On the 18th of October, in the evening, at just over 33 weeks I had a night of contractions coming every 15 minutes. They weren't painful nor too strong, but disturbed my sleep that night. I thought labour might be beginning. I thought about how I hadn't packed my suitcase, nor had all the things to pack in it. I hoped they would stop, baby was only 33 weeks! They never developed but neither did they stop for almost a week. They weren't as strong as that first night but were every 15 minutes around the clock. They did stop eventually. I made it to 34 weeks and thought, great! And then 35 weeks and thought, even better!
I reached 37 weeks and then had contractions again on the afternoon of the second night of the supermoon, the 15th of November (the supermoon is visible for two nights apparently). We hadn't been for our traditional family walk 'before baby comes' yet so I was determined to go for a walk even though it was getting late. But by the time we all got in the car and set off we realised that a walk probably wasn't best. The air was full of a lot of moisture, a night where we would almost certainly be bitten mercilessly by mosquito's if we were to walk by the lake. Several of my children react badly to mosquito bites. The area around the bite swells and is terribly itchy. Not worth going for a walk for. So we drove around the lake instead and out near Dh's work, where you can see the horizon in all directions quite well, and tried to see the supermoon. We couldn't see it at all, there were too many clouds. We finally caught a peak of it through the clouds, tiny bits of it, as we drove back home past the lake. The contractions stopped after I went to sleep. (by stopped I mean stopped making me think I was going into labour. Strong braxton hicks become so regular by this stage of pregnancy that I almost don't think about them. One night I was in bed and found my chest feeling tight. I thought, 'why do I keep feeling this lately?' then I remembered, braxton hicks! They make you feel like you are being squeezed.
On the 18th and 19th in the late afternoon/evening the children and I went for our family birth walk. Dh was at work but I felt if we didn't go we would miss having our walk before baby comes.
We went down by the lake. It was beautiful! We saw a male Musk duck doing his courting display out on the lake. We couldn't capture it well with our lens. He was a bit too far off. A video would have been better though as it was his calls and slapping of the water with his tail and wings which was wonderful to watch. We walked down by the lake a bit further and came across a man filming raptors (birds of prey). We had a great time chatting to him about birds and camera's. He told us where we could find various birds about the lake and gave advice on what a good lens to buy might be and he shared the details of his binoculars (we are hoping to buy some soon). After a time we said goodbye and said we hoped to meet him down by the lake again sometime.
The second nights walk was a bit later but another lovely walk where we saw many different birds. We caught a glimpse of the Osprey that our bird friend the day before had told us about.
|Pacific Black duck|
|Musk duck doing his courtship display.|
|White Faced heron|
|Father swan and cygnets.|
|Best of a bunch shot. i.e. not looking irritable at monkeys getting up to mischief.|
|Poor Dd5 and her dry lips.|
|Red Wattle bird|
|Loads of swans!|
At 38 weeks on Sunday the 20th while at Mass in the morning I thought I might be going into labour again. I was having regular contractions that were 'beginning stage' strong. They were firm, but I could speak to people reasonably easily. Kind folk from my parish worried about me driving home, but I was fine. At home we had breakfast, then Dd1 joined me for a few laps around the park opposite our home. I contacted my sister, who was going to look after the children while we were at hospital, at 10am to let her know today might be the day. I sms'd her again at 2pm to say I was now sure it's definitely labour.
I wrote down my contractions from time to time to see how close together they were: (Some aren't listed. I would have bursts when I'd write them down, and then might miss writing down one. The gaps are periods I didn't write times for. But you get the general idea. They were getting very close!)
3.08 5mins apart
We said some prayers together as a family before leaving. I gave everyone a kiss goodbye and told them I love them. Then off we went.
Once in hospital though the contractions pretty much stopped. That's not unusual for me. After an hour they usually come back again. It's a combination of the excitement of going to hospital to have the baby, of the shock of changing location (birth proceeds best when uninterrupted), and the impact of being in hospital that causes a surge in brain chemistry which puts a dampener on labour.
A midwife tried to put a cannula in my left hand, but burst the vein. Next a doctor gave it a go. It seems the veins in my hands are fragile so he did it very slowly and thankfully succeeded. Having had many children I have gotten over worrying about needles... except cannula's. Needles go in and out but a cannula stays in. Yuck! After some time you forget about it, but you have to remember it's there because if you knock it you might have to have another put in. I did my very best to remember it. No way I wanted them to have to put it in a third time!
The midwife busied herself with preparations for baby. Getting the necessary things together. She would chat to us asking questions. But I recognised from her face, she didn't really think I was in labour. I have seen that face more than once for my previous births. What a lot of pressure it gives. Which is not good. It causes labour to slow. I tried to ignore it, like I have before during those previous births.
Then I had to be monitored with the machine gadget thingy. I didn't want to, I said it wouldn't be a good idea, it would slow the labour, but to no avail. And so I was hooked up to it. I was allowed to stay upright, but it soon became apparent that any movement would cause bits and pieces not to work. I needed to have 10 minutes (20 minutes? I can't remember) of stable, clear readings and I would be off it again. And so one item was scratched off from the list of my birth plan :(
But the contractions recorded convinced the midwife that indeed things were happening although a check had found me not to technically be in labour yet. Apparently one contraction was 2 minutes long. I thought that sounded good because the contractions they had caught on the machine were not as strong as the ones I had while moving about. I didn't worry about being 1cm because that's fairly routine for me. I often stay that way till the last hour. And I didn't want to wait till the last hour to come to hospital.
A change of midwives and I was told I could have a shower (I had asked if it would be okay) and then would be monitored again. They were going to give me two more hours to get into 'established labour' or they'd put me down on the ward for the night they said. I felt two hours would be good enough as labour was progressing well. I had a shower but it only seemed to slow labour down. I got out and started walking about again. They started building to a level that to me was good progress. I was confident the baby would be born in about 2-3 hours.
The new midwife said it was time for monitoring again. I thought she'd let me keep upright like the last midwife had. She wouldn't. I must lie down. I told her it wasn't the right thing to do at that point. But there I was, on my back for 20 minutes. I had one contraction during that time. It wasn't strong. She also did a check. Baby had moved down, but otherwise no 'progress'. Off she went to consult the person in charge. My two hours promised had shrunk down to one. And I was at the end of that one. I was given two options. Go down to the ward by myself or go home. Visiting hours being well over I'd have to be in a shared room without Dh. The midwife left the room for us to think it over.
I stood there. Shocked. To me everything was going well, as far as progress in labour was concerned, I had even gotten over worrying about their disbelief that I was in labour, and that's saying something! What to do? I was pretty certain that if left to keep labouring in the room , and left alone, I would have baby soon enough. But that option was gone. If I went down and laboured on the ward without Dh two things were likely. It would either continue but Dh would miss the birth, it has happened before that I go from joking around with people to giving birth in 5 minutes. Or, I would be so thrown by being in an uncomfortable place and without Dh that the labour would stop.
I decided to go home. I didn't want to be there anymore that night. Contractions stopped. We went home to disappointed older children, it was 11pm and the younger ones were asleep. We all went to sleep for the night. My sleep was constantly broken to get up to go to the toilet.
I was very disappointed next day. I felt I didn't want to go back to the hospital again. I wanted to go back to the Family Birthing Centre where they let you labour nicely, with minimal interruption. I wanted to go back to the place where my first-born and most of the others had been born (just one was born elsewhere).
I was able to go that day and buy some baby items I hadn't gotten yet but needed. The baby car seat finally arrived by post in the evening. I had contractions throughout the day. Maybe baby would come that night or next day I thought. But part of me no longer wanted to go into labour. Going into labour would mean going back to the hospital. I didn't want to go back.
On Tuesday evening Dh and I went out , the dinner that we wondered if we would ever make. As it was a work do we weren't on a romantic date or anything, but we enjoyed our meal and a little time together-ish lol. It wasn't quite as imagined. We were put on a table with those people from Dh's work that were new, that had come in the last two years, as opposed to those Dh has known these past 10 years. It was hard to develop conversation even with my big tummy to give me starters. But we did our best. I was thankful they didn't play the music too loud. It was a different but pleasant night despite sometimes awkward silences. (mental note: do try to go out on a date together alone some time)
On Wednesday (23rd) in the evening we went as a family and bought pizza and then went and ate it down by the ocean close to a marina. I had wanted to go for a family walk by the lake again, but it was late and I thought of mosquito's again. Then I had an idea. Why not by the ocean instead? (We are only 10-15 minutes from the ocean) It was fresh but not cold. A typical Perth, almost summer, night. I walked in a circuit along some footpaths with a few children at a time, and then finally with Dh and Ds7. Going up a tall staircase close to where we'd parked seemed to be helping things. I got back to the car with Ds2 who went with me on one of my laps. I saw two men approaching along the footpath in front of our parked car. A very handsome bullterrier walked along confidently in front of them. I tried to get into the front seat of our bus but was having trouble making it up into the seat on account of my big belly. I joked with the men as they passed by about it. They laughed kindly. As they walked on by Dh said, 'that's Danny Green' (famous Australian boxer). 'Oh', I said.
How typical of me. A few years back I almost bumped into a famous 'tv contest' singer in the city. It wasn't till he had passed by that Dh said 'do you realise who that was?'. 'Ummmm, who????' I replied.
Well now, I might have recognised Danny Green if I'd been thinking of it, but not the singer.
By the time we got home that evening I once again thought it would be the night to go to hospital. We told the two eldest not to tell the others but we would likely leave in the night. We'd wake them briefly to let them know when we'd be leaving. The contractions were good and strong and regular. It would be a Thanksgiving day baby I thought. I thought to have a shower to get ready. It was the wrong decision. By the time I had my shower and checked my suitcase everything was slowing, and I was feeling tired. I went to bed at 12am. Thought I'd rest a bit. Woke at 3am feeling sore. Stayed up a bit to see if there were contractions. There weren't, so I went back to sleep. I felt so tired that day. I was grumpy! Poor family! I wondered if I could get into the community midwife program so late in pregnancy. I took a look at their criteria. No, I couldn't. Not just because I'm on the brink of having baby, but I saw and remembered why I couldn't get in with them this pregnancy in the first place. I don't qualify as 'low risk' due to number of previous births. Stuck. Only one choice. Back to the local hospital when it's time
Today is Friday the 25th of November.
I've gone through a whole range of thoughts about going back to the hospital. From plain not wanting to go knowing the style of care is not helpful to my labour nor comforting to me, that they care very little for my 'birth plan'. With my previous experience and all I found it very difficult to have my birth plans respected. I could see clearly that it would depend a lot on the midwife, and very much on hospital policy, which is designed to safeguard patient care, but has too much power, and overrides what good sense those in charge might have. I knew all of that, but going through it brings the reality of it fresh to the mind.
To now, where I will leave the troubles in God's good hands.
If I am to go into hospital when they want me to, and in order to avoid 'cascades of intervention', I will quite possible end up having baby at home, or on the road. There is no way for me to know if I'm 5 minutes from birth or 1 hour. I will try to find that fine point between being in 'definitely no stopping' type of labour and birth, but I can't be sure of it. So if God's will is a home birth, a birth by the roadside, in hospital... He will be there! Taking care of us.
When it is difficult I will think of Jesus and Mary.
I will think of Mary, how she must've felt that night in Bethlehem. No inn. Just a cold stable where animals are kept.
Through pain and suffering I shall think of Jesus and the suffering He went through for me. How much He loves me.
When will this baby be born? I had thought she'd already be here so many times. I'm starting to think that I may have to keep things going as with Ds7, if I want to avoid intervention. So I need to rest and keep my strength up. Go for a morning walk and then spend the day convincing her to come out lol. An evening birth sounds good ;) But as God wills it!
Have to share just a few more photo's with you:
|That sweet paper that I lined the baby's drawers with.|
|Pile of linens freshly washed and folded, waiting for baby. Nappy mat at bottom.|
|Some muslin face washers I was pleased to find. Muslin is great for cleaning babies little faces with.|
|My suitcase, packed, ready to go, with more pink. What if it's a little boy eh? He'll have to like pink lol.|
For those who still have the energy or interest to read more... my last 7 birth stories ;)
Birth story 1
Birth story 2
Birth story 3
Birth story 4
Birth story 5
Birth story 6
Birth story 7
Edit: Very sure baby is coming today, Saturday 26th of November. Please keep us in your prayers!
Had a definite sign at 5am that baby is on the way. Having the odd contraction. They aren't 'maybe' type of contractions.