A happy hospital birth after some smooching and syntocin!
Rohan was due on Sunday 10th April 2011. I had no signs that anything was imminent and felt like I would probably go overdue. We spent the afternoon at the pub having a roast and sitting in the pub garden in the sunshine. I suddenly felt very emotional and I had a strong urge to go home. I told my husband we had to go home and I cried on the way without knowing why. When we got there I got into my slouchies and was getting ready to have a lie down when my waters broke in a spectacular fashion!
We phoned the hospital who told us to come in to be checked. We went in and they checked me over before sending me home. They told me that I would be booked in for induction on the Tuesday if I was not in established labour by then, due to the increased risk of infection. I started to feel some mild contractions so I assumed that things would get moving soon.
Over the course of Sunday night and Monday I tried to rest as much as possible but was hardly able to sleep with the anticipation. I experienced mild contractions and some stronger ones but things did not settle into a regular pattern.
On Tuesday morning we arrived at hospital and were admitted to a room on the ward to be induced. The midwife explained the induction procedure and said that they would not be able to start things until later as they were very busy on delivery suite. By this time I was experiencing stronger contractions and was hopeful that things would get going on their own.
We arrived at hospital at 10am and we were left to our own devices through the day until roughly 7pm. During that day we spent a lot of time walking up and down St Michaels Hill trying to bring on my contractions. We even did a bit of charity shopping and I had a contraction in the St Peter’s Hospice! We found that we could intensify my contractions by having a kiss and a cuddle so every time the midwives came in to check on us, they found us smooching on the bed!
By the evening my contractions were about 5 minutes apart and some were getting quite intense. I was coping well by focussing on a long out breath and by moving around into different positions. At 7pm, they started to monitor the baby and found that his heart rate was starting to dip with each contraction. They said that they needed to speed things up as the baby was starting to get tired. I was told I would be taken down to delivery suite and given Syntocin. I spent a little moment saying goodbye to my idea of a water birth and adjusting my attitude about it.
We arrived in delivery suite and I was told that I would not be able to eat after being put on the drip in case I needed further intervention. I was quite stressed about this as I lose energy quickly when hungry and was worried I wouldn’t have the energy to go on. Our midwife was great and very reassuring and let me munch on a banana whilst she hooked me up to the monitors and drip. At this point my midwife asked if anyone had done an internal exam and I said no. She said she would check me but to prepare myself that I may not be dilated at all. She checked me and I was 4cm.
I had to have continual monitoring after they started the drip so had 2 straps around my belly plus the drip in my hand. I sat up on the bed but very quickly found I was not able to cope with my contractions this way. The speed with which the Syntocin intensified my contractions scared me and I found that I was starting to tense and shake with the intensity of each contraction and I was finding it difficult to concentrate on my breathing techniques. The contractions became very close together and our midwife helped me to get off the bed and sit on my ball. I asked for gas and air and found I was able to cope with the contractions much better with it.
A little while later I felt that I needed to be able to change positions more and our midwife suggested that we put a clip onto Rohan’s head to monitor his heart rate so that I could move a bit easier. As she did it, I joked that she would find that I was fully dilated and she found that I was already 8cm.
I felt that I needed to go to the toilet lots and it was a bit of a military operation unhooking me from all the monitors so I could go. The contractions were so close together and intense that I was scared to leave the gas and air each time! I had a moment where I felt tearful and overwhelmed and I recognised that I had hit transition. I wanted to birth on my hands and knees so our midwife moved the bed and fetched a mat for the floor.
I felt that I needed to go for a poo and was scared that I would do it while pushing so wanted to go to the toilet but found I couldn’t go. I think I initially fought my urge to push because it felt exactly the same as needing a poo to me! I was initially quite scared of the pushing stage and felt that the pain was too intense and I was going to break something by pushing! I felt that that stage lasted a while but in reality it was only about 20 minutes. I felt that I said ‘I don’t know if I can do this’ a few times but my husband says I only said it once. I was on my knees, leaning on my husband who was sitting in front of me. He was totally amazing; calm and reassuring and giving me the strength to go on. The urge finally overwhelmed me and I just felt I had to go with it and get this done! I began pushing with all my might and the midwife said that whatever I had done that time – keep doing it! The stinging of his crowning was intense but once the head was out, the rest of him was out with the next contraction. She passed him up between my legs so I could look at him and they helped me to lie down leaning on my husband so I could have him on my chest.
I had a physiological third stage and delivered the placenta very quickly with only one push. The cord was cut after the placenta was out. I was found to only have a minor first degree tear that didn’t need stitching.
I was helped onto the bed and we had lots of skin to skin to encourage him to feed. After a while I had some amazing tea and toast and a very shaky shower! We were given lots of time to lie skin to skin and get to know each other. Our midwife was amazing and left us for close to 3 hours before saying we had to go up to the ward. Rohan was weighed and found to be a very tiny 5lb 8oz.
As Rohan was found to have low muscle tone and therefore had difficulties feeding and regulating his temperature, we had quite a long stay in hospital after the birth but that didn’t take away from what an amazing and beautiful experience it was to bring him into the world and how empowered I felt having done it.