So here’s the latest in the delivery drama. I’m going to describe some of the gory details here so if you are particularly squeamish or coy I guess you should go read something else!
I came in to hospital on Wednesday to be induced. Method here in the UK is to attempt to artificially rupture the membranes (break your waters), if the expectant mother’s cervix is in a position to allow it. Yes you’ve guessed it, my cervix was posterior and closed so that wasn’t possible, and a propess pessary was inserted. Lovely little thing, kind of like a tampon but with a ribbon long enough to use to tie your hair in bunches afterwards! It is inserted behind your cervix and has the role of getting everything up there soft and ready. The intention is that the propess remains up there for 24 hours, or until something happens. That something could be simply getting the cervix ready, to stimulating labour to the point that the mum is fully dilated and goes into labour.
After about 8 hours of having the propess inserted, I began to have intense abdominal pain every 2 minutes. Felt like contractions to me (remember this is baby number 3 for me). The pain began niggling right in the area you can imagine your cervix to be, then quickly rose to an almost unbearable level before moving round my back and easing off. Yay! I was surely in labour!! Nay! Was I heck!!
Aside: I had been on a ward with a girl called Ellen in the bed next to me. She had the propess too, about an hour and a half before me. Throughout the night we were matching each other pain for pain. Separated by just a curtain we were partners in pain as each contraction rose and fell. She cried out for pain relief after a considerable number of hours like that. I figured I could go a bit longer before ‘caving in’. I’ve had two babies with zero pain relief, a fact I wear like a trophy that shows I am a strong woman!! It also shows I am a stupid woman, because trust me labour fekking hurts so I don’t know why I don’t just take the meds!!
I think it must have been about 4am when the girl had some codeine, and a little later she upped the ante and asked for diamorphine. Still we matched each other contraction for contraction in a relentless 8 hour onslaught of pain that hit us at 2 minute intervals. At about 4:30am I had an internal examination which delivered the blow that there had been no change at all in my cervix. All that pain had been for nothing. About half an hour later my ward-mate was examined and told the same. We were both gutted. Exhausted by the pain and lack of sleep, we both laid and cried in disappointment.
At around 7am my partner in pain called the midwife and asked for diamorphine. She didn’t come right away and by 8am she was shouting for an epidural. She was examined there in the bed next to me. I stood there in horror 10 minutes later as she began to shout that she was pushing! We weren’t even in the delivery suite! Panic ensues and the midwives try and get her in a wheelchair, but her waters break (I heard the splash on the tiled floor and the panic in the poor girl’s voice). I was shaking and crying – it was frightening, especially after a night without sleep. A midwife saw me and asked if I wanted to leave and I made a swift exit. I was traumatised! Having spent the evening listening to induced labours and seeing women go into labour and be whisked off to the delivery suite, hearing their pain and their cries all through the night, this was all too much. I sat and cried uncontrollably, and then I heard the cry of a baby and knew she’d had her baby right there in the bed next to mine and they didn’t get a chance to take her where she needed to be!! From that point in I began to panic that the same would happen to me. Except what my body actually did was put itself into survival mode and decide that today was not a good day to go into labour and everything stopped; no more pains, nothing! Remarkable what the human body is capable of. The midwife said “if you were a wild animal giving birth and a predator attacked, labour would stop immediately and the animal would protect itself until it was safe to begin the labour process again.” Fascinating. My body said “now is not a good time for any of that malarkey” and stopped playing.
Which is what led me to an examination yesterday afternoon that delivered the second blow of the hospital visit – still no change after 24 hours. I laid on the table and cried and cried. If you’ve read any of my earlier posts you will know how anxious I have been about whether this baby will be ok. To go from expecting to meet her one day, to realising that this wasn’t going to happen any time soon was a devastating blow. Add to that the sheer despair that comes from a painful night without sleep, and you’ve got a blubbering wreck on the examination table.
At this point the propess was removed. Which was a relief, as it has to be one of the most unhygienic experiences of my life. Warning: gross bit coming up! Ok, so if you ever have a propess Pessary inserted and have to go to the toilet for a pee, make sure that ribbon is tucked up where it should be or you are going to pee on it. If you fail to remember this point, please do not be surprised if, like me, you spend 24 hours smelling like you ought to be in a retirement home! So get it tucked up there ladies or it ain’t pleasant, take it from someone who found out the hard way! 😳
Plan was to put me on the monitor and decide the next course of action, which was likely to be a faster release Pessary. Waited 4 hours for said monitoring to even begin, during which it was recorded that those 2-minute pains had returned. As a result of those tightenings (not regular enough to be considered contractions), the doctors made the decision not to move to the next stage. They were afraid that with me already experiencing quite intense and relatively regular tightenings, the prostin Pessary could accelerate labour at a rate that could be potentially dangerous to baby and incredibly painful for me. They agreed to leave my body to see if it would progress naturally, and let me get some rest, ready to start again Friday morning (just a few hours from my time of writing, which is 3am as I have been rudely awakened from the best sleep I have had in weeks by the most horrendous snoring woman and her equally annoying snoring partner who now occupy the bed beside me!).
Nothing has progressed naturally through the night. In fact if I didn’t know better, I feel like I haven’t been through any of the last 36 hours at all!! My body has returned to the state it was in before I came into hospital. My bits and pieces no longer feel like they are falling out, and I have finally managed to have a poo! Yay!! So I guess that means that today is going to feel like I’m starting from scratch and I fear the same is going to happen and I will hit another dead end. At least the prostin is only a 6-hour process. I have the pleasure again of more painfully intrusive internal examinations, where ultimately the midwives will be aiming to break my waters and kickstart labour. Warning do not Google images of this process! I mean who in their right mind would Google that during their hospital stay???! 😳 <sheepishly backs away whilst remembering vision of large crochet hook>
So I am going to attempt to get some more sleep (not easy with the snoreasauruses next to me), and look forward (!) to what the new day will bring. Will I get to meet my baby today? That is anyone’s guess.