Our son is 7 months old later this week, so once again I've neglected to update for an embarrassingly long time! I sort of "rediscovered" my blog the other night, and resolved to come back in here and do a couple of posts to bring things back up to speed. Obviously it's not a priority for me anymore, but I still want to keep a diary of sorts of the most important or significant events that occur, even if no one but myself ever reads them. Maybe our little boy might be interested one day, although if he turns out to be a stereotypical boy he probably won't really care. ;)
From 30 weeks onwards my pregnancy was just as textbook as the first three-quarters was. But my belly was huge, and I was quite uncomfortable. The sensation of my baby scraping his sharp baby-talons across the walls of my uterus is not a feeling I will soon forget! And just feeling like he was going to fall out constantly... yeah, not pleasant. My ob joked with me a couple of times about not being able to help me out by inducing, as my blood pressure remained perfect... not that I wanted pre-eclampsia, of course, but he understood how over it I was towards the end. Having said that, seven months after the fact, I desperately miss being pregnant and would LOVE to be up the duff again. But I'm not really ready for another baby yet. He's still so young, and I already have a serious lack of energy and motivation, so I can't imagine how much worse it would be if I were baking another bun too.
So on with the show (Ahh, get it? Show? Birth Story? *wink wink* Ahem). This is copied and pasted from a forum post, but I may edit or tweak any bits I see fit.
On Friday 28th Feb, I had what would be my last appt with my ob. I was 39 weeks exactly, and SO ready for the baby to come out! My ob gave me a membrane sweep, which was not very comfortable at all, but I used it as an opportunity to practice some deep breathing for labour, lol. I was already 2-3cm dilated, but he said he could manually stretch it to 4cm! He told me to book another appointment for the following week, but said that he’d be EXTREMELY surprised if I lasted til then. I found out later that he was on call that night, so he hung around for a while, thinking there was a good chance I’d be back in within a few hours. But unfortunately it wasn’t to be.
I didn’t really feel much different after the sweep. I think perhaps there might have been an increase in Braxton Hicks, but nothing noteworthy. Then at around 3pm on Saturday, I went to the loo, and when I wiped... well, there was my “show”. It was revolting, and didn’t let up for the rest of the day and night. Gross. But I was extremely happy that at least something had finally happened!
That night I kept waiting for contractions to start, or my waters to break, even though I know that your show can happen ages before labour does. We had Indian take-away for dinner, as a last-ditch attempt to get things going, hehe.
On Sunday 2nd March, I woke up and was dreadfully disappointed by how “normal” I felt. I rolled out of bed like the beached whale I was, and went to the loo. While I was sitting on the toilet, I felt a very sudden massive jolt from the baby, and a second or less after that, I both heard and felt a “BANG-BANG” from somewhere deep inside my abdomen. I was very freaked out... I was hoping it was my membranes rupturing, but there was no fluid coming out, so I didn’t know what to think. A part of me was terrified that something had happened to the baby, or he’d somehow done something in there to hurt himself!
I went back to bed, thinking I’d try the “lie down for a while and see if anything leaks when you get back up” thing. But no sooner was I lying down again that I experienced a huge surge of AF cramping low down... was that a contraction?? I made a note of the time, and four minutes later, I got the same thing. I nudged Alan awake and told him that I thought I was having contractions. He got up to have a shower while I rang the delivery suites to describe to them everything that had happened. I didn’t experience any more contractions, so I wasn’t sure what was going on, but I had leaked a small amount of fluid when getting out of bed. The midwife told me to come in for monitoring, that I may be sent home again, but to bring my bags just in case.
We got organised pretty quickly (I was SO glad I’d written my “last minute things to pack” list! I couldn’t think straight so it was very helpful), then we were in the car and off before 8am. Alan and I joked the whole way there about how it was very laid-back, a very civilised time to go into labour... there was no traffic to contend with, and we’d just gotten up after a normal night’s sleep! I began leaking fluid like a bastard... VERY glad that I’d had the puppy training mat and towel on the car seat for the last few weeks! By the time we got to the hospital my pants were absolutely soaking, and I was feeling extremely crampy -- it didn’t even occur to me that these were contractions, as I wasn’t timing them or anything, it was more just a constant discomfort. We made our way inside, and I was so embarrassed about my wet pants, but fortunately being a Sunday the hospital was nice and quiet. We were met at the maternity ward by a nice midwife who ushered us into a monitoring room near the birth suites. She hooked me up to the CTG then left us alone for ages. My cramps/contractions were getting more intense, and I was really hoping she’d be back to finish assessing me soon! It was a pretty busy morning at the birth suites, after apparently nothing happening there all day Saturday, lol. She came back and gave me an internal, and was surprised to find that I was 5cm dilated. I told her that my ob had said I was 3cm on Friday, so I wasn’t shocked by it. ;) After a bit more faffing around, I ended up under the care of a different midwife, a boisterous and loud younger girl who was like the ultimate birthing cheerleader. She gave me a sheet to wrap around myself as I was pants-less, and got us to follow her to my birthing suite. She set up mats on the floor, and encouraged me to be as active as possible. She went and got us biscuits and sandwiches after we told her neither of us had had a chance to eat anything, but I was only able to nibble on about half a biscuit the whole time as I was too consumed by my contractions. She practically force-fed me orange juice just so I had some sugar in me. I spent most of my time on my knees hunched over a fit ball, and got through each contraction by blowing out every breath as hard as I could. The MW constantly complimented me on how well I was doing, but I told her that it was really just instinctive, which it was!
Eventually she encouraged me to go for a walk, so she grabbed her doppler and we headed out, first walking around the inside of the maternity ward, then we went outside (even though I forgot to put my thongs on!) and walked around the exterior of the hospital. Every time I stopped for a contraction, I grabbed whatever was nearest (signposts, pillars, fences, etc) and swayed my hips side to side, using a breathing visualisation where I was pretending my “blowing-out” breaths were blowing molecules or invisible particles off the surface of whatever I was leaning on. It sounds weird, but it was really effective! The MW kept checking baby’s HR, but there was absolutely no timing of contractions or measuring of my cervix, for the entire labour.. it was all very easy-going. The MW kept saying “this baby will be here by 11am”, and I hoped she was right!
I was relieved when we got back inside, as my contractions were really ramping up and I needed to just be in one spot and be “in the zone” as much as possible. I hunched over the fit ball again for a while, and banged together my stress balls during each contraction, still doing my strong “blowing out” breathing. The MW then got me to stand and lean against the bed to get some more gravity behind bubs. I got Alan to get my orange essential oil out so I had something pleasant-smelling to inhale. The MW put it in a cup with boiling water and got him to hold it in front of me. My contractions were so strong by this point that I was feeling the urge to push. The MW told me to “go with it” and push if I needed to. It wasn’t long after this that she wanted me to start pushing for real! She called in the ob who was on call.. unfortunately not my own ob, which I was a little sad about.
I asked if I could start by kneeling on the bed holding onto the back. I pushed in that position for a while, and wow, what an incredibly intense feeling that was! It felt almost good at first, but I was starting to struggle, so they eventually got me to change positions so I was lying on my side with one leg raised, bracing my feet against the MW and Alan. The ob then asked me to try lying on my back too... and then began the most draining and physically demanding experience of my life to date. For 1 hour 45 mins they let me push, changing positions periodically, even though they don’t usually let it go longer than an hour without intervention. But the baby’s head was RIGHT THERE and visible (“I can see dark hair!” said the MW at one stage, encouraging me along)... they even put my hand down there and got me to feel it... yup, felt like slimy hair, lol. But I pushed and pushed, and I thought I was going to explode from the exertion; it was SO frustrating. Baby was moving down, but very slowly. Alan later told me that he could see the MW and ob looking at each other, both obviously thinking “this isn’t going to work”, even though they kept shouting encouragement at me. When we reached 1 hour 45 mins, the ob gently but firmly told me that we had gone for too long, and that we needed to try an episiotomy and vacuum delivery (or “Kiwi” as they call it). So I was prepped for all that, and once everything was ready to go, our beautiful baby boy popped out in two or three pushes at 1:28pm! I let out a single sob of pure relief when I heard him wail as they brought him up onto my chest. “Whoa, what a whopper!” the MW said. It turns out that my bub that constantly measured every single scan on the 50th percentile was actually 4080g, or exactly 9lb! No wonder he didn’t come out so easily.
Alan cut the cord (we didn't get a photo though, which I was later quite disappointed over), and they delivered the placenta which was apparently huge, but I didn’t get to see it, which I’m also a bit bummed about. They weighed the baby, and he proceeded to pee all over the place during that, I think he managed to hit the MW, lol. Then they put a nappy on him and brought him over for a very prolonged period of skin-to-skin. I lay there trying very hard to enjoy my gorgeous baby while I endured the pain of being stitched up! The local anaesthetic wasn’t 100% effective, as it happens. Ouch. The MW expressed some colostrum from me to syringe-feed to our son, but he also did latch for a short while too when we were left alone for a bit. Eventually he was given to Alan for more skin-to-skin, while the MW grabbed me a change of clothes and some toiletries and took me into the bathroom, where she sat me down on a chair in the shower and washed my hair for me while I cleaned myself off. I felt so weak and shaky! When I came out, a bundled-up bub got handed to me before I was wheel-chaired up to my room on the ward. I got into bed and cuddled him close, tucked inside my t-shirt for more skin-to-skin. Bliss... which is more than can be said for the following days, but I’ll cover that in another post!
I've really enjoyed reading this again for the first time in months. Apart from the frustration of pushing for so long and not getting anywhere, I really had a wonderful birth and I can only hope the birth of any subsequent child is as brief and easy and positive as our son's was. :) I never 100% planned on birthing drug-free, I was just going to go with the flow, and because I was blessed with only a 6 hour labour beginning to end, I never felt the need to take or have anything. I don't even remember the pressure/pain being unbearable to be honest, just a bit intense. I guess everyone's experience and pain tolerances are different though.
Anyway, that's enough for today, but in the coming days I hope to remember to post about our awful time with breastfeeding (our son has been 100% formula fed for more than 3 months now), and our big move to England when he was only 3 months old!