YES, our little baby girl is finally here!
I spent the day following my second to last entry in what I can only think was a prolonged latent phase, seeing as I was contracting, but not dilating. I was allowed to go home At 7 that evening, after a day of climbing stairs, bouncing on the ball, going for walks, and generally tiring myself out.
I was really happy to go home, and I wish they’d allowed me to sooner. I put my children to bed, watched a bit of tv, then went off to bed at around 10pm. Except I only got to sleep for about 20 minutes before being woken up with much stronger contractions. I tried to sleep, but they woke me up with a start. You know like when you’re fast asleep and suddenly get woken and your heart races? Well like that with horrid contractions. Then was the, do I go back to hospital yet or not? dilemma. I waited until about midnight, when they were coming at regular intervals (10-14 mins) and getting stronger. Then decided it was time to go back.
We called MIL who came over straight away, then went out in the pouring rain and lovely cold air. When we arrived at the hospital, the woman who’d just come in as I’d left for home was in the delivery room, which is right next to the early labour room. That’s when I started to feel uncomfortable since she was making a LOT of noise. Not that it’s a bad thing, but it started coming home to me what I was in for again. Her baby was born and i had a bit of a weep. At least all the noise was right at the end, and the result was good. I put my lovely polka dot nightie back on and did a bit of leaning and swaying through contractions. I was having awful back pain through them and found if Y pushed on the base of my spine firmly through the contraction, it really helped.
It was 2am by now. When the midwife came to give me an internal, I was dreading her saying I was still at 1.5cm…She looked a little surprised and said, “oh! You’re about 6cm. We’d better move you to the delivery room too.” At LAST!!! So off I went, plopped myself up on the tatami bed with its bean bags, which were great to lean on.
Half an hour later, I’m not sure why, but they checked me again, and I was at 8cm. Despite contractions being painful, I was still able to get through using breathing, and Y and the student midwife were helping by massaging my back. I felt very in control about what I wanted this time and felt quite ok to ask for it. All of the midwives were surprised that I was so calm and laughing and joking in between. Oh I won’t be soon, I assured them.
Then something weird happened and my contractions stopped hurting. I mean at all. This sounds nice, but I was stuck at 8cm for a couple of hours. I appreciated the rest, because I was worn out, but things needed to get moving.
“Do you want me to tweak your nipples?” Miss N (the student midwife) said.
“Erm no,” I replied.
She obviously wanted to help me progress, but after all this pain and tiredness, I think I was ok with a bit of a break to be honest. I was sitting down on the bed, but not lying down, at this point. Finally I decided to stand up and lean on my husband, and it was then that gravity started to do its jobs.
Then the contractions came back with a vengeance, back to back. And hello transition. I remember feeling very shaky and tearful. I cried quite a bit. At one point I cried at the beginning of a contraction. That was weird because it was totally involuntary, but I went with it. I remember Y saying something about the contractions getting stronger and that it was a good sign and me thinking that there is no way this pain is going to get worse than this. It’s strange isn’t it? How pain is so indescribable and unimaginable. Words and percentages aren’t enough to convey it accurately.
But yes, it DID get worse. I found it hard to continue with my breathing and the back pain was worse. For some reason they were worried about my knees hurting. Yes, it was a bit uncomfortable because there was only a normal futon, not a mattress, but when I lay on my side, or stood up, it was horrible, and I couldn’t change positions once a contraction had begun, so I tried to stay like that, on my knees leaning over two bean bags on top of each other. To be honest, my knees were the least of my problems. I found it helpful to rest my hands on the wall at one point too, as that made me more upright. Through it all my back was in terrible pain.
They didn’t check me again, which was good because those internals were getting really painful. They told me it was ok to give a little push at the end of each contraction, which I found tricky, but think I managed a few times. Then suddenly there were lots of people around. I was facing the wall, so I couldn’t see anyone, which worked out ok by me. Y was sitting at the head of the bed with me and was really helpful. Pushing on my back was getting a bit less helpful, but squeezing his hand really helped, and him and Miss N breathing with me helped keep me somewhat focused, I think.
They asked me to widen my legs, and started laying sheets and things out, along with a thick padded sheet on the beanbags in front of me. They tied up the back of my nightie and gave me a cold pack to rest my head on between contractions. God that room was crazy hot. Now I believe either at this point, or a little before, Y turned on the video camera. I have yet to watch this back, and not sure if I’ll be able to, but he said there’s about an hour’s footage. Will be interesting to see how my memory compares with reality. There was a midwife pressing on the backs of my big toes to intensify the contractions, apparently. I didn’t really appreciate this, but I was too tired to argue.
Then my waters popped. Finally, I thought. Although I was also kind of nervous because I knew this part was going to hurt more. I’d stopped asking for drugs and saying I had changed my mind and was going home at this point, so I suppose I’d come to terms with the fact that it was down to me to get through this.
Then I got annoyed and told whatever midwife it was to
“get your hand out of my vagina!!”
“it’s not my hand, that’s your baby!” she replied.
So the doc told me it was ok to push, which was a big relief in many ways because it meant that I could get on with it. The contractions were excruciating. I forgot my breathing and I forgot even to focus inwards while pushing at first, but making sound seemed to help with the pain, so I kind of alternated. But nobody really instructed me on what to do. This was quite a refreshing change because it meant that I could just get on with it. I had my arms stretched down pushing into the bean bags with each contraction.
I turned to look at the midwives and asked where the baby’s head was. I really needed motivation at that point. She told me she could see the baby’s hair. I could definitely feel a lot more of the actual baby in this position than I ever did when lying on my back. I waited for the burning as the baby crowned but I never felt it. I just remember thinking that it hurt and that half of me wanted to stop pushing, and half of me wanted to get my baby out. It’s quite a brutal feeling, that you know it’s going to hurt but you can’t stop it. In between contractions I lay forward on the bean bags and rested my head on the cold pack, which was just what I needed. It was hard to tell when I was having a contraction, because the pain in my back was non-stop and seemed to overtake the pain in my stomach, so I kept asking the midwives if I was having a contraction so they could feel my tummy. I was wearing a wireless monitor too, so I know they could tell from that.
Apparently it took five pushes total for the baby to be born, and about half an hour for the second stage. Same as with L. After the head was born, they told me to pant, but try as I might, I just couldn’t do it. So baby kind of came rushing out and they passed her through my legs and suddenly there she was. I was pretty surprised that she was all out, but a little bewildered about what to do. I didn’t pick her up. They waited a little while to cut the cord, then Miss N was checking where to cut it with her superiors, then I was quite sure how I could sit down, etc. but finally I lay down and they put the baby on my chest and wrapped her in my towel.
I was so very relieved, but it took the doctor and Miss N what seemed like forever to deliver the placenta. They didn’t yank it out like my last midwife, but they massaged my stomach. I use the word “massage” very loosely here, because what I should really say is pummelled. About half an hour to an hour later, the placenta was finally delivered. I was left with a rather bruised stomach for a couple of days after.
When I gave birth to L in a semi-reclining position on the bed, I tore, and it was seriously THE worst part of the whole labour. This time, I had no idea of I’d torn or not. The position definitely helped so very much. They told me I’d torn a couple of centimetres and that had gone through a blood vessel at the same time. Strangely, I wasn’t concerned when the doctor asked advice from the midwives about how to repair it. I’d had one internal from this doctor and he isn’t the gentlest of OB doctors..so while they took the baby to be weighed and measured, he went about anaesthetising me (owwww!) and then stitching.
I later found out these we’re not dissolving stitches when I had my check up five days later and the doctor said, “right, let’s take out these stitches!” to which my response was, “…huh?!? Wha-?!?!??!”
So there you have it. My third birth story and definitely my most successful. Three weeks on, my gorgeous girl is growing well. We are both getting used to nursing and routines, but I can safely say that I am just as much in love with her as I am my other children.
But if I ever start talking about number four, please slap me…