A brief background: I am a midwife, it is a calling I have had for many years, and on my first day on the job I honestly felt like I had done it before. The work just comes so easy and naturally to me. I loved my job with a passion. Before I got pregnant (and whilst I was pregnant) I did what is called agency work, where I would get contracted out to different hospitals and do contract blocks (ranging from 6 weeks to 6 months). The reason I am telling you this is because it makes a huge impact of my and my child’s story. One of these block placements was at a base hospital. I did a 6 month contract there. I had such a horrible time working at this hospital, by the end of the 6 months it made me not want to be a midwife anymore. It ate my soul. It was such a horrible place, and an even worse place for a woman to give birth. Because of this before I was even pregnant I knew I was going to go back to my home town and stay with my parents when I gave birth. – Manda
This hospital was the closest hospital to my home and I couldn’t give birth there, it was a place that was the exact opposite to a safe environment. I was so terrified of going to that hospital I couldn’t even risk booking in at other hospitals in the area or even having a home birth because if something did go wrong I would be transferred to the hell hospital. I couldn’t even risk that. Even though I knew nothing would go wrong, that very slim small possibility scared me so much. I then realised I would rather be alone on the side of the road and have a free birth, than the slight chance of ending anywhere near this hospital.
Also the only independent midwife who worked in my area was my agent, and I didn’t want her as my midwife. I was a little sad I wouldn’t be able to be home, but knew this is what was right for me and my baby. So it was decided I would give birth over 270km from home. I was originally just going to go to the closest hospital to my folks place, but a week after finding out I was pregnant, the other big hospital in their city announced they had a continuity program (meaning you get the same midwife antenatal, for the birth and postnatal.) What was even better, I heard this from one of my best friends – who is a midwife I trained with. So jumped at the chance to have her as my midwife. So even though I would end up at a major tertiary hospital to give birth, I got to have one of my best friends be my midwife and go on this journey with me.
My pregnancy was the most normal textbook straight forward pregnancy you could get. I survived the morning sickness (despite doing 12 hour night shifts throughout). The worst part was when I got the flu at about 22 weeks (and lasted for a month). I rested easy knowing because we had a battle getting pregnant, we had done the hard bit and were entitled to a painless run.
My favourite photo of “Spock”, we didn’t find out what we were having.
Throughout my pregnancy I listened to hypnobabies, and positive birth affirmations. I didn’t follow it properly though, and tended to just use it as a start for which to do my own visualisation and meditation. And if I was bored, or remembered I would do some. The most empowering thing I did do in preparation was having a blessingway. I surrounded myself with women, young and old, who each gave me a bead for labour and one for Spock on her/his life journey. I was so humbled and in awe of how much thought and love each of them put into picking the perfect bead. I still have the necklaces and keep them in a safe place.
So my due date came and went. Physically I was great, I was actually loving being pregnant and could easily be pregnant for another month. I didn’t struggle getting around or anything at all. My only problem was being away from home and my husband. I didn’t anticipate that being so hard. I thought because we were used to doing long distance relationship that it would be ‘normal’ but it was really hard. I knew if I went into labour it would mean seeing hubby again, and so that drove my impatience for it to happen. I started getting cabin fever. Mum and dad were great, but too good at looking after me and tending to my every need that I was getting smothered. The day I hit my due date and they asked if I was allowed/meant to be driving was a serious breaking point. But we carried on. Lots of catch ups with friend going out to coffee etc… I ended up being away from home for over 4 weeks.
It was because of this I got L (my midwife) to do some stretch and sweeps. I had already been drinking my RLT, going for long walks, climbing up and down the stairs, eating some of dad’s curries, and all those other things they say work. I had my first s&s at 40+1 and another at about 40+4. I was actually already 1cm dilated and 1cm thick at the first one. Spock did sit high though, which is what I thought was the reason my pregnancy was going to go over. Spock needed to get lower down for things to really kick off. And to do that I felt Spock had to rotate around more. Spock was sitting with the back to my right side (had been the whole pregnancy), and we needed the back at the front, and I felt instead of going counter clockwise straight there Spock would take the long way around.
I’d been getting Braxton hicks every evening for a week or so, but they always went away much to my disappointment. I would sit up as long as possible at night knowing that a soon as I laid down to go to sleep they would go away. They never hurt. There was never any pain, I would just have great joy in watching my belly go really tight, and then become floppy again.
Two days before labour started I lost my plug, I have never been so excited to have goop on my undies! I think I shared it with too many people !
The day I went into labour that morning I had my post dates appointment, I was 41+1 weeks. L came with me (thankfully) and we made the Ob aware I was a midwife and knew what I wanted. I think we ganged up on him poor guy. But he was nice and actually let L do my internal instead of him etc. I was 2cm, which meant they would be able to rupture my membranes to kick off labour, which meant they were happy for me to wait until I was 41+6 (which basically means they didn’t put up a fight when I refused to even consider an induction before 42 weeks). After my appointment L and I went and had lunch and went shopping. L took me to her secret weapon. The pet shop. There we sniffed and played with the puppies, which still to this day she claims is what put me into labour. Throughout our afternoon out I was getting 2:10 Braxton hicks. Still no pain, just me watching my tummy become tight, but I was very excited about because I hadn’t gotten them during the day before (only in the evening) by about 330pm, I was feeling a bit heavy when they came, that is, it could just feel a dragging down sensation with them. This continued throughout the night, and I did my usual trying to stay up to keep them going. At midnight I thought, I really should go to sleep and lay down. I had been putting it off knowing that everything would stop as soon as I went to bed like it had every other night. I got myself sorted and at 1230am on 31/5 I lay down to go to bed…
I got stuck! I was half lying when I got my first real contraction, I couldn’t move from the position, it was like the tightness in my belly had spread, and my hips were frozen. When it went away I sat back up and thought… hmm ok lying down isn’t going to work, what do I do now? That’s when I felt wet, very wet… and excitement kicked in. I went to the bathroom to discover a massive show and I had ruptured my membranes!! I called my hubby and said he should head over (He was about a 2 ½ hour drive away, and I said, even if I don’t go into labour, this is close enough for me to not feel bad for calling him to come, just so I could see him!). I then called L to give her the heads up, just said, I had SROM’d, she said all good, let me know when you need me and she went back to sleep. I then gave mum and dad the heads up (I was hoping to keep labour to myself a bit before I did tell everyone, and had it been daylight hours I would have, but though seen as it was nearly 1am in the morning the least I could do was just let them know, I didn’t want or need anything just yet, but wanted them to know the next time I talked to them it meant I needed them). I then walked around a bit not really knowing what to do. I was contracting but they were so mild I hardly noticed them. At 1am I got another big gush and had to go back to the loo.
This time the pad was saturated and the liquor was actually mec stained. I couldn’t deny it like I did earlier when I first ruptured, I said to myself it was just that colour because of the show, but it wasn’t, and this second gush proved it. This was diffidently MSL. I then called L back and told her and said I had to go into the hospital. We both agreed it was only because I was overdue, but we still went in anyway. Hindsight I’m glad it was MSL. As my labour was a lot shorter than I expected, and had it not been I would have just stayed home and possibly given birth no where we planned. I then woke mum up and said she had to drive me in.
On the drive I was getting 2:10 contracting and were now moderate. I could still listen to what mum was telling me (she just kept talking the whole car trip) and could give her one word answers, it was just during a contraction I couldn’t concentrate, it took me a bit to think about the answer to give (even if it was just ‘yes’ or ‘no’), I still wouldn’t class the contractions as painful, just I got really tight and stiff (my stomach and my hips) and felt like I was getting pulled down. We got to the hospital, L was waiting for us. I then got all the admission stuff out of the way, (bp, temp, did a wee, blah blah) I had a V.E (I was 3cm!) By now it was just after 2am and I was established. I consented to 1 CTG.
Unfortunately, the CTG kept loosing contact whenever I had a contraction, so they couldn’t say that Spock was ok, with no idea what Spock’s heart rate did during a contraction, this meant I couldn’t come off it until they thought it was ok. Even though I knew everything was ok. I ended up stuck on it for a good 45 mins, getting more and more uncomfortable with each contraction. I knew it wasn’t working for me standing up next to the machine leaning on the bed. All I wanted to do was go in the shower. After a while I thought, this is ridiculous, there is only one way to get off this machine and that is to make sure it doesn’t lose contact. So I made myself stand up straight and still for 10 minutes (3 contractions) so the CTG could keep contact. Just as I knew, Spock’s heartbeat went up perfectly every contraction, proving she was happy as pie in there. I then ripped off the machine, signed it off as ok myself and declared I am going into the shower (much to the Ob disgust who was not happy with me at all.
I later found out she had asked L to put a foetal scalp electrode on me (well on Spock really) because the machine would not stay in contact (not that she did any other things to try and help it…). This is one of those times having L as my midwife was fantastic. She didn’t even need to talk to me first she knew what my answer would be. She just told the Ob to shove it as there is no way I would consent to that). For the rest of the labour, every hour or so L would say to me: ”It’s been an hour they want another CTG” and I would say “refused” and she would go “ok”.
So I then jumped in the shower, Heaven!! This was my zone! I curled up on the floor with the water on me and just did my thing. I hated people being there I just needed to be alone. So I *nicely* told everyone to bugger off. DH arrived during this time too (he also acquired a speeding ticket…). I said a meek hi and he soon learnt I just needed to be alone, so he left me too it. The hot water made me not feel as tight. Just like before all I felt was extreme tightness. I felt a balloon was blowing up inside me and was getting so inflated it would burst any minute! Not long later (only an hour or so) I had an involuntary push. I didn’t like it, it didn’t feel right and because I knew it was way too soon!! But there was no mistaking it. I got mum to go and get L and I asked her to check me. I jumped out of the shower back to the bed. It was now 4am, I knew I wasn’t fully dilated but I was pushing with that last contraction. L does the VE and said I was 6cm! (I was like holy shit!! Go me =) I am a labouring machine, as I expected my labour to go a lot longer being my first) I jumped back in the shower and got back into my zone.
I continued to have the urge to push though. It got so strong that I continued to have involuntary pushes. The severe tightness was over taken with the strong baring down sensation. So my contractions involved me fighting the urge and not pushing. At one point I ended up upside down, resting my head on the ground near the drain and putting my bum as high up in the air as possible to fight the urge. It was such a strong uncontrollable urge, my body was just doing it by its self but I had to stop it!! (as earlier predicted, Spock was taking the long way around to get in the spine to front position, unfortunately she didn’t make it all the way around though and resulted in an OP labour – and as you will soon find out, not quite an OP birth…)
For the next few hours my personal little mantra I kept chanting throughout my contractions were “Don’t push! Don’t Push! Just open! Just open!” It got harder and harder, but I knew I still wasn’t dilated, I could tell because she didn’t move when I pushed, just my back passage did. I checked myself at one point and I was 9cm and but I could feel part of my cervix was thick, this was bad, by my pushing on the cervix it was starting to swell, which meant it couldn’t dilate. I HAD TO STOP PUSHING!! My whole labour consisted of a losing battle. I would fight and fight the push, but never stopped it completely.
At one point I couldn’t stop it at all. I thought, this is it, we are stuck, there is no way I can fight this anymore, but if I don’t fight it my cervix will swell and then Spock won’t come out at all, I really was completely stuck. I then thought, well there is nothing they can do, they can’t give me anything (cause I’ve progressed so well and far), and they can’t stop me pushing. There is only me, my only option is not pushing. The weight of the world was on my shoulders then. It was all me, no one else could help. I HAD to do this. (I think this was my transition.)
A couple of minutes later I gave in, I called L and told her, I can’t fight it, but there is a lip, I’m scared it’s swelling. I need help. She got me back on the bed and did a VE. Exactly as I said, 9cm, and there was part of it that was swollen. On the next contraction she did manage to push it back! Yay! But there was still a bit of cervix that was there, but it was still nice and thin (too thin for her to slip back). So I still needed to fight that damn urge! But now it was easier (in my head) because I knew it was just a tiny bit of cervix and it was thin so it wouldn’t be much longer and would dilate easily.
At this point I stayed on the bed. I was lying on my left side, and hubby came and held on to me, letting me bite his hand (good thing he has thick skin) when I fought my hardest not to push and just let that last little bit of cervix open. Mum was behind me putting cold washes on my back and head (she did a fantastic job btw… I remember thinking how great it was every time a washer was placed on my neck it was fresh and cold). Not long later (you really do loose time), I felt Spock move!! It was such pure relief when she moved with that last push, pure heaven! Now I knew I could embrace the pushing and I could really relax and just go with it. No more fighting! I didn’t actually need to do anything now, my body just pushed and pushed and pushed. I could just switch off. It was such a strong intense feeling and one my body was doing by itself, my mind was now just chilling. Once I could actually give in to the pushing it wasn’t long before she came on view. (In fact at this point I actually made a joke – which does have a big back story involving my brother and his girlfriend and “little poos”. I made a comment about my doing “a little poo” which made my hubby and mum burst out laughing and I actually laughed too. – that is how much relief and how good I felt during my 2nd stage)
I told L to tell me when she can see a decent bit of Spock because I want to touch her coming out. That was such a special beautiful thing. It really helped me connect with her and really enjoy the process of us becoming two. More and more of her came on view. L put hot pads on my peri which were AMAZING! I recommend them to everyone!!
Spock then started to crown. And with that came that burning ring of fire. So… exactly what it says on the tin. A F-ING BURNING RING OF F-ING FIRE!! That was horrible! This is where my OP labour didn’t become an OP birth, as much as I would have preferred. Because this is the point Spock decided to rotate OA, with her head on my peri and she was crowning. This was the only point I really ‘lost it’. My peri was on fire, it burnt so much. But all we could do was wait for R to finish rotating all the way, otherwise she would have gotten stuck.
A few more pushes and her head was out! Then next contraction her body! She came out with an arm up near her shoulder which meant I did get a 1st degree tear.
She came up to my chest and well yeah… how do you describe that? It was actually a while (probably only 10sec now I think about it but it felt like a lifetime) it clicked that this was Spock! It then occurred to me to see who Spock was. It hadn’t even occurred to me to see if we had a boy or a girl. I asked DH who is it? And he said it’s our daughter.
Because of the MSL they had to have a neo team there who wanted to take her and look her over. So DH cut the cord and she went to the trolley. I couldn’t see them at all, but they had the O2 and suction on. They then asked if they could give bub the vit K injection. I didn’t want her to have the needle I wanted it to be oral. But they said they need to give it for stimulation. So I consented. I later learnt that she didn’t need any stimulation she was perfect. Not only that, they aren’t allowed to give Vit K to stimulate. We have put in a complaint against the Neo team cause they lied to us.
During this time though I started to bleed. Bad. It was so quick and so fast. L called some extra help who were in, did what they needed to do in like a minute and were out. They were all calm, organised and was actually handled really, really well. I ended up with the IM syntocinon (wasn’t going to have it I wanted a physiological 3rd stage. But I was gushing so bad they needed to give it to me,) an an IV drip, and an IDC. The Ob was there too and actually did an internal cause they couldn’t work out what was causing the bleed, as my fundus was firm. The Ob doing the internal was worse than a contraction, it was horrible! I told her to stop and she did and did manage to pull out a large clot (size of a fist). I think she was getting me back for refusing things she wanted to do earlier… Even though I only had a 1st degree tear it had to be repaired because it was bleeding. They had controlled my bleeding but still don’t know why I was. So thought giving me a stitch for the 1st degree might help. I got another tear up the top of my labia, but they were reluctant to stitch it because of where it was. You can get bad scar tissue which could get in the way of my urethra and clitoris, so they were kind enough to pack it and see if it settles before seeing if they needed to stitch it. It didn’t need one, thank god. But this has been tear has caused me serious grief since. My actual peri and stitches I haven’t felt at all. All because she decided to rotate whilst crowning.
I ended up losing 1.8L of blood. After a few hours and a breast feed I went to have a shower and almost passed out, I had to have a vomit bag with me and really did feel so crook. As soon as they t/f me to the ward and I was lying down I felt better. Still not great though (obviously). My blood results came back and my hB was 79. They actually asked me how do I feel about a blood transfusion (like it might be something I was keen on…) I said, really not keen. And they said they will do another hB the next day and see what it is and go from there. The next day it had gone up to 83, so didn’t need a transfusion.
The rest of the day was really hard. My mum had to leave cause she had to go to Orange to help pack up my grandma’s house (and she thought it better to go while I’m in hospital so she can be with me when I go back to her house. Which made sense, but didn’t make it easier) My hubby also went back home =( (despite my telling him I really didn’t want him too), but he didn’t want to miss more work, and waste money etc so wanted to be able to work the next day (as he only got paid for the hours he did). L also had to leave because she had done her 12 hours and wasn’t allowed to stay, and was going away on the weekend. So I was alone. That plus having just given birth, and low iron, and being stuck in a bed with a IV and an IDC, I had a massive cry. In fact even writing about it now I have tears in my eyes… the birth itself was fantastic. The rest of the day hard.
The next day when I got the IV disconnected and could get the IDC out and had people come and see me. I felt so better and I went back to mum and dad’s that evening.
So here are the stats:
31/5/12 at 713am ~ Rosalind Rachel Lou was born via spontaneous vaginal birth.
1st stage: 4 hours 29 mins, 2nd stage: 29 mins, 3rd stage: 7 mins.
Total: 5 hours 5mins
Weight: 3.845kg, Length: 51cm, Head Circumfrence: 34cm, Apgars: 9 and 9.
Is there any way we can get a “translation” of this birth story? I am very knowledgeable and informed when it comes to birth and I had no clue what she was talking about a quarter of that time. many acronyms, and maybe it’s because she seems to be in a different country than I am (I’m in the US), but I was seriously confused by a lot of them, and by the story in general.
If the author/mom reads this can you give me a break down about what all your abbreviations and other stuff means (like when you said you didn’t want the other midwife to be your midwife because she was your “agent”, what does that mean?)
Besides being thoroughly confused, great story!
Some of the acronyms are:
RLT: Raspberry Leaf Tea
SROM: Spontaneous Rupture Of Membranes
MSL: Meconium Stained Liquor
V.E.: Vaginal Examination
Well done you. Sounds like you’re in Australia, all seems pretty similar to here (UK) the UUUU in labour and the system gives a bit of a hint. Kinda thought it probably wasn’t here as we don’t tend to use Ob or even see them post dates.
Anyway a huge well done and good luck.
Maria (midwife UK)