I wanted to share my experience.
Baby Hannah, four weeks today. Where has that gone! I still remember sitting at the Antenatal ward at the hospital waiting for room in the delivery suite to get my induction underway. When I look back now, it seems such a long time ago already.
I have to be honest and say that I had a good pregnancy. I felt tired at times especially in the beginning, it passed through with no sickness, no complications and a great support from my partner. I was managing to go to work full time and still attend to my horse twice a day. I stopped riding when we confirmed I was pregnant around 12 weeks.
When I say I had no complications, one of the things I heard many times in midwife appointments, consultant appointments and scans etc in the early days was, because of your age, I mean I'm not that old! October I turned 39, and I believe I was healthy and fitter and many of those I meet through my pregnancy. However all my tests came back low risk.
Little Hannah is my first baby and she arrived rather quickly.
I wanted to do the birth in the midwife unit. Due to "my age" they had always advised to be there at least.
I'd planned to do the hypnobirthing I'd been practicing and then gas and air. I've also been to the positive birth group in Fernhurst.
I came out with the gestational diabetes about 8 weeks off my due date. I wasn't happy about being induced, she was on size, following the line on the charts up the middle. But after speaking to them at the 38 week mark and scan I understood why they wanted to. As it was for her benefit and hopefully it would help being earlier with her maintaining her own levels I was happy. Although I was bouncing on my ball every day to try and bring it on.
I was taking two metformin tablets a day and 6 units of insulin at night. They said I couldn't use mlu, as I might need the drips and be on the sliding scale. I was also managing mine by diet. It was very hard but I think that helped too.
When we got there the consultant said that they delivery suite wasn't much different to the mlu, the only difference is some rooms don't have a big bath to use. You have your midwife just the same but the registrar/consultant is there to help. However they don't come in the room once it all starts it's just you, your birth partner and the midwife. Just like the mlu. The consultant will only come in if needed. If the midwife wants to speak to them about you she will leave the room and see them outside.
This changed my birth plan, they said I was now consultant lead so couldn't do the MLU and to be prepared for drips etc in the birth to control it along with being induced at 39 weeks.
I did feel at this point overwhelmed and disappointed. I know your birth plan can change and it is always best to have back up plans.
I was attending classes at Surrey for birth and beyond and Claire the midwife running them was brilliant.
I have to say from that point all the midwives and consultants I came into contact with were brilliant. They explained everything and answered all my questions.
I went in to be induced on the Wednesday, the nerves hit, they were all so reassuring. They had monitored my blood sugar and agreed with me that I didn't need to have a drip so we negotiated there!
We sat and spoke about what they wanted to do and what I wanted.
We agreed together not to have a pessary and as I was already 2cm dilated. I'd have a sweep and then break my waters. However, 3 sets of twins decided to arrive on the Wednesday so I needed to wait. I stayed in overnight, pulled the curtains, turned on the ipad and watched a couple of films till I fell asleep. I’ve never been good at staying in one place for long so at this point 12 hrs. in I had to watch something. My partner had gone home to sleep, if they aren’t needed let them get some sleep, you’re going to need to them awake and alert!
Thursday morning came round, and at 6 am so did the midwives with their obs checks. I was just waiting for breakfast!
Everything was good so when I space came up I was moved along to the delivery suites. After having her monitored for while the midwife said they would break my waters, see how that goes and then put me on the syntocin drip to help it along.
12:15 I had my waters broken, I sat and watched Home and Away on my ipad at 13:15, I had a few cramps but thought that was just where I had been poked with what resembled a fish hook!! Don’t let this put you off, it didn’t really hurt, just a strange sensation. About 2pm I started to really cramp, I had agreed with them to do the oxytocin drip. It gradually got more intense and I sat on the ball doing my breathing, I had my eyes shut and blocked out everything going on around me, from this point my partner was eyes, ears and anything else I needed. Now Claire or I guess any other midwife will tell you about the transition phase, where you have a rush and decide you can’t do it. It wasn’t till after the birth we realised when I had this, although it was laughed at as I particularly calm about it. It was about 3:30 I opened my eyes and said "I think if it I going to get worse than this I want the gas and air". I was shaking and once the moment had passed and I was on gas and air, things calmed abit for me. The midwife was with us the whole time but didn't speak unless needed and just supported if I needed anything. My partner felt completely reassured by her,
I then announced that I needed to push, my partner said that the midwife and at the time the consultant was in viewing the heart monitor, just looked at each other and said no not yet it’s too soon. However I had no control over what was happening; my body was just doing it. They checked and yes there she was, we got pretty much there and she got stuck, in my zoned out state my partner knew what I wanted and agreed to help if needed. I had a ventose, and agreed to a cut but not on the outside.
The consultant and midwife did what they needed to and the midwife was there with me just quietly telling me when to push to help.
5:23 she came out.
The midwife put us skin to skin, my partner could support her on me whilst the rest of the process happened and I had some stitches done.
This maybe more than you needed, but my whole process changed, it was last minute, but the midwife, consultant and support after the birth till I left the next evening could not have been better.
I know that having to change plans before you go in or even last minute can be overwhelming and you don’t always know what is best but my experience of the maternity unit was calm, reassuring, and supportive and still is now we are home. I've rung the ward a couple of times since being home and they always make time to speak to you.
We agreed everything I wanted or didn't want before it happened and even though I was in my own world I knew what they were doing.
I had a room for afterwards, all the money from the rooms goes back into the unit and not to any other part of the hospital.
The midwifes did checks through the night with me, my partner went home to sleep; they helped me breast feed and sat with me to chat if I needed it.
The room I had had a shower aswell which was really good to use the next day. I was in there from the birth on Thursday pm to leaving to go home on Friday at 8pm.
I can say, be prepared, don’t read to many books or watch some of the birth programmes on tele. Plan for your birth; be prepared to have a backup plan. Put your trust in your partner to be there and support you through the birth.
Use the services of the hospital and the classes run by the team, I cannot recommend them enough. They give you the information and experience you need.