Thursday, August 26, 2021

Another birth story

Phoebe arrived at 0801am on Thursday 5 March 

After a sweep at 39 weeks, I'd been having back pain and painless Braxton Hicks for a few days, but they didn't seem to be going anywhere. I was very done with being pregnant after having such terrible pelvic girdle pain, but in the last couple of weeks, she'd dropped in my pelvis which whilst causing more groin pain, had less back pain and I could walk more freely. I'd been out to lunch with a friend, and on the Thursday took Lydia for a walk round the Common with one of her little friends and their mum, before going back to their house so the kids could play for a bit. I'd been getting lots of mucus discharge too, but nothing that looked like a bloody show.

We'd had a false alarm on the Saturday 31 July too, where I thought my waters had gone  and went to be assessed at the maternity assessment unit, but they hadn't, (probably just a urine leak 😲). My sister and brother in law had come to look after Lydia and ended up staying over as we didn't get back till gone midnight by the time the registrar was free to see us. My parents came to stay on the Sunday morning so that we'd have someone here to look after Lydia if we needed to go in the middle of the night.

On the Thursday evening I felt the baby's movements had reduced quite a lot, so we went to the assessment unit again to get checked out. We were there for quite a long time as we needed to wait for a registrar to be free to look at the results, but everyone was happy that the baby's heart rate was ok, and she had moved a bit whilst we were there. The registrar threw us a bit by suggesting that if I was still unhappy with the movements and didn't want to try the induction drip, we could consider breaking my waters. I wasn't happy to do this where I wasn't in labour, as my research led me to believe this could bring on an unnecessary fast and painful labour. So we agreed with the doctor to come home and wait and see, and proceed to the c-section if the movements continued to be reduced, as a c-section was my preference this time if there were any issues.

We got home pretty late, around 11pm and I went to have a bath to help with the aches and pains which I thought were my PGP still, then got ready for bed, and stuck on my usual GentleBirth hypnobirthing meditation tracks which I'd been listening to for the last few months. I couldn't get comfy and tried lying in lots of positions, all whilst reading e-books on my phone. Gradually the intensity of the pains ramped up, and I thought they might be contractions after all, but I wasn't 100% convinced, but got tom to put the TENS machine on me which helped distract me.

By 2am ish they'd got into a regular pattern of pretty much 3 in 10 minutes and I decided I needed to go to the hospital. We tried calling Labour Line but they kept ringing out, which made me very anxious. we really didn't want me to give birth at home so we just went in. 

When we got there, the staff were a bit surprised to see us, and we had to wait in the reception area whilst they found us a room. I was clinging on to Tom's neck as the contractions came, and where they were quite painful I was feeling very anxious and sore, and like I couldn't do this. In fact I was pretty rude and grumpy throughout my entire labour, sorry Tom!

When we got into our room with a very nice calm midwife, they only had the wired monitors available, but I consented to using them as it seemed like the right thing to do. I managed to lie on my back for an inital examination and I was already 8cm dilated which seemed hopeful.

For the next 6 or so hours, I tried lots of positions, mainly on my hands and knees draped over the upright back of the bed, with a little standing up and side lying. I was very hot and sweaty and the wires of the monitor kept catching in the crease of my groin/ overhand of my stomach which annoyed me no end, but I couldn't articulate what was annoying me about them amid the contractions other than to swear about them. 

Spent a lot of time in this position - good one to remember if you need to have wired monitoring. Picture from the Village Midwife I think.

Tom did a great job of holding my hand, wiping my sweaty brow and restarting my mediation tracks. I was very grateful when I started the gas and air, and used that to focus my in for 4 our for 6 breathing. I would set the TENS Machine to surge as the contractions started which again seemed to distract me from the pain/focus me on my breathing. I told Tom off for yawning at one point, but don't remember this - sorry Tom again! He'd been up since 5am the previous day for work with only a little bit of sleep whilst I was starting the contractions....

I wondered a few times about asking for the birth pool or the bath as that had been my initial hope in my preferences plan, but when Tom asked me about it, I said I didn't want to change rooms as I was too busy concentrating and was worried the shock of changing rooms would slow everything down. I was a bit surprised the midwives didn't mention it but I guess they're being led by you somewhat.

After 6 hours, my waters hadn't gone, and the midwives suggested this as a next step to progress things along. Where I was actually in labour this seemed like a good idea. This was painful as I had to be on my back again and the procedure is painful, but it was manageable with the gas and air. There was no meconium in the waters as far as I remember, and I went into transition pretty soon after my waters broke.

Transition was scary and painful and I really felt like I couldn't do giving birth after all. Tom said I went all erratic and shouty at this stage, trying lots of different positions again, like standing up holding on to Tom. I remember focusing on the prompts of my meditation track, trying to relax my shoulders etc when it suggested through the pain.  But transition didn't last very long, and when the midwives encouraged me to push, I went into a calmer focused place. Tom changed my meditation track to a pushing focused one, and ended up back on my hands and knees draped over the back of the bed again.

To be continued.

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