I went into hospital on Easter Sunday, 2006 because I thought my waters had gone. It was six days before my due date and I was really excited. After a really painful examination I started bleeding and so they wouldn't let me go home. To cut a long story short, my consultant scanned me the following morning and said that it looked like the placenta was starting to deteriorate so they were going to induce me. My husband and mother came over at visiting time and ended up staying because at my next examination I was bleeding again so I was transferred onto the labour ward. I was hooked up to all the machines, watching contractions that I couldn't feel and happily enjoying some lunch. It was calm and peaceful and, to be honest, quite boring. I was just lying there with nothing to do, but I was too excited to try to sleep or read.
All of a sudden, everything changed. The machines started beeping and doctors and midwives gathered around them. I was looking at my mother, pleading with her to tell me it was going to be okay, but the next thing I knew the bottom end of my bed was being taken away and I had to sign a consent form for surgery. I was taken for a spinal block and not long after my beautiful little boy was born.
When Zac was 8 months old I fell pregnant again. I was booked in under consultant care as I was know classed as high-risk after having a c-section. Thankfully, I had the same consultant as last time, and when he asked me if I would prefer to have an elective section or try for a VBAC (vaginal birth after caesarean), I knew immediately that it was the latter I wanted. I was aware that I may end up having another c-section but I at least had to try.
I went into labour naturally and because I hadn't progressed very far in my previous labour, it was a classic first labour. It took 23 hours, an hour and a half of pushing and a shot of pethidine before my second baby boy was born It was exhausting and utterly agonising! I haven't mentioned it before but I suffer from Symphisis Pubis Dysfunction (SPD) in pregnancy. I'd had physio, and she had advised me of the best way to labour and deliver, but I totally forgot all this and could only focus on the pain, which resulted in me doing everything wrong. Looking back, most of the pain I felt had been in my hips and legs, but no-one picked up on it at the time so I put my body through trauma, and even ended up in stirrups to be stitched afterwards. I couldn't walk and I was in so much pain. I had to have three months of post-natal physio. The recovery was worse than when I had my c-section. Though I would have done it all again when I held my baby for the first time.
There was a three year gap before I had my third. I was again, under the same consultant, and even though I'd had a successful VBAC I was still classed as high risk. I suffered from SPD again and I was really concerned about my labour being the same as previously. I was totally determined to do everything right this time.
Due to my c-section, I'm not allowed to go more than a week overdue so I was booked in for an early stretch and sweep. I had my first one four days before my due date (on my birthday) and nothing happened. Then had another one the day before I was due, and my waters broke in the middle of it! At first they wanted me to go straight to hospital (I was in my midwife led unit at this point), but the hospital said that because I'd had a natural birth last time, that I could go home and wait for the contractions to start. I drove home (alone) and my contractions started half way there. I managed to get home, and luckily my husband got there just after me. It wasn't long before the contractions were so bad I could barely walk so we jumped (well I waddled) into the car to go to hospital. When we got there, there was nowhere to park. I started to feel sick and then started panicking as I remembered feeling sick in transition last time. I was so afraid that I was going to have the baby in the car. I shouted at hubby to just stop the car, so he did, and as we were getting out, we saw my mother walking towards us. She's a nurse and was working that day, and it seemed like a miracle at the time as she didn't even know that I was in labour. Hubby went off to park properly as we were blocking loads of cars in, and my mother took me up to the delivery suite.
They told me to sit down, I couldn't. Then they asked me for a urine sample so off I went to the toilet where I started pushing! The midwife helped me back to the bed and within 10 minutes my third precious little boy was born. It was amazing. This time, I hadn't listened to anyone else and had just gone with what felt right. It was still extremely painful, and very scary, but it was incredible at the same time.
Three babies, three completely different labours and deliveries. Is there any difference? I got the birth I wanted in the end, but I don't know if it really matters. I adore my three boys, they all breastfed well and are all happy little boys now. I'm glad I did it, and glad I've had the experiences, c-section included. All that really matter is that they're here, safe, with me.