Well, it’s hard to believe that three weeks have already gone by since my baby was born! I was 40+3 and had been feeling so tired for the past couple of weeks, not to mention the pain in my pelvis and the stretching of my lower abs was really uncomfortable. I had an appointment with my OB at 39+6 and he said I was 2-3cm dilated and my cervix was very soft, but still long. He did a stretch and sweep, which unfortunately didn’t do much apart from causing me to start losing my plug. But said he thought I’d have my baby by the weekend, which was good, because he was rostered on at the hospital that weekend.
Anyway, Saturday came and went with nothing really happening apart from losing a bit more of my plug, but Sunday I had a couple of ouchie tightenings while doing the grocery shopping, and contractions came and went very irregularly and spaced between 15 minutes and a couple of hours apart throughout the day. At about 6:30 that night they started coming every 15 minutes or so. I still hadn’t told DH that I’d been getting contractions, I figured it was going to be a long night and he was really tired. So I got dinner ready, put DD to bed and had DH put the heatpack on my back while I bounced on the fitball. He thought I was just having the usual back pain.
I convinced DH to go to bed fairly early because he was tired, so he was in bed by 8:30 or so. He was sleeping on a mattress on the floor of the nursery because in the last couple of weeks we’d been waking each other up so much (me getting up to pee, and then him with his tossing and turning trying to get back to sleep). I tried to sleep but it wasn’t really happening, the contractions were all in my back and pretty painful. They were getting more regular so at about 11:30 I went to wake up DH. He jumped out of bed like he’d been electrocuted when I opened the door to his room . I told him to calm down (he then got all confused when I said that because he thought I wasn’t in labour after all) and told him I was going to get in the shower, would he mind coming and timing my contractions.
Contractions were coming between 3 and 5 minutes for the next hour or so as I moved from the shower to the bath. I started leaking a pale pink fluid that I thought might be a slow leak of my waters, so we called the hospital to see what we should do. They asked us to come in asap to get checked out just in case. That was what I’d worried they would say, and I was a bit disappointed because I felt like I could still stay home a bit longer and hadn’t wanted to go to the hospital early this time. Anyway, we called my mum and she came down to look after DD, while we were waiting for her contractions were getting more painful, but I was still able to breathe through them. The trip to the hospital was quick, less than 10 minutes and we got there about 1am. I had two pretty painful contractions in the 50m walk from the carpark to the emergency entrance at the hospital, and the admitting nurse decided to send me up to the labour ward in a wheelchair because it was quite a walk. That was a fun ride!
The midwife looking after me on the labour ward was the same one that I had when I first got to the hospital with DD, Jenny, and she was lovely. She left me in my room for half an hour or so to settle in then came in to do some obs. Contractions were nice and regular and not too painful but I was still only about 3cm dilated. I walked around the room, breathing through contractions and swaying my hips. Walking made the contractions much stronger and more regular, so I was kind of trying not to do too much of it Jenny offered me gas and I tried it for a dozen or so contractions but I felt like I couldn’t get enough breath, so I stopped using it. Moving, deep breathing, rocking and shaking my hands seemed to dissipate the pain better.
I got into the shower and then my contractions really started to ramp up. I was kneeling on the floor of the shower (which was really hard on my poor knees – I didn’t see the foam pads they had for that purpose until I got out!) and groaning and moaning and rocking my hips and swaying. I couldn’t stand it any longer and asked them to organise an epidural. I had to get out of the shower and up onto the bed for an exam, climbing onto the bed and laying still was awful! I was 6cm, so she went and called the anaesthetist, he was pretty quick and arrived by 3:30, in the meantime I stood by the bed and just rocked and moaned through contractions. Then I had to get back up on the bed.
This time it was absolute torture, I was basically screaming from the pain, and bloody Jenny just kept telling me to breath. I know I was getting panicky by then, the pain made me want to run, move, anything to get away from it, so having to sit up on the bed while they prepped me for the epidural intensified everything. I can’t even describe how painful it was. I’ve never broken a bone or had major pain like that. Migraines are different, more a dull throbbing pain. This pain seemed to take over my whole body and make it feel like it was being wrenched apart (not to scare anyone or anything!). I was furiously shaking my hands and feet trying to shake the pain off through the contractions, luckily I think I only had 5 contractions while on the bed before he was done with the epidural.
And it was an amazing epidural! I think I love the anaesthetist a little bit now. He was really thorough, testing with an iceblock where I could feel and where I couldn’t etc, and I was only numb from just below my ribs to the tops of my thighs basically, so I could still move my legs and roll over etc, it was great. It took about 3-4 contractions to fully kick in and then I was happy. I got the shakes for a few minutes, I think I was in shock a little bit after all the pain! After he left, the Jenny broke my waters. It flooded the bed and ran off onto the floor, it was amazing how much there was! It was then that she discovered that my baby was posterior, which is why I was in so much pain. Bub had been anterior all the way through my pregnancy, so it must have rolled over sometime since my last OB visit.
It was about 4:30 by then, and although I was really tired, I couldn’t sleep. The midwives had me on my side, rotating from side to side, and if I lay with my legs together every time I had a contraction I got intense pressure in my pelvis. It felt like the baby was trying to move down and didn’t have the room with my legs shut, so I was dozing between contractions with my upper leg propped up.
At 6:30 my OB did his morning rounds. He did an internal and found I was 8-9cm dilated, which was great, but bub was still posterior. Jenny also went off duty then and the new midwife Bernie came on. She got me to roll over so that I was resting half on my stomach, half on my side, in an attempt to get bub to turn back into an anterior position. About an hour and a half later I started feeling something moving in my vagina, and told Bernie. So felt my perineum and said she couldn’t feel bubs head, and kind of made out I couldn’t have felt anything because of the epidural anyway. But I could definitely feel movement! Now I think it was the cord for the scalp monitor moving as bub turned around.
At about 8:15 my OB called from his offices to say he was coming over to the hospital to do a Caesar, and for Bernie to start me pushing. I rolled over onto my back but baby’s heartrate dropped to basically nothing, so she quickly had me lay on my side. She gave me an exam to see if I was dilated enough and bub was right there! She asked me to give a push, and I pushed twice with a contraction. I was trying to ‘breathe’ baby out with my contractions, rather than holding my breath and push. Still, she was surprised that she could see baby’s head when I pushed. She rang my OB in surgery and told him she could see the head when I pushed, but that I wasn’t pushing very effectively. She got off the phone and looked me in the eyes and said ‘if you want to get this baby out yourself, you have to start pushing properly.’
Well, I didn’t want to have another vacuum extraction if I could help it! So, I planted one foot in the rung on the side of the bed, one on Bernie’s hip (I was still laying mostly on my side), grabbed the bedrail with one hand and DH’s hand with the other and pushed for all my worth. I think three pushes and bub was crowning so Bernie told me to stop. I reached down and felt a head full of hair and a wrinkly little scalp, all slimy and gross! Baby’s head came out all on its own, without me pushing, and then once the head was out, one more push and I had my baby, born at 8:23am. Bernie placed bub in my arms and I looked down to see it was another girl!! I had planned for DH to tell me the sex, but I was too excited to wait for him! She was crying and crying, so different from the quiet, shocked baby I had with DD1! I was so happy, and DH had a smile from ear to ear Bernie placed a blanket over us and tied off the cord and was giving me the syntocin shot just as my OB walked through the door. He delivered the placenta, which all went perfectly this time, and left again! So much for all those fees we paid him!!
It was so nice to have plenty of skin to skin with her this time around. Last time I had a quick hold before they took DD1 off to be examined by the paed (because she was a vacuum extraction), but this time I held her for about an hour and got to get her to latch onto the boob and have a little feed before she was taken to be weighed and measured. 8 lb 10oz (3.92kg) exactly the same as DD1 was, which surprised both DH and me, because she looked so tiny! I guess you just forget, even in that short time since DD1 was born. 52.5cm long and 35.5cm head circumference, so just a couple of cm shorter than DD1. I got her back, had a few more cuddles and a paed came to check her over, just a routine check, and she was all perfect!
It took us 3 days to finally decide on a name for her (I think everyone was getting a bit impatient with us!). DH and I debated it over so many times, I loved Sophie but DH didn’t, and she was almost called Zara, but eventually we went back to one of our original favourites, Lucy. Her middle name is Jane, named after my sister who was killed in February this year. I know she will grow up to be just as beautiful and kind as her namesake
I was so glad that this time things had gone so smoothly. I supposed after DD we went into it expecting anything really to happen, so to have such an uneventful birth was wonderful! I felt great afterwards, and was up and about by lunch time. The recovery has been so much easier and I suppose being our second baby we knew what we were in for in regards to sleep and feeding etc, which has made everything run much more smoothly!She is settling in well, feeding beautifully and putting on lots of weight. The only thing I was 'conflicted' about was that she was born on my father's birthday. He passed away when I was 18, and I didn't want her to come that day (though as soon as I found out my due date I told everyone I was sure that was what would happen). I wanted her birthday to be about her, not about my dad, but I guess it just wasn't meant to be that way, and I'm ok with it now. DD1 absolutely adores her and just wants to cuddle and hold her all the time, but she doesn’t really understand that she has to be gentle! I guess Lucy will grow up to be one tough kid! I’m so happy to have a wonderful family of four, and I can’t wait to watch Lucy grow up!