Posted 30 October 2004 - 12:11 AM
My birth story starts with induced labour and ends with an emergency caesarean operation but it is overall a happy story with a successful outcome – my beautiful son, Riley. Warning, this account is fairly detailed so it may contain “too much info” for some readers.
Well I guess the story starts with my OB appointment on Thursday 2 September. At this time I was 5 days overdue. My OB did an internal and I was 1.5cm dilated. I was elated at this as finally something was happening. OB had booked us in for an induction on Monday night, 6 September. I would be 9 days overdue then. I felt really relieved that there was some finality, an end was in sight that I could plan for.
The next significant event was on Sunday 5 September. At about 5.30pm went to the toilet and found thick yellow mucous stuff which I think is the “show”. I was really excited as I hoped it meant my cervix had softened even more and dilated even more, so the induction will be more successful. That evening I felt heavy and a bit achy but it was a constant ache, not cramps. Monday morning I had even more of a “show”. For the induction, we were to go to the hospital at 8pm that night, and have a final big dinner before we went (which I was looking forward to). However, at about 11am, the hospital rang to ask whether I could come in early. This sent me into a panic as it wasn’t what was planned. I couldn’t decide without consulting DH who was a work. By the time he got home at lunch time, the hospital no longer had an early opening so I got to have my final dinner etc. That afternoon I had some minor cramping about every 15 minutes and I got excited that they might be the start of labour.
Got to the hospital at 8pm and were taken to the delivery room for an internal examination. I was only 2 cm dilated which I was disappointed with. Was put on the monitor for about 20 minutes. I enjoyed watching the baby’s heartbeat and my uterus activity. The nurse applied the gel and I was on the monitor for 20 more minutes. Over the whole time the monitor showed 2 mild contractions which were about 20 mins apart. We were then taken upstairs to our hospital room. I was delighted that I got a double bed room with en suite so DH could stay with me. I didn’t feel like sleeping but was recommended to get plenty of sleep. So I took the sleeping tablets and we went to bed but I couldn’t sleep. Instead I got quite emotional about the pregnancy finally going to be over soon.
Had a really restless night and was sure that I had fairly regular mild cramps through the early morning so I didn’t sleep much at all. I was up at 6.30 am as the induction was meant to start at 7 am. But they were busy so we had to wait until 7.30 am. In the resulting confusion, we didn’t get any breakfast from the hospital so we were starving but this turned out to be fortunate for me. We were finally taken to the delivery rooms and I was dressed into a gown and put on the monitor. I was also put on a drip and given antibiotics (for my heart condition).
My OB came in and did an internal – still only 2 cm dilated so the gel hadn’t done much at all. I was disappointed but my OB broke my waters anyway. They were clear which was good news as there was no sign of bubs being in distress. Once my waters were broken, I got a sudden desire to poo so went to sit on toilet and my bowels cleared out. I was pleased about this as it was another sign labour was being established and it removed another potential worry. Meanwhile I sent DH up to our hospital room to collect the labour bag I had packed (most of which I didn’t get to use !).
Due to the drip, contractions had started strong and hard pretty much immediately. What I wasn’t prepared for was that I felt my body go into shock – that is, feeling faint, hot, sweaty and nauseas. I think it was just the realisation that we had finally made it to labour stage and it was really going to happen and also that the contractions being so strong was a bit of a surprise for my body. But the fact that I felt so ill made it hard to deal with the contractions properly.
The contractions were getting quite strong so I decided I would try the shower. I don’t know how long I was in there for but it felt quite good and I could grip the bar on the wall during contractions while moving on the ball. I really enjoyed the water and thought about how good it must feel to be in a birthing pool where you would be totally surrounded by warm water. But unfortunately after a while I got quite cold as the showering wasn’t keeping me warm as the water was only ever on one part of me at a time. So I decided to leave the shower and try some other labour positions.
After this, things seemed to get a bit vague for me. I didn’t have my glasses on so I kept my eyes shut which gave me a distorted appreciation of time and what I was going through. I think this was a mistake. From here on, I’m a bit vague as to the order things happened. But I know that I did sit on the ball by the bed with DH behind me rubbing my back. Apart from the contact with DH which was reassuring, this wasn’t an effectual pain relief as I didn’t have any back pain. The pain was in the front of my abdomen quite low down.
At some stage the midwife checked the baby’s pulse and it had dropped but then recovered. She thought it might just be the position I was in so we went back out to the bed to check it there. Bubs heart rate continued to drop after each contraction.
After a while I asked for gas. I found that using gas was hard as I had to breathe it in deeply and I didn’t feel like I could get enough fast enough and at the same time I was frightened to have too much which would make me feel too out of it. Most of the time I had gas I was sitting on the ball by the bed with DH behind me still. I was increasingly finding it hard to deal with the contractions. I remember feeling like it was all too much and I told DH that I didn’t want to be there. I knew there was nothing we could about it now that it had started and although I wanted Bubs out, I just didn’t want any more of the contractions and pain. The gas was making me so thirsty and I hated feeling out of control. Because contractions were so close together I didn’t recover properly from the gas before the next contraction.
The midwife kept checking Bub’s heart rate. It was still dropping so the midwife made me lie on bed so she could attach the monitor again. It was hard bearing the contractions while on the bed. As soon as I could I moved back to the ball. After a while the midwife promised she would do an internal after 15 more minutes (at about 11.30). This time seemed to take forever to pass. Finally it was time for the internal. Unfortunately I was only 4 cm dilated. It just seemed like it would take forever to get to 10cm and I just didn’t feel like I could bear it for so many more hours. So I gave in and asked for an epidural. I had previously wanted to go through labour without one but I was so disillusioned about the lack of dilation rate that I just couldn’t bear the thought of continuing using the gas and I definitely didn’t want pethidine.
The midwife left to organise the epidural and before I knew it the anaesthetist was there explaining the risks. I was amazed at how quickly she got there as I had expected to have to wait at least 30 mins, if not more. I knew I should listen to her but it was surreal with the contraction pain interrupting everything. So she went ahead to put it in place. Lying on my side wasn’t as bad as I had anticipated. I didn’t feel any of the procedure (DH later told me it looked quite scary – thank goodness I couldn’t see it happen). I still needed to use the gas while it was being done but it took effect really quickly. Then I was overcome with severe shaking which I couldn’t control. So they rolled me back on my back and this stopped the shaking. It felt so strange to be able to feel the contractions but with no pain. It felt like I wasn’t actually there taking part in it all. I felt so distant from the birthing process. But the lack of pain felt so good. The memory of the pain quickly disappeared.
The midwife kept telling us that we had relatives outside waiting for news etc. Turned out that my whole family was outside. I didn’t want anyone to come in. I didn’t want to affect any readings of Bub’s heart rate by making me emotional etc.
The midwife continued to be concerned about Bubs’ heart rate so the OB inserted a monitor onto Bubs’ head to get a more accurate reading. I remember she told us he had black hair. Apparently what was happening was his heart rate was dropping after each contraction which was not normal. It was normal for the heart rate to drop during contractions and then pick up quickly but this wasn’t happening. So the OB wanted to do an oxygen test to see if Bubs was all right. It involved taking a sample of blood from his head and getting a reading. They were not happy with the reading so the OB recommended an “emergency” caesarean straight away. The anaesthetist came to top up the epidural. There were people everywhere getting ready and explaining things to me. DH had to pack up our things and get changed for surgery. As I was donating the core blood, the core blood person had to do a quick background survey and there were forms I had to sign.
I was then wheeled out of the delivery suit into the corridor – and I had to wave to my relatives watching through the waiting room door. DH then turned up and we waited in the corridor for everyone to get ready for surgery. People were still asking me things etc which was quite a strange feeling. Then we were in theatre and I was moved onto the table.
I didn’t feel any of the operation. Before I knew it, they lowered the material barrier and showed me Bubs being lifted out. My first thought was that he was so big – he was 9 pound 3. Then he was taken away. I felt such relief that he had been delivered safely as that meant I had succeeded in my pregnancy. It was finally over. Bubs was brought over to me and photos were being taken and I felt like crying from the relief of it all. It felt so strange to know he was my baby.
Then DH and Bubs left and I had to lie there while they sewed me up. Again it was quite surreal as they chatted away about things such as lamingtons etc. The anaesthetist was great, explaining what was going on and being very reassuring. Then I was transferred onto a trolley and wheeled out to recovery where DH was waiting with a crib with a baby in it. It felt strange as couldn’t feel any pain or discomfort and couldn’t feel anything about my body below my ribcage. The nurse in recovery gave me the baby and assisted with a first breastfeed. I felt so awkward – I couldn’t believe this was really happening. We had made it.
Then the nurse gave permission for my relatives to come in and see me in recovery. My recovery was fine but we had to wait for ages for a male nurse to take us upstairs to our hospital room. My relatives took lots of photos etc and were so happy. Then they finally wheeled me out to the lifts and upstairs. It felt strange being wheeled around with baby following in crib. I was transferred onto the bed and then I was inundated with relatives and well wishes etc. I couldn’t do anything but lie there. DH sat on the bed beside me while everyone held my baby and I could do nothing but watch on. That seemed to be the worse thing about having a caesar.
But all in all, I’m glad that I had a caesar as it meant that I got a healthy baby boy. So all I can say is that it was a happy ending.
Riley : 7 September 2004