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Otto's birth story

 

Ok, so apologies in advance as this is a long one, but also congrats if you make it all the way to the end!!

Otto Midnight was born at 2:50am on Wednesday 27th of January 2021. I woke up on the Monday at 1am with wet pjs, you expect a big gush like the movies, but i honestly thought i’d maybe just wet myself a little.

After a quick change of my jammies (luckily the bed was dry, but i did have a maternity pad under the sheet from about 36 weeks just incase and would highly recommend doing this just in case you do get the big gush)

I got back into bed because part of me didn’t believe it could be my waters, even though the day before i had a sweep (not something i was going to do but i’d been told if the baby hadn’t arrived by Friday i would be induced and i really didn’t want that - lol but as you'll see, it happened anyway!) I honestly regret the sweep, it was so painful thanks to a tilted cervix and i think it brought on my waters breaking early when my body wasn’t ready - hence the reason i had the labour i did. (Obviously i’m no medical expert though).

Waiting for my sweep

A few days before O was born - waiting for my sweep! 

I woke again around 5am with some cramps and couldn’t get back to sleep so sat snuggled on the sofa watching netflix until 7am when i decided to call the maternity unit, my husband was still sleeping so i decided to wake him up as the unit said to arrive for 9am.

We headed to the maternity unit and because of covid he had to wait in the car, i went in to get checked and it took a while to be seen. The midwives put me on the machine to check the babies heart beat etc before they then checked for my waters.

Checking your waters has broken is like a mix between having a smear and doing a pregnancy test, they insert the test but have to hold it there for a few minutes (i think it was like 4.. which honestly goes SO slow when someone’s holding a stick inside of you!! anyway, it came back positive that my waters had gone so I waited around to see the consultant who did another check on the baby and asked me to come back 24 hours after my waters had broken if nothing had progressed. I finally arrived home around just before lunch and basically sat and bounced on my ball for the entire day to get labour going.

 

I had the odd pain but nothing consistent so at around 8pm i started to pack, shower and wash my hair etc (better to be fresh as i didn’t know how long i would be in hospital for, turns out this was a great decision!) before we headed off to the unit around 11pm.

We arrived and were given our own room, which was a complete surprise. Of course being in a national lockdown i expected my husband to be sent home as i’d read that they can only join you in established labour. However the midwife confirmed he could stay or come and go until the baby was born, which was a great surprise and really put me at ease, i must say that was the one concern i had towards the end of my pregnancy and another reason i was dreading being induced.

waiting for labour

After a few checks including how dilated I was (only 0.5cm) and having the cannula inserted i was told to get some sleep as the consultants would be back around 7am to induce me. I was being induced because my labour had not established and your at risk of infection once your waters have broken.

I attempted to sleep from 3am which is when i was left by the midwife and my husband Jack but i had some contractions that woke me around 5 and i was pacing around the room breathing through them.

Around 7am the nurse brought in 3 pieces of toast, I was told to eat up because this was the last meal i was having until the baby was born 😳 little did she know that the catering lady had just popped in and i’d placed an order for lunch and dinner - both of which contained sticky toffee pudding for desert, absolutely gutted that the cleaner took these away when i was in theatre, the midwives put them on the window cill for me as a post birth meal 😂!

 

Anyway, consultants finally arrived and i was put on the hormone drip as well as being given antibiotics (for any potential infection) every 4 hours via a drip too. The hormone drip makes labour intensify very quickly and they say it’s more painful than a natural labour too. it’s very much a game of turning it up or down depending on how well you are labouring, so they slowly increased and then reduced to find the right balance.

It was pretty constant by this point, i was just breathing through all of the pain and my husband had arrived around 11am (oh i forgot to mention he was on dog duty so had left around 3am to see to the dog in the morning before our friends took over).

 

He came through the door with a bag full of snacks (for himself as i'm not allowed to eat at this point remember) along with my 4 pack of lucozade recommended by the midwife. I’ve never been a fan of lucozade but i don’t think i could have got through the labour without it. It was the only thing i was allowed to drink apart from water.

 

Anyway, things slowly intensified and the midwives tag teamed in the room as we were being constantly monitored. I continued to breathe through the pain, they kept asking me if i wanted gas and air but my loose birth plan was to really limit pain meds, it kind of annoyed me that they kept asking because i was just trying to go as long as possible without.

They were really raking up the hormones by this point and we were on 5 contractions in 10 mins so i started to use gas and air.. it mainly helped as something to concentrate on with each contractions and i had my husband rubbing my lower back too which is where all the pain was. I spent the majority of my labour stood up whilst leaning over the bed rocking from side to side, as this was the most comfortable position for my hips/ back

labour

The worst part i felt with labour was being limited to the bed, i had hormones in one arm, a CCG machine around the bump and then eventually a clip on O’s head which dangled between my legs. Even a trip 10 steps to the loo was difficult with the wires and machines following behind!

I had another internal examination around 7pm and the midwives suggested pethidine, something i felt really strongly against actually after reading it goes into the babies system, but they suggested that it would allow me to rest for an hour and get my energy back but also might make me relax and my body to get to the 5cm they were hoping for in the next 4 hours. I’d had only a few hours sleep in the 24 hours and as the baby wouldn’t arrive within the next few hours we felt it was a good decision as it should be out of his system by then. I really wanted to keep my body drug free during my labour, i'm not one for taking meds with a headache or whatever, but i felt during my labour that the midwives who do this day in/day out knew best and so i let them guide me and my decision. 

 

We had loosely been told that the consultants would expect 5cm by 10pm otherwise there would be talk of a c section, which again i was really against having watched one born every minute for the last 10 years! I really wanted a water birth, with little to no pain meds.. i wanted to pull my baby out of me like i’d seen kourtney kardashian do all those years ago on keeping up with the kardashians. But my dreams had shattered the moment my waters broke and my body had decided it wasn’t actually ready.

 

Honestly the worst thing is when you’ve been contracting and get told your not even dilating, it’s frustrating because the pain feels like your body is doing it’s job but then it’s not.

Anyway, I went the pethidine, it was the best thing for me as i slept for a solid hour, it knocked me out and i remember i’d woke up to a text from a friend asking for updates and i sent her a selfie with the word ‘DRUGS’ 😂 i felt as high as a kite and i looked it on the photo too!!

 

I woke up and continued on the gas for a little while before i had this sudden pain in my hips, it’s so hard to describe but i couldn’t shift this pain, no matter how i sat, lay, stood or moved around. It felt like my hips were being ripped in two. We later found out that although my waters had gone there was still a large amount of fluid blocking Otto's head. (we had also been told at our final scan that he had a large head but took that with a pinch of salt!).

Even my favourite labouring position wasn’t working, the pain was the worst i’d felt and i went through that ‘i can’t do this, make it stop’ sobbing to the midwives. Otto's head was deep inside my pelvis but it almost felt like he was stuck and couldn't go any further. 

We agreed with the midwives that an epidural would be best and before i knew it i was being told to keep still whilst they inserted it in my back, i was terrified of moving but actually it didn’t even hurt, i don’t even think i felt it enter my back!

That was it, a few minutes and then pain had all gone. I was happily chatting away to my midwives when suddenly the pain reappeared in my left side. ‘a failed epidural’ - a what now?!

Nobody warned me that this was even a thing, i’d never heard of it before and so i’d gone from ok this is fine i can do this now to WHAT IS THIS PAIN, WHY IS IT COMING BACK! 

The anesthetist was called back and confirmed it, they could reinsert or we could just talk through our other options because they felt i hadn’t progressed enough anyway and by this point i was in so much pain, it honestly felt like my baby was stuck between my pelvis and the teams came in to talk to me about the c section but i remember the dr saying i’m going to tell you some important info quickly now and then rush you in and we’ll talk through the rest once the spinal block is in. i think he knew i couldn’t concentrate as i was still contracting every 2 minutes with around 30 seconds in between.

A few minutes later I was being ushered out of my room ‘theatre is just down there”, but i was there like i can’t walk i need a wheelchair 😂 my husband persuaded me to walk (definitely more of a waddle) with my wires dangling between my legs.


In theatre they prepared me for my spinal which again i don’t even think i felt and i was laid down whilst they explained what would happen. The consultant was telling me they would spray a cold spray around my body to make sure i couldn’t feel it, i felt so nervous about feeling it that she was saying ‘can you feel the cold spray and i kept saying YES’ this went on about 10 sprays.. yes i could feel the spray i kept saying, until eventually she was like LISTEN.. is it cold?! when i look back i laugh, i could feel the spray yes, but no i couldn’t feel the cold! But she had threatened that id have to be put to sleep if i could feel it so think really carefully. My husband was getting frustrated with me at this point too! 

 

They then stand next to you and kind of explain the process and what’s going to  happen, so i was just looking at her with a concerned face saying things like ‘pulling?’, ‘now it’s pushing?’ whatever i felt i was saying it so she could tell me everything was fine. It made me feel better and i honestly wish i’d been able to talk to her after and thank her.

 

Once O was being pulled out and they dropped the curtain i couldn’t believe he was finally here, it still feels like a bit of a blur!

c-section birth operating theatre

I said i wanted him straight on skin to skin but the midwife said she would just give him a quick wipe, this felt like so long and i was shouting out for them to bring him over. Jack had followed her at this point and i didn’t realise but they were cutting his cord. I’m actually still really disappointed that they didn’t listen to me, he was fine and in no need of being seen to straight away. If i was to have another C section again i would make this very clear!

newborn baby

Finally after what felt like forever (but probably wasn’t even that long) she brought him over and we had our skin to skin, i reluctantly handed him to jack knowing it was only fair 😂 but i really didn’t want to. It was a good job i did anyway because i immediately started throwing up and shivering so much (the shivering is a side effect of the drugs i believe, and my husband later told me that when i was throwing up they said something about being near my stomach (i guess during the sewing up part 🤢) i felt terrible and so weak at this point, turns out i lost a lot of blood.. again something i didn’t find out until i was heading home the following day, and it wasn’t until i got home and the midwife visited that she said it was 1200ml!

Finally i stopped being sick and had O back so that we could be wheeled into a recovery room, i didn’t realise we wouldn’t be going back to our room and a cleaner had picked up all of our belongings and dumped them in recovery. It also meant that i didn’t get my promised sticky toffee pudding too!

 

I was in and out of it, whilst holding O i kept nodding off and waking back up and then just like that Jack was off, he was being kicked out at 6am and by 5.30 i told him to just go because we both kept falling asleep.

newborn breastfeeding

The bags were a completely organised and cluttered mess thanks for the cleaner, but luckily i’d bagged O’s clothes and marked sizes so the midwife could find them out later that morning, she dressed him for me which i actually really wanted to do myself but i was so weak i could barely lift my own arms.

 

I was eventually wheeled down to maternity and within probably 15 mins a nurse was telling me to get out of bed and trying to drag me to the loo “the sooner you go the sooner your catheter can come out” before we even got to the corridor i could feel my legs going, i told her i was feeling dizzy and couldn’t make it so she wheeled me back. I was told to rest a little more and later when talking to another midwife i was told i should have been given more time! annoying really that they rushed me because it wore me out and again i was in a daze for hours.

 

My birth story sounds traumatic but honestly i have no trauma, a few regrets with not saying things i would have liked but in the moment of pain/ tiredness and dizziness you don’t even think of those things.

 

Eventually my catheter came out and i was hobbling around, i couldn’t even stand up straight because of the pain of my stomach, it really is a lot, had it not been covid and jack not being allowed to stay/ or even visit i don’t think i would have rushed myself, but i wanted to get home for the sake of him - i didn’t want him to miss anymore time with Otto, so i wanted to make sure they would discharge me the following day which they did.

Heading home - we all decided to wear stripes for the special day haha

 

Upon being discharged i was given more pain meds to take every 4 hours  but the nurse said after 3 days to stop as they would be in my milk and can be addictive for the baby, i was disappointed i hadn’t been told this before i was given them actually, as i probably wouldn’t have taken them. I was a little concerned so she told me to do the classic ibuprofen and paracetamol instead which i did (when i remembered/needed them) 

pet dog meeting newborn baby

 

Otto meeting Chubby his big brother for the first time

 

The worst part about surgery is how helpless you feel afterwards, i couldn’t get out of bed without being in pain and i found this very frustrating, it felt like my stomach was being ripped open every time i tried to sit up, you find your own rhythm but i found worming my way to bottom of the bed and gradually pulling myself onto my side and up was best 😂

 

After 2 days my wound patch came off, honestly i couldn’t believe it when i looked in the mirror.. apart from some swelling it just looked like a pen mark. i expected blood and goo and scabs but it was nothing in comparison. i spent a few days feeling dizzy, i probably didn’t feel right until the Monday. I’d tried to read some cards at one point and felt so dizzy the words just blended into one.

 

I felt recovered enough when O was 5 days old to take a trip to the park, it was a slow one and i felt out of breath and tired so quickly, with a little bit of stomach pain too (more like a stitch so not too bad).

 

Things I wish i’d been told that you may want to know!

- Don’t feel pressured into a sweep, it won't necessarily save you from an induction!

- Epidurals are nothing compared to the labour pain and really not scary at all.

- Make sure you’re clear before your c-section that the baby should come straight to you if that's what you want.

- Ask the midwives to help you organise your belongings a little so everything’s to hand as you’ll be stuck in bed, unless your partners allowed to stay longer then they can put everything you need to hand.

- You have to inject yourself in your leg for 2 weeks after your operation, which i had no idea about (it's to prevent blood clots!). The thought of it made me feel sick, but luckily my husband injects himself daily as he has type 1 diabetes, so he played Dr for 2 weeks injecting me every evening. 

- You're supposed to wear compression socks for 6 weeks after the surgery. I sent jack out to buy a couple of pairs because the hospital just give you one pair and so after the first day and whilst still in hospital i felt gross wearing the same pair of socks. Luckily i was discharged that afternoon so could change them as soon as i got home. Honestly though, i probably wore them for about a week or so. 

 

 

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