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MN Bumpfest: How did you feel about giving birth? Tell MNHQ for a chance to win £50 voucher! NOW CLOSED

(176 Posts)
MichelleMumsnet (MNHQ) Wed 03-Sep-14 11:37:27

In the run-up to Bumpfest - our event for first-time mums (or second/third/fourth-timers in need of a refresher) - we thought we’d try to find out about how labour was for you.

Giving birth can be an extremely unpredictable affair, and as a result it’s shrouded in myth and mystery. If you’re soon to be doing it for the first time, trying to get a sense of what to expect can be nigh-on impossible - which is why we’d like to hear the truth of the matter, directly from the front line. How did you really feel, when you were in labour - and was the experience, for you, an empowering or disempowering one? Did you feel you were involved in the decisions made by the midwives and doctors? If not, was this because medial priorities took over - or did you feel you were unnecessarily kept out of the loop? Did your birth partner act as your advocate throughout the process - or did you do it all yourself? In short: how was it for you?

Thanks in advance - we hope it’ll help those about to go through it themselves to have a realistic picture of what to expect. Everyone who adds their thoughts to this thread will be entered into a prize draw to win a £50 John Lewis voucher.


P.S. If you'd like to find out more about Bumpfest, please click here.

kod88 Wed 03-Sep-14 15:47:04

My labour with my first boy (now 2 and a half years old) was textbook. My waters broke I dilated and contracted well. I was 10 hours in labour and had a wonderful water birth with only gas&air for pain reliwf, the midwives followed my birth plan to a tee. And I gave birth to my gorgeous 8lb 6oz baby boy. My second labour with my second wee boy was really quick 25 minutes so my birth plan was out the window as was pain relief so I delivered with only a few puffs of gas&air he was here weighing 9lbs 6oz. Both amazing and enjoyable labours.

BendyMum15 Wed 03-Sep-14 16:37:00

My first labour was very long - waters broke and contractions started 30 mins later and were coming every 2 mins so rang midwife and was asked to go in. Was only 1cm but coz of high blood pressure was sent to main hospital. Was kept in due to time between contractions but after all night only 2cms. Was induced with hormone drip and finally gave birth assisted by forceps 30 hours after my waters broke. Baby boy was 10lb and his head was on 99th centile. Had two lots of diamorphine and then an epidural so I could rest.
Second baby was induced 2 weeks early due to gestational diabetes. Was given pessary at 10.50am, started to feel contractions 30 mins later and baby girl was born at 3.53pm after only 40 mins of active labour ( at a routine check they were surprised to find that was 7cm dilated) weighing 7lb4oz. Only had gas and air as no time for anything else!
Two completely different experiences!

ouryve Wed 03-Sep-14 16:49:42

Both labours were very much out of my hands.

DS1 was induced at 15 days past his EDD. My blood pressure was sky high, so even though I wasn't really feeling my contractions, I ended up having an epidural to control it. So I was stuck on my back - and it turned out that DS1 wasn't facing the right way, so when it came to pushing, he wasn't shifting. I ended up rushed into theatre with rotational forceps being used, which left me in pain for months afterwards.

DS2's birth couldn't have been more different. I have a few random, mild contractions, once morning, then became a bit crampy felt a need to have my morning poo. DH was on the phone to the labour ward because the cramps were causing me some concern, given that my contractions had been so few and far between. Whilst doing my business, my waters burst and out he came. An unintentional water birth!

MerryMarigold Wed 03-Sep-14 16:56:03

My labour with my ds1 (first labour) was absolutely hideous. I was kept in hospital because my waters had already broken the night before. 'Proper' labour kicked in after my dh had been sent home off the ward at 8pm. Between 8pm and midnight, I dilated to 4.5cm and was in ridiculous amounts of pain (for me). I was sick. I got no help at all from the night staff and was told off for being sick in the sink (I just about made it there and cleaned it all myself). I was desperately trying to be quiet on the ward as the other lady on there was in premature labour and really trying to rest/ keep her baby in. Genuinely in a bad situation and I didn't want to disturb her, so that was an added stress. They wouldn't believe my pain until they actually measured my dilation and realised I was far enough to call dh and go down to the labour ward. They were palpably surprised. I think they thought I was making a fuss about nothing. I remember I didn't have enough time to call dh between contractions, but there was no help for me to call him, I just had to get on with it. I felt so alone and completely unsupported. By this point, I was a complete mess and calling for an epidural (which I didn't get for another couple of hours, by which time I was 9cm). I think I had particularly bad midwives, night staff, who have probably forgotten what a first labour can be like. I did get the epidural but the midwife told me off afterwards as apparently I shouldn't have had it. The end result was that the baby was born with a lot of intervention, around 8 hours later. I never felt in control of my labour. I recommend everyone to stay at home and ideally have a home birth or a doula, private midwife if you can afford it. I think it's a risk as to which midwife you will get. Some are fab. My friend is a midwife and ended up delivering her grandchild as the midwife left the room at the wrong moment!

ScienceRocks Wed 03-Sep-14 17:13:46

Dd1 was induced as she was nearly two weeks overdue. Several attempts at a sweep had failed (my cervix was too far back) so I was admitted to hospital. After one pessary in the evening, it started and was pooling along ok, but the morning midwife felt it needed more, so did a second pessary. That was awful. Labour kicked in ridiculously, I was in huge amounts of pain and nobody came near me for two hours (apparently it was handover time) even though I had been hooked up to a monitor and couldn't go to them. I called DH in, who brought me some water (didn't even have that nearby) and managed to rouse a midwife. She refused to give me pain relief (I only had a tens up until then) until I had eaten breakfast, despite my protestations that I would be sick if I ate. I choked down some cereal, promptly threw it up, then asked for the gas and air I had been promised. It did nothing for me, and I was getting beyond it by this point but the midwife just came and shouted at me for being silly and told me it was going to get much worse. That last incident is literally the only thing I remember in a three hour period. The end of this three hour period was marked by an incredibly painful internal examination when I was grudgingly told I was 4cm and therefore could go to the labour ward (I had been on the antenatal ward up until this point). I was wheeled there by DH, went to the toilet, was examined again (as I had asked for an epidural) and was told off for not saying that my waters had broken, a fact I didn't know and later was assumed to have happened when I went to the toilet. Anaesthetist arrived, did the fastest epidural known to humankind due to me not being able to keep still for very long (something else the midwife shouted at me for), and then peace descended. I was at 10cm a couple of hours later but was then left for an astonishing six hours while they waited for something to happen. When it didn't, they put up a syntocinon drip, got stirrups, and eventually - eight hours after being fully dilated - delivered my dd by ventouse. As my room filled with people, not one introduced themselves to me, nor did anyone say congratulations or tell me even that dd was a girl, was healthy or how much she weighed. I asked to hold her and then was told I needed surgery for a third degree rectal tear. Went into theatre, came out to find a terrified DH clutching dd, then was taken up to the ward where I did quite well until a midwife bustled in a few hours later (it was the middle of the night) telling me off for not picking up dd quickly enough to feed her. As she handed her to me, she knocked the cot and my epidural meant that the morning midwife found me four hours later sitting in bed clutching dd. Once discharged the rectal tear tore again and I ended up - after a year of pain and many humiliating examinations - with more surgery, which then became infected.

It was not a good experience.

Dd2 was better. Went back to the same hospital (I think I wanted to right some bad memories) for another induction, this time a week early because of SPD. It went ok, though again it all kicked in a bit quickly and I struggled with the pain and examinations. At 3cm, the midwife gave me pethidine, which did nothing for the pain but made me fully dilated in 20 minutes,though it took me screaming "I want to push" for anyone to examine me and realise that was what had happened. Went it labour ward (yep, on antenatal again), but my SPD meant I couldn't get my legs apart to deliver dd, so they left me with a student midwife and no pain relief while they went to find someone who could do a ventouse. Two hours later, they found someone and dd2 came out. This time they did say congratulations! However, I was left in the labour room because the ward was full. They hadn't cleaned it, so there was blood and used swabs everywhere, including on the bed and floor. I sat in a chair next to DD's cot for seven hours until a bed was found (and she was born at 5am). Nobody came near me in that time.

Never again.

ScienceRocks Wed 03-Sep-14 17:15:45

Oh, and in answer to the questions (!) it was a humiliating experience, not empowering at all. I wasn't listened to, my DH was reluctant to asset himself on my behalf and probably wouldn't have been heard anyway.

meme73 Wed 03-Sep-14 19:17:58

With my first child I was constantly in and out of hospital due to high blood pressure that just kept getting higher.
It was decided that I would be induced 2 weeks before the babies due date.
I was induced at just after 9am and they broke my waters not long after.
It was a long painful labour in both my back and front. I was given pethidine and gas and air. Baby just wasnt coming and they tried the forceps but still baby wouldnt come. My last chance before cesarean they tried venthouse delivery and eventually baby was born. I had many stitches and poor babies head was shaped like a cone due to the venthouse suction. I wouldnt let go of the gas and air and when they pulled the tube away the mask was left stuck to my face LOL. That was over 20 years ago and i will never forget it. Babies cone head soon when down after a few days and she was perfect :-)

Dolallytats Wed 03-Sep-14 19:45:33

DD1 (21), long, but had an epidural. She had the cord wrapped around her neck and she needed antibiotics after swallowing some gunk, but all ok.

DS1 (6), continual bleeding in pregnancy. Given the drip (can't remember what it's called!!) following another heavy bleed. Contractions went from 0-100 in less than a second (after being hooked up to the drip for an hour)and he was born in 45 minutes. No time for any pain relief, was so glad it didn't take any longer because it was pain like I'd never experienced before!!

DD2 (1), shoulder dystotia (sp?). Labour started ok, but slowed down because of this. Loads of people in the room, a midwife pushing each leg up, one pushing my belly down and a doctor pulling her out, plus a couple of others just in case!! That was an experience.

I won't be having any more!!

StillNoFuckingEyeDeer Wed 03-Sep-14 19:54:41

DD1: induced at 36 weeks for IUGR - just before our antenatal classes were due to start. I was induced by having my membranes ruptured & started contracting soon after. I didn't really know what to expect or what was going on. It all happened very quickly. By the time I figured out I was going to need some pain relief, it was too late. I know there was a problem with DD1's heart rate and I ended up having an episiotomy & forceps delivery with local anaesthetic injection, but I'm not sure exactly what was going on. I felt lost, scared and confused.

DD2: induced at 37 weeks because she was measuring small. This time I was much better prepared and felt relaxed. I had my membranes ruptured and started contracting soon after. I sat on my ball, reading a magazine and chatting to DH for an hour or so, until it was time to push. I felt happy/excited. It was completely different to DD1.

notonacokebottle Wed 03-Sep-14 20:12:58

DS1 was hard work, only 3cm dilated when I went to hospital, though my contractions had been 2 mins apart for 4 hours by then...luckily they let me stay anyway, spent some time in the water and had a LOT of gas and air before ds was born about 9 hours later. Despite the hell of the last 2 hours, out of the water, being yelled at to push when I had absolutely no desire to and being threatened with an episiotomy as I was taking too long, it was an amazing and overwhelmingly positive experience. Well at least the bit when he finally arrived was. And DH was fabulous, even though his only previous experience was with cows....

By contrast DS2 was very quick. At 10pm I was sitting with my parents having a more or less sensible conversation; at 2am I decided we'd better go to the hospital and he was born about 30 minutes after we got there. Almost an anti-climax.

EugenesAxe Wed 03-Sep-14 22:02:50

I've had two DCs and both fairly normal labours. They were similar in that for both I was 6 days over, latent stage to birth was about 16hrs and I had a very fast second stage; c.25mins.

DS1 though hurt a lot. Shortly after 6am I started contracting; I had some breakfast and projectile vomited it all up with the next contraction. If I was prone and contracting, I vomited. My contractions never went much closer than 5-7min apart and I was worried that the pain could mean I was sort of 'super contracting'. Yes, I was an idiot, but I am a staunch thing and pain rarely overcomes me; I thought 'Arrgh! This really hurts - even me!'. Anyway I wasn't; they let me stay in because on arrival I was almost 3cm. But then I was bumming around in hospital trying to cope with pain, being bored, vomiting occasionally. I had DH and DM with me. I chucked up some painkillers they gave me; I ate and drank nothing, which was very silly. I had pethidine around 5cm, which was great; I dozed for the time it took me to fully contract, which was only actually about 2-3hrs; so disproportionate to the first 5cm. Then I perked up a bit and needed the loo; my DM urged me to get back to the bed as it seemed I might be about to need to push. I couldn't stop pushing when the time came; it was a very strong urge. I tore 2nd degree; DS was big and head on 98th centile. My waters broke just before he came out.

DD's labour hurt less; I only started throwing up at (I estimate) around 5cm and then not often. I laboured almost entirely at home - if we hadn't just moved I'd have had a home birth - I said to DH I thought we should go around 8pm; I was 8.5cm on arrival, so only two or three contractions then I was fully dilated. I remember being anxious about stage 2 and saying 'I have to push now don't I?', but the urge was much less and I only 'grazed'. It was very calm and hippy; only one or two puffs of G&A, and those really just because it was available.

EugenesAxe Wed 03-Sep-14 22:04:15

Erm... fully dilate not contract.

CMOTDibbler Wed 03-Sep-14 22:11:08

My waters broke at 34+6. Admitted and then I felt contractions starting 7 hours later. I was in a side room on my own, and it wasn't till 4 hours later that they came to give me antibiotics and found me vomiting into the sink and 7 cm dilated.
After that, its all a bit hazy to me to be honest. Really, I'd have liked to be on my own, in the dark, in water - but I got continuous monitoring on a bed. But my doula made it as dark as possible and mostly dh tells me the mws sat in the corner leaving me alone.
I used gas and air, and as ds was the wrong way round my pain was in my back so I just wanted it rubbed.
Pain wasn't terrible - painful, but not terrifying.

artex Wed 03-Sep-14 23:47:04

If I was ever induced again I'd have an epidural

DP was useless. I'd feared he would be but decided to give him the benefit of the doubt

Would insist on a homebirth next time & get an additional birth partner

DuelingFanjo Thu 04-Sep-14 00:21:14

I wish someone had offered me gas and air before I got to six centimetres.

I wish someone had told me to push at ten.

Although I believe I coped very well with the pain by marching round the room for hours on end.

I am glad my Nct classes covered what happens if a C-section is decided on because, although I didn't have one in the end, it was good to know who all the people who suddenly appeared from nowhere were.

I am glad I was able to shrug off the fact that it didn't go according to 'plan' fairly quickly.

EstellaSpitsEmOut Thu 04-Sep-14 09:40:48

My labour started well. First 12 hours at home with a lovely midwife who was totally perfect in every way. But DS was back to back and as the pain got worse I opted for an epidural so was taken to hospital.

Initially everything was fine. The epidural was quick to come and I had a lovely midwife checking on me (who assured me I wouldn't have to feel any pain again! - hah!). But the epidural slowed my contractions so I had the injection to speed them up. After 7 epidural top ups (and another 12 hours) it stopped working and the pain was unbearable. My lovely midwife changed shifts and her replacement was non-communicative and kept rushing in and out without explaining anything. After pushing for over an hour I overheard them say that the baby's heart rate was dropping and they were struggling to monitor it and I just screamed at them to do anything to get him out. I was scared, in agony and had no idea what was going on.

I was rushed into theatre, spinal block and forceps. DP was there, but he and DS were taken away without explanation while I had stitches. Later I found this was so he could have his Vit K injection.

Was taken through to the ward, and DS was wheeled in. DP had to leave after 20 mins or so (was after midnight). I had no nurse or anyone come to me until the next morning. No food or drink offered (after a 29 hour labour!).

So no, not a great experience and I felt pretty traumatised afterwards. I rushed to get home, although I probably should have stayed a bit longer in hospital.

If I go through this again, I will definitely try to stay for a home birth.

momofmonster Thu 04-Sep-14 10:59:25

My labour story is something i have been banned from telling by my other mummy friends as they hate how easy it was!

I went 2 weeks over and had to be admitted into hospital to be induced. The first day they tried to induce me naturally with sweeps but not a twinge. On the second day my babies heart rate went high and at 10 o'clock at night they decided they needed to induce me and get baby out asap. They took me off to a delivery room and broke my waters. The woman who did it was an idiot - she kept saying this will hurt so i started panicking and wouldn't let her, the gas and air actually made me panic more - it didn't hurt though and i was worried over nothing just because the woman was building me up to be.

I asked for an epidural as a) it was pretty late and b) i was about to be strapped to a bed with monitors on me so i wouldn't be able to move and get myself comfortable. They did this and i managed to drift off to sleep about an hour later barely feeling the contractions.

In the early hours of the morning my childs heart rate dropped from being very fast to very slow and the dr was rushed into check - i was still asleep at this point and only know what the midwife told me. The dr lifted the blanket and found my childs head coming out - she had to wake me up and tell me to push - less than 10 minites later my little boy was in my arms!!

In total i was in labour for just under 6 hours but slept for all but a few minutes of it! My partner was rubbish - he actually left at one point because he was hungry and was gone for ages!! Plus when it came to the pushing bit all he did was stand there and watch. My mom was supposed to come down when i got closer to the end but it all happened so quick.

Overall the hospital was lovely and the staff. I found my labour to be really easy - although i dread ever having a 2nd knowing that i just had it easy the first time round.

OhGood Thu 04-Sep-14 11:36:44

Science Rocks GOOD GOD. You should name and shame that hospital. I'm so sorry, and so furious on your behalf.

ScienceRocks Thu 04-Sep-14 16:57:15

Ohgood, I didn't name and shame for fear of my post being deleted, but it was Mayday in croydon (now laughably croydon university hospital, despite croydon not having a university!).

As a healthcare professional, I have to say I was horrified at how bad it was. I am a huge supporter of the nhs, but felt really let down. I also was very traumatised afterwards and have recently had a bout of severe depression that my counsellor suspects may be rooted in my poor experiences of childbirth. I have never felt more demeaned or utterly humiliated than I did then, and I suspect it is the reason my normally very good memory immediately blanked some of it out.

I will name change now as I have probably outed myself sad

mangofizz Thu 04-Sep-14 17:40:30

My Ds was born earlier this year, I had a planned homebirth. Labour was early (38+6), fast and furious, the water from the pool was sloshing all over the place because there wasnt time to check it was inflated properly, which turned out to be a good thing as it diluted the blood that ended up all over the carpet! We had a shoulder dystocia, knot in the cord, cord round the neck, 3rd/4th degree tear for me and rescue breaths for baby followed by hospital transfer.

Having said all that, I cant praise the midwives enough, it was an unusual labour and delivery, they kept cool heads and ultimately saved my DS's life. My labour was so fast I wouldnt have made it to hospital in time and my DH would never have been able to deliver him. My Dh was amazing and I couldnt have asked for more support, it was just a shame it wasnt the calm experience I was hoping for.

Still a strong advocate of homebirth here smile

BlackeyedSusan Thu 04-Sep-14 19:00:53

with dd I can not remember most of it as I was sucking on the gas and air enough to make the room spin, had an epidural and had been given pethadine. I had a very slow start and several trips to the hospital with contractions about ten minutes apart... which stopped at the hospital door. we were due to go in early because I needed a drip for strep b.

allisgood1 Thu 04-Sep-14 19:26:56

Dd1: water broke at 38+6 night before induction (big baby). Contractions started when I was having my epidural put in but was having tightenings every 5 minutes on way to hospital. Got to hospital at midnight and was 3cm. Was fully dilated at 5am and pushed until 7am. Epidural only worked on one side and she was not coming out! Consultant called. He tried ventouse but didn't work so did very very forcefully pull her out with forceps. Most painful experience of my entire life, I thought I was dying. Had pph and blood transfusion. Dd weighed 8lb 4oz.

Dd2: induced at 37+4 for big baby. Pessary inserted around 1. Contractions mild starting at 4-5pm. Waters broken sometime around midnight. Dd born via forceps at 5am ish. She was 8lb 6oz. Long stay in hospital due to grunting.

Ds1: waters broke at 38+3 at 10am. Contractions about 2min apart started about 20 min later. Mild to start but quickly got more intense. Got to hospital at 11:30, DS born via gas and air at 12:52, no intervention. Completely different to girls. 8lb 5oz.

cheekyezme Fri 05-Sep-14 10:16:49

My labour was fine! smile textbook lol a little long at 30 hours but I made sure I didn't go to the hospital in till I really couldn't cope any longer an was already 5 cm! They told me my daughter was goin to be big so I had a monitor on so couldn't move about which was frustrating esp as she was one 7 pound! But I only pushed for 6 mins so it was over very quickly really! She was born at 7 am an I was home by 7 pm all in a all lovely really

sss2012 Fri 05-Sep-14 10:40:25

My labour was good, other than prolonged second stage & need to deliver using vacuum extraction. As it was night, they told I’ll be discharged next day and asked my birth partner to go home. He was waiting until I transfer to the ward. We were very happy as we had good time. But after that only all the horrible things of post delivery problems started.

2 hrs after delivery I feel I’m going to get fainted. So I told the midwife. They found my pressure & heart beat dropped & I started heavy bleeding & formed blood clots inside. So they opened my stitches and removed clots and re-stitched. Unfortunately bleeding not stopped and they couldn’t found where I’m bleeding from and I already lost around 2l blood and needed a blood transfusion. So took me to the theatre & saved my life. My bad luck was not ended. As they stitched for third time, it got swollen and stitches started to remove apart. After 2 weeks, they took a scan & found few more clots in the swollen area. Since they already stitched 3 times the skin is not good to stitch again. So they removed clots, scratch the upper skin and stitch again with the inner skin. I was hospitalized for 3 weeks. But hospital staff helped a lot to overcome all the troubles. My partner was excellent in cope with situation.

All the troubles are worth as we have a lovely child who’s 22 months now.

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