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jameelah in aussie_mums

I thought I should introduce myself here properly. I am 27 years old and am a mother of 3 girls and I have a baby on the way, due in Novemeber.

I thought I would include the story of my first birth, perhaps I will post the others at another time. It's quite long, so only read if you have some spare time.

On the morning of October 21, 2003, I woke at about 8:00am with a contraction. As soon as I got it, I must have been pretty certain that labour had started and didn't even try to go back to sleep. Contractions were coming every 20 minutes, and I remember thinking that this was the worst pain I have ever had and that I wouldn't have been even able to imagine it prior to the start of labour. I went out and met my parents who were staying with us somewhere about the kitchen, and after seeing me go though a contraction my father said something like "This looks like it!"

At this stage, I was going with the flow. As soon as a contraction hit, I knew I had to lean over. Standing up or sitting up through a contraction just wasn't a possibility.

Around 12:00pm I ate some lunch, but cautiously because I knew that I may see it again later that night. Slowly the contractions had been getting closer, stronger and longer until they reached 4 minutes apart at around 1:00pm, just after lunch. We then rang the hospital who said to come in. We lived just across the road from the hospital, and I really felt like a walk, so my husband David and I walked over, with me leaning on him every time I had a contraction. My parents had decided to take the car and follow us in case there was a problem (although I never was them) and also took the bags to the hospital for us. I was worried I would have a contraction in the middle of the wide road, so we waited for a contraction on the side of the road before we crossed. There was a hill that we had to walk up on the hospital grounds which I found a bit of work, but really, I was just appreciating that I was able to walk to the hospital.

Once we arrived in Labour and Delivery we were taken to get hooked up to a fetal monitor. That was possibly the most uncomfortable and painful thing. When I had a contraction, I couldn't lean over - the only way I could stand to be during a contraction. I don't know how long I was hooked up, but it seemed forever. Eventually they took us into the delivery room.

I was still keen to try various positions. Before labour had started I had decided that I wanted to try various positions, but in particular, I wanted to try upright positions to help bring the baby down. However, it was impossible for me to be comfortable in any position other than leaning over. Once I had figured that leaning over was the only way to go this time around I got up on the bed and leaned over the raised bedhead.

For some reason, things get slightly blurry around here. Perhaps because I was in shock as to how much pain is actually involved. Somewhere around this time I had to be hooked up to that horrid monitor again, but they tried to make it more brief this time. The nurse told me that they could get the tub ready whenever I wanted to use it. I was in so much pain and had heard how the water tends to take the edge off the contractions, so I said that now seemed a good time. I was so utterly disapointed. I actually felt worse in the tub for some reason, so my husband and I hopped back out after what seemed like only about 1/2 hour, but could have been more like an hour.

I was looking for something to help me cope, although I don't think I would have accepted an epidural if I had been offered it - I was still keeping to my birth plan. I am really happy though that I was never even offered anything that was not on my birth plan. I was really wanting to start on the happy gas, although I was also thinking that it was too early to start using it. As if the nurse knew what I was thinking, she reminded me about the gas, at which time I said that I would like to try.

I think my mother came into the birth suite around this time to see how i was going. I could see the hurt on her face. It really hurt her to see her little baby in pain. I was on the bed, leaning over the bedhead again. My mother was holding my right hand and my husband was holding my left as well as looking after the gas when I wasn't using it. One particular time, my contraction started, so in a quiet "trying to cope" voice I asked for the gas, and my husband didn't hear so he said "What did you say?" to which I yelled "Give me the gas!" (something that we joke about often). My contractions were one on top of the other and I was wanting a break. The nurse said that it wouldn't be too long before I would start getting the pushing contractions and that they are different and easier to handle, and that made me feel better. I was asked when I last went to the toilet, and it had been some time, so I was told that I had to go at least every 4 hours during labour, so I would have to go. I didn't know how I was meant to get there since the contractions were just too close. I was helped to the toilet.

When I was sitting on the toilet, David said my eyes looked a bit different. He then looked down and saw some bloody mucous and called a nurse. It was my bloody show. I hadn't had a bloody show at all previous to this. We then knew I was in transition (as if my saying I couldn't do this any longer wasn't enough of a clue). I told my Mum then that we would like her to leave since as we had discussed, David wanted our first birth to be just us and the medical staff when the baby arrived.

I was helped back on to the bed and shortly after I started getting that feeling like I needed to do the biggest poo in the world which I then understood was the urge to push. The nurse was right, I found this stage so much easier to deal with. I had breaks where I could recover between contractions and although the urge to push was one of the strangest feeling I have ever felt, it felt so much better than the contractions I had been having all day. I was pushing for about 1/2 hour I think, but really it felt like only a few minutes. While I was pushing with one contraction my waters exploded. That was another really strange feeling. I was on all fours with the midwife behind me so I am sure she got covered. It was a relief when they broke, it felt better with not quite as much pressure.

My husband went down to see the baby coming out and unfortunately was greeted with something he didn't want to see - poo. Well, it's not nice, but it's reality. Anyway, soon after that my husband and one of the ladies (not sure if it was the midwife or a nurse) said "Look at the hair!". I was thinking "I don't care about the hair, I just want it out!" I should have thought about it more and the fact that it meant it was almost over, but that didn't enter my mind. With the next contraction I pushed out her head. The midwife told me to stop pushing so she could check for a cord, which was around her neck, so she unwrapped it. Then the rest of her body came out slightly (only slightly) easier than the head with the next push and I flipped over and my baby was put on my chest. I must say that the feeling of the umbilical cord sliding out as the baby was put on my chest was a weird feeling yet again. I was asked if I had looked to see what the baby was, which I did, but (and you would think I would have learned from this and talked about this before my next births) I felt rushed into looking for the sex instead of just being able to enjoy this baby I had brought into the world no matter what sex it was. My husband, David, cut the cord and said it was a weird feeling.

Our first daughter was born at 10:11pm on the 21st October 2003. It had been 14 hours since my contractions started, about 9 hours of active labour. I don't remember what her scores were, but I know she was healthy with no problems and was 6lb 11 1/2oz. I had a very, very slight tear, that didn't requite stitches.

Due to the hospital wanting to give us some privacy and time to settle after the birth, my family who was waiting out in the waiting room was getting anxious since the regular screams that they had heard coming from my room had stopped for about an hour before they were told they could come in. My mum was particularly anxious and found that not knowing was the worst part. She had asked staff what was happening and was just told that everything was ok, but was not told that the baby had been born. She was really scarred by that, and as a mother, I understand totally.

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October 2008

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