Expecting a baby can be a whole roller coaster of emotions. One minute you can't believe a tiny human is growing inside of you. The next your head's going into overload with an abundance of questions. Hopefully, Samantha's birth story can answer a couple of those for you!
From the moment I found out I was pregnant, I would sit for hours on the internet reading the most beautiful birth stories written by strangers. Without a doubt I was getting incredibly emotional when the mother would lock eyes with her baby for the very first time.
What will it be like for me? How painful would it be? Which birth plan should I choose? I had so many questions and every story comforted me in some way and gave me an insight into birth.
So, here's my birth story.
My due date arrived on a warm day in June but there were no signs of this baby arriving anytime soon. I made a trip to IKEA (a great distraction method!) I got home and had a nap as those late stages of pregnancy are pretty tiresome! As I stirred, I couldn’t quite believe that my waters had broken – yes, you do know the difference to those wondering! I wasn’t having any contractions so I called the labour ward, but I knew I didn’t need to rush in. My husband left work and we headed to the hospital a few hours later on their advice. We had a few hours wait while they tested my fluids and confirmed that my waters had indeed broken. I was told to come back at 4pm the following day if contractions hadn’t started. Such an anti-climax!
We headed to the local supermarket and while I deliberated over pizza toppings, the contractions suddenly kicked in. I was officially in labour in Asda’s aisle 3! The aches and cramps felt like period pains which quickly grew stronger. We made it home but I was in a lot of discomfort. We used the Freya app to time my contractions and a TENS machine to ease the pain in my lower back. Both quite fiddly when you’re feeling a surge. By the early hours, they were coming every three minutes so we were back on the ward, hospital bag in hand. A quick tip! Divide your hospital bag into three sections for you, baby and partner by using clear packing bags.
I had quickly become that crazy woman asking for every drug possible, including an epidural. I walked past those water birthing pools without a second glance! Once the epidural kicked in I felt much better. The contractions were showing on the machine but I couldn’t feel a thing. Both my husband and I managed to sleep as we knew we’d need all our energy later on. I was dilating at a steady rate, at around 6am the midwife said I was ready to push. Pushing when your lower body is numb, isn’t easy. You give all your power into making each push count but feel like you’re getting nowhere. My head felt like it was going to explode and my poor husband’s hand was going blue. After a short time, we encountered a problem.
The midwife was concerned with the baby’s rapidly increasing heart rate and suddenly several doctors flooded the room. They needed to get the baby out fast. The surgeon began setting up to carry out an episiotomy and forceps delivery. I was gutted and hadn’t wanted this at all but reluctantly agreed for the sake of my baby. Thankfully within moments, he had arrived into this world, all 8oz 3lbs of him!
Hearing his sweet cry was so relieving, he was OK. The surgeon passed him up to us and my husband whispered, “It’s a boy!” – I hadn’t even thought to ask. He cut the cord and had some “skin to skin” while I delivered the placenta and had a few stitches put in. There are no words to describe how you feel at that point in time. A mixture of relief, overwhelming tiredness and unconditional love. I couldn't believe that We were a family now and I was a mother. We spent the next few hours staring in awe at our beautiful baby boy, who slept so peacefully on my chest. We were exhausted but riding on a high.
I’m so thankful that I have a positive birth story but we couldn’t have done it without the dedicated work of the maternity team at Stoke Mandeville hospital.
If Samantha's birth story has jerked a tear and has answered a couple of your questions, take a look at our other pregnancy and giving birth blogs.