The safe arrival of Owen.
With my first son 3 years ago I had a very prolonged labour with 45 hours of regular contractions and not progressing very far with dilation. My midwife decided to induce me and a further 7&1/2 hours later my baby arrived. He was stunned when he came out because I had opted for pain relieving drugs, the gas (which I hated cos they dosed it far too high), the pethadine injection and a fentanyl PCA.
When I discovered I was pregnant with my first baby to my new partner I wanted to try something different after reflecting on my previous birthing experience. I heard about hypnobirthing and our teacher through a friend and decided I was keen to learn more.
Braden and I had private classes in our own home and through these I learnt a lot of valuable information about birth, interventions and self hypnosis. I practiced my relaxation and breathing techniques regularly and listened to the affirmations.
At 32 weeks Owen was breech. After talking to our hypnobirthing teacher about his position I frequently used positive thinking and imagery of the correct fetal birthing position, and I am not sure whether they helped or not but he turned head down at 36 weeks.
The last few weeks of the pregnancy were a real struggle physically with symphysis pubis dysfunction, heart burn and swelling. I was emotionally exhausted and dreaded the thought of going past my due time and having a Christmas baby. I tried my best to relax and use my techniques to let go of all my anxieties but in the end up until the birth I was still quite anxious about everything.
The week before Owen arrived nothing was different. I had been trying all the natural induction methods that people claim can bring on labour, and had no signs whatsoever of impending labour.
Thursday the 12th I went to bed as usual (both annoyed and excited that my sister who was due a week after me was about to meet her baby via caesarian on Friday morning) and woke about 6 times overnight into Friday to use the toilet. On one occasion after my trip I felt a small trickle of liquid down my leg. I thought maybe my waters were starting to leak.
Friday nothing further happened and I thought perhaps I had been mistaken. We had a busy day during which I went to the maternity ward and met my gorgeous new nephew and joked about how I would just refuse to leave until my own baby was with us too. The kids came home from their other parents Friday afternoon and I told them we would take them up to the hospital Saturday to meet their new cousin. Little did I know they would be meeting BOTH babies Saturday!!
Friday night I went to bed exhausted, I woke at 1230 Saturday morning for the toilet and again noticed trickling fluid. This time it was a fair bit more. And I was getting tightenings along with it. I started to get excited. I couldn't sleep because the tightenings were fairly regular about 10 and some 5 minutes apart. I showered at 230 and by 3am I was leaking pink tinged fluid and knew this was the real deal.
I rang the maternity ward and told them what was happening and they said come in. Especially if my fluid was potentially leaking for 24 hours already. I called my mum who was staying at my sisters house at 330 and she was like why are you calling me at 330. It took her a while for realise what was going on.
She woke my brother in law and said sorry but she had to leave and babysit my kids in bed while I went to hospital. DF called his mum too and she came over and sat up with my mum in excitement and anticipation.
I spent a bit of time bouncing on my fit ball and packing my bags before heading in. I was very relaxed.
At 445am we arrived at the hospital aware that we would probably be there until baby came. We went straight into the assessment room where it was confirmed I was leaking amniotic fluid and I was given IV antibiotics since it had been a while since I thought it started.
We were laughing and having a great time and relaxed as anything. The staff didn't believe I was having any contractions which by now were coming at every 4 minutes. Prior to the antibiotics drip going up I had walked around the room to keep things moving along.
Just after shift change one of the day shift midwives came in and told me that we were moving to an actual labour delivery room. And that the dr said I was to be induced.
We settled into the new room where we would meet our little man and at 8am the dr came in and released the rest of my waters, it was like a fountain and she couldn't believe how much fluid there was. At this point the memory of my previous labour came rushing back and I had a bit of a break down and asked DF to call my mum and get her to come join us. His mum minded the kids.
Unfortunately for his big sister Owens timing to arrive wasn't great as she was to celebrate her 6th birthday party that afternoon and me and her dad and my mum were now unable to make it. Thankfully DF's mum was able to sort it all out and she had a great party from what I am told.
The first few hours after the dr broke my water and started the syntocinon drip I was relaxed and calm (once my mum arrived) and was able to talk and laugh between surges and breathe through them. From about 10am onward I was having 5 surges in 10 minutes. The intensity ramped up at around 1130 and I asked to try the gas for distraction at a very low dosage.
At this point they also stopped turning up the strength of the drip because I was progressing so well. I wasn't due an internal check until 2pm so didn't know what progress had been made but didn't care too much yet.
The male midwife in charge that shift taught me how to use it and make the most of it through each surge, and reminded me to relax and sink into the bed between them. This system was working really well for me. Having my own favourite pillow from home to sink into was bliss. I was totally in the zone and focused and took them on one by one.
Baby was not happy with me sitting on the bed and they kept making me turn onto my side to keep him happy. I did not want all this to turn into an emergency caesarian so I asked for the ctg monitor to be switched to a portable unit so i could get up.
I spent a fair bit of time standing with my hips swaying/rocking slowly and breathing on the gas and I also leaned over the bed doing the same thing. I could feel the intense pressure as my baby came down lower and lower.
I started to feel the urge to bear down a little and told the midwife. She was surprised that I was anywhere near that stage. By 1pm I was sure I was getting ready for the big finale since I had needed the gas turned up and was shaky and teary and getting hot flushes.
I wasn't exactly following my hypnobirthing plans at this stage everything was full on but I stayed in a zone through the surges best I could and kept reminding myself it was nearly over. I was asking for some stronger pain relief such as an epidural but was told I had to wait til they checked me at 2 to see if I could have anything.
The midwife finally decided to call in the dr at around 130 to check how dilated I was. Baby was also having some decel concerns with each surge and they wanted to put on a head clip monitor.
Upon inspection I was only at 8cm. I was shattered that I wasn't fully as I was really feeling the urge to bear down and get my baby out. I asked how long until they came to check me again and the midwife told me 2 hours. I stopped dead in my tracks focused and looked her in the eye and snapped at her "you are kidding me?" She then explained that that is their routine and the dr thought it was likely we would be seeing my babies head in 5 or 10 minutes.
They kept telling me "don't push don't push" and I tried my absolute hardest to focus and just breathe on the gas and resist the strong urge my baby and body had to get him out.
I chose to birth kneeling on the bed with the head up and my soft comfy pillow on the top to lean into. DF gave me ice water and wiped my face and neck with a cool washer between surges. It was lovely.
In the end he was not going to stop. He wanted to be here and my body took over, I could not control it and with immense pressure he forced his way down stretching the final 2cm as he went. I think it was only about 4 or 5 surges and he was out, a similar amount of time to that in which I birthed his brother.
I growled like an animal and screamed because it made me feel better. I was so focused on my body and my baby as he descended. I breathed beautifully apparently when it was time for his head to crown and his head came out nicely, mum said she could see him turning around and then with one big whoosh (between surges even) his body came sliding out so fast. I couldn't believe it was over.
The midwife passed him up through my legs and I just held him. Mum scored an awesome photo of me holding him with pure relief on my face. As I was turning around I had a haemorrhage and began to freak out thinking I would need surgery or a transfusion or something. It was like a horror movie there was blood everywhere.
DF cut the cord after it stopped pulsating and he had a hold of Owen while they checked me out and delivered the placenta. I had originally wanted no pitocin injection but at this stage wanted it over and done with. I had a secondary haemorrhage after the placenta came out but the midwife estimated the whole lot to be only 250mls and the dr said that was okay.
It looked like a lot more.
They checked my perineum for tears and I was prepared for some grave news as I had felt like I split like the Grand Canyon while he was crowning. I was absolutely surprised and glad to hear that I only had some grazing. Wow!
All in all my official labour time was 4 hours. From 10am to his time of birth at 1:56pm. He was definitely not waiting around for a 2pm check! He obviously didn't want the epidural and he didn't want a Caesar. He wanted to come naturally the way I had planned, in his own time.
Completely different birth experience to what I imagined but I am grateful for using only gas at 30%, for having a lovely intense but short labour and not tearing like my first. I may not have listened to my scripts and done things by the hypnobirthing book but I believe participating in the course and simply believing in myself helped me to achieve what I did.
Our midwife Belinda was there from start to finish and I was so happy I could deliver him before her shift ended because she was fabulous and deserved to take the credit!
Owen weighed 8lb 5oz the same as his big brother, 50cm long and a 35cm head circumference.
He is delightful and calm and we are over the moon!