The day before
2018-12-01 | 5:31 p.m.

Wednesday, 3rd October.

(Disclaimer: this may be long, rambling, boring, or all three. I don't know yet.)

I got up just after 6.30 am to start getting ready for work. It was in the bathroom after I'd brushed my teeth that I felt a small gush of something and thought I'd wet myself because hello pregnancy = goodbye pelvic floor muscles. Almost immediately after it happened, it happened again, so I realised something was definitely not right and woke Ollie. At this point I was still hoping to go to work (!?).

Ollie looked up what we should do, which was to ring the hospital, which I duly did. They said there was no rush, but to come in, where I'd be assessed and sent home again. Got hold of work so they'd have enough time to find someone to cover my court. Phoned my work friend Robin who I'd meant to be meeting for lunch and asked instead if he could pack up all my kit from court and take it back to the office.

Ollie put my hospital bags in the car as a precaution and drove us to the hospital where I was promptly told, "You're admitted now and won't be going home." A short while later I was told by a midwife, "You're going to have a vaginal exam and you're going to be induced." Now, a book Katie lent me, NCT and hypnobirthing classes all drummed home the same message - that you need to consent to any action/procedures in labour and that you're well within your rights to tell people to kindly fuck off and buck their ideas the hell up. Maybe not phrased exactly like that. I did tell her I wouldn't necessarily agree to either an exam or an induction, and that she would need to explain exactly why these were the best options for me.

Still in triage at this point and no one knows whether my blood is okay for things like an epidural and c-section if needed, so blood was to be taken. The trainee doing it complained about my veins, then failed to get blood out, with it going all over the bed I was sitting on rather than neatly in a vial. A midwife tried the other arm and also failed. A third person came in and they got a cannula in and took it all that way. Finally agreed to be examined to be told my waters had broken but my cervix was shut. Great.

I then had a disagreement with a doctor about IV antibiotics, which I'd agreed to have due to carrying Group B strep (harmless to carriers but can make newborn babies very ill, sometimes fatally). Doctor said I would have Clindamycin due to penicillin allergy, even though I was clutching a printout from the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists saying Clindamycin was NOT recommended due to high resistance. Was very firm about this. Doc said RCOG's guidelines weren't the same as theirs, and that he'd have to obtain approval for a different antibiotic from the pharmacist, but to his credit this is exactly what he did, and I did end up with a different antibiotic.

I think we moved rooms at this point. How exciting! Down to the "induction" end of the delivery suite. My dream of a water birth had gone out the window as soon as I was admitted as I wasn't yet 37 weeks pregnant (a mere three days off) and therefore instantly classed as high risk and banned from the birthing pool.

I think we were waiting around a while here. Eventually we were joined by a haematologist, anaesthetist and on call obstetrician. Got okayed for an epidural should I need one (hooray!) and told my blood clotting levels were fine, just to take tranexamic acid every four(?) hours in labour and after as a precaution. The obstetrician however was adamant that it was very important that I be induced with a drip by 7 pm as my waters had broken and this brought about risk of infection. Appreciated him explaining things to me and agreed with his plan.

We were then left alone again and I think Ollie went home at this point to get more stuff. I emailed work to say my maternity leave was starting immediately and rang the restaurant I was meant to be going to with my dad and Ollie that Saturday to cancel the reservation. Ollie returned and we went for a walk around the bleak hospital grounds, though I found a tree I liked.

Later a midwife came to try to induce me with some kind of gel or pessary, which shortly after brought about small, fairly painful contractions. Walked more, hypnobirth breathed/used my tens machine through the contractions, which were every two minutes and lasted 30 seconds.

We were then into the evening and the hospital went nuts, became overrun with emergency births and became so full of women giving birth that they shut the doors to any further admissions. I found out later they were being sent to two other hospitals in Essex, and they then became full and people were having to go to any hospital in London that could take them, eeeeek.

This meant no one could deal with me and we were left alone for several hours. Nearly lost my shit when I heard a woman in the room next to me in labour - she was screaming like she was being tortured to death. At Ollie's instruction I put my (very expensive but best purchase ever) noise cancelling headphones on and listened to a hypnobirthing download. I took them off about 20 mins later and the screaming had stopped - the baby was out! Ollie said it was so awful that he heard the midwives say to the lady, "If you don't stop screaming, we're going to leave and you're going to deliver this baby on your own!" So that was fun and not at all unnerving.

Pressed a bell at some point and was told by a stressed midwife we wouldn't be dealt with any time soon. Mini contractions were still horrible. That night watched my favourite ever Xmas special episode of Only Fools and Horses, The Jolly Boys' Outing, with Ollie on our tablet and at some point actually slept a little (and he slept on the floor) because eventually it was morning and my contractions had nearly disappeared.

To be continued...

previous | next