I really wanted to have a natural birth with my first pregnancy but I developed pre-eclampsia (a medical condition affecting pregnant women where the blood pressure and protein levels rise which can in turn impact the major organs of the body). Maebh was born via C-section perfectly fine and I recovered quickly.
When I fell pregnant again with Aine, my husband and I went back to the same obstetrician and he advised us that there was no reason at all why I could not have a natural birth second time round – in fact he did not even mention my previous c section as something for me to worry about. Indeed the baby got so comfortable I was 12 days overdue when during a check up they noticed that her heartbeat was irregular so I was admitted for monitoring just for peace of mind. The following morning I was tested for pre-eclampsia and I had that again so the discussion was had that she would be delivered either by c section or induction once he was back from rounds.
Shortly after he left though I realised I was in labour! When he came back two hours later I was 4 cms dilated. I then progressed really quickly the whole thing lasted three hours, dilating 5 cms in 45 minutes – I am not going to lie to you – it hurt! For the most part I felt in control, I was able to move around, I found hanging from my husband really comfortable, I sat on the toilet, I sat on the bin, I swayed, I moved a lot! The only thing I did not like was having my waters broken – I don’t remember being asked if that was ok and when they came out I tried really hard to get away from them as it frightened me and was painful! My husband and I both had to tell the midwife to leave me alone as I was so upset by her doing it. It was like some primal urge had come over us – I was having this baby and Dave was protecting our space, our bubble to have her in. I know the midwife was doing her job and I know she was helping me but she should have listened and also made sure I understood what she was doing before she came into my space.
I had decided to have as few drugs as possible however once labour started I realised how much it hurt but the gas and air smelt disgusting so I refused that no matter how many times they offered it to me and my doctor told me that pethadine would go through to the baby which I did not want as it can make them sleepy which can have a knock on effect on breastfeeding – I did ask for and got a panadol just at the end though.
Yet when I began to push the pain went as my doctor said it would, all that was left was the sensation, the concentration, the desire to push her out of me. The final stage only took about half an hour. I delivered on my back and had an episiotomy which was absolutely fine with me as I was tired and just wanted to lie down. I tried being on all fours and on my knees and just wasn’t comfortable so lying down worked for me.
Aine arrived and was put straight on my chest so we had lots of lovely skin to skin contact which is really good for stimulating milk production. Her cord was cut after about 15 minutes after she was delivered which meant she got lots of nutrients from the placenta. She wasn’t really hungry but I knew that she would feed when she was ready. I have to be honest that I didn’t really want any help with feeding her as I had fed her sister fine. The advice I had with my firstborn was not great, I had my nipples shoved into her mouth and I am sure thats the reason it was sore and painful but with Aine I knew that it just needed time which was why we stayed in for two nights so I could be sure that we were ok. I was just wanted to know someone was there in case but I didn’t need anyone and in fact they came and checked me as I hadn’t called for any help! It didn’t cross my mind that it would not work, I had no back up plan if I couldn’t feed her but I can and six months later we are still going strong.