Save The Children: My Birth Experience #BlogitforBabies

23 Apr

On the launch day of Save the Children’s virtual clinic (Build it for Babies ), I thought it appropriate to share with you my birthing story in support of raising £1m to build essential clinics in rural Bangladesh. Was my birthing experience really so bad? In comparison the answer can only be no.

In 2009, I was told that I probably wouldn’t have children.  Not the best news to hear when in you are in your early 30’s and assuming that the next chapter in your life consists of wedding bells and nappies.  This happens to other women, right? Not so.

My husband said we could get a dog.  He meant well. Today, we don’t have a dog but we do have a baby!! Mother nature decided that she would go against the grain and give us a helping hand.

After a fantastic Italian wedding just outside of Venice and a romantic honeymoon at Lake Garda and Verona, we headed home to London with me feeling a bit, well, ropey.  After telling my husband that my boobs felt like a butcher had hacked them off with a blunt knife he whispered to me from the across the room..”are you pregnant?”. We both just sat and stared at each other.  It was the best wedding present we could ever have wished for in all the world!

Bambina was due on 22nd May 2011.  The mediterranean in her had other plans.  The midwife told me that “it” (we didn’t find out what we were expecting) was going to be on the large side so I should probably leave the place that pays my bills a week earlier than planned.  I did.

With three weeks to go, I walked up to stairs, I ate curry, I had sex (if you could call it that!), I ate pineapple and I drank raspberry leaf tea until it was coming out of my ears! Bambina stayed where she was. The due date came and went and I walked more, up and down stairs, up and down hills.  I watched TV bent over on all fours and bounced on that flipping gym ball so much that I’m surprised I didn’t give myself concussion!

Two days late, five days late, eight days late. Still no sign.  I remember going to the hairdresser and I was HUGE. The girl asked me when I was due and went pale when I told her “over a week ago”.

If I lived in Bangladesh I would have been working in rice fields until my waters broke, fourteen hours a day.  But what if my waters wouldn’t break? What would I do?  There is no induction, no help nearby, no support or advice.  I would probably go so late that the child would die and be born still birth by the body expelling it.  Or, I may die too.

I went to hospital to be induced when I was ten days late.  The first time I was induced it didn’t work.  I had some pain but nothing worse than a period pain.  I was induced again six hours later.  That kind of worked, enough that I had to put on the tens machine.  Which, my husband decided to play with whilst it was still attached to me, cue electrocution by birthing tool! Six hours later I was induced for the third and last time. Other women had been and gone and I was still there, being electrocuted, as you do.

I remember the sweltering heat as I walked around the hospital car park in my pyjamas.  Could I have done that if it was forty plus degrees? If I was in Bangladesh I would have to. I would have to cope, to work, to continue to raise my other children, mourne the ones I had already lost, take care of my husband, look after my house, well, hut.  And we think that we multi-task!  All of this whilst trying to fight the fear that the child you’re about to deliver may not live in this world for more than an hour.

At 10pm on 3rd June 2012, I was taken to the labour ward to have my waters broke.  The pain started immediately but surprisingly it was fine. Doable. Bearable.  After a few hours I was really feeling it.  After having to forego the luxury of a birthing centre because I was so overdue, I was determined not to have drugs.  However, once six hours had passed I still hadn’t dilated so the registrar suggested that I consider and epidural and santonin drip to bring the labour on faster.

I agreed and as soon as the epidural went in it was like angels came and tickled their tiny gold dust fingers all over my body and with one gracious little poof, the pain was gone.  I slept until 6am when the registrar came back for a check up.  Great! I had detracted one centimeter.  I was going backwards!!

My husband let out a shriek and the registrar lifted my gown.  I had swelled. EVERYWHERE.  I could barely move my hands or feet.  My joints were triple the size.  They almost cut off my wedding ring but I was damned if I was going to give birth without it on!!

I had a choice to make; wait a few more hours or go to surgery.  It was a no-brainer.  My husband looked great in the blue overalls, all dark and mysterious under his little blue hat.  It has been a long long long night, or two nights, and I was having severe convulsions and body shakes from the epidural wearing off.  My legs had to be strapped to the surgery table.

The screens went up.  The tools came out and the nurse told me that I would feel some pulling.  it was totally harmless.  I couldn’t believe we had reached this stage.  Within seconds we would have the baby that mother nature gifted to us and we held on tight for the next few minutes. Then, with one last pull, the doctor announced that the baby was out and all looked fine.  I remember wondering why I didn’t cry straight away.  They held the baby up over the screen but I couldn’t see.

“It looks like me!!” the Italian shouted, excited.  “But what it is it?” I slurred.  “It’s a …It’s a giirrlll….” and with that the tears welled and be both cried.  I was exhausted, drugged, emotional but what I remember the most of those few minutes was how happy my husband was.  I don’t think I will ever forgot the expression on his face.  Its like I’ve bottled that expression and stored it away somewhere very safe.

The doctor wished us congratulations and leaned toward me and said “just so you know, there is no way you would have been able deliver this baby on your own.  She’s not small”.

In the recovery room, she weighed in at 10lb4oz.  At 7.55am on Saturday 4th June 2011.  Healthy, happy and here.  Wanted and needed more than the air that I breathe every day. Loved with every ounce of our souls.  She was ALIVE.  If she was born in Bangladesh, she might not be.

The women in Bangladesh don’t have the luxury of being induced or of having check ups at a local hospital or clinic.  They don’t have the luxury of birthing tools, pools or centres.  Worst, they don’t have the luxury of holding their baby in their arms and knowing, just knowing, that they are all well and safe.  That from that day forward, everything will be ok.  They don’t have that luxury.

Now, with the help of Save The Children Build it for Babies campaign, the clinics will act as a safe heaven.  These clinics are a life line to a next generation of stronger healthier women.

So, you’ve spent the last, what, ten minutes reading this post.  Extend that by a further five minutes to check out the Save the Children website to find out how you can get involved.  Then, get involved… do something to change this situation. NO CHILD WAS BORN TO DIE.


Posted by on April 23, 2012 in London


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15 responses to “Save The Children: My Birth Experience #BlogitforBabies

  1. mummydaddyme

    April 23, 2012 at 9:13 pm

    Fabulous birth story hun and wowee I thought that my 9lber was a biggun! You look fab considering you had just had major surgery. It was lovely to meet you last week and it really puts life into perspective hearing about these poor women who are no where near as fortunate as we are. x

    • Tea&Biscotti

      April 24, 2012 at 7:34 am

      It was pretty tough going but every second was worthwhile. Lovely to meet you too, nice to feel a bit welcome as blogging can be a scary world when you first start out. Let’s hope by doing this we can raise even a tiny ripple if not a huge wave of awareness.

  2. Ellie at Emerald Pie

    April 23, 2012 at 10:04 pm

    That was one long labour & birth you had. I had 2 much smaller babies but neither wanted to come out even after dilation/labour/pushing so I ended up having two C-Sections. I laughed at the bit where they held the baby up but you couldnt see her over the screen – that happened me with both of mine. It must be a regular thing!!
    But as you say we are the lucky ones with doctors and health services. We need to remember those who are not so lucky and do what we can to help.

    • Tea&Biscotti

      April 24, 2012 at 7:36 am

      I would definitely go the C-section route again after that. I can’t begin to imagine what it must be like to go through it without medical care.. I shudder at the thought of the consequences!

  3. Anya from Older Single Mum

    April 24, 2012 at 12:49 pm

    What a fantastic post – really moving and delightful simultaeously. Thank you for sharing it with us.

    • Tea&Biscotti

      April 24, 2012 at 9:50 pm

      Thanks Anya. Its great thing to have a voice, albeit a really tiny one 🙂

  4. amummysview

    April 24, 2012 at 7:55 pm

    Fantastic post lovely lady. Wow she didn’t want to come out did she? far too cosy! lol! Glad it all went well, like you say women in Bangladesh aren’t so lucky. xxx

    • Tea&Biscotti

      April 24, 2012 at 9:51 pm

      It was exhausting… little madam she is! x

  5. amummysview

    April 24, 2012 at 7:56 pm

    Fantastic post lovely lady. She didn’t want to come out did she? too cosy! lol! Glad it all went well, like you say women in Bangladesh aren’t as lucky xxx

  6. tracie p

    May 6, 2012 at 1:30 am

    sheesh! you had it rough! glad baby girl made it safely. i on the other hand, was determined to have an epidural, but i had to labor at home for 60 HOURS before they would admit me. i was cursing the fact that i had slept through the breating lessons…

    • Tea&Biscotti

      May 6, 2012 at 10:17 am

      WHAT? 60hours?! OMG! Im crossing my legs at the thought of it! Was it a natural birth in the end, after all that?

  7. tracie p

    May 6, 2012 at 12:08 pm

    HELL NO. i got to the dr monday morning absolutely exhausted and crying and was 5 cm dilated. i told her to make my reservation immediately with the happy doctor. i was afraid that all of a sudden they would get busy or whatever and my plans for a pleasant birth would be shattered. by 8:30 am my husband and i were pain-free and georgia was born at 3:52 that afternoon 🙂 i’ll tell the whole story soon on my blog…

    i wish i had been aware of this project! i was watching a documentary about the dangers of childbirth (still!) in so many countries. such young girls who are afraid to get pregnant, not because they are children themselves but because they fear for their lives. in these countries there’s very little value placed on the life of a woman, seems to be the common theme where women’s care is inadequate.

    • Tea&Biscotti

      May 6, 2012 at 8:43 pm

      You can still link up your birth stories to – C’mon, crack on with it.. its such an important cause!
      I’m envious you got to 5cm. I got to 3cm and twenty hours later started going backwards, to 2cm! But.. at least our babies are here, with us, well and happy and thats all we can ask for.. worth every ounce of pain endured! Im sure you’ll agree… x


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