The Longest Labour Ever

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My experience with the birth of my first son was a breeze, not requiring any pain relief and only needing ventouse assistance for the final push to get him out. My second birth experience was very different, but still positive. This is how it went…

Friday was a normal day as a pregnant mother with her 3 year old son. I had a lovely chat on the phone to my mum, all seemed fine until not long after the phone call ended I felt severe back pains. I had spent many days going in and out of hospital with this pregnancy so thought try a few things to make the pain settle before calling the maternity ward. I sat down and drank some water, but the pain didn’t go away or ease off. I laid on the sofa but again no change. I went upstairs and tried lying various ways on the bed and keeping my son busy with the iPad. Again it wasn’t easing off and now I couldn’t stand up, walk or do anything without being in pain. I was in tears the pain was that bad!

I called my partner to tell him what was happening and he rushed home along with our best friend who took over caring for our son whilst he drove me to hospital. When I finally got to the maternity ward (walking from the main door to the ward I was crying, a nurse helped me out) I got hooked up and usual urine testing was also done. There were no signs of any problems but baby’s heart rate was very high and was not calming down.

The back pain was still bad so I was given some strong co-codamol pain killers as paracetamol was no longer doing anything for me. Because the baby’s heart rate was so high they decided to keep me in and popped me upstairs with two other ladies with complications and another lady with a newborn. It was now time to enjoy NHS meals on wheels (which were yummy!) and wait for the next day for further tests.

Saturday and baby’s heart rate was down and now I was having regular contractions, but I was still 0cm dilated so what do they recommend a heavily pregnant woman who is contracting but not dilating? Walking. Luckily hospitals are huge and have tons of stairs so off I went to walk and walk and walk… and walk. Seeing lovely newborn babies made me pine for my own baby to come out for cuddles.

Sunday came and good news! I was now 2cm dilated. However I needed to be 3cm dilated before being taken down to delivery suite. You see I was Group Strep B Positive, a test that isn’t done routinely by the NHS but babies can die from it so I was lucky I got tested. It would mean the moment I hit 3cm dilation I’d be hooked up to a drip with antibiotics for the baby to enjoy and would require 4 hours of labour to be sure baby gets all the antibiotics she needs. So once again I was back to walking around the hospital, chatting to staff and got to know the volunteers in the maternity shop as they knitted their lovely preemie hats.

Monday morning and bad news. I was still only 2cm and the choice was given to go home. I was still in a lot of pain and requested they review me again after lunch. It was a good thing because just as the lunch lady arrived my water’s broke! Phone calls were made and I was rushed down the delivery suite. Apparently there was still fluid around the baby so the decision was made to get a doctor to come check me over and possibly burst the last of the fluid. The doctor walked in and suddenly it burst all by itself! Very different to my son’s birth as I had that burst for me so it felt very much like I was having a wee and had no control over it.

But more bad news as they gave me my drip they told me they’d give me some hormones to induce labour and quicken the process. The midwife said “it will hurt more than a natural labour”. She was bloody right as I grabbed the gas and air and made friends with it. I remembered how my mother had trouble with pethidine as you give a dose depending on the patient’s size and being a small lady she was given a bit too much and fell asleep, my heart nearly stopped. But suddenly this fear went out the window, gas and air wasn’t cutting it anymore so I cried for pethidine and they double checked as they knew my fears.

The wait for the pethidine felt like forever to me, probably because I was still a bit high on the gas and air but she came back and gave me the shot of pain relief I demanded so badly. The bed felt uncomfortable but moving was very difficult with a catheter in my hand. The midwife and the student midwife (you can ask for students not to be there if you wish – just remember they do need to learn somehow) got me to turn around so I was sat up holding on to the back of the bed. A few pushes later and our baby was out! We cried with joy and looked at one another.

A week ago we were at my partner’s Nan’s funeral and we just knew Mary would be a fitting middle name. Cassandra Violet Mary Holloway was born 7:06pm on the 24th June and weighed 6lbz 4oz, exactly 1lb less than her brother who was 6 days overdue. She was born at 36 weeks and 5 days which is still considered full term, however labour was only 3 hours so I was required to stay overnight for check-ups on baby to be sure she didn’t fall ill. Thankfully she was in good health and next day I was allowed to go home. I was so glad to be home after spending so long in hospital. Although the staff were amazing sometimes just being in your own home can be good for you.

Read Helen’s tips on coping with pregnancy and a toddler. For hospital bags (and everything to put inside them including TENS machines) shop Kiddicare.

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