Arrival

This is my birth story

Wednesday

5pm: Arrived at hospital. We were full of nerves and anticipation. The night staff weren’t expecting us as the OB had forgotten I was to be induced overnight. No bother, we were shown to our birth room and we waited for a little while. The midwife (Deb) on for that night read through our birth preferences and called out that while we’d requested no student involvement in our care, the student on for the next day was almost near completion and very good. We agreed to have her (Nat) as part of our team (great decision). We talked through how we wanted our birth to go, that we’d like to avoid being induced with syntocinon (synto) and that we were a bit nervous about whether or not our OB would allow it as there wasn’t any indication it was up for discussion. Deb let us know that she and Nat were our advocates & we just had to let our OB know what we wanted. It turned out we never really did need to as the midwives let her know for us.

6pm: Our OB arrived and attempted a VE but it was very uncomfortable so no S&S was completed but she applied the prostaglandins (prostins) to the cervix. We were sent to bed with a wake up for me at 12am for the second round. Some women close to being ready will go into labour after one round of prostins and our little baby was one week and a day past the estimated due date by this stage so we were hoping this would be the kickstart my body needed to bring baby to us.

Thursday

Midnight: I woke up before midnight and let the night midwife (Marian) know I’d meet her in the labour room. The second round of prostins was applied and I went back to bed to wait. I recall feeling tightening sensations but nothing major. I got to sleep until around 6:30.

6:30am: Time to be up and jump on the monitor to track any progress of contractions as well as bub’s heart rate. The contractions hadn’t really eventuated as far as I could tell. Another VE was completed and a S&S this time— it was very uncomfortable, Nat let me know I could have gas & air to relieve some of the discomfort. I was not dilated at all. For someone a week ‘overdue’ I thought my body would have been closer to ready.

Some small contractions started at this point, they were around 30 seconds long every 3 or so minutes but quite minor. We played music in the room and I danced around like a numpty — it was pretty good fun and nice to use the breathing techniques I’d learned at Hypnobirthing.

8:30am: With no real progress being made, the OB came back to break my waters. I used the gas & air, it made me feel really groggy, my voice sound funny and I could still feel everything, I wasn’t sure if I’d use it again (I did). Generally the induction process is that the waters are broken & the synto goes in at the same time but the OB simply broke my waters and asked “any questions?” It threw me a little & the pain relief meant my response was a bit incoherent, I wanted to know if/when she’d be recommending the synto. Nat took over & asked the question for me. The OB was happy to just see how I progressed from here & decide later. That was a win!

9:30am: A friend of mine was in hospital at the same time getting her iron infusion so I went off to visit her and we chatted for around an hour. I could still feel the contractions but I could talk through most of them.

Now the contractions really started, there was more dancing, more breathing and just killing time, really.

10:30am: There were pastries — delicious! And we tried out the TENS machine, it definitely helped take the edge off the contractions. We could wander around and just kill time until the next progress update.

12:45pm: It was time for another VE to check how much effect the contractions were having. Nat performed this one, I had the gas & after a brief check she let me know that we were “going to need Synto”. After all this time, no progress had been made and I was still not dilated. The contractions were not strong enough to get bub’s head on my cervix and start opening up. At this stage I was pretty tired, physically and emotionally. I burst into tears and asked the midwives for a couple of minutes. I chatted to hubby about how disappointing it was to have spent so much time trying to get my body to go into labour as naturally as possible only for us to need the chemical induction anyway. Deb came in a few moments later and said that considering how much I was feeling the VEs and how uncomfortable they were, we could get the epidural sited so that if the contractions got too tough, getting pain relief would be much faster. They also had the “walking epidural”, an option I’d heard about before, where there’s a background drip and a pump, so I could still walk around, sit on the birth ball and work through the contractions with my Hypnobirthing techniques. The other thing to consider was that due to being induced, I’d need to be monitored constantly. The midwives let me know they would slow down the rate the Synto was bumped up to make it as close to natural as possible. We decided to get the epidural sited and a lovely anaesthetist came in and set me up. There were some very weird sensations but it was not traumatic.

1:00pm: Now the contractions were really starting and it was taking a lot more effort to breathe through them. I used the Hypnobirthing techniques and stood over the bed to help relieve the pain, I knew that being upright would work with gravity to get things moving faster.

2:45pm: Time for drugs! The pain was getting quite intense and trying to find a comfortable position meant the monitors were losing bub’s heart rate and my contraction rate. They hooked me up to the good stuff and I leaned over the back of the bed for a while before switching to lying down. My legs were sore and due to keeping my finger on the drug pump, they were going a little more numb than I’d anticipated. I finally got to rest for a little bit. It felt like the contractions were slowing down but when I asked, they reminded me that the drugs were working, I was actually having 5 contractions every 10 minutes but I couldn’t feel them — what sweet relief.

4:00pm: Time for another VE, hooray! I had the gas & air handy, just in case, but didn’t need it. Nat spent a fair bit of time checking on my progress and that had me a bit worried. At this point the OB popped her head in to check how we were going. Nat said she was welcome to check for herself, which she did — very quickly! Update: 6cm dilated! We’d finally hit active labour. Apparently when Nat checked it was only 2cm but when she did an S&S, it “pinged” open to 6cm. Hooray! At this point I think they slowed down the Synto because it had done it’s job and my body was taking over.

I rested some more, made sure the drugs were topped up, had assisted trips to the toilet to help me prove I could labour upright (how I wanted to) and that I didn’t need a catheter. It was a nice, chilled time.

6:15pm: Time for another VE — I’d hit 10cms! Great news! The plan from here was to let the drugs wear off so I could feel where and when to push, some more chilled out time for me. I listened to my hypnobirthing track to help me relax and get my mind in the right zone. This extra time also would allow bub to move down the birth canal so I’d have less distance to push.

7:30pm (ish): Time to push! Nat had told me before I started pushing that she wouldn’t tell me I was doing a good job of pushing if I wasn’t, so the aim was to get good feedback. I started leaning over the back of the bed, hoping to use gravity to help me but the pushing wasn’t super effective. The midwives suggested I turn over to my back but I stopped on my side because that felt comfortable however the monitors told them bub didn’t like it so on to my back I went.

The pushing had to be the hardest part, my pelvis was full of pressure but I couldn’t really feel the contractions. I wasn’t able to use the Hypnobreathing as I couldn’t tell when to work with my body, so I went with the directed pushing. I wasn’t going to question a midwife who’d done this many times before. It felt like ages and no time at all that I was pushing. There were hands pushing, showing me where to focus my energy. It was really hard work!

Eventually, they were talking about bub’s blonde hair and then there was the mention of eyebrows. Eyebrows! I think they asked if I wanted to touch the head which I declined, it was taking all of my concentration just to get through each round of pushing. All of a sudden bub’s head was out. They were telling me that one more push would get my baby out but I could feel my stomach and there were no contractions happening, I wanted to work with my body and told them so. They kept telling me to push baby the rest of the way out and when the contraction came, I pushed and the pressure was gone from my pelvis.

8:40pm: They lifted HER up to me. I couldn’t believe it, they popped her on my tummy and I stared at her in awe. Her little lungs worked, not gunky sounding at all. She was covered in vernix and I remember talking to her or at her and my husband but I can’t recall much of what was said.

I got the injection to release my placenta and they told me I needed to push to get it out, I said it would come out naturally. That’s when they told me I was bleeding and had lost about half a litre of blood and need to push it out — so push I did! I didn’t see it come out but I remember the sensation of the tugging. I didn’t care, I had my baby.

The OB proceeded to stitch me up, it turned out I had 3rd degree tearing, mostly internal. I could feel her working & told her so. A little local anaesthetic helped but I felt most of it I think (my memory is a little fuzzy). After all that was done, they checked that they could cut the cord now that it had stopped pulsating which got the go ahead.

I got to cuddle our baby girl for an hour before getting her weighed and measured. 8lb 4oz and a 36cm head! Then daddy got to have a cuddle while I got cleaned up and we took our sweet girl to our room, the first night as a family.

Our birth didn’t really follow our preferences in terms of the end result but I am delighted we gave it every opportunity for my body to go into labour as naturally as possible (besides waiting longer & who knows how big she would have been then!). We were treated with respect, had our wishes acknowledged and I loved our birth, I wouldn’t change a thing.

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