Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Austin John's Birth

My three births have all been radically different experiences. Bowen was 10 days overdue. I had a couple of contractions in the hours before we went in to be induced, nothing too crazy, but Darren and I were totally shocked when we were told that our head down since 30 weeks baby was now breech! He had turned in the previous five days without me even realising. I was whisked away for a caesarean and not much time later Bowen was born.

Riordan was always going to be a vaginal birth; I hated feeling so out of it after Bowen’s birth. There was no reason for him not to be, and happily, after just 5 ½ hours of labour, albeit 7 days overdue, he was born. I had some pethidine for pain relief, which I didn’t regret but would like to do without the next time. I also really wanted to avoid the tearing that I got with Riordy-boy too.

My third pregnancy was just a textbook as the first two. Granted, I was exhausted most of the time from working fulltime and having two little boys running me around the rest of the time. I stopped working just short of 36 weeks, and it was the best thing I could have done. I went from feeling tired and achy all the time, to enjoying my pregnancy, and my boys. I was also lucky enough to have my Mum only working part-time, so she often had the boys in the afternoons while I had some rest.

Although I knew in my heart that this baby would most likely be late, I tried everything I could to get him out a bit earlier. The most aggressive way was acupuncture. I went about 6 times in 4 weeks, but I can’t say that it definitely helped push things along. I also stayed really active, walked a lot, and bounced on a fit ball (OK, so it was a Thomas the Tank Engine bouncy thing, same concept!).

My due date, as it always does, came and went. Actually, both due dates came and went. As baby #3 was conceived before I got my period back after weaning, I had an early scan to confirm my EDD. It said 29/6/09. My OB, strangely enough, saw that date, got out his little whirly card doover, and ended up with 26/6/09. I had been using the 29th as my due date, and it wasn’t until I was at my 39 week appointment, and he mentioned that I was due in just 10 days (not 13) that I remembered about the differing dates. In the scheme of things it shouldn’t matter, but 3 days is a lot when you may have to be induced, and you can’t really be induced as you are having a VBAC! I tried to put it out of my mind, and just concentrate on giving birth to my baby, when he was ready.

On the advice of my calmbirth teacher (calmbirth was my way of trying to have a drug-free birth) I started some nipple stimulation to try and bring something on. Boy, did it give me contractions (or ‘surges’ in calmbirth speak). Nothing came of it, except that I started to lose my mucous plug the next day. I also went and saw Pink that night, hoping that I could dance my baby out. He absolutely hated the concert; he moved so much that I could barely sit still.

I went to the OB on the Wednesday; he did an internal and found me to be about 2cm dilated, with bulging membranes. At least something was happening! We also booked an induction for the following Monday, something I hoped with all my might that I could avoid.

Thursday passed, with just a few Braxton Hicks contractions waking me at night, until Friday came. I was just so tired that Mum took the boys for the afternoon and I just blobbed around, willing the baby to appear. I was still losing bits of bloody mucous, but only having the odd BH in return. Friday night I found it impossible to sleep, I was being woken a few times every hour with contractions, nothing too crazy but just enough to not let me be comfortable. I just breathed through them, and tried to get back to sleep. My plug was coming away much thicker now, and had streaks of fresh blood in it. I was heartened by this, as I knew it meant that I was dilating, if not very slowly.

I rang my mum, in tears from lack of sleep, and she came and got the boys while Darren drove me to my last-ditch acupuncture appointment. It was excruciating, having the sporadic surges while lying on that bed, but I would try anything at this point. It was a really long session, and after it we just went home and tried to relax. We went on a long walk (with me stopping every now and again to have contractions) and then for a trip in Darren’s work truck (!) to get some DVD’s to watch. I had a bath, which surprised me with its ability to relax me, and then went and saw the boys. Mum, thankfully, offered to have them overnight, which took a lot of the weight off my mind. I tried to go to bed early, but I was up and down with surges until I got back in the bath, and actually fell asleep. If it hadn’t got cold, I think I would have stayed there all night!

At about 2am, things changed. The waves intensified, and I knew I couldn’t cope at home, just breathing through them. All I could think about was an Epidural, sod the all natural birth, I needed to just survive! I woke Darren; we rang the hospital and told them I was coming in. I spoke relatively normally on the phone; I don’t think she actually believed that I was in full on labour. There was nothing she could say to keep me away, so I shoved what I could into my bags, yelled at Darren for no reason, and off we went.

The phone call must have released something inside me, because the contractions that were coming 3-4 an hour suddenly came thick and fast, and I could barely catch my breath between them. We got the hospital, went to the birthing suite, and after a few waves I had an internal, and was 8cm dilated! Hooray! I hadn’t heard such good news in my life. The OB was called (mine was, of course, not on call) and then I had to be monitored, and have a cannula put in. I wasn’t happy about this, but the baby’s heart rate was quite low, so they gave me some fluids while I was trapped on the bed. The OB came, a woman from my doctors practice, and she gave me an internal, said there was just a small rim around my cervix and I would be pushing very soon. She also broke my waters and put a trace on the baby’s head. I could get off the bed after that.

I didn’t actually make if off the bed. As soon as I sat up, I knew that I was in transition. The waves had stopped, and I felt strangely calm. I even said to Darren, “I’m in transition now” and explained what it meant! We had been at the hospital for about an hour when I felt the urge to push. I had discussed with my OB different positions for pushing to try and protect my perineum, and the doctor delivering my baby assured me that the best way for her to keep an eye on things was if I lay on my side, so that’s what I did. With each pushing contraction, the baby’s heart rate dropped below 100, so I had to push with all my might to try and get him out. After half an hour of pushing, my face nearly purple from exertion, he was finally out!

He was put on my chest straight away, and I realised (cliché that it is), that it was all worth it.

I did tear, so I was stitched up while Darren held the baby. Strangely enough, I had gotten through 30 hours of ‘prelabour’ (which didn’t feel very ‘pre’ to me!) and 1 ½ hours of really intense labour and pushing with no drugs, but I sucked on the gas like it was my best friend while I was being stitched up! I had to laugh, I asked if she was finally finished down there, and the doctor said, “I’m just making it look pretty!” Only a female doctor would say that!

Austin John was born at 4.42 am, 5/709. He was 3.5kgs (7pd12oz), 51.5cm long, with a 36cm head.

Austin's first feed.
PS - More pics to come, I just managed to get them onto Facebook today, so here is next!


Penny said...

Wow what a wonderful birth! It sounds like it went exactly the way you wanted and I'm so glad to hear that.

I hope you are enjoying your newest little boy. What a gorgeous family you have.


Averil said...

Oh Sam - what a beautiful birth! I'm thrilled that you've had the birth you wanted twice over now! You did exceptionally well!!

I love that photo of you with Austin! I'd LOVE to see more too!

Your taste in boys names is gorgeous and I think they all go so well together!! xxxx

xx Ave

Samantha said...

Thanks guys.

I would have preferred no pre-labour at all, but I am stoked with myself for having no pain relief.

Now I just have to get used to having three little boys to get organised in the mornings! We will make it out of the house before 10am one of these days...