I had a number of trips to the labour and delivery ward due to my anxiety.
If my daughter hadn’t moved for 2/3 hours, I wouldn’t hesitate and I’d go straight in. Whenever I had got there they always brought me a nice cold drink with a side of reassurance. They would hook me up and surely enough my daughter would make me look like a fool, but regardless she was okay. Every time I went in the nurses would say ‘you can come anytime you need to’ and this is something I did do, nine times actually (from 23 weeks).
When I was 38 weeks I went in for my final check, I had just had the GTT (again) and I wasn’t feeling myself even after eating so they hooked me up and explained due to my constant trips over reduced movements that they wanted to induce me the same time next week.
I was so scared, unsure and felt stupid that this is what it had come to because I felt like a drain on resources. A waste of space.
On the Wednesday I had a midwife appointment and asked if it would be possible to have the sweep due to already having my induction date, she agreed and found that I was 1cm. The week flew by and soon enough Friday, my induction date came and I went into hospital.
Waiting for the first pessary
I was feeling all sorts of emotions ranging from anxiety, to fear and upset. I went in on the Friday at 6pm with both my husband and my mum. They got us all relaxed and popped in the 6-hour pessary which felt like having another sweep and we waited. When I asked why nothing was happening she explained that at 2AM I would be given my next pessary and then hopefully things would start.
I told my birthing partners to head home as all I would do is sleep and that if I needed them I wouldn’t hesitate to call them. Once they had gone, I quickly fell asleep but I was awoken by a midwife who said it was time for the next one. After an hour of the second one being in I was start to experience irregular contractions. I asked if I could have a type of pain relief as although they weren’t painful to deal with awake, I couldn’t sleep with the pain. Because they wanted to give me something stronger they sent me down into one of the delivery rooms, where I was welcomed by a rather nasty senior midwife. She demanded why I wanted pain relief, to which I softly said ‘to help me sleep’. She stabbed a pain of diamorphine into my leg and said ‘we don’t just give it to those who want to sleep’ and before I knew it I was high as a kite and asleep.
I got up at 10ish, my contractions had stopped and I felt pretty depressed. My husband came in and we sat in silence until I decided to ask a midwife if we could go for a wonder to the local supermarket for food and a booty shake. She laughed and said that as long as I came back way before 6pm then that would be fine as they were struggling to fit me for my waters to be popped.
My husband forced me to walk everywhere, down every aisle, down and around every till and suddenly my contractions started again. He made me do this a few more times until I was howling, but they still weren’t regular. I tried to eat but I couldn’t, everyone that day must have thought I was so strange moo-ing like a cow.
We got back around 2pm and from then I did reading and figures of 8 around furniture in the room. When 6pm came in, they opened a packet which looked like knitting needles inside. I don’t really remember much because as soon as they burst my waters I was in full blown labour which for me, was really painful. I wasn’t expecting to be hit this quickly and I found I couldn’t control my anxiety. I had a severe panic attack and begged for an epidural. People always fear of an epidural but the contractions itself is worse than someone fitting it, I honestly cannot remember the pain. Only the feel of nice, cool water dripping down my back. I was so relaxed, pain free and decided to have a sleep.
At 10pm I was woken by the soothing voice of my husband, it was time to check my dilation. I was still only 1cm from the Wednesday and it was now almost Sunday morning, I couldn’t believe I was in this much pain for me to still be 1cm. I had a top-up and went back to sleep. I had another check at 3 but me and the lazy bump went back to sleep, to be honest, most of it is a daze because of how drugged up I was.
When 5am came along, it was time to push. At this stage the epidural was doing nothing for me and I was in a lot of pain. I couldn’t do my breathing exercises; all I could do was panic. I didn’t know what to do and I was just told to push with my contractions so I did.
My mum is wiping me with a wet cloth, my husband is praising me but I still couldn’t control my panic. I kept begging for someone to help me, anyone, just do something to make this easier. They kept giving me drugs but I knew my daughter needed help, but no-one would listen.
Then I decided to stop pushing.
I was bullied by my midwife team, told to ‘get yourself together’ and ‘obviously you’re not in that much pain not to push’, when in actual fact I couldn’t/can’t describe the pain I was in. The baby was in distress and they called the delivery team.
I had a lovely Scottish woman who’s name I don’t remember because I was just in too much pain to listen to. She explained the next steps were going to be a forceps delivery and a episiotomy. She told me to do what she said, when she said and I did. I felt peace, I was calm. I pushed and pushed, then she shouted ‘the head is here’ so I pushed more on her commands and then that was it. Because I had the epidural I didn’t realise I had so much pain and pressure on my nunny but once I gave birth I felt the relief and pressure go away.
Because I had personal issues happen in my pregnancy, I didn’t bond with my daughter during the nine months. I expected her not to survive, that I wouldn’t have a healthy pregnancy and didn’t want to get my hopes up. Because I spent 9 months thinking like this, I didn’t want my daughter near me at first. So as soon as she was born, they told me it was time for skin to skin. I was wearing a breastfeeding nightgown, the midwife unclipped it and placed my daughter on top of me. But it took me 10 minutes to look. Why? Because I couldn’t stop the panicking, I was looking at my husband, in tears, scared.
I had not connected with my daughter for 9 months. I quickly started thinking ‘what if I look at her now and I don’t love her?’ ‘What if something is wrong?’ ‘What if I fall in love and I lose her?’.
My husband told me ‘just look’. I looked down at this gooey, screaming little baby and that was it… I was in love.
Just given birth
Instead of tears of fear, depression and anxiety.. It was joy, relief and how proud I was of myself. Even though I hadn’t done a good job physically and mentally through labour and the pushing, I grew a healthy baby who loved me regardless of my feelings before I finally laid eyes on her.
I refused to let the midwives take her, and because I was about to deliver the placenta she was handed to my husband who himself, couldn’t believe he was a daddy now. She cried on him and like most men, looked at me in worry as to what to do next. I spoke softly to her, she calmed down and soon she was back on me to be breastfed.
Six months on I have the best bond with her and still continue to breastfeed. I am so thankful to have her and every day I regret how my depression made me feel about my pregnancy.