For those of you who have followed me since I had Ava, and read her birth story, you’ll know how quick, straight forward and easy it was. I was expecting it to be exactly the same with Mabel (just even quicker to be honest).
I was told by midwives to not mess around and when I thought it was it, to get myself straight to the hospital. That was the first worry of mine, would we get Ava to my friend who was going to have her for us in time? Would I end up nearly giving birth on the motorway like I did with Ava?
Anyway, as my due date got nearer, corona virus suddenly took over and rules changed at the hospital. The main being you were only allowed 1 birth partner. I was also told no visitors, if your partner left they couldn’t return, and you were to go up to triage on your own first so that they could assess you. I wanted my mum with me too but it wasn’t possible (she had been staying with us for a while before this incase I went into labour early). So it was decided she would have Ava and Mitch and I would go off to the hospital together.
I’d had 4 sweeps and nothing, lots of pains and tightenings but they came to nothing. I had a 5th sweep on Monday 30th and was told I was only 1-2cm dilated and was booked in for an induction in 4 days time. They did tell me my waters were really bulging though. I went home rather fed up. That Monday night I went to bed with pains and tightenings, I’d had these a lot before so didn’t think anything of them, I managed to fall asleep but woke at 3am and couldn’t go back off and decided to go downstairs and bounce on my ball. They were definite contractions and were quite regular but still not too painful. These continued all morning till about 10am when they started getting painful and I had 3 in 10 minutes. I said to Mitch I’m going to call Triage now and see if they want me to go in. I went to the loo first as I had been every 5 minutes for the last couple of days and as soon as I sat down I felt a huge gush of fluid. I immediately thought my waters had gone but looked down to see a toilet full of fresh bright red blood.
It was panic stations from then on. I screamed for my mum and Mitch and burst into tears. Mitch and I jumped into the car and we drove straight to the hospital and called them on the way. As we drove off I could see Ava stood in the hall way crying because we were going. This is not how I’d wanted or expected things to go!! All sorts of things were going through my mind, and they were all the worst case scenario as you can imagine. Despite what just had happened I was told by triage I had to go up on my own and Mitch was to wait in the car. I sobbed all the way through the hospital and I made my way up to there as quickly as I could. I was seen to immediately and they put me on a CTG to check baby was okay. I was left alone in the room for around 20 minutes and felt terrified. All I wanted was to have Mitch with me. Thankfully she was okay but they still couldn’t figure out why I was bleeding. I was examined and found to be at 5cm so that meant I was okay to go to the delivery suite and Mitch could join me in there.
It was pretty uneventful for the next hour or so. I made the most of the gas and air and we had a laugh with our lovely midwife and listened to music. Even though this labour was a lot longer than Ava’s, at this point I was feeling a lot more in control than I did during Ava’s birth. Things were calmer. I went to the toilet again and another big gush of fresh bright red blood. My midwife came in to check and went off and returned with a Dr. I was hooked back up to a CTG as they wanted baby constantly monitored from then on. They were rather baffled as everything else seemed fine. After another hour or so the CTG wasn’t getting accurate enough readings and they wanted to put a small clip on baby’s head so they could get clearer readings. They attempted this around 3 times before calling another midwife who managed to do it. I was worn out before the hard work had even started. A second midwife was brought in to help out.
I was examined again and they found I hadn’t dilated anymore, which they weren’t happy about. After a quick discussion they came to the conclusion that my waters were bulging that much they were covering my cervix and therefore baby’s head wasn’t connecting with it and that’s why I wasn’t dilating. With everything else that was going on they decided to break them to speed things up. And boy did things speed up. Within minutes my contractions were coming thick and fast and the pain was getting unbearable. It was too much pain in a short amount of time, I had no time to build up my pain tolerance and suddenly felt terrified and completely out of control. I kept trying to focus on my breathing and just kept focusing on Mitch who was helping me breath slowly, holding my gas and air in for me and feeding me water when I needed. I remember looking at the clock and it was 2:50pm, I said to my midwife ‘she will be here before half 3.’ She smiled and said okay. Within 20 minutes I was screaming that I needed to push and the new midwife who had just joined told me to calm down and that they couldn’t examine me yet. I insisted I needed to push so they checked and found I was in fact ready. So I had gone from 5cm to 10cm in about half an hour. This made me feel a lot less of a drama queen as I was making a lot of fuss but I now know why. I remember I kept apologising for it. After a few very difficult and painful pushes, Mabel was placed onto my chest at 3:29pm exactly. I looked at my midwife and said ‘I told you she’d be here before half 3.’
We were so relieved she was here safely, and couldn’t believe the rolls she had. Ava was only 7lbs 11 ounces and Mabel was 9lbs 12 ounces which explained why I found the pushing a lot more painful! I felt like I could breath again and as it always does, the pain was immediately forgotten about. We soaked her in on our own for about half an hour before I FaceTimed my mum and Ava as I knew how worried she’d been. I couldn’t wait to get home to see Ava, I wanted her to be the first one to come and visit. I asked if I could go home today and was told yes but only once the dr has checked over Mabel. In regards to the bleeding I was having, we still aren’t 100% sure what it was, they think it was probably something to do with my placenta but I guess we will never know for sure. We were discharged about 11pm that night and as we walked back to the car together the hospital was deserted. It was like a ghost town. It was then that I suddenly realised how scary all of this was.
With my mind all over the place and being in labour, I hadn’t really paid any attention to what was going on in the hospital before. All the midwives were wearing masks, you were stopped by a security guard before entering the hospital asking to show him your appointment letter. I just sobbed something at him and pointed at my bump and he just let me through. But I hadn’t noticed how much it was like a ghost town. A lot of you who are due soon have been asking me what it was like, and yes it’s not ideal. It’s awful not being able to have visitors or your mum there with you too. It’s awful you can’t really see your midwives face cause she’s wearing a big mask and protective gear. But I never felt threatened or scared by it. They were so attentive and made me feel really safe. I think giving birth in the middle of a global pandemic is the easiest part. The hardest is having no home visits from your midwife. Thankfully Mabel was my second so I am a little more calm a bit things, I know what to expect more and it all feels a bit more natural. But I’ve only received phone calls apart from when I had to go to a clinic to get Mabels heel prick, which was a bit of an ordeal for me as again I had to go on my own and it’s rather hard to carry a baby in a car seat when you’re still recovering.
I hope I haven’t worried any of you too much, if it’s any help it hasn’t been anywhere near as bad as I expected. It’s just hard not being able to see family and show your gorgeous baby off but the time will come. For now, keep safe, focus on yourself and your baby. Keep healthy for them and let’s all hope this blows over quickly. If you have any questions or there’s something I haven’t covered please feel free to message me. Or if you’re just struggling with a newborn or being pregnant during this time please message too – I understand completely how you feel.
Thank you for all your lovely messages you send about Mabel. One good thing about having a newborn in a lockdown is there’s really no pressure to get up and do things. You can soak your baby in and have them all to yourself and not feel guilty.
Thank you for reading,
Love Lucy x