Friday, January 10, 2014

Birth Story of DS7

I almost don't know where to begin with Ds7's birth story.  We expected that he would be born between 38-39 weeks, but he wasn't.  He wasn't born at 40 weeks either.  He almost made 41 weeks!  My first two children were born at 40 weeks, the next two between 39 and 40, the 5th close to 39, the 6th at 38 weeks.  We were sure this baby would be earlier too.  But then we did something totally unplanned in my 36th week.   We moved house.  We had being planning to move after the baby was born, but then an unexpected opportunity, one too good to miss out on came up.  So we hoped very much that the baby wouldn't come any earlier than the 38 weeks and moved from a place that had become very hard to live in, it did not suit us at all for many reasons, to a place that felt homely, right from the first.

13th  37/1  November  We moved to our new home.

17th  37/5  November  Random contractions.

22nd  38/3 November More contractions.  I felt fairly confident the baby might be born, perhaps the next morning.

24th November  38/5  We went for our traditional walk before baby arrives.  Dh had come home from work at 6pm and we felt that we just had to go for our pre baby walk or we might not make it.  We went down for a walk near the beach.  I should have worn my belly belt as I hurt my tummy muscles a bit, walking up and over things, trying to encourage baby out.

27 November  39/1  More contractions.

28 November ? 39/2   Nothing happened after our first walk, so when Dh had some days off we went on another walk, this time during the day and this time down at the beach along the sand.  It was so windy.  So very windy.  I didn't take my camera out for pics, it would have got sand in it everywhere.  It was the most unpleasant walk we have been on.  I started to imagine I was some explorer in a howling arctic wind, struggling to make each step.  We saw some Splendid Wrens on our way back up to the car.  This was definitely the high-light of the walk.  There were no results from this walk either, which I was glad of.  I wanted our pre baby walk to be of happier memory, though no doubt we would have laughed about it in the future.  

2/3 December  (on the 3rd being 40 weeks)  Contractions again.  Again I'm quietly confident.  I bake Anzac biscuits at 3am thinking the children will like a snack while I'm in hospital.  Then I notice a message on Dh's phone.  It's about his mum in Jakarta.  She's sick in hospital. I don't worry too much at first, because it's not uncommon to need to go to hospital for illnesses from time to time in Jakarta, and what I understand from what I read gives me the idea that everything is okay.   But my Indonesian is not good enough for a proper translation.  I take the phone into dh and wake him up to let him know.  That's when we found out she'd had a heart attack.  My contractions stop.  There are no more that night.  Ed doesn't seem too worried about his mum, but later after the birth he tells me he was very concerned, but that he didn't want me to worry.

Wednesday, 4th December  40/1  I go into the Family Birth Centre for a stretch and sweep.  We are all so confident that I will go straight into labor that it is a very exciting, happy day.  We leave the children at home in the care of my good friends adult children.  Everything is well organised.  We'll call when the baby's born we say.  This was a beautiful day, one I will always remember.  We arrive at the FBC  around 11am?  A little late, but not too much.  The s&s is done.  I'm found not to be dilated/effaced at all, but the baby is on the left and anterior which I had read is the best start position for labor and I'm happy about this as he had been on the right, and then sometimes posterior. We spend some time in the room where they teach classes.  On the birthing ball, walking about.  Just to be sure of my reaction to the s&s, and then we go off for a walk around Subiaco to try to get stronger contractions happening.  It's a typical Perth summer day, not a cloud, and quite hot.  I enjoy walking with Dh.  It's just him and me, not something that happens too often for us. We will definately have to arrange some more time by ourselves in the future... sometime.  

So we walked down the main street looking for somewhere nice to eat lunch.  We decided on a Japanese restaurant and both had chicken teriyaki which was yummy.  While we were eating my contractions started coming 5 minutes apart.  Time to go I said, so back to the hospital we went.  Walking, joking, enjoying the moment.  As we got within reach of the FBC I said to dh, stop joking, I need to go somewhere very urgently (toilet) and that I didn't appreciate his jokes anymore.  Once I raced into the FBC and went where I needed to go we went back into the room we'd been in before.  Back to rocking on the birthing ball, walking around the room.  But soon it became apparent that I probably needed to go home, and come back later on.  So a little dissapointed, but fully believing we would be back later on, we went home, arriving about 4.30pm.  I called my friend and told her I'd be calling back later on, but I didn't need to

40/1 weeks on the way to FBC.

Thursday, 5 ? December  We went on a third bring baby on walk.  I was beginning to think it was a waste of time, but was happy for a change of scene.  And it was a nice walk, albeit a short one.  I felt too tired to go far and realised by this stage that I would more likely hurt my muscles and end up with a painful labour if I did too much. 
We went by Herdsman Lake which is just teaming with bird life, which my eldest son can attest to, as when he was standing under a tree one bird decided to deposit a little something in his hair.  We tried hard not to laugh too much, sort of...  I would share the pictures with you.  But Ds has said 'no way' ;)  Scroll down for the culprits though.

Here they are, those bad, bad birds.

Still a bit miffed about those birds.

Nothing like a bit of a laugh to forget about it though.

My tummy is really starting to get big.  Another lady comes to the park, and she is pregnant.  I think to myself that she must have another month to go, but after chatting to her I find out that she is more pregnant than I am.  She's 40/5.  For some reason I imagine that she's a week ahead of me, instead of the few days it really is.  I still don't imagine that I will go that far over.   

Friday and Saturday, 6 and 7 December   Both days are full of contractions, about 10/20 minutes apart.  The midwives call and recommend another stretch and sweep.  

Sunday 8 December  40/5  We go into the FBC around 10.30am after going to mass at 7.30am.  I pray for my baby's safe delivery.  One again all the preparations are in place for the children to be taken care of while we have the baby.  Surely with all the contractions I had been having, with already having had a S&S done this would be it.  From the FBC we go up to the main hospital initially as I want the baby to be monitored.  With my baby's having come earlier each time I had come to think that maybe my placenta's were getting a little less good each time resulting in them being born earlier.  I worried that his placenta might have gone passed it's used by date.  In the beginning of monitoring we can see I'm having contractions every 10 minutes.  They seem to get stronger up until the midwife tells me that there is some concern that the baby's heart rate is not reactive enough.  She thinks it's probably because I'm a bit dehydrated.  I drink heaps of water and almost immeadiately his heart rate improves.  (I was amazed, this has really affected my opinion of the need to keep our bodies well hydrated, particularly in pregnancy).  But we have to show a period of good reactions.  I keep drinking water and the midwife says if we can't get a good graph to show they'll put me on a drip.  We wait for 5-10 minutes and get good graph results and the midwife takes it off to show to those in charge.   The contractions have faded away.  I'm left feeling stressed.   I could see how quickly the whole 'cascade of intervention' could happen.  And at almost 41 weeks I'm closer than I've ever been to having intervention.

We go back down to the FBC and I have the S&S done.  We also find out that I'm still no further along than the first S&S at maybe 1cm.  Although I knew this would probably be so I'm dissapointed.  The baby is also back on the right again.  The days leading up to this have been full of contractions, of me going to the toilet constantly, and  all the things that you hope mean something.  But no progress.  I remember that I was only 1 cm a couple of hours before Dd5's birth, and we talk about that, but I am still discouraged.  The midwife says we have to arrange an appointment for an induction now, just in case nothing happens today.  She tries to get me booked into the hospital for an induction later that afternoon, because we explain that already having made the arrangements for the children to be taken care of it seems best just to have it over and done with today, but my hospital team isn't on that day apparently, and the team that is on is too busy to want me there.  I'm kind of glad to have this choice taken away.  It seems the best choice from the point of view of not having to make everyone have to do this all over again a third time and I think of how the children will be dissapointed when we come home with no baby, again.  But I'm afraid of what could happen in an induction.  The midwife says I'd most likely go straight into labor after they break my waters, that I probably wouldn't need the Pitocin (Syntocinon) but I'm not so sure anymore. 

It's decided to give me a few hours at the FBC and to go for a walk nearby to see if we can get me into labor.  We spend some time in the common room but there are no contraction worth talking about.  We decide to go for a walk again.  I go up and down some stairs, and up and down until my knees complain.  We walk toward Subiaco and I walk along the curb, one foot on the curb, the other on the ground.  I go one direction, then the other. We go to a nearby park and I step up and down on some play equipment.  I joke about going down the slide. 

But I realise nothing is working.  I know it's time to call it quits, but I really don't want to go home.  I call my friend to say we are coming home, and I start crying because I had so wanted to see my baby today.  We go back to the FBC and tell them we are going home.  We are told they have managed to get me an appointment for an induction appointment the next day at 10am.  We drive the hour it takes to get back home.

9th December 40/6 transferred feast of the Immaculate Conception.  

Dh goes shopping early in the morning to get some supplies.  He's able to get me some Rescue Remedy spray which is the last item on my labor bag list.  Just before the baby sitters arrive to look after the children contractions start up at about 10 minutes apart.  Something makes me a bit hopeful about them.  Yesterdays mood is gone, it's a lovely clear sky, I feel happy and ready to go.  As we leave I think about taking parting pictures as before with the first S&S, but I'm tired and I know that it will take up time we don't have as we are running a little late.  I also don't want to make as if today were the day, because we have been told the induction may or may not be made for today. I regret this now.  I wish I had gotten out of the car, and made everyone have photo's taken as before.  We do end up 10 minutes late, but we aren't too worried as we know it always takes ages before you are seen at this clinic.  My midwife is waiting for me, we take my blood pressure, get a weight measurement, and do a test, all is fine.  She asks if I want to sit in the waiting room.  I only need to step into the room filled with a sea of people to know that's not where I want to be.  I tell her we will go and wait out in the corridor outside.  It overlooks some gardens with large trees and beds of flowers.  This is where I want to be.  Part of me now wants to be somewhere completely different.  Maybe walking beside the beach in Albany, my hometown, or down a tranquil path in some karri forest.  Somewhere where we can be alone.  I pace up and down the corridor swinging my hips in a figure of 8, making do with what I can see out the window and occasionally walking out into the garden, but not too far as I'm still waiting for my appointment.  Dh sits in the corridor nearest where they will come to call for me.  Sits and waits.  I notice a bee crawling high up on one of the window panes.  Below on the same pane, near where I could touch it, is a small green praying mantis, of the same kind that my eldest Dd keeps.  I know she would love to be here to see it.  

I walk up and down, swaying, swaying.  People wonder what I am doing.  I know I am in the wrong place.  This is not the place for being in labor, it's the place where you wait for ante-natal appointments.  You aren't supposed to be here in labor.  I tell them, I am in labor, they say congratulations, all the best.  I say thanks.

At last the midwife comes and says it's time for my appointment.  It's been maybe an hour, but in that hour things have progressed to the point where I am sure this is it.  We see the Doctor.  I keep swaying through the appointment.  She says they haven't any free appointments for the induction until Thursday or Friday.  And we were thinking they would be rushing me in that night or the next day.  I wasn't concerned.  It all didn't matter to me anymore, I was sure I was in labor. I said I felt I was in the beginning of labor.  The Doctor seemed to happy with that, and handed me my Friday appointment, just in case.  The midwife seemed confused, she knew I didn't want to have to come in again, she wanted to try to push for the induction that day, as she thought I wanted.  She didn't understand why all of a sudden I was okay with accepting a Friday appointment.  It's okay I told her to reassure her.  I'm in labor.  She didn't look so sure.  

12.30pm?  We went back down to the FBC.  It was decided to see how the contractions went.  But there was no room for me anywhere. All the birthing suites were busy, not that I'd have been allowed to birth there but they were ok with me using a room for a while.  (I was an FBC patient, but required to go up to the hospital, which the FBC is next to, because I was considered higher risk being my seventh baby)  The common room and teaching rooms were also being used for meetings.  So I had to stand in the waiting room.  Much nicer than the hospital waiting room that we'd just come from, but there were 3 groups of people waiting for appointments.  I asked them if they were all okay with my swaying and moving about and they said they were.  I closed my eyes and swayed, blocking out the room around me.  Rocking, swaying, doing figures of 8 with my hips.  We would be able to have a room soon we were told. The contractions got closer and closer over the next hour while we waited for a room.  At the end of their meeting the midwives came to see how I was going.  When they heard my contractions were 5 minutes apart they started to panic a little.  They weren't supposed to let me have the baby at the FBC but must take me to the hospital, so they called and got me a room and up we went to the hospital through the corridors.  

We waited a few moments in a small area, a reception/waiting room, that we came upon in the maze of corridors.  The roof seemed low and restrictive.  It didn't have the same feel as the FBC.  I wished I could go back.  My labor slowed and never regained the regularity it had had at the FBC.  If I had stayed at the FBC would my baby have been born within a few hours?  I wonder?  

1.45pm  (I got details of the time of things from the midwife after the birth.  Some I can place into my story easily, others I'm not really sure at what point they fit in.) 

We were taken to a small pokey birthing suite, that looked like it was a forgotten room.  I didn't like the feeling of the room.  Was this where my baby would be born?  It seemed so sterile, no warmth.  Dh went off to get some lunch for us both and to move the car.  From here on in I started to doubt myself.  Doubt that the labor would continue.  Contractions kept coming only if I kept up my swaying it seemed.  The birthing ball didn't seem to keep them coming, nor walking around my little room, only swaying.  Even so they seemed random, sometimes closer together sometimes not.  I think I was holding off for Dh to come back.  After he came back things seemed to go slow for a long time.  Maybe I'm not really in labor I thought. The midwife put the bung in my hand.  Horrible thing.  I carried my hand around as if wounded for the next hour after which it seemed to stop hurting.   

At 3pm Contractions are coming every 5 minutes the notes say.  Sometimes they were, sometimes they weren't.  

4.15pm  An exam is done, I'm 4cm, so established labor.  It doesn't feel terribly established to me, but at least we are all happy that I am where I should be, that this is it.  

Finally I felt I was getting closer to the end, but perhaps had an hour left.  I thought about how I'd like to try laboring in the bath. In my 6 previous labors I had never yet used the bath.  I wanted to try it, just once to see what it was like.  It was arranged and everything moved to the bath room in preparation for birth.  But not before the Doctor came in and told me in graphic detail why I needed to have a managed third stage.  I knew all this, I had already agreed to everything, I'm not sure why I needed to be reminded in this way at this moment.  It was not what I wanted to think about at that moment.  A chat with my midwife could have clarified all.  Thankfully I was allowed to go to the bath which could have been denied  by the Doctor.  While perhaps not having the best bed-side manner I did appreciate the Doctor's care.  

5.30pm (Into the bath) The bathroom suite felt a much nicer place to be.  Soothing in its atmosphere in comparison to the room we had come from.  But again my labor slowed down.  I didn't have many contractions while we there, which was about an hour.  The problem was that the bath was only a shallow one, not like the one I had seen at the FBC which had much higher sides.  Even filled there was only one way to be submerged and that was to sit down and lay back, something that would be guaranteed to slow or even stop my labor.  At first I didn't get in.  I was waiting for the contractions to build again.  I think one or several factors may have contributed to things slowing down.  The Doctors lovely chat, the feeling of needing to wait while the bath was being filled, or the change of room.  It seemed everytime I changed where I was I had to spend an hour getting things back to where they were.  

I got into the bath at last.  I knelt down, I leant forward, I sat down.  Nothing felt comfortable.  In none of these positions was I submerged to any decent extent.   I wanted to have my baby in this room, with its lovely blue colors and soothing feel.  But nothing was happening here.  What little I could get under the water didn't feel right, I felt squeezed.   So I just stood in the water instead and swayed.  This I quite liked but no-one else could quite understand the point of it.  The Doctor, when coming in for a quick check, was worried I would slip.  I promised I wouldn't.  I felt watched, and under pressure.  But at last I knew we had to go back to the room and that the shower was what I needed.  It had worked so well last time.  (6.10pm  We leave the bathroom.)

So back we went, and strangely the room seemed okay to me now.  I went into the shower.  It was much nicer than the bath.  I made sure the water was only just warm as I'd been finding I overheated easily in the shower late in this pregnancy.  It took a while for the contractions to build and I seemed to have to work to make each one happen.  Starting from when I was in the bath, or only slightly before, I had been using a technique I saw on the internet to help get baby down, one that's useful if your tummy muscles aren't so good anymore.  It was here in the shower that this really started to work.  Mostly I think because the contractions were starting to get stronger and this is when this technique is recommended.  I used it before hand just to try something else to keep the labor going.  

7.35pm I have a show

Finally the contractions reach a point that I'm happy with.  I have to concentrate through them.  I pray Hail Mary's through them, offering the pain up for various intentions.  Towards the end I can't say Hail Mary's anymore.  I can't say the words.  But this is not just yet.

8pm  The midwife comes in and asks if she can do an internal, I decline.  No need for that anymore.  Give me another half hour I say and you can check then.  I'm buying time.  I don't want an internal.  
8.30pm  She asks to do an internal again.  I think this time I say it's not necessary anymore.  It's not long now I tell her.   She goes out.  A little time goes by but not much.  It suddenly occurs to me that I don't want to be in the shower anymore.  There's no particular reason.  It's just time to go to the birthing stool.  

I sit on my stool.  And sit and sit and sit.  Waiting.  No contractions, nothing.  Just waiting.  Then a contraction and my waters go (8.52pm  The notes say 8.52pm and then give the birth 1 minute later.  Time can stretch in these moments but there's no way it was only 1 minute.  I'm sure someone told me 4 minutes).

  I'm surprised.  I wonder to myself.  How did I know?  
 He's coming now.  He's really coming.  Then the pushing.  It feels dreadful, I just want this baby out.  No smiles as I give birth this time. Just let this end. I had planned to deliver him myself.  Something I have never done but so wanted to this time.  Just once.  But I don't feel like I can.  It doesn't seem to matter at this moment anymore.  The midwives try to encourage me.  But I say I can't.  

8.53pm  And then he is born and I gather him into my arms.  They start their 'managed third stage' and it seems like only 5 minutes when the placenta comes out without them helping (9.05pm  Must have been more like 10 minutes, if the notes are right).  I move up onto the bed and look at my beautiful boy.  He's looking at me, and makes some cooing type sounds as if saying hello.  He is very alert.  I am so thankful that he is here at last.  So thankful for the safe birth of my seventh baby.  

1 comment:

  1. A stressful read! Nothing like the stress of the birth I know. Thank God for a healthy baby and straightforward birth really.