Birth Story: Part One
This post has been a long time coming, but I’m hoping that in writing it all down it will help me in acknowledge what happened and then move on from it. I feel like I should preface this post for any expectant Mamas reading by saying that my birth experience with Evie was certainly not the norm. In spite of it, though, I would do any and all of it all over again, because the end result of having her here is worth every bit of it. : )
A good place to probably start is with my pregnancy and to be completely honest, I loved being pregnant! I had a very healthy pregnancy and loved feeling flutters and kicks from baby girl. However, towards the end, I began to have real anxiety and worry over the birth. I would talk to anyone and everyone who’d had a baby to ask them what their experience was like. Of course, everyone I spoke to had a different experience and ultimately it was for me to decide what I wanted to do when it came to giving birth.
I wrote up a birth plan and had decided to basically go with the flow. If contractions became too much, I would have an epidural, but I would try to go as long as I could without. I have no idea if anyone at the hospital actually read my plan when I went into labour, but I felt better for writing it!
About a week before Evie’s birth, I was having a quiet day at my parents house and as the day went on I wasn’t feeling Evie move or kick as often as she usually did. Then for a period, I didn’t feel her at all. I hate making a fuss, but my Mum encouraged me to go down to triage and just get checked out. When we got there, they hooked me up to a machine to monitor Evie’s heart rate while I was given a button to press when I felt her move. Thankfully, everything was deemed to be ok and it certainly eased my mind to know that. Because I was so close to my due date, the doctor gave me two options before I left the hospital. The first option was to be induced there and then. The logical side of my brain said, “No, the baby is healthy and there’s no need to induce labour. She’ll come when she’s ready.” The emotional side of my brain screamed, “No! I’m not ready! I don’t know how to give birth! This can’t happen right now!”. The second option was to go home, but return everyday for fetal monitoring until I went into spontaneous labour. Because the lack of movement had happened at such a late stage in the pregnancy, they wanted to keep a close eye on the baby until she arrived. I went for option two and explained that I didn’t want to force labour unless absolutely necessary (and admitted my emotional worries to my hubby on the car journey home!).
On a Sunday evening, five days after her due date, I began to feel what I can only describe as intermittent tightening around my bump. By about 11pm it had become more consistent and I told my husband that I thought something might be happening. We went to bed and as these tightenings felt stronger and stronger, I began to time them. Yup, these were definitely contractions!
I didn’t wake my hubby until probably 5am on Monday morning. I figured if I was in labour he should get as much sleep as he could at this point! By about 7am the contractions had become pretty strong and were definitely closer together, so we grabbed our bags and headed to the hospital. I had a TENS machine, which I was using at this point and I would highly recommend it for any expectant Mamas out there!! It was super helpful for me.
We arrived at the hospital and they hooked me up to the machine for fetal monitoring again, this time checking both baby’s heart rate and the contractions. The midwife explained that my contractions weren’t regular enough yet and that we should go home. Not what I wanted to hear! She did a cervical sweep to try and get things moving and suggested getting in the bath at home.
We went home and decided to give the bath a try. I was nervous about removing my trusty TENS machine, but the bath was actually super relaxing and really took the edge off of the contractions. I played music, a mixture of usual pop favourites and relaxation tracks, and I stayed in that bath for probably 3 hours! During that time, my hubby decided to get a bit of sleep in between checking on me, so I was surprised to hear this banging type noise from the bedrooms on the back of the house. Then it dawned on me- window cleaners. There I was, mid labour in the bath and the window cleaners had shown up for the first time at our new house! After explaining to the hubby, he went downstairs to explain that his wife was in labour in the bath and maybe could they skip our house this month!
The midwife had told us that the bath might slow contractions down a bit, which seemed to be the case, so once I was out they gradually started intensifying and becoming more regular. My lovely big sister popped in on me and encouraged me to go back to the hospital after she left. Off we went back to the hospital at about 2pm and by this point the contractions had really kicked up a notch. We arrived at triage to be told that they were full and that we should go to the waiting room where someone would be along to get us as soon as possible. So there I was, in a waiting room full of expectant mothers who were just at the hospital for their check ups, breathing and TENS machining my way through labour…not what I had imagined!
I was then glad to see a friendly face in the midwife we’d seen earlier that day. She got us into a side room to examine me and said that I was now at a point where I could be admitted to hospital. She did another sweep, which was probably the most uncomfortable I had been up to this point and I was transferred to a ward until a delivery suite became available.
While I was on the ward, contractions were intensifying and I just lost all concept of time. My Mum stopped by with some food for my hubby and ended up staying with us for a while. At this point, I’d been in labour for quite some time already and I was tired. I knew that I wouldn’t be able to continue at this pace and push out a baby without an epidural. Midwives were stopping by to check in on me but it felt like I’d been on this ward for a long time so my Mum sent the hubby to find out what was going on. Someone came by to say that as soon as a suite was open I’d be moved, and they now gave me some gas and air to help with the contractions.
I think it was about 9pm when I was finally taken up to the delivery suite. I kept telling anyone in a uniform that I wanted an epidural, worrying I would become too dilated and not be able to have one. I was fortunate that the anaesthetist was available as soon as I got to the delivery suite. My Mum stayed with us until the epidural had been given and went home to get some sleep, with the midwife guessing that baby would probably arrive around early morning.
Our midwife, Amy, was fantastic. The epidural was given around 10:30pm and Amy said she would examine me again around midnight. When midnight came, I was 6cm dilated and Amy decided it was time to break my waters (something which I had honestly forgotten about until she mentioned it!) and then examine me again in 4 hours. Around 1:30am, there was reduced variability in baby’s heart rate. Protocol is to give the baby 40 minutes to return to normal before taking any steps to intervene and Evie recovered in 35 minutes, so no action was needed at this time.
For the next few hours I managed to rest and my contractions had slowed down at this point (something that is quite common after an epidural). I was woken up however, by my husband. He had been sleeping on the floor next to my bed when he received a phone call from his brother in the States. In some cruel twist of timing, the call was to let us know that his father had passed suddenly. He stepped out to talk to his brother, while I spoke to Amy in shock. It didn’t seem real that this could be happening right now. When he came back in the room, he looked shell shocked, which is completely understandable. He remained unbelievably calm as he told me what had happened, before our focus had to shift back to the room and onto baby.
Continued in Birth Story: Part Two