May 13, 2008

Our Miracle - The Birth Story

Our little miracle has finally arrived!!!



born Wednesday 7th May at 4:27pm, a whopping 3.97kg (8p 12oz) and 54.5cm long. Here is his birth story:

It all started on Tuesday night at 11:40pm, I noticed a very suspicious small gush of fluid when going to the bathroom. Not really sure whether it was what I thought it was, I went back to bed to wait for an hour or so and see what happened. Sure enough, another small gush an hour later. After putting on a pad and another amount of fluid, I phoned the hospital who agreed that it sounded like my waters were leaking and asked me to start to make my way into the hospital. If it was in fact my waters, they would be keeping me in until my baby was born. I couldn’t believe it, we were off to have our baby!!

I finished packing the last of the bits and pieces, phoned the grandparents to be to let them know we were heading in, had a quick snack and a cup of tea, and after one last look at our empty nursery we were off! It was very strange to be leaving for the hospital without any contractions. I’d had an image in my mind of being in quite a bit of pain on the way, it was nice to be able to enjoy the excitement of the baby’s imminent arrival. On the other hand, I was also very aware of the fact that I had only managed to have 2 and a half hours sleep.

We got to the hospital at around 3:15am and were taken to the labour ward. The midwife confirmed that my waters were in fact leaking, set me up on a bed and advised me to try to get some sleep while waiting to see if the contractions would start. I managed to lie down with my eyes closed for a while, but definitely not in the mood to be able to sleep. By around 6am the contractions still hadn’t started. The midwife phoned my obstetrician who asked them to put me on a syntocin drip to induce labour. They told me they were starting with a very low dose and would increase it every half hour until my contractions began and were around 5 in 10 minutes. My obstetrician arrived at around 7am, I had still not felt any contractions. The internal showed that my cervix was only 1cm dilated and was still not thinned out enough. He ruptured my membranes further which allowed a massive gush of fluid. I was told to prepare for a long day and given some antibiotics to help prevent any possible infection. He guessed that I could be looking at delivering somewhere around 5pm-6pm that afternoon. I couldn’t help but feel a bit disappointed that I was so far behind, but still excited that I would be meeting my baby that day.

The contractions ended up starting at around 8:15am. I was very closely monitored to ensure that things were going the way they should, and they kept a close eye on the baby with a fetal monitor. As glad as I was to be constantly reassured that the baby was doing well and I was on track, it was difficult being stuck to the bed much of the time. Especially as my waters were continuing to leak underneath me. I was given breaks from the machines as I needed them, but even then I was attached to the drip which had to be dragged around with me.

The first couple of hours went fairly quickly. I was in pain, but it was manageable. A lot of my pain was in my back so I was given a birthing ball to sit on while hubby massaged my lower back during contractions. They seemed to get stronger very quickly, with each one stronger than the last. The back pain never seemed to go away in between contractions which made it difficult to relax at all. The midwife suspected from feeling my belly that my baby was in a posterior position which was contributing to the back pain. I was given a heat pack which by this stage didn’t really do a whole lot for the pain. A lot of my plan for pain management involved water and the spa which I obviously couldn’t do because of the drip attached to me. It was difficult to even walk around the room.

At around 12:15pm, the midwife came in to do an internal to see how far I had progressed. I was just 3cm dilated. I was having very strong painful contractions, but they were not effective enough to be progressing as quick as they thought they would. They were now saying that it may be a few hours after the original prediction. I was crushed, in a lot of pain and feeling like I wouldn’t be able to get through it knowing how far I still had to go. I could hear another lady labouring down the hall who was very close to giving birth to her baby. Hearing how much pain she was in didn’t give me very much confidence considering how much pain I was feeling already.

I was offered some gas but it didn’t seem to do anything and I couldn’t really sit still long enough to concentrate on using it. By this stage I was feeling like I really couldn’t cope with the contractions anymore, I was in tears and in complete agony. The contractions were only 1-2 minutes apart and the back pain was excruciating and never went away. In preparing for labour, I tried to make myself imagine the worst pain I could, but it came no where near to how I felt, especially knowing I was only 3-4cm dilated. I think that was what really pushed me over the edge.

So I went for it. The Roles Royce of pain relief…the Epidural. It only took them around 25 minutes to get the anaesthetist there but it felt like an absolute lifetime. He came in and started to explain the procedure, risks etc, I really didn’t hear much of what he said, I just wanted that needle NOW! So very glad that I had researched all pain relief options before I went into labour. I had the epidural at around 1:30pm, it took around 5 or so contractions to kick in, each one slightly easier. Even those few contractions felt like they went for eternity.

Once the epidural had really kicked in, I felt a million percent. I could still feel the contractions, but they felt more like tightenings with manageable pain. I was still able to feel and move my legs around and felt incredible relief. I was able to rest and try to recover from the morning.

Not long after the epidural kicked in, things really started to happen. The contractions built up and seemed to be coming almost constantly. At around 3pm another midwife came in (there were 3 shift changes during my labour). She told me that she would definitely be there to witness my baby being born. Just that statement gave me some much needed hope again. She asked my permission for a student midwife to be present throughout the remainder of the labour & birth. I was happy to oblige. It was her very first birth which I thought was very special. The midwife did an internal exam and told me that I was now 8cm dilated and it wouldn’t be long before I was pushing the baby out!! I couldn’t believe it, in just 3 hours I had dilated 5cm!

In a few moments though, the excitement wore off as I became scared of the pushing process. The pain from the labour and my need to get the epidural had really affected my confidence in being able to birth the baby. I was in a panic, I didn’t think I could get through it. I honestly don’t think I have been that scared in my life. The midwife was absolutely fantastic, I feel very lucky that I had her for the last part of the labour and birth. I feel like I couldn’t have gotten through without her, she was a fantastic support.

By around 3:30pm, the effects of the epidural were wearing off. The contractions were incredibly strong and I started feeling urges to push and pressure like I wouldn’t have thought possible. They topped up the epidural a little, but the contractions were still extremely uncomfortable to the point that I really had to concentrate on breathing through them and was squirming all over the bed.

At around 4pm the midwife told me to start pushing. She helped guide me through the contraction, when to push and how much progress I was making. The pushing actually helped to ease the pain of the contractions and hubby was able to see our baby’s head for the first time. She asked if I wanted a mirror, I wasn’t too keen but one arrived anyway. It was a large full length mirror which meant I could see everything. She was encouraging me to look during pushes to see bub’s head coming but I found it hard to open my eyes while pushing so strongly. The fetal monitor wasn’t picking up the baby’s heart rate very well with all my squirming so they attached a device to the head where they could monitor it better. By now the contractions had managed to turn the baby around from the posterior position which I was very relieved to hear.

During the pushes, I felt like my head was going to explode from the pressure. Just as the baby was about to start crowning, they phoned my obstetrician who came running in from his rooms at the back of the hospital. Crowning was probably the worst part of the entire labour, words just cannot describe the pain. By this stage the epidural had worn off and I felt everything. The burning sensation from the baby’s head pushing out was just immense. Especially when waiting for another contraction to push through with the baby’s head just sitting half out, half in. The obstetrician splashed cold water over it which helped, but only just. The midwife got me to feel the baby’s head – it felt so bizarre. Like folded over soft skin, nothing like a skull at all. It’s pretty incredible that it can squash up so much.

A few more pushes and the baby’s head was out. Wow, what relief! One more small push and he was out. I managed to be looking in the mirror when his little body slid out of me. I’m glad they ended up bringing it in – there were a few bits that I wish I’d never seen, but some that were really incredible. Watching his little body slide out was one of those moments, it’s really is amazing what the human body can do.

Hubby had the honour of catching him on the way out and lifted him up onto my chest. Throughout the pregnancy I always thought that I would be a bit squeamish with a goopy baby but at the time I just didn’t care. The tears came pretty well straight away, I couldn’t believe my baby was finally in my arms. I didn’t even think to check if it was a boy or girl, it didn’t even occur to me. Hubby had looked though and I heard him say it was a little boy, all his dreams come true in that sentence! I couldn’t really tell you what happened in those first moments holding him, I was just so overwhelmed with the rush of love that I felt for this tiny baby. He was looking up at me and was just so calm and content. I vaguely remember hubby cutting the cord, but I just couldn’t stop staring at my little miracle.

As I held him, the obstetrician was busy getting the placenta out, and as I ended up with a second degree tear while delivering him (one of the reasons being that his hand came out next to his head), he also worked on stitching me up.

After a while the midwife weighed and measured him while hubby and I watched. They had said when he came out that he was a good sized baby and this was confirmed when he weighed in at 3.97kg (8p 12oz) and 54.5cm long! Head circumference was 35.5cm.

The obstetrician had finished working on me, congratulated me and left while hubby and I shared more cuddles with our little munchkin. The midwife was filling in paperwork and asked us whether we had a name for him. Hubby and I looked at each other and both agreed that Jacob would be his name. We had been tossing different names around throughout the pregnancy, but kept coming back to this name and seeing him, it just suited perfectly. Craig is a family name that we wanted to pass down to him.

And so, our son, Jacob Craig was born.

May 6, 2008

Tick Tock

Yep, still hanging in there. I seem to be getting all the signs that labour is not far away, it's just not kicking into gear for me yet. I'm getting a lot more sleep these days. Still up every 2 hours or so, but I'm managing to get back to sleep fairly quickly and feel like I am getting some good sleep in. I'm actually used to getting up every couple of hours, and don't even mind now that I'm sleeping in between. Even with getting much more sleep, I'm still finding that I'm very tired. Yesterday I had two naps throughout the day, one of them over an hour, even though I had slept around 8 hours the night before. Then last night I still managed to sleep for close to 10 hours. I won't be surprised if I am napping again at some stage today.

The braxton hicks contractions are continuing and getting stronger and stronger. Still not painful, just very uncomfortable. The tightening feeling seems to be spreading and squashing every part of my body, including my bladder which now has me in the bathroom up to every half hour throughout the day. I don't mind them though, I like that my body is getting in lots of practise for labour and secretly optimistic that it will help make it shorter and more efficient.

Other than the standard aches and pains & considering the weight that I'm now carrying around, I'm not doing too badly. We have decided to book in for the induction next week Thursday the 15th just in case nothing happens before then. So I'm not too concerned at this stage, either way we only have just over a week to go!