Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Birth story of DD5

Unlike the other children’s births, Dd5’s starts pretty much all in one go. After my appointment the week before her birth on the Tuesday I had felt quick tempered and very pre-labour, but no contractions. We had gone to Karrinup shopping centre and had breakfast at Miss Mauds, the most expensive croissants we have ever had, and I had a go on one of those massage chairs that goes for 5 mins if you put $2 into it, and realized after about 4 minutes that it wasn’t recommended for pregnant women, but then we went home because I was too tired and lacking concentration.

I had a day perhaps 4 days before Dd was born where I felt like I was going to burst, and so I had a really deep bath, the first I have ever had while pregnant, it was wonderful for the whole 5 minutes before the phone rang and someone knocked on the door. I guess 4 in the afternoon is not the best time for a relaxing bath after all.

We went walking on the Thursday along the river, down in Applecross, for our traditional pre labour walk. It was a lovely walk; I will always remember it, it was one of those rare blissful times when everything seems perfect. It was blowing an absolute gale as you can see in pictures we took. I walked as fast as Dh would let me, to try and start the labour. When we got near the river shore I didn’t notice a little bank and fell down on my bottom on the sand and grass, luckily not too heavily. I wonder if that helped start things. I certainly felt lower heaviness after, or ligament strain perhaps.

The next day, on the Friday, I felt completely un-pregnant, no heaviness, no contractions, I felt the best I have ever felt so late in a pregnancy. I spoke to my sister that day and said to her that I wondered if it wasn’t the calm before the storm like happened with Ds4, as I had a day of complete quiet the day before he was born too.

On the Saturday it was back to the strong Braxton hicks I had been having infrequently in the few previous weeks. The strength of these contractions was such in the previous weeks mentioned that I had said to Dh that I was feeling scared and had decided to sleep through the whole thing and he could wake me when Dd was born. Actually the Saturday morning I had been woken by a strong contraction (something peculiar to this pregnancy was the strong Braxton hicks I had in the last few weeks even while sleeping) I had also had a dream that I had given birth by myself. She had the cord round her neck, which I calmly pulled over her head, then I lifted her up as she was born and saw her face very clearly, and it was just like Dd looked.

Dh called close to lunch to say he would be working two day shifts the next two days instead of night shifts (he was on his second day) I said that was okay but to tell his boss that he probably wouldn’t be coming in tomorrow. I don’t know that Dh either believed me or told his boss. I was more unsure than anything anyway. I went on having random strong contractions throughout the day. I had my pre labour shower for some reason, where I shaved my legs so I wouldn’t have prickly legs in hospital. I checked my bags in preparation. Dh came home at 6.30pm. He didn’t eat his dinner, and I said he would need it for strength half imagining that the contractions might actually be something, but he couldn’t because his own intuition was this was it too.

 I sat down to try and time the contractions. But they were all over the place. Sometime 20mins apart, sometimes 3 mins, sometimes 1 min apart or double peaked, but then 10 mins apart. Some strong some not. No show, no regular contractions. Once again (as with Dd3 and Ds4) I was confused, was this it or not. It was the strength of the contractions which led me to call the midwife. I told her how I had been going to the toilet all day on Wednesday (I think) and definitely on the Thursday, and this seemed to be the key thing that prompted her to say just come in and we’ll see if you are in labour or not. I hadn’t wanted to go in if it wasn’t really time because it would have meant disappointing the children; they were going to be coming along to watch Dd be born.  They were far too excited to be disappointed about going home, because it ‘wasn’t time yet’.

I called my mum and we met her there at about 10pm. She came running up to the car and said she’d just been told that hospital policy was no children on the ward at night time.  This was the first we’d heard of it. In spite of speaking to 4 midwifes previously none of them had told us this, and I don’t believe they knew it either.  (We had asked the midwife who took us on the ward tour, which is what lead us to choose this hospital.  At every midwife visit I either mentioned it or asked to reconfirm in some way.  I also told the midwife I had spoken to about coming in and she made no comment that they wouldn't be allowed.  I had been going to go to another hospital which absolutely allows children to be present, but decided in favor of this hospital instead because my mother worked there at the time and 'knew it was allowed' to bring children along.)

I was stunned, I wanted to go home and forget the whole thing. I had been planning this for so long, and then to be in labour and with the children at the hospital only to be told it all could not be was horrible. So we decided that the children would wait in the car until we found out whether this was going to be it or not. I felt pretty certain we would be going home because the contractions had almost disappeared.

 On the journey to the hospital I had had a total of about 4 contractions in the 25 minute it took to get to the hospital. So we waited about 1/2 an hour for the midwife to come and do an internal. Nothing much happened in that time. The midwife and a head nurse came in to talk about the children and I explained that I was very upset and that I was going to go to the previous hospital I'd had the others at if they didn’t let the children stay. But I felt sure we would be going home and I would then change over to that hospital on the morrow.

 The midwife did the internal at 11pm and while she told me she couldn't make any measurement my charts had 2cm dialated written on them. I started having contractions that made me think this could very well be going to happen after all. I had another discussion with the head nurse and she said that chidren shouldn’t watch their mum giving birth anyway as it was too scary for them. Well I would have had something to say about that but I knew the situation had tipped in favour of her and hospital policy, so I demanded they see what was possible because I didn’t want the children to go home.

 So off she went and spoke to ‘someone’ who said the children could stay in the room (The suite consisted of 2 rooms, a little lounge and the labour room which could be separated by a curtain.) but could not watch the birth, and that just had to be enough.

 Even though I was sad I knew I had to forget all that and concentrate on birthing Dd. So we went out to bring the children in. Initially we waited in the (communal) lounge for a suite to be available. I walked about the room through contractions and Ds4 clung behind me as I went. Then we were taken into the labour suite.

 The children lay down on the sofa’s in their sleeping bags which we had prepared and went to sleep.
I went into the birthing room and walked about, not really quite sure what to do as things were quite slow, so I asked for a birthing ball which the midwife brought in. I sat down on it and started ‘breathing’ through contractions. I got up and rubbed some birthing massage oil onto my tummy and back and then walked about the room. My mum was there and I chatted a little to her in between contractions and then would walk around silently through contractions. They were getting stronger and more regular now. There was medical equipment all over the bed and I became puzzled as I now felt I’d like to start kneeling on the bed. So I asked my mum to get everything off.

 Once I got on the bed the contractions started to get more serious. The midwife had returned and I told her. But she was very busy with paperwork. I told her to wake Dh now, and this was about ½ an hour before the birth. I said it wouldn’t be long now but she didn’t take me very seriously.

 Then I could feel the head coming down and I knew the waters were going to burst with the next push or so and so I looked up and said to her (the midwife) ‘get your gloves on!’ and my waters burst as I said it.
I kept my whole body relaxed and let the pushing happen by itself mostly.

 (I was given a clear understanding in these moments as she was born, with a clarity I had not had before in my life of the surrender, the total surrender, that is the faith that is needed to receive the  fulness of His grace in our lives.  The total offering of self amidst the crosses we endure.   Not to fight against them, but allow God to work in us, through us.  How in doing this, going through the labour which is this life, with God as our strength, we will one day be brought to everlasting happiness.  
As I gave birth to my little darling there was a smile on my face and joy in my heart. )

4 Minutes later Dd was born at 1.15am, weighing 3.310kg and 49cm's long. I gave birth to her in the same way as Ds4, kneeling leaning over the top of the bed. I looked back at her straight away, asking if she was okay. I just couldn’t hold her quickly enough. Her cord was very short and while she was passed to me through my legs I couldn’t bring her up to my chest to hug. So I held her cradled in my hands while they cut the cord. Then I was able to hold her properly. I tried to nurse her straight away which she did as though hungry after all that work.

Ds2 was the first to wake. When they took her away from me so I could have my stitches she started crying, she was enjoying that long feed, and this woke him up. I think he was so excited to see her that her cries had filtered down into his sleep and woken him. He has been devoted to her ever since, I have never seen such affection from brother to sister, he was smitten. We did wake Dd1 straight after Dd was born but she was so tired that I think she felt like she was dreaming. We let her go back to sleep and she woke later after Ds2.

The children really enjoyed their outing. It was like camping at the hospital.  Even though they didn't see the birth they loved been that close to her when she was born.
My big regret however was that we didn’t film Dd and everyone after she was born. This really weighed heavily on my heart. It had been forgotten in all the drama, and there were also no pictures of me straight after the birth (I had really wanted a picture of me looking at her for the first time). I had prepared everything but in spite of my best efforts it wasn’t done. It was one of the most beautiful moments of my life.
I love you my dear baby!

And here is Dd1's version of Dd5's birth

On the day that Dd was born…….In the evening
First Mama got me dressed. She dressed me because baby could be born that night. Mama brushed my hair and plaited it. Then Mama said go to sleep otherwise you will not be able to watch baby’s birth. Db1 and I did not go to sleep; we only talked about our big moth. Then all of a sudden Mum said ‘time to go’.
 I thought ‘huh?’ Because I thought ‘so soon?’ I had thought it would be in the middle of the night and I hadn’t even got to sleep.

 Then we got our shoes on and jackets and then we got into the van to go to the hospital. We put food, sleeping bags, pillows, baby stuff and luggage into bags and put them in the car. When we got to the hospital Pa said I’ll stay here with the children. Then Grandma came running up to the car and said that Papa has to go with mum. And then Grandma showed us what she had got for us. Grandma had got coloring books and one sticker book, which was for me.  Then Mama and Papa came back, Mama said we cannot watch the birth at night and I said ‘why’? Mama said ‘because they will not let you’, ‘Only at day’. I felt sad because I’ve never watched birth and this could be the last one. Mama and Papa seemed not happy too. I kept on asking why? Then I thought I will just dream of 'Homeward Bound' (A movie about two dogs and a cat trying to get back home) to make me happy.

At first we sat in the lounge room. Mama was walking in circles in the middle of the lounge room. Db2 followed Mama. Then the lady came and asked if Mama liked to go to the room Mama was going to have the baby in. Then after a few minutes the lady came back and said would you like to move to the other room. Papa said ‘I’ll just check first’. And then Pa came back and said ‘come on everybody let’s move’.

It was a big room. The big room had a small kitchen, an outside area, a birthing room, and a lounge room. It was only a few minutes and then I said ‘I’m thirsty’. Then Grandma said ‘do you have any drinks in the bag’ and then I said ‘I will have the chocolate drinks’. Db1 and I were the only ones awake when I asked that question.

(My youngest sister and brother) were sleeping, but Db1 and I were awake because he and I said we were best buddies. We finished our chocolate drinks when he said, ‘I’m going to play some of my transformer games’. And then he said ‘get away from this place Megatron’. Then I said its birthing time not playing time. I played copycat with him but he did not like that game. I played the game so that he would stop his Transformer game, and then he said ‘I will rule this place Optimus Prime’.

Papa came back and said ‘go to sleep’ and we did. I had a dream our dog said ‘can I go to the hospital with you’ and I said ‘disguise yourself as a human then’.

Later I woke up and heard crying, I looked at Papa’s face, Papa was very happy. I walked to Papa and Papa said ‘here is your new baby sister’.

She looked really small, but not too small. I said ‘can I hold her Pa’ and Pa said ‘wait’. I said ‘can I go into that room’ and Pa said ‘wait’. I really didn’t like the waiting part, because I really did want to have a hold and look at her properly. Then I said again ‘can I hold baby’, and Pa said ‘don’t wake (your younger sister and brother up), but you can wake up Db1’.

All I can remember is baby wasn’t in clothes. We saw Mama when she had finished her shower. Mama looked very happy.
(Later the midwife showed them the placenta which they found fascinating)

The white stuff on her mouth here is salt from the nasal  drops she needed to clear a blocked nose the first night.

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