Posted 07 December 2012 - 01:18 PM
I had my baby at a large Sydney public hospital and had GP/midwife shared care.
My pregnancy was fairly uneventful. The only thing that happened was I had a CVS which the FISH results came back as 20% of cell having only a single x chromosome. It resulted in a stressful couple of weeks until we got the all clear ie it was confined to the placenta and not affecting the baby. Having a phone call from the Dr saying “you are having a girl but there might be something seriously wrong” really takes the excitement out of finding out the sex, so when various family and friends were personally offended that I wouldn’t tell them the sex I wasn’t very impressed. I also suffered pubic symphysitis the last month or so which resulted in severe pain if I walked or sat for longer that 20min. Having a physio massage your pubic bone is just an introduction to the indignities of childbirth to come.
I had a stretch and sweep on Thursday at 39+3 as it was my closest midwife appt to 40wks (felt like a slightly uncomfortable PAP smear). It resulted in an increase in Braxton Hicks for a few hours and a little bit of bleeding ad I figured “oh well that didn’t work”. On Saturday morning I woke up at about 5.45am rolled over and felt some really uncomfortable back pain, I waited about 5 min and felt it again, so I started looking at the clock and sure enough every 5 min there it was lasting about 20sec. I also went to the bath room and had a bloody show. The pain was uncomfortable but not really much worse that the hip/pubic pain I had been experiencing, so I got up and pottered around the house for a few hours. Finally DH got up – he hadn’t thought to check why his wife was up at 6am on a Saturday morning.
We decided to go shopping as I figured it could go on for hours or peter out completely, so off we went , with a hot water bottle on my back in the car and I sat down on the closest bench or chair every time one hit. After lunch the contractions were getting slightly more uncomfortable and had period type pain around the front as well, but still 5min apart so I decided to have a couple of panadol have a shower and a nap and see what happened in a couple of hours and call the hospital then. I hopped into bed and just as I lay down I felt like the baby kicked me and I felt a gush of fluid. I called the hospital and they said to come in.
After filling out paper work at the front desk we went to the birth suite and at about 2pm was put on a CTG for an hour. The first midwife said that as my waters had broken we could get induced that night or go home see what happens and come back and be induced the next day – we could think about what we wanted to do. I didn’t want to go home, but wasn’t keen on induction. At the end of a very uncomfortable hour on my back hooked up to the CTG a different midwife did an internal and said I was 3-4cm. She asked us what we wanted to do. I said I would get an induction if I could have an epidural first – she didn’t seem to know anything about an induction and scoffed at the idea of an epidural so soon and offered morphine saying that it was a really good time in the labour to get it – I was very adamant that I didn’t want morphine. I asked about gas and was told it was too soon and wouldn’t work which surprised me. She then suggested a hot shower which I agreed to.
Something I didn’t know is that having an internal is like a stretch and sweep x100 as it irritates the cervix and causes the contractions to ramp up in intensity – there is also a lot of blood – that I trailed everywhere – they give you a giant (30cm x10cm) pad, but it doesn’t help much in the shower. I got in the shower and hubby sprayed my back and I sprayed my stomach, the water really wasn’t hot enough to help much – the only thing that really helped was hubby rubbing my lower back where most of the pain was. Also counting through the contraction gave me something to concentrate on. They were still 30-40sec long so peaked in intensity at about 20 sec so I knew after that it would get better. I took some panadiene forte which I immediately threw up. I put on a hospital gown and moved back to the room and sat on a fit ball, grabbing the side of the bed as hubby rubbed my back during contractions. The mid wife came back and asked if I would be more comfortable at home – HELL NO!. I said I didn’t want to go home. She then told me ”you were only invited to the hospital because your waters broke” Invited - Had I not been so much pain I would have given her a piece of my mind.
We then got our third midwife – who was to stay with us for the rest of the time. She did another internal at about 7.30pm – which caused the contractions to ramp up in intensity again. She said I was about 5cm. I asked about epidural again as even with the back rubbing, breathing and counting I was barely coping through the contractions. The MW said she wanted me to be a bit more active and get the labour going as she wouldn’t consider an epidural til my contractions were more regular (ie 3 per 10min – mine were currently 2-3 per 10 min) and sent me back to the shower and made me sit straddled over the back of the chair. The contractions actually slowed down for a few minutes, but there was no way I was admitting that to the MW. When she came back I asked for an epidural again (probably not very politely) and was told “look I can get the anaesthetist here in 5 minutes, but if you have an epidural now when your contractions aren’t regular and you’re not in established labour I promise you, you will still be here in 24hrs.” I said I still wanted one – she said she would speak to the medical team. A few minutes later she came back and asked “what was your birth plan?” I said” get to about 5cm and get an epidural”. She agreed to call the anaesthetist – that only took 3 hours of begging!
We moved back to the room so she could set up the cannula etc. I was sitting on the edge of the bed gripping like death to hubbys shirt as contractions hit – I could actually see my entire belly contracting. Counting wasn’t working I got to about 10 and started letting out a cry like wounded cat. I tried to explain (not very well at this point) what was happening, the MWs response “well you’re in labour dear” I believe at this point I was probably in transition. The MW went away and came back 5 min later and told me the anaesthetist was in an emergency and she couldn’t tell me when he would be back. I asked if there were any other pain relief options while I waited and she agreed to let me try the gas – which actually did take the edge off or at least distract me. Her plan would have worked had the anaesthetist not popped his head in to ask if we were ready 30 seconds later. I was ready!
The MW put a cannula in my arm for fluid to rehydrate and prevent my BP form dropping due to the epidural. I held my arm perfectly still – she managed to massacre it – blood was dripping all over the floor – 2 weeks later I still have bruises from my wrist half way to my elbow. At about 9pm the anaesthetist did his thing and talked me through the procedure (I didn’t feel a thing) stopping every time I had a contraction as I sucked desperately on the gas. As the epidural went in the pain in my back and belly went away and instead I had a huge pressure in my pelvis every contraction – it was still painful, but I figured this was a s good as it gets. I told the MW I had the urge to push – she quite frantically told me to breath and DON’T PUSH. She thought I was still only 5-6cm and would cause my cervix the swell. Once the epidural was in they rolled me onto my side and then my back the rest of the pain just disappeared – it was amazing. The MW then did another internal – I WAS 10cm DILATED – see I wasn’t making it up. She still claims it was because the epidural made me relax (it had been in for about 15min) but she was much nicer from then on.
Once the CTG monitor was working and the epidural all sorted and I barely feel the contractions the bed head was raised as far as it would go so I was almost vertical for an hour of for what’s called “passive decent” so the baby can descend into the birth canal without any pushing. This was at 10pm. I was much more human by this time and managed to chat with hubby and the MW. My SIL birth day was the next day and I said that I didn’t want my baby to have to share a birthday so when the end of the hour came around the MW set up everything for babies arrival and said “ right we’ve got less than an hour to see if we can push this baby out” So with MW coaching and cheering on my pushing and DH holding a leg I started pushing. I am still surprised how involved DH was – he watched the whole thing. I thought I would be really bad at pushing so followed the MW instructions, put my chin on my chest and pushed as hard as I could (even though I could barely feel anything) and after 30 or so minutes at 11.51pm our little girl was placed screaming and purple and messy on my chest – and I didn’t mind.
Freya weighed 3.03kgs and was 45cm long. Another midwife came along at the end and gave the syntocin injection for the 3rd stage – I remember her putting the needle in my thigh thinking how huge it was – but I can’t feel a thing then realising its because my leg is entirely numb. The MW was very impressed by the size of my placenta and said you can tell a lot about a person’s health and diet form the placenta – mine is good apparently. I had 2 stiches for a small “button hole” 2nd degree tear. The OB registrar who did my stitches and barely said anything was actually the only OB I saw my entire pregnancy.
I am not the most maternal person and for me, birth was means to an end, but I was worried I wouldn’t bond with my baby. Later - it was all quiet, DH was crashed out on a mattress on the floor and I was waiting for the epidural to wear off so I could get up and have a shower and Freya was in the Perspex cot beside me. She was lying there with her eyes wide open, staring at me as I stared back and I thought -yes I think I love you.