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Sunday, September 22, 2013

Nothing goes as planned - the birth

Us @ 35 weeks pregnant

I know it has taken me a while to actually sit down and write about this. Partly because I haven't had much free time with a newborn and also because it was a very emotional experience for me. Part of the process of learning to deal with this experience and move on and accept it is for me to write about it.

If you have been following my story during my pregnancy you would know that all I wanted was to have a natural birth with as little intervention as possible. I figured that women have been giving birth for years, long before pain relief was available, so if they could do it then I could suck it up and do it too. I have a pretty high pain threshold and after all the complications I had throughout my pregnancy including the psd I was already used to pain. Of course I was open to intervention if it became medically necessary, but I was hoping it wouldn't. I was hoping I could at least attempt a natural birth before the drs would intervene. All the midwives had assured me along the way that I would be able to do this. So, here's what happened.....

I was lying in bed awake early in the morning on the 25th of July. Pregnancy insomnia had been plaguing me for the past few weeks so being wide awake for no reason didn't really phase me. After a while I figured I should get up and go to the toilet, mainly just to pass time not because I really needed to go. While I was on the toilet I heard a pop sound, but nothing happened. I thought it was weird but then also thought I may have been imagining it in my delirious sleep deprived state. So, I went back to bed to try and sleep. A few minutes later I felt really warm liquid literally coming out of me. At first again I thought maybe I'm just imagining this. But it continued to come out, like I totally thought I had flooded the bed. I woke T up and thought finally this might actually be happening!

We called the hospital and they said to come in and get checked out to confirm my waters were broken and make sure there were no problems. This was about 5:30am. I hadn't started having any contractions so I wasn't really in a rush. I called my mum and we decided to go pick her up on the way to the hospital. We left home about 6am and a few minutes later my contractions started. You know how everyone tells you that your contractions will start out really mild and far apart and not last for long and then gradually get worse over a period of a few hours? Yea well that's not the case if your water has already broken. Once your water breaks contractions are full on and intense. Lucky me I never got the easy contractions I just went BAM straight into the hard ones. Mine started at 4 minutes apart. You're meant to go to the hospital when your contractions get under five minutes apart so lucky we were already on our way. By the time we got to my mums house about 15 minutes later my contractions were varying between two and a half and three minutes apart. It didn't really bother me too much as I was breathing through it ok to deal with the pain and I was mainly excited that I was going to meet my baby. However I must admit labouring while stuck in a car seat for forty five minutes is not the most comfortable thing.

We arrived at the hospital just about 7am. By this stage my contractions were down to a minute and a half apart and so strong I had to stop and lean against my mum while having them. It took me about ten minutes to get up to labour and delivery because I had to stop so much along the way. I got up there and the midwife was pretty laid back really. Oh we're just setting up for the day just go into that room we'll be with you shortly. Um, ok lady you do realise I'm actually IN labour and my contractions are already a minute apart and it has progressed this much in only forty five minutes since my contractions started??? Oh and not to mention we're at a hospital and they generally operate 24/7 especially a labour suite, so how can you be just setting up or the day??? Was I meant to schedule my labour at a convenient time for you? Anyway yea those were the thoughts going through my head at the time. I was in pain and a bit frustrated. Lucky for her I never verbalised those thoughts (well not to her face).

She took her sweet ass time and finally came to examine me at 8am to see if my waters had in fact broken. By this time I had soaked through 3 lots of maternity pads and the pad things they put on the bed to soak up your waters so I figured checking to see if my water had broken was pretty much a pointless exercise. But, she told me she had to do it the correct way. As she tried to check a big flood of water came out at her before she even got close. At that point she too decided the test was pointless and I had infact broken my waters. Hurrah finally some sanity. She then checked to see if I was dilated. She informed me I wasn't dilated at all and that normally they would send me home at this point. Before I went bat shit crazy about that she said - but you're in too much pain to leave. Mind you she never offered me any pain relief after saying that. Go figure. She told us we would be there for a few hours and told T to go get me some food as I would need to eat to have enough energy to get through the labour.

So, we sat around in the cramped examination room and I ate a bit of yoghurt and had a drink in between my contractions which were still one to two minutes apart. They had me on the bed hooked up to the foetal monitor. I wanted to spend the majority of labour walking around and staying as mobile as possible because I knew it helped to speed up the process, but I wasn't given a choice. Just before 9am one of the obstetricians on duty had checked my pregnancy record and noticed that at my 30 week ultrasound the baby had been breech and asked when I had my follow up ultrasound and where was the report. Um, I was never allowed to get a follow up ultrasound because five midwives and my gp had all told me that she had flipped head down and stayed that way from 32-39 weeks. The ob got the midwife to bring in a portable ultrasound machine and check because I'd never had a proper follow up ultrasound.

As she was doing the ultrasound I knew something was wrong. When she checked where the head was supposed to be there was no head there. When she checked up the top under my ribs there was a head on the screen. She never actually mentioned any of this, but I'd had enough ultrasounds to know exactly what the images on the screen were. The midwife faked ignorance and said she wasn't good at using the machine so she would go get the ob to come do it. I knew this was her way of trying not to stress me out. I knew the ob had to come in because the baby was still breech. I knew it could ruin my plan of a natural birth. I knew at that moment everything was coming crashing down around me, but I still held out hope. She also told me to stop eating straight away (as if that wasn't a big enough clue my plans were falling apart).

And so it happened. The ob came in did the ultrasound and then very calmly explained that the baby was in the breech position and I would need to have an emergency c-section. There was no other option. I was not allowed to even attempt a natural birth. The hospital policy was that when they know a baby is breech you have to have a c-section. I pleaded with her to turn the baby manually so I could try and give birth naturally, but because my water had already broken it was impossible to turn the baby. She said they would be getting me into theatre asap and the anaesthetist would be in to explain the procedure. My world crumbled around me. I was in total shock and denial, but at the same time knew it was going to happen whether I liked it or not. Once she had left the room I burst into tears. I completely bawled my eyes out for a good few minutes.

After my little emotional outburst the anaesthetist came in and explained to me what was going to be happening. To be honest I wasn't paying much attention to what he was saying because I figured the more my brain understood about the procedure the more I would stress about it. I preferred to just let it happen around me and pretend I wasn't actually there. The only thing I was worried about was the spinal and ending up paralysed from it. This is pretty much the major reason why I didn't want a c-section in the first place. Im absolutely petrified of needles and the thought of one going into my spine just elevated that fear to an entirely different level. He assured me it would be fine and that complications very rarely happen. He was actually really lovely. He could see how petrified I was and was really really nice to me. I think he was the single reason why I didn't have a complete breakdown during the operation. I had just met him, but for some reason I decided I trusted him so I was a little more ok with what was about to happen.

They were going to take me into theatre pretty much straight away, however a more life threatening case came up so my c-section was pushed back. They came in to give me some morphine (they said it was for the pain, but I knew it was to slow down my labour). The problem was I didn't have a cannula in yet so they had to inject the morphine straight into my arm. Holy fuck (excuse my french) that was bloody painful and it lasted for ages. I found out after that its because the morphine creates a massive bubble in your arm under your skin and then slowly seeps into your bloodstream. Thankfully mum and T didn't inform me of this when it was happening or I would have flipped out. I just kept repeating over and over that morphine was shit and everyone who had ever said it was amazing had been lying. To me it did nothing but create more pain. My contractions were just as intense. T later said it would have worked because the contractions never increased in intensity from there (but by then they were pretty much unbearable already). Of course a little while after that the ob came back to insert the cannula. I don't know why they didn't do that first and then put the morphine in through that so I avoided all the pain! I don't know why I was surprised though, if there is a backwards way of doing something it usually happens to me.

Anyway a bit after that they came to collect me for theatre. It was finally happening whether I was ready or not. I was not. Mind you I don't think I would ever have been mentally prepared for a c-section. The fact that it happened so quickly after I found out I needed one was probably a very good thing because I didn't have a long time to think about it.

Everything after that is kind of a blur. Probably because I had so many drugs running through my system (total opposite to what I originally wanted). I know I had the morphine, quite a bit of pethidine, maxalon, I think two other anti nausea drugs (because I had eaten) and an antacid. I remember being petrified of getting the spinal because I was still having contractions. I didn't see how they could safely insert a needle into such a tiny area when my body was making me uncontrollably move every minute. Quite a few people were holding me still and they gave me the gas to distract me from what was happening. Oh my god the gas was wonderful. It didn't take any of the pain away, but it distracted me enough I didn't really notice the contraction. And it got me high for a few seconds after breathing it. I remember the drs saying well shes smiling it must be working. I didn't actually feel the spinal go in at all (thankgod). I didn't even realise they had done it until my legs started going really warm and tingly. I remember the anaesthetist saying to me let me know when you can feel something really really cold. I couldn't feel anything at all so I was lying there thinking this is a trick question, hes not even touching me. I figured he was just messing with my mind to distract me from something. Then I started to feel something touching me, then as it moved up higher it started to get cold, then freezing. I remember thinking wow he is actually touching me with an ice cube. Then I kind of freaked out that I hadn't been able to feel it. Its a very surreal experience knowing your body is still there but you cant feel it properly. Thankfully my arms never went numb.

After that everything happened really quickly. She was out within ten minutes. I didn't even know they had started the operation. I felt someone moving my stomach but I thought they were just checking to make sure it was numb. All of a sudden they were holding her up and saying here's your baby. I remember thinking what the hell where did she come from? She came out blue so they had to give her a bit of oxygen, but then she started crying straight after. I was so out of it I didn't even really notice that happening. I was still trying to work out what was going on. Next thing I know T was beside me with our baby. She looked exactly like him. I just remember staring at her trying to work out if she was really my baby. It had all happened so quickly and I was so out of it I couldn't comprehend how she made it out of me and was now beside me.

Our little beanie baby @ 3 days old

Even though it didn't happen the way I wanted it to, we were now a family. She had finally arrived. In that single moment everything had changed. We were now parents. My dream had finally come true.

Would you like to comment?

  1. Congrats Toni! She's so cute! Sorry things weren't the way you planned but the end result being positive is the very best result. X

    1. Thanks Jodie. It took me a while to come to terms with it, but the main thing is we both came through the birth healthy which wouldn't have happened if it was natural.

  2. Congratulations on becoming a mummy! It is a truly amazing time! I am sorry it did not go as planned but you got a wonderful bunch of gorgeousness at the end so you did really well. Sending lots of love to your new family. Shelley AKA Money Mummy

  3. Nothing is planned. As long as everyone is safe and healthy. Enjoy this special time with your gorgeous bundle x

  4. She's so beautiful. What a tough journey it was for you. But thank goodness the outcome was a good and you were both safe and healthy.

  5. Congratulations again, she really is gorgeous. It's hard when things don't go the way that you planned and totally normal to feel let down. I'm so glad you shared your story, it definitely does help in processing it and coming to terms with it. While the best outcome was achieved, a safe and healthy baby and a safe and healthy Mummy, it's also important that you're a happy Mummy, and dealing with thoughts and emotions from the birth is so important and a lot of people forget that. We hired a doula for our second baby's birth and it was the best thing, especially for the debrief afterwards, having someone that I trusted to talk to about how I felt about everything and the way things went. It didn't go as I had planned but talking about it and sharing my story has definitely helped me feel better about it all emotionally and mentally.

    You did an awesome job Mumma, don't forget it!

    1. Yea Kylie I'm glad someone else understands. I'm still dealing with the emotional side of it all.

  6. I'm so sorry that things didn't go to plan for you. I remember being in labour and one of the midwives said oh I'm not sure if you can birth this baby naturally as your pelvis is quite small and he's not lined up with your birth canal. I was so pissed off because I had been in labour for about 30 hours by that stage.

  7. I am sorry that you lost trust in the midwives and the hospitals I have worked at, if the baby is breech in pregnancy, follow up u/sounds are required and only a 1-2 hospitals will accept a breech delivery vaginally, most of them require a c-section...unfortunately it sounded like you were not aware of the potential outcomes. As long as your recovery both physically & mentally went well & baby is safe, then that is what matters. Maybe you should look into hiring a doula next time for extra support? Sometimes the next birth can bring up unresolved issues for you. xx

  8. Oof! One thing you can't plan is labour. I'm glad the end result was perfection, even though the journey was a little less than perfect. With childbirth, it's important to keep all your options open, isn't it, as anything can happen - I learnt that lesson... At the end of the day, you're a legend for delivering a safe and healthy bub! Thanks for linking up your story. X

  9. My son was also undiagnosed breech, having been shown to be at 26 weeks and every midwife after that said that he had turned. My waters broke 4 days overdue, but only hind waters, so no sudden contractions (but I know what you mean about that, as I had the same experience of strong, intense, long contractions after water breaking with my daughter, 13 weeks ago). At the hospital I was in I was offered a natural birth, as there was a specialist on that night, however my mother nearly died from vaginally birthing my breech brother, so I wasn't keen to try and had a non eventful c section. Bit different for me, as I was 3 cm dilated but not having any noticeable contractions. It was a shock to the system, but a good lesson on how plans go out the window during a birth. I hope that you don't feel too robbed by your birth experience. I had a VBAC with my daughter in a June and it was drug free and going beautifully until she got stuck halfway out and had to have her arm and collarbone broken. I would certainly have opted for a repeat c section of I had have known how terrible my VBAC would be, but then, other women have beautiful VBAC's.
    Birth is a very unpredictable thing (but you really do think that we shouldn't be having "undiagnosed" breech presentations.
    Dani from Sand Has No Home