The last time I updated this blog was on the 26th of February and since then my life has gone through a massive change. On the 10th March, at 21:12 I gave birth to Amelia Honey Radley.
When I was younger I never dreamt of getting married and even just six years ago I never even thought about children, but both lives and priorities change. Just like my birth plan, you plan everything for months and then as soon as you go into labour, everything goes out of the window.
I started feeling my first contractions on Wednesday and the same evening I lost my mucus plug. I had been experiencing braxton hicks contractions prior to this but Wednesday night was the first night I thought I might give birth on my due date, which I absolutely did. Giving birth took way longer than I expected. Granted I didn’t really know what to expect but I thought I would have contractions for maybe 24 hours and give birth shortly afterwards. Real birth is also nothing like the TV show “One Born Every Minute”. I absolutely love that show but of course they don’t follow women through their full labour.
By Friday my contractions were really frequent and increasingly painful and after I thought I had gone into labour we called the Royal Infirmary in Edinburgh to see if I could be admitted. No! They were full! So what was planned to be a 10 minute trip to the hospital ended up with a 50 minute drive to St Johns Hospital in Livingston. Before I say anything about the labour, the staff and midwives at St Johns were really awesome. Everyone was really friendly and we really couldn’t have asked for any better service.
So on Friday night/Saturday morning, shortly before 1am, we arrived at St Johns Hospital and they performed some tests on me. The first thing they said were my waters were still intact, which was a surprise, and my cervix was only 2cm dilated. If I had gone to the Royal Infirmary I probably would have been sent out but with St Johns being some distance away they decided to keep me in. THANK GOD! This meant I could stay and use the absolutely wonderful gas and air which up until the point where I hit real labour was amazing.
At 6.30am on Saturday I was informed my cervix had dilated to 4cm at which point I was properly admitted. The gas and air was still wonderful but I really couldn’t imagine being sent home and trying to cope with the pain.
Early labour spent all of my energy so by this time my blood pressure had shot through the roof. I believe from what Chris said my average blood pressure was something like 160/110, really high. I was informed afterwards they tried nearly all of the medications they could think of to lower my blood pressure but the epidural I had was rendered almost useless because of the blood pressure medicine.
About the Epidural, effing painful! Maybe it was my anesthesiologist but on a scale of 1 being not painful and 10 being agony, it was a 12. I have a pretty high pain tolerance but it was really horrendous. As mentioned before the blood pressure medicine made the epidural useless so after the pain of having it done, it was pointless. Annoying!
Around 6pm the midwives checked my cervix again and I was still just 6cm dilated (sorry, should have mentioned I was induced in the morning before the epidural which I was given around lunchtime). They gave me some medicine to speed up the contractions which for them was a nightmare as they were trying to get me to give birth but also trying not to give me a stroke (during the pushing stage Chris saw the highest blood pressure rating of 217/115).
The last time my dilation was checked was at 8.30pm and when I was told I was at 10cm I really broke down. I had gone through so much discomfort but that was nothing compared to giving birth. I had a natural birth but remember the epidural didn’t work. I’m also a really small person so for 30 minutes I was in absolute pure agony.
At 9.12pm, after about 30 minutes pushing, Amelia Honey Radley was born. I surprisingly didn’t cry but both Chris and my step-mum broke down, they were balling their eyes out. They did some medical checks on her and she was perfectly fine. She weighed 7lbs and 4ounces at birth.
I had to stay in hospital for 2 days after giving birth because of the blood pressure. Once again the staff and midwives at St Johns were really excellent, can’t fault them at all, but St Johns is a bit dated and the rooms were ridiculously hot.
ADJUSTING TO MOTHERHOOD
I’ll admit, the first 24 hours at home were really hard. Amelia was constantly crying and I was absolutely exhausted. I realised after about 24 hours I wasn’t able to produce enough breast milk, which really upset me, it really made me feel like a failure as a mother. So after Nelly, one of the midwives visited our home, we bought some formula and since then Amelia has been the happiest baby ever. She occasionally cries when we change her clothes but otherwise nothing, she just makes loads of cute baby noises. She also drinks a LOT of milk.
Apparently babies lose roughly 10% of the body weight following giving birth. Amelia had lost around 12% so we were ordered to give her at least 55ml of milk every 3 hours. She’s now driving about 50mls every 2 hours. Her largest feed she had around 60ml’s, which was perfect.
BACK TO (A DIFFERENT) HOSPITAL
Nelly visited my home for the second time on Thursday to do another checkup and discovered my blood pressure had risen again. We went to triage at the Royal Infirmary where we waited for around 4 hours before I was admitted to the wards. I have no problem with waiting but I was really angry firstly because the staff were standing around chatting but secondly because we were given very little information. I was told around 9.30pm about the admission at which point Amelia needed a change of clothes, fresh nappies and more milk. I also hadn’t eaten that evening and only had my jeans and tops to wear. I was furious.
I gave Chris a list of things to bring to hospital, so he had to drive home and drive back. He brought more than expected though and was good enough to bring my glasses but also my laptop so I could at least entertain myself.
The wards at the Royal Infirmary are certainly more modern than St Johns and also cooler. The triage staff were fairly clinical but the midwives were lovely. Also today, Nelly was doing the rounds in the ward and we absolutely love her.
So that’s my story just recently. I’m now back at home, Amelia has been fed, bathed and she’s fast asleep at the time of publishing this post. Below are some photos from St Johns Hospital but also photos taken at home when she was just 5 days old.