I have been debating whether to write about my birth story, whether to share all the details or whether to keep it just for us. I think if it had gone any differently then perhaps this post wouldn’t have happened.
I wanted to write my perspective on what I think happened when I wasn’t too drugged up to help other first time mum’s understand what it can be like. Every birth is unique and everyone experiences things differently. I also wanted Phil to write his version of events so the Dads could have a read too.
So here it is… the good, the bad and the ugly.
The house was tidied and prepped and ready for us to arrive back home. Elle was calm, focused and organised as ever. We were ready for our new arrival.
It’s the morning of the 19th of February 2018, our induction day, having only been told the day before, it was quite nice to at least get a surprise of a quick induction, even if weren’t going to get the excitement of going into natural labour.
I woke up and laid in bed 10 minutes longer than I should do, which is usual and quite annoyed Els, but I’d been annoying her throughout her pregnancy so I thought it only fitting to carry on the tradition, plus keeping everything as normal as possible seemed to be a good approach too, well, to the whole car crash that the miracle of birth is. I have a son and had already been through a fairly traumatic birth so I had mentally prepared myself for the worst.
The journey to the hospital went smoothly, although, our cat Boycie did escape as we left meaning he would be left out whilst we were gone.
Once we had settled in the induction room and Elle was comfortable, various people came in to ask lots of questions and get to know us both a bit whilst doing the “inducing” business.
Elle had dealt with her pregnancy extremely well and the induction process and the birth were no different. I always had complete faith that she would be a brilliant mum. But both pregnancy and birth must be a truly crazy experience and she handled both phenomenally.
We waited for the “induction kit” to kick in. I’m calling it that to spare you terms like, cervical mucus lubricant and such. Yeah birth is no picnic. For anyone who hasn’t seen one or been in the room, it gets messy. The midwife we had said about 20% of dads pass out some with a look of shock on their faces. I explained that I wasn’t squeamish and It really wasn’t going to affect me that way. I think they like to get a feel of whether they might have to attend to the flaking Dad or not.
The midwife commented that we would wait for 24 hours and see what happened.
Within 3 hours things were moving along. Contractions had begun. Slowly getting a bit stronger over the following 3 hours. Elle had a bath to ease her back. This was my cue to take some photos of her mid contraction as I smiled in the background. I’m an asshole, I know.
Elle by now was puffing on the gas and air and had asked for the pethadin. It was a good decision as it helped her get through the next 2 hours of contractions. At that point she was getting very uncomfortable and we had moved into a delivery room. She had decided to have an epidural which again was in hind sight a great decision, and perfectly timed as there is a pretty small window that they can administer one and it really helped Elle get into the “pushing” stage of labour. By now we are at 6.45pm having arrived at 9:30 ish that morning. Things had progressed quickly and we were now pretty certain that we would meet our daughter today and not tomorrow. She would be born on the 19th.
The room was prepped for pushing and Elle was happy to push, she had been waiting about an hour with the urge to push but had been told to wait. I think this was probably the worst part for her as she really had been telling them that she needed to push for a while. She took the first instruction from the midwives and my god did she run with it. Honestly, we all might as well have left the room and let her crack on because she was fully in control of the situation. It really was quite a weirdly proud moment for me, I absolutely knew she had it in her, but she was on the next level to anything I had expected. The hairy head of baby girl could now be felt and she was starting to “crown”… she was nearly here.
Just moments away, I looked up at the clock. Will Grigg had just scored and it looked like Man City were heading out of the FA cup at the hands of Wigan. Crazy scenes!!
Sorry, I told you I’m an arsehole!!
They did…. they went on to win that match and knock out City.
Anyway, back in the delivery room and 9 months after I’d scored in Elle’s penalty area. Elle was in the zone and talking of heading out of a cup. My daughter was ready to enter the world. The time 9.40pm, the place Ashford hospital, Kent. The weight 7lb 2oz. The name, well that was still to be decided upon.
Elle held her in her arms and mother and daughter bonded for the very first time. It was amazing to watch them. Their first glimpses of each other, looking into each other’s eyes for the first time. Touching one another, magical moments.
I spent one of the greatest hours of my life just holding and staring at my first-born daughter. She was gorgeous just like her Mum, but with daddy’s flamingo legs. I changed her and made her comfortable for moving into a post birth ward. I knew her name already, I just had to confirm with Elle.
We had 4 names in mind going into the birth. I knew she wasn’t 3 of the names and one name stood out. She was Evelyn or Evie or Eve. In my head, I had already named her Evelyn Naomi Ritson. Naomi after my little old Nanny who died in 2014. She too was born on the 19th. When Elle asked what I thought her name was, I went through the other names and she agreed that the little face of our daughter looking back at us wasn’t that of those names.
We spent the evening together in our own four bed ward without other occupants, which was a big bonus and it meant we both managed to get a few hours sleep.
She was here beautiful, safe and happy our little Evelyn Naomi Ritson.
Sunday 18th Feb was another Sunday.. another bloody growth scan was booked in for around 1:45… 15 mins tops and we would be done, until the next one at least. This was our 6th growth scan, because miss fatty over here was massive as usual, and as much as I loved seeing my little one they were getting quite irritating.
On the previous 5 scans everything was fine, baby was fine, I just had lots of water but the NHS has boxes to tick and we were here for… yes, another.
After the scan you have to go round to the midwives for them to draw it on a graph and check you are inline with like a national average. This takes about 5 mins. After 10-15mins I was getting impatient and Phil and Thomas were moaning they were hungry. I promised a burger some place on the way home which quietened them for a while.
In trots the midwife and a theatre prepped senior midwife, I instantly freaked out (quietly lol). Thank god she wasn’t dressed for delivering my baby. They called us into a side room where they explained baby hadn’t grown since the previous scan which suggested placenta failure so as a precaution they wanted to get me in that coming week to be induced.
Upon pulling up the schedule the only available time they had was the next day. Monday 19th Feb… babies due date.
A few more tests had to be done straight away to check baby was ok. After an hour the boys needed to go as Thomas was due home at 4. Phil left to take him back and would come back for me straight after. They left in a nervous sulk. Nervous for what was happening, sulking because they still hadn’t had their burger.
Monitors, examinations, bloods… everything was checked.
Whilst linked up to the heart monitor I called my family to let them know the situation and they couldn’t have been more excited!
Finally tests were done and Phil arrived to take us both home.
I always said I hoped I wouldn’t be induced because then it gives you time to worry but for the first time in my entire pregnancy I felt a sense of calmness and readiness. We packed everything, checked it and triple checked it, packed all the snacks and we then just had to wait.
I didn’t realise that an induction can take up to 3 days so we were going to be a while. I packed the iPad with lots of films on and other stuff to keep us occupied and hit the sheets foir a much needed good nights sleep.
Before we knew it the alarm went off at 6:55am. 7am I called the hospital to check they had a bed ready and they said to come straight in.
I thought labour was going to be hard but it turns out getting Phil out of bed at 7am is harder! 7:30, he finally rolls out of bed (bare in mind we had to be there for 8 and its a 40min journey!) and by 8 we were finally out the door.
We finally arrived and were given our room. Going to be honest… to say it was depressing was an understatement. There were no windows, it was poorly lit and the walls that were once cream were now grey. The thought of giving birth in here just saddened me, however, I was told I would be moved when things progressed.
Assessment done, induction mesh thingy in and we just had to wait. It was 10.30 by this time and I could not get comfortable at all.
Come 12pm the lunch lady came round with the most disgusting jacket potato ever, how you can get a jacket wrong I don’t know but it literally tasted like it had been run over and reheated. I gave up after 3 bites but Phil insisted I eat more for energy, after 2 more mouthfuls I force fed him a spoon and he took the plate away from me and scraped it in the bin. It was revolting.
By 2pm things were progressing nicely and contractions had begun in full force, coming every 4-5 mins I began timing. Midwife came in around 2:15 and was very surprised and I don’t think quite believed me and offered me paracetamol. Yes, seriously, paracetamol. I was in labour and was offered PARACETAMOL!!!!!
I declined but managed to get some codeine out of her not that it did a single thing. She came back 15 mins later and offered me a nice hot bath. I love love love a bath and it helped hugely during pregnancy so she thought it would be perfect.
With contractions getting stronger and stronger and more frequent- in hind sight it wasn’t the best idea. I was too hot, the room was cramped and It just irritated me.
Back in the grey box of a room I needed something else. The midwife checked and I was 7cm already! This baby may just come tonight!
They finally moved me to the delivery room which was a lot lighter and cooler and had real life windows! I was no longer in a glorified prison cell!
I was offered gas and air which was the most disappointing thing ever. Throughout the course of labour I had gas and air, pethidine and an epidural and none took away the pain completely. They all just help you cope with the pain a little better.
So gas and air makes you feel drunk. You breathe it in whilst having the contraction but in actual fact it only kicks in after the contraction is over, so when the contraction finishes you start to feel good/drunk until the next one.
Pethidine is horrific and I will never have it again. It was an injection that almost brings you in and out of consciousness kind of. You are so out of it and do not know what’s going on until the contraction happens, you then almost wake up and have the contraction then you kind of pass out again. It is horrible.
Epidural is an injection into your lower back. Each hospital can do it differently. Some have it on a continual drip and some just top you up every now and again with another dose, and some have to re-inject into a cannula that is put in your lower back (sounds more horrific than it is tbh). I had the second and I don’t think it really did anything for me, I felt everything fully and didn’t have a top up as there was no time.
Ok so I was using gas and air for around an hour before I wanted something else- pethidine it was. By this time it was around 6pm and I had missed the dinner slot or had been forgotten, but food was the not even thought about. Phil was drip feeding me sweets for sugar/ energy and giving me water and lucozade.
I then was offered an epidural I think, or maybe it was slightly earlier I can’t really remember tbh.
By 8pm I was ready to push. I remember this bit so clearly- the midwife and the student nurse called in the head midwife and they all shouted at me not to push, whatever I did… do not push. Like seriously! That was the hardest bit throughout the entire labour! I think the baby hadn’t descended enough or something along those lines.
9pm came and finally I was given the green light, I pushed like I had never pushed before, this baby WAS going to come tonight- I was determined. I managed to get 3-4 long pushes per contraction and within 25 mins her extremely hairy head was born.
15mins later she was here, placed straight onto my chest, the ordeal was over.
Looking back, yes labour was painful but it wasn’t as bad as I had imagined.
9:40 7lb 2oz baby had been born.
Phil looked at me and said ‘I know her name already!’ I looked down at her thinking of the list of names we had narrowed it down too, she wasn’t any of them. I remembered a name we both had liked but hadn’t been put on the list.
I looked down at her, looked at Phil and said, ‘This is Evelyn isn’t it?’ and he said ‘Yes it is!’
They say you know when you know and we knew!
Phil cut the cord after around 5 mins and Evelyn was passed to him to cuddle and dress whilst I was sorted out. With only 1 stitch required and only as a precaution I was feeling pretty proud of myself.
Shortly after I was asked to walk down to the shower. Walk(!) they had to be joking didn’t they! Anyway after returning to the room I finally got a little less drugged up view of my daughter and she was so wonderfully alert and perfect.
I was a mum!
We were taken to the ward at 1am where we would stay the night. The midwife bought me a lunch bag with a sandwich, fruit and crisps and took us to an empty ward and said, ‘Here, you can have this one for tonight!’ We were so lucky. Usually there are up to 4 babies and parents in this room and when one baby cries they all start but we had the entire room to ourselves. Phil was able to lay in one of the beds and Evelyn slept for around an hour or so.
By 7am another mum arrived ready for a C section. We had been so so lucky.
The ward began to get very busy very quickly and it transpires another ward had been closed due to illness and this was the only one open. Getting discharged took forever but by 4pm we were out the door and on our way home.
And just like that my child was 1 day old, responsibility was 100% ours and motherhood had begun, the rest… was up to us.
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