Monday, 6 August 2012

The experience

I haven't updated this blog recently but I have had other things to do. On Friday 20th July at 1.44pm, our beautiful little son, Caleb Joshua Manning came into the world.

When I had asked people how I would know when I was in labour and they would say to me, "trust me, you'll know!" So when my contractions started on Thursday afternoon, I wasnt sure if I was actually having them or not, because I didn't "know"! It's not like they're at their full intensity straight away or anything. I texted Seth at around 5.30pm to say that I was pretty sure I was having contractions. A couple of hours later, all of those who had said to me that I would "know" were in fact quite right, I did know! They're pretty painful and although I felt like I could handle them better standing up, I was practically collapsed against Seth.  I had planned on having as natural a delivery as possible at the Oasis centre, a midwife-let unit and at around 11.30pm when my contractions were lasting around 1 minute and were between 5 and 7 minutes apart I called them. They told me to stay at home for a bit longer. When I eventually went in at around 2.30am, for various reasons I had to go to the labour ward instead of the Oasis centre to be assessed as it was thought that everything may not be as straightforward as we'd hoped (the Oasis Centre will only take you if everything is completely fine). The midwife hooked me up to the fetal heartrate monitor and was filling in paperwork when the baby's heartrate slowed right down. Within seconds the room was flooded with people, quickly dressing me in a hospital gown and talking about an emergency caesarean. They put me in a wheelchair and took me through to a delivery room. Luckily they decided that I wouldn't have to have the caesarean but they did decide to break my waters to speed up labour. The next few hours were a bit of a blur for me. I thought they went by pretty quickly but I was in that labour room for around 11 hours. At first I didn't want any pain relief but then I ended up using the gas and air. At first I didn't like how lightheaded it made me feel but a couple of hours later, they couldn't take it away from me if they tried! It didn't take the pain away at all but it does make you more detached from it. Being the non-drinker that I am, it had quite the effect on me and I pretty much sucked on that thing with each contraction until it knocked me out. I originally didn't want the gas and air because I didn't want to lose control and not know what I'm doing or saying but then it got to the stage where I didn't care. I don't remember much but I have a feeling that I probably completely embarrassed myself!

I had always said that I didn't want an epidural. The thought of a needle going into my spine freaked me out. However, Caleb's head was so low down that with every contraction, I felt the urge to push and even though you know that you're not supposed to, it's actually really difficult to tell that to your body when it desperately wants to! It also really added to the pain of the contractions and I was only 3cm dilated at this point! The anaesthetists were tied up in theatre and so I had to wait about an hour and a half before I was able to have an epidural. Let me tell you, it was the best thing in the world! It was really great because I couldn't really feel the contractions or anything and I was able to get some rest and sleep, which I really needed. On occasion, the room was flooded with people again as Caleb wanted to keep everyone on their toes and thought it would be funny if his heartrate kept dropping, just to panic everyone. Each time they thought  might need a caesarean after all, his heartrate picked up again. The next thing I knew, they checked me and I was 10cm dilated. Loads of people were there once again as they took away the bottom of the bed and put my legs in those leg support things. I was told that now since I was 10cm and Caleb's heartrate had been so up and down, they needed to get him out as soon as possible so he would have to be delivered by forceps. I had the epidural so I couldn't really feel anything other than the pressure. I think I was pushing for about 20 minutes and then Caleb was born. We didn't know he was going to be a boy but it came as no surprise to Seth or myself that he was, I think we were both kind of expecting it. Needless to say, we both cried, it was a pretty emotional moment. Seth got to hold Caleb for about an hour and a half while they were stitching me up. I couldn't believe that we actually had our baby. I had been tracking his progress on websites since I knew I was pregnant with him and it seemed so surreal that this beautiful little baby boy was now here and that he was ours.

I will tell you more in the not too distant future but I thought I would give you that little update of the overall birthing experience for those of you who wanted to know!


  1. I am all for epidurals!! Best thing EVER when you're in labour! :) I'm so glad things worked out, even though it was tough at first. Caleb is worth it, he's a cutie. Can't wait to see him in person, although, I'm sure that won't be till next year.... xx

  2. This is Mum on Laura's iPhone in Schipol Airport! I hope you're impressed! Beautiful photo of Caleb, I'm glad everything has worked out well for you all. Lots of love, Mum xxx ( this is Laura, Mum just dictated that to me, haha! I only put two kisses and she said "no, 3 kisses, one each"! Nothing wrong with her old lady eyes!)

  3. He is so lovely1 I'm having withdrawals! MUm and laura you make me chuckle. As soon as I read the phrase "This is Mum on Laura's phone..." I thought - YEAH RIGHT!!!

  4. You all make me laugh, you crazy family! Elodie, I hope you get to meet him when you're next over! Hope all is going well with the move!