Members birth stories

The birth of adrian

By Sally Lambert

I am writing this will my two month son nestled up on my lap fast asleep. He arrived into this world almost a week late, so I was eagerly awaiting signs of labour for quite a time before the real thing started.

I started feeling regular tightenings at 3:30pm when Adrian was 5 days overdue, not much pain at that stage, just tightenings every 15 min's or so with a constant backache (I found out why I had backache later). I wasn't very sure if it was labour or not, as I'd thought several times previously "This is it!" only to have nothing happen. Keen to get things going properly (as I'd been threatened with inducement which I really wanted to avoid), I went for a walk.

The tightenings became more painful when I walked to the park and back, but the pain went again when I was home and resting. Things continued at the same rate and pain level for quite some time, I phoned my Mum that night and she thought I was definitely in labour, but I was still unsure. I got only 4 or 5 hrs sleep that night due to the backache and mild pains. Things still hadn't progressed the next morning but neither had they gone away. I phoned the labour ward at hospital to find out what they recommended, and they said it would be ages yet so my husband went of to work telling me to phone him when they were 7 min's apart.

That morning I had a last soak in the bath and another walk and by 12:30pm the tightenings which I then knew where contractions, became closer, 7 min's apart and I dutifully called husband home, hoping that he wouldn't turn up to late (he had a 1hr 15mins drive home) nor to early.. I had no idea how fast I would progress.

When he got home we went for a walk together and then played on our computers a short while. At 5pm I was suddenly aware that the contractions hurt quite a lot more, and seemed to be getting closer together. I quickly made us a meal (pasta), which i wolfed down between contractions. Phoned Mum to let her know we were off to the hospital. The contractions were about 5 min's apart at this point and I thought I was about 3cm dilated when I examined myself.

We arrived at the hospital (luton and dunstable) at 6:30pm, no one seemed to be expecting me, despite my call that morning, maybe I should have called again before I left. Anyway I was taken to a labour room at which point I asked if the water pool room was free. I was told I couldn't use it because "The water is coming out of the taps dirty" and "besides there is someone using it". I now think they were fobbing me off.. I'm positive the room was empty when we walked past it. But at that point I just didn't have the inclination to argue.. just wanted to get settled and get it over with!

I was examined; baby's heart rate, my temperature, blood pressure and an internal. 3cm dilated like I had thought at home. She then felt for the position of baby, and I was told it was posterior (facing towards my tummy, which causes backache labours which are more painful and slower), I was very upset to hear this as I thought baby had turned from its posterior position a few weeks ago. I was told I was coping well, and my birth plan was read (stating my intention for a water birth, only gas and air, a physiological 3rd stage and baby straight onto chest when its born). The midwife said she would be back every 15mins to check up on me.

I tried to remain upright as much as possible to keep baby's head on the cervix to encourage it to open faster and leaning forwards to encourage it to turn to the right position my husband helped support me in various positions and rubbed my back throughout. But after a while I was so shaky that I resorted to the bed. About an hour after arriving I really couldn't tolerate the pain and asked for gas and air, which I found only helped a small amount, and only on the in-breath. From the time that I arrived at the hospital till I reached second stage it felt like the contractions were literally one after the other, though the midwife told me they were 3 min's apart. I really just wanted a short break from it all to relax, and get strength to continue.. but they were relentless.

Anyway, an hour after having gas an air again the pain was getting too much and I was seriously considering an Epidural. I talked to my husband about it, and we decided to ask the midwife to examine me next visit to find out how dilated I was (ie how much longer I would expect to be in pain for). She was amazed to find me at 8-9 cm dilated only 2hrs after my arrival at the hospital. So there was no question of extra pain relief, I was so close to second stage that they wouldn't have given me anything, and knowing I was close gave me the strength to carry on with the gas and air. It was at about this stage that I remembered the huge amount of food mum had packed in my labour bag, so out came the jelly babies. It was a really bad idea, after just one jelly baby I felt like I was going to throw up, so no more food after that for me (though Martin munched away happily!).

My first midwife, Jan, left at 9pm as it was the end of her shift. She was replaced by Pam and a student midwife Anthea. I didn't object to having a student watching, they have to learn somewhere and I quite liked being used as a teaching tool! Soon after they took over the delivery trolley was wheeled in and I was quite excited to think that I'd soon have my baby (and be out on the other side of the pain!). From that point onwards they remained in the room with Martin and I.

I never noticed transition (the bit between 1st and 2nd stage) though the contractions eased off, strong still but less frequent. By now I wasn't using the gas and air at all. It was in the way and didn't actually help that much with the pain, so I gave it back to Martin so I could concentrate on my body and what it was doing.

Pam (midwife) said to push when my body said to, but I was having real trouble understanding my body! Wasn't sure if it wanted to push or not! But I realised after a while that the contractions hurt less when I pushed, so push I did! After quite a while nothing was happening, Pam suggested I lean on the back of the bed (with the bed in the most upright position) and squat to push. Martin had to literally take my weight at this point as I just couldn't hold myself up and push at the same time. After a while of this baby's head had entered the vaginal canal, and I was told it would be easier now, that babies head couldn't go back inside the uterus. So I returned to an easier position, sat upright on the bed. It was shortly after this that a felt something huge bulging out of me, gave a huge push and gush, my waters burst. I had thought it was baby's head so was quite disappointed it was only my waters!

After a short while of more pushes Martin said he could see its head, and I felt down to feel a disappointingly small area of hairy head poking out. Ages later (it seemed to me) I finally managed to push out baby's head and his body come out in the same push. I was so preoccupied with pushing, and the pain that I was shocked when this baby was suddenly placed on my tummy. "Its huge!" I said and looked in wonder at baby and Martin. I think the midwife was impatient, because she said "don't you want to know what it is?" and opened its legs up. "Its a boy!" I said, overwhelmed with it all. Martin says that my face lit up as soon as I saw our baby, and the photo's we have prove it.

As I'd asked for a physiological third stage I didn't have an injection to have expel the placenta, and the cord was left uncut until it finished pulsing. After a short cuddle (while baby looked about with one eye open) the midwife asked if Martin wanted to cut the cord. We had discussed this before but he had never been sure about the idea, but to my surprise he said yes. Once the cord was cut Martin took his son for a cuddle, taking his top off to have skin to skin contact.

While he was being cuddled I asked the midwife if I had a tear, I was sure I must have as it had hurt so much, and was told I had a second degree tear (through the skin and muscle layers). This was stitched up later after our son was weighed and checked over. The stitches weren't too bad, but I had to have gas and air again while the anaesthetic was injected into the area.

Our son, later named Adrian Jack Lambert, was born at 10:45pm on the 14th November 2002 and weighed a healthy 9lb 9oz. He had slight jaundice for quite a few weeks after birth, but is a very healthy, happy baby who is already in 3-6 month clothes at just 2 months old.