We are delighted to introduce our beautiful baby girl Emilia, who finally arrived on Saturday 18th June, at a rather decent 8lb 6oz (not quite the dainty 7lb something I had imagined..!).
It was such an intense experience, nothing could truly prepare me for it. Practising pregnancy yoga paid off though and helped me understand the choices in pain relief, potential complications and helped me keep a clear head (for the most part!).
I had a pretty flexible birth ‘plan’, but my ideal scenario involved a birthing pool and gas and air. However my body had different ideas, and when my waters started trickling at 01:30, there was quite a lot of blood. So after a surprisingly calm drive to the hospital, where I was closely monitored for an hour, the decision was to induce labour using the syntocinon hormone drip as they weren’t happy with this mysterious bleed! I was also on the Consultant Led Unit (rather than the midwife led unit), which I had always been scared of (God knows why, they were amazing and I was looked after by midwives anyway! During pregnancy you get get told so many differing opinions on the benefits of midwife vs consultant led care, it’s hard to ignore), where they only have one birthing pool available. This, combined with the potential use of the hormone drip, meant the pool was a no go. Sad face.
We were then taken from Triage to our own delivery suite (which was super nice…own ensuite bathroom, comfy bed and chair, birthing ball, mat and an incubator type of thing that I tried to ignore). It was around 4am when our midwife examined me and did a membrane sweep (I expected this to be horrible but she was quick and it wasn’t too bad!). She said I would probably go into labour on my own and not need the drip. Bonus! Sure enough, I started getting very mild contractions (they felt like waves of mild period pain). Because I was being monitored, we could see they were definitely contractions on the graph so decided to give the TENS machine a go (apparently it works best the earlier you start), which really helped with managing the pain.
Fast forward to about 9am and the decision was made to go onto the drip after all, on a low dose, to get my contractions a little closer together. They got more intense quite quickly and I started on the gas and air, which combined with the TENS machine really worked, and I felt pretty spaced after this. Sometime around 11am we started discussing possibility of diamorphine, I think because I felt if this was going to go on for a long time, I was worried I might not cope and I was already feeling quite tired. However I was too far along at 8cm, so it was a no to the diamorphine but I was progressing well!
Not long after this, I started to feel the urge to push, and we tried getting me into various positions that helped (I say we because I required a lot of assistance, with the IV drip, gas and air tube which I would not let go of, the monitors and the TENS machine). However I was getting tired. As well as the pain, I had barely eaten (as per their advice in case I had to go to theatre with this bleed), so I ended up on my back on the bed, which is not what I’d had in mind. I then pushed for around 3 hours – it took this long because her head kept slipping back! However the midwives were incredibly supportive and encouraging (as was Dave), and after a crazy effort I started to make some progress, and out she came at 4pm!
It has taken me some time to process the whole experience, and it was also interesting comparing notes with Dave who was obviously not high on gas and air! But all in all I know we are very lucky to have had such amazing staff at Lister Hospital and so much support and love from our family and friends in the weeks since. I am now feeling back to normal and can concentrate on our beautiful baby, and hope to continue my design work while staying at home!
The Sweet Oxen shop is now open again, and I am hoping to add my new prints and cards in the coming weeks. For now though, it’s time to adjust to being a family of three.