So he's here. I'm sure most of you may have been following along on Instagram or facebook, but I thought I would share here a little more about welcoming our sweet Rohan into the world. (Just also to clarify, his name is pronounced like Rowan, just spelt a little differently!)
I thought I would try and write down how we welcomed our little Rohan into the world, whilst it's still a little fresh in my mind. These last few days have been such a blur of information and emotion that sometimes it's easy to forget I gave birth only a week ago.
Last week I woke up feeling like things couldn't go on for much longer. The Christmas holidays were just about over and Theo was going back to school. All day Monday and Tuesday I had stitch like pains down my bump and somehow I just knew that things wouldn't hold on for too much longer. On Wednesday, after a bath to soothe my aching bump I had a sudden urge to go to the shops and buy a few last minute items for my hospital bag, and manically rechecked it all when I got home. I'd like to say I felt ready, but the last month or so of the pregnancy just flew by and it hadn't really sunk in that I was full term, and probably wouldn't get any bigger and that indeed the pregnancy was very nearly over. When I was pregnant with Theo it felt like an age to get to full term and here I was at 39 weeks not really feeling like it was really the end, but also feeling like there was no way I could possibly be pregnant for another three weeks or so.
I took another bath in the evening as I was just so tired from my day racing around the shops and tried to get myself in bed early. I think I finally went to sleep by about 10.30, half way through Madmen, and just too tired. I woke up around midnight with the need to go to the toilet (I was going about 4 or 5 times a night!) with slight cramping pain. As I climbed back into bed after I felt a soft pop and knew, as like with Theo, my waters had gone. I think I actually jumped out of bed (to protect the mattress!) and stood there a little in shock. I was due to have a stretch and sweep the next afternoon and couldn't really believe that it had happened a week early all by itself. I rang the hospital straight away to let them know whilst Rob busied himself packing the last of the bag.
I had (sort of luckily) been diagnosed with having Group B strep whilst pregnant, which meant I would need to receive antibiotics as soon as I went into labour, so whilst technically nothing was really happening yet as I wasn't having any contractions, normally I could have stayed at home, but I had to go in straight away. We called Rob's parents who made their way over to take me to hospital and someone to stay with Theo. I desperately wanted to wake Theo to tell him we wouldn't be there when he woke in the morning and to in a way say goodbye to the end of our family of three, but it wasn't a good idea. We left the house in a sort of blur, and there was no real goodbye. It all just happened so quickly again that I don't really think it sunk in that I was actually going to go into labour and that the baby would be here pretty soon.
We arrived at hospital around 1am, me still leaking quite a lot of fluid. The next few hours passed with not much happening at all. My contractions did start, baby's heart was being monitored and I had received the antibiotics. I had no real birth plan as such, just that I wanted to be in control a little more this time. I wanted to be able to be mobile if that suited me, to have music and perhaps a calmer atmosphere than last time. Above all I just didn't want to get the fear. I had been attending a yoga and birth preparation class for a month or so and felt that the breathing exercises to stay calm really helped. People had also given me some hypno-birthing tracks which I listened to in the early hours of that morning. So things progressed like this for a while. Alternating from being on the birthing ball, the bed and standing. My contractions were irregular, the midwife checked me and did a sweep, and also broke the rest of my waters just in front of baby's head.
It was a slow, quiet night and still didn't really feel real. I encouraged Rob to sleep, as he had had even less sleep than me and not a lot was going on in any case. Around 6.30 in the morning the midwife suggested that because of the group b strep and my waters breaking that the risk of infection goes up the longer the time between my waters and the baby being born passed. Since my contractions were still pretty irregular they wanted to put me on the syntocinon drip to get them started a little more. I was pretty tired by this point, and throughout I just wanted to do what was best for baby. I didn't want to carry on naturally for a few more hours only to end up at this point anyway, just more exhausted. So we decided to go for it.
I didn't have any pain relief plan, but last time with Theo when I had the hormone drip I did opt for having the epidural straight away, as I was told that it would sort of throw me in the deep end of contractions, and well I had the fear last time. This time however I did feel a little more in control, my breathing was really helping me through the contractions and I just wanted to see how it went. The drip went in at about 7.30am, just before the midwives changed their shifts. I'm pretty sure it started working straight away, as the contractions, whilst not getting much stronger definitely became more regular. As the sun was coming up we dipped the lights even more, put on music and I stayed on the ball just breathing my way through each contraction. In my head I imagined climbing up a hill with each one, knowing I would get to the top and be able to come back down again on the other side.
It didn't take too long for the surges to become more intense, and at points I definitely felt like I was loosing control and didn't think I would be able to manage much more pain. I felt the sudden urge to be sick, like I did in labour with Theo, and I think the fear of having uncontrollable sickness crept in and I panicked. I asked for an epidural. I was so tired and all I wanted to do was lie on the bed in a pain free state like I had last time. In the meantime I tried one puff of gas and air during a contraction, but this time around I hated it. It made me feel way too dizzy! One anaesthetist came but with news that he had been called to theatre, I had sort of lost my control over the contractions. I definitely admitted defeat and didn't want to carry on any more, but by that time my contractions were coming pretty thick and fast that I didn't really have a choice. Rob and the midwives kept on pulling me back and telling me just to concentrate on my breathing, which definitely helped. By that point I, to my surprise started to feel the urge to push. I could feel baby moving down but there was no way I felt like it was time for that to happen. I told the midwives and they told me to just go with the feeling. I had been standing for a while by this point, leaning on the bed, moaning and trying to breathe my way through. Another anaesthetist came by this time being able to perform the epidural if I still wanted it, but I couldn't concentrate on what she was saying, and I felt too far gone by this point. I was still wanting to push and there was no way I would have been able to sit still enough for the epidural, as the contractions were going through my whole body in waves. So I somewhat politely (not at all) refused the epidural. The midwives decided to try and check how I was progressing and asked me to get onto the bed, which I just found to be the most difficult thing to do. It felt like I couldn't move and that the baby was just too far down, but I managed to get on in the end. They said I was about 7cm dilated, but my god it hurt like hell to be checked.
I wanted to be off the bed and standing as soon as I could again, and I don't really think the midwives expected things to progress as quickly, but to me it felt like no sooner had I stood up again that I could feel the urge to push once more. Soon enough I could feel his head coming out, and informed the midwife that it was there. I think his head may have gone back up, but it was clear that things were moving very fast and that he was going to be born with the next few surges. I didn't really notice but more people had entered the room ready for him to be born. The whole time I felt like my body had just taken over, the noises came out of me involuntarily, as well as a few choice words. But I was aware of what was happening, I could feel every movement of baby, and even though the pain was like nothing else, it felt amazing to know he was nearly there. Sure enough with a few more surges, little pushes and some yelling, his head born, followed swiftly by the rest of his body.
I think by that point I was in total shock, I couldn't believe he was out and it was pretty much over. I think Rohan was in a little bit of shock too and they took him away to be rubbed and looked at whilst I got myself on the bed. I'm not sure how much time passed but I eventually delivered the placenta then got to be able to finally meet my beautiful boy for the first time and hold him in my arms. We stayed gazing at his little face for quite a while before he eventually had to be taken away to NICU. I was so exhausted by that point I could barely keep my eyes open and I don't think I truely registered him being moved. But it was over, in two and a half hours I'd managed to go from 3cms to delivering him all without pain relief. I couldn't believe I'd actually done it.
Over the next few hours or so I slept, had tea and toast and expressed my first bit of colostrum. We then packed up our belongings and walked (yes walked eek!) round to the ward before making our way to NICU to lay eyes on our boy. But I shall leave the rest for another day as this is already so very long. I can't believe it's been a week already since he entered this world and we're so glad he is here. I won't go too much here on how I've been feeling since he was born, as I want to keep his birth separate. For the most part it was an amazing experience, it may not have felt it at the time, but I'm so glad I was able to birth him naturally and feel exactly what it feels like to have a baby. This is my last pregnancy and baby, and I feel it ended in the best possible way (other than being able to keep hold of him in my arms) and for that I'm thankful.
So Rohan, your journey into this world was quick but we're so glad you decided to finally come and meet us. We love you more than we thought possible!