4 weeks and 5 days until due date
I woke at about 6.15am to a warm gush of waters, shocked, I stood up to another flood. I knew straight away what it was.
Panicked and disorientated I headed for the door to phone Paul, I stopped short though as I remembered that the floors from the hallway to the kitchen had been sanded but Paul had yet to finish the painting. I couldn't get to either phone without crossing the floor and my waters were still leaking fairly heavily. I didn't want to stain the floor for evermore! I frantically looked around for something to soak it up while I made the dash for the phone. I had just decided on a pillow when I heard Paul, just about to leave for work. I shouted out to him that my waters had broken but I don't think he believed me, he said something like 'are you sure?' before coming in and seeing for his self that I was not mistaken!
All this time I was thinking 'this isn't right, it's too early' and was quite frightened. I had no contractions at all. I got Paul to bring me the phone and I called the maternity unit at John Flynn hospital. They told me to wait and see what happened and to call back in an hour by which time my obstetrician, Dr Dutt would be 'walking around' I guess that meant 'at work'!
During the hour I led in bed panicking I tried to relax and slow my breathing and eventually I got Paul to bring me all the books on birth that I had, where I looked up as much information about early membrane rupture as I could! This settled me a little bit. I could still feel the odd movement of baby too, which was reassuring.
When the hour was up I had still had no contractions whatsoever (looking back I think I had a couple of very mild ones but didn't know what they felt like) and phoned the hospital to tell them. The midwife told me to come in and get checked over, but not to rush, just head in when I could.So, I had a shower, messed about for a bit (Paul couldn't find his shoes!) And went for the 2 minute drive to the hospital.
We arrived at the hospital at around 8am All the labour rooms were full when we got there so we were in a side room while they waited for one to become free. I was told that Dr Dutt was on his way. Baby was checked and her heartbeat was good and strong. The midwife told me to rest.Had a few pains and got excited, but they were irregular and then stopped altogether. Had a canula put in for the anti biotics.
Paul asked if he thought I would be able to go home but the midwife was pretty sure that the doctor would want me to stay. So it was a matter of waiting for the Dr to come see me and find out what to do next, and waiting, and waiting! We were finally moved to a birthing suite (hooray the one with the big bath!)At the change of shift the new midwife decided I should be walking around trying to bring the contractions on, so she showed me where the stairs were and I spent the next couple of hours going up and down, up and down! I decided at one point that 'up' worked and 'down' didn't so walked to the 6th floor and took the lift down to the basement a couple of times.
Paul left at some point in my 'walking' to go get my overnight bag and pack a few of bubby's things.On one of my long ascents I heard a voice calling my name, My obstetrician Dr Dutt had arrived at last and my midwife couldn't find me! This was about 5 o clock. He looked at me and said, do you want this baby tonight or tomorrow? I thought for a minute and answered, I'd rather have it tomorrow naturally than tonight... he agreed with me that I could wait, but if labour didn't start naturally by the morning then I would need to be 'augmented' it wasn't induction as m waters had already broken.
So we were back to the waiting game. Another midwife change then, At about 8ish we were asked if we would move to a different birthing suite as there was a lady waiting who was ready to pop. We agreed as there really wasn't anything happening with me. No big or regular contractions and still leaking fluid so having to go to the bathroom every few hours but I managed too sleep a few hours that night and hooray!
The same midwife as the night before was back in the morning, her name was Katherine. She organised the Syntocinon (a synthetic form of the hormone oxytocin) drip ready for me and we waited a little bit for the go ahead from the doctor.At about 10am she started me on a low dose and gradually built it up over time, so as to reduce the likelihood of me screaming for pain relief! I started off on the bed with all the monitors on, but Kath said I could get up and move around whenever I wanted. I rode them out for quite a while. At 12 midday I had an internal I was 2-3cm dilated. I was offered gas but wasn't in so much pain that I thought I couldn't handle it and was worried that it might got a lot worse, so I held out. Kath thought I had a high pain threshold – whoopee for me!I sat up on the edge of the bed for a little bit, Paul sat facing me on a stool and I would lean onto him when the contractions kicked in. Unfortunately every time I did lean forward the babies heartbeat would slow, not sure if this was just a break between the monitor and baby Kath asked me to do one without leaning forward – that was too hard! Paul warmed up the wheat pack for me and putting that on my belly helped a lot. Gave Kath the excuse to pump up the drip another notch though. It was really getting pretty unbearable now and had a few tears.Got in the shower at about this point with one warm water stream pointing at my back and a hand held shower on my belly. (stuff the water restrictions ey?!) Trying really hard to focus on letting the contractions 'go' and do their job instead of gritting my teeth and holding on to them. I vocalised the pain 'owwww'. Paul sat opposite me and held the shower during contractions. This was working pretty well for me and I was still able to talk in between! Changed the hard little stool in the shower for the ball and that helped too.
After a while I thought I could get out of the shower and try something different but as I was drying off a contraction hit and I realised how much the water was helping so I got back in.3.00pm The midwife's shift was over and I got a different midwife, also called Kathryn. She told me that I would have to get out of the shower so she could do an internal. I was NOT happy about that. The internal was more painful than anything up to this point. I was 9cm – I WAS happy about that! From 2 – 9cm in 3 hours was pretty good. She let me get in the bath, that felt so nice, even better than the shower. I leaned forward onto the side of the bath and Paul poured water on my back. I think now is when I really started to vocalise as the contractions felt a lot worse though and I felt faint and scared. Kathryn gave me some oxygen. She forgot to turn it on first of all, I wondered why it was so hard to suck! She kept using the waterproof heart monitor for the baby and it was reassuring to hear the babies heartbeat good and strong every time.
Eventually I felt like I needed to push, Kathryn asked me to get out of the water as there were just 'too many risks' I told Paul to tell her that Dr Dutt had said I was allowed to birth in the water as long as the baby was doing well, I still had to get out though. (Here is where I wish I had insisted and also wish I had Paul in the water with me as I felt quite spacey and needed something solid to hold onto) So I was up onto the bed for the last bit.
Apparently I pushed for around 45 minutes although I couldn't tell at all, it felt like a much shorter time. At each push I could feel progress but then it felt like the head would return to where it was before, I was so frustrated.At some point the doctor was there, he said there was just a little bit of cervix stopping the head coming out. He tried to stretch it with his finger, that HURT. If I didn't get it out on the next push he would cut. Boy, did I push then! As regards the pain, this was absolutely the worst bit, helped only by the fact that it was the 'last' bit of pain and would be all over soon.
5.13pm Dr Dutt said 'show me your hands' I held them up and he put the baby into them. She was pink and white, heavy, solid and real. I couldn't quite believe what I had in my arms. After all the noise I had been making I lay quiet and watched as the paediatrician checked her over and wrapped her in big towels to keep her warm, I can remember saying 'my baby' very quietly to myself, I didn't cry like I thought I would, because I don't think I believed it.
I was given an injection and the placenta was delivered, I saw it out of the corner of my eye but really wasn't too interested. I had struggled over the decision about whether to have the injection or deliver it naturally, but the baby was out and I really didn't care any more I just wanted the whole thing over.
The midwife asked for her to be unwrapped and put her on me skin to skin, she put her on the breast straight away. I know this from the photographs but can't remember anything from Dr Dutt stitching me up to saying 'I don't feel well' when I had a bleed and lots of people rushed in and poked and prodded me more. My temp was 101 and BP something over 30. Another drip to stop the bleeding, catheter and lots of pushing on my belly – and I thought the pain ended with the birth, I was wrong.
Don't know where the baby was, I told Paul to go find her. He wouldn't until I was feeling a bit better. Paul answered his mobile phone too at some point, and someone would have heard my screams. Next time phones will be banned.
Did I just say next time? Have I forgotten already?
Amélie Rose Jacobs, born 25-07-08 at 17.13 weighing 2870 grams (6lb 4) length 50cm head 34.5cm