Victoria’s daughter was delivered by a ventouse cap after a difficult morning in the delivery suite – here she shares her experience of giving birth for the first time.
Victoria, 36, Ashford, mum to Molly born in March 2016
“It was my first baby and I didn’t enjoy being pregnant at all”
I had morning sickness for the first four months of my pregnancy and then I developed gestational diabetes. Even just walking around and sleeping was an effort at the end. I had to have very frequent check-ups at the hospital with blood tests and scans which was also tiresome.
I always knew I’d have my baby on the labour ward because I have an overactive thyroid so had been seen by a doctors rather than midwives all the way through my pregnancy. I researched the different hospitals online, but in the end, I decided to go with the hospital where I was born and that I’m most familiar with.
“When I was 36 weeks pregnant, I was told the baby might be very big”
At the hospital, I was told they wanted to induce me before I was 38 weeks because they thought that my gestational diabetes might have resulted in the baby being very big. The doctor talked me and my partner through the induction process and gave us a lot of written information. Initially I was fine with it.
However, a few days later I had a routine appointment and I actually broke down in tears over the induction. I think it was because it’s so unpredictable – you don’t know if it’s going to take six hours or four days and I really struggled with that uncertainty. At that point, a really nice midwife came and talked to me about the induction and she made me feel a lot more reassured. I really think that was more valuable than all the literature we’d been given previously.
So we went home, and I packed my hospital bag. I was thinking that the birth was going to take days, so I had packed breakfast for four days, and a lot of snacks and sandwiches. You name it – I was prepared for everything.
“We were watching rugby and waiting for labour to start”
We got to the hospital at 9am on the morning of the induction. I wasn’t on the delivery suite at that point but in a bay for women who aren’t quite in labour but need to be monitored. At 11am a midwife came to talk us through the process again and put in the pessary to start my labour.
England was playing rugby so we were sitting in our room, watching the game on TV and hoping something would happen. But my labour didn’t start at all, so it was decided that they would put in another pessary the following morning.
We went to bed, and at around 2am I started to feel some twinges. It was nothing major, but I remember thinking: “Something’s happening”. Around 7.30am my waters broke – a very strange sensation!
After that, everything happened very quickly.
“I fully dilated in five to ten minutes – my body went into shock”
My contractions started and the pain was phenomenal. I remember going through the contractions for about three minutes before passing out. My partner says that the midwife came, pulled the alarm and rushed me into the delivery suite. He was left to scramble together our belongings, it was a scary time for him and he wasn’t sure what was going on.
Three hours later, I came to. The midwife told me that I had fully dilated in those five to ten minutes after my waters broke which was much too fast and so my body had gone into shock.
She explained that they had given me morphine when I first went into shock, and an epidural in case they’d have to take me into theatre for a caesarean section. I was fully dilated when I woke up, but the midwife said that she wanted to give me an hour to rest before giving birth – so at midday I would start pushing.
“I was told it would be best to do an episiotomy”
Once I did start to push, I was pushing for two and a half hours and nothing much happened.
I hadn’t thought much about the possibility of an instrumental delivery before going into labour, I had just gone in assuming I would give birth naturally.
But when I was told it would best to do an episiotomy and deliver the baby with a ventouse cap it didn’t faze me. I wasn’t worried for myself – I just wanted them to get my baby out safely.
“She was placed on my chest and I loved her instantly”
When my baby was born, a little girl we called Molly, she whisked away to be checked over because of the ventouse cap being used. Time stood still while we waited to hear that our baby was doing well.
Once she’d been given the all-clear, Molly was placed on my chest and I loved her instantly. I looked over at my other half and he was crying.
We had been warned beforehand that because of the ventouse cap Molly’s head would be swollen and that she would have a lot of bruising, which was true. But when she was put on me I didn’t even notice – you see through all that.
“The night midwife was fantastic and really looked after me”
After Molly was born we had to stay at the hospital overnight as they wanted to monitor her because of my gestational diabetes. I’d requested a single room but there wasn’t one available so I had to go to the shared postnatal ward.
In the end, I was so exhausted that I didn’t really care that I was on a shared ward. The only bad thing was that my partner wasn’t allowed to stay over, I was a bit tearful when he had to leave.
The night midwife was fantastic and really looked after me. At one point when I was asleep and Molly had been sick, the midwife woke me up and said: “I’ve changed her and put her back down, but she’ll need feeding in an hour so I’ll be back then.”
The next morning I was ready to go home at 8am, and Molly’s blood tests were coming back fine. Unfortunately the discharge process took a really long time and we didn’t actually get to leave the hospital until late in the afternoon.
“Choose the hospital that you’re most comfortable with”
Despite the long discharge process and the poorly dealt with induction, I wouldn’t hesitate to go back to the same hospital again if I were to have another baby.
The staff on the delivery suite were amazing. Despite being in her early 20s the midwife was reassuring but assertive when she needed to be and I can’t fault the care I received there or on the postnatal ward overnight.
If you look at reviews of hospitals on forums, there are always going to be horror stories. I think you need to look past that and choose the hospital that you feel the most comfortable with.
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