Birth Story by Celina W
On Tuesday morning (the 12th of April) I was 36 weeks and 6 days. I woke up and felt quite invigorated and very well rested. I had a bit more energy. I had to take my cat to the vet and when I got home I was resting watching some tv around midday. I then went to the toilet, got up and washed my hands. As I was leaving the bathroom i felt a dribbling sensation. I thought to myself that it can’t be wee as I just went and I didn’t seem to have any control over holding it. I thought that it was weird so I went back to sit on the toilet. As soon as I sat back on the toilet I felt a gushing sensation. Immediately my heart raced – I was waiting for some pain or something to follow and there was nothing. Then all of a sudden it hit me – my waters had broke. I called hubby. Suddenly I was hit with emotion and I started crying. Hubby thought the worse and thought that something bad had happened. I was able to tell him that my waters broke. He said that he would be leaving work straight away. I then called the Hospital to advise what had happened. The nurse told me to get off the toilet and put a pad on – so that they would be able to assess it when I get in.
I got straight off the toilet and started packing my labour bag – can you believe it !! I had nothing in it !! I had my list though which helped. I didnt even have baby clothes put in the bag yet lol. Hubby arrived and we then left for the hospital. When I arrived they confirmed that my waters had broken. It then came back to me that on Sunday I felt dribbles leak out into a liner that i was wearing – and it wasn’t wee. That then changed the situation as it has been 72 hours since my waters could have possibly broken. They didn’t want to do an examination on me as I would more than likely get an infection. They put me onto a drip and gave me antibiotics. They advised that I would need to be induced as soon as birth suite was free. I was extremely nervous about being induced. I had heard that the labour pains and contractions are more intense than what it would be like if I went into labour naturally.
A nurse took us down into one of the birth suites. I suddenly got quite emotional as I knew that this is where we were going to have the baby and I was about to be induced!! So much for using my ‘gownie’ – I had to use one of the hospital’s gowns. I then had to hop onto the bed and had a drip inserted into my hand. I wasnt able to move off the bed unless I needed to go to the toilet. So much for an active labour!! Mum was on her way back up to the hospital from the Gold Coast and my doula was also on her way. . The midwife that was in the room with us was great. My doula arrived around 8pm. She seemed a little lost as to what to do as I suppose she was more for an active labour than to one where I was restrained to the bed.
That’s when the nurse advised that my contractions had started (although I couldn’t feel them). My doula set the mood by dimming the lights and burning some essential oils. I was then given a leg massage by her and hubby which was lovely. By 11pm my contractions were getting stronger and closer together (about 5 mins apart). I could start to feel them – they felt like bad period pains and i could feel them wash over me then slowly disappear. The nurse gave me a check over and felt my stomach for the contractions. She said that they were getting bigger. She also said that baby was in prosterior position which means that the baby’s spine was against my spine. I had read in one of the labour books that prosterior positioned babies are extremely painful to get out. This worried me quite a bit. The nurse then told me to change positions to my side to try to encourage the baby to move into normal position. I then had to get a monitor put on the baby’s head to monitor the heartbeat properly. That was quite uncomfortable but I was glad they did it as they werent getting an accurate reading with the dopplers strapped on my stomach.
Who knows how long went past but my contractions were 2 minutes apart and I was in the most unbearable back pain ever. I had an examination and was told that I was 4cm along. I started to have some gas but the pain in my back was 10 times worse than the contractions itself and in between contractions, my back pain stayed. Hubby was using all of his weight to push against my lower back to try and ease the pain. I couldnt take it any longer. The midwife could see that it was not going to plan and then asked if I knew what other forms of pain relief I could use. She asked what I would like. I said an epidural. I couldnt believe that I was going down that path but I really cannot describe my back pain. The midwife said that 95% of women with a prosterior baby have an epidural. So they got the anethesiest and he inserted the needles into my back. Within about 20 mins my back pain subsided to a dull ache and then my legs went numb. It was the weirdest feeling but I was so relieved to not have any back pain. I also had to get a catheter inserted.
The labour progressed smoothly. I next had an examination in the morning around 7am and was told that I was fully dilated !! The nurse then informed me that they would have to turn the epidural off so that I could start pushing. I was worried and asked them if they did that, would my back pain come back two fold – i was reassured that the back pain wouldn’t be back.
So I started the pushing stage. I pushed and pushed and pushed until my face went a red/purple. Unfortunately there was a clock in front of my bed and I saw that I had been pushing for over an hour. The midwife said that she would have to check with the doctor to see if it was safe for me to keep trying. She said baby’s heart rate was ok and I seemed to be doing good. She got the ok from the doctor for me to keep going with the pushing. Guess what came next !! My back pain !! Because I wasnt used to any pain (because of the epidural) the back pain came back with a vengance !! I was screaming in utter pain. I had no pain anywhere else except my back. I felt so deflated. I saw the clock and saw that I had been pushing for over 2.5 hours !! I was exhausted and in extreme pain. I kept screaming out for someone to help me as my back was so sore. Hubby and my mum kept encouraging me to push when I had the urge and coached me through it. Mum started crying seeing me in so much pain but kept stressing to me to keep trying. It was very emotional for all of us. The doctor came in again and did an examination. He told me to push, push, push. I was screaming in agony and pushed the hardest I have pushed in my life. I felt no movement of the baby. My back pain was so intense I was dry reaching. The doctor then said that the baby still had not dropped !! He said that they need to take me into theatre for an emergency cesarean and that they can put the epidural back up. It felt like hours while they were prepping the theatre – yet it was only minutes. I couldnt stand the back pain any longer – I was screamking out, crying and yelling. I wanted help and help NOW. Finally the anesthesiest started the epidural on the drip again. I had to sign forms to consent to the cesarean.
Finally I was starting to feel some relief from the pain in my back. The epidural was working again. I was getting wheeled out to theatre. Hubby was taken to get put into scrubs so he could be with me during the procedure. There were about 6 nurses/midwives/doctors wheeling me into theatre. When we got in there was about 20 people in the room. I had tears in my eyes. Everything looked so bright and scary. I had been up for 27 hours and Hubby had been up for over 30 hours. Hubby held my hand while they put up the curtain around my belly. Hubby held my hand and whispered encouraging words into my ear saying that we would meet our baby very very soon. He had tears in his eyes and a lump in his throat. I started crying. I was mixed with emotions. The past 24 hours were a blur and I was still trying to comprehend what was happening and why it had happened.
I felt pressure, tugging and pulling around in my belly. About 5 mins later I felt a weight lift out of my body. I turned to Hubby and said that the baby was out. We waited and heard the baby’s cry. The doctor held up the baby and said “Look guys what is it?” and Hubby and I saw our little miracle was a boy. Hubby and I started crying together. We couldnt beileve it. He was out and he was healthy. Hubby was taken to our baby to cut the umbilical cord and the weighing. A nurse (who had stood by my side the entire time keeping my mind off the actual surgery took pictures). Our baby son was then bought over to me and placed on my chest for skin to skin contact. I was looking into my baby’s eyes and couldnt believe that he was finally here. He was then wrapped back up and given to Hubby to hold. Hubby and baby were taken out of the room while I was stitched back up (about 20 – 30 mins). I was then taken to the recovery room where Hubby and baby Tobey were waiting. Everything was really such a blur. It was now midday on the 13th of April 2011. We were then taken back up to the ward for recovery. I had those tight surgery socks on and still didnt have too much feeling in my legs. I was immobile which was killing me because I felt fine and just wanted to sit up properly and take it all in. Mum and hubby left at around 3pm to go home to sleep – they hadnt been to sleep at all and had been awake for over 40 hours !!
I have had a good recovery but it has been hard. I have been so sore where the cut has been. I found it hard to have my first shower after the birth and found it hard to walk, sit up, get out of bed etc. I was being constantly fed pain killers etc. We had to stay in hospital until Saturday afternoon.
After arriving home my mum talked to me about our doula. She said that our doula wasnt doing anything during the labour and seemed quite incompetent. She didnt know how to adapt to my situation and even started telling my mum what to say to me. Mum turned around to my doula and said that I would know that it wasnt mum’s words coming out of her mouth and that she knows me better and what I need to hear. At the end of my labour my doula apologised to Mum as she was in the wrong. Mum couldnt believe that I had paid big $$$ for someone who was incompetent. The midwives at the Mater would have been sufficient as they were a big help and very encouraging during my long labour.
Our doula came to visit us at home for 15 mins after the birth to check up on Tobey and I. She went over a few aspects of my birth and asked “Whether you could have tried harder during labour” – Did she seriously think that I could have pushed out our baby even though he was in prosterior position and still had to be pulled out of my belly with forceps during the c-section? At the time I was very tired and her question didnt hit home but a few days later I couldnt believe that she asked a question like that. Had I failed to give birth to my baby naturally because I gave up too easily? It really had me questioning myself.
I feel very happy about the decision now but initially I was beating myself up so much that i was getting extremely depressed. I felt like a failure as I had not delivered Tobey naturally, I was unable to breastfeed and satisfy him and I wasnt feeling a connection with him which was scaring me to bits. But now that Tobey and I are happy I feel such a loving bond with him – I cant stop staring at him in awe – I love him so much – its such a powerful love isnt it !! Something that cannot be described in words.
Six days after my birth my doula sent me an email that could have sent me over the edge (if it was sent a few days earlier). She asked how my breastfeeding was going. I told her that we had turned to formula as I wasnt producing enough milk. She then sent a reply asking “Have you given up too easily? Is it part of your character that you find it hard to gather the endurance needed to finish a task?”. It then followed with questions like “…Do you know about ALL of the positives of breastfeeding? I hope that you have come across enough information about it. If I failed to provide this to you then I apologise. The benefits of breastfeeding are in the article I’ve attached here…” and Why do you think Tobey was crying? Were you reading his cues appropriately?”.
I had hired a doula who hadn’t asked why I had turned to formula, who didnt know that I had already exhausted most avenues for assistance and who was assuming that my nature was to give up. I felt extremely angry and upset. After such a tough labour and birth and then to receive an email from my own doula virtually implying that I give up too easily, could have sent me into depression.
I am glad that I was strong enough to see that I am a good mother to Tobey and that my decisions have the support from my GP and my family.
I hope no one has this experience with their doula – especially after the trouble i had with my labour and breastfeeding.
Thank you Celine for sharing with us her Birth Story.