I have been holding off posting Elliot's birth story as it is such a personal experience, however he is now seven weeks old and I am worried I will forget all the details! Elliot is our third baby and I have had two natural births before this one. I have always kept an open mind about the childbirthing experience and prefer to have a very loose birth plan, partly as I don't want to be disappointed if it doesn't turn out as I expected! Elliot's birth was no different and I anticipated that it would unfold in a similar way to Rosie and Harry's births. This was not to be! About ten days before I was due I awoke to what I thought was my waters breaking in the early hours of the morning. My midwife was on holiday, so I wasn't keen to go into labour right then, but decided to call the back up midwife in the morning to check. The waters had stopped leaking and after a discussion, it was decided that my waters probably hadn't broken after all. I was told to assume they hadn't and just go about my week as normal, which I did. At my next midwife appointment I was given a referral for another scan, just to check the amniotic fluid levels and general health of the baby.
|The monitoring begins...|
The clinic was fully booked but they squeezed me in at the end of the day, which I will always be grateful for. I went along and the Radiologist spent over half an hour scanning me, at which point I was starting to get worried. She said that my fluid levels were within the normal range, but only just. She was also concerned as the baby's movements were reduced, so she made a decision to call my midwife, who was still on holiday. My midwife called the hospital and sent me over for immediate monitoring. I was with Harry and as soon as I left the clinic, I burst into tears! I called my husband and made my way up with poor Harry wondering what was going on. A kind colleague zoomed him over to the hospital in the car and soon I was hooked up to the monitors for an hour or so. All appeared normal, so they said I could go home. I was happy that all was well, but still quite worried about the baby and was getting the feeling that I just wanted the get him or her out.
|Sucking on the gas for dear life! Not a pretty picture. :)|
We decided to send the kids down to my parents, so that I could focus on resting and monitoring the baby's movements. I called my midwife the next morning (Saturday), as she had just returned from holiday and talked through the previous few days. She was confident my waters hadn't gone, and that perhaps I had had a hind water leak. She said that they would look at inducing me on the following Tuesday, due to the 6/8 BPP score I had at the scan. I was relieved, but still worried that everything might not be ok. In the end I had to trust that I was in the capable hands of my wonderful midwife and that she knew best. She has been at all my births and I have absolute confidence in her. Early the next morning she called and said that after speaking with the consultant (incidentally, whose son was in my class a couple of years ago!), they decided I would be induced that day and to meet her at the hospital in 30 minutes! I was so happy that things were happening, but a little nervous about being induced.
|After the epidural is in! Total bliss.|
We arrived at the hospital and met the midwife and consultant, who immediately put us at ease. We set ourselves up in the delivery suite and they talked us through the induction process. After some monitoring it showed that the heart rate of both myself and the baby were higher than normal and it appeared we might both have an infection. I was then given the first dose of prostaglandin gel and antiobiotics. I was hoping that my cervix would be "favourable", thereby making the process a bit easier, however I was only 1 cm dilated! For the next 2-3 hours we walked around the hospital grounds and surrounding streets, trying to get things moving. I was hoping that I would have a few "niggles", but I still felt pretty normal! We returned to our room every now and again for monitoring and by 3pm, my waters were able to be broken. This is never a pleasant experience, having done it twice before, however I knew that things were moving along and that in a few hours we would be meeting our new little one.
|He is here!|
My mum and sister arrived shortly after the syntocinon drip was put in and the contractions started. These were very mild to begin with and I was able to breathe through them using the breathing techniques I learnt from my previous two births. After a while I decided to start using the gas as the contractions had intensified and were close together. I love the gas and even though it gets to a point where it to longer "cuts the mustard" in relieving the pain, I found it great to take my mind off the contractions and give me something to focus on. Having never had an epidural (actually, I did try to have one with Rosie but it turned out I was 10cm dilated at the time and she was born before it kicked in), I decided I would quite like to have one this time around. The contractions were coming fast and I was starting to get a bit distressed at the peak of them. Picture me sucking the gas for dear life and squirming around the bed!
|Snuggling with mum.|
After what seemed like an eternity, the anaesthetist arrived like a mirage in the distance. She talked me through the risks, but to be honest I just wanted to fast track past that part and get the needle in! My lovely midwife held my hand throughout the process and after a few more contractions, the pain started to subside. It was bliss! The mood in the room was instantly transformed and we spent the next 2-3 hours chatting, joking and laughing. Then I started to feel an unpleasant feeling, one which I instantly recognised as the baby coming down and that overwhelming need to push. This really surprised me as I thought that with an epidural I would feel nothing at all and have to be told when to push. It was at this point that I wanted to pack up and go home. I was done with this giving birth business!
|Gorgeous newborn feet.|
As a self confessed control freak, this feeling of my body taking over is one I really dislike and I really need to get into the right head space to deal with it. I closed my eyes and told myself that this feeling wouldn't go away until I pushed through it...literally. The pushing stage feels like an eternity, but in reality it was only about 10 minutes this time. Everyone was giving me words of encouragement and I could feel the baby moving down with each push. Funnily enough, my sister's voice stood out to me the most, so I concentrated on her words and before we knew it, he was out!
|Feeling nauseas but relieved it is over.|
That moment when your baby is out is the most amazing feeling in the world and we were so happy that he had arrived safely. He was given to me immediately and we were instantly in love. I had had a wonderful birth and felt on top of the world. When I think about what makes a successful birth, I think about how much this varies from woman to woman. For some woman a successful birth is done without pain relief, at home or in the water. For others it is a more medicalised birth and having pain relief options available. At the end of the day, it really doesn't matter how they arrive and you need to choose what is best for you. For my previous births, I arrived at the hospital in full labour and Rosie and Harry were born a short time later. My birth experience with Elliot was by far my best and for me, the epidural transformed my experience into one which was calm, peaceful and enjoyable. In fact, I was ready to do it all again straight afterwards!
|First cuddles with Dad.|
A few minutes after this I started feeling really nauseas...and I was starving! I hadn't eaten for 15 hours and when my cold toast with jam arrived it tasted like the most amazing meal on earth! lol. It turned out that Elliot and I did have an infection and my midwife later told me how grateful she was that they decided to induce me earlier than planned. I wanted to go home immediately, but as expected they kept Elliot and I in for monitoring. I had very low blood pressure and for a few hours it was very chaotic in my hospital room as nurses and doctors came and went, monitoring me constantly.
|Midwife taking Elliot's temperature, he wasn't keen!|
I explained that I usually have low blood pressure but they told me that mine was so low that in any other part of the hospital, I would be close to going to the morgue! lol. They couldn't believe (or understand!) why I was feeling so chipper when I should be unconscious! I had amazing nurses take care of me on the ward and we are so blessed to have had medical professionals who we trust implicitly. I am particularly grateful for my midwife. She is so amazing and was the perfect person to guide me through such a special time in our lives. Fast forward a few weeks and it is so lovely having a new baby in the house after 5 years and we are cherishing every moment with our new little man. :)