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Leanne's Birth Story

Written by Leanne for her blog, Busy Little Lea.

You can follow her on Facebook and Instagram!

So it’s been just over 8 weeks now since I gave birth to my beautiful little Teddy and I feel just about ready to share my birthing experience, not only so that I am able to write it down and always remember every little detail but to show gratitude to my husband Craig for being by my side throughout, rubbing my back, giving me water and trying to feed me Fruit and Nut Yorkie mid contraction – and to thank my wonderful mum for being there too, relieving Craig when he needed a break and telling me “you can do this”. Not forgetting my dad who deserves a medal for sitting in the birthing suite for hours on end and surviving on half a Kit Kat whilst I brought his little grandson into the world.

Prior to giving birth I had no idea what to expect.

I had heard different stories – some good, some seriously scary! But I hadn’t done this before; surely everyone’s experience is different? I panicked at every little twinge the closer I got to my due date but was told time and time again when it happens you will ‘just know’.  What the heck did this mean??  Both my Mum and Grandma had been brutally honest with me and told me that contractions were pains of hell and one thing I did know is that they weren’t ones to lie.

Saturday 9th September, I’m just over 39 weeks. Being the free spirit I’ve always been we decide to take the VW camper for one last jaunt as a ‘couple’ and head to our favourite spot on Conwy Marina, there are zero signs of me starting in labour so surely I’ll be ok right? … WRONG!  We had decided to go to the cinema and 20 mins before the end of watching Stephen King’s ‘IT’, I felt something, a trickle… wait … was I peeing myself?? I’ve heard that you need to keep up with pelvic floor exercises but seriously?!! It continues and then reality strikes!

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Shit, this is my waters breaking!!

I whisper to Craig that I think we need to leave and tell him why, he thinks I’m joking but I make him feel my leggings (that’s all that fits me by now!), and a sheer look of panic crosses his face, only for a second mind, as then he suggests that we watch the end of the film. I ask him how long I have got and he tells me about 10 minutes, “TEN MINUTES!!!’ I yell, Jesus I’m about to give birth in a jam-packed cinema with Steven King’s IT as a backing theme. Of course he had misunderstood and meant that it was 10 minutes until the film ended. Don’t ask me how it ends by the way, I have no idea.

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I literally ran straight out of the cinema and into the camper, towel on seat (of course I later apologised to Cineworld for what had happened!). Did we have enough time to call at the golden arches?  My contractions hadn’t started yet, I was starving and a double cheeseburger sounded delicious right about now, the midwives had continuously told me how important it was to eat before labour, sod it lets go and see Ronald! After enduring THEE slowest drive-thru in history (least it seemed that way) it was straight on the road to Royal Preston, I’m not sure our little old van has ever seen 70mph but let me tell you on this occasion it certainly did!

We arrive at Preston hospital, by now it was 12.30am, I was taken to a room to wait for a midwife to check me over whilst my husband ever so kindly slept in the chair, his excuse was that he of course would be needing this sleep to give him the strength to get through the labour… I won’t document my reply

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They confirmed it was my waters, no contractions still so I was sent home with advice to return at 10.30pm the following evening for induction should I not have started in labour. Being induced was something I had feared throughout my pregnancy, I wanted to do this naturally and I wanted to use the beautiful birthing suite, have the rainforest projected on to the wall with accompanying music, be free to move around and get in the big birthing pool and look up at the twinkly lights.  I planned a water birth, of course I would do whatever necessary for my baby but I longed for this experience so much. It was now 3.30am we were on our way home and I felt a pain, an unusual pain like I hadn’t felt before… surely this was it? I got into bed; I think I must have lay there for all of ten mins before another pain!  No way could I sleep through these!! 2 paracetamol taken as advised, I headed downstairs for a hot drink and my trusted old heat bean bag. Hmmm no still not talking the edge off!

Back on the phone to the midwives, “we won’t do anything yet” I’m advised, “get in a warm bath with some lavender”. Off I go to run a bath, getting in is a different story as I’m like a beach whale so when I finally collapse into it I clear half the water. I lay there for 20 mins muttering expletives whilst Craig sleeps…YES SLEEPS!!  Are these Midwives actually having a laugh? Like this bath is going to help this pain!! We need to go back I shout whilst waking Craig. He gets up and wearily agrees whilst fitting me up to my tens machine. Another contraction, I press the boost button and receive an electric shock but I’m not sure what’s worse?? The shock or the pain! And then it comes… the wave of nausea, “I’m going to be sick” I cry and before he can finish his sentence “I’d rather you didn….” bluuuuurghhhh it’s too late.

This was definitely it. My baby was on the way.

So armed with a washing up bowl for my sickness, back to the hospital we go and in to the birth centre, I’m asked to give a pee sample but make poor Craig come with me , I can’t go to the bathroom alone I’m in way too much pain! I’m taken to triage where a midwife comes in and checks my tummy mid contraction, she scribbles in my green notes (the bible for mum’s to be) and then advises “we don’t think you’re in ‘active labour’ yet and we want you to go back home”, I have to physically refrain myself from screaming “ARE YOU SHITTING ME??!!” Not in active labour?? Then what the hell do you call these pains?? Christ on a bike. I ask to be examined and I’m told there’s a risk of infection given that my waters have already broken and they don’t feel it necessary yet,  I am not risking my baby so of course I take their advice. “We want you to go back home” she tells me “and come back when you’re having 4 contractions every 10 mins lasting a min each” … surely she’s joking because I’m in agony?? But no, she tells me it’s going to get worse and that I will KNOW what she means when active labour starts. So off back home I go a second time.

“Active” labour.

By the time I get home my contractions are more regular and each one longer but what’s worse, I can’t stop myself from being sick after each one.   Craig had called my parents so they were waiting at our house as we got back. Mum sits with me timing the contractions… meanwhile Craig decided to go to Argos with my dad to pick up a kitchen bin we had ordered, I have put this down to sheer panic on his behalf, that and the fact that I guess we would need a kitchen bin.

The contractions were beginning to come thick and fast, each one would take my breath and what actually was a minute seemed like forever, I could hear my mum telling me to breathe through them but I couldn’t do anything other than hold my breath and grit my teeth … and then of course throw up. By the time Craig and my dad returned my contractions were every 3 mins and I was adamant I was going back to the hospital.  I barely remember that motorway journey, in between the pain and sickness it’s a blur.

What I do remember is Craig dropping me off at the front doors of the maternity unit whilst he went to park, mum trying to walk me into the hospital but I was frozen with pain and couldn’t go any further.  Some kind lady acknowledged what was happening and went to fetch me a wheelchair, I somehow scrambled in and mum (god knows how) managed to drag me into the lift. I must have put the fear of god into the pregnant girls inside that lift as I literally looked like death, hunched in agony and throwing my guts up. We hit floor 2 and mum dragged my chair to the birth centre and gave my name, this time they took me straight through to my birthing suite where they were already preparing my birthing pool.

I pleaded for some pain relief and the nice midwife told me she needed to examine me first, she asked me to let her know when my contraction ended but it felt like I wasn’t getting a minute between them! It was 2.30pm now … “Ok it’s stopped!” I said and she quickly examined me … “the good news is” she said “you’re 5 cm dilated and you won’t be going home again” ….. Hallelujah!!! I had got to 5cm with zero pain relief and by now I was just about desperate. “Please can I have that pain relief” I asked despairingly, “I’ll go get you some gas and air she replied”. Whilst she was gone I got myself into the birthing pool, the sheer warmth and depth of the water seemed to provide a sense of comfort, it didn’t take away the pain but definitely provided comfort.

What seemed like a decade later the midwife returned with my gas and air and showed me how to use it, at first I was horrified, there was no way this was going to help!!! But I quickly got into the swing of things and I guess it started to work, again, I won’t say that it took away the pain, far from it, but it did provide a distraction and something else for me to focus on. Craig asked the midwife why I was being so sick, I must have thrown up 100 times and that’s no exaggeration. “Pure adrenaline” she told him, whatever it was, it certainly wasn’t nice!

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As the time passed my contractions worsened and I now know what the first midwife had meant when she told me I would KNOW when my labour became active. As the pain increased, I strangely became more silent, somewhat more complacent. I hadn’t learned to deal with the pain but more to accept it, to realise that I could no longer fight it and to let my body take over and do what was required. That’s the moment I believe I went somewhere, I haven’t figured out where yet but it was kind of like an out of body experience.  I could feel and was aware of everything that was happening to me.  I could hear what was going on around me but I couldn’t respond.   I was just a shell, a silent shell dealing with what was happening almost robotically.

I know that Craig was beside me, passing me the sick bowl and giving me water, I know that my mum was sat there rubbing my arm but I wasn’t physically there with them.  I had become weak.  My blood sugars were dropping due to me being sick so much and my contractions were slowing down. They were trying to make me eat something, a piece of toast was shoved in my mouth but I spat it out, Craig rammed a piece of Yorkie in there mid contraction and I remember thinking he was crazy, I was so dry, there was no way I could swallow that! It got to the point where the midwife had to see the doctor to get an anti-sickness jab prescribed… she came back and straight in the arm it went, I didn’t flinch.

I had been silent for some time now, even throughout the contractions and then suddenly things cranked up a notch again and it was then, that upon release of each and every breath a loud, low and long growl was released … As though it had come from the same place my baby was residing.  It wasn’t me doing this on purpose it was my body doing this of its own accord and I remember feeling massively shocked at its response to the pain. I remember Craig’s face and reaction upon the first growl, somewhat astounded at the noise coming out of me.  I remember the midwife telling him “she’s just going with her body” I began the pushing process, not with any force but naturally as my body was asking me too, I had been hung over the side of the bath like a floppy rag doll for the duration of my labour and the midwife was urging me to reposition, to walk around or get on the birthing ball but there was no way I could leave the comfort of this water!

I eventually agreed and went to use the bathroom, gas n air and husband in tow. Whilst sat on the loo a cloth with peppermint oil was gently placed under my nose, it smelt so strong and pleasantly sweet and…. hang on…. WOW! I was back!! I was back from wherever I had been, back in my body and with everyone in the room and I was ready to do this, ready to deliver my baby!!

The Birth

At 6.42pm on Sunday the 10th of September 2017 our beautiful baby boy was born, I had achieved the water birth that I so wanted and whats more, I had done it completely naturally off just gas and air!! The feeling of relief was immense … not only because first and foremost I knew he was ok but secondly … it was over … or so I thought!!

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One thing I’ve learned about being pregnant is that the actual labour and the birth are spoken about A LOT.  There are video clips for you to see, info from midwives or you can tune in to ‘one born every minute’ to see real people going through what you’ve got to come, but one thing that isn’t talked about, one thing that you’re certainly not warned about is the after effects.  The delivery (or delayed delivery in my case) of the placenta, the tearing, the stitches, the blood loss, the rapid deflation of your tummy that leaves it resembling a blancmange, the walking like John wane only at 2mph, having to sit on a medical donut and take salt baths every day, the AFTER PAIN, the almighty sting when you pee and god forbid trying to poo… nobody warns you about this part! In the hours following my baby’s birth, I remember thinking, I remember actually saying out loud that I could not understand why anyone would put themselves through childbirth more than once, knowing what would be to come.  People tell you that you ‘forget the pain’ … but I can’t say that I did or that I have, I don’t know if I will in the months or years to come but certainly for the time being it’s as raw as the second it was happening.

What I can tell you is that it was worth it, every ounce of every excruciating pain was worth it and I knew that the second I held my boy in my arms and saw his face for the very first time. Child birth has not only provided me with a beautiful baby boy but also with a new admiration, an admiration for my Grandma, my Nanna, my Mother, my Aunties, my friends and for every single woman that has been through that experience because quite frankly, you are nothing but amazing

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