Half a year

Our gorgeous little girl is 6 months old! I feel like we’ve blinked and here we are.

Things we know about her:

1. she loves her daddy. Any time she sees him she smiles from ear to ear.

2. She loves watching her brothers and will yell to get their attention.

3. She loves her food …. well fruit but she pretends to vomit with Veg.

4.  She’s feisty.  She’s calm and patient but when that wears out. …look out!

5. She’s very observant and doesn’t miss a beat. She won’t sleep at the meetings because it’s too exciting.

The boys adore her.  She can sit up on her own and take her own weight standing up with help. You can see she is desperate to get moving.

Quinlan continues to amaze us.  He’s writing the alphabet now,  knows all his letters and the sound they make.  He’s suddenly into craft and coloring and drawing.  He loves making masks and doing dress up. He spent his first morning at school and loved it. He can make his breakfast and loves to get Autumn in the morning when she wakes up so i can sleep a bit more.

Alasdair is very cheeky and tries to laugh his way out of trouble.  He’s an entertaining chap who loves to makes us laugh. He loves to jump over Autumn.

Quinlan’s quotes

Q: Mummy I’m so lucky I got to have a brother AND a sister. 

Me: Yes, you are. Not many people get a brother and a sister.  

Mr Q: Yeah. I’m so glad your tummy listened to me.  I think I want one more sister though……….. Actually,  no ….. one sister is enough!  

Autumn Anastasia Birth Story

I guess my the labor process really started on Monday (3 March) when I first lost my mucous plug. I knew that it didn’t mean labor was imminent, however I was pleased that it meant that things were progessing. I started to get random tightenings during the day but nothing regular or painful. This continued during the night and was painful enough to keep me awake.

On Tuesday I woke up feeling awful. I had no major symptoms, I just felt “off”. As the morning progressed I lost part of my vision in my left eye and my left arm and hand went numb. Sam rang the midwife (Tania) and she said to come in.  The doctors were worried about pre-eclampsia and so we were monitored for a while. My blood pressure and urine came back clear. Then the headache came and I realized I had a migraine. We were eventually sent home with instructions to stay in bed that day. We were also told that baby was measuring small and that a scan would be organized in the coming days.

On Wednesday morning I decided that I was fed up waiting for a baby so we’d go to the shops and buy the boys the bikes we promised them. We chose the bikes and had them put aside while we ducked into Aldi to pick up some groceries.  Sam was paying for the groceries and I lifted Quinlan up on to the packing desk. I sat him down and I suddenly felt a small pop and a gush. I mouthed to Sam “I think my waters just broke” and I ran to the loo. When I got to the loo it didn’t seem like much fluid so I assumed I just wet myself a bit lifting Quinlan (ahhh the glamours of being a mum). On the way home from shopping we got a phone call from the hospital asking if we could come in at 1pm for a scan. I rang mum and asked if she could come watch the boys. She headed over immediately. I noticed a few more small gushes of fluid when I would stand up and I started getting suspicious that my waters had indeed broken.  Sam and I then walked up to the hospital for the scan. The lady performed the scan said that everything looked perfect (baby looked to be 3.3kg and placenta was functioning well) but that we’d need to take the scan up to the Obstetric Review Center (ORC) on level 5. So up we went. I gave the midwife the scan and mentioned that I thought my waters had gone. She ushered me into a toilet and asked to see my pad. Then for perhaps the most mortifying experience ever she SNIFFED it!! She wasn’t sure if it was or not so they decided to monitor baby for half an hour and do a speculum exam. After all that they concluded my waters had broken but that baby was happy and they were sure they’d see us back later that night. The monitoring took a bit of time as baby kept going to sleep.

Mum and Dad decided to stay over that night. I had contractions on and off but still not regular or particularly painful. I let Tania know and she decided to stay on the north side off town for a bit. We went for a long walk but even that did nothing. At 9 I gave up, let Tania know to go home and I went to bed. At 1.30 I woke to some strong contractions. I decided to get up and have a shower and they started coming every 2 minutes. At 2.30 we headed to hospital. At 3.
30 everything stopped. Tania then mentioned that since my waters had broken more than 18 hours ago that we would need to have antibiotics once I was in labor. Sam and i mentioned at this point that we would prefer not to have the antibiotics. Tania then monitored the baby for half an hour and we decided to go home and wait for labour to start. In the meantime Tania suggested some acupuncture and a walk later that night.

On the Thursday morning Mum took the boys home with her and Sam and I caught up on sleep. Jade dropped off some homeopathic drops which are meant to help labour that just can’t seem to get started. At 11 Sam and I headed out for lunch at Gasworks, hoping it was the last one we would have in peace for a while. Then we heard into a Chinese shop in the valley for some acupuncture. In broken English they said they didn’t want to do it because they were worried I’d have the baby in the shop.  Eventually they agreed to do it …. But it did nothing.  We came home despondent and went to mums for dinner.  That night the other midwife (my favorite one – Jo) rang us to discuss the hospital policy about antibiotics and induction given that my waters had been broken for more than 18 hours. She spent an hour on the phone with us discussing all our options and the consequences of each option. We decided to induce on Saturday morning (72 hours after waters breaking) but only give me or the baby antibiotics if an actual infection was discovered after the birth. This was against hospital policy but our midwife was so supportive regardless. We just didn’t want to give the baby antibiotics on a maybe and then risk complications for thrush and breastfeeding issues unnecessarily. However because we refused the antibiotics we instead were requested to stay in  hospital for 48 hours for 4 hourly monitoring of baby. We happily agreed to that.

Thursday night/Friday morning I woke to contractions again at 1.30 and they carried on about 15 mins apart reducing to 5 mins apart until 8am when they stopped suddenly again. We had more monitoring booked in at 9.30 and so mum came over to watch the boys while Sam and I headed to the hospital.  We discussed our choices regarding antibiotics again and Jo was happy we’d made an informed choice. She was certain it was only a hind water leak and my low vaginal swab had come back negative for Group B Strep so the risks were very low.  The monitoring showed baby was ok, but I had noticed that baby was sleeping a lot during the monitoring on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday so I was starting to get anxious. The midwife suggested more acupuncture and nipple stimulation (using a breast pump much to Sam’s disappointment!). So we made an appointment for 1.30 for acupuncture with someone she recommended (when we rang he suggested Osteopathy instead so we booked it in). We got home around 10.30 and I got the breast pump out. Within 5 minutes I was getting strong contractions that were 3 – 5 minutes apart. This lasted until 1pm when they stopped again, so we headed off to the Osteo. He just worked on loosening all my joints up and activating the nerves and muscles attached to the uterus. I felt very loose and flexible afterwards lol.

On the way home Sam decided to get petrol but came off the road a bit too fast and hit a series of speed bumps quite hard. This immediately gave me a massive contraction that I really had to breathe and vocalise thorough ….. but then nothing. I decided to ask mum to have the boys that night so I could mentally prepare for the induction in the morning. I was worried about how painful it would be and that with constant monitoring I wouldn’t be able to use my normal techniques to manage the pain. Although Jo had spoken to us about things we could still do to manage pain including sitting on a fit ball by the bed or leaning over the bed rocking which had made me feel a bit more confident.

Mum, Dad and the boys left around 3.30. I went to my room closed the blinds, turned the AC on and sat on the fit ball and just enjoyed the peace. I thought I’d give the breast pump a quick go. At 3.45 I started to get some contractions again but they weren’t very painful or regular, but they were stronger than previous bouts I’d had. By this time I was so fed up with them stopping and starting I started to cry. Sam rang the midwife and she asked to speak to me but I was a blubbering mess lol. I said that I didn’t want to come in because I was worried they’d stop again. She said she was more worried that I would have a baby on the loungeroom floor and given that the contractions kept stopping and starting she would rather see me. So I gathered my things and Sam called a cab (given how close we are to the hospital a cab is heaps cheaper than parking). We got to the hospital around 4.20pm. Another midwife showed us in and did the regular checks while Jo made her way to the hospital. I decided to hop in the shower. Mum arrived around 4.50pm. I started to get some more regular contractions in the shower, probably around 5 mins apart but they weren’t particularly painful and were still manageable by breathing through them. These contractions were no different to the previous bouts of contractions I’d experienced and i thought they’d stop.

Jo arrived around 4.30pm and mentioned that hospital policy was that we needed continuous monitoring given my waters broke more than 18 hours ago, but we declined and agreed to more regular dopler monitoring instead.

I stayed in the shower as it was relaxing. I continued to get irregular and fairly mild contractions with the occasional strong one. Around 5.10pm the baby’s heart rate dropped to 116 and Jo asked me to get out of the shower so she could listen to baby better.

She also asked me to lay on the bed so she could check dilation and see if the forewaters were still in tact. Turns out I was 4cm dilated and the forewaters were still there. So she broke my waters (it took ages apparently the membranes were really tough). Then suddenly I got a huge contraction, I felt like I’d been hit by a freight train. She also discovered that baby was posterior. In order to turn the baby she got me to lay on my left side with my right knee bent as high as it would go and my left leg dead straight. Then with each contraction she would put her whole body weight on my hip pressing towards my head, trying to force baby to move.  Each time I would try to move my legs she would gently but firmly move them back telling me we had to get the baby to turn.  We stayed like this for around 20 minutes while I vocalized through each contraction.

After 20 mins she asked me to move to the mat on the floor and put my face and shoulders on the floor with my bum in the air, still in a bid to turn baby. The pain was just indescribable. The contractions were coming one on top of another with no break. Jo was finding it harder and harder to keep track of baby’s heart rate and mentioned we may need the continuous monitoring which we agreed to it if was needed. Mum said everything was happening so quickly though that Jo was writing everything down on a paper towel. Then suddenly there was a 5 min break between contractions. Part of me was worried labor had stopped (I was still in denial even at this point) the other so truly grateful for the break. The next contraction was huge and I think my yelling turned to screaming at this point.

At around 5.40pm Jo asked me to get up and kneel on one knee to open up my pelvis. The contractions were coming one on top of another again with no break. I kept trying to move out of this position and Jo kept moving me back. She was honestly such an amazing calm midwife. It felt like one giant contraction that never ended. I threw a tantrum at this point punched the bed and yelled out how stupid it was, that I was done and going home. Sam said at this point he knew the baby was coming very soon.

Another contraction soon stopped my tantrum. I started to get pushy at this point but Jo asked me to check to see if I could still feel my cervix. I could still feel some so I knew I had to resist the urge to push. She checked me too at 5.45pm and i was 6cm, the baby was still posterior and was sitting high (-1 station). I continued to kneel leaning against the bed for about 15 minutes when I suddenly the urge to push just took over and I vomited  a few times.  I remember Alasdair’s contractions building gently but these were so forceful and strong (just like the rest of the labor I guess). I could feel her descending quickly. I knew she was coming at an awkward angle because I really had to push so hard to make her move despite the strong contractions. Also the midwife told me to push her head back toward my bottom as she was coming out so she didn’t put pressure on my clitoris (I’ve never moved so fast ….. Even in that state the thought of a torn bean was terrifying lol). I was on my knees so the midwife was just watching everything via a mirror while I did my thing. I felt her crowning and I put my hands down around her head to slow her down a bit so I wouldn’t tear (didn’t plan that I just instinctively did it with all three births). Suddenly her head was out. Sam quickly cradled her head knowing the next push she would arrive. After the head was out I still had the contraction and pushed out her body into her Daddy’s waiting hands at 6.04pm. Sam then passed her to me for our first cuddle. Sam is so proud of the fact he delivered his daughter and I’m so so pleased that he got his wish despite the chaos. He then asked mum if she’d like to cut the cord (mum was chuffed as pie!).

Mum captured video of her birth and the moments after and the look of bewilderment and shock and what the hell just happened on my face was priceless. My first words were “that was out of control” and then you hear the midwife say “that was just awful for you darling”.  I went into shock but fortunately this subsided after a few minutes.

So in all it was quite an experience! It was over quickly and I’m very thankful for that. I just never had a chance to process that I was in labor and the pain was ok because I was going to meet my baby. It just happened so quickly and was so fierce and consuming that I felt so out of control. It took 19 minutes for her to descend, partially turn, go from 6 to 10cm and be born. Those 19 minutes were the most intense minutes of my life.

Sam tells me though that I made no more noise this time than in the other labours and I listened and followed instructions.

The things that helped with the pain was Sam holding my hands talking me through each contraction, mum rubbing my back and Jo doing reflexology on my feet. In my previous labors I didn’t want to be touched so this was a totally new experience for me. I felt like it really was a team effort this time which is a nice feeling.

Now knowing what I know I would never wish a fast labor like that on anyone. Even my 2 hour labour with Alasdair was a million times better and I felt calmer even though his was fast too. I did feel out of control at times during the labour and there was no time for the endorphins to kick in so the pain was incredible. Plus I was emotionally weary and physically tired from the long week before.  Also because Jo needed to keep a close eye on her heart beat due to the PROM I couldn’t stay in the shower and so I wasn’t able to use that as pain relief. I was also very tired and couldn’t stand up anymore so laying down was a welcome relief. There wasn’t the time to get the bath up to temperature either and I didn’t feel comfortable getting in anyway as everything was happening so quickly.

But I got to experience just how powerful a woman’s body can be and how efficiently my body can work and just how much pain I can endure. Importantly Autumn and I were always safe. At no time were we in danger despite the pain I felt.

The last week was a rather anxious time so I’m very grateful she’s here and she’s safe in my arms and I’ve got the rest of my life to enjoy my baby girl.

Alasdair Birth Story

Dear Alasdair

I thought I would write down your birth story to share with you if you are ever interested.

I guess I should go back to 21 February 2011.  It was a Tuesday night, the CO’s visit.  After the meeting I started to get regular contractions every 2 to 3 minutes.  This lasted until 4.30am the following morning.  Needless to say, I got little sleep that night and they eventually fizzled out.  I was very disappointed as I was so desperate to meet you.

I had random contractions for the rest of the week but nothing that really built up into anything that I thought may signal your arrival.

On Friday night 24 February 2011 your Daddy had to go to his Elders and Servants meeting. I went to your Aunty Nikki’s place to visit her.  Your mamma and Daddu were looking after your Brother.   As soon as we got home, your brother woke up and promptly spewed everywhere.  He did not stop spewing all night long, and by the end of the night I had been covered in vomit more times that I care to remember.

On Sunday night, 26 February 2011 I started getting regular contractions every 2 – 3 minutes.  I also started throwing up.  At this point I wasn’t sure if the vomiting was causing contractions or if the contractions were causing the vomiting.   We called the midwife and she said that we should come into the hospital, just in case you decided that you wanted to meet us.  I was given IV fluids and drugs to stop me from vomiting.  Once I stopped vomiting, the contractions eased off.  We knew then that you weren’t ready just yet to meet us.  We got home from the hospital at 4am,

On Monday 27 February 2011 your Daddy took the day off of work and looked after your brother so that I could rest.  We didn’t know when you would arrive, and I wanted to make sure that I was well when you did.  I had a lovely rest that day and we all slept very well that night.   I had a few contractions that woke me up, but ignored them due to the other false starts we had during the previous week.

On Tuesday 28 February 2011 I woke up about 5.30am and was very glad that I was feeling good.  I thought that you might arrive by the weekend.  No sooner had that thought entered my mind when I felt a familiar “pop”.  I went to the toilet and realised that I had a “show” but there wasn’t much in the way of waters.  I thought it may have been my hind waters and thought you may take a few more days to make an appearance.   Then at 6.15am I got a strong contraction and the rest of my waters broke.  I smiled to myself as I knew we were going to meet you that day.

I immediately rang the midwife and she said that we should head up to the birth center as you may well have been in a hurry to arrive.  So we rang Mamma and Daddu and told them that they weren’t going into work that day …. But that they were going to meet you!  Daddu arrived at 7am to pick up your brother and had dropped Mamma at the hospital on the way.  Your daddy and I arrived at the hospital at 7.30am, so excited that we were finally going to meet you (we still didn’t know if you were a boy or a girl at this point!)

We arrived at the Birth Center and were directed into Room 2 (the same as your brother in the Birth Suite) and told to make ourselves comfortable.  Nicole, our midwife arrived soon after.  Your Daddy quickly realised that he was sick too with your brother’s bug and headed down to Emergency to get an injection to stop him from feeling queasy. We spoke to Nicole about my pregnancy with you and how we wanted your birth to go.

My contractions were about 5 – 8 minutes apart at this point and not too painful.  However, when I would walk around, they would come every 2 – 3 minutes and would be very strong.  I decided to sit down on the ground for a while J and leaned over a beanbag when contractions were coming.

Once your Daddy got back from the Emergency department and I could see that he was feeling a lot better, I realised that if I wanted to meet you, I was going to have to accept that it was going to be painful.  The longer I sat down, the longer it would be until we got to see you.  So I started to pace the room we were in, and walk up and down the few stairs that led up the side of the bath.

At 10.30am the contractions got very strong and were coming every 2 -3 minutes.  I leaned on the change table or against the bathroom door during contractions.  As they got stronger and stronger I started stamping my feet and walking around the room as the contractions came.  By concentrating on stamping my feet the pain was easier to cope with.

At around 11.15am your Daddy suggested that we move to the shower.  I had one shower head on my belly and Daddy held another on my back. The relief from the pain was instant.  I made lots of noise during the contractions and stamped me feet in the water very loudly to distract myself from the pain.

At about 12pm Daddy suggested that I get into the big bath.  I wasn’t sure if I would like it, as I was happy in the shower and was coping okay with the pain.  I was worried that the bath wouldn’t be hot enough.  I thought though that if I didn’t like the bath, I could always get back in the shower.  As soon as I got into the bath though, I relaxed.  The bath was so comfortable and allowed me to move freely and comfortably.  During contractions I would make lots of noise and banged a stress ball on the side of the bath.  Once the contraction was over your Daddy would put cold flannels on my head, neck and shoulders.  I was getting very hot, and the flannels cooled me down nicely. The pain was extremely intense at this point and at 12.20pm I wondered how much longer it would be.  Your brother’s labour was very long and I worried that yours would be too.  Nicole reassured me that I didn’t have much longer to go at all. Nicole asked if she could examine me – I was convinced I was only 4cm at this point and was delighted when she said I was 8-9cm with just a lip of cervix still stuck over your head – she tried to push it out the way, but it was stubborn.  I worried at this point that we still had a long time to go.  A labouring woman is quite irrational!  Just two contractions later, I got a very strong and sudden urge to push.     In two pushes your head was out.  I couldn’t believe it!! You were almost here, and so quickly too.  The next push your body came out.  I scooped you up out of the water and pulled you up straight away and checked to see whether you were a boy or a girl.  Imagine my joy to find out you were a little boy!!!

About 2 or 3 minutes later I got out of the bath and your placenta was delivered within a few minutes.  I was pleased about that as it meant that I didn’t have to have an injection – I wanted your arrival to be completely drug free and I was so pleased that it was.

The midwives then moved us to a mattress on the floor where I leaned against a beanbag and you had your first breastfeed.  My love for you was instant …. And has grown stronger and stronger each and every hour.  You are now 2 days old and I love you more than words can express. You are so chilled out and placid.  I am so grateful that you have joined our family.  I just know that you are going to be such a special boy, and a fine man and I can’t wait to be a part of that and watch your personality reveal itself.

Lots of love

Mummy

 

Quinlan Birth Story

Tuesday 8 December 2009 – 40 weeks + 3 days

Sam and I decided to hang out at home for the day and rest.  However, after resting for a few hours we felt a bit house bound and decided to go to Toombul shopping centre for a bit of a walk around.  However, as we were getting ready, I mentioned to Sam that the baby had been unusually quiet.  We agreed it would be safer to ring the hospital and let them know.  After a quick call to the hospital they asked us to come in for some monitoring.  So off we headed … little did we know we’d be doing the trip again in less than 24 hours for the real deal! We headed to the hospital about 1pm.

Of course, the baby decided to be unusually active as soon as the monitors were hooked up.  After an hour of monitoring, and the baby moving about 15 times, we were sent home.

Being a Tuesday, it was meeting night.  I was extremely uncomfortable that night, but decided to go nonetheless.  As Dad was in Newcastle, Mum came and sat with us.  My belly was so heavy and uncomfortable though, I had to hold my belly every time I stood up and couldn’t hold Mum’s or Sam’s hand during the prayer.  Little did I know I was in early labour ……

We got home from the meeting and I bounced a little on my fit ball.  I noticed some light cramping and some sharp stabbing pains but ignored it, not wanting to get my hopes up.  I decided to head to bed and get some rest.  Sam stayed up and watched TV.

Wednesday 9 December 2009 – 40 weeks + 4 days

Around midnight Sam came to bed and asked how I was.  I told him that I was in a lot of pain and that the baby was moving a lot and I had a lot of stabbing paints in the front of my belly, down quite low, that felt like the baby was trying to claw it’s way out of me! Sam put his hand on my belly and said “Chrystal, you’re having a contraction!”.  The pain continued to increase, so I started timing some of the contractions:

1:19, 1:26, 1:33, 1:38, 1:46, 2:00, 2:11.

The contractions were a bit irregular, so to move them along a bit I got up and bounced a bit on the fit ball for a few minutes.   The contractions started to get a bit further apart.  Not wanting to get overexcited I decided to try and get some sleep ….. and text Emma.

At 4am I was woken up by my waters breaking in bed.  It felt like a small gush, and then a number of small gushes in quick succession.  I quickly lifted my bottom off of the bed and asked Sam to quickly get a towel.  After coming around, he eventually grabbed a towel and put it under my bottom.  After a few minutes I got up and went to the toilet – more waters gushed (thankfully they were clear)! It was really happening!! Sam excitedly sent a text message to our Mums and Dads and Emma.  We rang the hospital and they informed us to have some breakfast and come into the hospital.

We started timing the contractions again:

5:07, 5:12, 5:18, 5:23

Given that the contractions were quite close together we decided to head to the hospital.  We arrived at the hospital at around 6am and were told to go to the waiting room.  At around 7.30am Mum arrived – she said there was no way she could sleep and that seeing as she had the day off, the only place she was going to be was the hospital!! At around 7.45am we were called in for some monitoring.  Mum waited in the waiting room the entire time!

Once again the baby was monitored for about an hour.  However, my contractions were quite irregular.  The obstetrician performed an internal examination and confirmed that my waters had indeed broken.  However, as the contractions were irregular, he gave us a few options:

  1.  Walk around the hospital and see if they increase in frequency and intensity;
  2. Go home and wait for them to increase in intensity; or
  3. Have a Syntocinin drip set up to get the contractions going.

If nothing happened on it’s own, the obstetrician said that we would have to have antibiotics 18 hours after my waters broke, and would have to come back to the hospital for daily monitoring.  If labour hadn’t started on it’s own within three days, then we would need to be induced.

As we wanted a natural labour, we decided against the drip and instead decided to walk around the hospital for a few hours to see what would happen.  We didn’t fancy going home at that point.  We came to hospital to have a baby and weren’t going to leave until it was born! We called Mum and met her on the ground level for a coffee.  Mum and Sam started timing my contractions:

10:37, 10:40, 10:45, 10:48, 10:50, 10:52, 10:54, 11:01, 11:05

During coffee, the contractions started to get stronger, so we decided to go for a walk outside.   It was SUCH a hot day so we only spent an hour or so outside before moving back inside.

11:06, 11:09, 11:14, 11:18, 11:23, 11:27, 11:31, 11:37, 11:43, 11:48, 11:54

At around midday the pain was picking up substantially so we decided to head back to Level  5.  The midwife did an examination and found that I was 3 cm, but not fully effaced.  In addition, my contractions were still not regular.  However, it seemed that when I was standing they were regular and as soon as I laid down, they got more irregular.

The midwife said that given the stage I was at she wasn’t sure whether to send me to the ward, or to find a birth suite.  She asked if we could go for another walk to which we answered “definitely not!”.  So they moved us to another examination room with a recliner chair in it.  We were in this room for about 20 minutes before a bed was found for us – Bed 2, Ward 6B South.

We moved quickly to our new “home”.  I was disappointed to find that we were in a ward with three other people.  Obviously this made it difficult to get into the zone of labour.

The pain quickly intensified at this point and I vomited a number of times.  I was offered Maxalon at this point but refused.  I tried kneeling on the ground with my head on the bed and leaning over the end of the bed.  We decided to move to the shower.  We stayed in the shower for only around 10 minutes when I begged Sam to ask them to transfer me to the birth suite.  We were told that none were available.  I think at this point I asked for an epidural! J  I felt so uncomfortable labouring in front of three other patients, I wanted the pain to just go away.

I was asked if I wanted morphine and we quickly refused.  Sam asked if we could get some gas and air.  The midwives said that they didn’t have any up on level 6 but could give me morphine instead.  Sam ordered them to find some gas and air – and lo and behold some was quickly found.

The gas and air definitely took the edge off of the pain.  However, the pain intensified again and I started to make noise at the height of the contractions.  Well, this made the midwives quickly launch into action.  I was swiftly moved into Bed 9, Ward 6B South – a private room.  I was on my knees leaning over the top of the bed sucking on gas and air again.  I think having been moved again broke my concentration and the fact that I was still not in the place that I would give birth made me feel uneasy.  I asked for morphine at this point.  Before they could give me morphine I was examined again and was 4cm but still not fully effaced.  The morphine was quickly administered together with the Maxalon as I was still vomiting.

The morphine unfortunately didn’t do much for me.  It took a small edge off the pain but certainly didn’t make it go away.  We stayed in Bed 9 for about half an hour and then finally a birth suite was found for us at 3pm.  Finally, I would be in the place I would give birth.

We were greeted by our midwife Kelli Zakharoff and a student midwife Melinda Ambrister.  Kelli asked if we minded that Melinda was there and we said no problem.   Kelli had dimmed the lights in the room and had some relaxing music playing …. however, all I had my eye on was the shower!

Sam and I quickly headed into the shower.  The relief of the hot water together with the gas and air was amazing.  I sat on a fit ball with a towel over it and held the shower head on my belly.  Sam sat behind me with the other shower head on my back.  We sat there for three hours.  During this time I noticed my mucous plug coming away (the “show”).  The midwives came in regularly to check the baby’s heart beat and were happy that the baby was healthy and doing well.  At 6pm the midwives asked me to get out of the shower so that they could examine me.  I laid down on the floor on a mattress and leaned against a beanbag.   First Kelli examined me and then Melinda.  I was still only 4cm dilated, however was finally fully effaced.  However, the baby was posterior.  This was the last thing I wanted to hear after having been in labour for quite some time now.

The whole pregnancy, the baby had been anterior.  It seems that he moved at the last minute.  This was why my labour was so long and painful.  I now know that I was fortunate to avoid a caesarean section.  Apparently only 10% of women with persistent posterior babies are able to birth naturally, and more than 80% suffer significant perinea trauma.

However, the good news was that I was fully effaced and that the hard work had been done.  All I had to do now was to wait for my cervix to fully dilate.  However, in order to move the baby I had to get up and walk around and move my hips.  I was so disappointed at this point.  I felt like I had been labouring all day and was tired.  I felt like I couldn’t go on any more.  Sam was such a support at this point.  If I wasn’t moving my hips, then Sam would move them for me. We stayed out of the shower for about half an hour leaning against the bed.  Finally Sam suggested that we move back to the shower.  I stood and leaned against the birthing chair while Sam continued to spray water on my back.

At this point the contractions intensified again.  It felt like there was no break between them and that they were coming right on top of one another.  I begged the midwives for an epidural.  However, no one was available to give me one.  Little did I know I was actually in transition.  Instead I was offered another shot of morphine.  This was administered at 7:10pm.

Suddenly at the height of a contraction, I screamed with pain.  The pain was just so overwhelming and consuming.  It felt like my stomach was going to tear apart with the pain.  After this point, at the height of each contraction I got an overwhelming urge to squat and push.  I thought that this was wrong as I thought I was only 4cm dilated.  I told the midwives that I had a lot of pressure in my bottom.

The midwife suggested that perhaps I needed to do a poo.  I knew that there was no way I needed to do a poo, but decided to humour her nonetheless and go to the toilet.  As soon as I sat on the toilet, Kelli asked if I minded if she examined me again.  By this point, I just didn’t care any more.

Kelli quickly examined me and shouted “oh, my god! We are having this baby now!!!”.  At 7.40pm I was 10cm dilated.  So that’s what the pain was all about!  From 4cm to fully dilated in an hour and a half.  Kelli asked me to push at the next contraction.

For some reason I had a moment of clarity and asked Kelli if I had to have the baby on the toilet!  She laughed at me and said no, she had set up a bed in the other room and if I wanted to, I could move there.  I suddenly felt relief and excitement that my baby was going to be here soon!

Kelli said that I could either hop on the bed, or on the mattress on the floor.  I decided to go on all fours on the floor.  I fell to the floor and buried my head in the beanbag.  Kelli told me to only push when I felt like it and to push like I was trying to do a poo.  Although I didn’t want to push because it was uncomfortable, the urge to push was so overwhelming and all consuming I couldn’t help but push at the height of each contraction.  It’s amazing how your body just takes over.  I lost track of time at this point.  Sam said that the contractions were between 2 and 5 minutes apart.  To me they felt like they were just on top of one another.  The pushing contractions were so different to the other contractions, they didn’t hurt at all.

I pushed for an hour on hands and knees, kneeling , squatting and finally kneeling on one knee.  I felt that I was not getting anywhere and kept asking if I was doing it right.  “YES!” everyone shouted in unison.  To spur me on, Kelli put a mirror under me so that while I was pushing I could actually see the progress.  I could see my baby coming out! His head started to emerge, and looked like a walnut – all wrinkly!! Sam thought that something was wrong and that he was going to be a Klingon or something! J  The midwife reassured us that it was just because his head was compressed and that it would go back to normal.

Finally he started to crown.  Surprisingly although it stung, it didn’t hurt too much and I pushed the opening of my vagina down around his head.  Kelli asked if I minded if Melinda delivered the baby.  Of course we didn’t mind, we just wanted our baby here!   Kelli told me to kneel on one knee as this opened up the pelvis as wide as possible.  Melinda firmly pressed a warm wet flannel against my perineum to try to prevent tearing.  Kelli was worried about tearing because the baby had still not turned, I was pushing him out prosterior! “Keep pressing!” Kelli instructed Melinda in a worried tone.  Finally the baby started to crown and Kelli told me to pant.  I was kneeling on one knee at this point and sat up to watch him emerge.  Finally his head emerged after one hour of pushing and he was looking right at me.

The midwives however noticed that his cord was wrapped around his ear.  Despite his heart rate being perfectly normal, he had cord prolapse.  An extremely dangerous medical emergency!  The midwives couldn’t wait til the next contraction and pulled the baby out and pushed him forward.

I grabbed my baby and pulled it forward …. I was desperate to know if we had a boy or a girl!! I quickly checked the sex and was delighted to find that we had a son!! We named him Quinlan Sean Kimber.  He was born at 8.40pm weighing 3.480kg, 56cm long[1], 35cm head circumference.  Nearly 17 hours after my waters broke, and 22 hours after the contractions started my baby was born.

He was covered in vernix and my hands were covered in the stuff! It was thick and creamy … like cottage cheese.  The midwives rubbed him vigorously and blew on his face to get him to breathe.  They asked Sam to blow on his face too.  However, he just would not breathe and was blue.

Kelli immediately hit the first alarm and cut his cord and started CPR.  When he still wouldn’t breathe she hit the second alarm.  Within less than 10 seconds 5 paediatricians and 2 surgeons entered the room.  Kelli quickly explained what had happened in medical terms (i.e length of labour, cord prolapsed etc) and the paediatricians immediately rushed Quinlan out of the room and called for Sam to follow them.  Sam later told me that about 12 people, including surgeons, paediatricians and midwives converged on the resusscitaire to help him to breathe.  His heart rate dropped to 80 beats per minute.  Gentle CPR and oxygen were administered, and finally, within less than a minute he started to breathe and his heart rate accelerated to 140 beats per minute.  Sam said he didn’t see him take the breath, and he didn’t cry but Sam could see his heart rate pick up and knew that he was okay.

At that point they then rushed him to NICU and put him a warmer.  He quickly pinked up at this point and the doctors were happy that he was fine.

I was in shock at this point.  I was still sitting where I had delivered him with his umbilical cord still attached to me.  I had no idea about time or what was going on.  I don’t even know how long I was there on my own.  Eventually four midwives came back into the birth suite to tell me that he was okay and that he was breathing.  Once we had this reassurance, Kelli and Melinda moved me to the bathroom so that I could deliver the placenta.  At this point I asked for Mum to be brought in.  Poor Mum got such a shock to come in to see me naked on the toilet crying with blood everywhere, no Sam and no baby. Mum had heard the alarm and seen the paediatrician run with a blue baby and suddenly put two and two together and started to panic. I quickly told her that everything was okay.

Although I had initially said that I didn’t want the Syntocinin injection to deliver the placenta, I just wanted to see my baby so decided to have it to speed up the process. I had the injection and moved from the toilet to the birthing chair.  A minute later with one push  from me and a tug on the umbilical cord by the midwive the placenta was out.

The midwives told me to have a shower to clean up and then I could go and see the baby in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.  Sam came back into the room at that point to help me get dressed. At 9.15 I went down to see our baby and hold him for the first time.   They tried to insert an IV to administer antibiotics in case the reason he didn’t breathe was because he had an infection.  However, they couldn’t get a vein.  They tried in both hands and feet – 11 times in total! Eventually the paediatrician decided that the reason he didn’t breathe was because of the cord prolapse, and no antibiotics were needed.  However, a blood test was done, and we were not allowed to leave hospital until Sunday, when the blood results would arrive.

I couldn’t stay with Quinlan for long though as we had to be back in the room at 9.30 (although we didn’t get there until 9.45 pm) for the obstetrician to come and put in some internal stitches.  Sam and I came back to the room and waited for the obstetrician, while Mum stayed with Quinlan.  He arrived and started work! The most painful part would have to be when he injected the local anaesthetic.  Fortunately I was still able to suck on the good old gas and air.  Lovely stuff that!

Whilst the obstetrician was stitching me up, Sam had the wonderful job of letting everyone know about the birth of our son.

After about half an hour I could go back and see Quinlan and feed him.  We stayed with him until midnight and then I returned to my bed.   Quinlan was required to stay in NICU overnight for observations.

At 1am the midwives woke me to see if I wanted to breastfeed him or give him formula for the night. I of course said that I wanted to breastfeed him.  At 2am I was asked to go down and feed him.  I stayed with him until 3.30am.  I didn’t want to leave him! But he fell asleep and I knew I needed my sleep so I returned to my bed.  By 7.30 the next morning I was back with him and stayed with him until nearly midday, when he was finally discharged from NICU and was allowed to come back to the ward with me.

So in all, my baby was born and both of us were healthy.  In addition, I got my natural birth.  The next day Kelli came to see me just to talk through the labour.  First of all she couldn’t believe that I had managed to push out a prosterior baby in one hour with no tears!! I was quite proud of myself too!  It’s hard to say whether the morphine caused issues with his breathing or whether it was just the cord prolapse.  Kelli said she was fairly certain it was the cord prolapse.  She said that the cord prolapse was such a surprise as his heart rate had been absolutely fine the whole time, even during the pushing phase.  She also said it’s difficult to say, but she felt that the morphine was just the thing I needed for my cervix to relax and dilate.  So many ifs and buts.  However, what’s important is that we are both healthy.

Thursday morning I woke up thinking that Quinlan was going to be an only child and that I would NEVER go through that again.  By Saturday I was actually looking forward to having more! I can honestly say that the labour was the most amazing experience of my life, and I am looking forward to going through it all again.

We were discharged from hospital on the Sunday (13 December 2009) with a clean bill of health.  We came home to a spotless house (and dog) thanks to Mum, Dad, Matt and Erin.  Quinlan is already a much loved member of our family.

For the first few days I actually felt sad that I wasn’t pregnant anymore as I really enjoyed being pregnant.  Even the last few days, although I was uncomfortable, I knew the baby would come when he was ready.  Despite the fact that I was overjoyed at the fact that Quinlan was finally here, it probably took me a good week to not be sad about not being pregnant.  I really enjoyed the special time that we had together.  I loved feeling every movement and watching my belly grow week by week.  Quinlan was so active when he was in my belly, and I grew to love his playful punches and kicks.  So in a way, I mourned the time that we no longer had together while he was in my belly.  However, at the same time I was so excited to finally meet him.  A paradox of feeling.  Even now, he’s 12 days old, I still rub my belly absentmindedly forgetting that he’s no longer there, and instead I can give him the biggest hugs and kisses, instead of just a belly rub!

Quinlan, when you are ready, I hope you enjoy reading this.  Your Dad and I love you so much already, and we can’t wait to see the fine man that you will become.

Much Love,

Mum. Xxxx        

21 December 2009

 

[1] The midwive (Kathy) measured him at 56cm, thought it was wrong and measured again and got 58cm.  We measured again at home and got 58cm too.  Although his official record shows 56cm.