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Birth Story: “I put my chin down to my chest, and three contractions later she was out”

birthstory-atroposOn Friday, September 14, I went to my hospital for a check-up as my little girl hadn’t moved much. I was overdue, by my ovulation date and early ultrasound she was due on the 9th, by last menstrual period due the 11th. At a scan at 34 weeks I was told she was measuring big, over two weeks ahead, so I was pretty scared about going over.

I kept trying to tell the midwives this but not many of them seemed concerned. Also, bub was posterior. A visit to the chiropractor saw her turn into a better position but four days later she was posterior again.

At this hospital check-up the cardiotocography (CTG) showed all was fine. A quick ultrasound showed plenty of fluids. I tried again to articulate my fear of having a huge baby and an induction – meaning monitoring, reduced mobility and being confined to a bed, which is not good for posterior labour and also not great for the symphysis pubic dysfunction (SPD) I’d been battling. In trying to tell the midwife, I burst into tears, mainly of frustration and sheer tiredness – sleep had become a thing of the past! She was lovely, sat me down in a private room for a chat, got a doctor in to see me and prescribe some painkillers for the SPD and organised the same doctor to do a membrane sweep to hopefully start things off.

The doctor said my cervix was still posterior and not thinned out, only maybe 1 cm dilated. I was a wee bit devastated. My husband and I left the hospital to get some lunch, and while out, I had a few short, hard pains.

We went home and I continued to get these pains with no regular pattern throughout the night. Three or four times during the night, the pain woke me up, but I was able to drift off again (thank you Panadeine Forte!)

The next morning at around 7, the pains were coming about every 20 minutes or so. I figured I was in for a long day so around 9 we packed the kids off to the neighbour’s house (lucky my best friend lives next door!). We spent the day pacing the street and kneeling leaned over the fit-ball. There were a couple of times the pains seemed to stop for an hour, then they’d be back, but I was able to rest a bit. I called the hospital around 3, they seemed to think I was okay to stay home, so I did. What was bugging me was I wasn’t sure if this was it or not! With my first I’d been induced so had no idea what natural labour started like! By about 7 pm we decided to go in and get checked out as things were getting more uncomfortable. Contractions were about 3-4 minutes apart. By the time we made the short trip to hospital, the crushing pains in my back had started.

An internal showed I was about 3 cm. While we were there, the contractions slowed down, coming every 6-7 minutes! We opted to go home. The midwife told me to eat some dinner and hop into the bath, while reassuring me that yes, it WAS happening, but I might not have baby till the following morning sometime.

We came home and I spent half an hour or so in the bath, which frustrated me as I couldn’t have it anywhere near as hot as I wanted it! My husband defrosted some leftover risotto in the meantime and then helped me out of the tub. The water birth I had thought I wanted didn’t seem like such a good idea any more for some reason!

I managed to eat a bit, then tried to lie on my side and doze between contractions. Suddenly they seemed to be coming on top of each other and the crushing pain in my back was getting too hard to bear. I kept needing to wee, and walking to the toilet was getting terribly hard. Sitting on the toilet felt like I was being punched in the back it was agonizing, and I was starting to remember the posterior labour I went through ten years before this one – but this one seemed a lot worse! My whole pelvis was sore but my lower back felt like it was being punched with each contraction. I told my husband he had to take me to the hospital. I told him I wanted an epidural or whatever else they could give me; I was really feeling panicked. He phoned the hospital and we left. It was 10:10 pm. The short drive was awful on my poor back! We staggered up towards the main entry and a kind security guard unlocked it for us, even offering me a wheelchair, but I couldn’t face the idea of sitting down!

At the birth suite we were met by our midwife, Vanessa. She did a CTG and as with every other one we had had, baby was very active! I was so uncomfortable and desperate to get off my back! Then came the internal. It was very uncomfortable. Vanessa thought I was about 5-6 cm but needed a second opinion as my cervix was still not quite anterior. A senior midwife called Pam came and introduced herself. She examined me and said I was 7 cm and baby was still very posterior. She advised me to get into the shower and rock my hips to try to turn baby and to take the pressure off my back. At 11 pm I did just that. Within 5 minutes I was telling my husband to ring the bell for the midwives – I wanted to push!

I came out, dried off, and hopped on the bed, kneeling and leaning over the back for a few pushes before lying down for yet another internal to make sure I was fully dilated. It’s common to feel pushy before 10 cm with a posterior bub apparently.

Well, I was indeed 10 cm, and bub was still posterior. I wasn’t comfortable kneeling, and told my husband I couldn’t do it anymore. He said of course I could – I remember saying “I know I can, I just don’t want to!”

While on my knees my waters had broken, and after the internal another pocket broke. I was sort of semi-reclined, balanced on my left hip and the water shot out with a pop. I remember asking my husband if I might have popped the baby somehow – I was pretty delirious by then!

I had asked about an epidural, but the midwife sort of said “hmmm we’ll see…” knowing there wasn’t any time for that. I’d been pushing for about 40 minutes when Vanessa and Pam convinced me to lie on my left side. Pam explained that this might turn the baby, and she was right. She also made me drink her “magic potion” which I complained about – gross! I later found out it was apple juice and sugar to give me a boost as I was tiring. After bub turned, Vanessa noticed the waters were meconium stained and tried to get a CTG on bub but she was too low. They decided to put a trace on her scalp. They did explain it to me but I was too out of it.

Minutes later I heard the words “tachycardia” and “doctor”. To my delirious mind I deduced that bub was distressed and a doctor was coming armed with forceps and scissors! They tried to assure me bub was okay, but I had decided I was NOT going to have her dragged out of me! (little did I know the doctor was just being called as a precaution to check on bub once born!)

It had been 20 minutes since bub turned and I decided then and there it was time! Until then I’d tried to be conscious of pushing with my core only, not my arms or face, but I wanted my daughter born ASAP before any intervention was used. I put my chin down to my chest, my husband and Pam grabbed a leg each, and two contractions later, my husband told me he could see her eyes and nose! The pain was pretty awful but this helped me push into it rather than hold back. I pushed so hard I actually burst blood vessels all along my jawline and around my eyes, so was left with little purple spots all over my face for a few days! I could hear the midwives talking and Pam giving instructions but I didn’t register what was said. I was later told they were helping her negotiate her way out as she was born with one hand up in front of her face – ouch! On the third contraction she was out, up on my chest. She was covered in the usual goop and meconium too – we were a mess!

The doctor arrived in time to see her minutes old. Little Bennie Grace had arrived! We waited for her cord to stop pulsing before my proud husband cut it. Her APGAR scores were 9 and 9 and she weighed in at 4.44 kg (9 pounds 12oz) and was 58 cm long with a head circumference of 37 cm. I had grazing but no tearing. My husband and I are so happy to have completed our blended family and the kids are totally smitten by their new baby sister!

Thanks to Bub Hub member Atropos for sharing her incredible birth story with us.
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