Following a very distressing ectopic pregnancy, Jo Telling wasn't sure if she would ever get pregnant again. While lady luck shined on her pregnancy, her difficult birth was totally unexpected! Here she reveals what it was like.
How did you feel when you become pregnant again?
After the ectopic, I was told my chances of conceiving were halved as I had lost a fallopian tube. I was also worried about how well I would carry the baby because of everything that happened. In the end neither of these things were the issue – it was the birth itself!
When did you go into labour?
After a great pregnancy, I had to be induced because my daughter was so late. At 12 days overdue, I went into hospital on Friday evening and was induced with prostaglandin gel.
Did it work?
No, sadly it didn't – by Saturday morning nothing had happened, so I had another dose of gel. I was also made to walk around the ward to help establish contractions. This didn't work either. Although I was having some mild contractions, it still wouldn't get going.
What was the next course of action?
By Saturday afternoon, I was taken to a labour room. By this point I was just two centimetres, but still nothing! At 4.30pm, they decided to break my waters, which was pretty unpleasant – but still nothing. They also told me to bounce on an exercise ball and keep walking, but that didn't do anything either. So by 8pm they decided to put me on the syntocinon drip, which is meant to kick start a hard, fast labour. But still nothing!
So when did things get going?
By 11pm, my labour was underway and I was in a lot of pain. The previous three hours had seen a fairly gentle labour, uncomfortable but bearable. By this time though it was awful. The pains were getting stronger and coming faster. I tried gas and air and pethidine but these didn't work for me, so I asked for an epidural, which arrived at around 2am as I had to wait for an anaesthetist.
How long did the rest of your labour last?
Following the epidural, I slept for three hours and woke up at 5am to be told I was nine centimetres. By 8am I was ready to push. However, after two hours of pushing it was clear my baby just wasn't going to come out, which is when events took a turn.
I was absolutely drained by this point. I had gone into hospital on a Friday night and it was now Sunday morning. And two hours of pushing and 40 hours of labour is absolutely exhausting. An obstetrician was called, who decided I needed a ventouse. This failed and they decided to try forceps. At this point I tore dramatically, and needed an episiotomy. However they had to make an enormous cut, which they explained as a three degree tear – which went all the way round to my rear. Once this happened, they were able to get my daughter out.
How quickly did you see her?
I had five precious minutes with her before I had to be taken to theatre to be stitched. I was losing a lot of blood and kept being sick – it wasn't really how I had envisaged my post birth experience and was very upsetting. I was there for about an hour while Jessica stayed with her father. But I just wanted to be with her.
When did the situation improve?
I was taken up to a ward and Jessica was placed beside me, but I couldn't hold her as I had drips and wires everywhere. This was awful, but the nurses were amazing and took care of her every need. But I was starting to feel even worse, and eventually needed a blood transfusion as I had lost two litres of blood. It wasn't until I had this that I felt better – almost instantly in fact.
How quickly were you able to take over caring for your new daughter?
By Monday morning things were much improved and I finally got to bond with her properly and take full care of her.
How did you cope with everything that had happened?
Jessica got me through all of this. From the minute I held her I knew she was worth everything that had gone on. Although physically I felt terrible, emotionally I felt amazing. She was this perfect little being that I had made. There are no words to describe how I felt every time I looked at her perfect little face. It was absolutely all worth it.
So, despite it all, you would do it again?
Yes, I would. Despite the drama, I had a brilliant medical team who looked after me from the moment I arrived to the moment I left. They were absolutely brilliant and their care was outstanding. They were compassionate and kind throughout the whole experience - I have absolutely no complaints. Even after the birth, I was given counselling by Birth Reflections, which is offered to women who have had particularly traumatic experiences. They took me through my birth from start to finish and explained everything that had gone on.
How do you feel when you look back?
The excellent care of the medical team combined with the reassuring aftercare from Birth Reflections means that, believe it or not, I actually have good memories of the experience!