On the Monday I started getting contractions and by around 3pm these were 2/3 minutes apart so I went with my partner to the hospital to get checked out. I was managing the pain ok and was told the best option would be to go home until my contractions were longer than a minute. I managed at home until about half 8 when my contractions were very intense and very close together. On arriving at the hospital again, I was examined and I was 2-3 centimetres dilated. By this point my contractions were one after the other and from here on for 4 hours until my baby was born I was in constant pain and have since discovered I was having double contractions. I also want to add that I bled after the examination and I wasn't informed that this would happen so that was quite worrying for me.
The midwife said I was too early for any pain relief, even gas and air. I had planned (after much encouragement by the midwifes and a straightforward pregnancy) to give birth in the birthing centre but I had said I wasn't averse to having pain relief. She told me I should go for a walk but my partner described me as being paralysed by the pain. I could not walk or even talk and I can't remember much of the birth because of the extreme pain I was in. I would describe the experience as having left my body, looking down on myself in the birthing pool and being trapped inside my own body. It was a very traumatic experience.
The midwife eventually ran the pool for me to get in, which I did, but I requested an epidural as I was in indescribable pain. I was told I shouldn't have been in the birthing centre if I wanted this (the centre is the floor below the maternity ward at the hospital) and that I was too early for an epidural anyway, 'this could go on for another day yet' she informed me. I had to push for her to examine me again and not in another 4 hours like she had told me, as I knew my body and could tell things were progressing. I was then 5cm and she did go and speak to the anaesthetist but he was in theatre and by the time he would've been out I had delivered my baby. She eventually gave me the gas and air but this made me sick so I delivered my baby without any pain relief. My mum was my other birthing partner and she has since told me she took the midwife outside to speak to her to tell her that I had the right to change my mind about being in the birthing centre if I wanted.
I don't remember any direction or encouragement from the midwife, and after trying to piece together what happened from my partner and my mum, they told me she didn't say much at all. All I remember her asking me to do was to feel if I could feel my babies head, which I could, but then I remember the head going back in and I had no idea that this could happen or is it was normal to do so. I didn't have the strength to speak so I couldn't ask any questions.
I delivered my baby and the next trauma was the delivery of the placenta. For me, to all those medical professionals that tell you you don't feel the delivery of the placenta due to being embraced by your baby, that just wasn't true. I remember the midwife tugging on it to try to encourage it to come out. I had been through such a trauma and shock of what had just happened that I wasn't in this magical moment with my baby where I had no focus on anything else. I remember saying 'this is horrific'.
Unfortunately there doesn't seem to be any guidelines for women unless you fit in the average box for childbirth. How could things possibly be progressing that quickly with my first baby? It's such a shame that women aren't listened to when they are the ones who know their own bodies.
I have since spoken to the birth afterthoughts at the hospital where they agreed the error was that I should've been offered pain relief and said that next time I should request an epidural. However, unless I got to the hospital and was exactly 4cm and the anaesthetist was readily available, I don't see how I wouldn't experience that same amount of pain again.
The pain and the language that the midwife used towards me are what really stand out for my with my birth. How could I be in so much pain and be too early for any sort of relief? How could this go on for another day?
It still upsets me to talk about the birth so I'm planning on going back to speak to someone about it. I hope that sharing my story will help.