Pregnancy & Birth UK vs USA: The Birth

Pregnancy & Birth UK vs USA: The Birth

A couple of weeks ago I wrote about my experiences of antenatal care in both the UK and the USA. Today I will be talking about

The Birth

Miss H was due on December 24th 2010. Throughout my pregnancy I measured two weeks to a month ahead of my term and as I am only 4ft10 this was of some concern. At the time I was convinced this was the reason an induction was agreed for December 17th, however looking back I think it was more likely because I was due over Christmas. Whatever the reasons, I entered the hospital on the 17th and was prepped for an induction.

We had our own private room on the labour ward with an en-suite, spa bath, TV and a chair which converted to a bed so Mr H could stay overnight. Not long after being admitted the induction procedure was explained to me and I had the pessary inserted and was left overnight to see if it would take effect. The next morning I was started on the Pitocin drip. Once on this things began to start, however it was extremely slow. It took from 8am to 5pm that night to get to five centimetres and they were close to sending me home. However once I did get there, they broke my waters and that’s when it started to progress a little faster. Not long after that I was given an epidural, at my request, however this failed twice and had to be topped up.
By the next morning I managed to get to 9 1/2 centimetres, but then started to go backwards and so after 40 hours of being in hospital it was decided I needed a c-section. I remember feeling lots of mixed emotions at the time – ready to get it all over with, but disappointed in myself for not being able to have her naturally. Within half an hour Mr H was in scrubs and I was being taken into theatre.
The experience in theatre was a strange one. Mr H was in full scrubs, with a mask, and had to come into theatre in a wheelchair, the reason for which we never understood. As I already had an epidural I technically did not need much in the way of anaesthetic, however when they started the surgery I could feel the blade. They topped me up two more times to no effect and I ended up passing out. From what I have been told, Mr H and the baby were immediately taken out of theatre and he was given no information about what was going on with me. I’m not sure how long I was out for, but I woke up to see them both being wheeled in beside me, me having missed H being born.
During my time on the labour ward, the nurses were fantastic. As we were in there that long we saw four different nurses come and go, but they were all extremely professional and friendly and made us both at ease. As I mentioned in my previous post, my doctor actually came in on her day off to perform the surgery. The surgery itself went smoothly as far as I am aware and I have a feeling they purposefully put me to sleep so they could get H out, although I have never been told as much.
The birth of H was not the serene, beautiful experience I was expecting, however at the time I felt fully supported and looked after. I do feel that I should not have been encouraged so much to have an induction though, as clearly my little girl wasn’t quite ready to come out.

As I said in my previous post, due to having a previous C-Section, the UK doctors decided to give me three days to go over my due date and try to have Little J naturally, after that it would an elective section. When he hadn’t made an appearance by the Monday, Mr H and I headed into the hospital. I think this time I was a lot more nervous as I knew exactly what would happen. I was anxious about passing out again and about having surgery in general.
We were shown into a ward and I was given a bed, and we then had to wait. There wasn’t a lot of information – first we were told I was first on the list, then there had been an emergency so we were put back. It was a lot of twiddling fingers and every time a nurse came into the ward I held my breath. In the end I was taken down around 11am.
In some respects this birth was a lot calmer. There was no emergency, it had all been prepared for and mentally Mr H and I knew what was going to happen. However I remember shaking uncontrollably and the nurse telling me to calm down and relax(!) It seemed to take forever to prepare me and begin the actual surgery, which didn’t help, but I am glad to say this time around I felt nothing apart from the tugging you should expect.
Little J was born screaming his head off and unlike with H, I was able to see him straight after and once the nurses had given him a quick clean down I could hold him. It was incredible.

Unfortunately my scar from H’s birth hadn’t healed right and my uterus actually tore during the birth. Thank goodness I didn’t have a VBAC as this could have been life-threatening. The doctors did an excellent job though, and it was commented several times after how neat my incision scar was. They also talked me through everything and kept me at ease whilst I was on the table, well as much as they could!
Whilst I was a lot more anxious about this birth and we were kept waiting on the ward quite a while, once I was in theatre the care was excellent. Every member of staff in there spoke to me, tried to make me laugh and put me at ease as much as they could. They were also there for Mr H and chatted to him throughout. Little J was born safe and healthy and whilst I still didn’t get a natural birth I was happy to see my baby as soon as he arrived.

In the next post I will be talking about my experiences after the births and the postnatal care I received whilst in hospital.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.