Written by April Hill
I always did wonder what it would feel like going into labour. When I asked people they would say “you’ll know”. What did that mean? Would my waters break like in the films? Or would I be one of those people who thinks they’re in labour when they’re really not and go into hospital unnecessarily?
After reading more online it is actually different for everyone. Some waters do break but it’s actually not that common. Mine didn’t. I had a bit of a show and when I saw the midwife earlier that day (a check up seeing as I was 4 days overdue) she said I was about 2cm and she wouldn’t be surprised if my daughter made an appearance within a few days.
Funny enough, around 9pm that evening I had continuous contractions. It’s like they say you just know that this is it, especially when they are happening quite regularly. I was uncomfortable and we started timing. I couldn’t sleep, we kept an eye on the clock. It got to 3am and contractions were getting down to 5 minutes apart, which is when they say to contact to the hospital. We called them and made the half hour trip there.
I was surrounded by poor mums in what looked like serious pain and must have been close. I wasn’t there yet and when the midwife checked me over she revealed I was actually only 3cm and they don’t admit mums until they are 4cm. I was so disappointed. I just wanted some pain relief but I was sent home. We were told to come back when my contractions were about 2 minutes apart.
Back home we went and then I was in agony for another 10 hours, but they said 2 minutes apart. We weren’t there. It got to the point where I couldn’t move, I was crying saying to my husband I can’t take the pain anymore. From there my contractions escalated to suddenly being a minute or two apart. He said that was enough and called the hospital saying we were coming in because I needed pain relief. My back was in agony. I never felt so much pain and could relate to the women I’d seen earlier.
It took us nearly two hours to get back to the hospital, mainly because I couldn’t get a few steps without contracting, and then were in peak time traffic.
Finally we made it. I saw the midwife and said I need some pain relief. I’d requested the injections or gas and air. I didn’t want an epidural. She assured me that once she checked me over then I could get some relief. The next thing I know she’s telling me I’m fully dilated, can’t have the injections because I’m already done, and we need to go straight into the delivery room. What a rush. I lie on the bed and am already pushing.
The midwife gave me some gas and air but I took one puff, went so dizzy, that I shoved it to the side and said I didn’t want it. I went without pain relief but honestly I felt so relieved when I was pushing. I instantly felt better. I was lucky in that I had a lovely midwife who told me everything she was doing and what she would recommend and to get my consent first. She told me she needed to break my waters because my daughter was stuck, that she needed to put a drip in for me to keep my hydrated, and a monitor to keep an eye on both mine and baby’s heartbeat.
During all of it my daughters heartbeat stayed the same. She didn’t seem bothered. I joked that I was glad someone wasn’t right at that moment!
Two hours later, big pushes and support, my daughter arrived, crying her eyes out. She was healthy and the moment was finally here.
My husband & I cuddled her as I got stitched up. And once that was done we were left to ourselves for a couple hours before moving up to the ward. It was so quiet that we had a room to ourselves for a while before another family came in. Then we were checked out lunchtime the next day.
I read, and have heard other stories, and I feel extremely lucky that my birth was very straightforward. Yes I was in pain, and it felt long. But there were no complications and at the end of the day my daughter was delivered safely.
Nothing can prepare you for what you’ll experience and the exhaustion that follows after. We didn’t sleep for nearly 3 days because it was up from the Monday morning to starting 24 hours of labour that night, to our daughter arriving the Tuesday night, spending that entire night just looking at her, waiting to come home, coming home and grandparents coming over, to finally a little bit of sleep the Wednesday night. What a blur. But I will never forget the moment she arrived. This was the little person we had been waiting for.