The Birth: Part One touched on the lead up to labour and why we opted for an induction. This post goes into all the brutal and bloody details, you’ve been warned. If you are pregnant and approaching your own labour then my advise would be to stop reading now and come back after the birth, everyone’s experience is different you certainly don’t need my version of events scarring you before it’s even happened! Another note before continuing, if swearing offends you then also stop now as this post is riddled with bad language.
Here goes. For those intrigued labour for me was pretty brutal. I was induced at 39 weeks and three days due to continuous reduced fetal movements. We knew the risks but more than one consultant suggested this was the route for us so we took their advice and decided to go ahead.
On the evening of Friday, June 23 we headed up to our local hospital to be seen for the final episode of reduced movement this visit resulted in us being booked in the following Monday to begin the induction process. We left hospital with a leaflet and the knowledge that in a few days we would have our baby in our arms. We decided that as this was our last weekend as a duo we would spend the Saturday having a date day. So of course we did what any prospective parents would do, we went to the arcade and ate burgers.
On the way home I received a missed call from the hospital, I phoned back not really knowing what to expect, the midwife explained that they had space in the diary and wanted to know if we wanted to come in a day early, of course I said yes without even consulting Tom, I put the phone down and my heart was pumping we now had less than 24 hours until this whole process was beginning and holy shit was I a nervous wreck!
Designed to jump start labour the induction process can be long and intense, so what I really needed was a good nights sleep in preparation. What I got was a couple hours of broken sleep. I also cried a lot so by the time the morning came around, I was an exhausted mess with red puffy eyes and it hadn’t even begun yet!
On Monday morning, after gobbling a McDonalds breakfast in the car on the drive over, we arrived at the hospital and were shown to our bed on the ward. After reading all the information and signing to say I knew what was going to happen, I had propess inserted. The propess would stay in place for 24 hours unless by some miracle my body reacted quickly, spoiler alert, it didn’t. Propess pretty much feels like a huge tampon, as someone who has never really got on with tampons it felt weird and uncomfortable and I spent the day waddling around convinced it was going to fall out. It did actually slip down so on Sunday evening the poor midwife had the pleasure of shoving it back up where it was meant to be. You are advised to be as mobile as possible so I spent the day wandering the corridors of the hospital with my sister and my partner and bouncing on a birthing ball. My overall feelings during day one was boredom. I longed for things to progress quickly and they didn’t. Of course don’t get me wrong I was excited but also fed up and eager to meet my baby.
On Sunday evening after the man had gone home the pain seemed to go up a gear and by early Monday morning it was so bad I hooked myself up to a TENS machine, which didn’t really offer pain relief more a distraction. The back pain was so uncomfortable that I only managed about 2 hours sleep. Another night where I should have been conserving my energy.
On Monday morning I was exhausted but full of adrenaline. I longed for my mum and phoned my sister crying down the phone telling her to get to the hospital as soon as possible and I’d clear it with the midwife, luckily my ward only had one other lady who had snuck her mum in early so my sister was allowed in! While I waited I soaked in the tub and tried to mentally prepare myself for the day ahead.
I had given the man strict instructions to be with me by no later than 9:00am, he eventually rocked up at around 9:20, he tried to convince me the traffic was bad, I later learned he’d stopped off on the way for a McDonalds breakfast (yes he’s an arse.)
A few hours after he’d arrived I was moved to the delivery ward to start the next process. Holy fuck it was really happening. I’d been in hospital for over 24 hours now, but it wasn’t until I crossed the threshold into the delivery suite that I really felt the nerves kick in, shit was getting real. I wasn’t leaving this ward until I’d delivered our son.
After removing the propess the midwife attempted to break my waters but not only was my little man so low down that he was effectively acting as a plug which made getting into my cervix hard, I was a huge wimp who squirmed, tensed up my entire body and even swore at the midwife all of which just made it bloody impossible. She did however manage to check how dilated I was whilst trying to break my waters, I was one centimetre, just one fucking centimetre.
As the waters was a no go I was hooked up to a drip and given a course of oxytocin. That’s when things turned up a notch.
The pain just wouldn’t quit. I had read in the leaflet that an induction is often more intense and more painful without the results you’d hope for. The drugs effectively force your body to contract so you get all the pain of contractions but often don’t get progress as far as dilation goes. So even though I was in a lot of pain the midwives kept reminding me I had a long way to go.
We passed the time by holding a tally about Arlo’s name. Tom wanted “Arlo Woody James” and I wanted “Arlo James Woody” every new midwife or doctor who entered the room was asked to take a vote on which sounded better. Tom was in the lead.
By around 5:30pm my contractions had been coming and going so we decided to attempt to break my waters again, this time it worked but I was still only 1cm!! So they left me to it (my midwives were lovely and kept popping in and chatting) and my contractions got steadily and steadily worse!
I bounced on the birthing ball but nothing was helping, I thought I’d been quite nice to my sister and my partner but apparently I was a cow, to be fair to me everyone kept telling me these pains weren’t getting me anywhere and honestly I was so fucked off. All this pain was literally getting me no where fast. I was continuously being told that I wasn’t in established labour, regardless of the contractions and the intense back pain.
Soon after I went back on everything I said and insisted on pain relief, if I remember correctly my words were “I don’t care what my birth plan says, give me all the drugs.” They were hesitant to give me an epidural so early through fear that it wouldn’t prove beneficial later on so persuaded me to have pethidine, what a mistake that was. The hope was that I’d have pethidine and be able to get some sleep in between contractions. Bear in mind it was now early evening of the Monday and since Saturday night I’d only had a couple of hours sleep.
The pethidine didn’t work, in fact all it did was make me feel sick, the midwife herself even said it didn’t work for me. My sister tried to persuade me to use the gas and air but because I’d had the pethidine, it resulted in me bouncing on a birthing ball with my nightie riding up, my bum in full view of anyone who entered the room and vomiting into a bowl. Made so much more embarrassing by one of the midwives who I had gone to school with entering mid vomit.
That brought an end to the gas and air.
By 9pm I insisted on an epidural. I was finally hooked up around 10pm by this point I had barely been able to drink water and had emptied my stomach of what little food was in there all whilst being in excruciating pain.
But still I was told that the induction process is long and more intense and that they didn’t want to risk examining me, because they honestly didn’t think I had progressed very far.
As soon as I had the epidural I felt like a new woman given a new lease of life. My partner had popped out to smoke whilst they inserted the epidural and he said when he left I was literally like the exorcist and when he returned I had the biggest smile on my face and even asked for a kiss. Before I’d pushed him away at any sign of affection and simply demanded he rubbed my back constantly.
At around 11:50pm finally the midwife gave in and examined me after my sister pleaded to her. I remember sitting in the bed practically on another planet listening to my sister reason to the midwife, and explaining that she’d been watching me and was sure that I was in established labour.
She was right, I was 8cm! So I’d gone from 1cm to 8cm in less than 6 hours, not bad going for a first pregnancy and an induction!
Then we discovered my little man was back to back, hence why I had been suffering with intense back pain constantly!
It went from “you’re not in established labour” to “it won’t be long until we’re pushing.”
Soon after the man was sent for his last cigarette break and told to make the most of it because he wouldn’t be leaving again, whilst he was out I was examined again and I was 9cm almost 10cm, it was time to begin pushing. I demanded my sister call Tom and make him come back. He rushed back inside and when he walked in the room he looked like he’d seen a ghost, I’d never seen him look so nervous, this was it!
Just as it was time to start pushing the epidural ran out, I was topped up but it didn’t work. I felt everything, now with no pain relief I had no choice but to push, my little man was coming.
The pain was back and it felt one hundred times worse, this time there was no relief, the contractions were coming one after another and I wanted to scream.
I pushed and I pushed and in fact I did scream. At the top of my voice I swore and I shouted, my favourite line being “I CAN’T FUCKING DO THIS” and “I DON’T WANT TO DO THIS”
This went on for an hour or so, two midwives were now in the room and they both kept glancing at the monitor, I was told I had to get him out.
By 3:45 am ish after over an hour of trying to push myself and making very little progress my little mans heart rate began to drop, cue a sudden panic and a call for a doctor. My son was stuck. He would inch down the birth canal only to slide back up again in between contractions and because he was back to back it was made that much more difficult. He just couldn’t find his way out.
The decision was made to have an assisted delivery. So a sudden rush while everyone around me got ready. Tom was given scrubs and a pair of size six crocs, he’s a size 12 so just imagine how ridiculous he looked. Luckily they found him a bigger pair before we were whisked into theatre. I was told matter of factly that this was my last chance for Tom to see our son being born and if I couldn’t do it, then I would have to be put to sleep and an emergency c section would be performed. I hadn’t got all this way for that to happen. I was determined he would see our son be born.
Can we all just pause for a moment to offer sympathy to my sister who had been by my side for two whole days only to miss the main event as she wasn’t allowed in theatre. She’s told me without fail I better have another just so she can witness it.
Back to me. I was given an array of drugs to the point where I couldn’t feel a thing. The first thing the doctor did was try to manually move Arlo around. By literally putting his two hands and forearms up inside my vagina and trying to physically manoeuvre Arlo into the right position. I’d like to take the time to point out that this doctor may have been short in stature but man was he built and had the arms of the hulk. I couldn’t feel pain but I could certainly feel someone up there, it was uncomfortable and just felt unnatural!
This didn’t work so the next step was forceps. I remember lying surrounded by so many people, and all I did was cry and apologise for failing and not managing to do it myself.
I had an army of supporters all of whom were staring at my vagina, my legs were strapped down on stirrups everyone was telling me to push and I was a crying mess.
But it worked, I pushed and pushed and with a massive gush of blood my little man was born.
At 4:59am on Tuesday, June 27 my life changed for good as my handsome little man made his entrance into the world, battered and bruised with a cone head, two small black eyes, a bruise to his face and a bruise to his neck, I had a tear, a cut and I lost 2 litres of blood.
I cried non stop seeing my baby and in my drugged up state I continued to apologise to him and every doctor and midwife for not being able to push him out myself.
I had skin to skin first for a little while before he was whisked away to be given the once over. My midwife took this moment to ask me his name and without a second thought and regardless of Tom winning the tally I told her, Arlo James Woody Hosking, I glanced over at Tom and said something along the lines of “after all I’ve just been through, I get to pick the bloody name” he didn’t argue!
Once he was given the all clear by the team of paediatricians Tom and Arlo were taken back to the delivery room to meet my sister and Toms mum (who had turned up whilst I was in theatre) whilst I was stitched up and cleaned up. There he had his first skin to skin with daddy.
Once I had been suitable cleaned up I was wheeled back into the delivery room, one look at my sister and I was crying mess and so was she. I can’t remember exactly what was said, but we hugged and I know we spoke of our mum.
They say the tea and toast post birth is the best thing in the world. Honestly one bite and I wanted to vomit. Three days of no sleep had left me beyond exhausted. So my sister ate my toast and I enjoyed cuddles with my new baby.
And that was it. After all of that, little Arlo was finally here and our duo became a trio.