Labour Stories: Gemma & Harper

Labour Stories, Mum

Written by Gemma Poulsom

For years I’ve wanted a baby, I dreamt of every moment from finding out I was pregnant to the birth, I always wanted a water birth as I suffer from anxiety and depression and water really calms me down.

Anyway… after a long pregnancy of waiting and excitement, the day came at 40+2 where I went for my sweep, sitting down with my lovely midwife, I mentioned that I had a feeling my waters may have already broken, she told me she couldn’t do the sweep in case of infection. I went to the hospital to have an examination and they confirmed my hind waters had broken.

For safety reasons I was admitted to the labour ward the next morning, but in the meantime I had to try everything to get her out. The whole induction thing was completely alien to me. I was very naive and thought they put me on a drip and she would be there, so I didn’t try very hard to get her out as I thought it didn’t matter. I regret that decision immensely!

The morning came of my induction at 8:30am and I am all excited. I walked into labour ward with my bag packed, all my snacks, excited to meet my baby! When I got in I got hooked up to hormone drip, to get told I couldn’t eat anything and to take all my piercings out incase of C-Section. They said it’s very unlikely blah blah blah!

The contractions started and it was excruciating so I had to have the epidural which I felt guilty for having it so early on. I felt like I failed at labour already! I got examined every 4 hours and I didn’t get past 2 cm dilated! I was getting impatient and irritated. The midwife said if things don’t start progressing we may have to do the C-section. I cried and cried. I have dreamt about this moment for years and I can’t do what I wanted to do. The water birth was out the window anyway due to induction, and now I might not even be able to push my daughter into this world.

Hours passed and still no progress, so the midwife came in and said we think we need to do the C-section now- are you ok with that? I broke down again. I didn’t want this. I wanted to do this on my own. I wanted to feel everything after so long! I couldn’t stop crying. After 14 hours in labour I thought I must be more than 2 now! They checked again but still only 2cm! I was broken. I felt like I failed my daughter already, so they went to get the doctor to come and speak to me. But when she came in she said , “I don’t think we need to do a C-section, I think we should give it another 4 hours, a lot can happen!” I immediately said I don’t think I’m going to progress any further. I don’t want to wait 4 hours to be told I’ve got to anyway. She replied that she had hope and that she doesn’t think that will be the case.

So I waited… 2 hours passed and my daughters heart rate slowed right down; they put me on oxygen called the crash team, rolled me from side to side to get it going again. It started getting better so carried on waiting, but again her heart rate dropped and crash team back in, but this time the doctor gave me an examination- STILL ONLY 2CM!

Then I heard “we need to get you down to theatre now!” That was it I felt sick, my stomach rolled hundreds of times over. Why is this happening to me?! I knew my body would fail me! I went into shock, walking down with my partner to theatre, struggling to breathe, feeling I was about to throw up. When I got into theatre they gave my more anaesthetic, and as they went to cut me, I could feel it! I stopped them and they said oh could you feel that, even after I passed the ice test! I said yes I can, the anesthetist said I can’t give you anymore, you had the maximum so we’re going to have to put you to sleep. I didn’t think I could break anymore. One thing after another, my partner couldn’t be in there, I wouldn’t get to hear my babies first cry, I wouldn’t feel a thing! I was a wreck. The midwives held my hand and cuddled me as I drifted off.

When I awoke I had nothing, no baby, no pain, just felt nothing. They wheeled me down to my room and there she was my gorgeous baby having a cuddle with her dad. I didn’t even get skin to skin. I didn’t see her covered in blood. She was clean and perfect. My partner couldn’t cut the cord and it was just awful. I held my baby girl and never wanted to let her go, my first words was… how is she so beautiful!

I was in hospital for 3 days in excruciating pain and feeling of guilt and regret. Six months on and I still feel the same feelings. I love my beautiful girl but I feel like I failed from the first hurdle! 

You can follow Gemma for more updates on her Instagram here.

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