Oliver's Birth

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I had pre labour stuff happening from about week 37. Lost bits of plug, lots of false labour etc.

39 weeks 3 days:
I felt relatively normal all day. Took EPO as usual. I think I went shopping. On Monday afternoon I got slightly energetic and decided to cook. A curry of course - Murgh Makhani (Butter Chicken). I could feel lots of pressure & heaviness whenever I was standing so, I stood up from about 4pm 'til 9pm hoping something would happen.

Went to bed about 11 and slept 'til 5.30am.

39 weeks 4 days:
I was woken up suddenly by the usual painful urge to pee. Went to the loo and evacuated everything in there. However, I didn't feel any better afterward. Sat in a comfy chair and tried to make the pain go away. Started having pains that felt like period pain low in front, then a hardening of my tummy and a pain low in my back. Decided to wait for the false labour to peter out. emailed you guys at about 6.30am thinking that maybe something was happening. I then showered, washed hair, tidied the house and packed a few more things in my bag. Stuie and Callum were snoring their heads off. At about 8am I woke Stuart, told him to get ready and that I was about to phone Mum to mind Callum. The contrax. were not very painful, but regular and lasting about 30 secs. Mum arrived at about 8.45am. Stuart was drinking coffee and lounging around.

The contrax were getting annoyingly painful but easy to handle. Callum was imitating me as I stomped through each one. We pretended we were playing a "marching game". I kept asking Mum if she thought it was real or false labour and she kept smiling and saying "Hmmm yes, it looks real". She was as calm as could be, playing with Callum etc.

When each contraction finished, I felt fine so Stu was still just lounging around. Eventually I had to yell at him to have a shower. I yelled at him through the door about 3 times during contrax. to hurry, hurry, hurry. He wanted to stop at the bank on the way to the hospital but I eventually convinced him we had better go straight in.

As soon as we got through the hospital doors, I felt great. No more contrax. At the desk I said that I had thought I was in labour but it had stopped now. They took me to L&D anyway to get checked.

9.45am Once we hit the L&D floor, the contrax. started again. The midwife on duty, Kath, was an acquaintance of mine from playgroup and the teacher of the ante-natal classes I attended for Callum's birth - it was nice to see a friendly face. She had a student midwife with her, Aleisha, who was also lovely. Kath checked me and I was already 6cm so she called the Doc. and my very own favourite Dr S, Rahoul, strolled through the doors, things were looking good!

Because of the polyhydramnios and the baby's head not being engaged fully, Rahoul did a controlled AROM.

He made a small hole. blocked it with his fingers and let the water come out as slowly as it could - there was a flood when he was finished, everything was saturated. He wanted to control the baby's head coming down onto my cervix to avoid a cord prolapse as, with polyhydramnios, this is a possibility if the water breaks with a huge gush. The monitor was on me during this procedure and the baby handled it well. I was very worried during the AROM and when the water started to come out I was yelling at everyone to tell me what colour it was - it was, thankfully, clear so I was happy.

After the above, I had a shower again. Stu rubbed my back as, of course, the contrax were more painful without the water bag there, but they were still ok - stressful & slightly painful but not too bad at all. Aleisha wanted to monitor the baby again so I got on the bed for her. It was really difficult to lie on the bed during a contrax. At some point maybe about 10.45am I told Aleisha in no uncertain terms that I could NOT lie on the bed anymore.

I had about 10 contrax. standing up with Stu using an electric massager on my back, it really helped. I then started to hang off Stu's neck and shoulders and sort of squat through contrax. Then out of my mouth came the words "I want drugs NOW".

Kath offered me pethedeine and I said no, gas and I said no, so she said "Well what drugs exactly DO you want?" Not wanting to say the epidural word I said "Just drugs". About 5 mins later after another few contrax. I asked for the epidural and Kath said it was too late. I begged, so she got the anaesthetist in the room.

For the epidural I had to have a canula inserted for the IV. Rahoul's intern, Brendan, was doing it. Stuart had to leave the room as he hates seeing needles. So, I started to hug Kath and hang off her shoulders and neck - this was all taking place with me standing up. Poor Brendan took about 5 tries to get the canula in as I kept having contrax about 1 min apart.

The anaesthetist then asked me to sit on the bed for the epidural. I couldn't. I couldn't move from where I was standing and squatting. They all kept trying to encourage me to get on the bed for the epidural and by this stage the contrax. were on top of one another, long and hard and I couldn't speak even between them.

While hugging Kath and hanging from her shoulders, I saw her wave goodbye to the anaesthetist and I then accepted that the baby would be born naturally (and soon) and that I was just going to have to deal with it. This was not all conscious thought, just sort of an acceptance. When the anaesthetist left the room, I relaxed and started to lightly push. I think I was then in transition as I rested while leaning over the bed and chatted for a bit. It only lasted a very short while - about 2-3 mins.

I was still changing positions - standing up and leaning on the bed between contrax, hugging Kath, holding Stuie's hands & squatting, one foot on a stool occasionally. I remember saying to Kath "How can you do this all day and then go home and cook dinner?!" Kath checked me again as I was pushing, I was ten cm but no head could be seen yet, although I could feel it moving down. After a couple of light pushes Aleisha had a look and said "I see hair!". This got me excited and I felt very pushy anyway so with the next contraction I started to push more energetically.

All my bags and stuff were still on the floor right where I was standing, so we had to kick everything out of the way. Kath and Aleisha laid down pillows and covered them with green surgical sheets and I realized we were nearly there. I was yelling a lot and apologised but Brendan the intern (who has seen lots of births but still had a stunned appearance on his face) told me not to worry and to yell even louder!

Rahoul just stood around smiling and looking cute. I was standing up, sometimes resting my elbows on the bed, holding Stu's hands over the bed (he was standing on the other side of it) and pushing. With Callum's birth I had a walking epidural and *thought* I felt everything, however this time I realised that I was *really* feeling everything when I felt the baby's head crown - absolutely AWESOME. Aleisha told me to push against her fingers while Kath was doing something to stop me from tearing. I pushed where I felt Aleisha's fingers and the head came out. She then checked for the cord around the neck and told me to go for it again with the next contraction. I felt his shoulders and body be born. Oliver was here! I began to do my now usual mantra of "Make him breathe, Kath! Make him breathe!" Kath and Aleisha did all this and caught him while kneeling on the floor behind me, I was still standing up.

I looked and saw Kath cut the cord. I then started to haemorrhage slightly so (finally) got on the bed while Oliver was whisked over to the Ped (who was also named Oliver). The Ped said that he was breathing fine and gave him apgars of 8 & 9. I had a quick cuddle but due to the blood loss I was too wasted to do much else but lie there, which I did for two hours, saying almost nothing.

All I could do was lie there and stare, shake and cry. I don't think I have ever felt in such a state of shock in my life. I had a small tear from the shoulders as Oliver had his arm around them, hugging himself.

So all up, I was in labour in the hospital for one hour and 45 mins and at home for 3 hours 15 mins. However, the stuff at home was too easy to really even be called "labour"!

I was due to go home on the 9th, Thursday morning, but on my discharge check I had a raging fever. Oral antibiotics did nothing so I was then put on IV antibiotics. I have holes in my arms from the bloody canulas and all the blood they took. Even though I was tested for group b strep. a few weeks ago, I apparently had it anyway : / Thankfully Oliver is fine. They think I had a small piece of membrane retained. I don't remember much about the week in hospital except it was boring and all I wanted to do was go home, but it was too dangerous.

Oliver is easy to nurse. He can almost latch himself on! Callum adores him "my brovver, I love him, my brovver" and really enjoys nursing at the same time (we are still learning exactly how to achieve this!).

Oliver hardly ever cries, sleeps 4 & 5 hour stretches and I can lie him down half awake and watch while he puts himself to sleep! IME this is BIZARRE!!!! Last night he slept from 11pm 'til 4am, nursed then slept 'til 9am. He usually nurses through 2-3 letdowns so I'm not worried that he's nursing too little.

I still can't believe I did it without drugs. It's even harder to believe that for me, the pain did not get any worse after the drugs were no longer feasible. It got a bit more difficult in a physical, energy level way, but the pain was the same.

I'm not sure what Stu meant by saying I was brave ; ) We were and are still overwhelmed by the whole experience. It was exhilarating, scary, loud, painful, powerful and gentle if all those words can go together. All in all it was a wild, wild ride.

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