After numerous entries for the Conception Diaries, I am finding it bittersweet to say that this will be my last written entry – although I am so pleased and relieved to say that, with everything we have been through, it has a happy ending and my family is now complete (well, almost – the marriage bit for Ross and I will really seal the deal!).
Following my series on YouTube, The Conception Diaries, and our attempts to get pregnant, I do still feel that I need to record some more vlogs to finalise everything and update the people who watch my videos. These will follow in due course.
In the meantime, here is the story of Rex’s birth. Something Ross and I have been waiting to write about for a very long time. You can read about the lead up to my labour in the last week of my Conception Diaries, Week 36.
The contractions begin
With the initial 24 hour inducement starting in the very early hours of Saturday 24th June and then 3 rounds of prostaglandin administered every 6 hours – which started at 2am on Sunday 25th June – mild contractions finally began at around 5.30pm on the Sunday.
I initially kept myself busy by eating my dinner and watching Bridesmaids via my iPhone thanks to the Amazon Prime app. It wasn’t the best way to watch a film but was the only option without a television.
That evening I was extremely relieved and very pleased to see my favourite midwife, Amy, on duty. She was kind and understanding and not too imposing. I was told that a decision would be made on what to do at around 11.30pm. In the meantime I was hooked up once again to the CTG machine to monitor the baby and my contractions. I updated Ross and said that I would keep him posted.
As the evening progressed, so did my contractions and, as they started to become more painful, I distracted myself by watching Ed Sheeran at Glastonbury via the BBC iplayer app. Somehow, I found this really comforting.
My waters are broken
It was clearly a very busy day in the labour ward that Sunday but, thankfully, Amy and my favourite doctor, Dr Fady, came round to see me and, rather than decide to leave me for another 24 hours, they decided to break my waters. A blessed relief.
They initially tried to do this in my room on my bed but, because everything was so posterior, they took me into another room where they could put my feet up in stirrups. It was extremely painful, so I was given some gas and air to help and my waters were broken. I was grateful for the tray underneath the bed rather than have this happen in the bed in the room I was in.
I was taken back to my room and hooked back up to the monitor. I then decided to call Ross and suggested that both he and Grace come now. Ross questioned bringing Grace at this early stage but I explained that I didn’t feel it would be much longer.
Ross and Grace arrive
Ross and Grace arrived and brought the birthing ball which Grace had given me for me birthday. At this stage I was still in the Foxglove room, still watching Ed Sheeran but as the strength of the contractions started to increase, everything around me seemed to fade into the background.
At this stage, Ross brought out the bluetooth speaker and I was able to listen to the labour playlist I had prepared on Spotify. I can remember putting on a clean nightdress. I can also remember the head of the ward coming to speak to us, insisting that she told us all about how Ross’ parents had arrived and she needed to tell us. I remember saying that I didn’t want to appear rude but please would they just shut up!
Moving from Foxglove to Poppy
At around 1am the contractions were strong enough to move me from Foxglove – a standard room – to Poppy – a delivery room. I wanted to wait for a lull between contractions and then it was action stations as Amy and Grace supported me and helped me to the room.
Ross and Amy ferried all my belongings across as Grace stayed with me and rubbed my back as I sat on the birthing ball rotating my hips and dealing with contractions which were now really strong and very painful. I can remember more waters going all over my clean nightdress so decided to remove this and just sit there in my bra. Grace was a complete trooper and really helped me.
Once Amy and Ross were in the room, I was finally allowed some gas and air – even though I had asked for it a few times before! Ross also hooked me up to the TENS machine which I found helpful during my labour with Grace and once again felt the benefits.
Diamorphine a bit too late
The pain was becoming unbearable so I confirmed to Amy that I would like some diamorphine. She said that she would have to put in a request but, before this, she wanted to examine me. I had to get off the ball and up onto the bed. With the fact that I was in so much pain, I needed a lot of help from Ross and Amy to get off the ball and up onto the bed. It was at this point that I was surprised to start to feel the need to push.
I can remember trying to form a rhythm with my breathing using the gas and air and the music I could hear in the background. Ross was helping with increasing the strength of the TENS machine and at one point he switched it off by mistake!
Amy told me that I was 5cm dilated and apparently mouthed to Ross that it was too late for the diamorphine. This was apparently at 2am. I told Amy that I felt like I needed to push and she told me to go with it. Poor Grace had apparently turned white at this point so Ross took her downstairs to where both my parents and Ross’ were waiting. I was so proud of her for making it this far. Amy took over from Ross whilst he was away.
He returned in what seemed like minutes to me and, it felt like not long after, that the song ‘Sun and the Moon’ by Go West came on from my shuffled playlist. He reminded me, as I was dealing with the pain, that he had played this for me at one point during one of the plays I had been in – and I remembered.
The next song to come on was ‘King of Wishful Thinking’ by Go West and, appropriately, it was at this point that Rex’s head had started to appear – and I can remember Ross being amazed by this. He could see our baby for the first time. I was surprised that this only took a couple of pushes followed by his body which, according to Ross ‘slid down the bed, a bit like a squid!’.
The next thing I knew was that Rex was on my chest and we finally met our baby. Ross and I had some time to ourselves to marvel over him and finally make a definite decision on his name. We had both said that we wanted to see him to make sure his name suited him before we confirmed it. We agreed that Rex Martin was a definite match for him.
Cutting the cord and checking me over
Once the cord had had a chance to empty the rest of the blood supply, Ross was able to cut it and disconnect the physical join between me and our baby.
Amy did her medical checks and it turned out that I had a little bit of grazing – unlike the third degree version I had suffered with Grace – a first degree tear and a slight nick with no stitches needed. I opted for the injection to deliver the placenta but it took a while and in the end, with some help from Dr Fady, I managed to deliver it.
Meeting his family
We knew that the next person who should meet Rex was his sister, so Ross went downstairs to get Grace. She came in exhausted but the look of joy on her face as she held her brother was just beautiful. I will never forget it – and thankfully Ross managed to record the moment on camera.
With both sets of parents downstairs and the rule that only birth partners were allowed on the labour ward, Amy went to see if they could just come to the door. This was so Ross could show them Rex through the glass. Thankfully the lady in charge was really kind and let both sets of parents come up individually for a couple of minutes each. First Ross’ parents and then mine.
The morning after
Poor Amy came to see us with tears in her eyes. She had been called to an emergency and, as a result, had forgotten to take blood from the cord to check Rex’s blood group. This is because of the fact that I am O negative and needing Anti-D if he was positive. I couldn’t believe how thoughtful and how upset she was. Ross and I both reassured her that it was fine. All it meant was that Rex would need to have blood taken from his foot instead.
I then decided to have a shower and Grace kindly came to help me. I started to feel faint though so Grace and Amy helped me back to the bed. They brought me some tea and toast to help my blood sugar level.
Morning came around quickly and by 9am Ross and Grace were fading. I reassured them both and told them to go home to get some sleep. Then it was just me and Rex. The nurse came to check on us regularly as Rex’s breathing sounded a bit odd. His body temperature was low so they put him under a heater to warm him up.
At around 10.30 Rex and I were ready to go down to the maternity ward and they arranged for the Paediatrician to check on Rex that afternoon rather than the following day.
We were all over the moon. Our exciting new chapter had begun.