Every birth is different. From a five day labour with medical intervention to a calm water birth. The only similarity between the both births (apart from the fact it was me and my husband and we got babies at the end of it) was the awesome playlist we made for the occasion.
Birth one: Wolfgang Barry, the longest birth ever with a wonderful third degree tear flourish…
Once upon a time (I am a primary school teacher this is the only way I know how to write) there was a woman, a huge pregnant woman. I went “over” by 11 days with Wolfie, I didn’t mind to be honest, I stayed as active as possible and it was the only part of the pregnancy I wasn’t being sick so I embraced it fully. I finally went into labour 5 days before Wolfie was born. We rang MAC and they told us to go in only to be told that it wasn’t time and sent us home.
We hadn’t ever experienced birth before and all you see on films is a woman screaming and babies shooting out faster than fast. We went home and I fancied an M&S soup (posh) so we went over to our local M&S, I was contracting in the yoghurt aisle (I am vegan now perhaps that is why). That night we went back to the hospital… they sent us home “wait until your waters break” (little did they know my waters didn’t break with EITHER of my labours). The next day I fancied chips from the chip shop, the people in there still know me as the woman in labour ordering chips and a can of Dandelion and Burdock, after the stodge I did a HUGE poo I thought surely it is time…
We went to MAC again (I had begun to feel they were sick of us), they did an internal and I was 3.5cm, they gave me some pain relief to help me sleep. We went home, streamed The Lion King, took the tablets and slept. It was a good sleep. That morning I felt refreshed if not cheesed off with the to and fro of the situation. We got our things together and went to the hospital, I had been losing my plug by now. Why doesn’t any tell you about the marvels of a mucus plug? I also had had lots of big poos NOW IS THE TIME SURELY.
When we got there I was between 3.5 and 4cm, fuck sake… They sent us away saying I can’t be admitted until 5cms. I didn’t want to drive home, so we took up camp in the Costa (I’m not a Costa fan as some PMUK members know). We made lots of interesting friends in that Costa. We decided to sleep there. After more pain and an interesting smell of custard we headed back to MAC.
I changed my pad thinking the midwife would prefer a nice clean one only to be told off and made to go find my pad (which I buried in the bin so no one had to look at it). The midwife looked at the lovely stained pad with a worried face and shouted over two more midwives, all sniffing and poking the soiled towel… “I am afraid your baby is distressed, this is merc”. Great, the baby had shit in me.
This meant I had to have a monitored birth. I was still just under 4.5cm but I was given a room. Wolfie had some wires attached to his head and I was strapped all over. I was only allowed to move to go to the loo. I was getting a bit fidgety and just wanted to move. Eventually after my begging, the midwife they brought me a birthing ball. When the ball came it was (I am only exaggerating slightly) the size of a basketball, it almost got lost up my arse. No good. Back on the bed.
The time in the bed was punctuated by Gas and Air finally coming, opening the windows and making everyone else cold, throwing a battery powered hand fan at the wall, being pissed off at my husband chomping Polos and itching his eye (loudly), being sick all over the midwife who had just started her shift, being called the wrong name by the midwife…
Eventually I got tired and the baby inside was getting tired. I had been pushing a long time but my waters wouldn’t break so they got the hook out. After then I carried on pushing but the baby just wouldn’t come, his heart rate began to drop. They decided he was stuck (he was coming out sideways) and got the forceps ready, just as I began to sign for them to use them something happened and everyone began to rush. They threw a cover over my modesty and wheeled me out of the room leaving my husband behind. They pushed the doors open to the theatre like in a film using the bed but it got caught on my knees (graceful as always), I had to sign some paper and a woman with a nice necklace talked to me about a sucker cup. Someone else was in charge of the Gas and Air now with a mask. Annoying as I just wanted to suck it the whole time but she wouldn’t let me. In walks my husband with a hairnet, beard net, shoe covers and full scrubs on. I have never loved him more or been more relieved to see him. He sat at my head and held my hand. They put my legs in some huge boot things, “You will never have worn such expensive boots…” and got the sucker out.
Before they used the sucker they did a small cut, that sound will never be forgotten. After them pulling and me pushing, out popped Wolfgang. “Happy Birthday!”, I had a few seconds to look at him before they rushed him to the side with the crash team checking him. Those few minutes were awful. We hear the cry and they call over “he is fine”. I wanted nothing more than to hold him but I was losing blood fast and I had a third degree tear. My husband held Wolfie while I got stitched, they did three layers of stitching it took over an hour and I had to have a spinal to have it (which meant a catheter which was an interesting liberating experience). My biggest memory of that room is a wonderful woman mopping up my blood with a puppy pad under her feet with a huge smile. That was that, we were parents…
Now I am going to ask my husband for some bullet point memories of this birth:
Waiting in the room alone while my wife got wheeled away. It felt like such a long time but eventually someone brought me scrubs and I had to sign something. Then I waited outside, this whole part was very surreal. When they passed me Wolfie he was wrapped in a towel that said “sunlife” on it, it was the scratchiest thing ever and it can’t have felt nice for him.
After birth Fran was brought tea and toast, she couldn’t eat the toast (she is allergic to wheat). I enjoyed that toast.
The first room had a copy of “le Jardin” by Van Gogh on the wall.
Wolfie’s first song to hear was: Dance Magic Dance from Labyrinth.
Birth Two: Lowell Bear, the calm water birth with extended cord and battery powered candles…
The day I went into labour with Lowell Bear we went to Butterfly World. I have a phobia of butterflies and I am sure the experience helped kick start labour. I was 4 days “over”. The next day my parents took Wolfie to the farm while we went to the hospital to get checked over. We decided together that I could go home and come back in when my waters broke (hahah my waters don’t break!). Wolfie came back and we put him to bed. That night we slept downstairs (I didn’t want my moaning to wake up Wolfie). I say slept, not much sleeping happened from me, we watched Mary Poppins and an awful sequel to the Pixar Cars film (it was so bad).
The next morning my parents came early and we went into hospital once we had given Wolfie his breakfast. My husband had to park the car, the car park was a long walk from the labour ward so I was dropped off closer and went to walk over alone. I had to stop every minute to have a contraction with everyone looking at me (as if they didn’t expect to see someone in labour in the hospital). Eventually I made it to a wall, I leaned and calmly cried. That moment I saw someone who had been on Come Dine With Me and felt star struck, he obviously didn’t recognise me and carried on to get into a lift. Two nurses came over from their dinner break and helped me. One brought me a wheelchair and the other complimented me on my cheeriness (?!). They took me to the ward.
When I got there I waited around, in came my husband and they did an internal. I was already 5cms (I was so so happy and proud we could stay and give birth no Costa sleepovers). Ron had to go and get the labour bags (bags the plural because I had to bring all my own food as they couldn’t cater for me last time), I was left in the assessment unit with the radio playing. While my husband had gone to get the bags Careless Whisper came on, just as it began the midwife brought me the gas and air. I sang that song like my life depended on it, I danced and breathed that gas and air. I had never felt more powerful.
In comes my husband festooned in bags just as Steps’ version of tragedy comes on the radio, I did the dance, he did not, he said it was cringe, I couldn’t care. As the song finished we had the good news that the pool was being filled and it was for us! A porter came to take us to the pool room, I wanted to walk but he wouldn’t let me. When we got in the room I noticed one wall had a huge picture of sunflowers, like the whole wall, it was a bit overbearing but I was just happy to be able to try a water birth. The midwife lit some battery powered candles (romantic) and we got the same play list out that we played at Wolfie’s birth. I got in the pool in my t-shirt and knickers… the midwife kindly told me my knickers needed to come off. It was so warm and relaxing. We laughed, we sang, we educated the student midwife about Nirvana, we had fun.
My mucus plug came out but wouldn’t leave so the midwife had to grab it and put it in the bin (glam), my waters still hadn’t broken so the hook came out again. As I began to push something I had managed to avoid in my first birth happened… I pooed, a sieve was produced and the midwife played fish for poo for me. Nice. I was now in full on labour, Fuck the Pain Away by Peaches came on and I sang it as loud as I could and pushed and pushed, out came the head (fuck I am doing it! I am doing it without a sucker cup!!!!). I carried on pushing and out slid Lowell Bear “Happy birthday”. I hugged him tight in the water, his back was thick with cheese stuff which was interesting, Wolfie had been rubbed before I got to hold him properly. The midwives became concerned at the amount of blood in the pool, I handed Lowell to his dad (still attached to me I hadn’t given birth to the placenta yet) and got out of the pool. Getting out of a birth pool is HARD, very hard. I gave birth to the placenta and we had a detailed tour of it (so interesting). They called another midwife in who enjoys stitching and I was stitched (2nd degree this time no pain relief for the stitching goodness me). All while I hugged Lowell Bear. In came the tea and toast again, Ron had the toast, I had the tea. We had made siblings, we had made best friends, our family had grown.
While Francine was in the pool I sat behind her, directly behind her was a load of steps, I held her hands and hugged her the whole time.
Lowell had lots of cheese on him and it was so hard to get off your skin, but very moisturising.
The midwife gave us a detailed tour of the placenta it was really interesting.
The tea and toast were even better than the time before.
Wolfie’s birth had been so traumatic and it felt so surreal I didn’t cry at the birth, this birth was so different and I felt very involved. When Lowell was born I cried, it was a very different experience.
Huge picture of sunflowers.
Lowell Bear’s first song to hear was: Jolene by Dolly Parton.
All this said, the two births were beautiful. So so different but so beautiful. Thanks to those experiences I am now a mum of two cool children (that are cooler than me by far already) and I only tell them a few times a month how they ripped me in two!
Every birth is different. Every birth is beautiful.