Katelyn was born 1:28am Friday 9th of March.
Be warned - from first contraction to baby out was about 64 hours so this is a LONG story. Plus I'm a bit of an over sharer.
Tuesday 6th of March around 9am I realised I was having tightenings about every half an hour. I spent the day cleaning to pass the time. Tightenings were 10-15 minutes through the night, enough I was dozing between but sleep wasn't easy until early in the morning contractions all but stopped for a few hours.
Wednesday was much the same as Tuesday. Patches of every 10 minutes, but mostly 20odd minutes between and I was just breathing through them. Not too intense. Just annoying.
Wednesday night got intense - but again woke with no baby!
Thursday I was fed up, we walked (slowly) to the shops. I then spent the day bouncing & doing squats on the fit ball!!! I was freaking over it!!!
Around 3pm I called my mum casually - like 'no rush just whenever your ready maybe could you think about heading over to take Jasper for the night'
An hour and a half later I called demanding to know where she was?!? She was there in 10 minutes. I'd gone from contractions every 10 minutes to contractions every 3 minutes in the space of half an hour.
DF didn't quite grasp the rush, so he still had things he wanted to find, he wanted to have a shower (because I'd not been in pre-labour for 2 days and he'd had heaps of warning!!!) so also then go to KFC to pick up take away for his dinner. I calmly waited, contractions were pretty bearable - like couldn't talk and swaying foot to foot during them - but I wasn't too worried though, I didn't feel like baby was in any kind of hurry, just I was in pain.
Got to hospital around 6pm & met the best midwife ever, she told me i was 5cms dilated and I couldn't have hoped for a better MW. She was from new Zealand, had only been in the country a month & only worked in stupid Australian hospitals a fortnight. She was perfect. I consented to a cannula (needle in my hand) I begrudgingly consented to continual fetal monitoring. The MW was great though, I moved around, laid down, if my position meant the monitor lost contact she didn't bother me to move it, she just left me alone when I wanted to be left alone and for the first hour that's pretty much what I wanted. I stood in the corner of the room - there was some minor drama at home with jasper & DF had to leave, so I kinda 'hid' in the corner of the room pretty much facing the wall till he got back.
But I did cheer up after a bit, contractions were intense, but between contractions I was laughing, talking, getting to know the MW. At around 9:30ish she checked my progress because she noticed I was starting to push down during contractions. I was 8cms!
The MW left the room and came back and said she wished she hadn't have gone out. The birthing ward was full - literally full - they were transferring mothers to tweed & logan. Because I'd been taking up space for all of 3.5 hours 'they' wanted the MW to break my waters. All I did was wince and shake my head and the MW said 'so you're refusing?' I nodded, she said 'so I'll write down you refused, I can't make you if you don't want to' with a bit of a cheeky smile and we went back to chatting and being relaxed.
She started though keeping the monitor on me and adjusting it if it came off and around 10ish pm she told me she'd been watching for a while, babies heart rate was having low patches. If she kept doing it we might have a problem. In my head I started freaking, I'd gotten to 8cms with Jasper, I started thinking what if I have another csection at 8cms. I'd have done anything though to get baby out safely. But at that point I started watching the monitor as closely as the MW was. Watching babies heart rate rising and falling. I wish now I hadnt had continual monitoring in a way - absolutely nothing was wrong, I do think that just added stress that I didn't need. At one point the monitor dropped to something REALLY low and the midwife came over to me with the air of someone trying to maintain calm but all it was was the monitor had slipped and was picking up MY heart rate, not babies, so of course it was really low (for a baby - I bet it was pretty high for an adult under the circumstances!!!)
At 11pm there was a shift change - which freaked me out, I didn't want to lose the person I trusted with my baby possibly having trouble and people outside who wanted to put my baby at unnecessary risk purely because I was taking too long for THEM. It wasn't good.
I also wanted to punch the new MW on sight. I was on my knees beside the bed, feeling very 'pushy' during contraction, and she comes in, puts her hands on my shoulders and tells me I'm doing amazing - How dare she tell me I'm doing amazing?!? She doesn't know me!!! (lol - rational o was not)
She also asked if she could bring a male student in. All I could think was I'm about to push a baby out, I'm barely okay with ME seeing that let alone her & another total stranger, so I declined. Fortunately there was no issue with me saying no.
From there it all went a bit wonky. I was in SO much more pain after the shift change I was almost screaming during contractions and sobbing between. The pain was unbearable and I was totally falling apart. My spirit was breaking. At one point the new MW told me I had to calm down because now instead of low heart rate babies heart rate was spiking (now too huh rather than too low!) - I was stressing out my baby. (because being told THAT was a good way to make me calm down?!?)
I begged for drugs. Anything. They told me I couldn't have pethadine as it was too late in labour. I could have gas but it was making me want to throw up. Because babies head was stuck against my spine (hence the unbearable pain) if I had an epidural and laid on my back I could kiss my VBAC goodbye. The offered me water injections into my back - they said they might help block the pain. They warned me 3 times it would hurt a lot - I didn't care at that point.... Until i screamed the freaking hospital down when they did it! Full open lung scream. Mostly blindly painful moment of my life - BUT 5 minutes later the pain was so so much less when the MW stepped out for a minute I giggled to DF in embarrassment that I'd screamed so loudly. The MW then broke my waters because it was about midnight and I was STILL 8cms & we needed to move things along. I was okay with it then, I was over waiting for some real action.
Shortly after I started insisting I needed to go to the bathroom. The MW kept telling me I couldn't stay on the toilet pushing for too long. I was SURE I needed to poo though. For the next hour I went back and forth to the toilet totally sure I needed to poo. Until the MW told me I wasn't allowed to go to the toilet again, that I didn't need to go - that I needed to push out my baby.
Once I started pushing, between contractions I was begging to go to the toilet, apologising to DF if I pooed myself, and crying that I didn't want to poo. I made DF stay on the other side of the bed while i knelt on the floor leaning on the bed sucking on gas, so if I did poo he wouldnt see. The MW was still trying to convince me that I REALLY was pushing a baby! I think she was getting pretty exasperated with me by that point for not believing that the feeling of wanting to push is the same as wanting to poo.
Eventually I had to accept if it happened it happened. I started to really push - part of me thinking fine I'll poo on the floor JUST to be able to say 'see! I told you so!' but as soon as I pushed without holding back I felt babies head move down hard and then I absolutely knew I was having a baby. I stopped crying and begging and became very focused at that stage. Very calm. My pain was so much less once I felt sure I was moving forward. And no longer doubting that I would be birthing naturally. I knew at that stage no matter what I was having my VBAC.
I was probably pushing for 30 minutes in total (including all my half hearted pushing fussing about not wanting to poop) I remember saying to DF how stupid movies are where women scream once, push once and pop out comes a baby.
She crowned about 3-4 times (honestly maybe more) The MW told me I was pushing perfectly, very controlled, very steady. She told me she might tell me to stop pushing and just breath if she thinks I'll tear. On about the 3rd time her head started coming I put my hand down and felt hair (NOT my own, lol) - as the contraction stopped my baby slipped back and i yelled 'no!' and the next contraction I pushed with everything I had and the MW told me just breath, breath and hold it but I could not have her slip back inside me again so I kept pushing thinking I couldn't give a flying-F if I tore at that point. Baby was coming NOW.
Weirdest sensation Ever - it didn't hurt, which really shocked me, pushing her out didn't hurt, I was just so excited to feel her coming through knowing she REALLY was coming. Then there was a weird *pop* feeling and the MW said 'wow! There's an arm!' I looked down and there's a head, arm and half a shoulder started coming through! Such an amazing thing to see! One more push and my beautiful girl came out of me. I put my hands down and demanded 'my baby!' She'd slipped behind me so the MW handed her up to me.
I lifted her onto me and just was the absolute happiest I've ever been in my whole life. Everything that had happened was instantly forgotten. I was just as vocal as id been in labour - i couldn't stop talking to her and telling her how beautiful she was. I was beyond ecstatic. There was just nothing in the world but her in that moment. She was amazing. She cried and cried and cried. But I was just so excited. I stayed on my knees until they got me a birthing chair to deliver the placenta, I breast fed her while we waited for the placenta, while she was still attached to the cord. After half an hour though I was so exhausted I couldn't sit anymore, so they cut the cord (it had definitely finished pulsating) I had the synto injection and the MW had to help me deliver the placenta. Which was totally fine. I asked to see the placenta but the moment I saw it I was like 'yeah okay cool' (Ick!) but DF was totally fascinated by it and asked her heaps of questions. It was pretty funny seeing as he got squeamish about conversations earlier on about discharge etc but a whole bloody organ comes out of my vagina that's super cool!
Afterwards the gyno came in to inspect the damage. I was so sure there would be none because there was no pain, not when she'd come out and not at the time, but to my surprise I had 2nd deg tear, and two smaller tears. Only 2 required stitches. I'd rather push out a baby 6 times than be stitched up again! I'm sure she crocheted me a new vagina! It took SO long.
So even though baby girl was born at 1:28 by the time I was finally able to crawl into bed with my angel it was about 4:30-5am.
It was long and exhausting. I don't plan to EVER do it again. I really really couldn't do it again. So many times I wanted to just quit. It wasn't traumatic like Jasper's birth, but I just couldn't do it again.
But it was absolutely worth every moment for my beautiful girl. She's the most divine little girl. I'm so very in love. Jasper's pretty in love too!
And The best part of having a vaginal birth though was getting up afterwards having a shower and feeling like a whole person straight away. A sore and tired person - but feeling complete and able. I was a bit faint walking to maternity ward - but I WALKED! When she was 3 days old I had her tucked on one arm breast feeding while showering jasper & washing his hair! I realised in that moment when Jasper was 3 days old I couldn't take care of MYSELF and there I was a person, a woman, a mother - taking care of myself and my children. I cooked dinner my first night home. I hung out washing. I was totally whole. Best thing ever.
Anyhoo that's my very long birth story. Congratulations for reading this far!