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:
- Walk around the hospital and see if they increase in frequency and intensity;
- Go home and wait for them to increase in intensity; or
- 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, 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.
21 December 2009
 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.