I am reposting this to join in with Mummy Mishaps and the Real Housewife of Suffolk County's Flashback Friday as the theme is Birth Stories and I'm not flipping writing it again!
I don't have a particularly dramatic birth story for either of my children so this is not a drama about to unfold, nor is it a touching account of the best day of my life, it is telling it real! I was prompted to tell all by the lovely Actually Mummy who has done a great linky on birth stories - and the best badge ever!
I shall start with Little Miss Star - daughter number 1 - she was for a start 11 days late which was not appreciated. I did not much like being pregnant. I was never sick but I just did not feel like I 'bloomed' at any stage and I had a minor case of symphis pubic dysfunction which made everything painful. So there was I like a beached whale, puffy ankles, in pain and just wanted the baby OUT! I had made a birth plan of sorts which vaguely said that if the birth pool was free I might give it a whirl but if it wasn't to give me DRUGS and lots of them.
I apologise to all the natural birth fans out there but I am not big on pain and the idea of getting a baby out of my bits made me wince just thinking about it (and still does to be honest). If I could have drugs I wanted them thank you. I did attend the NHS prenatal classes but didn't get involved in the NCT until later (probably a good thing with my views on birth). I think all this may have come from my mother who once described giving birth to me (I am her only child) as like 'shitting a pineapple' which is painfully accurate but maybe I won't be giving this sage piece of advice to my daughters as I quite fancy being a granny one day.
Anyway on to the birth. I had chosen to go to the Royal Surrey Hospital even though we are in the catchment for the QA in Portsmouth as I they had looked after me with my ectopic pregnancy (which you can read about here). I trusted them, they had my records and better still they were experts at epidurals, being the Surrey Mummy's choice (epidurals that is) so I was told. Now I wanted an epidural, if there was one thing I was sure of it was this. Not only did the whole not feeling too much sound good but my best friend from my schooldays, who is now a GP, had had her first child the previous year and advised me that epidurals were the bees knees.
As with most first births she took her time. Contractions started early in the morning, I phoned the hospital several times as they came and went and I kept pottering down the garden to visit the OH who was digging in fence posts, occasionally stopping half way down for a bit of deep breathing during the contractions. So far so good. It got to about 10 at night and they were a bit quicker and I eventually persuaded the hospital to say that I could come in. My deepest fear being that I would not get to the hospital and would be too late to have that epidural. I needn't have worried, they let me stay but I wasn't that far gone when I arrived. After as short a time as possible and a few half-hearted puffs on the gas and air I declared it was all too much and please give me my epidural. (My GP friend had advised me to ask in plenty of time, possibly before I really needed it in case the anaesthetist was unavailable for a while and I missed my chance so to speak - fab advice - if possibly controversial!)
Luckily for me the anaesthetist was not busy and before long there she was. There followed possibly the worst bit - trying to keep still whilst having contractions and having a giant needle stabbed in your back. I remember the midwife with her face right against mine saying breathe and don't move or some such thing. After it was in though - oh bliss - the pain stopped almost immediately and they had one of those fancy ones that could be topped up with a little swivel of a button. It was meant to be one where I could still walk around but this was debatable, although I do remember the midwife getting me to go to the loo at some point and I just about hobbled there, after which she topped it up and I stayed in comfort on my bed.
The birth itself was some many hours later - about lunchtime the next day. The whole process was v slow and whether this was a side effect of the epidural or not I don't know but quite frankly I didn't care. The birth was pretty much pain free, I felt her head coming out, not as pain, but as a rather weird sensation. The only thing that hurt was my throat as the midwife had to tell me when to push ( I was wired up to sensors) and pushing involved screaming with effort ( but not pain!). Little Miss Star was born on a lovely sunny spring day with the sun streaming through the window to a chilled out mummy and within an hour was listening to the football on the radio with daddy (whilst mummy got cleaned up).
You may wonder where OH was during all this -mostly asleep on the chair in the birthing suite. Let me tell you now most men are bloody useless during birth, although I think I did insist on digging my nails in his hand whilst I pushed her head out!
Fast forward 2 1/2 years and it was Little Miss Sunshine's turn. Now I hadn't enjoyed this pregnancy any more than the first and I was HUGE - more like two whales than just one. She was late too - not quite as late but still late - 5 days.
This was a very different birth. I knew that second babies were quicker but number 1 had been soooo long that I did not anticipate not getting to hospital and I fully expected to have another epidural - in fact I was looking forward to it. Contractions started at about 2 or 3am whilst I was looking in on Little Miss Star as she had woken up. They got strong quite quickly and I phoned the hospital and my mum who was going to come and pick Little Miss Star up and OH and I were then going to go to the hospital. My mum lives about an hour and a half's drive away and after about half an hour I instructed OH on plan B - call mum again ( who was on her way) and tell her to meet us at the hospital - we were going NOW! It's weird how you know these things isn't it.
So Little Miss Star was duly packed into the car with us and we set off. I remember very little about the journey beyond that it was painful and seemed very long and poor Little Miss Star must have been quite frightened seeing mummy like that. Thank god it was early on a Sunday morning so there was barely any cars on the road. OH dropped me at the entrance and went to park the car as I could barely walk now (last time I had walked across the car park!) I went to the front desk and tried to call someone to help and eventually a porter came up and said 'could I walk' - the answer was a short sharp 'NO!'.
He found a wheelchair and wheeled me through what seemed mile upon mile of corridor to the birth centre. I have to say I was just mightily relieved to be in hospital. My first question was 'can I have an epidural - now!?'. I was horrified when the answer was no - I was 8cms dilated - nooooooo! I was allowed gas and air until the midwife took it off me because I was hyperventilating. I was absolutely petrified to have to give birth with no drugs. OH was delivering Little Miss Star to my mum so I was on my own with two midwives.
OH eventually arrived ( I say eventually but in reality it was about only 30 minutes later) - just felt more and they said I was ready to push. OMG! Pain like you have never felt like - shitting a pineapple - well that would probably be easier. That's about all I remember until Little Miss Sunshine was born 59 minutes after arriving at the hospital. Thank fuck it was Sunday morning is all I can say otherwise she might have been born on the side of the A3 and that would have been really truly frightening.
I was just immensely glad it was over and we were both safe so I didn't mind too much being left for a couple of hours with baby poo all down my side until they had time to stitch me up - oh yes had them too - eeughh! This is not a criticism of the hospital by the way as I could hear they were incredibly busy with far more traumatic births than mine (calling for more gowns urgently several times indicated they were far more needed elsewhere) and I was fine with a second baby - albeit a little bit pooey. Little Miss Sunshine got lots of cuddles and latched on like a pro within minutes and I was content.
So there you have it - my birth stories. Apologies if you were looking for rose tinted spectacles and how it's all so magic - not my thing really, this is what REALLY happens - it bloody hurts but it's worth it. Oh but I won't be rushing to have another - it might have to be a home birth if I did - nooooooo!