My induction was set for last Thursday, the 13th of October. Hoping to start things off naturally the week before I tried literally all the old wives tales that are meant to start labour, including 3 stretch and sweeps. None of them worked. I spent most of my days bouncing on a gym ball and drinking more raspberry leaf tea than anyone should ever have to stomach. I had a few contractions on and off but nothing to write home about. I did know that I was already 4cms dilated so I was hopeful that something would happen before the Thursday but alas it did not.
Thursday arrived and I was a nervous wreck. We had to be at the hospital for 10am so I got to drop James off at school and Emilie at nursery. It was awful saying goodbye to them. I didn't want them to see me get upset & I did manage to wait until they had both been dropped off but after that I lost it and sat outside Emilie's nursery and cried. I think it was a mixture of anxiety, stress and not knowing how long I would be away from them for.
We arrived at the hospital at 9.50am. I knew that it would probably be quite a wait but I didn't expect it to take as long as it did. I was examined by a midwife who confirmed that I was still 4cms and they would only need to break my waters, rather than use any other interventions. She explained that there was one person on the list before me and to basically wait it out and they would let me know when I was to be taken down to the delivery ward.
We waited.. & waited.. & waited. I was having a few contractions so we took a walk around the hospital grounds. My sister brought Anthony some food, my anxiety levels rose and we walked some more.
By 7pm I was almost beside myself. Anthony had to pop home because he had forgotten his bank card & wallet so I laid on the bed and tried to watch some TV on my phone but every time I heard footsteps I thought it would be a midwife telling me it was time to go. I spoke to my Mum on the phone, messaged my sister and generally tried to take my mind off what was happening.
Anthony got back about 8pm and he spoke to a midwife and asked if she had any idea what time it would be. He asked if it wasn't going to happen that night could he take me home and we'd come back in the morning. He could tell that the anxiety was starting to get to me and he knows that once I start panicking it's hard to get me back. The midwife said that she would ring down to labour ward and see what she could find out.
Fifteen minutes later she was back and told us that a lady was about to be brought up from labour ward after having her baby and then I was being taken down. We weren't going home. We were going to have a baby! I was part excited and part petrified. We had to wait another 30 minutes and during this time I spoke to my Mum again and just kept repeating how scared I was. With natural labour I've found that because you don't know when it's going to happen by the time you realise you're in labour, your body takes over and you're swept away with it. With induction I had sat there for 11 hours, waiting and anticipating the whole experience. The pain, the worry, the what-if's. I didn't know how to process it all.
I arrived on the labour ward and was taken to my room. Walking into the room and knowing that was where I was going to meet my son, overwhelmed me and I started having a panic attack there and then. My sister was on her way in and I think knowing she was coming definitely helped but I didn't know how to calm myself down. Anthony tried to take my mind off it and he was fantastic. The midwife that was assigned to me was trying to get to the bottom of what was making me so anxious and I couldn't put it into words. She hooked me up to the monitor so they could get a 20 minute trace on the baby, before they could break my waters. She then asked me to test my blood sugars. It was 3.9 which is too low, especially when you're about to put your body through major stress and trauma. She made me eat some toast but eating for me is hard enough, let alone when I'm about to go through labour!
My sister arrived and before I knew it the doctor was in my room. He explained that he was going to examine me and break my waters. He said if contractions didn't start within 3 hours then they would administer medication to start them. I knew though that once my waters had gone, labour wouldn't hang around. He told me that they were going to give me an anti sickness injection because of my emetophobia and as soon as he said that, my anxiety went. It was lovely to feel like they really cared and understood my fears. The doctor had a really calming way about him and instantly put me at ease. He examined me, informed me I was 5cms and broke my waters. This was it.. Go time :) The midwife left us to it. I think she thought it would be a while before anything happened.
The contractions started about ten minutes after they broke my waters. None of us were surprised. I breathed through them and within probably twenty minutes they were every 3 minutes and then quickly went to every two minutes. I was kept on the monitor the whole time so we could see exactly how far apart they were and when the next one was coming. Watching the screen actually helped me.
My sister - The selfie comedian
A while later the midwife came back in and was surprised to find me in full labour, hanging onto the back of the bed. She quickly left and came back with my injection. The timings are all a bit hazy here but within an hour of them breaking my waters I was in transition. I could tell without the midwife having to tell me. Just the way the contractions felt and how my body responded told me. About 11.45pm I moaned "I've still got hours to go"
The midwife informed me that I definitely didn't have hours. Anthony predicted just after midnight and the midwife agreed that it wouldn't be long after that.
About 5 minutes after that conversation I was pushing.
Pushing is the worst part of labour in my opinion. You start off and it feels like it's doing nothing. You push and push and everyone is telling you that you're pushing your baby down and all you feel like it's doing is ripping your stomach apart. I pushed for 40 minutes with James and 50 minutes with Emilie so I figured it would be another hour. I was so wrong. 19 minutes after the first push, Henry arrived at 12.13am on the 14th of October. My first immediate thought was "He's so tiny" After having Gestational Diabetes and being told by everyone that meant I would have a massive baby and me informing them that would happen only if I didn't control my sugars I was surprised he looked so small. After skin to skin and me announcing that, "I've really done it!" Phoning my Mum who I think was on tenterhooks in her own home, he was weighed. 6 pounds and 6 ounces of pure perfection.
He latched on straight away and I'm so happy that after two failed attempts at breastfeeding before, this time around it is going so well! He was weighed today and he's still 6lb 6oz so the midwives are happy that he has regained his birth weight so quickly :)
We were released from hospital on Friday afternoon after he passed his 3 blood sugars first time. I was so thrilled to only have to spend one night away from home and that I got to be back with all my babies under one roof. Five days in and having three children is definitely interesting (& loud) but so far so good. Anthony goes back to work on Monday so I may change my mind then!
Henry is amazing though. I cannot stop staring at him. He is worth the ten weeks of finger pricks, insulin injections, missed birthday cakes and chocolate bars. He is worth all the worrying, extra monitoring and the three times a week hospital appointments. I would do it all over again in a heartbeat.
Welcome to the world Henry Alexander!