This week on Birth Stories we hear from Becca about her birth.
“This story is about having my second baby, Lily, who I welcomed into the world eight short months ago…
Where was your birth?
Leicester Royal Infirmary. Although I was certain I was going to the other Leicester hospital where I had my first baby, Ralphie. Good job I checked my notes!
Did you have a plan about the type of birth you wanted?
No. If you know me, then you’ll also know that I don’t really do planning ahead. Of course, I had thought about it (a lot!), but my only real plan was to get baby out safely. My birth with Ralphie didn’t go as expected and I ended up having an emergency c-section. I really thought this time it would go the same way, but I wanted to try for a ‘natural’ birth.
What type of birth did you have?
Although the birth ended up being very traumatic – I lost almost three litres of blood very suddenly after Lily was delivered – my memory of it is wholly positive.
I went into labour sooner than planned. It was just under two weeks before Lily’s due date and I was sat at work not feeling quite right. I hadn’t yet packed my hospital bag, but inside I must have known something was about to happen as I quickly rushed around Boots at lunchtime to grab some essentials.
That evening, I was feeling progressively more uncomfortable. I asked Ryan if he thought it could be something. “You probably just need a big poo!” he said.
By 9pm, I was fairly certain it was happening and I started hurriedly packing my bag.
I rode out the first stages of labour at home. In hospital, after labouring all night, I opted to have an epidural as I knew I was in for the long run and I wanted to save enough strength at the end for what I hoped would be the big push. Never has so much willpower enabled me to stay so damn still through those contractions so they could fit the tube.
It was a long old wait, spiced up a little by the fact the epidural pump stopped working around lunchtime, bringing back that horrendous wave of pain. Finally, at around 6.30pm I was ready to push. Half an hour later and she was here! And that should really should have been the end of it. But it seems that I am quite incapable of giving birth without some element of drama.
This time, I proceeded to suddenly lose almost three litres of blood (like two large bottles’ worth of Coca-Cola) – gushing all over the floor. I don’t remember much. The room was flooded with people. I vomited and Ryan said I went totally delirious, talking about watering the plant pots. In that foggy haze of panic (and not just for my unwatered plants!), what I do remember thinking was that I going to lose my uterus or not be able to see my beautiful babies grow up.
After what seemed like an age, and probably even more so for mum and Ryan, I was stitched back up (by a lady called Maureen who had the most impeccably styled hair and a fabulous no-nonsense attitude), and slowly the colour came back into everyone’s faces as we calmed down and processed the ordeal. I was later given two transfusions.
Before we left for the hospital, Ralphie woke up, crying out. I went in to check on him and he was visibly distressed and wanted a cuddle. We sat together in the dark and I found myself crying as I realised this was our last little moment together before baby arrived. I hope he didn’t see, but it was like he knew, because he gripped extra hard and refused to let go.
And then, just under 24 hours later, I remember that excitement of knowing that I would be meeting my baby girl soon and feeling that sensation of having to push out a massive football! Everything clicked into place. It was the most overwhelming, incredible experience. One minute I could feel the hardest ball of pressure and then…whoosh…she was here in my arms.
Best thing in the hospital bag?
Admittedly it wasn’t the best packed bag in the world, but I remembered the essentials – big, thick pads, muslin cloths (the pineapple ones from Mama Designs, of course!), and nappies. I also packed the most comfortable grey jersey jumpsuit from Mamma and Mini, which I lived in for the next few days and weeks! It has a split panel top, making it ideal for breastfeeding.
Anything else you would like to share?
In the last few weeks, some of my closest friends have welcomed babies of their own into the world. Seeing their tiny bundles of newborn joy has brought back all the raw emotions of what it felt like to hold my two in my arms for the very first time. But if I’m truly honest, I can’t really remember much about their actual birth. It’s such a blur. And it’s why I’m so pleased I wrote my experiences down while they were still relatively fresh in my mind. If you can, I urge you to do the same. Even if it’s just for you to read a few years down the line.
I’m also grateful that my mum and Ryan took photos of those first moments of Ralphie and Lily’s lives. In both instances, I wasn’t in a fit state to soak it all up and enjoy it myself. So being able to look back at photos of moments I didn’t see is so special. They are something I shall treasure forever. “
Thank you so much Becca! If you would like to share your birth story, get in touch firstname.lastname@example.org