Preparing my body for delivery.
From week 32, I was suffering from an irritable uterus – in short, my uterus would contract when it was strained. This would happen daily, from walking, lifting, being active, dehydration, lack of sleep. You name it and it would set it off . . This was caused due to my left kidney being severely dehydrated which ended in me being admitted into hospital for 2days to recover and prevent my cervix from opening up and thankfully they were able to do this and keep our baby inside where it needed to be for a little while longer.
So from the 32week mark and on wards we were being very cautious of this fact, that it could send me into pre term labour before our bean was ready to make an exit.
I decided to finish work earlier than originally anticipated as working up until week 39 or due date didn’t seem realistic at this point, so I finished my full time work at 37 weeks and was very much looking forward to a relaxing break to try and prepare before this little one was to join our family.
I was on Maternity leave for 3 days which consisted of EXHAUSTING pains, aches, contractions, pelvic grinding and lots of ‘period pain’ cramping down low. I thought we were so close to this little one being ready! I had a check up with my midwife at 37w 4d and after explaining my pains and constant nausea and ‘contractions’ that were inconsistent and that I wasn’t sleeping because of it they opted to do an internal check, as I do live an hour away from our opted hospital they didn’t want to send me home if I was in fact in the early stages of labour – However they didn’t want to perform a stretch and sweep considering that I was only 37w 4d they didn’t want to interfere too much if my body was already working towards where it should be. So they performed the external checks and confirmed that baby had gone from no engagement at all the week before to now being 2/5 engaged into my pelvis (basically as far in as they are going to get) ready for the descend! Which explains the extensive pelvic pains I was experiencing.
They then did my internal examination and could confirm my cervix had completely thinned out, they were able to touch babys head quite clearly and I had started to dilate to 1cm !!!! WOW
I felt relieved.
That all of these aches, pains, contractions and lack of sleep from the pain was actually working towards something. It wasn’t just my ‘irritable uterus’ giving me false alarms.
They booked me in for one weeks time for another check – which we all thought I wouldn’t get too considering my bodys prep for labour at this stage.
In that week I started to work on ‘preparing’ my body as best I physically could ready for the birth knowing that we were so close.
Raspberry Leaf Tea (3-4 cups a day)
This leaf tea contains a rich assortment of vitamins including vitamin B complex, calcium, iron, magnesium and fragarine. It is used to help strengthen uterine muscles and tone the pelvic floor in preparation for childbirth, as well as assist with breastmilk supply. Raspberry leaf tea taken regularly towards the end of their pregnancies have shown for women to have shorter second stages of labour than those who don’t.
From 37weeks I started to express Collostrum, to freeze and store for baby. This has been known to stimulate hormones and encourage your uterus to contract naturally
The same activity that got the baby in there in the first place . . . . . to encourage those oxytocin endorphins to flow!
Fit Ball Bouncing
Bouncing up and down on the fit ball every night for 30minutes to encourage bub to burrow further into the pelvis and soften your cervix. I then would get down on all fours and rock which is meant to do the same thing – get them in the correct positioning and encourage them towards the exit. I also incorporated a figure 8 motion on the fit ball to move babys head in
Clary Sage and Lavender Essential Oils
Oil Bath, while diffusing the oils next to me. I would use 3drops of each oil in the bath. It encouraged my body to fully relax, help ease the stress factors of pregnancy and feel weightless while at the same time the Clary Sage is supposed to be Calming to the nervous system, which helps with anxiety, depression, stress and insomnia. It’s a Hormonal regulation and used as a uterotonic, which can assist in heavy and painful periods, irregular periods and to contract the uterus naturally.
Hubby applying pressure to my acupressure points including the neck, the ankle, the back and the hands. While using clary sage oil to also massage into them after applying pressure.
Now it’s time to wait.
Saturday 23rd March 2019 – 39weeks
I started the day out feeling quite energetic and my ‘normal’ self. By lunch time I started to notice that I was getting more contractions than I normally do during the middle of the day, they usually save themselves for the night time. It came 6pm and I was noticing the contractions were becoming painful, not just ‘tight’ and that they had a bit of a pattern, so I started to time them on my contraction app. They were sitting at 7mins apart, and this continued for an hour so I kept monitoring them
I decided to have an oil bath to try and relax, while continuing to time the contractions they were now 5minutes apart.
After 4hours of monitoring them, they were now 3minutes apart and this had been going on consistently and lasting approx. 1minute each contraction. We decided it may be time to head to the hospital and get checked, this could be the real deal
We packed the car up, had Noahs grandparents come and pick him up and we were off ! It was 10:15pm . . . . .
On the drive we phoned the hospital and gave the midwives the run down over the phone and upon arrival at the hospital close to 11pm they were waiting for us and we were taken straight into the birthing suite where our student midwife was also waiting. We checked babys heart rate and my blood pressure, they both seemed excessively high for my ‘normal’ so considering the mad dash to the hospital and the long walk through emergency down to the birthing unit they gave me time before checking again in 10minutes, everything had then settled down thankfully and bub seemed happy. They did an initial examination and my cervix was nearly paper thin however was posterior and sitting quite far back, my waters were able to be touched easily sitting above babys head and bulging, and I was 2cm dilated. They set us up in the room and wanted to give us a chance to set our own environment with music, oil diffuser and we dimmed the lights and made it comfortable. They were amazing and left us to our own accord to try and set a calm space to hopefully progress in labour naturally and would check in when needed. We had our birth plan out and we were getting into the zone, I hopped straight into the shower for some relief. It was pouring rain outside and all we could hear was it trickling on the roof, the room was dark and there was no one else in the birthing suit at all – it was the most tranquil night to have a baby.
By 1am my contractions were 2minutes apart and starting to become fierce and lasting quite some time, I was beginning to be unable to talk through them and all of the pressure was down low in my back and around my lower stomach I felt like my waters could of easily burst at any minute with the pressure.
This continued for another 3 hours . . . . .
They then came in to do another examination at 4:30am as the contractions seemed to be getting stronger.
I had only gone to 2.5cm !!! In the entire 5hours we were there
I felt so disheartened. How could these strong contractions be doing nothing
They gave us the option to rest in the room for awhile longer to try and sleep and hope that it picks up or we could do this at home and come back in when the contractions worsened. We decided to head home and wait it out
We arrived home at 6am and headed for bed getting in a couple of hours sleep, I woke to hardly any pain and contractions that seemed to be every 8minutes. I layed back in the bath to relax and the contractions fizzled out basically completely! They were now every 18minutes and by the evening had disappeared completely, I got a solid 11hour sleep over night . . .
Monday 25th March 2019 ( Noahs Birthday ) – 39weeks 2days
I woke today feeling nauseous and achy, my tummy was especially achy! I started having mild contractions again by around 9am which then progressed to approx. every 10mins
They were noticeable in pain especially in the lower region where it was cramping quite tight with each surge. Today I was focusing on my figure 8 motions on the exercise ball and drinking raspberry leaf tea which I doubled up on to try and help my cervix dilate naturally
I spoke with my student midwife and the hospital and decided to have a meeting with them tomorrow to get checked. I am starting to now worry that babys movements are slowing down, only being noticeable when I push around on my tummy and encourage a shift so we want to get bubs checked that its not getting as tired and exhausted as its mumma is at this stage. We need baby to be energised for the ‘real deal’ labour day. These pains continued throughout the day and night but were not as strong as what I remember Noahs labour being like, so I knew I still had time.
Tuesday 26th March 2019 – 39weeks 3days – Londons Birth Day
3:30am I woke to intense pains, more so than normal. I tossed and turned and moaned on and off until 6am when I decided to get up out of bed and have a shower, I felt like this was just another day of the same old pains that fizzle out to nothing. I felt so exhausted from the past 3 days of events that I just wanted to get a decent sleep
I had my little Noah at home with me this day and we had booked our midwife appointment for 3pm to check on the baby, and decided it may be best to leave Noah with his Grandma while we head off to the appointment as we assumed we might be awhile while they monitor bubs movements. I had intentions of insisting on some help with this labour, it had been 3 days of on and off irritable contracting that was leading nowhere and I was exhausted, I was worried how I would be feeling by the time I go into ‘active labour’ so I wanted intervention at this point, I wanted my waters broken . . . I was hoping we could discuss an ‘induction’ day.
We decided to throw our hospital bags in the car and take them with us, not knowing what would happen when we get there, we could be staying overnight. So Hubby and I made the drive to the hospital. I was having pretty intense contractions on the drive there which were 2-4minutes apart, I was grasping the door handle and arching my back with each one not being able to speak through them. I could feel my body was working hard
3:30pm – We head into our appointment with our student midwife and a senior midwife for our check up. Whilst I was being examined I had 3 contractions whilst laying on the table. Baby was still 2/5 engaged and wasn’t moving at all while they were doing their checks
I started to feel pretty overwhelmed at this stage, I was really worried.
By the time they finished their checks on myself and baby it would have been 4:00pm and they moved us over into the Birthing Suite into an ‘Examination Waiting Room’ to have the monitors connected to my stomach and track babys movements, heartbeat and my contractions.
They set this up and left the room for 30minutes while the machine tracked the baby
They popped back in and could see that babys ‘movements’ were of concern, the heart beat was on the low side so they wanted to leave us in this room for awhile longer and perform an internal check to see where my cervix was sitting at.
They were extremely busy in the birthing and maternity ward and insisted that they would be back in to do the internal as soon as they could
I was having contractions that were showing up on the machine every 2-3minutes that looked ‘mild’ on the screen – standard to what I had been experiencing with my irritable uterus.
And it didn’t take long before they started to feel more painful, especially as I was laying flat on my back on the bed, this was extremely uncomfortable.
I then noticed that the screen started to not pick up the contractions even though I could feel them, so when the midwives would come in to check on me they seemed to think they were easing off . . . Which I think lead them to not take us as seriously. . . . . So I moved the little tracker down more on my stomach and with the next contraction the line on the machine nearly went off the chart, these bad boys were moving down my stomach hard and fast! I said to my husband, surely these contractions are more than the ‘false pre labour’ pains I’ve been having over the past few days
The midwives eventually made it into our room again to do our internal check and it was 6:00pm, apologising for leaving us on our own in an ‘Examination Room’ but the ward was extremely busy with other births, and all of the rooms were occupied so we would have to stay put in here a while longer . . . . Not exactly what we had planned for our birthing experience.
They then performed their internal examination check, and she looked at us and said
Your only 3cm . . . . . .
I broke down at that point, I couldn’t control my emotions I just let the tears flow.
I am so exhausted, my body is giving up. I insisted that a doctor come in to assess me at this point, I want my waters broken . . .
The poor midwife felt terrible for giving me the ‘bad news’ of only being at 3cm after all of this pain I’ve been in, and tried to re-assure me that I could now just ‘crack on’ after her doing a stretch and sweep, and to not worry they wont send me home they’ll be admitting me into the hospital.
I asked her if she was planning on inserting my canula as I was GBS Positive and required antibiotics on arrival to hospital and then again 4hours later to ensure baby didn’t contract the virus as it was coming out. She pretty much gave me a little shoulder rub and said, honey we don’t think its necessary yet as your not in ‘active labour’ . . . We will continue to monitor you
This is where the tables turned.
Within 40minutes of my internal examination which revealed I was only 3cm and not in ‘active labour’ my contractions had gone from a 5 pain level to a 10 (and when I say 10 what I really mean is 100+) they were so bad I begged my husband to please go and get me some pain relief . . . We still hadn’t been checked on in this time at all by any of the staff.
As he was leaving the room the midwife was on her way in, she asked if we thought the contractions were getting more intense and as my next contraction came on I couldn’t even speak and my husband just looked at her and said – look at her face, I think we can all see there getting worse! She needs pain relief
She offered us the morphine, while explaining that it is best to be given 4hours before the birth of a baby as it can make them quite lethargic shortly after arrival.
At this point I just agreed YES give me the morphine please! I am in severe pain with these contractions and I wasn’t even in ‘active labour’ yet, god help me if this is only the beginning.
So off she went, and Before she could even come back into the room I was by this stage on all fours on the bed gripping my husbands arm groaning like a beast through each contraction, I couldn’t ‘breathe’ I couldn’t focus, they were at a level that I’ve never experienced before and I was shaking!
The F Bomb word was getting thrown around through the contractions and that’s when my husband said he knew something had changed.
The midwife made her way back into the room at around 6:55pm with no pain relief, I dare say she could hear my screams down the corridor as she came straight in with gloves on ready and said ‘Im going to do a quick internal check before I give you this morphine, Im thinking that you may have ‘cracked’ on with a smile on her face . . . I for one was not smiling!
I didn’t even have breaks in the contractions, they were approx. 20-30seconds apart and lasting around 1minute. When I had a quick break in one she tried to perform the examination not before I then had another one mid way through . . By this stage I was nearly crawling up the bed I couldn’t lay still my entire body was surging and I couldn’t control anything
She finished her check and was quick to let us know ‘Okay you’ve gone to 7-8cm we need to get you into the birthing room NOW’
She ran out of the room calling out to the other midwives on duty to get this girl her antibiotics, she needs a canula, we need a birth room ready for her she’s about to have a baby. Another midwife ran over to the Maternity Unit to let my student midwife know that she better get over here quickly as we may be delivering a baby.
We made the mad dash down the hallway into a birthing room that wasn’t set up yet, they had one midwife preparing the bed, one midwife entering my details into the system to admit me into the hospital and one midwife getting my canula insert ready.
I made it to the bed before I had the next contraction and my body just started pushing . . . .
While they were trying to insert my canula drip, I was contracting and pushing and they were trying to insert the antibiotics while one midwife said ‘I don’t even know why were doing this, shes about to birth the baby’
They asked me if I wanted to try and re-position myself for delivery so I ended up going on all fours leaning up against the back of the bed for support (and hold something I could squeeze as hard as I could instead of hubbys arm)
It was this moment right here where I started to panic, panic at the fact that I was about to birth this baby with no medication at all and not how I expected. I think reality set in that it was too late to turn around now . . That epidural would of come in handy right about NOW
I started pushing at 7:00pm exactly 1 hour after being told I wasnt in labour and with 8 pushes my waters finally BURST which was the most intense pressure release and its like I felt more control over the contractions when this happened, and within the next 3 pushes we would meet our beautiful baby girl . . .
London Sage Grosvenor
There were tears, many many tears! I couldn’t believe we had just delivered our baby, and the fact that we didn’t know the gender made it extremely emotional to hear my husband say IT’S A GIRL
We felt a little robbed of our experience to be honest, we were left to our own devices in a waiting room with no offer of pain relief, no offer to make the room our own, I was laying flat on a bed with monitors all over me and it felt like we were just pushed aside because we weren’t in ‘active labour’ we weren’t a priority at this point. I could have been ‘labouring’ in my own space with our music oils and our own bags at least, I could have had the water birth that ive always wanted . . . And it would have been everything we planned.
With 3 days ‘pre labour pain’ lead up, I then only endured a 1hr 14min active labour going from 3cm to pushing her out . . .
There was no antibiotics, there was no pain medication, there was no interventions and no after birth care needed on me . . I guess we got our wish of having our ‘natural’ birth at least
With our bags still downstairs in the car, us both wearing our everyday clothes (me being in a WHITE sports crop bra) not the best colour for giving birth . . We didn’t get to take any photos, or have our music or use our oils, there was no calm affirmations and positivity, no warm water birthing or dimmed lights . . . . . But, I birthed this baby like a boss!
And what a dream she is . . .
The afterbirth healing and ‘pain’ has been an incredible difference to my first birth (which was a 14hour labour, episiotomy cut and suctioned out) so as you can imagine, the recovery took weeks before I was no longer in pain.
The fact that this birth had such a big lead up time may have slowly prepared my body, no medication or drugs at all and the quick 2nd stage of labour with no interventions, my body reacted amazing afterwards! I was straight up and into the shower and we headed home the next morning.
I felt like myself within 3 days, like nothing had happened. That was until my milk came in like a vengeance . . . .
All in all, this ‘newborn’ phase after labour and delivery has been absolutely amazing, and I couldn’t feel more grateful to have had a better experience this time around even if it wasnt what we had planned.
Every pregnancy is different, as is every birth and delivery, and my two kids couldn’t of been any different in both of those! With each child we are blessed with, we work damn hard to get them here
And they are worth every minute