We were waiting for Stanley and he's finally here! He has been for a couple of months now but I haven't had the time or inclination to post.
Here is his birth story (gory bits and all!).
The Birth of Stanley Peter:
Sunday 18th March (Mother’s Day)
I woke up with a severe headache that I had had since the previous afternoon. I also thought that my lips and hands were a little bit swollen so at about 5:00am I decided to ring the Maternity Assessment Unit who told me to come down later to get my blood pressure checked if the pain killers didn’t work. I went back upstairs to find M in the shower. A while later M emerged from the bathroom and put his shoes on. It was only ten to six! I told him I was going back to bed and that we’d go to the hospital later.
At about 10:00am we went to the hospital and they checked my blood pressure which was fine. The midwife told me to get bouncing on the birthing ball to try and get labour going. After this we went to the supermarket and then had a mothers’ day lunch with my grandma, throughout which I felt a bit ill.
In the evening I got a really strong back ache and started to panic. I bounced on the ball and had more cervix pains (I’d been having them all weekend). M and I were playing scrabble and my mind wasn’t really on it because I was in pain. I was confused because it was constant and not contraction like or anything. When I went to bed I text my dad and asked him if he could come round the next day in case I went into labour.
Monday 19th March 2012
By the morning it was fine but dad still came round and we had a good chat. Later that night I was chatting on BaBs when I started to have slight period pains but they weren’t exactly noticeable though. We were chatting about laughing the baby out and having sex so when we went to bed that night I mentioned these two tactics to M who said that if we were going to have sex I’d laugh as soon as he got naked anyway. This set me off laughing and M continued to make me laugh for a while. He read the bump a story and all the way through he was being stupid and making me laugh.
Tuesday 20th March 2012
At about 4:00am I awoke with a pain in my back and it was very similar to what I’d experienced on Sunday night. I changed position to get more comfortable and drifted back off to sleep. A short while later I awoke again with the same thing, which surprised me. I decided to go to the toilet which is when I noticed a small bloody show in the toilet. Excited and nervous I grabbed a pad and went raiding my knicker drawer laughing quietly to myself. This woke M up and he asked what was going on. I said something along the lines of thinking that something was starting and he asked what I meant. I got back in bed and had a few contractions in the space of the next half an hour or so. I became more uncomfortable and became more certain that something was happening. I ended up on all fours with a pillow on the landing at one point. M was panicking a bit because it seemed really quite intense quite quickly. I began to curse M. I phoned the hospital who said to ring back when the contractions were three in ten minutes.
We decide that M would go to work. He was pacing about a bit and was even doing hoovering at 6:30am. I rang my dad at 7:00am and told him that I thought I was in labour and asked him to come round later on. M put on Absolute Radio on the Sky box and it stayed on this all day. Before he leaves for work I had a little cry and I made him kiss the bump, just in case the baby arrives without him there.
By 8am the contractions were about 5-6 minutes apart and 30-40 seconds long. I had a bath and even managed to shave my legs, some of my bikini line (that I could reach!) and my underarms. I started to cope much better and thought that they were slowing down a bit. I was able to snooze a bit in between contractions. I also began to think about how I should cancel my work’s leaving meal which was supposed to be happening at 4:30pm that night.
The post arrived and it was a little photo book from M's mum with photos from his birth in. He looked so cute and I spent ages looking at it, wondering if our baby would look like that.
I managed to take a final bump shot:
I text my dad asking him to come at 9:30am ish. By 11:30am the contractions are about every 7 minutes and dad is just sitting in the corner drinking coffee and snoozing. We’re not really talking. In between contractions I felt hungry but during them I felt sick! Dad made me some brown toast though which I managed to eat.
At 12:00pm it felt like I had constipation and was not at all like I expected contractions to feel like. I still felt ok though and sent my dad home. M was due home at about 5:30pm. I had another bath and lost more plug. Whilst in the bath (and thankfully between contractions), my colleague rang and we cancelled the meal. She knew I was having contractions so I didn’t need to make up another excuse. I got too hot in the bath and went and lay on the bed at about 1:30pm where I started to think that the contractions were stronger.
At 2:05pm it was really knacking and I was beginning to make noise. I started to think about getting M. I text him asking him to miss his piano lesson and come home at 4:00pm after orchestra. Five minutes later I text him again asking him to miss orchestra and come home at 3:00pm. Two minutes later I rang school and got them to get M. The cover organiser appeared at his door and told him to come home. During this time I threw up and started to panic a bit.
When M got home I told him we were going to hospital and that the contractions were about 3 minutes apart. He started to put stuff in the car and I phoned the hospital but it was engaged the first five times I tried. Eventually I got through and the midwife said to come down but that they might send me back home again.
We got in the car and I had my first contraction about a mile away from the house. M started the next track on the Coldplay CD with each contraction so that we could time them. They were less than three minutes. We were driving down the bypass about 3 miles from home when M said “it’s ok, we’re nearly there”. I about lynched him because we still had 20 minutes of car journey left. I continued to contract as we drove through school traffic and lots of passers-by, where I was concerned that people could see me during contractions.
I started to get really uncomfortable. Contracting in the car was awful and I was really noisy. The contractions were about two and a half minutes apart. We arrived at the hospital and I timed it so that we left the car just after a contraction but I still had another on the way in outside the labour ward and was quite embarrassed as it was obvious that I was contracting and there were loads of people about (including pregnant smokers which I still managed to comment on, despite the pain!). We got to the maternity assessment unit and they weren’t expecting me it seemed. She asked how far apart my contractions were and I said that they were about two and a half minutes to which she said “oh right!”. We went to the waiting room and there was a couple in there and they looked nervous – she didn’t have a bump so I presumed that there was a problem as this is where we came when I thought I was bleeding. I had a contraction in the waiting room and then the midwife called me to talk to her. In the corridor I had another contraction and had to stand still on my own til it passed, with the midwives talking to me the whole time.
They then informed us that there wasn’t an available room for an examination so they were sending us to delivery to be examined. Upon arrival we were the only ones there and we were put into a really small room (we later think that this is because they thought that they’d send me home). The midwife introduced herself as Karen and she had a student, Rachel, with her. I was examined at 4:30 and I was found to be 5-6cm dilated which surprised me and made me really happy! I couldn’t believe I’d got to that stage on my own and wasn’t going to be sent home. Rachel was supposed to examine me after Karen but Karen said not to so I said “Rachel, aren’t you going to try?”. Karen replied with “Are you sure? You found it uncomfortable being examined!” So I said how Rachel had to learn some time and that we were teachers and understood the importance of learning! They were really surprised that I was so willing! Rachel didn’t really go as far as Karen so didn’t hurt me much at all. It was at this point when M said “well we’re not going to have that game of travel scrabble are we?” (We’d packed it in case I was induced or something and we got bored!). I burst out laughing and didn’t stop for ages, which they all found hilarious – that gas and air was good stuff!
When they’d gone I told M that I wanted Rachel to do the examination because that’s what my mum was like. She always insisted on letting students have a go at everything as they had to learn (she had loads of students with our birth because it was a multiple birth). I shed a bit of a tear and M stroked my hair. I sent him out to the car to fetch the bags now we knew we were staying!
I put on my nighty and sat on the birthing ball, bouncing away. I must have sat on the ball for a good couple of hours, puffing away on the gas and air and talking to the midwives. I remember telling Rachel that it felt like someone was “shoving something up my arse”...! Apart from that though I didn’t swear at all (except when they weren’t there!). I bounced on the ball and M rubbed my back with lavender oil and Karen showed him a technique to help. We stayed like that for ages. One of the midwives on shift was a parent of a child in M's form and she came to say hello which was nice as she ended up looking after me the following day. During this time the midwives checked his heartbeat very regularly, scaring me somewhat with the student not being able to find it quickly and also with the Doppler being crap, to the extent that they got a new one. They were really reassuring the whole time and were fully aware of my anxieties with the birth and of something happening to the baby.
At 7pm it was shift change and we were introduced to a new midwife called Laura who was blond, not that I actually looked at her for about two hours! I started to struggle with the pain and was asking for Meptid injection. She said that she was going to examine me at 8:30pm and see how far I was before seeing if I could have the drug. She talked me into having a hot bath and that was the best thing ever! The bath had lavender oil in and it really relaxed me. I was completely naked and wasn’t bothered. M did offer to get my bikini top but I really couldn’t have cared less. I had the gas in the bath and managed to stay there until I was examined at 8:30pm.
When I was examined I was 7cm and I was very disappointed and began asking for the drug again because I said I couldn’t cope with this pain if it was going to be that slow progression-wise. Laura told me to get back in the bath and she’d talk to her supervisor about progression and when to examine me again. She came back and said that she was going to examine me again in two hours despite her supervisor advising her to wait until three hours. The bath wasn’t as effective now but I think that’s because the contractions were much more intense. Whilst in the bath I felt like I was doing a big poo and kept grabbing at my nether regions as if to hold it all in. This happened a few times and I made a bit of a guttural noise. I said again that it was too intense and I needed some help (for what it’s worth I didn’t actually want to have drugs, I just couldn’t see a way through the pain for endless more hours. And after each contraction I was glad I didn’t have drugs). I also felt a really small gush and told the midwife that I wasn’t sure if I’d just weed in the bath. She decided to get me out to examine me and then she could assess and weigh me if I still wanted the meptid. It was around now that I noticed that she was pregnant herself (25 weeks!). I hadn’t even really looked at her before now.
I got on the bed and was examined – this was about 9:40pm I think (though it could have been much earlier or later!). She said that I was 9cm and had just a lip of cervix left! I was in shock quite a lot. She also said that she thought my waters would go with my next contraction. Sure enough they did, all over the bed and the midwife (in her hair she said!). I was shocked at how much there was and how warm it was (why I’d expected it to be cold I had no idea!). I started to feel like my body was pushing even more and I didn’t like it at all. I rolled on to my side and the midwife said I needed to get off the bed so that they could change the sheets as I’d get really cold if I stayed there wet for hours. I complained and said I couldn’t move and Matthew told me forcefully to get off so I did slowly. As I stood up I turned and rested on the bed and had another couple of contractions which were so intense and my body was pushing and I tried to resist until they told me not to. I just wasn’t sure I was allowed to push since I was only 9cm dilated. The midwife told me to go with it and let my body push. I did and she said that she’d soon be able to see the baby’s head. I asked if it was crowning and apparently she and M exchanged glances as if to say “not yet pet, you’ve got a long way to go!”. I fell to my knees and the midwife said I needed to lift up so she could put a pillow there. She told me I’d have to open my legs is I was going to give birth at which point I told her I couldn’t and she told me I had to. M grabbed and moved my legs apart and it did feel better. More water gushed out with each contraction and I was making such a mess. I remember saying to M how it felt bizarre, that I couldn’t believe it was me in labour and that it was like an out of body experience. I felt the need to push and so I did and this sound escaped me, like nothing I’d heard before: a guttural groaning sound that was cave-woman style. I was surprised that it was coming from me. The midwife and M told me to stop making it as it would make pushing more efficient so I did and I noticed the difference straight away and really went for it. I felt his head descend and commented how it was the weirdest feeling ever. The next contraction came and I pushed again and felt the burning and knew I was quite close. I wasn’t prepared for just how close it was. The midwife asked M to press the buzzer for the second midwife to come and assist. Then he slipped out, all in one go, head then body. The midwife caught him and he cried instantly just as the second midwife arrived. I heard the cry and thought “eh? There’s a baby crying. Oh my god my baby’s crying”. I was in shock that he was there! She passed the baby through my legs (or rather I actually grabbed him according to M!) and she told me that the cord was short so to be careful. I sat on my legs and held the baby to my tummy crying “oh my god, I’ve done it, oh!”. M cried (not that I could see as I had lost my glasses somewhere along the way). After a little while I realised that we didn’t know if the baby was a boy or a girl. All along I’d wanted M to tell me but for some reason I took over and just looked. I figured that if I showed him I’d still see first because the cord was short and he was still attached and facing me. I shouted “it’s a boy!”. I was genuinely shocked; I really thought he’d be a girl! M cut the cord once it stopped pulsating and we got on the bed. They asked if I wanted the injection for the placenta now and I said yes. They normally do it earlier but they knew that I was very anxious throughout. Surprisingly I flinched at the injection going in and felt like a right wally after all the pain I’d just gone through. The placenta came and it coming out was actually rather pleasurable or satisfying (?!). I asked to see it and she showed me it all and explained which bit was which.
I cuddled up to my boy and could not believe that he’d just come out of me. Incredible! He looked so much like Matthew it was unreal; exactly like the pictures I'd been looking at just that morning.
After about an hour they came to take me to stitching. It was nice because I actually got to look at the midwife in the face and we had a nice chat between my legs. I had a second degree tear, a labial tear and also lots of labial grazes. Being stitched wasn’t that bad really. The worst bit was the hips that locked as we tried to get them out of the stirrups. We’d left Stanley with M and he hadn’t cried the whole time we were away, which was about fifty minutes. We then made our phone calls and sent our text messages and I had a bath.
After some tea and toast (which was the nicest thing ever) we tried to get some sleep which I found impossible. I just kept staring at my little boy in his bassinet. He slept constantly that night and pretty much all day the next day. M slept really well and didn’t even notice that the midwife and I had a chat and put the light on and 4am!
The next day dad came to visit with his girlfriend at 12:00pm ish and it was lovely seeing him with Stanley. We came home at about 2:00pm and just stared at our boy in his car seat. The following few days we just stared and cried at how perfect and amazing he is. We have been so emotional and can’t believe how lucky we are, that we made him (with help!) and that he is actually ours to keep forever. I am so proud of how I grew him, of how I gave birth to him. It feels awesome and I love him so much.
Welcome to the world Stanley Peter!