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Claire Willis

Name: Claire Willis


Pregnancy number: 3rd (I miscarried a pregnancy just before falling pregnant with my second son, Josh)

Pain relief used: Meptid

The Beginning

I had a bit of an unusual pregnancy with Josh, aka SnugBoy2. Having had a miscarriage, and then falling pregnant again very quickly, it was somewhat fraught with worries from the start, and not without problems. With early bleeding, and a threatened miscarriage, it didn’t get off to the best start, but Joshy was a fighter.

We found out at 20 weeks that our new baby was going to be another boy, so decided that, since we wouldn’t have to spend our hard earned pennies on pretty pink dresses and frilly knickers, we would blow some on a swanky 4D scan. It was lovely to see our baby in all his orange-y glory, sucking his thumb and sleeping (he wasn’t doing much, so much so that they suggested I went and had a drink and came back to see if he would wake up).

Two weeks after that sunny day in Glasgow, I had a routine midwife appointment, where upon I was told that I was lacking fluid, and he wasn’t very big. I was sent down to the antenatal day unit for assessment and had several types of scan, with lots of measuring and consultants being called. It was decided that he was small, but that at that point the best thing to do was wait and see. From that point on I had to attend weekly hospital appointments to check his growth, which was minimal, and his heart rate to make sure he wasn’t in any distress. He may not have been, but I know I was!

Eventually, at 37 weeks it was decided that he hadn’t grown at all for a few weeks, and he was better off out, so my induction date was set for six days later, and I was shown around the Special Care Baby Unit, just in case.

Did labour progress naturally?

What happened next?

So now onto the actual birth. I was booked in for 2.30pm on the Sunday, with the birth expected to be on the Monday. Despite the consultant having said she thought one lot of the induction stuff would be enough, the midwife who administered it thought otherwise. So when contractions kicked in an hour later, it was passed off as “prostin pains”. I was told to go for a walk and they would calm down – if they didn’t it was the real thing. They didn’t. I tried to relax a bit and read a magazine, whilst bouncing on my birthing ball, with SnugMan half-heartedly rubbing my back – well, I wasn’t in labour, so I think he thought I was being a bit melodramatic.

The next suggestion from the midwife was, “Have a bath, that will stop prostin pains”. They didn’t stop. The bath, if anything, made them stronger, and (look away if you are squeamish) I hemorrhaged quite badly, so I didn’t stay in long!

With the midwife still insistent that the pains were not contractions, SnugMan set off to make phone calls to both our mums to let them know that although I was in a fair bit of pain, it would be a while yet. While he was gone, I can vividly remember lying on my side on the hospital bed, but feeling like I was watching myself – it didn’t feel like it was me going through this, and looking back, this was the trance-like stage they tell you about right before the end.

When he got back, I really needed to visit the bathroom so I asked him to help me get there. When I sat down, I don’t think I have ever been so scared. I could feel Joshy’s head…except I had spent five hours being told I wasn’t in labour, so it couldn’t possibly be! SnugMan insisted on pulling the emergency cord, even though I begged him not to, because the midwives would laugh at me. The midwife came in, and told me to “hop up on the bed” so she could take a look – hop? hop???

Anyway, one look and she said “Okay, you can push any time you like”. Joshy was born at 8.44pm, with Lee putting together the gas and air mouthpiece, and the midwife snapping on her rubber gloves, on the other side of the room.

How did you reach the end?

Was meeting your baby everything you expected?

How long was your recovery?

They were right – he was a tiny 5lb 8oz (SnugBoy1 had been 8lb 3oz, so quite a difference), and looked like a skinned rabbit. But I was so relieved to hear him cry, and he got APGAR scores of 10 and 10! After I had showered and he had fed a little, the midwives actually said I could go home if I wanted, but given it was 11pm, I politely declined. It was just as well, as he wouldn’t wake to feed in the night and his blood sugar dropped. Thankfully they managed to drip feed him enough to get it up a little, so he escaped the need to go to SBCU.

That was three and a half years ago now, and he’s grown up into a delightful, thoughtful, considerate and sometimes bolshy little boy. He is incredibly stubborn (no idea where he gets that from!) and determined, and I have no doubt that he will be very successful in whatever he decides to do with his life (currently become a policeman, a vet and a dog trainer).

What labour tips would you give to other expectant mothers:

Follow your instincts, and listen to your body. I really wish I had insisted that the midwife examined me. I had meptid quite late on in my labour, and had I known I was nearly there, I know I would have had the strength to carry on without it.

By the same token, don’t try to do it all. Rest when you can, because you will need your strength later on!

Write it down afterwards, if you want to remember it. It’s a magical experience, and yes, it hurts like hell, but it’s also the most rewarding experience a woman can ever have. Those few moments after the birth are possibly the best you will ever have.


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