Mellow Mummy: The Birth Story: In The Beginning... : Taking life as it comes...

Wednesday 7 April 2010

The Birth Story: In The Beginning...

Amy at ' And 1 more means 4 ' is hosting a birth story carnival to get her in the mood for number 5. I've been meaning to write mine for a while, so here it is, the story of how Lara came into the world.

It all started on a hot Tursday in June. I was already 6 days overdue. I had been off work for 3 weeks, I had entered EVERY competition on the entire internet. It was hot, my noisy neighbours were doing my nut in (a story for another day) and I was bored and fed up of waiting. I decided to do the thing my midwife had been going on about for months... I got down on my hands and knees and scrubbed the kitchen floor with a scourer. Within an hour I felt the first twinges!

That night, I went to bed with great expectations. I woke at 12.30 with the first contractions. Right from the start my contractions were about 5-6 minutes apart. I couldn't sleep so got up and started timing the contractions using ContractionMaster (they also do an Ipod app!). At about 4am the contractions started coming every 3 minutes, they weren't bad, just ehausting at that short an interval. We put the TENS machine on, bounced about the living room on the birthing ball and tried to take my mind off things.

At 11am on the Wednesday the contractions were strong and after a long bath and a few Paracetemol, the hospital suggested we come in. The drive to the hospital is 20 minutes and about half-way there, the contractions slowed down. The baby wasn't ready. The examination showed that I was barely dilated and by the time we left the hospital, the contractions had nearly stopped.

Obviously, as soon as I got home, things started happening again. I had another couple of long baths and more pills and at about 4 or 5pm I tried to have a sleep. I think I probably managed, through the help of the TENS machine numbing my mind and body, about an hour, maybe more of sleep. When I woke, the contractions were awesome. Mr B. cooked me a meal but I couldn't face eating. I gritted my teeth and tried to bare the pain but at about 9.30pm I rang the hospital and told them I couldn't wait any longer.

We arrived at the hospital in the dark and had to make our way around 2 million sides of a square through the night entrance to the delivery suite. When we arrived, there was no room at the inn. I was sent to the day care room for a 'sit down'... er, right. A miserable old bat (after lots of pestering from Mr. B.) brought me a canister of gas & air but it made me gag (reminded me too much of SCUBA diving, another story I will tell you at some point). We finally got a delivery suite at about 11.30pm and an examination showed I was over 7cm dilated. I asked to use the birthing pool and I was in the warm, relaxing water by midnight.

The birthing pool was great. I would highly recommend it and will certainly give it a go again next time. I am at my most relaxed in water and knew that I wanted to try a water birth. The labour progressed slowly but the water meant I was calm and relaxed. I don't think a single swear word passed my lips. At some point around 4am my waters broke (which is a weird sensation when you are yourself in water!). There was maconium in the discharge which (a) indicated that the baby was getting stressed and (b) meant that the pool had to be drained. I got out, lay down on a bed and realised quite how much pain-relief the water had been giving me... outside the water the pain was unbearable. An examination showed I was fully dilated and that the baby seemed fine so I was allowed to get back in the water and start pushing.

I have no idea how long I was pushing for but I know that I wasn't progressing (and that I was doing my own body a lot of damage in the process). The midwife noticed that the baby's heart rate was escalating and insisted I leave the pool. I was tired, exhausted and I wanted it all to be over. From this point onwards, it is all a bit of a blur, I was just so shattered.

I lay down on a bed because I didn't have the energy to do otherwise. I was hooked up to a heart-rate monitor and advised by a doctor to accept a Syntocinon drip to increase the contractions. Because I had not had any other pain relief, I was told that I was unlikely to be able to take the pain that the Syntocinon-induced contractions would bring so I was also offered an epidural. At this point I was so tired I really just wanted the whole thing to be finished. I took the drugs, had a great big needle inserted into my spine and tried to forgive myself for having not managed the water birth.

Myself and Mr. B. were left to have a sleep while the drugs took hold. When the midwife shift changed I was very emotional; the previous midwife gave me a kiss and wished me luck. The new midwife came in and cranked the drip up to 11. A little while later, the contractions started coming thick and strong but also the baby's heart rate went the roof.

The next few minutes were the most surreal of my life. A doctor examined me and found the baby to be wedged sideways in th ebirth canal. All hell broke loose. Doctors, midwives, anaesthetists, tea-ladies... everyone came into the room. I was handed sheet upon sheet of paper that read me my rights and asked for signatures. I was recommended for an emergency caesarean but thankfully the midwife managed to talk some sense into the doctor who agreed to attempt an assisted delivery first. The epidural was topped up, I was heaved onto a trolley and rushed into the operating theatre.

As the drugs took hold I started to shiver. The shakes were so severe that I was bouncing around on the table. I remember feeling very calm, in total contrast to Mr. B. who was panicking on my behalf. The drugs, the shakes, the bright lights, the total randomness of the whole situation in comparison to my birth plan... it all built up and I got the giggles!

The doctor attempted a vonteuse delivery. It failed. They then made an incision and attempted a forceps delivery – the last option before a c-section. After a lot of yanking, the baby finally came free! Lara was born at 8.59am on Thursday. At 8lb 12oz she was placed on my belly and the giggles turned to laughter, then to tears, and then more laughter.

The forceps delivery left a mark on Lara's face for a week or so, but it doesn't seem to have done her any lasting damage. The labour was hard work but I wouldn't have done it any differently other than waiting longer to attempt the initial hospital run. I just have to hope that if/when the next time comes, the labour will be shorter and easier.
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