There is something a little surreal about bringing you home before the date that we had planned to go into hospital to have your delivery induced. When we last spoke to the OB, we opted for an induction on the Tuesday which would require me to go into hospital on Monday night and get the gel (just in case that would let me establish labour more naturally on my own). You apparently had other ideas.
Instead what happened was that I started getting tightenings in my lower abdomen at 11:30pm on the Wednesday before. It was kind of like cramps and they would be there for 10-20 seconds then would go again…about every 20 minutes or so. It wasn’t a feeling I was familiar with (or that I could remember) so I left it for a while. They didn’t stop though. Your dad eventually told me to call the hospital just to make sure we didn’t need to do anything.
When I spoke to a midwife sometime after 1am, she said I probably was in pre-labour. She said perhaps leave it an hour and a half or so and if my waters break or the contractions get closer together / more intense then give her a call and I could come into the hospital. Normally this is not something they would suggest but given the fact that we are at least an hour from the hospital, they give you a bit more leeway to play it safe. Which in hindsight was them more thinking they were calming an anxious mother as I probably would have left it but for your father making me question myself.
Anyway, at about 3:30am we decided to head to the hospital which was a process of your dad getting showered, calling Gigi and Grumps to let them know we’d be dropping off your sister and the dog, getting Genevieve’s things together, loading the car and finally getting on the road. We probably should have all stayed there now that I think about it but your dad and I ended up getting to the hospital sometime after 5am.
They put us in a room and secured tracing monitors around my belly. Then we waited. They called the OB at 7am to let her know I was there and then we waited for her to show up. I could hear the nurses in the hall doing the handover and explaining that there was definitely something happening but I was not in established labour. They let me come in early though because I was “worried”. Oh well, I’ve caused a nuisance with you before so why stop now? When the OB came to see me, she said I was about 3cm dilated but she could stretch me to 4cm. You were still not engaged though so she suggested getting me up and walking about to see if you would drop. Then she put a cannula in my wrist. In my dominant hand. Ouch.
We waited for a bit longer so we knew what the logistics of the plan would be but then the OB came back and said new plan – we’re putting you in a delivery suite and breaking your waters now to see if that will kick start you. So that’s what we did. And it was uncomfortable. That was about the only part of the whole process that was familiar. Apparently I had a lot of fluid though so that did at least get you to move down a little. What followed was getting an IV dose of fluids, some antibiotics to counter the fact that I was GBS positive and more tracing monitors. And more waiting. The contractions got a little stronger and a little closer together but it wasn’t like the first time.
It wasn’t a tensing of the muscles that would reach up the sides of my belly. There was no sense that my body was trying to push you down. It was more like it was just trying to squeeze your head. Like a fist clenching in my pelvis that would occasionally twist at the end just for fun. Some contractions were stronger than others and some were more frequent but none formed a real pattern and were regular. So we waited. We were told that the OB had already written up Sintocinon to move the induction along but there were currently two women labouring in delivery and only one midwife (the other was attending a Caesar). They can’t have more than one woman on Sinto per midwife at a time given the results of the drug can differ greatly from woman to woman so we had to wait. Meanwhile, I decided to get an epidural because I was not having fun and wasn’t sure how long I could put up with not having fun. I wasn’t the only woman that wanted one though so when the anaesthetist arrived, they suggested the other lady be accommodated first. According to the midwife, my face was prettier than hers. In other words, I was not labouring anywhere near as hard – she was already on the gas. So once again, we waited.
Going in, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to have an epidural or not. I did my first labour without one and I think I was kind of hoping that I could do that again. The first time around, everything started in the hospital. I was calm and I felt as in control as possible of a situation that is really totally beyond your control at all. I was in the zone. The ramp up of contractions was incremental, regular and manageable. I could watch the monitors to see a contraction coming on before I could feel it and use the numbers to gauge how strong the contraction actually was. There was a sense of accomplishment when I knew I had gotten through a big one. It didn’t quite work out that way this time. The pain and discomfort was all centralised at the bottom of my belly, somewhat random in terms of timing and generally making me feel crap. Unfortunately that didn’t change much.
The epidural itself was not painful. I felt the sting of the local and I felt a strong twinge the first time the anaesthetist tried to put the needle in my back. The one that she left in my back though, I didn’t feel at all. What I did feel was a slight tingling in my right leg which graduated to a limb long lethargy. I definitely wasn’t feeling a cessation of sensation from the waist down. I have heard so many stories of women getting an epidural and then feeling nothing. Nothing but relief that allows them to go to sleep. I bloody well felt a lot. And since the ongoing epidural was self-administered, I was watching for that little light to go on so I could get the next hit. I was asking if the epidural was done properly. I was trying to roll over slightly on my side to see if there was pressure somewhere that was cutting it off. I was still very much not happy. I was also bed-bound and in severe discomfort from the elastic straps round the tracing monitors, specifically the one monitoring me which wasn’t working properly anyway as it wasn’t reading the full strength of the contractions.
This state of affairs continued on through the administering of the Sintocinon which was started at 6mg then progressed through 12mg and finally 24mg. The contractions eventually became intense although the sensation never moved from the underside of my belly. You however moved over to one side of my belly to make it look rather misshapen. As the afternoon progressed, I started to feel more pressure in my lower back but I wasn’t sure if I needed to push or not. The third change of midwives since I had arrived at the hospital was trying to be guided by me and asked me if I felt like I wanted to push which didn’t help a whole lot because I didn’t really know. I mean the pushing happens at the end so once you start to push, you’re at the last bit. Of course I wanted that. On the other hand, the pushing bit is really hard work so I didn’t really want to waste the energy doing that if I wasn’t ready. I wanted someone to say yes, you are fully dilated and you should push. My brain wasn’t really working at this point though.
Start pushing I did though eventually. Somewhere along the way, the midwife checked me out. They also called the OB to tell her I was in transition. Then after I had started pushing, they asked if I could actually breathe through the contractions again for a bit to allow her more time to get there. Which might seem a bit like cruel and unusual punishment but I think the best part of the whole labour for me was having her there whilst I pushed. The OB for your sister turned up when she was crowning and after two hours of pushing, was basically there to catch her and stich me up. I had a great midwife then though so I was ok with that. This time around, my OB was with me for most of transition which was thankfully only an hour this time. She was the encouraging voice that I needed and the take-charge presence.
So I pushed. And it was really hard work. I’m pretty sure I burst some tiny blood vessels in my face cause it was all blotchy the next day. I had a second degree tear again which was to be expected and I fortunately didn’t need the episiotomy that I saw the OB prep for just in case. Your dad stayed upright though which was a bonus. He apparently prepared himself and the OB was waiting for it so he didn’t get to see as much blood as last time. The not ok feeling never really went away throughout the whole of labour though so I was still frazzled and stressed and anxious and feeling like it would be awesome if I could just give up. I knew I could do it. It wasn’t unbearable but it was horrible. It was also probably a good thing that I didn’t know you were born posterior till after you were out. I got myself to the point that they said stop pushing now which confused me because I couldn’t figure out why they would want me to stop pushing in the middle of labour and then there you were. There was a sloshing sound and you were out. At 6:15pm.
After that, it was a process of sewing me up, cleaning up and letting you calm down before they took you for measurements. Like your sister, you grizzled a fair bit when you were on my chest but after a while, they determined that you were calm enough that you didn’t need to go to the nursery to be checked out. You could be wrapped up and given to your dad so I could have a shower.
This was the other part of the whole experience that I hated because I think my body went into shock. I had had a fever whilst in labour which was still present afterwards. I didn’t notice given everything else that had just happened to my body. I started to feel fuzzy in the head though. I wasn’t dizzy but rather detached. Like my attention and care factor were half asleep. I couldn’t really concentrate. And every time I had to move, I got terrible shakes. By the time I was sitting in the shower, I was shaking uncontrollably. I could hardly talk and I was freezing. I managed to get clean and dressed with assistance and then I moved to a wheelchair and got the shakes again. We moved to the ward and I got into bed and I got the shakes again. At one point, someone suggested that I take a cold bath to get my fever down and I was ready to beg in order to avoid that fate if I had to. They let me be though and the next twelve hours were a bit of a haze of sleep, drugs, shakes and getting the catheter out.
Your dad stayed with me because I really wasn’t sure if I could cope had you woken up and demanded attention. You were great though and passed out yourself for about seven hours. In fact you slept most of the first day too. One of the midwives told me I should be waking you up at least every four hours to feed and I think I bothered to try once (you were completely uninterested) and then I just went with my gut. The labour might have been spectacularly craptastic this time around but on the flipside, I have been so much more relaxed on the other side.
I made sure that I ate all my meals this time around. If something arrived just as you started crying, I’d let you cry so I could eat. If you wanted to sleep for hours, I’d let you sleep. I wasn’t stressed about my milk coming in as you were sucking and regularly enough. My feet got all puffy and swollen and I had this Quasimodo eye thing happening on day 2 but I was ok. The day four blues hit at about day 2 ½ but even those were more of a half day thing and didn’t leave me as wrecked as I was last time. You would start your witching hour at around 10pm and had a bout of clusterfeeding one night before we left the hospital but again, I knew this too shall pass and I was fine. Ok, I was tired and frustrated as well but mostly I was fine.
So now we find ourselves bringing you home at a time before I had booked into the hospital to have your birth induced. We didn’t quite make it to February for you to be born but since you were 4.08kgs when you came out, that is altogether not a bad thing. Several people have also made the comment that you were well and truly cooked anyway because you came out with much of your skin already peeling which is apparently more indicative of post term babies than those born before 40 weeks.
You are wonderful little man. Welcome home.