Tuesday 26 July 2016

Happy Half Birthday (and What Happened Six Months Ago)

So yeah, it appears that we've managed to keep this little sprite alive for a whole six months.

Happy half birthday Lily!

It also occurred to me that I never actually shared her birth story (spoiler alert - there's nothing gory) so for those of you who are interested, read on...

(and for everyone else, see you later in the week for a photo an hour post and (hopefully) an Ikea vlog thingy)

The story begins on Monday 25th Jan when we popped round to see one of our NCT friends and their 6 day old baby (now Lily's best friend!). They joked that cuddling the baby might help kick-start things as I was 6 days overdue. .
Two hours after leaving their house, I went to the loo about 10pm and felt what wasn't quite a gush of water but was definitely more than a trickle. I wondered if it was my waters but it wasn't till I stood up and was leaking on the floor, I thought "okay, yep that's probably them".

We went up to our local hospital where they confirmed my waters had gone and said I'd be given 24 hours to go into labour naturally (and ideally, deliver the baby) before they'd induce me - as there's a risk of infection the longer the waters have gone without delivering.
They told us to go home and get some sleep but by 11pm I could feel contractions starting. Mine were all in my front, low down in my bump and I couldn't lie down and go to sleep – it was much more painful doing that and instead I sat on the edge of the bed breathing and Andrew rubbing my back.

About 1am we hooked up the TENS machine and went downstairs to watch TV - I used the chairs and table to bend over whilst having a contraction. The midwife said to ring up when they were 5 mins apart and had been like that for an hour but mine seemed to get close together quite quickly. I started timing them about 12am and they were about 7-8 mins apart from the start; by 3.30am they were about 3 and half mins apart so we rang the local big hospital and they said to come on in. Andrew packed up the car and we arrived about 4.30am; by then the contractions were between 2 and half to 3 mins apart. They examined me and grrr...I was only 2cm dilated. The midwives did say though, the baby was really low already and wouldn't take much pushing to get her out.
We were allowed to stay on the delivery suite, although they couldn't give me a room; instead they gave me paracetamol (which I don’t think did anything) and we walked up and down the corridor and used their relaxation room till about 6.30am. We were then moved to one of the delivery rooms (one with a pool as I'd said I wanted to use that) and then left alone to labour and try and get to 4cm. They had this rule that they couldn't officially admit me until you were either a) 4cm dilated or b) had accepted some kind of hard drugs. Even though I wasn't 4cm, they said we could use the room as they weren't very busy.

About 9.30am they examined me and grrr again...I was only 3cm, despite having contractions every 2 to 2 and half minutes. They offered me Diamorphine (which meant I could be officially admitted) which they said would help speed up the contractions while giving me a chance to have a bit of a rest. We had tea and toast and I kind of dozed; I could still feel some of the contractions a bit but I was using my TENS machine and they were okay. At 2.30pm the midwives came back and stupidly, I was still only 3cm. Looking at my maternity notes afterwards, it says my contractions slowed down to every 3-4 minutes so having Diamorphine hadn't really helped other than to give me a chance to rest.
At that point they started mentioning the 24 hour induction deadline and went through my options - because my cervix had thinned brilliantly but just not dilated, they suggested going on an oxytocin drip with epidural. At that stage the pain was still quite okay so I didn't really need the epidural but I knew from our NCT course that having an oxytocin drip could potentially increase the risk of needing assistance to deliver and would likely make the contractions incredibly fast and painful so I agreed to that plan. 

The epidural itself was a "soft" one, which was perfect as it made the pain about 90% disappear but I could still feel the building pressure of each contraction. They got it organised by about 4pm and then the midwives stayed in the room monitoring me all the time. We chatted, Andrew went off to get some dinner and then had a nap and it was a really good atmosphere in the delivery room.
At 5pm they examined me and I was 7cm dilated and then by 8pm I was 10cm – much to the midwife's suprise, she thought it'd take much longer! They did a shift changeover and about 8.45pm the new midwife said I could start pushing, using the pressure of each contraction in conjunction with the rising numbers on the monitor. I could feel when to do it quite easily, even starting to push before the monitor started registering the contraction. At the same time, the drip for the placenta injection started beeping because it had run out and the midwife popped out to replace the bag, saying "don’t worry, you can carry on pushing, it'll be a while". Obviously that was when I delivered Lily's head. 

Andrew had to run round the bed and push the help button and a different midwife ran in just in time for me to deliver the body. Andrew said it seemed a bit hectic and panicky but I remember it being very calm and steady. All in all, the pushing stage took 15 minutes, the midwife said it was about 3 contractions worth to deliver her and ended up telling the rest of the staff on duty that "just because you've been induced and had an epidural, doesn't mean you can't have a straightforward birth". Two midwives checked me over whilst we were having 'golden hour' snuggles with Lily and said that everything seemed to be intact, no tears and no stitches needed at all. 

Our birth plan was a little bit more natural and a lot less medical so it really ended up being nothing like that but other than being mildly miffed that I didn't get to use gas & air or the pool, I feel like it was a really positive experience. I would say I'd do it again, but (apart from the fact that we'd be unlikely to conceive), I'd be worried any future birth wouldn't be as good as Lily's!

PS. Just to be rather sad, this post is going like at exactly the time she was born...


  1. Awww, Happy Birthday to Lily! Lovely to hear of her birthing story too and so glad it all went fairly smoothly for you both. This post was just lovely to read through and those baby shots are so cute! - Tasha

  2. Happy half birthday to Lily. She is such a gorgeous little girl.

  3. Happy half birthday Lily, you absolute beauty! And well done on not giving your ma too much grief!
    Lou-she's just delectable and you guys look ridiculously happy! Makes me smile every time I see you xx

    1. Likewise! Michelle said it much better than I would've (and with fewer swears too :p) Happy half-birthday Lily! xxx

  4. Happy half-birthday, Lily! And that's such a lovely story; so many birth stories are filled with gore and horror - for some reason I think mothers with dramatic births always seem more keen to share their stories, so its nice to read about a birth that went as well as Lily's. As someone who hadn't had children, it's good to be reassured that if I ever do, it might actually not be too bad! xx

  5. Happy half-birthday, Lily! And what a great birth (for what it's worth: gas and air did NOTHING for me; I'm convinced it's a placebo thing).


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