If someone had said to me on Friday 13th November that I’d be going in to labour that evening, I would’ve probably scoffed at them. I’d crossed fingers for a Friday 13th birth because it’s a cool date, but with not even so much as a twinge by tea time I thought it unlikely, and went about ‘business as usual’.
Around 8pm my lower back felt a little uncomfortable, which I put down to sitting on my lazy arse too long. I ate, and popped on to the computer to chat with my bees. By 10pm the backache hadn’t subsided, so I decided to go to bed to get some rest. I was tempted to ‘tweet’ about it, but after having seen the reaction to my twinges on the 12th — which resulted in me feeling like I’d let the world down — I thought better of it. However, within seconds of lying down, I was getting waves of period-like pain and decided pacing the front room was a more pleasant option.
Out of curiosity I timed a few of the contractions using the stopwatch on my phone. I didn’t expect to get much out of it… I mean, you read stories about women who start off labour days before they actually give birth, and have wildly far apart contractions followed by blocks of no pain. Seemed a bit odd then that mine felt quite close together, and no wonder: they were 4.5 mins apart almost to the second.
I rang the hospital to ask for advice on when would be a good time to come in (given that it was a 40 minute trip) and she advised I head straight over. Cue a mad dash to get the bags and a few remaining bits and pieces together, and then we started off on the journey. Not 5 minutes down the road I realised I’d left my maternity notes at home, so I had to get Karl to turn around and go back — contractions and speed bumps, fun fun! — so that I could pick the bloody things up.
Anyway… shortly after arriving at the hospital, I did a pee sample, I was hooked up to a monitor for half an hour, and given an internal only to be told I was 3cm dilated. Because my birth was still relatively low risk (despite the low iron) I was assigned a midwife and we went into a labour room to continue with a “normal” labour. I was hooked up to a TENS machine for pain relief, although I don’t really think it did a fat lot, and was given gas and air (Entonox) which started Karl off making Darth Vadar jokes. I had blood drawn, and was hooked up to a drip because they detected ketones in my urine (although this didn’t surprise me, I knew I was at least slightly dehydrated and had been for weeks because my pee was far too dark.)
I had every intention of doing hourly updates via text message to twitter at this point, but the contractions were just under 4 minutes apart and were getting more uncomfortable with each one. I was squeezing Karl’s hand and had already dictated one message to him so that I could concentrate on breathing.
A couple of hours in I was told that the results of the blood test were back and that my iron was absolutely fine. Talk about annoying. I stand by my original theory that someone had mixed up my blood test with that of the other woman who was pregnant at the same time as me and with the exact same name (I don’t see any other reason why my iron level would drop so suddenly and then go back up in a week, despite having stopped taking the Spatone!) My labour was downgraded to lowest risk, and I was moved from the room I was in — with Entonox through a valve in the wall — to a smaller but more “cosy” room in their midwife-led unit with a new midwife. Not quite the MLU I wanted to birth in but a better option than being stared at by consultants for no real reason.
(To be continued…)