Not too sure where to start with this one, really!
I guess it all really started on Friday 9th March. I had started to get some regular, mild but bitey contractions, though they were few and far between, they did indeed continue throughout the evening, only stopping once I was asleep.
I woke on Saturday morning and had nothing. I assumed all had fizzled out, which I was expecting, given that I was only 37+4 at this stage and my last pregnancy went until 41+4. Then in the late morning, things started up again, pretty well sapced out, noticeable but not painful. We continued out Saturday as normal by heading to my MILs to do the whole weekend family visit thing. At this point I am reminded of my last labour beginnings. This is exactly how things happened last time. I got a little excited that I could indeed have a baby by the end of the long weekend that we were having.
We left my MILs in the mid-afternoon, I was tired and things were getting a little more ouchy. We arrive home, feed the children and pop them to bed. Things continue but not really picking up in frequency or intensity much, though I did start to lose massive lots of my mucous plug, something which had never happened to me before until I was well into established labour. I went to bed and once again things stopped.
Sunday the 11th rolls around and i'm once again experiencing regular contractions all day, more frequent and intense than previous days, but easy to manage with, just breathing through them. DH takes DD and DS1 over to a local food festival while DS2 is sleeping and I just chill out. I wanted desperately to go, but I couldn't walk around enough, too much pelvic pain topped with contractions. Things seem to pick up once the children went to bed that night, but yet again, fizzled out while I slept.
Monday 12th March and as soon as I open my eyes i'm hit with a huge painful contraction which takes my breath away. If i'm going to have a baby, this is the day for it to happen, it's a public holiday and DH is home. I continue to get semi-regular contractions, ranging between 5-10mins apart and rather bitey. I take the morning easy, pottering around the house, being upright/walking are keeping things going, if I it down things start slowing, not something I want!
The day goes on as normal, children playing, DH doing some housework, me walking around, bouncing on the fit ball, facebooking, keeping my Doula up to date and making birth preparations.
Around 1pm, for the first time ever, I experience a "bloody show", it's amazing to think that 4th time around i'm still experiencing some things for the first time! I'm now spending my time standing in the kitchen, leaning on the bench, breathing through the contractions that are hitting every 2-4 mins. I realise around 2pm, that yep, this is happening, a baby is coming, it's time to call in reinforcements - my Doula/friend/child wrangler and our birth photographer/Doula/friend.
We had a birth pool set to go, but I was feeling the need to retreat into a smaller space, so DH and I set things up in the bathroom instead. I hopped in the bath around 2:30'ish, minutes before my Doula arrived. I lose all track of time now, but our second support person arrives and starts snapping photos while our Doula takes the other 3 children to the park across the road.
Things are slowing down in the bath so I hopped out in favour of standing in the kitchen again. Things ramp up again as soon as i'm standing. No idea how long I was on my feet for, but as I was standing, leaning/supporting myself on the kitchen bench through each, intense contraction DH puts pressure on my lower back with the hot water bottle. The children and my Doula return from the park, and opt for some drawing instead. They're all starting to get hungry around 5pm, so it's a picnic on the floor in the lounge of tinned baked beans for the boys and tinned spaghetti for DD. They thought this was pretty awesome, being allowed to eat in the loungeroom!
Soon the intensity ramps up and i'm feeling much more pressure in my lower back and decide I want to be in the water again. So the bath is refilled, nice and warm and I hop in. The contractions are pretty on top of each other by now and it's not long after hoping back in the water and i'm in transition. I notice myself becoming vocal now through the contractions, rather than just breathing through them. DH and I are left alone in the bathroom which is what I want. I notice from looking back at the photos that our birthy photographer has popped her head in the bathroom during transition and snapped some photos, she must have heard the changes! Pretty quickly I go from moaning to pretty loud, deep roaring, in a lucid moment between contractions I wonder what the neighbours might be thinking!? Then it's all on, pressure, pushing, deep roaring, our Doula pops in for a sneak peak, noticing that indeed Babe #4 is on his way.
I can feel Babe #4 coming down, about to crown so I grab DH's hand and shove it down at the ready, the next contraction and his head is out, DH proclaims proudly, "his head is out, keep going you're almost there!", next contraction and it's one almighty push from my body and Babe #4 is out, born into Daddy's hands and scooped up to me.
He's here! We did it! The children are in the room now, Babe #4 is screaming now after a little rub on his back while laying on his tummy and he's pinking up beautifully.
Miles Christopher entered the world in water and into Daddy's hands at 5:45pm on Monday 12th March 2012. Weighing in at a tiny 3.1kg (6lb 13oz) and wonderfully perfect at just 37+6 gestation.
We all make our way to the couch after a fruitless effort trying to birth the placenta before we move. Sitting on the couch, Miles has his first go at breastfeeding and does a pretty awesome job, the other children are all gathered around, smiling, excited and giggling, they're totally smitten with their new baby brother! A few more attempts are made at trying to birth the placenta, all fruitless. This is new territory to me as in previous births, the placenta has been birthed no more than 30mins after the baby.
We go back to snuggling on the couch, we decide it's time to cut the umbilical cord, mostly for comfort reasons given the placenta hasn't been birthed yet, it's around 1 hour since Miles was born by this stage, so we tie on the plaited cord tie i'd made, grab the sterile scissors and DH cuts the cord, Miles has a snuggle with Daddy and is then dressed by our second support person while I make yet another attempt at birthing the placenta. It's around now that our second birth photographer/Doula/friend leaves to go home. I talk to our other Doula about the placenta issue, we discuss the reasons why it might not be budging (trapped by full bladder, caught in the cervix, hasn't detached from uterine wall/is adhered to uterine wall) and what course of action should we take and when.
I decide that i'm happy to wait until 4 hours post-partum before doing anything, as this is what had been discussed with my Independent Midwife with my last birth and it's something I still felt happy with, if nothing had happened by then, we'd opt for calling an Ambulance/Transfer. My Doula wished as well and said to stay in contact and she headed off home to her own children just as ours had hopped into bed themselves.
Well, 4 hours post-partum came but the placenta did not, after much effort. We decided to call the non-emergency Ambulance number as we didn't feel things were an emergency. I was so far fine, no bleeding, feeling good and Miles was perfectly fine. The woman from the Ambulance call centre got in touch with the Hospital Midwives and we had a 3 way conversation with me explaining what was happening. They wanted me to come in (which was obviously the reason we were calling), but they all wanted to treat it as an emergency as they were worried about the worst case scenario, which I guess they need to be, which is placenta being adhered to the uterine wall and the possibility of me bleeding out. So, an Ambulance was sent to our house and we call upon our Doula to come back and stay with the children, they were all asleep and had no idea this was going on, just the way I wanted it.
The Ambulance officers arrived, we explain the issue as they hadn't really been briefed, they wait for us to grab our stuff and off we go. I felt and still feel, incredibly silly going in an Ambulance, when I was absolutely fine. I was just sitting up, chatting away to the Ambos, holding my squishy new babe, on the way to the Hospital with DH following behind in the Tarago.
We arrive at the Hospital and are greeted by two of the nicest Hospital Midwives I have ever encountered. They were lovely, full of respect, treated us exceptionally, because as some would be aware, a homebirthers (let alone a frebirthers!) worst fear is transferring and then been treated badly by Hospital staff. But this wasn't the case with us.
I was taken to a delivery room, the same one in which I had my first VBAC in actually, many memories in that room, where my details were confirmed and we discussed what the course of action would be. It was decided that a shot of syntocin and gentle traction would be the first course of action, in the hopes that the placenta was sitting there but being stubborn. No luck. With the traction, I started to bleed. The blood loss starts to become a little concerning, but the Midwives are very reluctant to opt for heading to theatre, given the lovely birth i've just had, so they call in the Ob and the Registrar. The registrar is there to put a canula in my arm for some IV antibiotics and as a precaution in case of needing a transfusion but also to allow easy access to do blood tests without me being a human pin cushion.
While I am distracted with what the registrar is doing, without ANY warning (though knowing it was going to happen, of course) the Ob shoves her hand in and starts pulling on the placenta. She catches me so off guard that I instantly yell out at her with "EXCUSE ME! SOME WARNING, PLEASE!!!" she looks rather shocked by reaction but little do I care. I just would have appreciated a quick "I'm doing the internal now" or something was all I ask, really. But alas, she saw the opportunity to "go for gold" while I was relaxed and distracted.
Anyway, a few minutes later and manual removal of the placenta is done (it was indeed caught in my cervix, so wasn't going to budge at home), the placenta is complete, the Ob appologises (though I doubt sincerely...) about catching me of gaurd and that she was getting really concerned about the blood loss and wanted to get the placenta out ASAP. I get that, I really do, but still...warning...
The Ob leaves, my canula is in, blood for haemoglobin levels are taken, IV antibiotics are in (as a precaution due to the manual removal and placent being there so long) and 1ltr fluids are put through as well. The two Midwives were incredibly appologetic about the Obs manner and they continued to be lovely. After all was done, we were left alone. DH slept, I adored my new squishy and waited. Bloods came back, fluids and antibiotics went through, I was given a script for oral antibiotics and told we were welcome to stay and rest as long as we wanted but were able to go home whenever we wanted, we left 30mins later.
So after 5 hours at the hospital (only 1hr of that was placenta related) we were home again without the children ever knowing. We filled in our Doula and she left for home (again), we staggered into bed around 5:30am, exhausted, but happy! Despite the post-partum transfer, it was still an amazingly awesome experience, a perfect ending to my birthing days.