- 6 years ago
- Wedding: July 2011
GIRL! Team Green became Team Pink on the 21st of June (her due date!) and we couldn’t be happier. All told, my birth experience was pretty fantastic but the best part of course was getting to meet our gorgeous little girl.
Wednesday, 20th June was the start of things kicking off for me, although in hindsight, there had been small signs of something happening for a couple of days prior. Weds morning, I woke up with what turned out to be the bloody show (sorry TMI) – I didn’t think it was really it though as it was such a miniscule amount of blood and I hadn’t had any other indicators to suggest labour was imminent!
Throughout the day, the show continued to be there in tiny amounts and I was getting very mild menstrual cramp like pain. I eventually started timing them to see if there was any kind of a pattern and they were approximately 14 minutes apart, but as they didn’t really hurt, I didn’t think they could be contractions. I also had a crazy amount of energy this day and cleaned the entire house from top to bottom, baked chocolate chip cookies, visited a friend, and had DH’s brother and girlfriend over for dinner. Hello nesting instinct!
That evening, the cramps started getting a bit stronger and the show became more apparent. I was pretty sure labour was going to start soon and told Darling Husband that he probably shouldn’t bank on going into work the following day. We went to bed early as I had a feeling it was going to be the last night we’d be able to get some sleep for quite some time! Around 2:20 a.m. Thursday morning, I woke up with moderate period like cramps, which turned out to be contractions coming about 10 – 12 minutes apart. They only lasted about 30 seconds and I was able to breathe through them in bed and go right back to sleep as soon as they ended.
Around 4:00 a.m., the contractions were becoming stronger and closer together; I could no longer breathe through them in bed and had to get up to walk around the room to breathe through them. DH woke around this time as well and was fantastic at helping me get through the contractions as they progressed to 7 minutes apart, then 5, then 4 minutes by 7:00 a.m. I took a long hot shower and that helped to ease the pain a bit but they were definitely getting stronger and longer. We called the hospital at around 7:30 but were told we could stay home to labour for a while longer as it sounded as though I could still talk through the contractions.
Over the course of the next three hours, the contractions picked up in intensity. I wasn’t able to sit, stand, or use the exercise ball – all I could do was stand up, lean against the table, and stomp my feet on the carpet to get through them. In hindsight, this was really good as the gravity really helped bring the baby down. The contractions were lasting for about a minute to 90 seconds and were about 3.5 minutes apart at this point, so we called the hospital and were told to come on in.
Upon being checked at the hospital, I was only 3 cm dilated and right on the cusp of when they admit labouring mothers. They were trying to encourage me to go home and labour for a while longer but I was in so much pain that I opted to stay to try and get some pain relief. Whilst waiting 45 minutes for a birthing suite, I was given gas to use (nitrous oxide) which did nothing other than make me vomit, so I quickly stopped that. We got to our birthing suite around 12:30 p.m. and my contractions were coming fast and furious at that point – lasting nearly 2 minutes with only a 30 second break between them. I was still on my feet as the only way I could get through them was with the stomping and very loud vocalisations (fortunately just noises, no expletives or anything terrible directed towards my husband!)
I asked for the epidural at 1:00 – I felt like a bit of a failure as I thought I was still at 3 cm and it just seemed too early for an epi, but the pain was so intense with no break between that I couldn’t fathom going on like this. The epidural is far and away the most wonderful thing ever. It took about 40 minutes for the anesthetist to arrive and get it inserted, but once it kicked in (around 2:00 pm), I felt like a whole new woman. The pain was completely gone but it was done so well that I still had feeling in my legs and could move them quite comfortably. It truly was a dream.
The contraction monitor showed that the contractions I was having were incredibly strong and very close together but within an hour of being on the epi, they had tapered off to about 1 – 2 every ten minutes, which was not good. The baby wasn’t in distress and neither was I, so it wasn’t a huge concern other than the fact it might drag labour on forever. At 5:00 the midwife decided to do another check and said that if I wasn’t further along than 5 – 6 cm dilated, they would have to artifically break my waters and possibly start a pitocin drip. I didn’t love the idea but with the epi working so well, I wasn’t terribly fussed. Neither the midwife nor I had much hope that I would be far enough along to avoid that as the contractions were just coming so slowly.
Imagine our surprise when she checked me and first off, the waters broke then on their own, which was good, but not only that, I was dilated to TEN centimetres! We were all completely shocked! What they think happened is that in the two hours between my first check and when the epidural was inserted, I had progressed really quickly, courtesy of standing and letting gravity do its work, and more than likely, I was already in transition when the epidural was given. Knowing that, I still would have opted for the epi, but it made me feel better that I was much further along when getting the epi than originally thought.
As the baby was fine, the miwife asked if I was happy to delay the pushing stage for a little while to let the baby move down into the birth canal on its own. She explained that this would make the pushing a lot easier and would be an easier birth for the baby as well. As I was comfortable, I was more than happy to do so. We were planning to wait two hours to start pushing, but just before it came time to start, we realised there was an issue with the catheter (inserted as a result of the epi) and that took about an hour to sort out.
At 8:30, we started pushing but my contractions had really slowed down in intensity and frequency by this point – only one in ten minutes and not very strong. We opted to go with the pitocin at this point as it could have taken ages otherwise. Once the pitocin kicked in, the contractions were good and strong and I was able to have some really productive pushes. I was still completely numb in that region so it was a bit difficult to know exactly where to push, but the midwife put up a mirror, something I had originally been dead against as I thought there was NO WAY I would want to see what was going on down there, but once I was able to see what I was doing, my pushes became so much more effective!
It took about 3 more contractions (4 pushes per contraction) before our little one was born. Once her head made it under the pelvic bone, she pretty much came flying out! The midwife tried to slow things down to avoid tearing but she went from not yet crowning to completely out in one push so tearing was pretty much unavoidable. The good thing is that I felt absolutely none of it and it’s only a second degree tear that has torn quite cleanly, so it’s not a huge deal. I never got the sensation to have a huge bowel movement, which I had been expecting despite the epidural, but using the mirror was so beneficial – and the best part is that I now love the fact that I was actually able to see my daughter enter this world. It’s one of my favourite memories from the birth.
As for the recovery – everything has been pretty easy. Because of the catheter issues, I had to keep it in for an additional 24 hours, which meant one night longer in hospital (total of 2 night stay) but it wasn’t a big issue. The stitches are annoying but not painful and everything seems to be going really well. I haven’t needed any painkillers as the discomfort has been pretty mild. Breastfeeding is going well although that part has definitely been painful – as in toe curling, tears to the eyes every time she latches on, but fortunately, that sensation only lasts a few seconds and is getting better every day. I’m really looking forward to the time when feeding is just a beautiful thing without the initial pain, but I’ve been told that usually doesn’t happen until around two weeks or so.
In the meantime, we are enjoying every second with our little girl. We were so convinced we were having a boy, but now that she’s here we can’t imagine ever not having her! She’s got her days and nights mixed up right now but hopefully that sorts itself out soon! Regardless, she is an absolute dream and we are loving every second with her.
Anyway, here’s little Emily Vivian, born Thursday, 21st of June at 9:26 p.m. weighing 7 lbs 6 oz and measuring 21.5 inches in length. She’s our little peanut and we love her more than we ever thought possible!
p.s. This must be the day for all the summer solstice moms to be posting their stories! Still can’t believe we had 4 babies born that day, plus KatyElle’s born the next day!