Tuesday, July 08, 2014

Birth Story - Milla's arrival

Contractions started. Sometime in the evening, maybe around 9pm, after I talked work on the phone with my boss, before we headed to bed as normal. I took some painkillers at 11pm. It's hazy already but I didn't sleep through. I can remember being in discomfort and wondering why Charlie wasn't waking up. He was being smart, conserving energy. I was calm and cosy in bed. Around 6am his work alarm went off and we started timing the contractions with the app on my phone. They were 10-12 minutes apart and lasting about 50 seconds.

I stayed in bed, Charlie pulled in a chair and sat with me, made me toast, brought coffee, another round of painkillers, and the morning wore on. At 8am Charlie called the hospital, we had in mind that we might need to go later in the day and we should alert then so they could plan for us. We got a midwife on the phone that we didn't know, who was sweet and clear as we hoped. 

We pulled out the TENS machine and Charlie fixed it to my back. I didn't like the electrical feeling at all but kept it on and it proved to be a major ingredient in my pain management. 

The afternoon approached, I was still in bed, no sleep, TENS machine on and in use, and contractions were getting more frequent. By 2pm they were lasting up to 2 minutes and about 5 minutes apart. I had some showers and found it hard to find my contractions while there. 

We spoke to the midwife again, I had a shower and something that looked exactly like a 'mucous plug' appeared. I realised there was no chance I'd be washing my hair before going to hospital.

Back in bed, I became aware of Charlie packing, realised he was getting ready to go. I was vaguely pleased that I didn't have to make a decision about going. It was time. 

At 4:30pm, we got in the car. I felt aware of the stories I'd read of this time being hard, and sitting down felt terrible. I hung onto the grab handle and focused internally. At one point I bit the seatbelt. I closed my eyes and was quiet. Occasionally I looked at traffic and resisted instructing Charlie on how to drive. 

They registered our arrival at 5:02pm at the emergency counter. We waited for 45 minutes before getting called. I stood up the whole time, staying quiet. I felt a bit wet but there was no breaking of waters. It felt absurd to be in this amount of pain and just hanging out in a waiting room.

In the assessment, they said lie on the bed, which was not going to happen, so I got on all fours, the position I'd kept at home. One of the few specific things I can say I used from my pre-natal classes. We stayed in the assessment stall for perhaps my 'transition' time, it was hard.

I got louder. A nurse checked on me and Charlie thought that she was impressed with my 'active labour' position on the bed. It maybe gave the idea that I was far along in my labour, which she confirmed with an examination - 7cm dilated. I was delighted and Charlie was relieved. It meant we had timed it well, and that we weren't going to be sent home. A wheelchair was offered with options for how to use it - seated, kneeling backwards or walking alongside. I thought I could walk, but kneeling was it. Charlie texted our student midwife at 6pm with progress and shortly after we were in birth suite. 

Midwife Melissa was in the darkened birth suite and asked me if I wanted a bath. Charlie answered for me as I couldn't make a decision through the pain and trying to get in a position that worked. It takes time to fill the bath, and she went to find a plug. I stood, leaning on the bed.    

The bathroom was dark, a yellow torch in the corner provided just enough to see. Unsteadily, I stepped into the bath, using Charlie as my crutch. 

The rest of my labour happened in the bath. After a strong start, with Melissa thinking our student midwife would miss the birth if she arrived at 8:30pm as expected, contractions slowed. I was moving between different positions, the water was topped up to keep warm, Melissa continually suggested new positions. Over and over I heard positive words 'good work', 'keep breathing', 'come on gorgeous', 'you're doing brilliantly', 'that's it!'. Charlie never moved from my side. 

Student Midwife Tanya arrived 8:30pm, there was a period of hard work followed by a final stage where instructions changed and I fought my internal fears about the spaced out contractions. Melissa drove me hard, and monitoring of baby heartbeat became more frequent. We were so happy to hear that same steady sound we knew from checkups. 

The pushes hurt, I was driven by Melissa's instructions and Charlie's encouragement. She instructed me to change positions, to push. She checked there was no impediments and said that my baby was just waiting for me, waiting for me to push: "she's right there!'. Though I hadn't planned to, I watched the mirror in the bath to see Milla's head and know what each push meant. It hurt. Charlie was behind me, talking closely in my ear. I was told to give a push for her eyes, a push her nose, another for her nose, and her chin. This was so real. 

10:14pm she's on my chest.

* This is part one of the story. It makes me so happy to reflect on, as it follows my birth plan that we had written. My wishes were respected and my intentions realised. I stayed at home for most of my labour, I took no drugs in labour, Charlie was by my side, midwives were awesome, no tough decisions had to be made and Milla came straight up to my chest for cuddles. 

1 comment:

ethan said...

congrats on the birth of your daughter. glad to hear it all went smoothly.