Had a sweep at my appointment at 39+5 but told cervix v posterior, 1cm dilated, and nothing looked imminent. Didn't have bleeding afterwards or even any cramps. A couple of days later the mucus plug very gradually began to make an appearance - over the next 5 days or so.
40+5 had an appointment booked to discuss c-section/induction options and another possible sweep. Never made it to appointment because at 2.30am that morning the first contractions started. They were fairly regular at about 8mins apart.... for about the next 12 hours. By about mid-morning Adriano helped me to attach the TENS machine.
Eventually at around 2.30pm we went to the hospital to get checked out. I felt sure I was still in 'pre-labour' but the contractions were causing plenty of pain and had been going on long enough for me to want to check that the baby was coping OK. When we got there, we were seen by Carrie, who was the same midwife I initially saw with G a couple of years ago. She recognised us! She was lovely and very reassuring. The baby was monitored for about 40 mins, all was fine. I was examined and found to be still only 1 cm which was pretty disappointing after 12 hours. I was realistic but still hoping for at least 2cm.
Carrie suggested we go home again but come back if the contractions got stronger and much more regular and closer together. She also said to come back at 9am the next day if nothing had changed or if contractions had stopped altogether, as she was on shift again and would check the baby was still coping OK.
She said that the pain might get stronger for the next couple of hours because of the examination, but after that would probably go back to how they were before (or stop altogether).
By the time we got home it was about 4.30pm, and even on the way home from the hospital the contractions got stronger. They stayed strong and regular and I found I couldn't sit down at all or eat any dinner. I was struggling much more with the pain and the tiredness. I phoned Gillian (my ex-midwife auntie) and she said they sounded good but I was probably still better off at home for the time being, and just to wait and see a bit longer.
By about 8.30pm I couldn't bear it any longer and we left for the hospital again. By this time G had been taken to bed so it was good timing. We left my mum in charge and off we went.
When we arrived at the hospital we were told they were very short staffed and we would be seen as soon as possible. Eventually we moved into the triage room and were seen by a tall black midwife whose name I have forgotten. She put the baby's heartbeat on the monitor, gave me some gas and air (hooray!) and soon after I ditched the TENS as it wasn't helping as much and it had a loose connection which made an annoying buzz on my back even when it was supposed to be dormant. The midwife examined me and found me to be 6cm - I was sooooo surprised as with G I never made it past 5cm so this was VERY good news. Just like with G, my waters then broke during the examination, went everywhere, and were full of meconium. Shortly after this she disappeared and we noticed the baby's heartbeat was slowing. And slowing... and it went so far down I got really frightened and asked Adriano to find her. She was already on the phone asking for help and at this point the heartbeat actually seemed to stop. About 6 people came running up and wheeled the bed I was on down the corridor really fast (with me on my left side). I thought the baby was going to die and that they would give me a general anaesthetic and get her out by emergency c-section. But instead they wheeled me to the nearest vacant delivery room, told me to get onto the bed 'quick as you can'. And then suddenly things were OK again much to my enormous relief. The heart rate went back up and stabilised, and we were back on with the gas and air.
I got off the bed and moved around to cope with the contractions. What seemed like soon afterwards (about 11pm by this point) I felt my body bearing down with the contractions, and shouted that out to the midwives (there were 2: Fiona - senior one I think, and Amanda who was from an agency). I assumed I wasn't fully dilated yet and should hold back, but when checked, Amanda said 'yes you can push' - I couldn't believe it and was relieved because holding back would have been pretty impossible. By this point the pain was unbearable and I was growling (angrily, it sounded!) with each contraction, and pulling Adriano's arms and squeezing his hands so hard. In between contractions I was just trying to get my breath back in time for the next one. I started out leaning over the bed, then squatting on the floor, then kneeling on the floor, then kneeling on the bed, then lying on my side on the bed, then finally on my back on the bed with my feet and hands resting on handles to help me push. It seemed to take me a while to get into the idea of pushing, and as it progressed it was very hard to push past the pain because boy did it hurt. I was aiming to do about 3 good pushes with each contraction but after the 1st one I was struggling to get enough air into my lungs to do any more good pushing afterwards. At one point Fiona suggested to Adriano that he count me through the pushes - an idea I've always hated - so I gasped 'don't count!' when I could find the breath to say it. Apparently she mouthed 'sorry!' to Adriano (which makes me laugh now). Somehow I got there in the end, thankfully after only about 80 mins of pushing - I had thought it was going to take much longer as I felt I wasn't doing it very effectively - the baby's head was out, I was told to pant, and then out came the rest of her. The wonder in Adriano's voice as he saw her coming out was something I hope I always remember :) I think neither of us really believed I would manage a VBAC and we would experience such a different birth with C! She had her hand up by her face as her head came out, which probably contributed to the 2nd degree tear. But I didn't feel the tear, it just generally hurt like hell :D
Adriano cut the cord and she was lifted straight onto me, skin-on-skin, and they put her hat on :) She looked so lovely and tiny and meeting her was pure bliss. After only a few minutes she started sucking so I moved her onto my breast and she happily sucked there for a good while. She barely cried and I asked if she was OK but she was fine - 'just where she needs to be'. Adriano was desperate for a cuddle but at the same time we didn't want to disturb her feeding so we waited a while. I was stitched up and I don't think the anaesthetic worked very well because it was very painful and seemed to take forever. Another midwife came in and offered me tea and toast which sounded like the best idea I had ever heard. Lottie was checked over properly and then Adriano got his cuddle at last. I phoned my mum and told her all about it; she cried with happiness :))) I felt very groggy and exhausted and dizzy and like I might pass out but I didn't. Eventually a lady came in to help me shower and it felt good to get clean and fresh again. I was helped into a wheelchair, Lottie was put in my arms and I was wheeled to a bed in the post-natal ward. It was about 3am by this time.
Adriano arranged my stuff around me, kissed me and Lottie goodbye and went home to call his family.
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