I want to start this of with a massive disclaimer …. EVERYBODY WILL EXPERIENCE AN ENTIRELY UNIQUE BIRTH. EVERYONE’S BIRTH STORY WILL BE DIFFERENT. So please if you’re a first time mum-to-be don’t be using this as some sort of reference because chances are apart from giving you your beautiful little one … that’s were the similarities will end.
Most of you will already know the back story of my pregnancy but if you’re new here you can catch-up over here. Birth was always going to be a bittersweet time for us, having to deliver both of our little twins knowing only one of them would be made for this world. So as excited as we were to meet our ‘Elsie’ there was an accompanying sense of dread and sadness. As it was a twin pregnancy we were always told we would deliver in and around 37weeks. However with everything with Elsie progressing ‘normally’ the consultant was happy to let us go to 38weeks which meant an extra week for baby to cook and get herself ready for her big entrance.
On arrival for a sweep at 37weeks I was already almost 2cms dilated and the midwife was able to feel baby’s head. In my naivety I was convinced I would go early myself (as mummy had went early with me and I was already showing all the right signs). A couple of days later I had my ‘show’ and I tried to ramp things up by walking the legs of myself around the town and marching up and down the stairs like a madwoman in between circling on my birthing ball. Everyday I was certain it would be today.
Elsie had other ideas however and must have decided she was comfy where she was. I even felt a little guilty about having to evacuate her against her will. The evening of Monday 27th around 9pm I was chilling on the couch contemplating heading in for induction the next day when my phone rang. It was the hospital asking if I wanted to come on in for 11pm tonight instead. eeeeeeeeeek. Obviously I said yes, hung up and immediately rang pete who was still at work. We both went a bit quiet on the phone, a mix of anxiousness, fear and excitement. I remember after that call just sitting in complete silence in the living room just thinking… this is it… I’m actually going to have a baby.
Pete landed home with a McDonald’s which we woofed down, we packed up the car and headed over to the hospital for 11pm. I can only compare that nighttime drive to heading to the airport for the most exciting holiday of our lives. I was induced at midnight with a pessary and then was monitored for the next 90mins, after which Pete headed back home and I tried to get some sleep, crossing my fingers that baby might soon make an experience. One tip I would say is to bring your own pillow!
Roisin the fabulous midwife on duty that night had to wake me every 2hrs to check on baby and before I knew it I was having my breakfast of toast and rice krispies.
Needless to say baby didn’t come that night or the next morning, so when Pete arrived to visit I had my trainers on and we headed out for a long walk around the grounds. I started to feel quite a bit of pressure so we returned to the room, I got on the ball and Pete rubbed my back where I was feeling most of the pains at this stage.
I finally accepted two paracetamol from the midwife and had some soup for lunch. I pretty much stayed on my ball for the whole afternoon watching tv. I also passed the time by giving myself a mini pamper session with some travel size miniatures of my favourite Image products (The lovely Terri from Advanced Skin Banbridge kindly gifted me before I went in) and slathering on some scented body moisturiser to help me feel a little more glam/normal as I sat bottomless with an XXL men’s Primark tee on me, my hair scraped back on top of my head snacking on haribo. I was so glad I brought in a good lip balm because not only does the heat in the hospital dry them up massively but the gas and air also sucks the moisture out of them. The Ronert MD was unreal it was easily my favourite toiletry in my bag (also from Advanced Skincare Banbridge).
With the pains only mild we went for another walk around 4pm and grabbed a cuppa and shortbread from the canteen. From 6pm-7pm my back pain increased quite a bit and regular contractions started. I lay down for a bit to try and get some rest/watch the Simpsons.
At 7.30pm I got back on my ball and by the time Great British Bake Off was on the telly contractions had really ramped up and I had to call the midwife for pain relief. I was told if it didn’t happen beforehand, I would be taken to the delivery suite at midnight to have my waters broke and officially get things moving. I knew my body was definitely heading in the right direction and by 11pm I was begging for gas and air. Unfortunately me, gas and air didn’t get on very well. It made me so ill. I was really woozy with it and then the vomiting commenced and it pretty much continued most of the labour and delivery.
I arrived in the delivery suite after midnight and was over 4cms dilated which at least meant those last couple of hrs had been doing their best to bring me closer to baby. I had to have my waters broke which wasn’t painful but it did mean that things started to intensify pretty quickly afterwards.
As the gas and air was making me so sick it wasn’t actually offering me any relief as during the breaks in my contractions when I should have been resting I was throwing up. Against my initial intentions (be prepared for birth plans or ideals to go out the window) I found myself demanding an epidural. Things had just got too intense and my breathing techniques which had got me this far needed something stronger to back them up.
After the Epidural was administered things became a bit of a blur. I just remember being so so thirsty and hungry but not being allowed anything other than the tiniest sips of water. I remember Pete helping me brush my teeth feeling like the most amazing thing having been sick continuously. The midwife had given me an anti sickness tablet and said if you need another one you can have it in 6hrs. I remember laughing saying ‘Sure I’m over 4cms already I won’t still be here in another 6hrs……
I woke up after a sleep and got given my second sickness tablet….
I honestly couldn’t believe where the time had went. The epidural had really stabilised things and with no pain I was able to relax and sleep and even chat away to Pete and the team. Then I heard the magic words. ‘You’re 10cms dilated’.
Well I was delighted – I looked at Pete and said, ‘The babies are coming’.
Pushing with an epidural is a very strange experience as you basically have to wait for the doctor and nurses to tell you when to actually push as you’ve no feeling or sensation yourself. After some serious pushing and a scan it was discovered my little darling Elsie had decided to lift her head and look upwards meaning vaginal delivery was going to be very difficult (if possible at all).
As baby’s stats had also started to slow a little it was decided rather than take any risks it would be best to prep me for theatre and opt for forceps delivery.
I just wanted my baby here safe, worry and mother instinct takes over and truth be told you’d let them do whatever necessary to deliver a healthy baby so I was just happy to go along with what was advised.
Unfortunately on trying, the doctor couldn’t get a good enough grip with the forceps and decided pretty much straight away that we would now have to go for an emergency section.
I lay under that blue screen squeezing Pete’s hand and just praying to hear that first cry. Things moved very quickly and again due to the drugs I didn’t feel any pain at all during the section though you do get a sensation of something being moved around down there, if that makes sense. Next thing I remember was the anaesthetist (who was amazing) bending down beside me and saying ‘she’s here and shes perfect’.
They held my little Elsie up (like that scene from the Lion King) above the blue curtain separating the top half of me with the bottom half surgery and I just burst out crying. Happiness, relief and love flooded my body. I wasn’t allowed to touch her at that point which was tough but as they took her away to do her checks and I heard that cry I felt like the luckiest person in the world.
Finally we got to hold her. Our Elsie. Our miracle. Our little fighter and both of us just balled our eyes out.
My other little girl was never far from my thoughts though and I can’t even start to explain the mix of emotions when I thought of them also delivering her quiet and still little body. The delivery team were amazing and offered to get little footprints of our little Ellie, Elsie’s sleeping twin so that we would always have them to remember her by. As we lost our little Ellie at 19 weeks we had been well prepared by our consultant that if we did decide to see her she would have regressed quite dramatically due to having passed away almost 20weeks prior and the affects of the continuing pregnancy on her little body would be hard to fully gauge until the actual delivery. So, after speaking with the delivery team who brought her little body into the world we made the tough decision to simply remember our little girl as the little angel we knew she already was. We would organise a proper, dignified and special service to lay her to rest when I got released from the hospital but for now we had her little footprints to cherish and her twin sister to kiss and get to know.
Pte and Elsie were taken to another room as the team rallied to get me sorted. I got a sense things weren’t quite going to plan as I looked around the room at the busy faces. I won’t lie, for the first time throughout the entire delivery I was suddenly petrified. My little girl had fought her way here please say I was going to be ok to be able to love and take care of her. Once again the anaesthetist came through and explained that I had lost a lot of blood and they were having a little trouble slowing it down so she would be giving me another injection to help this. I’m a girl all about facts so knowing what was happening (good or bad) was what I needed to help me deal with the situation and stay calm. The mix of drugs and everything else made me physically sick again and I can just remember wishing for it to be over so I could hold my baby and begging God to let us all be ok.
Thankfully all was ok and bar the blood loss and shock causing me to shiver constantly I was soon being wheeled back to Pete and Elsie. After lots of hugs and kisses I then had the best tea and toast of my life – no joke it will taste better than any gourmet meal. It was now around 9.30am on Wednesday 29th August and driving to the hospital on the Monday night seemed like a week ago. Next the fun bit could commence. The calls and texts to friends and family to share our good news. Lying in that recovery room holding my Elsie with Pete by my side was honestly the best moment of my life and I would have went through every single second of labour and delivery again in a heartbeat.