Everything I never wanted, but it was perfect: A birth story

“If you want to make God laugh tell him your plans.” Folk Proverb

2 hours after BiP was born

This time last year I was exactly 40 weeks pregnant with BiP. I was huge, uncomfortable, scared, excited and totally organised. So I thought. As part of this week’s review of the last year I thought I’d share BiP’s birth story.

The best laid plans … My bag was packed, actually my bagS … I had so much stuff it looked like I was moving house. I’d read everything I could get my hands on, I’d done all my classes, the nursery was picture perfect and I’d mentally written my birth plan. My plan? To go into labour naturally, arrive at the clinic, see how far I could go without an epidural (I made sure I’d done all the paperwork to ensure that, if I wanted, I could have an epidural), I’d be moving around the room working through the contractions, I’d give birth in the position that I felt most comfortable in and I would leave with my nether regions intact. Pretty easy going birth plan. I knew that I did NOT want to be induced, be strapped to a bed and deliver flat on my back with my legs in stirrups and I definitely, under any circumstances, did not want an episiotomy.

 

My huge 40wk bump that had dropped twice and I'd been told I'd never make it term. Well. I did!

The reality… by the time I reached 40 weeks, BiP’s due date I was in agony. The sciatica that had plagued me for much of pregnancy had become excruciating. I couldn’t walk without searing pain, I needed help getting on and off the toilet (nice) and I couldn’t get into the bathtub to take a shower without help. Oh, and I couldn’t sleep. I was miserable.

I’d been prescribed home visits for a midwife to come to my house every 48hrs to check on me (an excellent service provided free of charge in France). My stats were all good and BiP was fine but she could see I was rapidly going downhill physically and mentally. I requested a sweep (stripping of the membranes) at 40w1d as I was already 1.5cm dilated and I spent the whole day doing everything I could to help things along; I walked miles in pain but it was for a good cause, I ate a whole pineapple, aubergine parmigana, had a spicy curry (it just gave me heartburn), bounced on my ball, studded out my poor husband, etc I did EVERYTHING short of downing castor oil and vodka. NOTHING. Not even a promising contraction. She obviously wasn’t meant to come.

The next morning I was a mess – I’d overdone it and I was in agony (something I deeply regret). By Monday morning the midwife arrived to find me in my bedroom, having not slept more than an hour or 2 in 48hrs, crying my eyes out in just a t-shirt – I was in too much pain to get my underwear on. She decided to make the call to my gynecologist and recommend an induction. Her fear was that if I was to wait I wouldn’t have the energy to push. At this point I was 2.5cms dilated and anterior – BiP was ready to come any moment. My gynecologist agreed to the induction the following morning. I cried my eyes out. I had failed.

D-day … I slept all of 2 hours the night before my induction. I cried. I cried a lot. What was I doing? I didn’t want this. I could wait, but no, I couldn’t, the pain was intolerable.  I prayed my contractions would start and my waters would break as I climbed the stairs to the clinic but they didn’t.  We arrived at the clinic at 7:30am and I was admitted. The midwife came and told me to get onto the delivery table and strapped the monitoring belt on to my gigantic belly and they put the needle into my hand. I cried. I wanted to go back, I could, but I couldn’t. Then they started the Pitocin at 9am. My husband was by my side the whole time (except for when he snuck out for a coffee around 10am and a midwife decided to tease him and tell him that his daughter was already here – the look on his face when he saw me still very much with BiP in utero was priceless!) Then the contractions started, mildly at first and then stronger. Then around 11am they came and broke my water. It was the weirdest sensation and my bump became noticeably smaller! All the time I am strapped to a monitoring machine lying on my side.

Umm … someone get me an epidural! After my waters broke the contractions became harder and harder, I was sad they broke my waters but who was I to say anything considering I’d scrapped my birth plan? The midwife kept saying “Oh it’s your first baby, things take time”. I sent my husband to call her back to tell her I really needed the epidural and she reluctatantly checked me and ran out to get the anesthetist – I’d dilated 2 cms in 45 mins!

In comes the anesthetist! A real character who’s favourite sentence in English was “I’ll be back” obviously learnt from the Terminator! He struggled to get the epidural in because my bump was so big I couldn’t lean forward and my sciatica didn’t help. Every time I had a contraction my waters gushed on the floor and I had to laugh! At this point I was cursing the midwives for not telling me that if I sat up my contractions were more manageable!!!! It took a while for the epidural to kick in but when it did it was great! It was the first time in months that I could lie on my back with ZERO pain. I did find it weird seeing my belly tense up with each contraction and not feel anything, it was so unnatural but at this point I was more than ok with it. I had decided that if I did have to have any intervention I would go all the way with it.

 

 

 

BiP and I getting to know one another from the outside just after she was born

Time to push! Within 3 hours the midwife checked me and I was fully dilated. She repeated “Oh it’s your first baby, things take time” and she wanted me to start pushing. I was on my back, legs in stirrups – I pushed twice and she told me to stop! She dashed out the door and 30 mins later my gynecologist arrived. It was showtime! I couldn’t believe that BiP was actually going to be born! In came the midwife, the anesthetist and the puericultrice (I think that is a kind of midwife but don’t know the exact translation, she is responsible for weighing, dressing and care of the baby). So here we go.

We all look at the screen and with each contraction I push. Then I rest. Push. Rest. Then it get’s fun. My gynecologist obviously got a major buzz from deliveries so he started yelling “Poussez! Encore, encore, encore, encore!” (Push, again, again, again, again) but no words would ever describe the enthusiasm in which he yelled it – My husband and I were laughing so hard! In between pushes they were all talking and laughing which made the atmosphere amazing. The anesthestist asked my gynecologist if he was a football fan by the way he was yellling to which he laughed and said he was too busy to follow football – the delivery room roared with laughter once again. Time push again.

“She’s blonde!” The gynecologist cried as BiP was crowing – Blonde? Excuse me? I am dark haired, so is my husband – again, laughter ensued! I pushed again. At this point I was feeling more which was better because I felt I had more control. Next thing I feel is “snip” and then “snip” – OMG – I turned to my husband and said “he just cut me!” I freaked out but there was no time to worry about it as it was time to push and this time BiP was here!

She was placed on my chest the second she was born and she found her way to my breast and immediately latched on. I couldn’t believe it – she was here, she was perfect (kinda, she had a bit of cone head from all that pushing). She was born at 16:55 on the 27th April 2010 weighing 4 kgs (8.8lbs) and 50cms (20in) long.

The proudest Daddy in the world! When BiP was 18 hours old

She spent 2 hours on my chest and my husband cut the umbilical cord.

The end of life as we knew it … but the start of something incredible! So that is the story of BiP’s birth. It was everything I never planned or wanted but it was perfect.

 

 

23 Responses to Everything I never wanted, but it was perfect: A birth story

  1. Funny how the most amazing events in our lives are often completly unplanned for?

    I wouldn’t have that day any different. We couldn’t have planned it any better.

    Planning sucks anyways and it turned out to be so much better than any of the ridiculous plans we had.

    • mummyinprovence says:

      I wholeheartedly agree – it was a perfect day and everything went smoothly and BiP was perfect. You were my rock.

      I love you x

  2. Aw, lovely reading that, brought a tear to my eye. It just shows, the end result is an amazing, awesome, humbling, earth-shattering moment no matter what route we take there.

    I think about the Higglet’s birth more and more now she’s bigger. It seems amazing that the little girl who sits on my knee and laughs is the same little blob of a baby that was plonked on my knee (birthing stool) after she’d popped (euphemism) out of me.

    • mummyinprovence says:

      Awww thanks Emma… it is amazing isn’t it? I hold BiP now and am truly amazed at how, that this time last year, she was snug in my belly! The last year has gone so fast and I am told it will go faster! Someone hit pause! For a bit at least!

  3. Beautiful story! I’m glad someone had a similar experience to me – Sebastian was born before his due date (although I think really that they calculated wrong but that’s a whole ‘nother story) and my water broke naturally but the moment it did everything I thought I wanted went out the window. I was not as miserable as you were but I was certainly done being pregnant. The epidural was heavenly as well!

    Isn’t it surreal being told you can push? Everything else felt like birth was still ages away but when the pushing stage began we looked at the clock and were like, Holy shit we are going to have a baby this morning!

    My pushing stage was enjoyable as well. I would have told you beforehand that cheerleading as I pushed would annoy me but in the moment I was so proud and felt so strong and didn’t mind the doctor and nurse cheering me on. I remember taking sips of juice from my husband out the side of my mouth and feeling like a boxer mid-fight. I was on such a high!

    Ahh reading birth stories makes me want to do it all again!

    • mummyinprovence says:

      Thanks Janine, you are so right that it is a surreal experience being told to push when you can’t feel the contractions! I let my epidural wear off so I could feel them because it was too weird (not enough to feel pain though!)

      I’m jealous you were allowed to drink! They wouldn’t let me have ANYTHING all day – I was nil by mouth from the night before ….! Not sure why the French are like that.

      I love birth stories too … definitely makes me want to do it again!

      • I couldn’t feel contractions much at first but the epi wore off about halfway through pushing. It hurt at the end and I definitely felt him tear his way outta there! But I am glad because I would have felt so weird not even feeling him come out!

        I was allowed just a couple sips of my husband’s juice and water – We stopped to buy me a protein shake on the way to the hospital and I downed it on the way! The birthing center was pretty relaxed; I was surprised they had food rules but I went into labor at 4am and had him by 11 so I wasn’t hungry anyway.

        Would you try for no epidural next time? I sort of want to know what it would have been like but with how fast my labor was I don’t think I could do it!

        • mummyinprovence says:

          I’ve actually said, that if I had to do it the same way again I would. I would like to think that I’d try to see how far I’d go without an epidural but I’d not refuse it on principal.

  4. Rouba Zeidan says:

    Loved the story Ameena!! I hear you on the planning! nothing ever goes the way we want.. I had planned to have a drug-free birth with my first son but 7 hours into the contractions I was screaming for an epidural! 🙂 So happy for you and Daddy en Provence… Bless the family… Having my second child now with a different “plan” – can you imagine I had the audacity to plan again? ahahahah well yes… at least the water part… hoping to be able to have a waterbirth… but again… we have to wait and see what happens when it boils down to the final stage… fingers crossed 🙂 will keep you posted!

    • mummyinprovence says:

      Thanks Rouba,

      I can’t wait to hear about your delivery! Good luck!

  5. Beautiful birth story. =) And I’m glad you are happy with it. That’s what matters most of all (beside a healthy baby, of course- that goes without saying, lol).

    Janine– I would actually say that with how fast your labor was, and how second labors tend to be even faster, you may want to plan for no epidural next time as you may not have enough time to get one!

    As for “planning” — I think planning is very important. Certain things in life (like natural childbirth and breastfeeding) *require* advance planning so you know what you’re up against and can increase your odds of getting there. HOWEVER just as important is having back-up plans and remaining flexible to what the moment calls for.

    • mummyinprovence says:

      Thanks Marcy – healthy baby and healthy mummy are the most important things aren’t they? The rest is irrelevant in the grand scheme of things.

      You make a great point that you have to plan, but you also have to be flexible.

  6. I love birth stories!! They always make me cry! Thank you for sharing!

    • mummyinprovence says:

      Thanks Jocelyn! Thank you for also sharing your stories on my Facebook page!

  7. Loved this story, it brought me back so many memories of my births!

  8. MiP, loved this! It was the perfect birth!

    I chuckled as I too wanted to bring on labor. I put on stiletto boots and we walked two blocks to some nightclub (we were living in downtown Chicago) and danced all night. (danced not drank!) It left me with those miserable Braxton Hicks contractions the next day that dont’ get anywhere.

    Thanks for sharing.

    • mummyinprovence says:

      You are my hero! Well, heroine! You go mama! Wow, stilettos at 40 weeks??? My hugely swollen left foot could barely manage my birki’s let alone my heels! AWESOME. Shame it didn’t help make your little one move!

  9. A beautiful account. And your post-birth photos are gorgeous -you were glowing, truly.

  10. Your first birth sounds a lot like mine! I went to the hospital at 3 cm dilated and ended up having to be induced, have my water broken, and given an epidural. This time around, with baby #2, I had a natural birth (i.e., no pitocin and no epidural). And while I enjoyed my second birth more, and it went a lot quicker, I still value my first birthing experience for what it taught me and wouldn’t change it for the world. I have no regrets.

    • Ameena Falchetto says:

      Thanks for sharing. I wonder what my 2nd will be like – I would like to think I’d do things a lot like you did. Thanks for passing by … how are the princesses doing?

  11. Love this birth story, It really took me back to my first delivery. It’s so hard to know what to expect, NOTHING can prepare you for birth. I read all the books, read all the sites, classes, birth plan…when it comes down to it, we all become natures bitch:)LOL Birth is something to be experienced..we can;t explain it, not with any justice.Thank you for sharing BIPS birth story with us.

    • Ameena Falchetto says:

      Aww thanks 🙂 It’s so true that we can plan as much as we like but sometimes things don’t go to plan! Thanks for stopping by 🙂

  12. Life is full of surprises. You don’t have to be perfectionist. Go with the flow, thinks that is right. You can follow what heart says. You don’t have to be perfect after all.

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