I'm going to tell you all about my labour now... and I think at this point 98% of you will probably stop reading. But for those of you with strong stomachs and balls of steel, here it is. God knows why I'm actually telling you this, and I really hope it doesn't put you off having children of your own someday, but I think I'm also doing it to try and make sense of everything that happened in what felt like 16 hours of madness. Trust me, I've asked Thom and he can't quite put it to words either.
I'd been to the hospital for the 58th time with reduced movements. Ok, it wasn't actually the 58th time, but it felt like it - when it's your first pregnancy you're not really sure what to expect, but they'd told me to keep and eye on the little one's jiggling so here I was again. Turned out it was a good job I had gone; the fluid around her had reduced drastically, so they said I needed to be induced. That was my whole birthing plan out the window - I had intended to do it all in the birthing centre, with low lighting, me in the pool relaxed, transcending to another plain of inner calm, Thom in the corner singing Kum Ba Yah while our darling angel entered this world... but no. I wasn't best pleased, but the only thing on my mind was ensuring she was safe and well.
Thom lovingly brought me a curry for my last meal as a non-parent and I was the envy of the ward. I would have happily shared it with the midwife if she could have got Shyloh out that night as I was sick of waiting and getting impatient, but there were a load of other women also there to be induced. The woman next to me said she was having to wait until Friday (it was now Tuesday), so I wasn't holding my breath, but after nine months of puking, diarrhoea and looking like a whale I just wanted to meet my baby.
The next morning I was sent down to be induced, and I can honestly say it was the most painful thing I have ever experienced (sorry to those who have got this coming) and was then told the contractions you feel when induced are far more painful than if it were to occur naturally, as your body is being thrust into labour. Great. They started coming an hour after induction, starting from a scale of 'ooooh that was uncomfortable' increasing to 'get the sodding doctor in here noooooooooooooowwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww!!!!' (think the girl from the Exorcist and you've pretty much got the picture). I was left like that for SEVEN hours, and it was the longest seven hours of my life - not even a paracetamol to ease the pain (they wouldn't give me one!), and was even told not to use my TENS machine yet, as I couldn't possibly be in labour. It wasn't until a very anxious Thom rushed for a doctor before I went on a mental rampage through the hospital to find one, that he came in, took one look and said 'oh yes, she's definitely in labour!'.
I was then moved into my labour room and after that my memory starts to get a little patchy... I think I remember pretty much all of it, but then bits come back, like flashbacks of a freaky dream had the night before. I wont tell you everything, I don't want to bore you by telling you how, once high on gas and air, I spent the next two hours going 'I loooovvveee this song' to every song that came on my ipod, grinning insanely like a tipsy Cheshire Cat and telling Thom I loved him every five seconds. And, lets face it, I also don't want to scare the hell out of you either. I feel like everything went wrong - the woman who put the drip into my hand somehow managed to make the needle go in one part and come out the other (it looked pretty horrific, and I think Thom was about to chunder) then had the audacity to ask if she could break my waters! Thom relishes in telling me they looked like knitting needles, but I stop him from divulging further. The guy who put in my epidural managed to hit a nerve which was excruciating and had to be removed and done again (try being told not to move when you're having contractions every few minutes!). Shyloh kept on wriggling and they couldn't locate her heartbeat, so I had to have an internal monitor put in (don't ask). I basically had a million wires coming out of me. Thom, in the meantime, had fallen asleep on a beanbag on the floor... bless, it must have been so exhausting for him (that's sarcasm by the way!).
I couldn't tell you how much time had passed, but I did know I'd been doing this for a very long time (I gauged this by the volume of drool coming from Thom's mouth as he slept!). I was keen to see it through and get her out as naturally as possible, especially as my labour was now differing so much from my original plan, but soon, the doctors came rushing in as her heart rate had dropped - that was pretty scary. They had to do a procedure where they went in and took blood from her head to test the oxygen levels (they didn't take enough and had to do it again - told you everything went wrong!). They then let me carry on, but it quickly dropped again, and it was at this point they informed me that they would have to perform an emergency c section. I didn't care any more, all I wanted was for Shy to be safe and well.
I can't remember much of being moved and prepped for surgery, I just remember lights, lots of people around, being numbed up to my arms (very weird sensation). I do however remember feeling very nervous - not because of the c section, but because this was it, I was finally going to meet my daughter. From the moment of being taking into surgery it only took them four minutes to get her out; I still find this pretty incredible that they can work so quickly, but they made me feel like I was in safe hands. I heard her cry and that was it, I was in tears, Thom was in tears. It was by far the best moment of my life. I can't possibly explain what it felt like to see her the first time (I'm even welling up as I write this) as the only emotion that I can describe from that moment was an overwhelming, unconditional love. She from that second became everything to me. Although she looked like a miniature version of Phil Mitchell I thought she was the most beautiful thing in the world.
Reading back I realise that a lot of the labour sounds like a horror story, and believe me, I've given you the 12 rated theatrical version (not the 18 rated directors cut with all the gory bits left in!). But one thing I can say is that I would do it a million times over; Shyloh was unequivocally worth it. And yes, I would go through it all again for another, but much to Thom's dismay, we are NOT having enough for a five-a-side game!