Friday, July 20, 2012

THE BIRTH I WANTED

Here's a lovely birth story from Lauren. I'd normally write a little intro here but the email Lauren sent us with her story says it all perfectly, so here she is in her own words...
Enjoy!
Sarah
Photo from here
Hi Ladies, 
Just a quick thank-you, I loved loved reading all the birth stories on your blog when I was pregnant, they were so inspiring and I remember sitting at my computer reading them with a box of tissues and being so excited that it would be my turn soon. Reading the birth stories took away a lot of the fear for me as everyone tells the bad bits and to read the positive side of it really helped me to be calm and have the birth I wanted.
I was blessed to have close to the birth I had planned and I feel so much stronger and so proud of myself for it....so here it is....

I was "due" the 24th April, I never gave too much thought to the date, both Nick and I are pretty chilled out folk and as a first time mummy I figured I would probably go late so even though we counted down I had no misconception I would actually give birth on or even a few days either side of that date, I had a feeling he would arrive the 29th April and Nick said he thought the 2nd May.

We saw our Midwife Linda on the 25th April for our weekly visit and it was decided that our next appointment would be at the Hospital to do a stretch and sweep and some monitoring of the baby ( he had had an irregular heart beat through out my pregnancy that we had been keeping an eye on) so that was booked for the afternoon of 2nd May, I was a tad apprehensive about this as wanted as natural a process as I could and really wanted to know what going into labour naturally felt like, I wanted that excitement of the surprise and I always thought that the baby would arrive when he was ready.

We live in the Coromandel and I was planning to give birth at Tauranga Hospital (approx 2.5 hour drive in good traffic). We have family in Tauranga and I was planning to labour at Nick's mum's house until it was time to go to the hospital.

So we drove home on the 25th April with set date for getting things moving if they hadn't already by then, and continued our daily routine of walk, curry every second night and acupressure/massage to induce labour (sorry ladies I was unfortunately in NO way up to hanky-panky at this stage in my pregnancy, just walking the beach was hard work).

I don't really feel like it was any of these things that kicked us off, I think Baby just decided it was his time to arrive.
At 2am on Sunday the 29th April I woke up to slightly more painful than the usual Braxton Hicks...went back to sleep, woke up again at 2.06am...then 2.12am,2.18am,2.24am, and so on....exactly every 6min I was having a feeling that lasted about 30 seconds. I was not fully convinced so asked Nick to grab me a hot water bottle and put that on my tummy and went back to sleep (not a very good sleep I must say). I woke again 5am really busting for the loo and still having a cramp every 6min on the dot, in the toilet I noticed I had had a show. I called out to Nick that I had, I remember being really happy and thinking ohhh something might happen in the next week, we both still didn't think I was in latent labour, I was convinced that if i got up and had a shower and a walk around that it would go away...

So I did exactly that, we also decided to stop timing them, we did our usual daily stuff, baked a cake even!, the only difference was I had to have a hottie on my tummy every 6 min, and by now I was beginning to realise they weren't stopping but they also weren't getting any stronger.

At about 4.30pm we went for a nice long (slow) walk down the beach, up the stairs at the beach and home.
We started timing the contractions again when we got home at 5pm, I also moved to sitting/leaning over the birth ball with a hottie on my front...by about 8.30pm they had amped up in intensity but still not changed in timing, we decided it would be best to start the drive to Tauranga (just incase) and I was going to continue labouring at MIL's home until it was time to go to hospital...

I was still convinced as soon as we got on the road they would go away...possibly I was in denial, in hindsight I didn't quite believe we had gone into labour all on our own, I had always had the feeling I would need some kind of assistance to go into labour, how wrong was I?!

Over the 3 hour car ride (three instead of 2.5 due to Nick needing to slow for every little bump) my contractions amped up to every 5 min, then every 4min, so by the time we arrived in Tauranga I was having a pretty horrid time and couldn't wait to get out of the car...Nick was timing as well as driving and didn't actually tell me til we got to Tauranga that they had gone to every 4min...cheeky...also at this stage I was still using the hot water bottle, I had one for my front and one for my back...

We arrived at Nick's Mum's at 11.30pm on the 29th April, and we turned off most of the lights and laboured alone in her lounge on the birth ball, with Nick rotating 3 hot water bottles so I could have a really hot one all the time...it was really nice and calm but I found myself trying to be quiet so not to wake up everyone, which was less than ideal. I just wanted to get to the hospital and start to vocalise a bit....
At 2.30am I had been having contractions every 3min lasting 1min each for an hour, and dare I say the hot water bottles were now not exactly making a dent on the discomfort, we called Linda and she arranged to meet us at the hospital at 3am...we were only 5min away so DP packed the car while I laboured on the birth ball, I really didn't want to get off it was so good.
We arrived at the hospital on time, and even though I was determined to walk to the ward I had a intense contraction half way through the automatic doors and almost got sliced in half by them, ended up getting wheeled up in a wheel chair and bawled my eyes out the whole way because I wanted to walk...funny now...but I was so sure I would be able to walk up and was looking forward to it...was not a happy chappy when I arrived in the delivery suite.... 

Linda checked me, and baby's heart, I was only 2cm but fully effaced, and his heart beat was dipping every time I had a contraction, possibly due to him being in a strange position, slightly across wise instead of heading straight down, he had his head tipped back so he was coming forehead first. One of the reasons I chose Linda as a midwife is because she supports natural birthing  and uses homeopathic therapies over drugs.
She gave me some homeopathic pillules to help my body relax and move him into the the optimum position, unfourtunatley she also said I would need to labour on the bed with the monitor on for baby's heart beat for a while.. this was not in my birth plan, I wanted to keep as active as possible.

I was able to handle the contractions well when sitting on a birth ball but flat on my back in bed was not pleasant, about 30min in I had an intense contraction and we actually saw him turn with the contraction, it was very sore, but the upside was my midwife said since he was in the correct position now I could get up and be unhooked from the monitors, hallelujah!

I had originally wanted a water birth this was ruled out when we discovered baby's skipping heart beat so as a compromise Linda set me up so I could labour in the shower, it was bliss with the hot water on my back, we turned off the lights and closed the door and me and Nick sat facing each other.  I was having strong contractions every 3min and we were both falling asleep in between.....

At 4.45am Linda asked to check me again, and was very surprised to announce I was 3cm! She was pretty shocked but happy as things were progressing properly if not pretty fast for a first timer, we were also back on the baby heart monitor and baby's heart beat was still dipping very low with my contractions. We discussed the options and decided to break my waters as the baby needed to come out sooner rather then later and maybe his head would go into a better position once the waters were out of the way.
I was kind of against having my waters broken but after a chat with Nick we decided ok, Looking back I know now this is when I thought to myself, "ok lets do this" and got pretty determined and sure of myself. I will admit I was scared it would hurt but it didn't at all, just felt like I had done the biggest wee of my life....and straight away I went to 5cm! Yahoo...easiest 2cm of the whole process!

In my birth plan I had stated I only wanted to use Gas ( entonox) as pain relief and this is when I asked for it, it took a little getting used to but it helped me a lot.  It took the edge off but I was still able to fully feel the contractions and it really helped me get my breathing under control.

I laboured for a short time on my back in bed again to monitor baby, then blessed be his heart rate stayed stable through a set of contractions and I was able to get up and onto a birthing ball next to the bed...what bliss!

It was about this time when I noticed things amping up, I had to stand up off the ball with every contraction, I was going all the way up on to my tippy toes it felt so good to be up on my feet. I felt myself pushing a bit and this didn't go unnoticed and Linda asked to check me, she said I was at 7cm and to stop pushing because I was causing my cervix to swell from the baby's head banging on it. Well! That comment gave me the sh*ts, it was so hard not to push down as I stood up with each contraction, but determined not to cause any more swelling and couldn't stop thinking "Eeek I'm going to swell up and will have to have a c-section"....my worst nightmare!

It was also at this time I saw Linda turn on the warmer and ask Nick for baby's clothes....I knew things were getting closer when she did this as we had been told in antenatal class that things are happening when they turn on the baby warmer, I remember feeling really excited and a little suprised when she did it so soon i thought......

I tried not pushing for about 5 contractions and didn't have much luck and I felt my body take over and said "I'm pushing and I cant stop it". Linda checked again and what do you know she said I can try a few pushes if I would like to I was fully dilated!...Linda also asked Nick to take the Gas off me so I could concentrate on pushing properly....I wasn't so happy about this...

I was getting so tired by now my legs were trembling constantly and I was having trouble standing with my contractions, Linda asked if I would like to get up onto the bed and I said yes...
Nick helped me up onto the bed and I got on to my knees holding on to the upraised bed head...it was really good to be able to pull hard on the bed head while pushing down.

This is when time kind of stood still, nothing mattered but the next contraction. I also noticed my contractions had longer rest periods in between, the rests were such a blessing, and the contractions were so intense but I felt him moving down and back up a few times during this stage it was so surreal, then he didn't go back up on one of them. It was strange to feel so full of person, and I knew the next contraction was going to push out his head, I tried so hard..and it didn't come out!...I remember feeling a bit gutted after that one, I think Linda could tell because she said it would be the next, and it was, it did hurt when he crowned, but the instant after it feels better, and knowing his head was out was so good...I was so close to meeting him.
Nick was just standing next to me at this stage, I could not handle being touched at all, Linda asked if he would like to see his son being born  and her and the back up midwive said "aww look at his cute little lips".....next push and his arm and shoulder were out and then his body....all in all Nick said was only 7 pushes in total from when I started pushing... My son stared screaming straight away and was passed to me between my legs, I put him on my chest and looked at him for the first time, I remember thinking how beautiful he was and "wow I did it, he is finally here and my goodness he can scream"...he latched straight away as well...

I held him while they stitched up a 2nd degree tear I had, as he came out with his fist by his face....that was pretty sore!

Louie James was born at 9.23am on 30th April 2012, he was 9lb 2oz and 57cm long, with a head circumference of 36.5cm, he has blonde hair, and blue eyes and a wee dimple in his chin that I can't stop kissing...we love him so much and he is a really chilled out bub, hardly ever cries and is already smiling and chatting away.... 

I feel so blessed I was able to have close to the birth I planned, I would do it all over again in a heart beat and I have never felt more proud of myself than in that moment after he was born, I still can't stop smiling about our awesome experience....we are really loving being parents and already are planning a little brother or sister for Louie, we hope our next baby will be able to be a home water birth.....I can't wait....:)
This experience has helped me learn that it is still ok even if it doesn't go to plan, you can have a beautiful and rewarding birth experience.

I hope our story will inspire someone like all the stories I read inspired me....

Much love,
Lauren, Nick and Louie.
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