I was keen to get my mum to guest post her birth experience with me and I am glad I did, my own labour with Luke mimics hers almost exactly! So here it is –
Summer 1984 was hot, and I do mean HOT!!
We had been married for 8 years before trying for a baby but sadly lost our first baby 12 weeks into the pregnancy so this one was doubly precious.
I was looking forward to antenatal classes and was going to discuss them at my 36 week check-up, I had been feeling restless for a couple of days and (unlike me) had been blitzing the house top to bottom.
I went to the check-up at All Saints Hospital, Chatham, all was looking fine until they took my blood pressure – then took it again and again, it was sky-high. A wee sample showed blood & protein and a quick examination showed I was in premature labour, they told me I had to be admitted immediately but I had Tasha at home, our beautiful Golden Retriever and with no husband there, I had to organise a neighbour to look after her.
Once home I cleaned the bathroom & kitchen (again), packed for a possible overnight stay (well who knew!) called C via the office (no mobiles then) and went back to the hospital.
I was hooked up to monitors but they couldn’t find any sign of contractions and as this was the first time I had been in that position I believed them (mind you, EXACTLY the same happened to my daughter 25 years later and they didn’t listen either!) all the contractions were round the back, (at least I knew for my second baby) C rang every hour and got told the same thing – don’t worry about coming home, the baby isn’t going to be born anytime soon…..
I watched women come in in labour and go out with babies and was getting quite upset not to mention being in pain, which was put down to anything from ‘the head is engaging’ to ‘baby is lying on a nerve’ or, ‘don’t make a fuss, you’re not even in labour’
Finally I could stand it no more, the pain was so intense, I’d had no painkillers and was feeling quite sorry for myself, – I collapsed across my plastic sheeted, very hard, hospital bed.
One of the other women pressed her buzzer, luckily a Doctor was doing her rounds and examined me, I was 8cm dilated and yes – I was in labour – THEN they believed me!!
So, down to the delivery suite I was pushed, I didn’t know what to do (no antenatal classes) and they told me it was too late for an epidural so they gave me pethidine (that lump in my leg from the injection lasted 6 weeks)
My neighbour (the dog sitting one) arrived to see how I was and I wouldn’t let her go, poor woman, I grabbed her hand and wouldn’t let go then I was sick all over her due to the pethidine, her husband sat in the car while she stayed with me until I gave birth to our 5lb 0oz beautiful daughter who didn’t breathe for a good few minutes due to the cord wrapped tightly around her neck, they took her away immediately to resuscitate her. My neighbour left about 5 mins after and I was left alone wondering when they were going to bring my baby back.
In 1984 we didn’t have the choice of knowing the sex of the baby before it was born but I was so pleased my first was a girl.
That’s when my husband came in, I said ‘Have you seen her?’ he said ‘yes’, I said ‘do you think she’s beautiful?’ he said ‘she’s ok I suppose’. It took a few minutes to fall in he was talking about the nurse and had no idea I had actually given birth (yes I did put on a fair bit of weight and losing 5lb didn’t make much of a dent in my baby bump!)
Once we had a chance to see our daughter she immediately had her name changed from the planned Rachel Laura to Laura Rachel which felt right (even though we call her Loz now).
I had to have stitches, internal and external but they wouldn’t tell me how many (but she was down there 40 min doing needlework….)
I was moved up to another ward and settled down to being a first time mum although Laura didn’t look like any baby I – in my limited experience – had seen, she was bald with fuzzy ears, her skin was nearly transparent and looked like a skinned rabbit! But to us she was perfect.
She didn’t feed well but I persevered and she got the hang of it eventually, a nurse came round to show us how to put a nappy on, bathe and look after our newborns.
I got ‘told off’ for not making the effort to sit at the table for meals – I couldn’t! all those stitches had become infected and sitting down was not an option for quite a while.
Coming home was scary, I should have had Laura in Middlesex, we were due to move house 2 weeks before she was born but as things turned out it was 2 weeks after! I remember that was pretty stressful, what with moving and the new house having to have so much work done it, I had to stop breastfeeding after 6 weeks as the milk stopped.
Three years later we did the whole thing again!
Yet again I had contractions in my back –which I had to tell them to look for – but this labour was painless until the last half hour, Christopher Alan shot out with the cord wrapped round his neck and not breathing, this time C was there and scared stiff but I had already had the experience with Loz and was quite blasé as they resuscitated him in front of us – mind you I’d had quite a lot of gas and air by then!
So that’s it, a potted version of my birth stories.
My daughter asked me to write this and I’m glad she did, have YOU written yours down yet?? your children will be able to read about their birth in the years to come.