My first pregnancy and birth in 2011 was a completely different experience to this one. My body has changed so much since then and being plus size and pregnant has been somewhat of a challenge as I documented in my pregnancy diaries. That said, I had quite a positive birth this time and I wanted to share my birth story with you on the blog!
Before it began
Throughout my pregnancy, there was concern over the size of our baby. I was initially told that I had been referred to consultant led care because of my BMI, but as the weeks went on it became clear due to the fact that my little girl had been born small (6lb 3oz) at full term, they were concerned for this baby too. I want to point out here that I had no complications throughout my pregnancy relating to my weight. My GDD test came back fine and I didn’t suffer with any sort of pain. I only had regular check ups and scans at the hospital to check whether Arthur was growing properly. From these scans towards the end of my pregnancy, it was identified that Arthur was not progressing in growth as much as they would like. By week 35 he had dropped from the 10th centile to just below the 5th and the doctor made it clear that I would probably have to be induced. At 37 weeks and 2 days I had my final growth scan, Arthur had grown but he was still below the 10th centile, so the Doctor said he recommended that I have an induction as soon as possible.
I just want to say that this was not what I wanted. I had not only heard and read stories about how terrible inductions can be, but I really wanted to go into labour naturally. I had with Maisie and this was what I wanted again. I knew that as my pregnancy was high risk, I wouldn’t be allowed to go to hospital to be induced and then return home, I would have to stay in and this was also a concern for me as I didn’t want to disrupt my 7 year old daughters routine too much and have her worrying because I was in hospital for days on end. I was booked in for my induction on Sunday 4th November. I was told that the hospital would call me when they had a bed available for me to go in.
Sunday started as any other would. I got up and had breakfast and then James and I tuned into the Leeds United Match that afternoon. Just as the game was about to kick off my phone rang, it was the Midwife from the hospital, she wasn’t calling me in she was just checking in to tell me that they hadn’t forgotten about me. Around half way through the game, my phone rang again and this time the Midwife said there was a bed for me. We gathered my things and Maisie’s too for her stay at her Grandparent’s for the duration and then my Father in Law picked us up and drove us to the hospital.
I had tried my best to prepare Maisie for the fact that I might be in hospital for a while as I was so sure that I would be one of those unlucky ones whose labour takes days to begin. Leaving her in the car when we arrived at the hospital was really hard as she was really upset. I think she would have found it easier if I’d gone into labour naturally, at least to her then something would be happening and the baby would be on it’s way.
We arrived at around 4pm, found the ward at Pinderfields hospital and I was shown to my bed. After getting comfortable the Midwife came and explained the process of induction to me. She then left us for a while and went off to get things prepared. Some time later, she returned and congratulated me on how well I had done to not put any weight on during my pregnancy. I rolled my eyes, how annoying! I had only not put any weight on because I’d been so ill throughout! Already the focus was on my weight! I was then asked to lay on the bed whilst I was hooked up to a monitor whilst they checked Arthur to see how he was. It was so strange that once hooked up I started to get small cramps which would build up and go, something I hadn’t had at all throughout my pregnancy, even the midwife asked if that was happening. The monitoring was fine and once I had been on the machine for an hour the midwife came to check my cervix.
She explained that I was not dilated at all and my cervix was still hard so I would need to have the 24 hour propess put in. I was expecting this anyway only being 37+5 weeks. She came back a bit later and inserted to propess at 6pm and then I was left to it.
James and I went for a walk around the hospital to get a hot chocolate and some fresh air and then before I knew it it was 10pm and time for James to leave. I settled down to try and get some sleep but this was hard. I overheard conversations going on around me, some of the women on my ward had been in the hospital for 3-5 days and were only 2cm dilated! I was convinced this was me. To make things worse, there was no phone signal, so communicating with James to check on him and my little girl was impossible. Arthur was checked with the doppler several times during the night and I had started to get some slight cramps, but nothing too painful. I think I managed to finally get some sleep about 4am.
James returned the next morning, Monday 5th November, with my little Maisie in tow. It was great to see them both, Maisie was really missing me and I too was finding it difficult to be away from her and James. We spent the morning as we would if we were at home, we were talking about football and Maisie going back to school after the half term holiday. I tried to let Maisie down gently and explained that nothing was happening in regards to Arthur being born anytime soon, but she was hopeful he would be born that day! I’d been getting cramps all day which were increasing in intensity but they weren’t too much to handle.
Maisie left with her Grandad around 1pm and then James and I settled in for the rest of the day. After lunch, I tried to get some sleep but the cramping was becoming more intense, so I downloaded a contraction timer to my phone so that James could start to time them. To be honest, they were all over the place and by about 3pm we decided that nothing was really happening. We text both out families to tell them I was doing ok but we didn’t think anything would be happening today.
Over the next hour, the pain intensified so much that by 4pm I was struggling. The midwife came to my bed as she had heard me starting to scream with the pain. James had been timing the contractions but they were all over the place so she said she would get me some paracetamol and sent me off for a bath. James took me to the bathroom and whilst I was in there for 15 minutes,I must of had about 8 really strong contractions. The walk back to my bed was horrid and I stopped a few times whilst contractions passed. Once back at my bed and dressed again, I started feeling like I needed to push with each contraction.
The Midwife came back around 4.30pm and I was on the bed howling in pain. I told her how intense it was and said I felt like I needed to push, she explained that she would examine me, however as it hadn’t been 24 hours she doubted that I would be needing to push. The Midwife also said that if I was not more than two centimetres dilated, then I would be at the bottom of the list to go down to the Labour Ward as there were people waiting before me. She checked me and upon doing so exclaimed “You’re 8 centimetres!!” No SHIT! I was relieved in that moment, the way they were acting around me had made me feel like I was overreacting with the pain, but I’d got to 8 centimetres!! She sent the Student Midwife to get me some gas and air, which was a relief as the pain was so intense now I just needed an escape. To be honest, she couldn’t get rid of me quick enough I was wheeled to a delivery room faster than James could gather our things and was suddenly hit with the realisation that our baby was almost here.
What followed all that chaos was the most calm and natural birth I could have ever wished for. There was no time for gas and air as I started to push almost straight away. I pushed hard, I did the usual crying to my husband that I couldn’t do it and I wanted it to be over so badly so I could meet my little boy. The two Midwives who were in there were amazing and encouraged me so much whilst also being a really calming influence. James was also amazing. It was a completely different experience to when I had given birth to Maisie. No intervention was needed and with only a few pushes, Arthur arrived at 16.59 and was then placed on my chest. It honestly went so fast, I just remember hearing all the fireworks outside as it was Bonfire Night whilst looking at my beautiful little boy.
My delivery was nothing like I had been told to expect because of my weight. I did have a small tear but that was nothing compared to the things my consultant had said may happen. In the end it was everything I had wanted but was told not to expect, I’m assuming because it happened so fast and they weren’t expecting the induction to be as quick, there was no other choice.
James and I laughed so much afterwards, about how quickly Arthur had come into the world and the sheer panic on the Midwife from the induction units face when she realised I was 8 cm dilated.
The First Visitor
From then we were left to bond with our baby as soon as the Doctor and Midwives had finished checking us both over. We called Maisie to let her know she was finally a big sister and she cried happy tears to James down the phone. She arrived with her Grandma and Grandad and came into the room alone to meet her new little brother. I will never ever forget the look on her face, how happy she was to finally meet this little being that she had felt moving around my tummy the last few months.
After our family had visited, I was told that my blood pressure was high and that I would have to stay in hospital at least 1 night, which was annoying but they just wanted to make sure I was ok. I didn’t get much sleep, but Arthur was and is totally worth it!
If you want to see Arthur’s progress and how we have been adjusting to becoming a family of four, make sure you keep checking the blog and follow me on Instagram as I try to update my stories daily.