I intended on having a drug free, water and home birth and utilise all the tools I learned through hypno birthing. I am feeling very grateful that I did the hypno birthing course and that I still feel really empowered about my birthing experience. Even though it did not AT ALL go the way I wanted it to go.
My labour started on Saturday night 1/10/2022 at around 10pm when I had the bloody show. I had contractions starting at around 11pm. We got super excited, but knew it would probably still be a while before birth. I took two paracetamol (as recommended by the midwives) and tried to get some sleep. The contractions were about 4 minutes apart and lasting 30 seconds. This went on all night. I called the hospital on Sunday AM to update them about my eventful night (and no sleep). They advised me to stay home for as long as possible. The contractions picked up in the afternoon and were coming on every 2.5 minutes, lasting 60 seconds each. It was time to head to the hospital. We took our bags and we were ready to meet our bubs. Unfortunately I was only 1.5cm dilated and got sent home. The contractions were still strong and I knew I was headed for another long night. This was the second night of no sleep. I slept with the TENS machine on and contractions stayed at 4 minutes apart.
By the time it was Monday AM, I was so over it and absolutely exhausted. I knew I could not do another few days of this. We went back in to the hospital at 10am to talk options. It turned out that bubs was posterior. Which apparently means that birth is longer and more painful, combine that with a first time birth… Yay me. At this stage I was 3cm dilated which meant she could break my waters. They wanted to put me on an oxytocin drip, which I declined. We spent all day waiting and 4.30pm was the time I could finally get up to the birthing suite to get this birth on the road. We could set up the birthing suite to our own liking with affirmations, fairy lights, a diffuser and candles. We created a really nice space. Once the waters were broken, we found out that bubs had done a poop inside, which meant that he had to be monitored the whole time and I could not get in the bath. This was a little disappointing, but I knew things could change at any time and I wasn’t going to let it affect my birthing experience. The baby kept moving down which made it hard to monitor and we had to keep adjusting. After a while it became impossible and we had to change it to internal fetal monitoring. This was also something I was absolutely against, but after being explained about it, I agreed and gave informed consent.
Birthing puts your mind in a very strange zone. You have no clue what time of the day it is, what year you’re in or anything that is going around you. All you focus on is your body and the feelings. You can not wait to meet your baby, but you know you still have hours to go.
I was absolutely bossing my contractions. Breathing through them and completely relaxed. I was calm and level headed and feeling super empowered. I suddenly got the urge to push and the contractions were getting incredibly uncomfortable and my whole body starting seizing up with every contraction. I discussed this with my midwife and it was time to check to see if I could start pushing. I think this was around 8pm. I was only 7cm dilated and unfortunately not quite ready. This meant that I had to hold the urge to push. This became absolutely unbearable. The doctor advised me that I could get an epidural to relax. I declined this option straight away. I was almost annoyed that they even thought I wanted to have one. I continued to go through these unbearable contractions for the next two hours. The pain I experienced I can not describe (thanks to having a posterior bubba). The contractions were 20 seconds apart and lasting close to 90 seconds. Because I had to hold in the urge to push, my uterus was not relaxing in between the contractions. The baby’s heart rate was going up and I was putting him in danger. I looked at James and said: I need an epidural, I can not do this any longer. He asked me 3 times if I was 100% sure and then supported me in my decision. The doctor then came in and assessed me again to see if I was possibly dilated more and could avoid the epidural. After two hours of being in a terrible space, I was still only 7cm. That confirmed that I was not going anywhere and that I was just putting my baby in danger.
James was sitting right in front of me while I got the epidural put in. I had to sit as still as possible and the anaesthetist only had a very short time in between contractions to put the medication in. The epidural was put in at around 11.30pm.
Once the epidural had full effect, I was shocked. What the hell did I do to myself?! Why did I not do this any earlier?! I even had a little sleep which was amazing after 2 full days of no sleep. Baby’s heart rate went back to normal and I felt good about my decision. I did have some worry about needing more intervention after making my decision, but I had a good feeling and we would deal with that when that would arise. I got check after a few hours and was 9cm dilated at this stage. We knew we were going to meet our baby very soon!
The doctor came back in to the room at about 3.50am and asked if I could feel pressure. I was 10cm dilated and ready to give birth! Pushing without feeling down below is a very strange concept. Within minutes of me pushing, the doctor looked at me and said that we needed to go theatre. Code one was called out in the hospital. The room filled up with doctors and nurses. It all happened so quickly. James and I looked at each other, but stayed calm. Are you okay? Yes, I think so.
The doctor told me that it was looking like I would need a caesarean, but she knew how much I wanted to have ‘a normal’ birth. She said she would be happy for me to try this, but that it will probably be with the use of forceps and an episiotomy. Again.. Something I absolutely did not want. I raised my concerns to James, which she heard. She came back and asked me about these concerns and then discussed everything with me on the the way to theatre. She did this in such an amazing way that I still felt that I could make the decision instead of being made to feel bad (which happened with another doctor in that hospital prior to birth).
Once wheeled in to theatre, I couldn’t find James. We went from a beautiful calm birthing space to a bright and loud room. There were about 20 people in that room and they all needed something of me. It was incredibly overwhelming. I yelled out for James and was nearly in tears. I then saw him running down the hallway in scrubs. One of the nurses reassured me that my birthing would be calm once everything was taken care of. This lady made me feel calm and at ease.
She was right, once birthing started it was calm and quiet. They even put a playlist on for us. James requested Xavier Rudd. The doctor told me to start pushing. Baby’s head was still quite far up and his heart rate was dropping rapidly. I pushed for about 3 contractions. She then looked at me and said: You have one more chance to push, then we are going for a caesarean. I am not sure what came over me at this stage. Call it mother’s strength. I absolutely did NOT want that Caesarean. I pushed so hard, they were all shocked when his head dropped down. She did have to do an episiotomy and had to use forceps, but asked for my consent again. A few contractions later, at 4.07am, our SON was born. Nils was born to Spirit Bird which is my all time favourite song. For the playlist to be on shuffle and this exact song to come on while birthing.. I can not believe it.
The moment that followed next was the most traumatic of my whole birthing experience. As Nils was covered in meconium (aka poop) he was put on oxygen straight away. I didn’t get the delayed cord clamping I wanted, but this had to happen quickly due to him not being able to breathe. I didn’t get the skin to skin straight away. They gave me a few minutes with him once they knew he could breathe on his own. They then took him to the nursery and James went with him. It took FOUR HOURS before I got him back. I wasn’t allowed to go see him as I couldn’t walk due to the epidural. They couldn’t wheel me down as ‘the nursery was too small for a bed to fit in’. It was horrific. I sent James down to the nursery to pick him up as it was just getting ridiculous. He finally got wheeled in to my room and I could get the skin to skin I needed to bond with my fresh baby. It was the most surreal experience.
I definitely did not get to birth the way I wanted to. I am however super grateful for the amazing team that was on that night. The doctor really listening and understanding my concerns and communicating in a way that was calm and I could make an informed decision. I am grateful for the medical intervention as I was putting our baby at risk for not taking any action.