Take this blog post with a pinch of salt. Throughout my pregnancy the one thing that annoyed me most was people ‘offering’ their opinions on labour, delivery and motherhood. How you cope, manage and bring up your child is up to you and so sometimes that ‘useful’ advice people just love to give is in fact a load of old rubbish. Hence why I’m urging you to do things your own way, this post is simply for me to share my experience and hope that some of it may actually be useful to you if you’re experiencing similar things.
Two weeks – two centimetres
Yep you heard it. I was in fact two centimetres dilated for a total of two whole weeks. And trust me, they were the longest two weeks in history. It all started one Monday evening after a rather spicy curry. The contractions started thick and fast and I honestly thought this was it. They were coming exactly how you’re told they’d come and because the pain felt horrendous, the only answer was this was labour. I managed to squeeze my way into the car with a lot of help from my partner and my mam so we could make our way to the hospital. When we arrived at the hospital, I was hooked up to a machine to monitor the baby’s heartbeat as well as my contractions, and as we suspected they were coming every couple of minutes. After a quick examination, the midwife revealed we were 2cm dilated. I honestly wish someone had taken a picture of my face in that moment because I was so delighted at the news. Unfortunately the contractions seemed to die down a little (this usually happens in the early stages due to adrenaline taking over) and so the midwife advised we head home and wait it out.
The waiting lasted two days. By Wednesday the pain was excruciating, much worse than before so I assumed this had to be it now. We decided to wait at home a little longer this time, to make sure the contractions were coming as quick and as hard. They did. So of we went AGAIN to the hospital and after another examination she revealed I was still only 2cm. She gave me a slight glimmer of hope though at the fact my cervix was very thin and therefore my body was doing exactly what it needed to be doing. So, of we went back home and again the contractions died off.
As you can probably imagine frustration didn’t even come close. I couldn’t understand why I wasn’t progressing much further and how my contractions could be coming so thick and fast and then die off. I started to feel immense pressure down below and I knew that the head was literally a matter of centimetres away from my grasp, but yet there was nothing else I could do to help move things along.
By the Friday I was fed up. I kept thinking ‘surely it’s got to be today’ – ‘how long can someone be 2cm dilated for?’ We decided enough was enough and we went for a walk in the park. Chris took his football and I decided to join in kicking it backwards and forwards. The passes got wider, harder and further out of my reach so I decided to run a little to keep up. I could feel an increasing amount of pressure and it kinda felt like this was working. I continued, running further and faster (something I would never have done pre-pregnancy). I stopped for a minute to catch my breath and all of a sudden the contractions kicked in AGAIN. We turned around to head back home and there was no stopping them. What is usually a nice 10 minute stroll turned into a 45 minute slow and very painful journey. I felt like I was climbing mount everest with no feeling in my lower body. This time we waited the contractions out even longer at home. I remember saying at one point “I’ll have the baby here, I don’t want to go to the hospital again.” Chris bundled me into the car and we headed to the consultancy wing to be assessed for the THIRD time. And again, I was still only 2cm.
Right, that’s it I thought. This baby is literally never coming out of me. It will continue to grow and one day I’ll eventually just go pop and an 18-year-old will come flying out. My heart sank so much at the words ‘2cm’. A few days passed and it was like I’d never even had contractions. I was feeling nothing but pressure down below but no sign of any baby.
My midwife offered me a sweep (a procedure that separates the membrane from the cervix to release the hormones needed for labour) at home. I had one on the following Wednesday and then another on the Friday. Both times, I was still – yea you guessed it – two blinking centimetres. Due to a bank holiday weekend, my next scheduled sweep was the following Tuesday, but my midwife was convinced I’d have the baby over the weekend.
Our due date came and passed and Tuesday finally arrived. When the midwife turned up she was shocked to see there was no baby in my arms. Instead of carrying out my third and final sweep (you’re only allowed three at-home sweeps) she recommended we head to the hospital and speak to a doctor.
Reluctantly I headed back to the place I was beginning to hate. We were hooked up to a machine and had baby’s heartbeat monitored. Everything was ok and I was pretty much told to play the waiting game. Still? I honestly couldn’t believe it! As the midwife left and I was about to get off the bed I turned to Chris and said I really needed the toilet. He offered to help me off the bed but I couldn’t move. Suddenly, I lost all control of my body and I thought I’d wee’d myself (sorry too much information)! It just kept coming and coming and no matter how much I tried to gain some control and self-respect nothing was working. I quickly realised this wasn’t wee. My waters just broke!
YES! It was finally happening. The end was in sight and I would be able to meet my beautiful little baby. Because I wasn’t in the first stage of labour yet I was told to go home and time my contractions once again and if nothing happened within 24 hours then I’d have to come back in and I’d be given a helping hand. As soon as we made it into the car, my contractions had started and I soon realised everything I had experienced the past two weeks was simply ‘preparing’ me for what was to come. This just got very real, very quickly!
The only thing on my mind was a nice relaxing bath – I was certain this would help ease the pain and would make me feel a whole lot better. It kind of did. For maybe like five minutes but the contractions were just so strong. We waited until 10pm before going into hospital (I really couldn’t face that place again) but after my examination I was greeted with the words ‘you’re now 6cm dilated’. Now that would have been the perfect picture moment!
I was given some gas and air and I plonked myself into the very appealing birthing pool. Hours passed and I was finally ready to begin pushing. And so the moment I’d be waiting for was finally here…
You can find out all about my birth here. Happy reading! x