I figured I’d start my first blog post on Poppy’s birth story. I absolutely love hearing about other people’s birth stories as everyone’s experience is so unique and it’s one part of life that you cannot fully predict or plan (no matter how much you’d like to). I started reading mummy blogs when I was pregnant and wanting to read birth stories first-hand from other mamas so here I am coming full circle and sharing my own.
While I was pregnant with Poppy I was also obsessed with watching ‘One Born Every Minute’. I have had some friends say this show scares them but I found it actually built up my confidence for labour. It also gave me the mindset that no matter what happened in the lead up to her birth (we knew we were having a girl) I would run with whatever my obstetrician suggested because all I cared about was having a healthy baby, whether that meant having a vaginal birth, a Caesarean or a labour that needed some assistance with vacuum or forceps.
In the final weeks of my pregnancy Poppy was breech. My OB told me at one stage that if she didn’t turn he would be booking me in for a Caesar. Did this scare me? No. Like I said, I really didn’t care how I gave birth, it actually excited me that I could be meeting my baby in a matter of days. I was sent off a few days later for a scan and turns out our sweet girl had turned herself back into position- yay for her and cue the waiting game for me.
In the lead up to her due date, my husband and I would go to bed each night and get excited thinking that maybe tonight was the night it would happen (I read somewhere that statistically most women go into labour overnight and it may be to do with melatonin helping to promote contractions) but it never did. After the due date came and went, my OB sent me for monitoring every couple of days to make sure bub was still healthy and that my placenta was still doing its job. I was happy to do this but at the same time I just wanted my baby out, safe in my arms. Add to that the fact that I literally had to roll out of bed each morning whilst making noises similar to a farm animal- I was over it. I am also a person who LOVES surprises- if, and ONL IF, I don’t know about them. When I know there’s a surprise coming, I cannot handle having to wait for it (I’m basically like a three year old in that respect). In this instance, I knew I’d ‘done my time’ and waited 41 and a bit weeks and I desperately wanted to meet my little one and see what she looked like.
There were no 3D scans offered to us, so the last time we’d seen her face had been at 20 weeks. By the time I was heading to the hospital for monitoring she was taking up so much room I didn’t have a hope of seeing her face in the ultrasound.
Finally the day came (about a week later) where my OB asked me “Do you need a date?” I had heard/read stories (I was a sucker for a forum back then) about inductions potentially being more painful, but I was prepared for anything. “YES! I said. Book me in for today!”I was so keen to meet my baby girl. He politely told me he needed to ring the hospital a check when they had availability but he did so immediately and we chose to do it 2 days later. I was to arrive at the hospital at 8am for him to break my waters. He warned me that if he couldn’t break my waters we may not be able to do it that day and I’d need to go home.
I don’t know how I managed to sleep the night before, but I did manage to, through the excitement. A great benefit of being induced means you have time to prepare everything you need and ensure you are fully packed. I got to wash my hair so that it was fresh (I figured it would be a while before I got that chance again) and tie up last minute errands. We arrived at the hospital armed with everything I could possibly need (as well as a heap I didn’t use-that’s another blog post) and actually bumped into my OB in the lift. It was strange seeing him outside of his offices, I imagine this is how kids fee when they see a teacher outside of school. We arrived at the delivery ward and were shown the birthing room we were to be in. I remember thinking it was so different to the one I’d seen in the hospital tour- a different feng shui about it. It was quite big and had a bed, a separate ensuite and an exercise ball. Hubby and I had great plans to binge watch tv series during labour (how cute!)
At 8am I lay down while my OB attempted to break my waters. I found this uncomfortable, but not painful (Keep in mind I’m also a bit of a sook with not a lot of tolerance for anything like this). As soon as he broke them I felt a stream of warmth coming down. The plan was to see if labour would start naturally now that my waters had broken.
My husband and I spent the next few hours chatting while I kept going into the ensuite to replace the giant pads they had given me, because I couldn’t stand the wet feeling of my waters continually gushing out. I think I used every pad in the bathroom doing this-whoops! After waiting a couple of hours the midwives came in and asked if contractions had started. I said I didn’t think so, as I wasn’t in any pain (turns out they actually had, but were ever so mild so I didn’t register them as being contractions).
We were now going to start the induction synthetically. They asked if I would like an epidural before they start the oxytocin. I had been umming and aahing over this for weeks. My husband asked the midwife what percentage of women end up having the epidral after the contractions have started. The midwife said “In this hospital, around 90% of women would end up having it”. This made up my mind for me. I figured if I’m going to end up having it anyway (like I said before, I’m a sook) I may as well have it BEFORE they begin the drugs- so that’s what we did.
The thought of a needle in your spine is cringe-worthy but, for me, the experience was really not bad at all. I should add that I had, of course, in all of my free time being childless and on maternity leave (free time, I miss you!), purchased a floral maternity gown from Etsy to wear during labour instead of a standard-issue hospital gown. It had buttons down the back to give the anaesthetist access to my back for this very moment. I loved my maternity gown at the time and if you want one, search for them on Etsy and you’ll find a stack of shops that make them (they’re usually the shops which also sell robes to bridal parties, but you just request the button holes be added down the back),
The epidural went in and there was a slight hiccup. Instead of the epidural going evenly down both sides of my body, the tube skewed slightly to one side in my back, meaning the lower half of one side of my body was beautifully numb (hooray!) and the other half had slightly taken the edge taken off, but was still definitely feeling all the contractions as they started to amp up. I still had my positive mindset and the staff were wonderful as they tried to fix the problem (apparently the tube just needed to be pulled back slightly so that the epidural flowed evenly to both sides of my body). The anaesthetist ended up coming back in after he had finished work to fix the problem and explain what had happened to me, he couldn’t have been lovelier. I remember saying at the time that the experience allowed me to feel some contractions and I decided that any out of pocket expenses are associated with the procedure were well worth it, the epidural was my friend and the best money I’d ever spent.
After that things settled down. The midwives were slightly concerned that with all of the ‘sorting out’ of the epidural problem, there was a chance I may not be able to fully feel myself push so were easing back on the epidural drugs. I lay down and looked at the contraction monitor thingamajig and time seemed to pass quickly. I wasn’t in any pain whatsoever but could feel a huge build up in my muscles as if they were about to explode every time I had a contraction.
At around 6.00pm a midwife came in and commented that no one had actually checked my dilaton since the morning. She examined me and explained I was ready to start pushing. Eep! She went off to page the my obstetrician and things got very exciting for us. We still just had a midwife with us at this stage and Ben was given the job of looking at the monitor telling me when a contraction was coming and as I started pushing (and trying to figure out exactly what they needed me to do) the midwife was concerned the epidural really had effected my ability to feel what I was doing. She put my legs in the stirrups and the idea made me cringe but considering I couldn’t move them, it actually did help. Still, the midwife was mentally preparing me saying that when the OB arrives he may need to use forceps.
In waltzed my fabulous obstetrician who quickly got on top of explaining to me EXACTLY what I needed to do and in a couple of pushes baby’s head was out. He got me to reach down and feel her head and I could feel her hair which was very exciting. I cant tell you how many pushes it took but it was very quick and all of a sudden the room was filled with a screeching sound as my precious baby girl took her first breath. They placed her on my chest immediately and I said “Hello” as I instantly fell in love.
After a cuddle we tried to see if she wanted to breasted and boy oh boy, did she want to! She latched on perfectly and started drinking so aggressively that the midwives were jokingly calling her a little piranha. Poppy had been our favourite girls name but we had wanted to wait until we saw her to confirm our choice- Poppy Winter Belle. We spent a long time soaking her in and took turns holding and staring at her.
I then sat up in bed like Lady Muck and devoured a baguette as I waited for the epidural to wear off (best baguette I’ve eve eaten!), and then we phoned our family members to tell them our joyous news.
I have to say this experience was amazing. I decided if I had children again I would definitely be going down the exact same route for the next birth. How wrong I was!
Comment below if you enjoyed reading this and would like a post on Theodore’s birth.