Once in the birthing suite, my obstetrician came to chat and make sure that I was happy with the change in plans. She performed an internal examination (at about 1pm) and made sure that my waters had completely broken. I wanted to walk around for a while before starting the syntocinon infusion, to see whether my surges would increase.
We walked up and down the 5 flights of stairs many times, and also walked around the hospital. Nothing really happened, so at 4pm I agreed to start the syntocinon infusion. This also meant that I needed continuous monitoring. My midwife Liz, who is also my friend, got the waterproof machine for me so that I could still hop in the shower.
Throughout labour I remained calm and relaxed by listening to my birth affirmations, sniffing clary sage oil, sitting on the fit ball, moving around, having a shower, and having my acupressure points massaged by my wonderful birth support team.
Around 9pm, I started feeling more uncomfortable in my pelvis and some slight pressure in my bottom. I was really excited as I thought ‘I must be getting close to birthing’. The pressure started increasing but never enough that I felt the need to do my birth breaths.
My obstetrician asked consent to do an internal examination and when finished, I could tell by the look on her face that my cervix wasn’t open very much. On my birth plan I had requested not to be told the outcome of the examinations, however I now really wanted to know. My cervix had dilated 1cm and my baby was in a posterior and awkward position. I was really shattered and started to cry. Crying helped me to let out all of my emotion and disappointment, and then refocus and move on.
For the next few hours I continued to listen to my affirmations, sit on the ball, go in the shower, and received comforting massages from my midwife, friend and husband.
At around 1am, the pressure in my pelvis was really intense and I was having difficulty keeping my muscles relaxed and focusing on my breathing. After chatting to my husband, and having another good cry, I decided to have an epidural. I knew that I needed more help, but I was petrified of having the epidural, and I was scared that it would increase my chance of having a caesarean section.
The anaesthetist came around 2am and inserted the epidural. It was very hard to sit still so I focused on my affirmations and doing my calm breaths. Once it was in and working well I felt amazing! The pressure on my pelvis was gone and I was able to have a bit of sleep. Sharon, our midwife, took Matt to another room so that he could lie down and sleep as well!
Around 4-4.30am the pressure in my pelvis started to return, and I had a large mucousy show! I started getting excited as I knew that it could mean that my cervix was opening. Sharon performed an internal examination and I could tell by her face that my cervix was fully open and that my baby was ready to be born!!
The energy in the room picked up very quickly and my doctor was called. Kate, my birth photographer, who had been napping in the chair, went and woke Matt up.
I sat up a bit and was feeling an increasing pressure in my bottom when the surges came. I started breathing my baby out. Having the epidural made it harder for me to breathe down but soon I could feel his head starting to emerge. I was determined to ‘push’ him out myself.
At 0602am I gave my final ‘push’ and I lifted our son, Jack, up onto my chest. There is no better feeling on earth! He was really calm and just gazed up at us with his beautiful blue eyes. Just after 7am we phoned my parent’s house and told Max that he had a baby brother. He was so excited that he screamed.
Jack is almost 6 months old now. As I reflect on his birth, I am disappointed that I didn’t have the water birth that I had planned, but also really happy with my birth experience. I believe that I made the right choices for us at the time, and I still feel the same way. One of the key factors in feeling happy with my experience is that I had a wonderful team caring for us, obstetrician and midwives, who stood back and let me make the decisions, without pressure, so that I remained in control of my labour at all times.
Credit for the photos goes to Kate Tyzack from Bump to Birth Photography (www.katetyzack.com)