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When three become four..

It’s been four days since we had Baby George.
Labour was significantly longer with him than it was for Elizabeth and very different. Probably, dare I say it, a little easier. Not that the word ‘easy’ could ever apply to labour.
If I had to pick between the two, I would definitely choose George’s longer birth over Lizzie’s ridiculously short, shocking one.

Maybe it’s because I’ve done it once before, so I knew what to expect (although because I knew what to expect, I was pretty much dreading labour throughout the whole pregnancy this time). Maybe it’s because my midwives this time around were much better, or maybe, it’s because every birth is so different!

I must admit – I do always get a little touchy when people say to me things like “at least your labour with Lizzie was quick” and yes, I know I didn’t need to have an emergency c section, she wasn’t breach and I didn’t have a hemorrhage (or any of the other hundred things that could have gone wrong) but it was bloody horrific all the same and I was pretty much in shock the entire time.
Labour with George took five and a half hours, which, although still quick, doesn’t go anywhere near Lizzie’s 2 hour labour, and seemed to be a lot calmer.

imageMid Contraction

At 5.30AM I all of a sudden started to get some quite painful tightenings about 10 mins apart, so I phoned Marc at work (on the night shift, poor bugger) and whacked a pizza in the oven.
I’m not mental, cold pizza = perfect labour snack.
Quick phone call to the parents as well to make the hour and a half journey to be chief baby sitters.
By the time the pizza was done and Marc, taking the longest time ever, was home, the contractions were getting a lot closer and were increasing in intensity.
Thankfully, we’d finally sorted out the hospital bags two days prior (although I forgot to replenish with new snacks – I’d eaten all the ones Marc bought) so it was just a case of getting Lizzie up and heading on in.
With Lizzie, Marc was pretty calm before we left the house. This time he was running around like a headless chicken (he denies this) which actually made me laugh through a couple of contractions..so not a bad thing!
When we got there, quick check said I was 5 cm dilated, so in active labour.
Disappointing.
I was 5cm dilated three days before I even had Lizzie! If I’d thought labour was going to be longer this time, I’d have taken in some music or something. We were basically sat there in silence in the pool room till we whacked a bit of radio 2 on! I got Sara Bareilles – Brave stuck in my head and sang it through every contraction….surprisingly, this helped.
Fast forward a few hours and the pain started getting bad enough for me to want the gas and air, even though from past experience this made me feel horrendously sick. George is continuing to kick me through labour and actually seems to be causing some contractions himself. Thanks George. I’ll remind you of this when you’re older.
My midwives this time were fantastic and were telling me how to breathe and making me visualise things, which helped so much.
Finally the waters popped and then, BAM. Baby’s head was coming.
Apparently at this point, Marc thought I was going to break his arms as I was “bending them over the side of the pool”
He’s lucky he said nothing of his “pain” to me at the time.
Three bloody hard contractions later (whilst I can still feel him kicking and moving his head!) and he’s out. 10.54AM. Peeing all over me. What a way to greet the woman who’s carried you around for nine months!
He started crying straight away and after a bit of skin to skin and cord cutting, was taken to be wrapped up warm and passed to Marc.
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The whole process took a lot longer than we were expecting, but this was a relief! Contractions with George were a steady buildup to the worst ones right in the last 20 mins, making it far more manageable.
Contractions with Lizzie were the same from start to finish for the whole two hours. Excruciating.
I think the fact that I wasn’t screaming for “ALL THE DRUGS” this time pretty much proves it, quicker labours are not easier!

What I wasn’t expecting this time was the after labour pains. I mean…because labour isn’t painful enough?! Seriously body?

Apparently if you’ve had more than one child, after labour pains can be much worse. No kidding. I have been on a constant pain killer spree since he’s been out. For the first day I couldn’t even stand up straight. Oh and because I choose to breastfeed and do the body’s “natural thing” – this makes it worse and triggers more contractions. Yes. Contractions. They do not finish after you’ve had the baby! Why is nature so cruel? *sobs*
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We brought George home at around 5pm the same day, just in time to see Lizzie before bed. She was pretty confused but excited to give the baby a kiss. This excitement stopped at bed time. It turned into a screaming, kicking monster.
She’s had a few pretty mental tantrums the last few days, but I think she’s finally realised that “BABY JOOOOJ” is staying. She likes to give him a kiss and cuddle in the mornings so at least that’s progress! She freaks out every time he has his nappy changed though.
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Baby George – 9th February –  10:54AM  – 8lb 6oz

 

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Labour.

Well, shortly after my last post, I decided to phone the labour ward at 7.30AM

Whilst I was talking to the midwife on the phone – who kept saying “I don’t want to put you off coming in but…” – my cramps started to go from being every 20 mins to very frequently, and getting steadily more painful. I explained that I was already 5cm dilated and that I had a family history of fast labour.
Despite this, the midwife stated that as this was my first baby, this probably wouldn’t be the case for me and that I was unlikely to be 5cm dilated already.
She told me to have breakfast, give it a while, then go in.

I ignored this, woke Marc up and went straight in. THANK GOD.

By the time we got there, (8.30AM) I was having extremely painful contractions every 2 mins lasting about 30 seconds long. Marc parked the car and firstly decided he was in a bad parking spot and wanted to repark!!. He then walked to get a parking ticket. WALKED.
Marc – I apologise for shouting at you at this stage but when I say “RUN” and I feel like I’m being ripped apart, I need you to run!

It was horendous. I burst into the labour ward and was almost crippled onto the floor. The midwife I had spoken to on the phone then just said “oh, I think we better examine you straight away!”

Was I 5cm dilated? No. I was not. I was FULLY FREAKING DILATED.

The midwife ran off to get the birthing pool ready for me, meanwhile giving me gas and air, and within 20 mins of getting to the hospital I was in the pool. The instant relief on my back was amazing. I actually felt like a sudden weight had been lifted. I went from stabbing back pain to pain free with just emursing myself in the water. This relief however, did not last long. The gas and air I found just made me feel extremely sick, so that got ignored. The contractions started to get more and more intense and at one stage I could feel a panic attack coming on so had to work to stop that which was handy as it made me control my breathing more.

I’m not going to lie, I did scream (although Marc assures me that I only screamed twice) and I found the entire experience horrendous.

Within the first 10 mins of being in the pool, I remember shouting things like;

  • I WANT A C SECTION!
  • WHY IS THIS HAPPENING?
  • I DONT WANT TO DO THIS!
  • WHY DO PEOPLE DO THIS?
  • HOW DO PEOPLE DO THIS?
  • I NEED IT TO STOP!
  • I NEED DRUGS!

Being told “you can do this! You’re doing it now! The pain will stop!” however well meaning, does NOTHING for you when you’re in that much pain. Nothing.

After this 10 mins the midwife told me I needed to stand up so she could listen to the babies heartbeat – the waterproof contraption to do this was not working so I had to be dry. Every minute I was getting a contraction and she wanted me to stand up. Seriously.
I managed about 10 seconds for the midwife to determine baby was okay before I needed to get back in for the next contraction.

The midwife then disappeared. I have no idea why – during my 30 seconds of none contraction pain, I felt like I was drunk, and couldn’t focus on anything. I do however know that 10 seconds later….. “MARC, I NEED TO PUSH. PRESS THE CALL BELL. NOW!

Funny thing about the initial pushing stage was, yes it hurt, but the worst pain was my back. I started crying because my back was in agony and there was absolutely nothing I could do – other than get the baby out – to make it stop.
I started begging the midwife to break my waters because I could feel them bulging out – and she kept saying that a lot of the pressure was probably because they were still intact. Eventually after about 5 mins, she decided to break them.
“Do you feel any relief now?”
“NO?!!!”
I felt like she’d lied to me and I was heartbroken. There was no pressure relief at all! I felt a pop, but nothing else. I cried again.

I was at this point told I would have to get out of the water. The baby had pooped and so it was no longer safe for me to give birth in there.

I got out in between contractions, went over to the bed, felt a contraction coming on and dropped to my knees. I did feel slightly better getting out as the pool was hotter than the sun but this wasn’t much comfort. I was vaguely aware that someone was trying to lift my knees up to put cushions underneath them – WHAT DID I NEED CUSHIONS FOR?! I then needed to push again.

At this point, I definitely felt like I was being completely ripped apart, but the midwife said the head was coming so I just kept pushing. It really did feel like there was a head coming out.
Amazingly, I got it out in that one contraction with a few little pushes for the nose and mouth.
This entire time, I knew that Marc was right behind me watching everything – there was nowhere he could stand to get away from it. Under normal circumstances I would have felt bad for him (he can’t even watch One Born Every Minute without feeling faint), but I was pushing a baby out. I couldn’t have cared less at this stage.

Next contraction was heaven – one short push and I felt what I assume were the arms and legs wriggle out. The pain disappeared. The midwife told me to turn around to see what I had, it was a girl! I was convinced the whole time I was having a boy so I was really surprised! She passed her up between my legs for me to hold. She was so gorgeous! I have never seen so much hair on a baby either. Absolutely amazing.

The next part was a bit awkward – trying to stand up and get onto the bed with her as apparently, the cord was a lot shorter than normal. But we managed it, and after a min or so Marc cut the cord. I can’t remember much more about what happened at this point, I know we had at least an hour of skin to skin, but it felt like 5 mins to me. I do however, remember after getting onto the bed, looking down at the floor. It looked like a scene from a slasher movie. I later asked Marc about it:

“was it bad? I just remember seeing a LOT of blood and green stuff..”
“No it wasn’t that bad”
“Seriously?”
“……..yeah okay…..it was pretty bad!”

The entire labour lasted an hour and a half, yes I know this is extremely quick and I do feel very grateful I didn’t have a 36 hour labour of misery, but it was still an absolutely horrific experience. I don’t get people who have ‘wonderful’ labours. That can in no way to me be described as wonderful. However – I do understand why people say that you forget about the pain, as it is definitely worth it.

My absolute favourite picture of Elizabeth
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Marc was fantastic throughout the labour – and even though I can’t remember what he said to me, I do remember him holding my hand, rubbing my back and talking to me encouragingly which really helped.

First clothing change
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Elizabeth Violet, born 9.28am weighing 8lbs 1oz

Named Elizabeth after one of my favourite literary characters, Elizabeth Bennett, and Violet from a family name.

She is just perfect!