My Labour & Birth Story

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Our little baby boy Zachary was born on Monday the 2nd February at 8:48am, and it was the most magical day of my life! That being said, my labour did not go to plan (does anyone's?) and I ended up having a completely different experience than I had expected.

On the Saturday we decided to head to the hospital to be checked over as Zach had been moving less and we wanted to check that everything was okay. Thankfully he was fine but they decided that I should be induced as a precaution as they weren't sure why he was moving less. They asked me to come back the next day to start the induction process. I wasn't particularly keen on the idea as it mean that I wouldn't be allowed on the lovely birthing centre with the big pools but that I'd be on the labour ward instead (wish they didn't do tours of the birthing centre!! I was so excited to give birth in there!)

We arrived Sunday morning and they explained that induction can take a very long time and that we were likely to be in for a few days before meeting our baby. After a day of being strapped to monitors they finally began my induction at 6pm by inserting a peassary. The midwife told me that my cervix was completely closed and that I had a long way to go.

I expected that it would be a long time before labour kicked in and at 10pm said goodbye to Jono as partners aren't allowed on the ward overnight. Typically my contractions began about half an hour after he left. They were small to begin with but by midnight they were getting stronger and I definitely couldn't sleep so went and asked for some pain relief. I was given paracetamol and codeine (I think?) and was told this would help me sleep.

It didn't. At 1am my contractions were lasting 30 seconds and were 3 minutes apart and were starting to get painful. The midwife told me to go sit in the shower as the warm water would help the pain. I ended up sitting in the shower for 2 hours until I felt incredibly faint and dehydrated. The midwife took me into a side room (after I refused to go back on the ward - all the other women were sleeping and there I was grunting away with every contraction!) and checked me over telling me I was ready to be transferred to the labour ward to have my waters broken. Little did I know that the labour ward was closed as it was at capacity!

They put me on a drip due to how dehydrated I was and I was attached back up to all of the monitors to check baby's heart rate and my contractions. The pain at this point was pretty extreme and I hadn't been given any more pain relief. I had thought that I would use has an air when in labour but because I was still on the induction ward they didn't have any there so the only option was to have pethidine. This is something that I didn't want to have to have, but at that point I was willing to take anything that would give me any relief. They injected this at 4am, and at this point I'd contacted Jono and he was waiting outside the ward as he still want allowed on the ward.

The pethidine essentially knocked me out so I was asleep, waking up for every contraction as you can still feel pain. This was pretty scary as I would wake up not knowing what was going on and then have a strong contraction and then fall asleep again. It also made me sick - there's no dignity in labour I tell you!

At 7:30am they let Jono in - I had been in labour alone for 9 hours at this point and I was in agony. I was still being sick and I was starting to try to push even though my waters hadn't gone and I was still on the induction ward. At this point they moved me to the labour ward where I was examined and found to be fully dilated. The midwife went to burst my waters but they went themselves.  As it was now in the labour ward they had gas and air available but I was too out of it to take it properly as I was holding my breath through contractions! I'd been begging for an epidural at this point but I was too close to giving birth.

I'm not sure when I began to push or how long I was pushing for as it is all a bit of a blur. I could feel everything and I don't know if this is TMI but it feels like you're doing the biggest poo of your life!! I could feel everything and I felt myself tearing so I wasn't pushing as hard as I knew I could because it was so painful. At this point I had my eyes closed and it had just been me, Jono and the midwife in the room. But I opened my eyes and the room was filling with medical staff and I've watched enough TV to know that this was not a good sign. I knew I had to push despite the pain and thankfully I managed to give birth before any interventions as they were preparing to ventouse (a plunger type thing that attaches to the baby's head).

The moment Zach was born was the most amazing and surreal moment of my life and the pain immediately went away - you get told this so many times when you're pregnant but it is definitely true! A new person had joined us in the room, and the door hadn't opened. I can't put into words how I felt but it was a mixture of pure joy and exhaustion!

They examined me and found I had a second degree tear and a graze and so I needed two sets of stitches. I used the gas and air during these as I was more awake now and it was amazing - I wish I had been able to have it earlier in my labour!

Zach had a tongue tie so was unable to latch to feed so we ended up staying in hospital . The first night we were there he began to shake a lot, and it turned out he had slightly low blood sugar. We had been feeding him expressed breast milk but they topped him up with formula and thankfully his blood sugar levels stabilised as if they hadn't they were going to hook him up to a feeding tube.

We ended up staying in the hospital for a second night so that they could monitor his blood sugar levels and so that we could try to establish breastfeeding. We saw a breastfeeding specialist and we tried so many different things but eventually we decided to bottle feed him my expressed breast milk. We were also referred to a different hospital to have his tongue tie cut.

On the Wednesday afternoon we were given the all clear to go home! Leaving the hospital was so exciting but also a little scary as we were being left to look after this tiny baby all on our own! It was so lovely to be back home again, this time as a family, ready to start or next adventure!!


  1. Oh Chantal, you are so very brave to share your story. Maybe one day I will share mine, if I can remember that is! It is amazing how different each person's story is, but yet they are all beautiful. Having a baby is a pretty amazing thing to do, an experience one can never truly describe. x

    1. Thank you Faye! Although it was the hardest thing I have ever done having Zach is the best thing that could ever happen to me. I think it's an experience you can't understand until you do it! xx


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