17 Things I can actually remember about Labour and Birth.

This was meant to be an A to Z guide to labour and birth but as I started to write it I realised that my brain had already started the process of making everything a bit blurry and I couldn’t actually remember 26 things about so this is what has stuck with me.

  1. Best laid birth plans. I think the only part of my birth plan that actually happened was listening to Bruce Springsteen and Meatloaf during labour. My birth plan was ridiculously optimistic. It should have just read “Give me all the drugs.”
  2. C Section. I had an emergency c-section because Tiny just didn’t want to come out. I was terrified of this eventuality because of all the bad press (thanks Google and roleplaying it in NCT classes…) but actually it was fine, and such a relief at the end. If we decide to have another I’d definitely opt for an elective c-section rather than go through labour again.
  3. Epidural. Yes, please. Why didn’t someone offer me this hours ago? Oh yes…my stupid birth plan.
  4. Food. Everyone says bring healthy snacks like nuts and cereal bars. Whatever. If I’m going to bring a baby into the world I need more than granola. Unfortunately I didn’t feel like eating until after I’d had the epidural and then I wasn’t allowed. I really enjoyed all the chocolate and Pringles in between hospital meals though. I think it’s most important to bring things that you love (Wispas…)
  5. Gas and Air. Those first few blissful sucks were the first time in days (48 hours…felt like a week) that I didn’t feel horrendous. However, once I was induced and the contractions really kicked in it didn’t do shit.
  6. Vitamin K. So all babies need Vitamin K either orally or by injection after they are born. We had agreed to give it to Tiny orally so that an injection wasn’t one of her first experiences of life but essentially my bossy midwife “convinced” us this was a silly idea and the injection was the better way forward…I am totally fine with that decision. I don’t think Tiny will hold it against us.
  7. Meconium. This is the earliest type of baby poo. It normally stays in the bowel until after birth but can be expelled during labour and birth and may suggest that baby is distressed. I was really paranoid about this and I kept asking hubby to check…he got all the glamourous jobs.
  8. Orange is the New Black. We started watching this is the early stages of labour and the theme tune still gives me PTSD.
  9. Mucus Plug. Just yuck.
  10. My C-section stitches still weren’t healed 6 months later. I wish the incision had been just a little higher. Seriously, who cares if it’s more hidden? Male surgeons, that’s who.
  11. The night is dark and full of terrors. I really hated being alone on the ward after Tiny was born. After the surgery hubby was sent home about 3am and I was left in bed unable to sit up without help. Every time Tiny cried I was supposed to ring the bell and a nurse would come and pass her to me. By the second night (once I’d had the catheter removed) I gave up pressing the bell because of the varied response times and the different attitudes of the nurses. I struggled out of bed myself making my wound sorer. It was a miserable couple of nights and I’m sure it contributed to my struggle to breastfeed as we decided to give Tiny formula rather than stay in another night and work on breastfeeding. I didn’t need a nurse, all I needed was my husband to pass me Tiny when she cried. We’ve since found out that Dads are now allowed to sleep on the ward. Argh.
  12. Flight socks. I had to wear some horrible, itchy flight socks after the surgery.  I was supposed to keep them on as long as possible…this turned out to be about a day as they were unbearable.
  13. The temperature. It was beyond tropical on the ward. They insisted that Tiny was wrapped up like a burrito whereas I couldn’t stand more than one layer. 20160217_061510.jpg
  14. Yoga ball. I bounced on that thing endlessly. I don’t think it made the slightest bit of difference to encouraging Tiny to make an appearance. It might have helped get her head down but who knows? We carried it to the hospital the first time and then didn’t bother on the subsequent two visits.
  15. Hospital food. We still find it amusing that hubby wasn’t even offered a cup of tea never mind a meal so we shared them all in between him leaving for sandwiches and supplies. The food was surprisingly tasty. I think my favourite was the mac and cheese. 20160217_123931.jpg
  16. Cannulas. What fresh hell are these? They were forever getting pumped full of stuff, or getting in the way or getting pulled out and dangled in things.
  17. Of course it was all worth it to hear those first wobbly baby cries and to finally get to hold that Tiny pink package that I’d been so desperate to meet for so long.

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