Ok… spoilers alert!!! Please don’t read this if you’re in any way terrified of losing your dignity during childbirth, but just know that it’s going to happen! But also, I promise you, you really won’t care (I know, I know, you don’t believe me, but TRUST me on this!)
Ok, so, I like I’m sure most first time mummies had a list of things that although seemed quite insignificant in the grand scheme of things, I was pretty hung up about, all relating to the wonder of childbirth! I was planning on being a serene hypnobirthing goddess… turns out the universe had other plans for me and literally NOTHING in my (somewhat vague) birthing plan went as expected. So here it is, my warts and all account of my birthing experience! Seriously ladies, each one is so different, however you end up getting your bundle of joy out you are AMAZING!!! (I keep repeating this to my husband in the hope that the experience hasn’t scarred him too much to stop us having a second!)
Just some background before I launch in to my experience – I was planning a vagina hypnobirth. What happened was 4 weeks before due date I was told my baby girl had stopped growing and so they would need to induce me. Everything I’d planned pretty much went to sh*t from there 😂
1. VAGINAL EXAMINATIONS – Everyone is scared of the pushing right… well, I didn’t get to that but so can’t actually vouch for it, and while I’m sure it stings like a motherfuck*er, I can hand on heart say that had I have had the “natural” birth I wanted I genuinely don’t think this would have been the worst bit! When my smiling midwife told me she was going to take me to examine me, I had no fear. Like a routine vaginal exam… how bad could it be right? And as she explained that she was just going to pop two fingers in and have a feel as to what was going on, and not to worry as she’d use some lubricant… I’ll be honest, I thought I had this in the bag. Two fingers. With lube. Easy peasy. Little did I know my lovely midwife was obviously hiding her Edward scissor hand fingers from me. Jesus Christ I have never felt pain like it!! Now, I have been told that this doesn’t hurt for everyone, but for me it was excruciating! I know these exams aren’t for pleasure, but let me tell you, I had no idea two fingers were capable of such pain!!! When I first went in to hospital I told my hubby and my mum that they were to leave the room for all these exams… by the last one I’d gone past caring. And it was just after the last one, when the midwife removed her fingers that my body graced us all with a massive fanny fart. I’m not sure if my protests that it wasn’t a regular fart made it better or worse to be honest…
2. INDUCTION – it’s not for everyone!! So on the Monday I went in to hospital to be induced. I was a bit apprehensive about the whole thing as I’d so wanted a “natural” birth, but with my baby girl’s best interests at heart of course I was happy to go with the safest option to get her out. When I got there I was told that I’d be given a propess pessary – it’s like a teeny tiny flat tampon that they insert and let the drugs work their magic. Apparently the process generally takes 24 hours to works as it’s a “slow release” method – unlike the drip induction which I’d read was much stronger (and quite frankly terrified me!). So in the propess went (courtesy of midwife scissor hands) and then I had a conversation with my husband to say he may as well go home and get a good nights sleep as it had been explained that nothing was likely to happen for 24 hours. Took me about 2 hours to retract this statement. Turns out I am hypersensitive to the propess. I went from nothing to ridiculously strong contractions a minute apart really quickly. It was NOT enjoyable!!! When I begged the midwife for pain relief she told me that this was “just like period pain” and to go and have a bath. Feeling like a massive wimp I did that, needless to say the bath didn’t help! So when I went back and begged her to examine me to see if I was dilating at all she told me they wouldn’t be doing that, however they would “pop me on the monitor” to look at baby’s heartbeat and my uterus activity. After an hour she returned to look at my results, glanced at them, took a second glance and then declared “oh wow, you are having some strong pains aren’t you, those contractions are really quite close together, we’ll need to remove the propess as it’s distressing baby”. So out came the propess (this time I was armed with gas and air for the process) and I was told that I was 2cm dilated, still too far off to have my waters broken. Few hours later, no further dilated, the consultant came to see me and told me that he would be attempting to break my waters and then putting me on the dreaded drip!!! However this time they also told me that because I was so sensitive they’d also be giving me an epidural. The drip… that I was so scared of, that was supposed to be so much stronger than the propess… yeah, it pretty much stopped my contractions! Literally had the opposite effect as to what it’s supposed to. I took no comfort in the fact that I am apparently some kind of medical marvel 🤦🏻♀️🤷🏻♀️
3. Breaking the waters. Ok so by this point a grand total of 3 midwives had “popped two fingers” inside me and had a good rummage about. For someone who has avoided my smear tests (I know I’m an idiot) this wasn’t the best day I’d ever had. Then the Male consultant rocks up… with about 10 students… and informs them that he’s now going to break my waters. The look of horror on my face prompted him to reassure me that they wouldn’t ALL be staying to watch this. Frog position assumed… in he goes with a plastic stick with a hook on the end, has a rummage about and announces that he will be able to break my waters before I feel like I’ve just wet myself. Now, you read online that your waters breaking is NOT like it is on the TV, and it’s usually more of a trickle than a gush, let me tell you, when I stood up after, it was like Niagra Falls had just come out of me. Beautiful.
4. EPIDURAL – the wonder drug! This wasn’t in my birthing plan at all!!! I wanted the gas and air (got to be some perks right?!) but that was about it. However you roll with the punches and so by the time it came to me having the epidural I honestly couldn’t have cared less about my natural birthing plan. For me, the epidural was every bit as miraculous as you hear it can be. You can still feel what’s going on, but without the pain. The glamorous bits that go with it however… compression stockings (so sexy) are wrestled in to you at this point and then as the drug makes you numb the midwife has to come and check you every so often for pressure sores (because you can’t move) these checks involve lifting your feet to check your heels, and the extremely dignified check of rolling you on to your side to check there are no sores forming on your bum. Seriously, by this point I was starting to question what I’d got myself in to!!!
5. C SECTION. In keeping with everything going wrong I didn’t dilated any further. I’d been in the hospital nearly 48 hours, had no sleep, experienced end of labour contractions (without actually being in labour) had numerous people rummage about in my vagina, and was still no further forward. At this point I was told that as my waters had been broken so long and there was risk of infection, I’d be best off having a section. At this point, do you know what I thought? Genuinely, one of my first thoughts… “well, at least I’m not going to poo myself while I’m pushing, I may just retain a tiny shred of dignity”. Off to the operating theatre I went, epidural was topped up, checked we’re good to go and right before they cut me open the surgeon says to me – “oh, just to let you know, when we’re finished we’ll be popping a suppository in your anus” I meannnnn… I don’t know if they do this for shits and giggles or what, but they definitely don’t like to leave dignity in tact. Oh, and just to make everything more fun, after they’re done, to get you on to your ward bed, they literally tilt the operating bed and roll your paralysed naked exposed ass on to the other bed!
6. AFTER CARE – as if all this wasn’t enough. The sentence that finished my dignity off was uttered by one of my after care midwives who came to check on my wound. No matter how many people have rummaged in your vagina, induced fanny farts, mopped up your waters, or stuck suppositories up your ass… a sentence you do NOT want to hear is “can you just lift your belly up so I can examine your wound. Just a little bit more please” Seriously. FML.
And THAT is how dignified childbirth was for me!!! It truly is a beautiful thing 😂😂😂😂
(but seriously you honestly won’t care anywhere near as much as you think you will about all this at the time!) Just remember – you grew a human. You rock! xxx