgery for about an hour where thankfully the doctor was able to manually remove the placenta without a cesarean and also stitched up my episiotomy which was much better to be done under the epidural I guess! I had lost quite a lot of blood so they kept me in recovery for another hour before wheeling me back to our room and our tiny new baby, I couldn't wait to meet her properly!
Everyone in surgery was so lovely and kept me calm, even during this I was chatting away to everyone who would listen. We had a student midwife with us throughout who came into surgery with me and it was so lovely to have her there.
As soon as I got back to the room they gave Eva (who didn't have a name at that point) to me for a good hour or two of skin to skin, we basically just stared at her for hours in disbelief. I was kept in bed for around 12 hours to recover from the surgery and the blood loss, Joe and my mum kept me entertained and awake. I was kept in overnight (Eva screamed most of the night and I was absolutely knackered!) and we finally got to go home around 9pm the following night. I had a giant bowl of pasta and a glass of red when we got back, it was the best thing I've ever eaten.
Originally I'd wanted a calm and relaxing water birth with minimal staff but that just wasn't what needed to happen. We must have met about 50 people during the birth and then countless people after that, and every single one of them was amazing. Everyone was friendly, chatty and calm which helped to keep me calm too, the NHS staff are absolutely incredible.
The human body is absolutely amazing and after 2 weeks, I'm pretty much recovered and am somehow half a stone lighter than before I was pregnant (not drinking wine for 9 months is the culprit). I'm nowhere near 100% and my belly is in need of a lot of stretch mark oil but I couldn't care less, my body has done something amazing and I'm bloody proud of it.
Eva is doing really well too, she's breastfeeding well and is gaining weight. She's building up her little personality more and more each day with lots of fake smiles, wide eyes and her excellent impression of Taz when she's hungry.
Sorry for that incredibly long ramble but hopefully it helps you to stay positive if you're expecting or if you're not pregnant, helped you to not be scared of birth in the future. Our birth could have been traumatic but we kept calm and positive throughout, I think it's so important to talk about the positive side of things rather than scaring each other with horror stories which happens A LOT when you're pregnant.
Let me know in the comments below if you have any questions or want to chat about anything I've mentioned!