Everyone loves a good birth story so here is mine. In true style of all things that I do, it is incredibly late!
|This bump is huge!
Baby Ethan, our youngest son, was born just before Halloween last year, via emergency c-section. It seems like with each child I have the labour gets a bit more dramatic and risky. I can only dream of the calm births with breathing techniques and the warmth of a birthing pool and steady build of contractions. I am actually laughing at the thought of this as 1) is this real? and 2) I am not that bloody lucky if it is a real thing! I haven’t really written a birth story before and now I think of it I don’t think I have actually read one either, so we will see how we go.
I was admitted for a planned induction of labour at 38+3 as I have a pre-existing heart condition that was getting progressively worse as I neared the end of my pregnancy. I was of course overjoyed as I was so uncomfortable, my health was suffering and after two miscarriages in a row, it felt like a miracle to carry a baby this far to term again and I just wanted him in my arms. We knew we were having a little boy as our plan to keep it a surprise lasted until we were about 3 minutes into our anomaly scan at 20 weeks!
So quite soon after our arrival I was given a propess to start labour. About 6 hours after having it in, I was getting what I thought were contractions and with this being my fourth labour you’d think I would know the difference! They turned out to be ‘prostin pains’ which hurt like hell and progress you 0% in your labour. Fast forward 24 hours from my arrival in hospital and absolutely nothing had happened, propess was removed and I was to wait to go down to labour suite and have my waters broken, but they were closed as they were full. So we waited around for a bit, went for a walk, walked lots of stairs to try and help things along. Nothing.
We eventually went down to labour suite at around 9pm and by 10pm my waters were broken and then began the wait for something to happen. Again nothing did so I was given the syntocin drip to get things moving. Slowly but surely the contractions started to come, but my mobility was limited due to having to be monitored so much and the hassle of dragging my drip bags around with me. It’s strange because when you have already had a baby, your memory erases all the bits that were horrific and presents you with a clean edit if you like, one where you remember that it hurt rather a lot but you powered through. The thing is, it isn’t until you are in labour with your next baby that you realise that actually it is the most horrific pain in the world and you wonder why on earth you considered going through it again! With that in mind I went for an epidural, I had one with my second son and it was a dream, it really did make all the difference. I wondered after having first epidural why there is so much stigma about taking pain relief. Who are we trying to impress? Where is the shame in getting rid of pain? We are bringing new life into the world and that’s pretty awesome, pass me the epidural!
Besides being in a lot of pain overnight, not much else happened. It was so slow and although the pains were progressing and I probably looked as though I was moving forward, I was just not dilating at all. Baby’s heart rate kept accelerating and then returning to normal, then at times it would stay elevated for some time. Nobody seemed particularly worried at this point but they wanted to keep an eye on it. The registrar kept checking in on us and the conversation was had that things weren’t progressing as he would like and that if nothing had happened in two hours then we would need to discuss the possibility of a c-section. When he left again me and Andrew had a chat with our midwife and said that we had discussed prior to coming into hospital that our primary goal was to have this baby born with as little trauma as is possible. After a traumatic and very long labour and birth with Noah, and then losing Jack in the second trimester, we said that we would consider all options so long as our boy was born safely and causing the least stress to him.
The midwife we had was absolutely fantastic, she said to us that ultimately we can have whichever birth we choose and as our advocate she will ensure that our preferences and concerns are taken seriously and she did exactly that. In all honesty all the midwives that looked after us were great in that respect. We agreed we would ask to go straight ahead with the c-section and not wait any longer to see if we made progress, at this stage it had been over 15 hours since my waters had been broken and apart from lots of pain, nothing was really happening. The registrar went off to the senior team to share our preferences and knowing that we were not an emergency, the midwife went off on her first break of the shift and we waited for further instruction.
The registrar returned within 5 minutes and asked that we prep immediately for surgery and go within the next 10 minutes. The midwife that was covering ours however was insistent that we wait for our midwife to return and that we shouldn’t be whisked off quite yet. At first I assumed that a slot was available in theatre so we were able to head straight up but it turned out that with our history and the fact that the baby’s heart rate had been elevated for some time now, we were considered an emergency and needed to have the baby delivered in the next forty minutes.
At this stage I had a mixture of emotions, I was sad that the birth hadn’t gone as planned, I was a bit nervous and fearful of the unknown, I had long been terrified of the recovery of a cesarean so I had no idea what the next few minutes, hours or even days would hold. Mostly though, I just wanted my baby to be born and know that he was OK.
I can’t really tell this story without singing my husband’s praises, whilst he is usually a bit crap, absolutely never washes up and needs to be reminded to do absolutely everything, he really is the very best birthing partner. He was absolutely terrified and yet didn’t show it at all and only reassured me and made sure I was at ease and told me everything was going to be OK. He made me laugh when we were doing ALL of the waiting and when things got a bit serious he was supportive, caring and generally just bloody awesome. Also, see right – quick selfie in his scrubs!
Now I have heard quite a few lovely stories of cesarean deliveries that have been relaxing and a really pleasant experience and I am envious of all of them. Mine was awful, perhaps with the time pressures of an emergency section there is no time for all the relaxing parts, I don’t know but it was horrific and I will go into more detail in a separate post. In short the anaesthetic made me quite sick and after my lovely baby boy Ethan was born weighing a chunky 8lb 3oz, I had quite a serious bleed so I got a tiny peek at my new baby and then started to feel awful and a bit out of it, as it turns out I was then being administered a super strong drug that as good as knocked me out. Husband given the boot and sent on his way and I didn’t even know my baby was still in the room until afterwards when I saw my husband again and he assured me that Ethan had never left me.
As soon as I was in recovery, Ethan was whisked off to neonatal care to have some antibiotics as I had a temperature during labour. I hadn’t even fed him yet and he was already about 3 hours old. It was one thing after another and all I wanted to do was enjoy my baby and recover. He was allowed to come back onto the ward with me but I already felt like I had missed so much time with him. Giving birth is tough, labour is exhausting and hard work but certainly for me, cesarean birth was so much more traumatic and I really struggled with that. Most importantly though, our baby boy was finally here to complete our family, and for that, we are thankful.