The story of the birth of Toby
Toby’s birth story
My son Toby was born in July 2013 in my local midwife-led maternity unit. I had a fairly uneventful pregnancy and after attending antenatal classes and pregnancy yoga I was hoping for a relatively drug-free birth if I could. According to my mum having babies for her was like ‘shelling peas’ so I was also hoping I had inherited her child-birthing genes too!
I am a secondary school teacher and because Toby was due in the summer holidays I decided to work right up to the end of term, which took me to being 37 weeks pregnant. Eleven days after we broke up, at 38 and 4 days pregnant I had been sat watching TV with my husband, I got up to go to the loo but before I got there my waters broke all over the kitchen floor! I wasn’t having any contractions but after a quick call to maternity assessment it was decided I should go in to be checked over.
When we got there it was confirmed my waters had indeed broken but with no sign of contractions I was allowed to go home with instructions to go back the next day for further monitoring. In Scotland it is recommended that you are induced if labour does not start within 72 hours of your waters breaking, due to the increased risk of infection so I was booked for induction 3 days later. The day after my waters broke there were still no contractions but everything was fine with the baby so home we went again.
The following morning I woke up about 5 am and felt a few period pain like cramps. I dozed for another hour or so when the cramps started to become more like contractions. I got up and had some breakfast and started timing. By about 8 am the contractions were about 6 minutes apart and I rang the hospital. They said I could come in when I wanted but gave the usual advice of staying at home as long as possible and taking some paracetamol. I did some of the breathing I had learnt in pregnancy yoga but less than an hour later I decided I couldn’t stay at home any longer. We got our things together and I endured the most uncomfortable 20 minute car journey I think I have ever had!
We got to hospital around 10 am where I was examined and declared to ‘only’ be 3cm dilated and the midwife assured me we wouldn’t see a baby before tea time. I had originally wanted to use the birthing pool but because of my waters having broken early I was supposed to get IV antibiotics during labour, which I couldn’t have in the pool. The midwife suggested I try a bath instead but after 10 minutes I decided it was too hot and not helping so I got out again and tried to find somewhere that was vaguely comfortable.
By this point the contractions were coming thick and fast I had no idea how I would cope if this was going to go on for many more hours. This was about 11:30 am; I had a TENS machine on my back but that didn’t seem to be helping much so I asked for gas and air. Things get a bit hazy for me after that but I do remember that I spent most of my time kneeling on the bed hanging over the back and occasionally asking my husband for water. At point I had to turn around so I could have a cannula put in my hand for the antibiotics and it made the pain ten times worse – I have no idea how anyone manages to give birth flat on their back!
After another hour I started feeling the urge to push, although as is very common I wasn’t sure if I wanted to push or poo! The midwife just told me to ‘do what you need to do’. The next stage of labour really didn’t take very long. At first the baby would come down with each push but then seemed to pop back up again. Towards the end the midwives made me push without using the gas and air because apparently I was breathing away the contractions.
And so, at 12:58 pm, less than three hours after we arrived at the hospital, and only eight hours after feeling the first twinge, our beautiful baby boy Toby arrived in the world weighing 6lb 10oz. We waited for the cord to stop pulsating before my husband cut it and I delivered the placenta without any issues. Despite having a speedy delivery I escaped with only a minor graze and no need for any stitches and after one night in hospital we took our brand new baby home.