Last Monday I gave birth to my second little earth angel and couldn’t be happier with our complete little family.
- 5am Monday morning I woke up with slight pains reminiscent of period pain. Not sure if this was the real deal, I pulled out my phone and started timing the ‘feelings’ with my Sprout application.
- 6am Pat wakes up to his alarm for work. I hadn’t woken him up at this stage because I still wasn’t sure if this was showtime or not. By this stage I was pretty sure what was happening roughly every 4mins were contractions. Tell Pat he might have to come home at lunchtime (my plan was to labour at home for as long as possible). He decides to stay home from work.
- 7am I take a leisurely shower and call out to him to press my contraction timer every time I feel them come on. Call my dad in Australia to get my mum’s flight numbers so I can find out when she will be landing into Dubai so I can tell her we won’t be able to pick her up from the airport. Make arrangements with Pat’s buddy to go over to Bahrain to pick mum up at 6pm. Also call a few more family members to update them.
- 8am Pat makes him and Manus breakfast – I don’t feel like anything but Pat insists I have some toast. Then I make sure my bag is packed and sit on my swiss ball for every contraction and practice my breathing. They are still coming around 4-6mins apart and lasting around 40seconds. There is no real change. They are not painful but I know they are there and a little uncomfortable.
- 9am Pat calls my OB/GYN to tell him I am not coming in for my scheduled appointment later in the day as I am already in labour. He laughs and tells Pat he saw me walking last night! And that he will send my file to the labour and delivery unit ready for when I wish to come in.
- 10am contractions are getting a little more painful but not unbearable. Pat decides to go to the supermarket and to a friend’s house to pick up some supplies, while I decide to go for a neighbour hood walk to get things progressing. On my walk I do some more curb walking and find my contractions coming faster (every 2 mins) and more intense.
- 1030am I get home from my walk and call Pat and tell him to ‘get home now!’ as I feel I need to make our way to the hospital
- 11am Pat makes himself and Manus lunch – as when he gets home my contractions have gone back to 4 mins and I am still getting my things together including my birth plan. There isn’t the same feeling of urgency to get to the hospital.
- 1130am I am still not hungry but ask Pat to make me a smoothie (the one I had been dreaming of the night before) Banana Chai -YUM
- 12pm ok it’s time to get moving. Contractions are still 4mins apart but getting more intense. They’re starting to feel painful. I tell Pat it’s time but feel like he is moving in SLOW MOTION. Am getting frustrated with his pace. No one can move quick enough for me. Can’t people read my mind?
- 1230pm say goodbye to my little Manus and leave him with our sitter. He breaks my heart as he is calling out ‘mama’ and crying as I leave him. I know when I see him next he will have a little sister.
- 1245pm we are in the car making the 5 min journey to the hospital when Pat says he forgot the written birth plan. I am in the middle of contracting but sign for him to go home and get it. The last time we had a birth plan but didn’t give it to the midwife until AFTER Manus was born I tell Pat that if this is going to be a long labour like last time I am considering an epidural (which is not in my birth plan). He is supportive.
- 1250pm on our way back to hospital and I know mum has now landed into Dubai where she has a wait of about 4 hours before she boards her flight to Bahrain, so I buzz her and tell her I am in labour and Sean will be picking her up instead. She is excited. I’m contracting again!
- 1pm we rock up to the emergency entrance of the hospital and the security guard takes charge – telling me to get in a wheelchair and directing Pat to the car park. I don’t want to get into the wheelchair (walking helps my contractions and having my knees up is just not comfortable) but I get in until after I check in when a lovely Irish nurse picks me up, I tell her I want to walk and we walk and talk on our way to the assessment area in Labour & Delivery.
- 115pm the midwife on duty in the assessment room is already looking after another patient but directs me to a bed and shows me the gowns. She asks if I am Robyn (the OB/GYN has obviously sent the file as he mentioned) and asks if I think I am in labour. I say “hell yes!”
- 130pm (but feels like an hour later as right now, it feels like everyone is moving in slow motion and I want everyone to pick up the pace.) I am dying to know how far dilated I am as I feel that the pain should be indicative of me being on the homeward stretch. The midwife introduces herself as J and examines me. She says I’m only 4cm along, but baby is still really quite high up. This was exactly how far along I was with Manus and it was another 12 hours of labour till he appeared(no epidural). My mind is ticking.
- 145pm our friend, another staff member, sneaks Pat into my area (no men usually allowed) and I tell him I NEED the epidural, between contractions. J says from the other petitioned area, that my breathing technique is really good. There is NO WAY I am going to last a potentially long labour without relief. He is in full support. It’s decided. Epidural and my birth plan goes out the window.
- 2pm I get moved to my delivery room and am told that the doctor has been called for my epidural. Contractions are not getting closer but they are getting more painful. Pat is coaching me through my breathing, but where the hell is the doctor for my EPIDURAL!?! It’s just Pat and I for a while.
- 4pm finally the doctor has arrived to administer my epidural and I am totally ready for it! The contractions have been getting more intense. Due to it NOT being on our initial birth plan, I am however a little anxious about the possible complications that can arise from an epidural (my reasoning for not having one with Manus) but the doctor and J put me completely at ease answering all my questions (sometimes more than once) including the very low C-section rate at this hospital and my next challenge is for me to stay as still as possible whilst the needle is administered. Pat goes green as he glimpses what he thinks is the needle (it’s huge!), but I don’t notice till afterwards. What he was looking at WAS NOT the needle, we are told.
- 5pm I feel amazing. The epidural has kicked in and J has broken my water to get things moving. She has told me I am contracting but I don’t feel a thing. It feels like I’ve just had my first post pregnancy wine, my legs are feeling a little woozy and I feel like having a little sleep. Pat turns on the TV to watch a movie. J tells us that I’ll be having the baby before she goes home at 7pm but for now I should just wait and rest up.
- 6pm J notices my contractions have pretty much disappeared so gives me some pitocin to get things moving again, she suggests this is the best time for Pat to go and grab some dinner but keep his phone with him. Once he’s gone and the pitocin kicks in the baby’s heart rate drops but not dangerously so, but enough for J to put me on oxygen and stop the pitocin. She tells me the oxygen is not standard in the UK where she trained but policy here. I start asking a lot of questions and I know J realises my anxiety. I start to feel a little guilt for having an epidural and possibly causing all these complications. She puts me at ease and answers all my questions plus telling me what we are going to do next.
- 630pm Pat walks back in the room and wonders why I’m on oxygen. Both J and I put him at ease. Everything’s fine and J decides to increase the pitocin but by only a small amount. Immediately I start to feel a little pressure as if the baby is moving down. J tells me that I won’t now be having the baby on her shift and starts to prepare to handover to the next midwife. Inside i start to panic as I don’t want this to drag on like my last labour experience and I really hope i get a midwife as good as J. Even though I am not feeling the contractions painfully, I am starting to feel the pressure as if I want to push. I really want J to examine me NOW to see if I am 10cm dilated as am ready to push but I know she won’t do it as she is changing over to the next midwife. Meanwhile mum has texted me that she is finally off the causeway that links Bahrain to Saudi and she is close to entering the camp. She will come direct to the hospital. All I’m thinking is my poor mum is probably starving after her 24 hour journey and the cafeteria closes at 730pm but I am close to pushing and how will she get her dinner????
- 7pm M the new midwife introduces herself to me and I am eagerly waiting for her to examine me and when she does she says I am 10cm. It’s push time. Mum walks in the door! I say hello, M get’s suited up then tells me I can only have one person in the room. As soon as mum arrives she’s out the door off to the waiting room. M announces it’s time to push and tells me when I feel the urge to go for it!
- 724pm After two pushes baby Chloe is here! 3.62kgs/7.98lbs. Lightening fast! She is placed directly on my bare belly (albeit a shorter umbilical cord makes this a little challenging) and mum sneaks back in the room! How’s that for divine timing! The midwife is happy to allow us delayed cord clamping and Pat cuts the cord.
Welcome to our crazy little family Chloe girl.
Even though I didn’t end up following my birth plan of a drug free delivery, I am actually really pleased with how the experience went down and the end result was exactly what we wanted, a happy healthy baby.
I know I had a lot of anxiety going into this labour due to my previous lengthy labour without an epidural, and even though I was happy with the results in the end – a beautiful baby boy, I felt I couldn’t physically and mentally cope with a possible long drug free labour this time around.
In the end, both Pat and I felt with this experience, we were both a lot more relaxed, recovery was way quicker and the hospital staff were amazing with communicating to us both throughout the entire process to allay our concerns as well as keep us informed. Who knows if this is due to the epidural, our experience or many other factors.
With Manus, I was so exhausted from 3 hours of pushing with no result that in my exhausted and stressed out state, I was even begging for an c-section (didn’t happen). This delivery, apart from about the 5mins of intense pushing, was the polar opposite in a calmer way. By 10pm Chloe and I were checking one another out in our hospital room and cuddling up to go to sleep.
Would love to hear your birth story experiences in the comments below! One thing I’ve learnt from chatting with other mothers is not only are two babies never the same, neither are birthing experiences.
Thank you for allowing me to share mine with you.