My third baby was 8 weeks old today and I think I am sufficiently over the trauma to write the birth story. (I put an exclamation mark there but then I deleted it because it felt like I was trivialising my experience.)
Saturday 6th April
Had a couple of really bizarre contractions lasting an hour or more with no let up, tried to time them but it was impossible as there was no end or beginning.
Sunday 7th April (37 weeks and 5 days pregnant)
Paul and I spent the evening with Andrew and Leah, felt kind of strange all day and Leah made me sit on a towel! There was no obvious outward signs apart from a couple of very mild cramps but instinctively I knew I had to get my house in order. I checked on everyone's plans for the following day and was satisfied that if this was it, my kids were looked after and so was I.
I drove the kids home in their pyjamas at about 9pm. Paul was in his own car and stopped to fill up on the way. I unstrapped the kids from their car seats and got out of the car. As I walked round to the back of the car and opened the boot I felt that familiar warm wet feeling gushing down my legs, my first thought? I've wet myself! But no, it was my waters. I phoned Paul, and waited right where I was until he could bring me a towel! He was there within a few minutes. While we were waiting Amelie asked me why I was standing in a puddle! I phoned Leah from the same spot in my puddle and Paul drove Amelie and Max back to where we came from for a sleepover. I had a shower while I waited for him to return.
My obstetrician had told me that once my waters had gone it was going to be pretty quick so when I called the hospital they said to come in. We arrived there and I was happy to see my midwife friend Cat was on duty that night. (Her daughter Mollie and Amelie are the best of friends) I was not so happy that I hadn't had any contractions in the intervening two hours. I was also really tired and led on the bed being monitored I could have dropped off.
We decided to come back home, there was no way I could have coped with an induction at that late hour and laboured through the night, so I went home to bed. I was happy not to have to worry about the children as they were in Leah's capable hands, Monday was also a kindy day so timing was perfect.
Monday 8th April
I got a few hours sleep and woke early, I made the packed lunches for kindy and pottered around, I text Cat as she came off shift saying there was no action and she was surprised and disappointed for me. She knew how much I wanted another water birth and if I had an induction and subsequently the monitoring that is hospital policy, the water was out.
Paul went to pick up the kids and take them to kindy
It had now been 12 hours since my waters had gone I phoned the hospital again and went in for monitoring.
...this was starting to get all too familiar, no contractions.
Was I ever going to feel a natural contraction? Was there something wrong with me? Why won't my body work?
I asked the midwife, can I have a water birth, her answer, no not if you are induced.
I was torn, if I waited I might labour naturally and achieve another beautiful water birth, but I'd been here before, twice and I just knew that no amount of waiting was going to get this baby out. So I decided I would get the syntocin induction but I still didn't feel very happy about it.
It was late morning by the time the Dr got around to seeing me and 12 midday by the time the induction went in. By this time I was resigned to the fact and the extra waiting time actually helped cement in my mind that I had, in fact, done the right thing as after 15 hours I still wasn't contracting, not even a little bit. I still asked the doctor, can I have a water birth? He said policies are there for a reason, in short, no.
He broke the remains of my water first and then in went the drip. The familiar rhythmic 'whoosh, thunk' of the drip pumping into my veins was faintly hypnotising and Paul and I settled in.
By now I had a different midwife she was very kind and started the drip low.
Contractions started slow and I was 'tied' to the bed by the monitors and the drip pole. Things got strange very quickly and at 4pm I was shaky and feeling like things were moving along a bit fast. I started shivering. The midwife checked me and I was 4cm dilated
I had managed to get up to go to the toilet a couple of times and I thought I'd ask for the third and final time!
Can I get in the bath?
Sorry, no, I have to keep the monitor on you, you can get in the shower though.
So in the shower I went, Contractions coming thick and fast I sat on the fit ball and then knelt on the floor leaning on the ball. The monitor kept cutting out every time I had a contraction and I leant forward to deal with it. Even on the floor she couldn't pick up the babies heartbeat when I had a contraction. That is the time they need to make sure baby is coping. The midwife was not happy about it and asked if I'd get out, so I did. I had to wait for my contraction to finish and then make a dash for the bed, there wasn't much time between them. I'd spent 20-30 minutes in the shower and had somewhere between 4-8 contractions at a guess.
About 4.30 On my knees, leaning on the raised head of the bed I started screaming like an animal it was just so intense. I didn't have time to catch my breath, remember to visualise, count my breaths or anything there was just no time.
Paul leant over and said into my ear, they like that noise, the midwives are smiling.
This gave me the permission I needed and I carried on screaming. It was insane.
Someone said - oh it's raining, I thought, SO WHAT!
Someone asked if I wanted to try the gas, I tried to speak but couldn't, I couldn't even shake my head
Someone said do you feel pushy? I breathed out the word, Almost
Again it was somewhere between 4-8 contractions after getting on the bed when I felt the strangest feeling of the baby moving down inside of me, I hadn't felt that with the other two, it was strangely excruciatingly satisfying, the end was near.
Someone said do you feel pushy? Again just one nod was all I could manage.
All these 'someones' and I was so out of it I have no idea if it was one person or three different people
I felt the head begin to emerge and then someone was holding it in and telling me to pant, I felt like slapping their hand out of the way, let me push this baby out in one push! Let me get it out! But I couldn't speak.
Finally the head was out
Paul leaned forward and said, the head is out, I thought I know, I felt it! But what I said was, take a picture. I just wanted to see for myself from the other end.
Someone said, now doesn't that feel good now that bit's over? Yes, it really does!
There was stillness for just a moment as everyone waited, baby included, for the next contraction. When it came baby was born in a slippery rush onto the bed.
Someone said, do you want to see what you have? Paul and I looked together, it's a boy!
I turned round and picked up my baby boy and we looked at each other in shock.
I am never doing that again
From 4cm to birth in 45 minutes
A little bit of oxygen for the baby and he started to scream and scream. I put him to the breast and he quietened down.
I lost around 800ml blood, had a couple of stitches but refused a catheter, I dragged myself out of bed for a wee to prove I didn't need one and weed in the shower while she watched. Oh, the indignity! But I really didn't want to be tied to the bed.
It took us a couple of days to name Sam and I really enjoyed my 4 nights in the hospital, just the two of us. I could have stayed another week being waited on hand and foot!