35 wks 3 days - Had 8 or so hours of contractions, 20-30 minutes apart. Went away after I rested. I became a bit anxious though as it was still 2 weeks before I'd be allowed to go to the Family Birthing Centre.
5 th July
37/4 - We went for a walk with my mum by Lake Joondalup. My traditional 'bring on labour' walk. I was very sore that night so Dh gave me a massage which worked well, the worst of my back pain was gone. I had very bad reflux late in this pregnancy (I later read that dehydration can be a factor with reflux). Lots of pain in my hips and feeling 'bruised' internally.
6 th July
Nothing happens this day. I feel tremendously bored. I wonder if once again, as with Ds4 and Dd5 if this could be the 'calm before the storm'. Turns out I'm right.
7 th July
Ds's birth blanket arrives. I'm pleased because this is the final item on my list, and something I dearly want for the birth. ( I had always had my babies wrapped in hospital blankets. I wanted this baby to be wrapped in something of 'ours' from the first). I wash it, dry it, and feel ready.
In the morning I also bake 50+ peanut biscuits. I feel I need to have them ready to take to the hospital. I also change my bed-sheets so I either have a clean place in case of a home-birth, or a clean bed to come back to when coming back from the hospital.
I read a lot of birth stories online. I notice I'm having contractions that feel like my waters might break. Later I realise it's not because my waters will break but because these are dilating contractions. I get bored with reading birth stories after a while, but I think this was because it was registering somewhere in my mind that my own babies birth story was beginning. There were other things to do!
I called my friend who we had chosen to come to the birth to help, just to get in touch. It was about 6pm and dinner was almost ready. I told her that I was having contractions but hadn't started timing them yet as I wasn't yet sure if it was for real or not, with all the Braxton Hicks I'd been having for weeks, with one clear possible warm up, and another that may have been. I couldn't be bothered being bothered until they got my attention more. I'd wait until I had time after dinner to start timing them if I did I said. But I also said I'd more likely be calling back the next week when I was 39 weeks.
Part of me felt labour could be soon. Another thought I'd never given birth so early before, so I probably wouldn't now. Dd5, the earliest was 38/5, Ds4 39/2. We joked that if it was tonight it would be a long time. I said if it was to be tonight that he'd probably be born at 1-2am. And I think that if I'd had a home-birth that I probably would have been correct.
Dh came home about 20 minutes later. I told him about the contractions, and he was all ready to go, but I said lets wait and see. We had dinner, and all went to bed. While everyone slept I timed contractions. I'd already had my pre-hospital shower and shaved my legs and put on all my lovely smelling oils and creams in preparation.
Also I had on my clothing that I was going to wear to hospital, the skirt which I had made and dyed, the shirt I had dyed, the extra long tube top I had made, my shawl. I felt ready!
(I decided I wanted to wear certain clothing made of a particular fabric that I felt would be good during labour and for after, but while I could find what I wanted online it was too expensive, so I set to making it instead. This involved learning how to use Procion dyes. To get the patterns I used clothing I already had for size measurements, then sewed it and hoped for the best.)
Dh laughed at me though getting all nicely dressed up, and then sitting in bed waiting. I timed my contractions with my iphone timer.
9.45pm 1.46m (quite a strong one)
So at 7pm contractions were about 8 1/2 minutes apart, at 8pm 11 minutes, at 9pm 12 minutes, and at 10pm 5.9minutes. One thing I realised is that during previous labours I probably timed incorrectly. That is I timed everything shorter in terms of contraction length and further apart than I should have. Even timing this time I must have made some mistake because I thought I read that contractions were about 20 minutes apart and when the last two were what I thought was 10 minutes apart that was when I thought, okay this really is it, it's time to get going. (I'm not really sure what I mean here and unfortunately I can't remember anything to clarify it)
I woke Dh, poor Dh had only had an hours sleep. (If you've kept up with all these birth stories you have to feel for him. Every time I'm ready to go he's just come back home from a 12 hour shift. I'm hoping this next baby will be kind, and wait until his Papa has had a good rest first)
I had as I lay down to time the contractions thought, as everyone slept that maybe it would be best if the contractions went away as everyone seemed to need a good sleep. I did try to sleep myself, but couldn't.
I called the midwife and she said to come on in. So we got ready to go. A couple of days before I had felt the need to prepare the bags down to the last item, so we only needed to put them in the car, which I was thankful for. But before we did this I called my friend to tell her to meet us there and that this was indeed the night, or so I hoped. I was glad it wasn't yet too late, but just past 10.30pm or so.
So off we all went and my contractions kept coming and seemed to be reasonable enough to think I was going to give birth. As we pulled out of the drive we saw the moon, it was a half circle, like a smile. But when we were coming into Subiaco with the lake on our right, it seemed much bigger, a big golden smile. (It was in the West). When we got near where the old Subi markets had been a song came on the radio that I didn't like, and I thought, that's not going to be Ds's birth song, I'm going to forget that song, and I have, I have no idea what it was.
But Dh played a certain classical albumn on his iphone at night for Dd5 to sleep to (She was still sleeping with us) and it's this music that will always remind me of being pregnant in those last weeks, and on the night of Ds's birth.
When we got to the hospital we could see that my friend was already there as her car was in the FBC's car bays. She called my phone just as we were getting out the car, actually I was having a contraction and said I was just waiting for it to go before we came in. She came out to help us in.
We met the midwife inside. I said maybe we should spend some time in the waiting room to make sure this was labour but the midwife said to come straight on in to the labour room. I felt a bit anxious now, I think I would have felt better to spend some time in the waiting room. I wasn't yet 100% sure. Going straight to the birthing suite seemed like getting ahead of ourselves, and I felt would be a bigger disappointment to everyone if I had to say it's not it after all, when we were actually in the place where it happens, rather than just in the waiting room, waiting to be sure.
The contractions seemed to slow down and not be strong or last long after this. The children were in the common room with my friend. I was in the birthing room with Dh, which was directly opposite the common room. I thought I'd better try things to get labour progressing. I sat on the birthing ball, but it was too soft and not effective. I don't think I used it again much except briefly to try and once again decide it was too soft.
I decided on walking around the room instead. I lifted my knees high, but then decided on circling my hips as I walked around the room, rather like a slow dance. This was very effective and finally contractions were becoming closer and stronger again. Maybe I did this for 1 hour, I'm not sure. But at the point where things finally seemed to be progressing again the midwife took my vitals and found that my heart-rate was high. Maybe 110 bpm. We discussed the possible cause. The midwife asked if I was anxious which I agreed I was. She seemed to be stuck in thinking along these lines even though the room was hot and I said I felt hot and thirsty.
Finally after several checks she told me I needed to have a shower to see if it would make me less anxious. Well it was cold in the shower room so I turned the water up hot to get warm. After I warmed up I really enjoyed being in the shower. It was a very helpful distraction to watch the water hitting the tiles. The heat of the water felt so good too. I felt very relaxed, I wondered why I had never had a shower in labour before, it was wonderful. I felt his birth wouldn't be too much longer. I even wondered if going in a bath might be nice considering how much I was enjoying the shower.
The midwife came in and checked my heart-rate, it had gone higher! She said that I was going to be transferred if we couldn't bring it down in the next 10 minutes or so. If I wasn't stressed before I really was now. I knew he wasn't far off if I wasn't disturbed. I knew the children would be so disappointed if after all the effort put in ahead of time, and in actually being in the hospital waiting, that they didn't see their brother being born. At this point I was thinking I must be dehydrated, but the midwife still didn't seem to be thinking this. (I'm not sure if I voiced this thought to the midwife. At this point in labour you go very into yourself and don't say a whole lot, your mind is occupied elsewhere). In fact we never spoke on this even after the birth, so I have no idea on her thoughts.
I went to the room which the children were in which was much cooler. I drank 3 juice boxes. I tried to be as calm as I could. I looked at all my beautiful children. I enjoyed a cuddle with Dd1. Then I knelt on a mat leaning over on a sofa. The contractions were still strong when I had them, but they seemed farther apart and between them it was as if I was not in labour at all. It was quite bizarre really. It was as if the stress of the situation had slowed things down, yet my body was too far advanced to stop.
I said we'd best say prayers if I was to stay at the FBC and for them to be able to watch the birth, so my friend led a Hail Mary which caused the midwife who just checked in at the door to go off for a moment and give us more time when she saw we were praying. When she came back and checked my heart rate again it was back to normal. I felt the presence of Mother Mary and her prayers powerfully.
I finally felt I could proceed yet was still hoping for him to be born soon in case my heart-rate went up again, or anything else happened. I stayed kneeling for a while but then felt I needed to go back to the room. I knelt and leaned on the end of the bed. I called everyone in, that is Dh, my friend, and the children.
Then I felt it was time. I got up and sat on the birthing stool. My waters went. I think we called the midwife in then. The urge to push was slow, so it felt. No pain in between (except later when he crowned and even this was tolerable). It seemed impossible that he should be able to come down, and it entered my head that maybe he was still posterior. (It only took about 5 minutes from my waters breaking to his birth, but to me it seemed so long) But then I felt him coming down. At the crowning I had an impulse to get off the stool and give birth squatting, but I didn't because the midwife had earlier said she didn't think I'd be able to do it. I wish I had gotten up anyway, but it was too late to put thoughts into action at the time.
I wanted to deliver Ds myself but the stool didn't make me feel it would be easy, too metallic, too enclosed. But I did have my hands on him as he was born. My beautiful little boy! I wrapped him in the little piece of cloth I had brought, and then the larger one. The little one was a keepsake for me and the larger was later used as a white blanket when he was baptised. (He was born at 38 weeks at 4.01am weighing 3.510kg, with a length of 48cm's, 35cm head circumference. )
The children were so amazed. Dd1 said she couldn't believe he was really ours, that she had really seen him be born. It was a very special night, in spite of all the worry. (When I went back to the FBC for an antenatal appointment for Ds7 I could feel that sense of specialness all over again just walking down past the rooms we were in. I am not able to have Ds7 at the FBC this time but am able to have my appointments there with an independent midwife who will meet me at the main hospital for this next birth. )
|On a 3 hour walk at 33 weeks. Not recommended!|
|Our 'bring on labour' walk at Lake Joondalup, two days before Ds's birth|
|Doing some coloring-in in the common room|
|A picture of my birthing suite bathroom.|
|So many fuzzy photo's. Makes me sad.|
|In his little prison... looks like it doesn't it.|
|With her 'new baby'. I thought she might like a little gift for the occasion.|
|A very tired Dad.|
|What a smile.|
|At home, we went home straight away.|
|Don't know what the silver thing on the left is?|