Over the last few months, I’ve been sharing updates about my second pregnancy with the last post at 38 weeks pregnant. I’ve talked about how utterly petrified I was about giving birth to another big baby after a traumatic forceps-assisted birth with O, weighing in at 9lb 12oz, on the 98th centile. I was determined to go into my second pregnancy with my eyes wide open, prepared for every eventuality and adamant for a more positive experience. So here’s how Q came into the world…
Thursday 3rd March 2016
I attended an appointment with my consultant for a pre-arranged sweep at 38 weeks + 2 days pregnant. Beforehand, I discussed with her the latest date I would want to wait before induction and decided on Monday 7th March. I had the sweep (ouch!) and off I tottered for a pub lunch and a nice walk into town. Whilst sitting eating my lunch, I started to have mild contractions – within an hour of the sweep being performed! I was ecstatic and determined to bring this baby on so set off for a walk into town, up a huge hill.
The contractions continued to progress slowly but regularly and by 6pm they were coming every 3-5 minutes. Hubs (A) was panicking and sent O off for a sleepover at his Grandma’s ‘just in case’. I sat happily bouncing away on my pregnancy ball, whilst watching episodes of Homeland and breathing through still fairly mild, but very regular, contractions. Cue – A massively panicking. He insisted I ring the maternity ward for advice, as they’re 20 minutes away, because the contractions were so close together. As I wasn’t in an awful lot of pain, I didn’t see the point, but did as I was told to try to calm him.
The midwives suggested I go into the ward in a couple of hours if the contractions didn’t start to subside. They didn’t.
So we shot the hospital bags into the boot of the car and made our way to the hospital. Exciting times! We got to the hospital and I was put into the water birthing room, as I requested. I was soon examined and told that I was 3cm dilated. Just as I had been made by the consultant during my sweep. Needless to say, I was feeling rather deflated at this point. It was getting late and I was no further on than I had been at 11:30 that morning. The midwives said I was welcome to stay to try to progress the labour so we thought we would stay, seeing as we’d gotten O looked after and travelled through.
Friday 4th March 2016
I continued to experience mild contractions into the early hours of Friday morning but they were petering out. I paced the length of the room hundreds of times, listening to some Ed Sheeran whilst A attempted a bit of sleep on the birthing couch. I bounced on a pregnancy ball whilst filling out crossword puzzles. Anything to try to get the labour going. I was prepared. Desperate to get this baby out!
Come 4am, the contractions had practically disappeared and so I decided the best thing I could do was sleep. I needed my rest in case anything did get going later on. We went home via a cafe for breakfast, and slept some more during the day. I walked to school to pick O up from school, but the contractions never restarted.
Despite being extremely disappointed, I knew I’d be meeting my baby in the next few days, so decided to enjoy my last couple of baby-free days with A and O.
Fast Forward to Monday 7th March 2016
Lo and behold, nothing happened over the weekend. I kissed O goodbye at the school gates and held back tears as I explained Mummy was going into hospital for a few days so that the doctors could help get the baby out. Off we set to the hospital and I was given a pessary to start off the induction process. Now I had to lay in wait for contractions to begin.
And they did! Around 4 hours afterwards, I started to get contractions. Mild and regular, but contractions. Hooray! I was finally heading in the right direction! My consultant had predicted that I would go into full labour that evening, but if I hadn’t, they would burst my waters in the morning. I would definitely see my baby soon. I had hope!
Hubs and I went for a few good walks around the hospital and its grounds to try and encourage things to move along again. We sat in the TV room on the ward watching The Chase as I bounced on a ball. That evening, some monitoring and an examination later showed… I was still at 3cm dilated. I cried. I was devastated that things just weren’t progressing. Labour is definitely true to it’s name – labour!
Tuesday 8th March 2016
Overnight, a multiple pregnancy and an emergency situation had appeared on the labour ward. Being a reasonably small hospital, my consultant wasn’t prepared to add to the high-risk patients on the labour ward and delayed breaking my waters until dinner time. I was free to leave the ward for a few hours so hubs came to pick me up and took me to his mums house. This may sound odd, but O was feeling unwell and so had been kept home from school this day, so I went to stay with him for a few hours in the hope it would help him feel better. He was missing me, bless him!
A shower, a good lunch and some rest, courtesy of my mother-in-law, and we were ready to head back to the hospital, knowing I wouldn’t be put off any longer.
Shortly after arriving on the labour ward, I was hooked up to monitors to make sure baby was okay. Everything seemed fine, so my consultant popped my waters. I was still 3cm dilated – I mean, COME ON! So I got back onto a ball for some bouncing and hoped to the heavens that this would work. After a few hours, the intensity of the contractions had increased from mild and manageable to strong and extreme. I couldn’t cope with just gas and air any longer, so I called for the midwife and requested an epidural.
The midwife suggested the examine me first as I’d been doing so well to get to this point, so I agreed. I was now 4cm dilated. This was the slowest labour known to man. I cried. I asked for the epidural which they arranged pretty quickly. The anaesthetist was lovely and managed to get the epidural in and working, to an extent. I still maintained agonising pain down my right side and hip in my bump and back but the rest of my bump and legs were numb. I could still move one of my legs, but the other was horrendously floppy and hot.
Wednesday 9th March 2016
From this point on, I dilated a bit quicker as I was relaxed. I had mentally prepared myself to receive an emergency C-section during pregnancy, so an epidural was easy to take. I got to 10cm around 5am and the midwife excitedly told me that she would be delivering my baby before the end of her shift. I was really pleased as our two midwives were fantastic and so nice with me. So, the pushing started. I had an idea of when to push as I could still feel part of the contractions where the epidural hadn’t taken. I looked just like they show you on the TV; legs in stirrups, bedraggled hair, gripping my husband’s hand.
I was so desperate for my second baby to be born without assistance, I pushed like my life depended on it.
I continued to push for over 90 minutes, which apparently increases risks during a second (or more) birth. The doctor had been called and was telling me I needed assistance. I had pushed my baby to a point only a couple of centimetres away from birth, but I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t get any further, despite my immense efforts. It wasn’t to be. He prepared me for my second forceps-assisted delivery. I was devastated, but I told myself it could be worse. A held my hand and encouraged me through – it’s going to be okay.
I could feel the tugging as they cut my skin to safely deliver my second baby boy. I pushed another 3 or 4 times and out he came. Lifeless and pale. Why wasn’t he crying? A cut his cord, with some urgency as directed by the midwife, and my baby was taken quickly from the room. What was the matter?
Fear and panic started to coarse through my body as I cried out for him.
Those five minutes seemed to last a life time and I sobbed tears of relief when I had him returned, crying and pinking. It seems the labour and the prolonged attempt at a natural delivery had taken their toll. He had scored only 2 on the APGAR scale when he was born. I am so grateful for the midwife and paediatrician that gave him the lifesaving oxygen and resuscitation that he needed.
And so, at 6:58am on Wednesday 9th March 2016, baby boy Q was born weighing a healthy 8lbs 7oz. We are all incredibly happy and very much in love.
Welcome to the world, gorgeous boy.