Not to be read by those who don’t want an honest birth account!!
21st June, 2008
I woke up with a contraction again, and the sound of really heavy rain outside. The contraction felt the same as one that I’d had the night before that had just died down, so I wasn’t imagining that I was really in labour at this point. However, whereas the night before I just went back to sleep, this time I decided to get up. Thinking that there was a possibility that this time it was the real thing, I started preparing stuff for Hannah’s week at nursery. They had asked me to sew a name label on her pillow (one of the other children also has a Winnie the Pooh pillow…), so I decided to do that and see where the contractions went. I turned the p.c. on and found Joanne was online, so we chatted for a while while I was sewing. I found the sewing strangely calming.
After who knows how long, and thinking that the contractions may be getting a bit stronger, I decided to take a shower. When I was in hospital having Hannah, I didn’t get to have a shower for about 3 days total, which was really awful. They make you wait a day after you have given birth before they will let you loose in the shower. So showered, I ate a croissant and then woke Yusuke up. Still deliberating about whether to go to the hospital or not, Yusuke called his sister and she made her way over here.
We left for the hospital. On the way, Yusuke decided that he needed the loo, so he stopped off at a convenience store and left me in the car. At that time in the morning, there were only sleazy men around, so I locked all the doors and just sat there calmly contracting. Afraid that I wouldn’t get any food at the hospital, I got Yusuke to get me some food and drink.
We arrived at the hospital and were taken into the LDR (labour and delivery room). The midwife examined me. When I had gone for my regular appointment the day before, the doc. had told me I was only 2cm. dilated. Fully expecting the midwife to say, “yup, only 2cm., what are you doing here??”, I was quite surprised when she said that I was about 5cm. I have to say, the relief that I was finally in labour after so many false alarms was huge. They put a monitor on me, and for this they allowed me to sit on the sofa, which was good, because they usually make you lie down at this point..for 30 minutes..
They brought breakfast for me – yay! I was starving at this point. I thought I would be feeling sick by now, but no, I REALLY wanted to eat. So I was glad that it was a “western-style breakfast” day and not fish and other things with eyes. There was bacon, egg, bread rolls, salad and juice – although eating a fried egg with chopsticks was very difficult. After breakfast I decided I wanted to get out of the room, so we went for a walk to look at the newborns. I had thought this was a good idea, and probably in terms of the labour progressing, it was, but I wasn’t happy having a big contraction where there were quite a few “normal” people walking about. So we went back to the LDR.
My doctor came and examined me. He said I was 5-6cm. dilated and my cervix was well effaced. I remember thinking that it had taken a long time to open a centimetre, but was not really having trouble managing the pain, so didn’t get stressed about it.
My contractions started getting more noticeably stronger and closer together. They were lasting about a minute, although still bearable. At this point, they made me wear the silly pants (with velcro at the crotch) and a huge pad in case my waters broke. I found this quite silly, because if this time were to be anything like when I had Hannah (think Niagara falls), a pad wasn’t going to help much. Now my contractions were a bit odd. Started, and then got less painful, and then rose up again. Bit like a revving engine. I could hear the woman next door moaning, and the midwives telling her to push, not to push, how to breathe, etc. I remember wondering why she was making so much noise.
My contractions were getting stronger still, but still only every 4-5 minutes. The midwife came in periodically with a doppler to check the baby’s heartbeat. After she had checked it this time, another contraction came – a really big one. She put her hand on my stomach and tried to teach me how to breathe. I remember thinking “get your hands off me and leave me alone!” They had brought the beanbag for me and I had put it up on the bed. I found standing and leaning on it when I was contracting, and having Yusuke rub my back was quite helpful, but it was getting harder to relax during contraction peaks.
I didn’t make any notes from the above until noon, but I remember crying and feeling better for it, having a contraction everytime I went to the loo and finding it hard to cope. I had given up on standing during a contraction now, as it was too painful. Instead, I was kneeling on the sofa and hugging onto the arm.
My notes read: “no more, no more, no more. 8cm.?? Pah!”
They brought me lunch while I was having a contraction. I couldn’t talk at this point during contractions, which were every minute or two. Yusuke told them I didn’t want lunch so they started to take it away, but as the contraction died down, I said that I wanted the food!! As soon as they brought it back, another contraction came. At this point I decided that it was time to get the baby out. They had kept saying, “call us when you can’t bear the pain anymore” and I wondered why?? It’s not as if they were going to give me any pain relief, or make it go away. Then they started saying, “call us when you feel pressure”, but I didn’t really know whether I felt pressure or not. I think I felt a little, but I can’t really remember. I just remember telling Yusuke to get the midwife because I thought it was time to push.
I got onto the bed (I decided that I didn’t want to give birth leaning over the beanbag as I had previously asked for, so I was in a semi-reclining position). The midwife checked me and said I was about 9cm. dilated. They pushed the bottom half of the bed in and put my feet in the stirrups. Well, not really stirrups, just push boards if you have to give them a name. Well I felt they were too far away. My legs wanted to be more bent up. And I also felt as if I was lying too far back. It all seemed to be going wrong. I said that I was worried that my waters hadn’t broken yet, and the midwives said that after my waters broke that things would start happening very quickly. About ten seconds after this conversation, my waters broke all over the place and the two midwives started running around like headless chickens trying to stuff towels underneath me. They put the stupid sheet with a hole in it on top of me and I just kept thinking
, “God damn it, I have these stupid crotchless pants on still (one of the things that I said I DIDN’T want, on my birth plan). I remember telling Yusuke to tell the midwife that I wanted her to apply some counter-pressure, which I think she did, but again, can’t remember!
At this point, of course it all gets a bit blurry. I left it too long to write down and the wonderful forgetting hormone has well and truly kicked in. But I will try my best. I remember being in great pain, and a bit unhappy with the position I was in. I was very very hot. Yusuke was standing to the right of me with a fan, and it was his job to waft the fan at my face. When he was trying to translate something for me, he stopped waving the fan, and I shouted : “Yusuke! I’M HOT!!”, after which he waved the fan in my face like a madman. This made my doctor laugh – yes, he had come back in at some point, but the midwives were very much in charge. While I pushed, I was closing my eyes, and the midwife told me to open them but I didn’t want to open them because I felt I couldn’t concentrate. Plus I didn’t want to see them standing there. There were three midwives and my doctor there at this point. I tried to remember my hypnotherapy and to relax, but it was impossible. And then, annoyance of annoyance, they said they were going to put the I.V. in my arm. I had argued about this beforehand, but they like to put the I.V. in to transfer liquid and to have an I.V. in place in case they have to do any surgery afterwards. The midwife told me to clench my fist, but I found I couldn’t physically do it.
While I was pushing, I was holding on so tightly to the bars at the side of the bed that the I.V. ripped out a bit and there was blood pouring out, but I have no recollection of this at all. I was far more concerned with the matter in hand. What a stupid idea to have the I.V. there in the first place!!
(Too much information section follows)
They started saying that it looked as if there was going to be a tear, and I heard Yusuke saying that I didn’t want an episiotomy. I remember thinking that they could do what they wanted if it meant that the baby was going to get out faster, but didn’t say anything because another contraction came. Doc. said he would prefer to cut if it was going to be a third degree tear, but said it would be ok if I didn’t push too strongly, so I tried to be a bit calmer. I remember reading that some people say the contractions in the second stage feel more controlled, but I didn’t think so.
At some point, they started saying that they could see the head, but I didn’t believe them because I couldn’t feel it. They told me to lift my head forward when I pushed, but I didn’t have the strength, so I got Yusuke to do it for me.
My position on the bed was rubbish. They said I was sitting on my pelvis, so kept trying to lie me down, but I just kept shouting, no, this is no good! I couldn’t seem to get into the right position at all. They tried to remind me what they had said in the sophrology class, that I shouldn’t push until right at the end of my out breath, but I couldn’t get my head around that one.
After wondering why the women next door were making so much noise, I remember almost screaming at some points. They said, “it’s better for the baby if you don’t make too much noise”..it may sound terrible, but I didn’t really have that at the forefront of my mind at that time. I just wanted to get the baby out!
I can’t remember how many times I pushed, but I remember thinking it was taking what seemed like forever. When the baby’s head was almost out, I felt the midwife levering it (arghh, that was painful!). She was apparently saying that she couldn’t get it out. And it was around then that I felt a hot searing pain (which I accompanied with a shout)- I suppose that’s when the tear happened. I hadn’t imagined that I would feel the pain all around, and it really felt that the tear had been at the front rather than the back, which was a bit scary!
Eventually, baby was out, and instead of feeling immense relief, like I thought I would have, I just remember thinking that I wish it would all just stop! Baby was delivered onto my chest, where they sucked the gunk out of his nose, and then he cried for ages! At this point, I was quite shaky. He was born at 1:11p.m., which seemed weird to me as I had always imagined him being born at night time for some reason.
The midwife “massaged” my stomach to try to get the placenta to come out, which was quite painful, and then despite having written it as a no-no on my birth plan, she started pulling at the umbilical cord to get my placenta out. This was VERY painful! After the placenta was finally out – took a while despite the pulling – the doc. started stitching me up. I had torn about an inch and a half. He gave me anaesthetic by about 10 needles – which also killed! Then stitched, yep, more pain! I remember wishing they would hurry up and get it over with. I just wanted to be left alone.
After this time, they put baby on the scales, measured him, checked him over, etc., and then put some clothes on him. I was shaking really badly now all over. They finally pulled the end of the bed back up and put an ice pack in my silly pants (to shrink the womb), and a cushion under my knees – which felt like heaven! I was in the LDR for about another 3 or 4 hours where I “fed” Luka a little bit and Yusuke and I just rested for a while. They brought me the lunch that I couldn’t eat earlier, which I was so ready for. It was the best meal I had ever had!
They told me they would take the I.V. out and I could go back to my room when I could wee by myself, which I thought was a bit horrible. The midwife went to the loo with me (nice), and I accidentally pressed one of the washerette buttons on the side (bidet), and frantically pressed stop about a hundred times. Even the thought of it still makes me cringe! But I couldn’t have gone without her. I couldn’t even pull my own silly pants up!
I went up to my room after that, and finally was left alone! Although about an hour later, Yusuke’s Mum and sister brought Hannah. I didn’t get any sleep until about 10p.m…
I had requested to take Luka with me from the LDR this time, but later on, he was throwing up, and pooing, and generally being a bit of a worry so I couldn’t get any rest. I decided to take him down to the nursery and let them take care of him. They said they would call me when he needed feeding. So although I was having to go downstairs every three hours or so, I did sleep well in between. I had taken a large supply of paracetamol with me, as last time, I remember them being reluctant to give me any pain killers for the afterpains, and then charging me loads for them! They had given me medication to take to help my womb shrink. I took one, which left me in absolute AGONY (even with the paracetamol), so I hid them in my bag and didn’t take anymore.
I don’t know what it is here with pain..People are expected to be totally selfless when it comes to childbirth and afterwards. I personally think that after pregnancy and giving birth, Mum deserves a bit of a break.
So, all in all, everything went well. Recovery was much faster,
thanks to the natural tear rather than the episiotomy, and to the lack of drugs, I imagine. I am of course speaking more than a month after the event, so my memories are very hazy. I had more than a few tearful moments in the hospital when I thought back to the birth. I had been a bit embarrassed to be so vocal and irritated during the birth. I had thought I would be a lot more controlled, and said so to one of the midwives, who said that in some cultures, letting out sound is said to be a good release, and regarding the pain, she said, “baby’s head is big, it’s bound to hurt”.