First time mothers: how can you know what to expect?

Everyone that has had a baby - both mother and father - will most certainly have their fair share of birthing stories. But for first time mothers, how can you possibly know what to expect? TalkMum blogger Sonia fills us in on the details of her first birth story.

 

The birth of my first child did not go to plan, to say the least! However, I'm now pregnant with my second (due in 7 weeks’ time) and it has given me a good idea of what to expect this time round. Right from the word go you are advised to think about your plan; your antenatal classes try to prepare you for what you are going to go through, but barely anyone I know had a birth plan that was followed.

My plan was simple, I was a healthy mum-to-be, no problems during pregnancy and I wanted a water birth. The hospital that I was assigned to has a midwife-led unit and 2 birthing pools. I was told they were very popular but I should have a good chance to getting in one when the time comes. Having a water birth meant that I couldn’t have pain relief, except gas & air, but I was adamant that this was the way I wanted to go forward.

When the time did come around, I was a week overdue but I was told I could still use the birthing pool and try to stick to my plan. At 6pm, my contractions started quite quick and fast and I was told to take paracetamol and try having a bath at home. The paracetamol did not do a thing for the pain and the bath made me feel really uncomfortable - which did not bode well for the birthing pool idea!

I spent the rest of my time at home on my birthing ball. The birthing ball helped with the pain because it put me in a comfortable position, allowed me to bounce gently through each contraction and it meant I could sit in the lounge and grab onto the coffee table, which also helped the pain!

How would I describe a contraction?

To me, it felt like a Chinese burn across the tummy that started off not hurting very much and built up to a heightened pain and then wore off again. It made my body stiff each time - I had to grip something. At 9pm by the time I had got to hospital and my waters had broken I was having very regular contractions.

As I still felt the same kind of pain, I sat upright on the hospital bed and wrapped my legs around the bed legs (sounds impossible I know!). I was told the birthing pools were not available because they were short staffed - but bearing in mind I felt uncomfortable in the bath, it was probably a good thing!

Gas & air really did help, but around 11:30pm I had a pethadine injection because they told me I was too rigid and I wouldn’t let go of the bed legs and loose that grip. They wanted me to relax a bit more, but I just couldn’t. The pethadine did help and I can describe it as feeling very drunk; I could hear people and process the situation but I can’t remember everything about what went on.

The last couple of hours were a bit of a blur because of the pain relief. I know that Noah was a little trapped by his cord and it took some 'tugging' from the paediatrician to get him out. The forceps did not work because they could not get them around his head so they ended up using a vontouse cap. This meant I had an episiotomy - and I can say now it did NOT hurt at the time (this was one of the main things I was scared about). Finally, at 1:03am baby Noah was born into the world!

So what would I advise for all you first time mothers?

  • Be sure to read about all of the different options
  • Be very prepared for your birthing plan to go out of the window
  • Know that whatever happens, you are in the best place and in the care of the people that know the best. After all, they see births happening every day, from the ones that go swimmingly – to the ones that do not.

Parent of a young toddler and pregnant with her second child, Sonia has a lot of useful hints and tips, advice and support for other mums and mums-to-be. Read Sonia’s blog: MummyConstant

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