• Cara Goulding

Birth & Delivery Story - Rory George

I was trying to think of the best place to start with this post but I guess early labour started on Monday 11th May but dropped off after 36 hours of mild contractions and a dull ache. I was absolutely gutted but had a birth consultant appointment booked for Wed 13th so went along to see what they could suggest.

After some discussion it was decided that I would have a sweep and be booked in for a section on Friday 15th. I had hoped that I would be able to give birth vaginally with this baby but it had other ideas! After many attempts and old wives tales ticked off to try and start the labour the baby was still sitting tight as Friday morning dawned.

My mum arrived at 7.30am to pick Rosie up and take her to theirs where we had planned for her to stay until I was discharged from the hospital. She went off with barely a backwards glance as I tried not to cry at the sight of my firstborn disappearing from view. We got the last bits packed in the car and I took a last picture of my bump before we headed to the Princess Royal Hospital in Haywards Heath.

We made our way up to the ward and I was feeling so nervous about potentially meeting my baby very soon. Of course I needn't have worried because I was 4th in the queue waiting to give birth so it was going to be early afternoon before I would be in surgery. Because I wasn't going to be on a labour ward whilst I waited for my csection we were put into a delivery room which meant that Leigh could be with me the whole time.

The midwife suggested that whilst we wait they might as well try and break my waters, see how we got on and go from there. I'd originally been quite resistant to the idea of being induced but I figured I had time to kill plus if they were able to break my waters and after 4 hours I still hadn't progressed then I would still be able to go for my csection.

I was handed some gas and air which I took gladly because it might have been my only chance to be a bit giggly and the midwife tried to break my waters, but found I was still only 1cm and barely. It was frustrating because at my sweep on the Wednesday the midwife said she could have broken my waters but as I wasn't on ward she wasn't able to.

Another midwife was called and they asked if they could try again which I agreed to but over the rushing sounds of the gas and air I could hear them discussing how it was going to be like stabbing in the dark and it just wasn't going to happen. I told them with a very thick tongue not to worry it obviously wasn't meant to be but cried the second they left the room because that was my final chance at a VBAC. I shouldn't have given myself false hope really but I tried to reassure myself with the fact that I was still mere hours away from meeting my baby.

So we waited, and we waited and we waited some more. We had arrived at the hospital at 8.15am and I had stopped eating at 9pm the previous night so by midday I was absolutely starving. We passed the time by discussing our back up names in case the baby didn't look like the chosen one and settled on a couple which we liked.

By 3pm I had a massive headache from 18 hours with no food and limited water so I went to go and ask the midwives how long it would be. I was very happy when they told me to get my gown on because I'd be going into theatre shortly. Leigh and I got changed and they came to collect us walking us about 10m down the corridor and into a lovely bright theatre with two big windows and an airy feel to it. It was so unlike the theatre I had Rosie in which was down a warren of corridors and had no natural light.

The anesthetists were so great and talked me through everything they were doing. Because Rosie hadn't been an emergency, a lot of what they were doing was familiar to me but when they gave me the spinal block it did hurt more than I remember from the first time.

That feeling of slowly going numb is such a weird one, I felt desperate to stretch out my legs even though I was reassured they were. The sheet went up and in no time at all I was being told that it was nearly time for the big moment. I find it all so quick with a csection, one minute there's a baby inside you and the next you are hearing the relief of a cry and a wail and the happiness from the medical team as another baby is born into the world.

The plan was for Leigh to tell me the sex of the baby but as they lowered the sheets I could instantly see that we definitely had a son, no doubt about it! I burst into tears that my baby boy was here and Leigh went off to cut the cord. He was born at 4.08pm on the 15.5.20.

They were much quicker at getting him back to me then they were with my first section and I'd firmly expressed a strong desire for immediate skin to skin, something I'd also been denied first time, not getting skin to skin until we were in the recovery room with Rosie. They also remembered to show me the placenta which was just as gross as I expected!

It was just amazing to be able to lie there looking at this tiny little baby who seemed on first impressions to have my dark eyes and hair and who seemed so calmed and settled by the sound of my voice. We decided that he definitely looked like a Rory as well, so like his sister his name was agreed when he was just moments old.

I was wheeled back to the room we'd been in all day, teeth chattering and feeling a little shaky as a side effect of the drugs. I didn't even wait for the midwife to give me the go ahead, I got started on breastfeeding straight away and it all came flooding back. He was so good and latched straight away, the first feed was just 40minutes after he was born.

After he'd fed some, been weighed - a very healthy 8lb on the dot - and had his Vitamin K injection we started to make the calls. My dinner also turned up but I was so busy telling family about his arrival that it went cold and had to be reheated! Still it was blissful to be able to eat something.

Thanks to Covid-19 Leigh wasn't able to come with me to the postnatal ward, but he was able to stay in recovery with me for a bit longer thanks to a change of staff and a late delivery so in the end he stayed with Rory and I for 4 hours after.

Soon enough it was time to move me so after some skin to skin with Daddy, Leigh got him dressed and cleaned up the very speedy first poo Rory had managed to do in his towel whilst I was given a quick sponge bath by the midwife and I put my nightgown on ready to be moved to ward.

It was really strange having to say goodbye to Leigh at the doors of the ward and also knowing that I had to look after Rory by myself until I was discharged. As a second time mum I felt more confident about it but I really feel for those going through it by themselves first time.

I was wheeled into a ward with only one other mum and set up next to the window which was really lovely. She had left her curtains open and we soon got talking, she had been the first mum in for a section so was up and about, unlike me. Because my section was so late they decided to keep my catheter in overnight and get me up and walking the next day.

It meant that I was very reliant on the midwives but they were lovely, getting all my snacks out of my suitcase, making me copious amounts of tea and toast with jam, changing Rory when he needed it and they even took him between 2 - 4am to allow me to get a couple of hours sleep, something I am forever grateful for.

The first night was really strange, Rory wouldn't settle off me so I kept dozing with him in my arms, jolting awake with fear that I'd smothered him and then dropping off again. I was awake from 4.30am but so was the other mum so we chatted about our babies, our first borns, the pandemic and how much having a csection sucked.

She also told me that to go home I had to do three 150ml wees and I had to do the first one within 6 hours so by the time the midwife came round to relay the same information I'd already drunk gallons of water so I could go home as quickly as possible to see Rosie.

Once I was up I went to top up my water and I was holding Rory and I suddenly felt really faint. I've never fainted before in my life but I was so dizzy, felt sick and there was a ringing in my ears. They made me sit down and got me some more tea but annoyingly it meant they didn't want to take my cannula out which was in the back of my hand and really painful. I didn't get it taken out until just before I left the ward in the end and my hand was so bruised.

Rory passed his hearing test, I did my wees no problem, and he passed all his other checks as well so at 2.30pm I was discharged and met Leigh outside the ward again with the car seat ready to go home. In total I was in the hospital 30 hours and it made such a difference from last time which was 6 days of heat, noise and frustration.

The drive home was slow and I winced every time we hit another bump but eventually we got back. My parents had Rosie in the back garden so we could sneak Rory into the moses basket and go out to greet her and make a fuss before bringing her in to meet her little brother. Intentionally neither Leigh or I held him or paid him much attention until she said 'Mummy hold Rory' at which point I picked him up and asked her if she would like a cuddle too. I don't know if that approach is what's made the difference to her attitude towards him but she has been absolutely besotted with him since we brought him home and I'm so pleased.

Rory's birth wasn't what I had envisioned, I'd hoped for a successful VBAC and birthing pool delivery but as we all know, we rarely get what we want with our birth plans. I tried everything I could so I have to be content with that.

Amazingly Covid-19 didnt even enter into my thoughts the entire time I was in the hospital apart from in conversation. If anything it made the women on the ward closer, all the curtains across the 3 wards were open with women chatting and in various states of undress, not worrying so much about how they looked when there were no men walking around. Sure the midwives had masks on but its a hospital so that wasn't even strange to me. If you are pregnant and worried about giving birth at a time like this I can assure you there really isn't a reason to worry.

Having a second child is everything I had envisioned and I'm loving getting to remember what it's like to have a newborn in the house again with his tiny snuffles and scrunchy body. The baby smell and increasing alertness are things I relish in and seeing him tucked up at night makes my heart happy.

Welcome to the world Rory George Goulding!

Cara x

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