Losing the Plot

I was almost 39 weeks pregnant on number three, further than I had ever got before.  On a sunny mild April day, I was visiting a friend in the country with my two girls in tow.  

It was also the last peaceful day I was to enjoy for a long long time.  The following night I woke at midnight after an hour of sleep with that now familiar feeling.  Yep my waters had gone again.  And I was happy.  Finally I was going to meet the baby I had desperately wanted for the past four years.

The pregnancy had been closely monitored, but all had gone well.  I'd given birth twice before, so I was pretty sure that I knew how to handle it.  I even had a very simple birth plan : lots of walking around and pethidine.

Third baby = short labour.  Right?  I might even get back to sleep afterwards...

My MIL arrived, breathless, busy and excited and I left with my then husband for the short drive to the maternity hospital. The pains were steady and regular and easy enough to cope with.  I was full of optimism, but as usual I hadn't read the small print.  I met with the midwife and explained that the pains were in my back, which I hadn't experienced before.  She told me that the baby could take a while to arrive, and suggested I take a nap on the maternity ward.  Well I was wide awake and itching to get things moving so I said I would just walk up and down.

So I did just that.

I paced the quiet, dimly lit corridors. Up and down, up and down.  It was just me and OH and the occasional check from the midwife. 

By around 5am the pain was severe and I was shown to one of the labour rooms.  Having previously given birth in a cubicle with curtains, I felt completely spoilt having a whole room with an ensuite all to myself.  But I didn't get much enjoyment out of it.

OH slept on the bed for a while as I paced, but it wasn't long before I needed the bed myself.

I needed pain relief.  And quickly.

You see I'm not keen on pain.  I don't see the point of putting up with it when there are so many pills and potions available that will get rid of it. But childbirth is different.  Not only do most of the methods of pain relief come with fairly scary side effects, but these days at least you're not expected to do your day job at the same time, so I was hoping to muddle through on pethidine, which helped me to focus and stay calm during the very premature birth of baby number two. 

The midwife was called and I asked for pethidine.  She wasn't keen and suggested gas and air. 

"But I don't like like gas and air," I told the midwife, "it makes me feel sick and dizzy."

I was assured that it was different now.  It wouldn't be the same as the gas and air that I had (not) enjoyed on baby number one.  And you know when you get to that point in labour when the pain stops you thinking clearly or being able to argue your case?  I'd got to that point.

I grabbed the gas and air as I needed something urgently.  And I started to feel sick and dizzy, but I had to have something so I just kept sucking in great lungfuls.  The only thing that kept me going was the midwife telling me that she thought the baby would be born shortly.

But by 8am I was exhausted, woozy, and barely aware of my surroundings, only the waves of pain registered.  Then the midwife shift changed.  I'd started to trust the woman who had helped me through the night, and when two new faces appeared, I began to lose hope that I could get through this.  I told them I wanted an epidural.  "Not now," they said.

Forty-five minutes later and I was begging for an epidural.   It's too late now, they said. You need to push.

 How could I push?  I couldn't cope with the pain now, how could I deliberately make it worse, with no help?  So at that point my mind gave up, I couldn't take any more.. Nothing seemed real anyway.  I forgot abut the baby, I forgot about everything and everyone.  I remember very little of the next hour, except a feeling that I was floating up in the air watching this woman labouring below on the bed.

Finally the midwives realised that I wasn't going to do this on my own.  They called the anaesthetist, who eventually managed to get the epidural in.  And then they called the consultant in case an assisted birth was needed.  But shortly after the anaesthetist worked her magic, the fog cleared and I was back on the bed and I remembered that there was a baby to give birth to, and I started tentatively to push.  

And when the consultant arrived I started to feel more confident - hadn't I seen him almost every week for the past 4 months?  He knew me, he would know what to do.

  "I think this baby will be born without any extra help," he said.

And then I knew I could do it.

Everyone sighed with relief as my baby boy slid out.

And I lifted up my tired woozy head to see what this had all been for.

  The next day the anaesthetist popped into the ward to see me.  I nearly kissed her.


"You lost the plot, didn't you?" she said.

Got it in one, I guess.


  1. Blue Sky, I think you had every right to lose the plot!! ;)
    Thanks for sharing your birth story, I enjoyed reading it!

  2. absolutely okay to lose the plot !!!\Enjoyed reading the birth story

  3. I wish I could also say I enjoyed this. Instead, there are so many things in it which rang enough echoes to make me angry and un-nerved almost to the end. I'm glad it finished happily but . . ..

    And, if you lost the plot it was because the plot isn't easy to hold. I don't even believe hospitals expect you to hold to it. I haven't worked out what year you are describing but, over decades, I have heard of women writing birth plans which are simply pushed aside once they have entered the vulnerable stage of labour. One always thinks things will change but do they? When will they?

  4. @Di and @Floortime Lite Mama - glad you enjoyed it, it felt good to write :)

    @Esther Montgomery - writing this now it is clear that I should have listened to the midwife and she should have listened to me - the kind of system where a mum-to-be gets to know her midwife would have worked a lot better I think. I'm starting to understand why so many women love home births, even though I don't think it would have been for me. This was the story of my son's birth, ten years ago. It's a prequel to the story of his aspergers which I've linked to near the end of this piece. Thanks for reading.

  5. So similar to my first one. Except the epidural didn't work. Glad I'll never ever have to go through that again!

  6. Totally OK to loose it. I think I loose the plot about once daily. A beautiful start to new life.

  7. "lost the plot" must be some British idiom...I think I get it, over here in Texas. The plan didn't happen, eh?

    I can relate to some of your experience, and that is all I will say. Admiring your bravery for publishing a birth story, if not committing to emulating you.


  8. Love the story, similar in some ways to mine (though I only had two babies!). It's nice to look back now on the births with slighly rose-tinted spectacles... and know I won't be doing it again!!

  9. It never quite goes to plan does it! I wish midwives would listen more...you knew what you needed. Glad it all turned out well in the end :) x

  10. This post gripped me from start to finish. I don't think you lost the plot at all. They did by not listening to you and giving you pain relief!

    One day I may write my giving birth story. I've only done it once.....and that was enough!

    xx Jazzy

  11. Thanks for sharing, I love reading other peoples birth stories, they are so unique.

    Mich x

  12. Sounds like it's a shame that they couldn't trust that you knew what you wanted.

  13. I know my response may be viewed as 'what the hell does she know' having never given birth before but.....

    In no other species of animal (and humans are just a species inhabiting this earth) is there so much intervention (or so it would seem) when it comes to giving birth.

    Now I know that there are times when medical intervention is needed and thank god it is there but I do think that women are not empowered enough and encouraged to believe that they will know what to do.

    I do believe that there is an inherent understanding that the female body knows how to give birth just like every other animal/mammal on this planet.

    Instead of encouraging and supporting the women it seems oh so common that the mother is basically ignored and treated as if she hasn't a clue what to do.

    If an animal giving birth in the wild is disturbed and frightened its body releases a hormone that stops the labour until it can find another safe place. Interesting then that a lot of hospital births go on and on for hours isn't it and that a lot of mothers like you report feeling that their needs are low down on the list of priorities. Basically the one place that you go to to feel safe is the one place where you actually end up not feeling safe and nurtured.

    I know a couple (raw foodies) who recently had their first child. They told no-one that they were pregnant because they wanted an unassisted birth and didn't want anyone voicing negative comments or energy their way.

    They gave birth at home, in their bath tub and labour was an hour and 17 minutes from her waters breaking. Their baby girl weighed 7 and a half lbs and is happy, healthy and thriving.

    Not saying this would be the case for everyone but am saying that more could be done to make women believe in their own power to birth safely and with minimal input from others.

    Sorry, its just one of my many bug bears that our internal powers to know what is right for us are questioned to such a degree that we stop believing them.

    Hope I haven't stepped out of line, delete my comment if you feel I may have.

    Think you were very brave honey to have another after the awful birth experience with Smiley.

    love and hugs, xxx

  14. @Kate - really? I'd do it all again tomorrow, I would love to have had more kids x

    @Lizbeth - he he it didn't feel beautiful at the time!

    @Barbara - aah go on, you should! It actually feels good, and you can leave out as much as you like, as you may have noticed, I left out any gory bits.

    @Steph - Ooh I didn't think I go all rose-tinted about birth at all, but I'd still do it again.

    @Inside the Wendy House - as I said I should have listened to the midwife when she recommended a nap I think, as I didn't realise that a back to back birth meant a longer labour. Then yes, they should have listened to me too.

    @Jazzygal - thank you, that's a lovely comment, and do write your birth story xx

    @Mich - So true, they are all different, even though we're all doing the same thing x

    @pinkoddy - I know..

    @Helen - first of all I would never delete one of your comments, I appreciate every single one of them. Now with the benefit of hindsight and looking back I do think that hospitals generally try to fit you into a system, rather than listening to your needs. Individual doctors and midwives are often wonderful but it is difficult for both sides when they are thrown together during labour and have never met before. I knew my consultant and felt much more confident once he was there. I think hospital birth would always suit me, but on my terms xxx

  15. I'm now adding this post to a wonderful compendium of birth stories over at Actually Mummy's blog - head on over for loads more to read :)


  16. I'm so lucky Gas and Air agreed with me else I would have gone for an Epidural. You know your body so perhaps Mum's should be listened to more especially during childbirth :)

  17. @Scattymumofboys - I agree, if gas and air agree with you it seems to be the best option :)

  18. I think that labor/giving birth is different here...or at least where I live in the states. It is very mother focused-which is mostly a good thing. My youngest two were born via planned c-section...although I swear they knew and I went into labor with both of them before the scheduled surgery. :) With my boys-I am incredibly thankful for the interventions done by my doctor. My body it seems-didn't know what to do-causing great distress on my boys. Had I not been in the hospital-they would not have survived...and without an epidural..I don't know what I would have done! :0 GREAT story-thanks for sharing it...

  19. @kathleen - mother-focused childbirth sounds great :) Glad your boys - and you - got the help you needed. I never gave my body the chance to work out what it needed, I wasn't listening!

  20. excellent - never been a better reason for pain relief! Thanks for linking up :)

  21. @Actually Mummy - thanks for the comment and great linky :)