• The Fit Midwife

Sunday Storytime.... Rachel and her boys.

This week's story comes from my bestie Rachel. She is a baby making machine in my eyes. How she doesn't have a rugby team yet is beyond me... although she is making a strong start and I still reckon a fourth child will pop out She has 3 very gorgeous and cheeky boys (pretty sure they take after their Aunty Nikki). Will, her eldest, is my godson :)

When she first had Will, I was super jealous that he was delivered by another midwife, who bares the same name. I so desperately wanted to be there. But when you are a midwife and your best friend is in labour, the entire process is like reported like transfer window deadline day on Sky Sports News. So I felt like I was there and could lend an ear if I needed to. I mean in true bestie fashion we overshare most things anyway.

“On the last day of 2012 we welcomed our first baby into the world. He was 2 weeks overdue and having been pregnant all over Christmas I couldn’t wait to get him out! I went into hospital for my induction fully expecting my baby to arrive later that day, or early the next at worst! I had done a hypnobirthing course and I was prepared, I was going to breathe this baby out, preferably in a birthing pool, with my pre-chosen soundtrack of relaxation music playing and have an all round lovely, natural birthing experience. That did not happen. My baby was back to back and I had a reaction to the pessary I was given meaning I was in pain from the outset.

3 days later after, no food or sleep, being prepped for section twice, having pethidine and morphine, a (now hilarious) incident where I threatened to injure my husband with the hypnobirthing book if he got it out the bag again and an episiotomy - William arrived! I was overjoyed to have a healthy baby and grateful to all those who ensured his safe delivery but I was also disappointed, mainly disappointed in myself that I didn’t achieve the experience I had set for myself, that I had given in and had pain relief, that I hadn’t actually used any of the methods of been practicing for months. I didn’t really voice this disappointment to anyone but it was definitely there.

2 and a half years later we welcomed our second little bundle. I had had a harder pregnancy second time round, I’d been a bit unwell here and there and growth scans showed baby was on the small side. At 36 weeks I had a scan and it showed my baby appeared healthy but that he wasn’t growing so they decided they would induce me that Sunday bang on my 37 weeks date. I was terrified of being induced again. This time I had no plan and I fully expected the worst. Again; it was a long process, my body doesn’t seem to react well to the drugs they use for induction and it was day 3 before anything happened. It was less painful as they didn’t use the same pessaries I had reacted badly to and I had learned that I needed to eat little and often and rest where I could. I felt more prepared when labour kicked in and I felt in control. After about 5 hours of actual labour my baby started showing signs of distress, I was prepped for a section again and all my fears from my first labour came back to me. all the control I felt I had went out the window, I started to panic and I completely lost it at one of the lovely doctors who was trying to help me. The doctor was amazing, she was polite but firm with me and Ben was delivered naturally not long after. He wasn’t very well and stopped breathing momentarily shortly after his birth but the midwives and doctors were unbelievable in the fast and calm way they reacted and after a few days in hospital

he quickly got better.

When Ben was 7 months old we had one of the biggest but definitely best suprises of our lives - I was pregnant again. 3 kids under 4 was a daunting prospect but we were over the moon.

When baby was due I again went 2 weeks overdue and was booked for induction. I resigned myself to the fact my body was lazy and needed a kick start and that was that. The night before my induction I went to bed and woke up at 1am with moderate pains. I went down stairs and watched my favourite programme - Secret life of the zoo, where a giraffe was giving birth. The pains were steady but manageable and I prepared myself that it was going to take ages and get much much worse. At 4am I went into our en-suite to have a shower, I wasn’t timing the pains but I realised I’d had 3 in quick succession while in the shower so I shouted on my husband who until

this point was fast asleep. My mother in law arrived to look after the boys as I was drying my hair and I had to keep pausing due to the contractions. I was still convinced they weren’t strong enough for me to be in ‘real labour’ so when we arrived at hospital I wandered up to Maternity where my midwife told I was probably right, I didn’t look like I was in established labour... turns out I was 8cm dilated and Josh arrived to complete (probably 😁) our family 40 minutes after I arrived.

I finally got my natural labour i had been so set on. And it was, for me, a better experience. But it also made me realise something. up until that point, although it was half subconsciously, I had definitely blamed myself for having such a hard time with Will, I thought I had failed in some way when I absolutely hadn’t. I think as women we put so much pressure on ourselves in so many ways and my determination to have a certain birth experience when I had no idea what It would actually feel like was exactly that… unnecessary pressure on myself that lead to years of feeling disappointment in myself.

I’m now a firm believer in going with the flow and with the advice of professionals, doing whatever is best for you and your baby in that moment, and in no way is that a failure.”

From a mum of 3, that final paragraph is the greatest advice you can be given. Regardless of what number pregnancy it is.

I am so unbelievably proud of this lady. We have come a long way from our drunken antics at 16.... Thinking if we put our hoods up we will be invisible sneaking back in the house. Or throwing boys shoes out in the rain when they are mean to us. She is the most grown up person I know. She is an amazing woman, mum and HR whizz amongst many other things. Thanks for sahring Fraggle.

Nikki xx

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