Welcome to Micah’s birth story! If you’re here for more comedy moments on gas and air, like Florence’s birth story (which you can read here), then you’re going to be disappointed. Sorry!
Matthew and I headed in to Raigmore for 9pm on Wednesday 25th March. Our temperature was taken when we arrived at Ward 9a, because #covid19, then we were taken to a bed, filled out the essential forms, and told the midwife would be in to speak to us after the changeover at 10pm.
I’m not sure how many times I checked the time in that hour! Oddly excited to be examined, to find out if I was ready to start the induction, or if I’d need the hormonal pessary to help me along. But sadly, when the midwife came we were informed that labour ward was busy and under staffed so none of us would be taken up that night, and they couldn’t give anyone the pessary in case it got labour going, so we weren’t examined. Sob. Furthermore Matthew was told he had to go home and would only be allowed to come back in when I was actually in labour. None of those things were what I wanted to hear. Not knowing when I would actually be induced, and the thought of sitting around waiting on my own in the hospital, rather than being at home with Matthew and Florence, was not pleasant. Matts headed home, and I headed to bed.
At 10am the following morning I was finally examined, and found out I was already 3-4cm dilated and could start the induction as soon as a room became available in labour ward! Yay! Even better, Matthew was able to come in and wait with me whenever he wanted! Hooray for rules changing regularly! He came in shortly after, without having had breakfast or bringing any lunch…and as there were a lot of women in the Highlands going in to labour naturally and jumping the queue ahead of me (so rude!), we were waiting quite a while, so he headed home again around 2:30 to get something to eat (and grab a few things for me as it turned out I’d done a terrible job packing my hospital bag!).
Shortly after 3 I decided to make the most of being child free and have a nap! Two minutes after I snuggled in to bed the midwife appeared to say a room was available in labour ward. Woooooooo! So I messaged Matts, only for a nurse to appear a couple minutes later saying an emergency had just come in so they couldn’t take me up, which can’t be helped, so I told Matthew to stand down and I climbed back in to bed. I slept for an hour, and once Matthew had stopped having snuggle time with Florence he came back in, but was sadly only allowed to stay for an hour as once again the rules had changed to partners only being allowed in for labour.
At 8pm I was told a room was available and a midwife from labour ward would be down to get me soon. I didn’t tell Matthew this time, in case it was another false alarm, but two minutes later the midwife appeared at my bed to take me upstairs! I was clearly so happy to see her as she said “Oh woaw, no one’s looked at me like that in a long time!”, haha! We headed upstairs and I messaged Matts saying “Go! Go! Go! I’m in labour ward!”. The midwife inserted my cannula, but didn’t hook me up to the hormone drip as I’d already been contracting on and off throughout the day. When Matts arrived she broke my water, and oh boy was that something! It literally flooded the bed straight away and they had to change the sheets as it went beyond the protective pads.
Breaking my water was enough to ramp up my contractions and it wasn’t long before they were pretty intense (and, once again, all in my lower back!). In that time there was a shift change and we got a new midwife. A lovely Community Midwife who usually attended home births (which were no longer allowed, because #covid19) and was in to help because so many labour midwives were off. Our first midwife was all for pain relief drugs, but our new midwife was giving off major Hypnobirthing, “do it naturally”, vibes so I felt like I needed to be brave and and power through without any drugs. She was wonderfully calm, softly spoken, and had a great technique to ease some of the pain of the contractions (firmly placing her palms in to my lower back). We roped Matthew in to this pain relief attempt, and I felt like I was giving him a workout, with the force he was using to push his palms in to my back.
After a few hours of labouring naturally, on my knees, leaning over the back of the bed, feeling nauseous and trying not to cry out with the pain, our midwife very kindly asked if I wanted some gas & air. Woohoo! Unfortunately though, I used it for a couple of contractions and it just made me feel even more sick, so I didn’t take any more, but it did give me the confidence to ask/demand an epidural. Our midwife suggested diamorphine as an alternative, as it’s less invasive, but I didn’t like the thought of it going in to baby’s system, and I just knew that once I had the epidural when I was in labour with Florence I felt so much more relaxed and it was just a wonderful experience! So I stood my ground and just kept saying “Nope, I’d like the epidural.”.
I realised just how doped up on gas and air I must’ve been with Florence as I do not remember the procedure taking anywhere near as long with her as it did this time round. I went through multiple contractions, made worse by the position I had to sit in to insert the epidural, and was getting quite frustrated at how long the setup was taking. Thankfully the relief was instantaneous once it was put in. I apologised to our midwife, as I felt like I had failed her by not doing it naturally *face palm* She was very kind and supportive, reminding me that I had laboured naturally for hours, and actually agreed that the epidural was exactly what I needed as she could see the relief I felt.
Turns out I’d requested the epidural just in time! It’s common to be told that an epidural will slow down labour, but I asked to be examined shortly after receiving mine as I felt a really strong pressure in my lady bits, and wanted to try pushing. They examined me and didn’t think I was quite ready, but I kept saying the pressure was pretty intense, so our midwife said to try pushing in my next contraction. I couldn’t actually feel my contractions though so had to be told when they were happening. Both midwives were impressed at how well I was able to push despite not feeling the contractions, and I was only pushing for about half an hour. Due to my third degree tear with Florence, our midwife was very hands on this time round and when Micah’s head was halfway out she told me to stop pushing (it was pushing Florence’s head out so quickly that caused my tear last time)…even with the epidural I felt the burn (I don’t think the epidural was as strong as the one I go with Florence)!! Once his head was out she told me to rest again and let his body turn, the whole time she’s stretching my nether regions to help ease him out more gently. One more push and he slid right out, at 1:59am! I reached out and practically grabbed him and Matthew said “It’s a boy!”. We couldn’t believe we had a little boy! It was so wonderful to finally get him out of my pelvis and snuggle him in to my chest! And, like when Florence was born, I instantly new which name from our list I wanted to give him, and thankfully Matthew agreed.
I ended up with a 2nd degree tear, so I still needed stitches, but the midwife just did them there and then as I lay snuggling Micah in our room (and he pooped all over my wobbly empty bump). It was great not needing to go to theatre and have a further dose of epidural, not needing a catheter when I got my epidural, and not needing a 24 hour antibiotic IV! I was up and walking around within an hour of giving birth.
I felt great when the midwife on Ward 10 popped in to check on us later that morning, and she was happy to discharge us once Micah had been checked over by the Paediatrician. I was so excited!! But that excitement decreased as the hours passed by, waiting for Micah’s check up, and then being told that because he hadn’t had a wet nappy and wasn’t showing much interest in latching on for a feed, they wanted us to stay in for 24 hours. I knew he still had mucus inside him, as he was gagging throughout the day, and I knew once he got that up that he’d want a feed and would then have a wet nappy.
I hand expressed colostrum in to a syringe a couple times throughout the day, and hand expressed in to his mouth a few times, and eventually in the evening he had a good spew, then had a good feed, then did a wee! The second I saw the blue line on his nappy I asked the midwife if we could go home! The first one who saw us was a bit hesitant and came up with many reasons for us to stay, but I had a confident response for each one, and she realised she wasn’t going to change my mind. So she got the Charge Midwife who was totally chilled and very happy for us to head home, if we were happy to do so. Yay! So we headed home at 10pm, surprised my Mum who didn’t think we’d be getting home until the following morning, popped in to Florie’s room to see her sweet sleeping face, and climbed in to our wonderfully comfy bed with our new bundle of love sleeping beside me.
Ooft…that was a long post! Good effort if you made it to the end. I hope you enjoyed Micah’s birth story, despite the lack of gas and air comedy. I wonder if there will be a third birth story in a couple more years…