Everyone said I'd be early. Especially people with absolutely no medical/obstetrics experience. By the time I got to 10 days passed my due date I was in full denial mode. I'd drunk so much raspberry tea, bounced for hours, covered myself in clary sage...everything and anything!
I had a sweep - I didn't want one but I was made to feel like I had to have one otherwise I wouldn't be allowed in the birth centre. It was uncomfortable and I was told it hadn't worked. Better research into the psychology behind why women want birth centres and the late notice of exclusion due to various factors needs to be better explained from earlier on in midwife appointments.
The fake contractions I'd been having for 2 weeks felt entirely different to the real contractions that started less than 24 hours after the sweep. The real ones felt like a stomach ache, like I had the urge to push and poo. They didn't feel like what I thought contractions would feel like. I tried to shower and blow dry my hair. My husband moved my things to the car and I remember feeling confused and wondering what he was doing.
We got stuck in traffic. The contractions got more intense. I got anxious that i'd not be able to cope without any pain relief - if I was only around 3cms and they were this strong...
I arrived in hospital at the birth centre. It was all quite slow. I'd hoped someone would have been there to help me whilst my husband dumped the car. We phoned ahead - no one was there. My waters broke. I felt embarrased. They showed me to my room. They started filling the pool. The midwife examined me - I was feeling overwhelmed and not relaxed like I had been practising and hoping. I was 9cm! I was told to get in the water and start pushing - I had no time to think or prepare.
The water was great, but I felt like my pushing was doing absolutely nothing. No movement, no development - I felt like the contractions were getting more intense. I used gas and air in the water. I pushed in the water for 3 hours. Nothing happened. Being examined felt so intrusive and painful and like my body was there but my mind wasn't.
The midwife said that I needed to make a decision about moving to the Labour ward. My baby was stuck and we had gone past the point of having an epidural and we needed help so that my baby didn't become any more distressed.
I felt sad, angry and scared - if she was stuck the whole time - why let me push so long and be in pain and get tired? Why not from medical experience let me push for an hour and not 3?
We moved to the ward and then all sense of time vanished. The pain was awful by this stage and we had gone from a dimly lit room to fluorescents and a lot of drs. I signed forms for a c section - something I did not want, I was not making clear decisions because I was in pain.
They weren't listening to my husband. My midwife spoke to me and we agreed that they would spinal block me and attempt a forceps/ventouse delivery and she would help me push - And if that didn't work then they would do a c section.
I threw up all over the drs - anti sickness meds don't agree with everyone. They cut me out of my clothes. The process of moving me out of the birth centre to delivery was 2.5 hours.
The recovery was interesting, harder. We knew early on to request a private room. I lost more blood than normal. They scanned me, potentially placenta left. I had to have a general as they don't recommend 2 spinal blocks so close together. They messed up timings so I ended up not eating for 24 hours before my surgery - not ideal for someone recovering from birth, and trying to get my head around breastfeeding.
No idea how a hospital doesn't know what coeliac disease is - my husband would spend all day and evening with me to drive home and make me food and bring it back - he was literally my hero.
After my general I got in an argument with a nurse as I was desperate to pee. I wasn't allowed out of bed but they had forgotten to put a catheter in. She said I should just pee in a bed pan - but because I could barely move I didn't want to get pee all over me etc. She put a catheter in but because of the double procedure it hurt like hell.
Cut to 4th day in hospital, they didn't want to let me leave because I needed to prove I could pee. I was so determined to get out of there I'd march around the ward with my bloody pee jugs trying to get them ticked off by nurses. Eventually they gave in and we got to go home.
The following 3 months post birth were painful - I didn't heal well. They kept referring me back for episiotomy assessments. I would pour blood everytime I pooed. Eventually I just broke down in my GPs office and she got me properly seen and the right medication. And now I barely even have a scar. But if it had gone on any longer my mental health would have seriously been affected.
My daughter is the best thing in the world. She's 9 months old this week and I really don't know what on earth I was doing with my life before her. However I didn't feel this intense bond to begin with - I think it took a few weeks. Possibly from the trauma.
We do want another baby - not for a while. I've been told that because I was close to full dilation upon arrival I need to be very careful next time - No car deliveries! My worry for next time is knowing what the appropriate extra support I should invest in and at what stage - I don't want to go through any of those experiences again.
One last thing - Breast feeding - the midwives make you feel like the MOST useless thing in the world and basically tell you your baby is crying because you don't have enough milk (on day 1) and that we should really be topping up with formula, midwives need to be seriously reeducated with how to approach post partum women that are doing everything they can to feed their baby. Because of that my baby was combination fed until she was 6 months and is now formula fed.