When Amelia Michaels went into labour on the hottest day of the year, she was hoping that was the only unexpected factor. Here she shares with us her first birth experience.
How was your pregnancy in general?
I had a good pregnancy with very little morning sickness. My scans and check ups went very well and nobody raised any concerns. I sailed through it. It's a shame the birth wasn't quite the same!
When did you go into labour?
I was 11 days overdue and decided to try and kick start the labour as I didn't want to be induced. We live by the seaside so I waddled along the promenade with the puffiest hands and ankles you have ever seen. Maybe it was coincidence, but by 10am my waters had broken. This happened along the promenade wall and was extremely embarrassing!
What did you do once you realised what had happened?
Fortunately we were near the car, so I waddled back and we drove home. I remember thinking that it was just my luck to go into labour on the hottest day of the year.
When did you get to the hospital?
I tried to stick it out for as long as possible at home, using a TENS machine, although I am not sure how effective they really are.
By 3pm my contractions were becoming increasingly regular and very, very strong and I phoned the hospital who told me to come in.
Was it a relief to get there?
Yes and no. By this point I was desperate for pain relief but also the place was like an oven. I know things could have been a lot worse but that is what really sticks in my mind. I remember thinking that I could handle the contractions much better if I hadn't been so hot!
What pain relief did you ask for?
I started out with gas and air, but that just made me feel sick. By 5pm I went into the birthing pool, but by 6pm I was out again. I was just in too much pain and too hot, even though I was in water. I just wanted an epidural. Especially when, eight hours after the waters breaking, I was only 4cms. That was very, very disappointing.
How quickly did the epidural arrive?
I got it quite quickly, and it was up and running by about 7pm.
How was that experience?
I would love to say it was wonderful - but it only worked on one side of my body. This continued for the rest of my labour and was so disappointing. Especially as the epidural slowed everything down. I did wonder if I should have just gritted my teeth and got on with it.
How long did your labour go on for?
By 10am the next day, I was ready to push, so 24 hours after my waters broke. By this point I was extremely tired and still upset from the epidural not working properly. And it was still so hot! I just wanted it to all be over by this point, but all I could remember hearing was my mum telling me it took three hours to push me out. While I was pleased to start pushing, I was scared that it could take a very long time.
How long did you push for?
It was around 90 minutes. Unfortunately my son got very stuck after about one hour and gradually started to go into distress. At this point an obstetrician was called, who told me I needed a ventouse and an episiotomy.
Was that successful?
No, it didn't work at all. By this point I remember saying I had nothing left to give and they would just have to do it themselves! The obstetrician tried the forceps and I remember feeling upset because I think they look so brutal.
How quickly was your baby born?
I can't really remember. I recall there was a terrible panic as, by now, my son was starting to suffer. The next thing I knew, the obstetrician literally got hold of my baby with his own hands and guided him out.
And it was all over?
Yes, it was all over. I have never felt such relief. Which was quickly overridden by meeting my son for the first time. It was an amazing moment. Despite all of the pain and discomfort, I knew our baby Sebastian had been worth every single contraction - and the humiliation of my waters breaking in public!
Do they know why he got stuck?
Yes - he was nearly 10 pounds!