A Two Day Labour

Karin Hobbs tells the very personal story of her first childbirth.

I went into labour early on Thursday morning with my first child. I was already a week overdue and desperate to get the baby out. It happened very gradually and, to my horror, the contractions petered out just after lunchtime. We strode out for a walk around the park and lunch at a local Italian restaurant which thankfully got it started again. It was quite funny sitting at the restaurant table having contractions, but at that time they were just a little uncomfortable, not painful.

By the time we’d been for another lap round the park, I was having to stop for each contraction and wishing we were at home. But it still took until almost midnight for the contractions to be less than five minutes apart. During that time the only way I could get comfy was to sit on an open bucket with a pillow over it.

Around midnight we went to the hospital and I was convinced I couldn’t take any more. But they said I was only 4 centimetres dilated and advised us to go home. The midwife said once the doctors saw your name up on the board for too long, they started getting interested in you rather than leaving you to it. So back home we went.

During the examination the midwife had given me a sweep and this really did work and got things moving. By 6am the contractions were very strong and coming thick and fast so we went back to the hospital. Thankfully I was nearly 9 centimetres.

We had the most wonderful midwife, Vanessa, who was so calm and fantastically reassuring. I had wanted to use a pool and was lucky one was free. I found it brilliant for pain relief. But after a while it started slowing things down so they made me get out. I also had gas and air until I started pushing when, to be honest, it didn’t make any difference to the pain.

I started pushing at around lunchtime, a day and a half after first going into labour.

We found out afterwards that my daughter was lying back to back, rather than back to front which is apparently the easier way for babies to come out. She also had her hand up by her face and was a big baby at 9bs 4oz. The pushing was very hard. There were a couple of times when I begged them to just get the baby out. I was extremely tired by that point. They kept feeding me glucose tablets and I also had a drip right at the end to keep the contractions going. The doctors kept popping in but Vanessa was very good at getting me back on track and egging me on just a little bit more. Eventually, at 5.30pm, my daughter came out.

It must be the adrenalin but immediately afterwards, although very tired, I felt amazingly removed from the sobbing wreck that had done the pushing. I had a couple of tears which the midwives said to leave, but the doctors wanted to stitch. I had a male doctor at first who didn’t seem to know which bit went where. I’m so pleased that his senior female doctor took over. I vowed to question any doctor as to their experience before letting them near me in the future.

We left hospital at 10pm and were at home eating a Chinese takeaway before I knew it. In retrospect I think I would have stayed at hospital a little longer as it was a bit of a shock waking up the next morning, still exhausted, with a new baby. But everything healed perfectly and after about a month I felt back to my normal self.

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