This week on my Birth and Labour series is Becky from Bringing up the Berneys. She shares with us her amazing story.
Before I fell pregnant, I’d already skipped this stage and become a step-mum to my daughter Lily who was 3 and a half at the time. I’d attempted to go to university in 2014, I say attempted because I lasted all of 2 months before I packed up and moved in with Martin and Lily for good. With the love for being a step-mum to Lily, Martin and I decided we wanted to add another into the mix, and I fell pregnant in April 2015.
It was really surreal to be honest, I’d never imagined myself as becoming a mum at 21, but here we were! My pregnancy itself went without a hitch, although I did break my foot in the 2nd trimester (more embarrassingly so I did it walking out of the school gates – 2nd week in of Reception too!) We went to the scans and found out we were having a little boy, who was due to arrive on 17th January 2016. I was a little apprehensive as I worried if he was too early we’d be celebrating Christmas in hospital, and so I willed him not to make an early entrance into the world.
Well, he listened. He listened a bit too well. As early January approached I was getting hopeful that I might start to feel something – anything. Braxton hicks, or the “dropping” of the bump, but early January came and went, and we were days away from D-Day. Now I’d had my bags packed from about 20 weeks as I was being constantly nagged by my mum to get them ready “just in case!” As she works on the maternity ward at the local hospital, I know she’s seen it all, so I quickly took heed to her advice and had everything ready to go. Needless to say though it got unpacked and repacked more times in between! Looking back it almost seemed totally pointless to be so organised! The 17th came, and went. Nothing. No niggles, wiggles or any hint that Baby Berney might be making an entrance on his due date.
Days passed, and I was still waiting. You hear about other parents whose babies were early or late, but in your mind you just think, “it won’t happen to me, my baby will be right on time!” How naïve of me. At 40wks & 3 days I was given ‘the sweep,’ which I was told would only really have a 40% chance of actually working. If I was given the choice again I wouldn’t opt for it, it was uncomfortable and a bit (rather) painful, and it made me bleed slightly (which is normal, but not nice!) I walked about town with a painful waddle, bleakly optimistic that it might’ve worked as it seemed to have agitated Baby a bit. But unfortunately I fell into the 60% and I was still pregnant. I was then told if nothing were to happen in the next few days I’d have to be induced.
With no signs of baby coming himself, I called up the delivery suite on Friday 29th to be booked in for induction. 12 days overdue, and one very frustrated mum-to-be, I called up at 7.30am like I was told to with a spring in my step and a beaming smile, because today I was going to have a baby! “Sorry, we’re really busy at the moment, can you call back at lunch time and we’ll see if things quieten down.” are. you. kidding. me. My excitement went down like a lead balloon. All I could think about was getting this baby out of me! The morning dragged by slowly, until eventually I got to call back and ask again to go in. “We’re still really busy…How late are you?” After explaining I was 12 days over and very uncomfortable they agreed for me to go in at 6pm that night; finally. It was going to happen, I was going to have a baby!
Not just yet. Martin and I had childcare arranged for Lily, and we went to my mums for dinner. Around 5.30pm I got my very first niggle of discomfort, and I thought that I was going to go into labour naturally (typical!) but it was a one-off niggle and nothing came of it. Off we trundled to the hospital at 6pm, where I was then told nothing would be happening with me until after the shift change-over (which made sense, but it was 2 hours of unnecessary waiting around.) So we waited. I was left in a 4 bed room, with just me in luckily! To pass the time, Martin and I played a game of who could name the most car makers in the world (I know, we’re too cool.) At 8pm I got hooked up to a baby monitor which monitored baby’s heart and my contractions, which I should have only been on for 30 minutes…2 hours later and I was still waiting to be taken off it – and in which time I’d been to the toilet 3 times and had to take all the flipping wires with me!
AT LAST. At 10pm the midwife came in and set off my induction, with an extremely uncomfortable tablet up my hoo-haa. I was told to wait 6 hours for the first attempt to work, and if it didn’t then I’d have another one, and if that didn’t work it’d be induction via the drip. At first it seemed like it hadn’t worked, but I was soon eating my words. I disappeared for a bath which I didn’t find soothing or helpful, partly because I kept worrying that someone might walk in on me! So that was short lived. I waddled back to the room, and the contractions started to take over. I couldn’t handle just laying on the bed, so Martin took that and I sat starkers on a birthing ball, bouncing up and down. Around 1am I asked for some paracetamol from a nurse, who I didn’t realise at the time wasn’t allowed to administer drugs, and so I was left without any pain relief. I went to the front desk and asked again about an hour later and still nothing. Eventually my midwife came back in and I was given paracetamol (hurrah! it didn’t do much!) but I was grateful for anything by this point.
If there’s one thing they tell you when you’re having a baby, it’ll be “control your breathing” – which is the best advice you can get, but at the time coming from your partner doesn’t seem like it! Another Midwife came in to see what was going on just at the same time I’d lost control of my breathing. I couldn’t catch my breath and I felt like I was suffocating throughout the whole contraction, it just felt endless! Eventually the contraction ended and I managed to regain control, and after that I made sure I didn’t let that happen again.
The hours passed, and at 4am my midwife came in to check on me at the 6 hour mark where lo and behold, I was 7cm dilated! The baby was finally coming! I was moved from the 4 bed room to a delivery room. Martin rang my mum to tell her what was going on, and she made her way to the hospital (she was to be on shift that morning at 7am!) Now it usually goes that you dilate 1cm an hour, so in theory I should have had another 3 hours to go, but baby had different ideas. I got up onto the bed and that was it, I was ready to push. I was given Gas & Air, but I couldn’t get the hang of it and it wasn’t easing the pain, so I chucked it on the floor much to my midwifes amusement.
At 4.35am on 30th January 2016, William Christopher Scott Berney was born weighing 9lb 5oz.
It was over, and with only 2 stitches, I’d done it. And my mum missed it…In the half an hour it took from calling my mum to William arriving, my mum had got to work, popped her lunch in the fridge, nipped to the loo and had a quick natter with a colleague! After all, she thought I would still only be about 8cm!
One thing I won’t forget is having to pass the placenta. That felt so weird to have to push that out too. No one really tells you about this part. I remember my midwife almost tugging it out, and asking if I wanted to see it/keep it. NOPE THANKS. No one also really prepares you for the totally bizarre feeling of your tummy no longer being a firm hard ball shape. It becomes wobbly and jelly-like, and I wasn’t prepared for that at all and I was completely weirded out by this! Of course, what was making it hard and firm was now on the outside of you. And for some, they like to have their babies placed straight onto them but not me, I wanted him to be cleaned up first!
And there we are. A new family of 4.