Pregnancy insider blog
I went to see the midwife for my regular blood pressure check when I was 40+2. It was sky high and I had more protein in my wee. I knew deep down what this would probably mean when I called my husband, and said I'd been referred to the hospital again.
Luckily the wait at the hospital was not four hours this time, and I was taken straight through to the ward where the monitor showed that baby was fine. My blood results came back showing my kidney function wasn't quite as it should be; and given my other symptoms I was told that I definitely had pre-eclampsia and would need to be induced as it was too risky to leave me to carry on with the pregnancy.
Although I was past my due date, I was pretty devastated. I really didn't want to be induced and my hopes of hypnobirthing on the midwife-led birth unit had been dashed.
The first of many fantastic midwives who saw me through my birthing journey took pity on me and gave me my own room so I wasn't on the ward. This was an absolute blessing and definitely helped me cope with what was to come, as we were able to play our music and hypnobirthing scripts and get into the zone.
My parents were due to go on holiday early the following day, so they came for a cup of tea in the hospital cafe to say goodbye before I went back up to start the induction process.
Within 20 minutes of having the pessary I started having very strong contractions which were hard for me to manage. This went on for six hours before my waters broke and I had dilated to 5cm.
At this point I was considered to be in established labour and I needed to be shifted to the delivery suite. I declined the use of a wheelchair and instead insisted on walking to the delivery suite in no more than a pair of mesh pants stuffed with a load of pads and a vest top - stopping along the way for the contractions!
The midwife tried to cover me up but I was so hot I refused. Glamour and dignity are definitely not things you care about in labour, I discovered!
I laboured for another five hours with an overwhelming urge to push (I later discovered this was because the baby was lying back to back) but I couldn't push as I wasn't fully dilated. My hypnobirthing practice really helped me get through this stage, as I focused on my breathing and retreated into a calm place - with the assistance of gas and air!
Sadly I only dilated another 1cm during this time, so it was suggested I be put on the oxytocin drip to try and make my contractions stronger.
It was at this point I was advised to have an epidural -given that it was already taking everything I had not to push and that was going to get much harder on the drip.
I was pretty exhausted by this point, so readily accepted. It took a few goes to get the epidural in, which was an interesting experience whilst having contractions! I ended up being on the drip for 12 hours and managed to dilate to 9cm.
During this time they scanned me and found that the baby's head was in a funny position, so it wasn't putting enough pressure on my cervix to fully dilate it.
The doctor suggested that really, my only option was now to have caesarean section, to which I reluctantly agreed - I was pretty ready for it to be over!
I found the c section a strange experience. It really does feel like someone doing washing up in your stomach - and when this purple, screaming baby was presented to me over the top of the screen it felt very surreal.
I was desperate for skin to skin as soon as possible, and the lovely midwife managed to pull my gown down a bit of put Eira half on my chest and half on my face. In the recovery room she breastfed almost straight away – it’s so amazing that they know what to do!
We ended up staying in hospital for a further three nights, as I had an infection and they were still concerned about my kidney function. That was really hard and very exhausting, and I was so relieved to finally get home five nights after going in.
Being completely honest, I did find the whole experience quite traumatic. It was a million miles away from what I wanted for my birth, and over the next couple of weeks I did experience feelings of inadequacy and guilt and was very tearful about what happened.
What I've learned from this is that although you may have a birth plan, and you may want your birth to be a certain way, unfortunately things can happen which will mean it simply can't be that way.
I wish I had been more open to things not 'going to plan', as I would probably have found it easier to cope with. The hospital runs a birth reflections service and I have an appointment to go and speak to a midwife about my birth and how I feel about it. I'm hoping this will further help me to process what happened, and talk through how things went.
We're now several weeks on. I'm feeling a whole lot better about it, I am recovering well from the c section and am learning to adjust to the craziness of life with a newborn baby - wow is it hard work!
She's absolutely amazing, I can't stop looking at her little face and I love her more and more each day. Everything was so worth it in the end - I just wish I could get more sleep!
Follow our Pregnancy Insider, the blogger who tells it like it is, by liking our Tommy's Midwives Facebook page. Our Pregnancy Insider is 29, lives in East Anglia, practices yoga and is a big fan of House of Cards - and she's pregnant with her first baby. Look out for her blog each week.