A Labour of Love: A Birth Story

{This is a long and wordy post and if you are not really into reading birth stories then I suggest you skip this post - happy reading}

I have finally got a minute to sit down and tap out the birth story of our Little Miss. Now as I mentioned in this post our dear little girl was 9 days over due. To be honest I don't know how long she would of taken to decide to come but I remember waking up on the Friday the 7th of November thinking I cannot be do this (be pregnant) anymore. I had truly had enough and every night going to bed I wondered if I would be woken with a contraction. Yet every morning I still was here with a big belly, aching back and terrible shooting pains down my legs that left me unable to walk at times. I think she must of been pressing on a nerve in my pelvis as this all went away as soon as she was born. Oh and the constant.... are you in labour yet? questions were getting me down. My obstetrician had wanted to induce me on this particular Friday but stubborn old me said no. I wanted to come into labour naturally and to do the majority of my labouring at home, not in a sterile hospital but for some reason things were just not happening. I cajoled him into waiting to book me for an induction for the following Monday which he reluctantly agreed to do since my pregnancy had been complication free.

However I didn't foresee me mentally and physically giving in before that day. I was sure I would come into labour naturally as I did with J.D and he was 7 days overdue. Anyway so on that Friday morning as I mentioned above I woke up after a pretty good nights sleep thinking I don't want to be pregnant any more. It's time to do something about this. I rang my OB first thing asking if there was any possibility of him inducing me today. Knowing that I was already a good 3cm dilated, 50% effaced and he would only have to break my waters was why I gave in and decided to be induced. There was no way I would of booked myself in for an overnight stay to be stuck with gels and drips and all that messy stuff. The option of breaking my waters was something I could live with at this moment.

The hospital was unseasonal quiet for a Friday so I was given the all clear to pack my bags and come on in to the hospital at 10:30am. Hubby was outside playing around in the yard with J.D and working on our #projectfirepit when I came outside and announced we would need to leave soon to have this baby. My mum kindly came around to look after J.D while she was babysitting my other niece and nephew at the time so she had her hands full for the afternoon. I can't say walking out that door on that Friday morning that I felt relieved to finally be getting things going. I was feeling a little bit of trepidation at what the day might bring and having to face labouring all over again was a bit more than I could get my head around in that moment. I think having your second child you know a little too much.There is not that sense of naivety as you had with your first. You know it hurts...... a lot!

Thankfully hubby and I had a quiet car ride to the hospital together and it allowed me to get my thoughts together and prepare myself for what lay ahead. We arrived at the labour ward and were ushered into a room to take a CTG of bub's heartbeat to make sure everything was good before I was induced. Once that was finished we were ushered into our labour suite ( I had mild heart palpitations entering this room) and were given lunch from the hospital menu. The room we were in a had a little private kitchenette and dining table (not sure why) off to the side and we sat together and ate lunch in peace and quiet while we waited for my OB to come over from his office to induce me. It was kind of surreal sitting eating lunch without a demanding toddler knowing I would be in a world of pain in a matter of a few hours. It was time I needed though to talk to hubby and relax and prepare myself for what lay ahead. In my mind I wanted to try and do this naturally and without any further interventions. I had been reading a lot of birth stories, watching one born every minute and doing a bit of research about the process of labour. It was now or never to try this whole natural thing - could I do it.... only time would tell.

Soon after we finished lunch my OB waltzed in and it was game time. He broke my waters at 12.35pm after a little difficulty trying to break the bag. He asked me if I ate a lot of iron i.e. it was as hard as metal - it took me a second to get his joke. Not really funny but I managed a little ha ha. He wished me luck and said he would see me soon.  I said to hubby after he had left that I wanted to have this baby by dinner time! Only time would tell. After cleaning up after the gush from the waters the midwife on duty said we could go for a walk around the ward and pop back in after an hour to check baby's heartbeat. Now I was ready to get out of the labour ward by that time because I was feeling over the sterile environment. I wasn't sure if we were allowed but we snuck out of the hospital and walked around the gardens outside and enjoyed the sunny day. I got my first contraction at 1:23pm as we were meandering around the gardens. We stayed outside in the gardens until the hour mark was up by which time I had another 2 or so contractions coming about every 10 minutes. We popped back into our suite and the babies heartbeat was monitored again for 10 minutes or so. By this time there was a changeover of midwives and we were introduced to Lulu. She was to be an answer to prayer and one of the best midwives I had in labour. She quizzed me as to what I wanted in this labour and how I wanted to go about it. I expressed my desire for a natural birth but wasn't sure if I could do it. She handed me the best piece of equipment - a TENS machine. This little machine was my saving grace in the latter stages of labouring.

Labouring in the hospital garden!

After being hooked up with the TENS machine we were then given more time to go for a walk and again to pop back in at the hour mark. I knew I didn't want to labour in this room so we snuck back into the gardens and found a nice quiet, shady spot where I started doing some laps around the gardens while hubby timed my contractions. I am sure the gardener was a little amused watching me walk around the garden and stop and breathe through a contraction every known and again. Hey if I couldn't choose to labour at home then I could at least labour somewhere of my choice. ha. By the end of the hour in the garden my contractions were coming ever 3-4 minutes lasting about 45 seconds to a minute long. We made our way back to the labour ward at about 4pm for another check. Once we arrived back to our suite and bubs heartbeat was checked out things started to get more intense. I laboured for a while standing up leaning over a gym ball on the hospital bed, swaying my hips through each contraction. I knew I wouldn't be making my way out to the garden again.

Once I knew things were getting serious I hopped into a hospital gown and crawled up onto the hospital bed and lay on top of a beanbag moaning and groaning through each contraction. At this point the TENS machine was doing brilliantly and as things got more intense I was able to increase the output of the machine to counteract each contraction. It also had a little boost button that you pushed at the height of a contraction to give a little more oomph. Best.Thing.Ever. During each contraction my midwife Lulu was applying counter pressure to my lower back as hubby held my hand or rubbed my upper back. This continued for who knows how long. Things get a little hazy in labour. Lulu started me on some gas at some point and helped me breathe through each contraction with it. I really don't love the gas but it did help take the edge of the pain. I think at one point when the contractions were coming hard and fast and I guess I was entering transition I remember feebly saying, "I'm not sure I can do this and is it to late for an epidural?". Lulu kind of smiled and said she would have to check me. It seemed like to much effort for me to turn over to be checked and I knew in my mind I must be entering transition to ask for this. I think another contraction hit before I could give her an answer and it never entered my mind again to follow up with it.

I am thankful that my labour progressed quite quickly. I remember glancing across to a clock and seeing the time was 5:18pm and thinking I might just have this baby by dinner time. I think things ramped up to a whole new level at that point and it's a bit of a hazy mess in my brain between that time and when Lulu asked me to lie on my back so she could check how far I had progressed. I think I had started feeling pressure in my backside and she obviously could tell the signs I was nearly ready to deliver this baby. She declared I was 10cm dilated and ready to push. She also carefully said to me that I would now be going to feel a lot of pressure when I start pushing. "Great" I thought! I remember groggily glancing over to hubby and happily saying "I did it, I made it to 10cm"! Wahoo. My OB waltzed in at this point ready to deliver this baby. Little did I know the worst was yet to come.

Can I just say now that I've read a lot of birth stories and a lot people say that pushing is the best part of labour..... I disagree. As hard as labouring is the last 15-20 minutes were the worst for me. The pressure was overwhelming and the "ring of fire" was really intense. I felt sorry for the other lady labouring in the room next to me. I may of got a little vocal at time during delivery. It took me a few minutes to get my head around the pain and pressure I was feeling and may of freaked a bit at one point thinking I couldn't do this as it hurt way to much. After feebly pushing a few times I pulled myself together and got down to business and stopped being so vocal and gave it my all. They had positioned a mirror at the end of the bed for me but I had my eyes closed most of the time and looking down there was a little much at times seeing everything "bulging". After one intense contraction and a huge push (and slight yell) from me I delivered her head. I wasn't looking at this point but got lots of comments on how much hair baby had. I was to busy panting as my OB instructed me as we delivered her shoulders with a few small pushes. After one small push I delivered the rest of her at 5:45pm - just in time for dinner! My OB handed her to me still attached to the umbilical cord and I lifted her up trying to decipher what was in between her legs. The umbilical cord was in between her legs and I was still a bit out of it from labour. After staring at it for a few seconds and it registering I delightfully announced we had a GIRL! I was shocked and I think hubby was as well. We were totally expecting a boy but were so stoked with this precious gift we had received. She snuggled in on my chest and fed for over an hour while I delivered the placenta and was stitched up. Hubby and I delighted in our little girl until it was time for me to have a shower and clean up.

I was so proud of myself that I had achieved my goal of achieving a natural labour. I found recovery straight after labour was so much quicker for me not having an epidural (I tend to vomit quite a bit afterwards) and I was able to walk out of the delivery room proudly pushing my baby in her little hospital cradle to my hospital room. I wanted to do a silent fist pump to myself for my achievement. Now I don't write that to rub it in any one's face. It was just a personal achievement for me to be able to carry through something I had researched, thought about, visualized and prayed about for many many months. I don't have control over conceiving our children naturally but being able to have a choice about how I deliver them is freeing for me.

Little Miss is now 3 weeks old and coming along nicely. She is feeding really well and is much quicker than J.D was. It takes her about 20-30 minutes to feed where as he was about and hour. She is a generally happy baby during the day and is still in the sleepy stage of newborn life. Afternoons and evenings are dicey and she can be very unsettled from around 5pm to 9:30pm. There are some nights she cries for hours which is a little hard to handle after a long and tiring day. J.D is just smitten with his little sister and wants to give her kisses all day. I am trying to adjust to life with a newborn again and the fatigue and exhaustion that goes with that. Hubby went back to work this week so real life with two kids has become a reality for me and I am trying to find the new normal juggling two. I'm not sure I've got a handle on it yet but as time goes by I am sure I will get there.

Any advice you can give to a new mumma of two?



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