With just 11 weeks to go till the due date of baby Boyo, I’ve been reflecting on my previous birth experience with Babe (now two and a half) and thinking forward towards my next natural birth experience. Being me, I want to do it even better this time around…details to cover another day. But today I’m going to share with you my birth story that casts back to December 2008.
There is something about bringing a baby into the world, how ever you do it, that earns you some respect. The other week my optician told me this story of when he was about eight, and the sudden realisation that he would never have to give birth – he was over the moon, never more glad to be the one planting the seed over growing it. That moment seems to stick very clearly in his mind, but there is part of me that wanted to share with him that it is the most amazing thing to be able to do – yes painful, but still the best day of my life.
Once I’d gone through labor and successfully naturally brought my little girl into the world over two and a half years ago I felt that I have deservedly earned my way into ‘the club’ and had gained a supreme amount of respect from my awe-struck husband (and I in return had been pleasantly surprised by his amazing part in the labor process too). I was totally impressed by what my body was capable of and my strength of mind (I thought I had it in me, but wasn’t totally sure).
Water birth but not quite
I wanted a water birth, for many reasons. Primarily because it is a more gentle way of bringing your little one into the world. Transition from the peacefulness of the womb, to water and then to nursing in mama’s arms. Not straight out into the bright lights of a hospital room.
That part of the plan didn’t work out because Babe was in an odd position, they seemed to think the shoulder was twisted a bit, so we need to try other options and positions ie sitting on the commode (lovely I know, not the serene vision of labor I had in mind). But I got to spend a good couple of hours in the pool during the final part of my first stage of labor, through transition and into the early stages of the second part of labor. It was a great distraction and definitely a good pain reliever.
If you had asked me before being pregnant if I wanted to labor without drugs I would have said…
No way, I want all the drugs they can give me!
I thought all people who embarked on labor without drugs were out of their mind, on some masochistic trip.
But then I started reading and realised that a drugged up labor is not all it’s cracked up to be. So I decided on a natural birth, except for gas and air. And as it happened I had a great time on gas and air, should have some of that stuff at home. I even had a bit too much at one point and took myself on one amazing oxygen deprived elated trip, thinking delusionally that I had given birth to Babe. Instead I had passed something else that daddy had to scoop out the pool with a net (I am saying no more).
It was not my precious child…I had to do another four and a half hours of pushing for that. Yes it was a very long second stage of labor and I was so lucky to have a totaly awesome midwife that didn’t ship me off to theatre after an hour. Even when Babe’s heart beat began to slow down, not to a risky level (but enough to concern hubby), we carried on.
So this is how the story goes
At a week overdue my midwife came by my house and gave me a sweep (not the supermarket kind with Dale Winton, the membrane parting thing, I’m not going into the details here as I’m trying to stay away from the gory details stuff). That was a Friday, come the Sunday morning I was unsure if my waters had broken, no big flooding but signs, so we trundled off to the hospital. The doctor concluded that he thought my hind waters had broken. This was the first I’d heard of hind waters, I thought there was one big bag of water and that was that. With that I was informed that if I didn’t go into labor over the next 24 hours I was going to need to be induced….argh induced.
I did not want to be induced
Apart from the horrible sudden arrival of painful labor, it meant that I would need to be plugged up to monitoring equipment. Electricity and water don’t mix, so this was going to put an end to my chances of a water birth. So at midday we went home and I thought positive labor thoughts…ie come on you little sod, you need to start making your way now or they are going to evict you. Baby you have been evicted, please leave the big mama house.
Labour starts at 3pm
I was on the phone to my friend and suspected that contractions may have started, these were more intense than the Braxton Hicks I’d been experiencing to date. By 6pm I was fairly confident that this was early labor – yay! By 9pm I was totally sure this was labor – double yay, bring it on. No pain no gain! Daddy went off to bed at about 10.30pm and I paced around the living room trying furiously to finish off the baby jumper I was knitting.
By around midnight I called the hospital and they explained that I should try to lie down and get some rest. I didn’t want rest, I wanted to walk this baby out of me. But they warned me it could be a long time yet, so I heeded their advice. But lying down the contractions seemed so much more painful and less frequent, and I didn’t want them to slow down, I wanted them to speed up. For the next few hours I swapped between lying down and walking around trying to conserve my energy – I had no idea what a marathon was in store for me.
At around 2am/3am I decided to have a bath. I’d been holding this back until I really needed it – trying to pace myself through the pain relieving options so I didn’t end up in the early stages of labor insisting on an epidural. Around this time daddy got up and started timing and logging the contractions. In his true style these were timed precisely on his phone and logged on an Excel spreadsheet.
So I’d done the bath option, finished the jumper and decided it was time to move onto the next level of pain relief – the TENS machine. This was around 4am/5am. After the sticking and testing was complete and I was in a better pain relieved place I called the hospital again. Much to my joy they said now was the time to come in.
Off to the hospital we go
We got there about 6am, although its only about 10 minutes away it took me a while to get myself together and actually maneuvered into the car. Things weren’t progressing quickly so I lay on a bed waiting for time to pass listening to the radio – this was to be a long four hours of waiting. Finally at 10am they said they would break my waters, (the main one this time) and recommended I go and walk around to get labor going, or I might need to be induced. The threat of eviction seemed to do it every time. While hanging out by the cafe BIG contractions started and I hobbled back with daddy back to the labor ward. Once there I was much relieved to find out the single birth pool and room was available and I was getting it. I wanted to get in that pool NOW. So the midwife filled the pool and daddy put on some music from my choice collection. It was Adele’s first album and it turned out that album would run on loop for the whole day. Listening to that CD is now always very special for me.
At noon the main midwife was called back from her lunch early as the lesser experienced midwife thought things were escalating and the baby was on its way. I had to endure a good four and a half hours plus of full on pushing until she appeared at 5.04pm. In the end I gave birth on a bed on my back. Not at all want I had envisioned and hoped for, but I’d not had any intervention so that was good enough for me.
Clear the room it’s our time
I’d made this clear in my birthplan that after the basics had been done, cord cut, placenta delivered etc, I wanted everyone to leave the room so daddy, mummy and baby could have some quiet time together. Then I had the dreaded hour of stitches, the less said about that the better. It’s just not gracious and altogether horrible. But I had my baby and that’s all that mattered.
Yes labor was the most painful thing I’ve ever had to endure, but at the same time it’s one of the most wonderful natural and beautiful things, definitely the best day of my life.
Finally I left hospital the next morning – and so the story of Babe begins.
- You crazy woman looking forward to labour the natural birth way (nurturingcareermama.wordpress.com)