This post will be lengthy – I want to share my whole experience, so feel free to skip it if you like!
Our little girl was due on 15th November, but as per my last post that date came and went with no sign of impending labour. I had an appointment with my midwife Marilyn on the 16th, who suggested making a time with my OBGYN to discuss induction. I had that appointment on the 19th, and he was willing to induce me the next day. I said I’d actually prefer to wait it out a little longer, since I’d only be 5 days over my due date at that point which I didn’t think was allowing enough time for baby to make her own way out, plus I didn’t like the idea of induction which can lead to a cascade of interference, and all I wanted out of my birth experience at this point was to be able to do it on my own if I could. So we agreed the following Monday (26th) would be induction day, giving our little girl a total of 11 days past my due date to make her own way.
We had Jonah’s (our nephew) birthday party on the 24th – that morning I’d woken up with some small pains but nothing dramatic, but I did lose my mucus plug. Upon calling the maternity ward to let them know, they said without contractions or broken waters, labour could be within the next 24 hours or within the next 2 weeks. So we went along to Jonah’s party and I didn’t have any further signs of anything happening until the next morning, where I started having very mild contractions about 10 minutes apart. After a shower, the contractions eased to about 15 minutes apart, then 30 minutes apart, then disappeared almost completely.
At 4:30 Monday morning (induction day), I woke up very uncomfortable and couldn’t get back to sleep, so I got up and went to sit in the loungeroom. Almost immediately, I had some relatively strong contractions. The first two or three were about 7 minutes apart, followed by the next two or three being 15 minutes apart, but then they started hitting hard between 2-5 minutes apart. I woke up Michael and asked him to come sit with me in the lounge as I was feeling a bit anxious, but I didn’t even get to sitting down before the contractions hit harder.
I called the ward, where luckily Marilyn was on duty and answered. I told her the details and she said she’d get things ready for us. Michael called my mum (who was my second support person and our taxi!) and she came to get us. On the half-hour drive to the hospital, my contractions regulated out to about 4-5 minutes apart, with an occasional “aftershock” contraction between the bigger ones.
We arrived at the hospital at about 6:30am (the exact time I’m not sure of but I’m guessing it was about then!) and Marilyn hooked me up to the CTG machine to measure how far apart my contractions were and make sure baby wasn’t in any distress. Everything was good, the CTG confirmed my contractions were about 4 minutes apart, so Marilyn examined me to find I was 5 centimetres dilated. This made me super happy because I knew then that I was halfway there already, and so far I’d done it all by myself. By this point it was about 7:15am (judging from my Facebook updates!), meaning if I hadn’t gone into labour myself, I would have been coming into hospital for induction in 45 minutes’ time! So thankfully, our girl was helping us out and saving me the worry and stress of induction.
I stood around and swayed, rocked, and breathed my way through my contractions. They gradually got stronger and stronger. Around 8am I got into the birthing tub, which initially relaxed me and helped ease the pain of the contractions, but as they got stronger, the water didn’t really help any. At this point I asked for some pain relief, so we started with gas & air, which didn’t really help the pain but it did help me catch my breath and take deeper breaths. Marilyn examined me again and found I was 8-9 centimetres, and told me if I was going to have baby in the tub then they’d need to up the temperature of the bath water to 37 degrees. I was already feeling hot and almost a little sick so I didn’t want the temperature increased – Marilyn suggested I get up and try to empty my bladder, to help make a bit more room for bub, but as I started to get up, the contractions just hit me one after the other and I could barely get up out the tub. I squatted back down in the tub before getting out and Marilyn put the back of the birthing bed up so I could kneel on the bed and face the wall behind, slinging my arms over the back. This was a relatively comfortable position and let gravity help the process along too.
A few more minutes in this position with gas & air, and I found myself needing to push. Marilyn examined me one more time and said we’re ready to get this baby out, I was a full 10 centimetres dilated and ready to rock’n'roll! I took a few deep breaths on the gas & air and pushed with all my might – it was a very strange feeling: you want to push with the contraction (and the pushing eases the pain of the contraction), but the pain “downstairs” is pretty intense so you’re kind of between a rock and a hard place.
I don’t remember much else at this point except pushing at least two big pushes with every contraction – and I do recall between contractions feeling like I’d gone two steps forward, one step back because I could feel baby’s head coming through, but then retract back in.
Finally, when my Marilyn said, “Let’s get this baby out, Terri! You can do it! I can see her head!”, I knew I had to do this. I bore down and pushed with all my might, and with some pretty excruciating pain, her head popped out. I remember screaming “Ow ow ow ow, it hurts, it hurts!”, and Michael told me a few hours later that this was the only point that he was really worried and scared for me, but luckily my mum was there to give him a reassuring look.
With my next contraction, out came the rest of her (another very strange feeling – it felt like my insides fell out!) and Marilyn (after initially checking her over and cleaning her off just a little) told me to sit up and passed our baby girl between my legs. When I saw her, I just couldn’t believe it – a little person lay on the bed before me! I immediately picked her up and held her close to my chest, just exclaiming “Oh my god! Oh my god!” over and over again (I remember looking at her hands and thinking "Fingernails! She has fingernails! I hadn't even thought about fingernails!"). Michael cried (as I expected him to!), and I don’t think I even looked at my mum at all; it was all about our little girl. At about this point, there was a knock at the door – my dad and my nan had arrived – so we just asked them to wait about 10 minutes while we got sorted!
I had requested that the cord be allowed to stop pulsating before clamping and cutting so about 5 minutes after her birth, Michael cut the cord. I was given the injection to help birth the placenta (I had to help by pushing a little as the cord was apparently quite thin), and then handed baby over to my hubby to hold while I turned around and Marilyn and another midwife (who I didn’t even know was there for the last part of my labour!) cleaned me and the bed up so I could sit down and have skin-to-skin with baby.
Once I was all covered up, my dad and nan came in. They couldn’t believe that as they’d walked through the front door, their granddaughter and great-granddaughter had been born. Baby latched on to my breast within about 15-20 minutes of being born – this was an amazing bonding experience that I would not have changed for the world.
Photos were taken, and she was taken off and weighed, measured, cleaned up and dressed. I was allowed to get up and go to have a shower, then we were walked down to the ward where I would stay for the next couple of days. We came home on Wednesday 28th November
26th November 2012
Time: 10:33am (6 hour labour!)
Weight: 7lb 9oz
26th November 2012
Time: 10:33am (6 hour labour!)
Weight: 7lb 9oz
Thank you to everyone for their well wishes, congratulations, support and blessings – we are over the moon to have our own little bundle of joy!