Giving birth in a pandemic
I have been dying to write my birth story but sometimes I find it so hard to begin, once I get going and into the flow it’s ok, but when you have so much to say it can sometimes be overwhelming! And also pointing out the obvious of having zero time to myself to write anything (currently I have Camilla attached to my breast).
Camilla’s due date was February 16th and I did have a feeling from the beginning she would be early. I kept warning Thom! I dunno why I just had this feeling.. anyway I was correct!
I was feeling pretty nervous about giving birth again, I mean who isn’t? The first time you’re nervous because you have no idea what’s going to happen and the second time I was nervous because I knew what was to happen! Maybe it’s better to be in the dark about these things?
I was also extremely nervous about when it was going to happen and making sure I had childcare in place for Adeline. Because of the pandemic we haven’t left her side for a year so for me the worst case would of been it happening the middle of the night and having her wake up in the morning with us gone. Luckily that wasn’t the case!
I woke up on Wednesday 10th feeling pretty tired after another uncomfortable night sleep- honestly the third trimester prepares you for the lack of sleep once the baby is here because I barely slept! My pelvis was agony & getting up and about was getting harder by the day.
Anyway I was talking to Thom whilst he was brushing his teeth in the en suite and when I sat up, POP my waters broke! Let me back pedal to the evening of the 9th before I forget- I did loose my mucus plug but obviously you can lose that weeks before you start labouring. I did however warn my Mum as she was my childcare bubble for when it happened! She basically stayed over at our house from that evening, incase we had to go!
So the waters had broken WOOOO- I was so excited, I rang my Mum to tell her and then the hospital. In my head I’m thinking, yes second baby, this is going to be quick. She could be here tonight! The hospital told me to come so they could check my waters had broken & check the baby (I hadn’t felt her move for a while).
So we went to the hospital had a check over. All fine & confirmed about the waters breaking. I suggested they took my covid test whilst I was there as I was nervous about having it whilst in active labour (no one wants a stick up your nose & down your throat during a contraction) so they did that and then I was sent home.
Now I was surprised they sent me home, I dunno if it’s because everyone kept saying it will happen so much faster the second time round, so I just expected them to keep me in as, but apparently not.
I was booked in for an induction first thing the next morning so it was home I went. To cut all the boring stuff out so we can get to the main event nothing happened for the whole night. I had minor contractions, enough to keep me awake all night but I knew she wasn’t on her way as they kept stopping and starting. It was all very similar to when I was having Adeline..
So I wake up Thursday morning (11th) vomiting, I was waiting for this to happen because it did with Adeline. The vomiting wouldn’t stop. I was already due in to hospital that morning for an induction as they didn’t want to leave me longer than 24hrs after my waters had broken (turned out I was left 48 hours). In I go, with all my bags, waving Adeline & my Mum off. That was weird and quite emotional. I told Adeline I was going to hospital but didn’t go into much detail, I honestly didn’t expect to be gone two days. I missed her so much!
So everyone always says two births are never the same but honestly the build up was exactly the same I was even in the same bed! And when I got there the same thing happened where the hospital was too full so I wasn’t able to have my induction as it wouldn’t of been safe to do so. They were even turning people away to another hospital- thank god they didn’t turn me away!
The image below is the day I went into hospital and shows exactly how busy it was! Harrogate hospital posted this on their Facebook page.
The Waiting Game
So the waiting game began. I didn’t stop bouncing on that bloody ball to try keep things going, I went for a walk, anything to keep the contractions going. We had so many snacks & drinks (something we didn’t prepare for last time) I had to listen to Thom bang on about when his next meal was for 3 days.. honestly
We were pretty much left in a private room from 8am until 5pm ish as they were waiting for my covid results (which they ended up losing and I had to do it again!), but it worked in our favour as we had our own room. I talked through my birth plan and basically told them I wanted an epidural. I was pretty insistent. My birth plan wasn’t as detailed as the first time but I thought it was good to have one anyway. As you never know! I had an epidural last time after a 3 days Labour so I thought this choice was the safest for me.
Poor Thom had to wear a visor & a mask the whole time (he has the scars to show for it) I have the pictures..
besides the mask & visor wearing I wouldn’t of known any difference really. And don’t you agree now people should wear masks in hospital anyway, regardless of Covid.
Thom was allowed with me the whole time-thankfully. The staff were incredible and it felt pretty normal! I know that wouldn’t of been the case months ago so I count myself lucky!
Is it happening?
So off I went to the Maternity Assessment Ward where there was… nobody. I expected after them saying it was so busy to be jam packed, but by the sounds of it everyone was giving birth- which made me jealous. Weirdly I didn’t feel scared. I just wanted to get on with it and meet our baby girl. COME ON CAMILLA!!
So I had my induction/ sweep at 10pm ish and after that my contractions were intense!!! I had hardly any time in between the contractions to compose myself, they were constant. I kept buzzing the midwives to tell them but they didn’t seem to take any notice. They just offered me paracetamol. You can imagine the look on my face.
I did hypno-birthing with my first pregnancy and felt like it worked initially so instead of going in completely unprepared I did look over it once or twice to remind myself and honestly- this time round was so different. I only did the up breathing (breath in 4, out for 8) but it helped me so much. Every- time I felt like I was ‘losing it’ I concentrated on my breathing which made me feel like I was in control of my body. Don’t get me wrong Thom had to remind me here and there to breath! Why is it when you’re in pain you want to hold your breath?
By this point I was on my third anti vomiting injection, god knows how many paracetamol. I asked for gas & air but they couldn’t give me it in that room. They offered me a bloody bath which was horrendous, I think they thought it would ease the pain. I was in & out in about 5 minutes.
Here we goooo!
The only time anyone took any notice was when I buzzed them and told them I was struggling, then suddenly all in the space of a minute I went dizzy, vomited (A LOT) & nearly passed out, I was so hot and just remember feeling really sleepy. FINALLY they buzzed the emergency button to try and get me to the ward asap.
As I was wheeled away they asked what pain relief I wanted and something inside me was telling me that I didn’t need the epidural and I just wanted to get on with it (I had also previously had a conversation with my Mum who told me Adeline was really upset at bedtime so I just felt like if I didn’t have the epidural I wouldn’t delay it any longer). The midwife told me she thought I could do it without as I seemed like a ‘tough cookie’ (or something along those lines) so in I went at about 3am to begin active labour. HERE WE BLOODY GO!
I can’t even explain what a positive experience this was. So much different from the first time, I didn’t turn into the exorcist, my head didn’t spin round. I was in control of my body. I started with gas & air which didn’t do much, it was more a comfort, it did make me super light headed though, I felt like my eyes were rolling to the back of my head, not ideal, but I felt like pain wise it wasn’t doing much so now what?
The contractions this time were in my back, the pain was like nothing else, it was like someone had a red hot poker on my back, Thom was under strict instructions not to remove his hand from the bottom of my back and every-time I had a contraction he had to rub it. I felt like we were in it together this time more so than last time I. I couldn’t of done it without him truthfully. And the fact he wore a mask and visor the whole time which may I point out gave him sores behind his ears was pretty impressive!
Banter & birthing
After a few hours I decided to have diamorphine after being explained what it was.. it was bloody amazing. If you know you know. It was like I was drunk. I knew what was happening, I was still in-control but I was bantering whilst birthing. I was cracking jokes, asking the trainee midwife about her studies. Very different from the first time. I even decided to put some music on!
I decided to birth stood up, the pain in my back was too intense & when I laid down it was so much worse. So I was lent over the bed, Thom at my head and I pushed little Camilla out. I said to Thom that I weirdly enjoyed it. Like a super intense work out. Feeling every single part of it which was different to my birth with Adeline. When her head came out that was such a relief as you can imagine that’s the burning ring of fire everyone talks about. Now I get that.
I felt so proud of myself that I managed to do it. ALet me point out- there is nothing wrong with having the epidural! I just loved how in-control I was, it was a really positive experience and the fact the whole way through my pregnancy I was adamant I was having an epidural. I’ll just never forget it, it was a really special and positive experience.
As soon as Camilla came out I felt a sudden rush of love for her and my Husband. We all did it together. Born at 6.37am weighing 7lb 8oz. Our perfect little girl.
Are you still there? Still reading? Sorry if this is long & I’m going on but I told you it wasn’t quick, I’ve even tried to miss details out as I feel like I’m rambling.
So Camilla had arrived & I enjoyed two lots of toast and a shit load of tea & coffee. It was honestly the best toast & tea I’ve ever had. I think that’s why they brought me seconds. Thom was sent home & I was sent to the ward to stay overnight- not ideal as I imagined I was going home that night. Thom hated leaving me and I think if Adeline didn’t exist I would of hated it too, but I knew Adeline needed one of us home.
On reflection I’m glad I had the time at the hospital to get the hang of breast feeding and also have some time with Camilla. I had zero sleep obviously with being in a ward. I had a curtain around me at all times (covid regulations) so I was in my own little bubble.
I missed Adeline like mad- the most time I’ve spent away from her since lockdown so I was eager to get back! After one night there I asked the midwives about going home, they laughed at how keen I was and sped all the necessary checks up for me, making sure I was seen first. I did explain It wasn’t personal and I wanted to get back to my other daughter.
We were done and ready to be collected by 10am. Thom collected me and I was so excited to get home to Adeline. I had no idea how she was going to react. So off we went, as a 3. Stepping into our new life as a family of 4.
I couldn’t wait to see the look on Adeline’s face and to hold her and tell her how proud I was of her. It was in all honestly so emotional, I didn’t w/‘t to ever let go of her, I also swear she turned into a proper big girl in those 3 days away from her, she looked so much bigger!
Once the excitement was over. I settled down on the sofa with my daughters and I couldn’t believe how incredibly lucky I was. This was it.. the beginning of a new chapter, a new adventure and bugger all sleep.
To be continued..