As an IVF pregnancy, you have the option to be induced on your due date if you want.
Because I was DONE being pregnant (I loved it, hope I can do it again, and am forever grateful to have ever been pregnant, but was +5 stone, fat, HOT and sweaty: done!) plus the issues that had crept up with my heart, the long, hottest summer in 40-bloody-years and the fact I strongly suspected that I’d probably go the full 12 days overdue and still end up being induced anyway, just fatter, hotter and more fed up and impatient to meet our baby, (I feel like this is backed up by the fact that the first and only time Cameron stuck his foot in my ribs was in labour – as if he was trying to hook himself in!!) I took the induction. So, on Thursday August 30th, off we trotted to Musgrove maternity unit’s Fern Ward to be induced.
Induction can take a while. It’s started by placing a 24-hour pessary inside your vagina to get things going. If that fails, you try a 6 hour pessary, and another if that still fails. If all three pessaries fail to kick start labour, you’re popped on an intravenous drip which it would seem, can’t fail.. I fully expected nothing to work and to be in it for the long haul.. so packed a full 6 books to read throughout the wait…!
As it happened, “mild”, period pain style contractions started within an hour of the first pessary going in. I was given/offered paracetamol and oramorph (morphine) to help with the pain but I eventually realised they were doing buggar all and the best thing for me was heat on that area. Musgrove were amazing and sent me off to Bracken Birthing centre at one point so I could have a hot bath that night, and then my mother in law kindly brought over a hot water bottle, which did the trick more than anything – though I did accidentally burn myself slightly, somehow!
After that positive start, nothing more really happened, so the next day, at 3cm dilated, I was given the 6 hour pessary. For some reason, getting this in was really quite painful, and I kept pushing myself away from the midwife, so was told that if it failed, rather than trying the second 6 hour pessary, I’d go straight to the drip.
Fortunately, this wasn’t necessary!
Reasonably quickly, the contractions ramped up a gear, and although I could still function, I could feel things kicking along a bit now. I decided a walk to M&S and back would do me good with helping to shift things along (you’re encouraged to wonder round the hospital grounds in between monitoring to get things going, and had been walking sideways up and down the stairs of the multi storey the night before!), so off we went. Those of you that know Musgrove, will know that the maternity units are NOT particularly far from the M&S that you spend your life savings on whilst at the hospital. A 5 minute walk maybe… this walk took at least 20 minutes for me to get there. We were stop starting the whole way and bending over when a contraction was slightly longer. There is no way I could have done that walk without James because he was my leaning post!
I’m M&S we stocked up on my latest craving of their apple juice, as well as some other flavoured waters etc, and James grabbed a salad for lunch. Evidently, we couldn’t then carry all this and stop and support me through contractions, so we sat down so James could eat his lunch, before loading his pockets up with all the drinks we’d purchased and him half carrying me back to the maternity ward. My plan had been to pop to the loo and then lie down and try and get some sleep, as I’d got barely any the night before (standard Karen!)…
Well; the baby wasn’t up for that. The baby had decided that if we were going to force it out, then Mummy was not having any more sleep from then on in. As I stood up to pop to the loo, something trickled down my legs… I’d either wet myself, or my waters had broken, and it turned out, with a slight pink tinge, it was indeed my waters.
James will tell you a different story from here on in… and his is more than likely more accurate, but, contractions suddenly ramped right up on the pain intensity scale, and I wanted an epidural right there right then! However, it felt to me like I waited at least 5 hours for this, writhing around in pain, waiting because the midwives were helping other patients/anaesthetists were in surgery etc etc. James says it was about 5 minutes. I still dispute this! However, whenever-it-was, I was plopped in a wheelchair. By this point, I had stripped off and was wearing just a sports bra… 4 weeks post-wax 🙈… I imagine it wasn’t a pretty sight, but I honest to god didn’t care, I wanted the pain gone and the baby out, but my midwife kindly tried to wrap my lower half in a blanket…. which was wasted as my waters then completely exploded before they’d even started wheeling me over to labour ward!
On labour ward, as expected, our midwife wanted to check how dilated I was, but I was so uncomfortable I couldn’t stay still, and frankly, gas and air was doing absolutely sod all! So they said they’d check this after the epidural was in place. I was lucky in this sense, because once the epidural was in place, I was 10cm dilated – I’d probably not have gotten the epidural that late if they’d been able to check before!!
So, naturally it was then time to start pushing. For those that have never given birth before, pushing is weird… a baby comes out of your vagina yet you seem to need to push more from your backside! Thankfully, we had really great midwives who really helped with how to/where to feel you are pushing, otherwise, I’m not sure I’d have ever gotten anywhere with it!
After a while, it became apparent that I was still in some amount of pain, which is when we then discovered that the epidural had only worked to numb one side of my body, the other I could feel. At the same time it appeared the baby and I would need some further help, so off we went down to theatre, epidural was pulled out and a spinal block was given instead, because of forcep delivery didn’t work, I’d need an emergency c-section. I don’t remember a lot – although the gas and air did nothing for the pain, it did seem to succeed in making me completely out of it – I do remember that I was determined not to have a c-section after everything! The spinal block numbed me from my chest to my legs, and with the help of some forceps, with another 2-3 pushes a gorgeous, bouncing baby boy arrived!
I can tell you, it is extremely strange watching someone else push compression socks up your legs when you can feel absolutely nothing!