So on April 8th, I became a mummy to Baby L! I wanted to record the events and my thoughts surrounding all of it before I forget.
I first noticed that I started losing my mucous plug. This went on for the next couple of days. It turns out that it was my cervix that was being effaced, or starting to thin out.
Monday April 6th
Started to feel unwell in the early evening. I tried to go to bed later, but was feeling quite uncomfortable and getting painful localised abdominal pains, and got no sleep that night.
Tuesday April 7th ~ 3am
I felt a sharp pain in pevic area and contractions started. My contractions felt like really, really bad menstrual gas pains. The contractions were already lasting a minute, but were irregular. The contractions lasted through the night and into Tuesday all day and night and Wednesday morning. The midwife told us previously not to call until the contractions were fairly regular, and about 3 minutes apart from each other. My contractions never made a steady progress like many w omen's do, so there were times when it was 10 min apart and other times when it was as close to 4-5 mins apart. But my contractions fluctuated the whole time, they were never regular. Eventually, I could feel the labour pains in my lower back. I'd called my midwife close to Tuesday evening when I was worried it wasn't progressing the way it should have.
Wednesday April 8th
After another sleepless night and a couple more calls to the midwife, she told me to head to the hospital. I had been labouring at home about 30 hours at this point, and had no sleep for the last couple of nights. Because she was already with another patient at a different hospital than where I was going, she asked if I wanted her to find a bed at the hospital where she was at, or to go to my original hospital, but have another midwife (whom I had never met), do the delivery. I chose to go where my midwife was.
We got to the hospital at around 9am, and got admitted. My midwife assessed me, and told me I was only 1 cm dilated. I was about to cry at this point because I'd been labouring for so long already, and I thought for sure I was further along. My midwife decided to break my water and do a bit of a stretch and sweep to help speed things along. She commented that the membrane sac was thick as she had a bit of trouble breaking it. A nurse, who was showing Hubby and my mum the placenta afterwards, noticed the same thing, LOL! After the midwife did the stretch and sweep, I was 3-4 cm dilated. My midwife was very encouraging about the effaced cervix, she told me that it's in a good place as it's like wet tissue paper and it would be much easier for me to dilate. Because I was GBS positive, I was put on antibiotic IV right away. I sat in a bath for about a 1/2 hour. Although we got one of the nicely renovated rooms at the hospital, because some moron was doing some drilling in the floor below us, we had to move rooms.
My midwife still wanted to wait for my contractions to become more regular and become closer together. That never happened, although we waited several more hours. They then gave me some saline with sugar water (I think) to give me some more energy, especially I had been up the previous two night without sleep. After a couple more hours, my midwife could see that things weren't progressing as it should, I was only 6-7 cm dilated, so she suggested that we do an augmentation (similar to an induction, both procedures uses pitocin), to speed things along. Because my midwife couldn't prescribe the pitocin, she had to find an OB to do so, and I guess it was policy that the OB come in to do consult. I had asked my midwife how much longer it would take, and she said it can be anywhere from 1/2 hour onwards before I become fully dialated. This OB woman came in to talk to me about the pitocin prescription, I had no idea why she was even there. I asked her how long it would take for me to be fully dialated, and she said 3-4 hours or longer, it was pretty demoralizing to hear. My midwife was annoyed and cut her off, and pretty much pushed her out of the room. Hubby was ready to strangle her.
So I was on the pitocin for maybe 1-2 hours, and things were progressing a lot faster. I found it really hard to handle the contractions at this point as they were coming on strong and increasing frequency, and I was really getting tired and unable to handle the pain coming on so quickly and intensly. The nurse that was with us suggested laughing gas, which I gladly took. It was hard to deal with the laughing gas as it started making me feel ill as I was breathing more and more of it because of the increased frequency of the contractions and there was less time for it to disperse from my body. And although I was getting ill from the laughing gas, I stuck with it because the alternative was to have an epidural, and I didn't want to go down that road. I was actually cracking jokes at this point. I think I remember saying at the beginning "Boy this stuff's good. Is this what it feels like when you smoke pot?" and "After this is done, I want chocolate ice cream!". I also asked if they were going to check me to see how far dilated I was (Hubby still makes fun of me about that comment!)
Finally, I was 9 centimeters, and my midwife suggested that I go pee. I had been pumped with a lot of fluids by now, so it should have been easy for me to go pee, but I was so exhausted that I couldn't go pee. I think I told Hubby at that point that I couldn't do it any more, I was so tired and exhausted. At this point, my midwife told me to come out and I would start pushing. I was to lie back, with my legs up in the air and towards my chest (there were people there to help me push my legs back), pelvis down and start pushing with the contractions. Let me tell you that was the hardest thing in the world to do. Not only was this not one of the positions that they had taught us in our prenatal class as one of the better ways for delivery, but I found out later, from my aunt who is a community nurse, that this is how they did things in the "old days". I was too exhausted to care any longer, I just wanted this kid outta me! So I focused all my energies on pushing.
My midwife was encouraging me, and letting me know how far along the head was coming out. Hubby was sitting beside me and encouraging me, which helped tremendously. My mom (who came to the hospital with us) was actually pushing one of my legs, the nurse was pushing the other leg. I remember thinking at one point that I could feel myself tearing, and I thought, screw the "no tearing" thing, I want this kid outta me! I think everyone refers to it as the ring of fire. All I could think and focus on was getting the head out, so I put my pelvis down, and pushed hard with each contraction. I swear, it was like having the biggest poo of your life, only I could tell it was coming out of the wrong hole. But that's how I was treating it. It started annoying me how everyone was talking about the head was "almost" out, and I was thinking (and I
may have vocalised it) to stop telling me that it's almost out and to tell me when it's actually out! So this went on for about 45 mins, and Baby L's head popped out eventually.
The rest of his body slid out quite quickly after that. Once Baby L was out, I looked over to my right, I could see Hubby tearing up, and my mum already had her camera out and taking pictures! They had placed Baby L on my chest, and I asked if it was a boy or a girl. My midwife picked him up and show me his boy bits. Finally they delivered the placenta. The midwife told me that I had a couple of small tears that she had to sew up. I actually wowed my midwives. They were so impressed that I'd managed to push well and have the baby out quickly without an epidural, and despite the fact that I had no sleep for two nights straight. I told them that I had two thoughts in my mind: tenacity - I really, really wanted this baby out, so I focused on that and nothing else. And because I'd be doing all the exercising during my pregnancy, I actually focused on using those particular muscles to push. Even then I was thinking how glad I was that I did all that exercising and allowing myself to really be in tune with my body. I think that helped the pushing a lot, that and I didn't have an epidural to interfere with the pushing. The whole labour and delivery was about 40 hours in total.
Afterwards, I was talking with my midwife, and she told me that Baby L's umbilical cord was wrapped very tightly around his neck, and that the cord was shorter than usual. She surmised that was the reason why my body had such a hard time progressing forward through the labour, and if the labour had proceeded as it normally should have, Baby L could have been in serious trouble. I suppose that our bodies just sometimes know what to do, even if we don't always understand why it's doing what it's doing. In any case, this experience had validated our decision to go with midwifery care, I suspect that it may have gone very differently if I went with my GP or an OB. I probably would have had a C-section, which was the absolute last thing I wanted. Hubby and I were very glad that things turned out well, despite all the chaos, and confusion.
My midwife was awesome, and she made me feel that I could do this from the very beginning. Hubby was also a huge help, I don't think that I would have been able to last the 40+ hours without his help and encouragement.