Rookie Mistakes is a series where guest bloggers divulge their parenting fails, and make us laugh or inspire us in the process.
Quite often those Rookie Mistakes begin before the baby is born. This week Tamsin who blogs at Chasing Esme shares her rookie mistakes in what she thought labour would be like. Why is it never like the movies?!
Hello! My name is Tamsin, and I’m a 20-year-old mum of one, and the other half of a punk rocker called Al.
My blog, Chasing Esme, was formed after I started writing a ‘New Mum’s Diary’ for a local magazine. Al suggested that I start blogging, so I did!
Esme is now 11-months-old, and is a little star! She’s our only child, and was born on February 5, 2015 at 17.44, weighing 7lb 11.05oz.
The Labour That Didn’t Go To Plan
When I found out I was pregnant, it was a shock. I had suspected that I was pregnant for a while, as I had had a few symptoms. Sore boobs, cravings tomatoes, and no periods. But, I was never regular anyway, and maybe the tomato thing was just because I wanted some. And with having sore boobs, I was thinking that maybe I was due on soon.
But, it didn’t come. About five negative pregnancy tests later, spread out over about two weeks, I decided to book myself an appointment at the doctors. I was thinking that, if I was pregnant, then they could tell me, and if I wasn’t, then maybe there was something wrong.
The doctor asked me for a urine sample, which I rolled my eyes at, at first. I thought: “Don’t you think I’ve already tried that!?” However, five minutes later, I was told that I was pregnant, and that I should contact the midwives. I was over the moon, and couldn’t wait to start reading up on all things pregnancy and baby!
When I got to around 20 weeks pregnant, I started thinking about writing a birth plan. I looked at templates online, as I had no idea how to format it. I ended up writing a list of things I did and didn’t want to happen. I did it half-heartedly, because I didn’t think it would be of use to anyone anyway.
I had in my head the perfect labour: Contractions would start, I’d head to hospital, and a few hours later my baby would arrive.
I used to think I could handle pain really well (now, I think differently!), and wanted to give birth the same way my mother had, with just gas and air and pethidine. I felt, for some reason, that having an epidural was like you had failed in having a natural birth, and women should be able to give birth without loads of medication.
It’s what we’re meant to do, right?
I had thought a lot about a water birth, but wasn’t too sure on the idea. I’d heard lots of good things about them, and it sounded like a very relaxed and calm atmosphere. However, I wasn’t so sure if I fancied being in, basically, a bath, with lots of people standing around watching me.
I didn’t bother writing that in my birth plan in the end, and instead wrote that I wanted to be able to walk around and move about freely, and NOT have to by lying in bed all day. And, I CERTAINLY didn’t want an epidural.
I also had the dilemma of choosing a hospital. The Special Care Baby Unit at my local hospital had closed a short while before I found out I was pregnant, but the Midwife Led Unit (MLU) was still available.
I considered at length about going to the MLU, but if anything went wrong during the labour, it would have been a 45 minute drive to get to the next nearest hospital to be treated.
Then, on February 5, 2015, my waters broke. I was lying in bed at 2am with Braxton Hicks, trying my best to ignore them, when I felt, and I swore I heard, a definite pop – like an elastic band had snapped, or a packet of crisps had been popped.
I ran to the loo, and saw huge amounts of yellow water. I knew that wasn’t a good sign, so rang the hospital straight away.
Turns out, the option of having my baby at the local MLU was out of the question, as Esme had to be monitored completely, so that was ‘being able to move about freely’ out of the window.
My contractions weren’t coming quick enough, so I had to have a hormone drip. As a got to around three centimetres dilated, a realised that I couldn’t deal with pain as well as I thought (doh!) and opted for an epidural.
I did not expect that kind of pain at all. I thought I would just struggle my way through and be able to handle it, but boy, was I wrong!?
I’ve never felt pain like it before, and probably never will again unless we have another baby. There was nothing I could do except scream my way through the contractions, which were absolutely excruciating, and felt annoyed with the midwives for saying: “Just breathe! Breathe!”
I screamed for an epidural with tears streaming down my face (I tried to hide my tears, unsuccessfully), and doctors and nurses were called in to get me to sign the papers to have one. One of the nurses came in and said: “It says on her birth plan she doesn’t want an epidural.”
To which I said: “GIVE ME AN EPIDURAL NOW!”
Within ten minutes of having whatever an epidural is made up of, I felt so much better. My labour was much calmer, and I even managed to get some sleep!
Labour and birth can sometimes be unpredictable, and I made a big mistake in thinking it would all go to plan. I also made the mistake of underestimating how painful, difficult and tiring labour is, and if I ever have another baby, I will definitely keep my mind more open than it was the first time around.
And, now I’ve experienced how good epidurals are, I have no idea why women don’t have them more often! I just wish someone told me how painful it was before hand, and that it was okay to accept pain relief!
Just remember, it’s good to have a clear image in your head of what you want, but don’t be too sad if it doesn’t go to plan!
You can follow Tamsin’s blog Chasing Esme on facebook and twitter.
How about you? Did you handle labour better or worse than you were expecting?
You can read previous guest posts from the Rookie Mistakes series here.
If you are a blogger and wish to take part in the series you can find out more here.
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