OK, I've finally found 5 minutes to sit down and write something on here for the first time in about 8 months!
The birth of my baby seems like as good a place to start as any.
After two weeks of curries, 'romantic nights', long walks, membrane sweeps (if you have to ask...) and abject boredom, baby was showing no signs of making an appearance. In fact, the head was partly engaged and then went back up again! I had to be induced. I walked to the hospital on the Friday night and had prostoglandins (synthetic hormones) injected up me - nice. Normally, this method of induction takes about 6 hours to work and is not successful first time round for first time mothers, so the plan was that I would have it done at bedtime, sleep, and then they'd have another go in the morning which was much more likely to work.
So. My husband stayed with me while the induction took place, then got me settled and went home to get some sleep himself. Unbeknownst to him, the hormones took effect very quickly and my labour began at about 1.00am. It felt like back pain, but after a while a midwife confirmed that the pains were settling into fairly regular contractions. I was alone on the ward, in the dark, with a skeleton weekend staff whom I barely saw. Not how I'd pictured my labour. No-one asked me about my birth plan, I was too intimidated to ask for help with my TENS machine (so didn't use it in the end) and had no-one to rub my back or coach me through the pains. At 3.00am I decided I wanted to phone my husband and get him to come in so approached the front desk and informed the woman (don't know if she was a midwife, nurse or receptionist) that there would soon be a man arriving and she would need to let him in. "Why?" she asked (!!!???!) "Because I'm in pain and I want my husband to help me through it," I replied (!!!!!!!) "I'm afraid visiting hours are between 8.00am and 8.00pm," she informed me. Fucking hell. So I spent the rest of the night without pain relief (I wanted massage and the TENS machine), labouring alone in the dark, and fairly scared since this was my first time. I do plan to have another baby, and if the same thing happens again, I shall shout and scream and stamp my foot until I am allowed to have my husband with me. I mean, if we'd turned up at midnight with me having gone into labour spontaneously, would they have sent him away and told him to come back at 8.00am? I think not. The more I look back on this, the more outraged I am. I'm thinking of officially complaining. Any thoughts?
Anyway. I did take a bath after this in a huge double tub. I found it highly effective - in fact, although I'm usually happier on dry land and a bit scared of water, I had really enjoyed baths and swimming throughout my pregnancy - in terms of pain relief and calming me down. At 7.00am I rang my husband. He answered the phone and apparently I sounded really down (not surprising, considering the night I'd had!). He took this to mean that I was annoyed that the induction hadn't worked, when it was quite the opposite! "See you in an hour," I said, but 15 minutes later I the pains were getting worse so I rang him and told him to come straight there, to hell with their visiting hours. At 7.30 he arrived and was again informed of the visiting hours. "Is that going to be a problem?" he demanded, and they grudgingly let him in.
From then until about lunchtime is a bit hazy now. I walked around for pain relief and vomited on another bed ("You must really stay near your bed!" I was curtly told - minutes before another midwife recommended I try walking around!). I used Entonox (gas and air) for pain relief, which I loved. My husband massaged my back for what seemed to him like hours on end. I can't really remember much more than this as I was quite high on Entonox and had had virtually no sleep during the night so kept dozing off between contractions.
Right, baby is now demanding milk so I will return shortly with the next instalment!