I was woken at 6a.m. and asked to go downstairs to the 2nd floor LDR. When I got there, they put me on an I.V. as I hadn’t been allowed to eat or drink since 8p.m. the night before. Not eating was fine, but not drinking had been really difficult! I lay there on the delivery table for about another hour before the doctor finally came ready to give me the epidural. I had to lie on my left side and curl up into as tight a ball as possible, given the circumstances. The nurse held me on the other side, and the doctor put iodine on my back. Just before he put the needle in, he said, “itai desu yo”, which basically means, “This is going to hurt”..just what you want to hear before someone sticks a huge needle in your spine, although marginally better than the classic, “just a little scratch” that you hear in most hospitals in the U.K. It always makes me imagine that they are going to drag the needle through your flesh..
Anyway, he put the needle in, which really hurt, but fortunately, the nurse holding me talked the whole time. I don’t remember exactly what she said, but it was something like, “yes, I know it hurts and you have to overcome it, if you try hard then it’s going to be ok.”, which was surprisingly helpful. The pain was over in about a minute, so it wasn’t really as bad as I thought it might be. They then taped the tube from the entrance point to the base of my neck, where there was an attachment for them to inject pain medication as needed.
I felt a vague tingling feeling in my legs. A little bit like the start of pins and needles. About five minutes later, they came to give me the induction drug by I.V. and tested to see if the epidural was working. First, they put a piece of wet cotton on my arm, and then to my stomach. The parts that were numbing didn’t feel cold when the doctor put the cotton wool on them, so most of my stomach was numb at this point, but it was a walking epidural, so basically, I could move around to go to the loo anytime I wanted. It was a bit of a pain though, to be honest, as they had to take off the monitor pads on my stomach, unplug the I.V. and take off the automatic blood pressure band around my arm. Luckily I didn’t really need to go the loo that much because I hadn’t eaten or drank anything, although the fluid was still going around my body.
My contractions slowly got stronger, but one of the midwives told me that usually, it takes a couple of days for the induction/epidural combination to lead to active labour and that in her mind, the likelihood that it would happen today was about 50% That made me feel a bit crappy.
Yusuke arrived at about 9a.m. and we pretty much spent our time waiting and napping (although I was a bit too excited to do much napping) and eating ice chips. Yusuke’s sister came to bring him food every so often, which was terrible for me, as I was sooooooooo hungry at this point.
It’s hard for me to remember, but at one stage, the baby’s heartbeat started to slow down and my contractions started to come really fast although I was only 3cm dilated, so they decided (at around 4p.m., I think) that they would stop the induction drug. They said if I went into labour by myself during the night, because I had the epidural all ready to go, it would be no problem, but they didn’t think that would happen anyway. Finally they let me eat dinner, which was yummy fortunately. I think it was chinese chicken, but I can’t remember all that well. It was the best meal I had ever had at that point…
As the night went on, my contractions progressed. There were a few times when it took a long time to get pain relief, because the midwives always had to ask the doctor for permission, but he was really busy that night, so I got to experience contractions when they were at their strongest. Although I tried not to panic, it was quite hard nearer the end. They gave me oxygen a couple of times – not for me, but for the baby when her heartrate was slow. They checked me periodically and at 11p.m., I was dilated 8cm and my waters broke. Everyone was quite shocked that it wouldn’t be tomorrow after all. They agreed, finally, to put my pain relief on a pump, so I would be totally numb until after I gave birth. This was the best news I’d ever heard.
At around 12:40, the baby’s heartrate slowed down again, and suddenly everyone seemed to be rushing around. I was 10cm dilated now. The midwife came in and the doctor, and suddenly my own doctor came in (who I later found out had been on the way home and had come back when he heard I was about to give birth). They said that they had to get the baby out now as she was in distress, which was very frightening. The doctor said that he would have to use forceps, and then after chatting a little with the midwife, he said that he would use a vacuum cup instead. This was better, because when he’d held up the forceps, I couldn’t get over how big they looked. They told me to tell them when I felt contractions. At this point, there was a pump attached to my epidural, which provided constant pain relief and I felt almost nothing, but could feel when the contractions came (but without pain). I think I pushed about three or four times. I could feel some rummaging around with the vacuum cup, but had no idea where the baby was at this point. I tried as hard as I could and was surprised at how easy it was in comparison. The baby was born at 1a.m. on the dot after about 10-15 minutes. I couldn’t quite believe it when they held her up for me to see. She was bright purple, and had a lump on her head where the vacuum cup had been, but they said that would go down gradually.
They cut the cord and laid her on my stomach for “kangaroo care”, where she could hear my heartbeat. She didn’t cry after that at all. I was so relieved that it was all over. The doctor stitched me up while my own doctor and Yusuke looked at my placenta and were talking about how it looked like liver…yuk..They put a part of the umbilical cord in a box and gave it to us, which I thought was a bit weird. Apparently, mothers give it to their children when they’re older to show how they were attached to each other.
After staying in the LDR for about four hours, I was able to go back up to my room. Unfortunately it was about 5a.m., so I slept for only half an hour or so before the floor was really noisy again.