There’s two sides to every story, So why should this one be any different? I woke up, well woke is a weird choice of words, I’d barely slept. Pregnancy had been robbing me of sleep for months now and there was so much running through my mind, sleeping was impossible. But today I was going to leave the house and not return until I had a little baby in my arms. It was induction day!

Horrible symptoms aside, I had a straightforward pregnancy medically wise. I never went to antenatal or birthing classes, but I’d watched 1 episode of ‘One Born Every Minute’ and come to the firm conclusion that if I told myself I could do it, I could. It was all about a positive attitude, and that was the only preparation I needed, I was gonna go in that hospital and have a baby, simple.

It wasn’t simple.

I went in an had an initial ‘half hour’ of monitoring until induction could start. It was going fine, so I thought, until the machine starting bleeping and midwife rushed in and told me they’d lost the heartbeat. She looked at me with a look of confusion as my facial expression remained calm “he’s fine, I can still feel him moving” I told her, and his heartbeat came straight back. However this blip meant they couldn’t proceed without another hour of monitoring. 55 minutes went and just as she settled that they were going to put in the pessary, the heartbeat went again. They rushed me down to the Labour ward, worried they may have to intervene, I was placed back on monitoring this time for 3 hours. All was fine, I knew it was, I could feel him, so I knew. I never worried for a moment, and I got a few weird looks because of it.

The pessary went in and I was sent back up to the antenatal ward to wait for it all to kick in. Nothing happened for 5 hours and judging by the fact the lady opposite me had hers in 2 days ago, I’m guessing this is pretty normal. 8pm comes and I’m placed on another round of monitoring and she tells me I’m contracting, Oh really? I can feel that but I didn’t realise it was a real contraction? “You must have a high pain tolerance” she says reinforcing my self confidence in the task ahead.

2 hours later, squatting against the wall, I’m demanding Josh go find me some strong painkillers, NOW! After mentioning a funny turn I took in the past with codeine, they decide I needed to go back to the Labour ward and make use of the gas and air. I originally wanted minimum pain relief, but hearing that inductions can be more painful I’d decided I wasn’t going to be a hero, if I needed it, I needed it.

Back on monitoring. Only this time I wouldn’t come off. This is where things become a blur. I know I requested a higher pain relief, I know I had my waters broke, I thought I saw blood when they broke, I know there was meconium. The machine would bleep whenever I moved and now I was told I was not only to stay on the bed but to not to move at all. It was a big part of my birthing plan, I wanted to be mobile, to be able to relieve the pain trying different position and moving around. But they were concerned, his heart rate kept dropping. But he was fine, I knew this, why was I the only one who knew this?

“I need to push” “Wait for the Doctor, were not happy to deliver this baby without a doctor present”

I could feel the diamorphine wearing off and I knew I was too far along to be given anymore, I needed to push, his weight was bearing down, he was coming. The time came and I did my first push, I was told on the next contraction to push again… the next contraction? … it never came. My contractions had been 2 minutes long with less than a minute in between, but now it been 8 minutes and nothing. They rushed for the induction drip and things eventually kicked off again, but the drugs had well and truly left my system and 2 hours of pushing went by.

But I kept pushing, until I stopped. I don’t know why I stopped, I have very little recollection. 1 minute I was in the Labour ward pushing my baby out and next everything was white, I had no idea where I was, there were people running about around me, I could feel my legs being elevated, strapped into stirrups, the doctor was shouting at me “Leah! Do we have your permission to intervene?!’

“Do what you need to do” I muttered but I could hardly speak. The room was spinning, everything looked cloudy and I couldn’t feel my body, I was just overcome with an intense pain which filled the whole of it, what is this pain? Who are these people? Where am I?

White

“LEAH! YOU NEED TO PUSH!”

I need to push? Holy shit I’m in the middle of giving birth. My vision cleared I knew where I was, that pain was childbirth, my baby was on his way out, I needed to push. I could do this, I just needed to push. I pushed once and was told on the next one to push slower. I’d seen this on that one episode of One Born Every Minute, my baby was here. I pushed, he arrived, he cried, he needed to be checked over by paed, just normal procedure I thought, and he was passed to me. He was beautiful, he was real, and he was perfectly healthy just like I knew he was.

But there are two sides to every story, and Josh tells a very different one.