i've decided to document my last birth. as we all know memories are never lost but they do fade, details are lost even with the best intentions.
it was friday 20th november 2009 and i checked into the hospital as advised at 7.30am for my induction at 38 weeks pregnant. i suffer terribly at the end of pregnancy with sciatic nerve pain in my back, so my dr is happy to induce me early. so i go in and get placed in to my room, put on the monitor and i am ready to do this - i am ready to get this baby out.
i like to say i had no expectations on the labour and birth, however i would be lying if i said i hadn't had a slight expectation it would be quicker than the last 2 births. my first was 14 hours, my 2nd 10 hours (induced & posterior) so I was hoping by the afternoon we would be meeting our new little baby girl. how wrong i turned out to be.....
at 8am my dr arrived and applied the gel onto my cervix. i was then advised i had to stay on the monitor for 20mins to ensure the baby tolerated the gel ok. 20mins passed and all a-ok to get up and walk around. almost immediately i felt a strange pressure feeling on my cervix. it wasn't a contraction pain but more a constant pressure whenever i was standing up. so through the day we went, seconds, minutes, hours passed and i didn't really feel much different.
my dr came back at about lunchtime and decided i needed more gel - fine i said and he also tried to break my waters, however he couldn't reach them as they were up too high. again hours passed with no real change noticed. he came back again to break my waters at approximately 5pm, again unable to reach them. by this stage i was pretty 'sore' and happy for no more attempts to be made to break them.
it was about 6pm and well and truly after i expected to be holding my new baby. he told me no doubt my waters would break spontaneously overnight and we would have the baby tomorrow - um excuse me, sorry, did you just say tomorrow? tomorrow?
i got over that and more hours passed until at about 8.30pm i decided i was sick of this pressure i had been feeling all day, i was starting to get tired from being on my feet all day and i wanted my epidural. the anesthetist was in surgery i was told and would come over straight after that. ok...
at 10.30pm we were moved into the birth suite, i got dressed in my ghastly gown and set up for him to arrive. i've had epidurals with both of my other children so i did know what to expect. not this.....
3 attempts were made to get the epidural needle in and 3 times he hit a blood vessel. i am told this does happen, particularly when being prepared for a c section. to have it happen 3 times in a row was just really bad luck. i am told i should give up on the idea of the epidural as more punctures in my spine has a greater risk of getting an infection in my spine. i sit on the edge of the bed, still crunched over my very big tummy, silenced by what i hear. i am thinking i can't do this without an epidural - particularly if they are talking tomorrow! so i ask what happens if i get an infection in my spine? he advises i would be given antibiotics and if they didn't work i would need to have surgery to drain my spine. it feels like i am having an out of body experience, is this really happening to me?
i ask him if it was his wife what would he tell her to do - he says forget the epidural. i look at my husband who clearly sees the sheer terror in my eyes and he says 'do you want to give it one last try?' to me that says it's ok to give it one last try. we did and we got it.
whilst the epidural was in and enough for the contractions that came later i knew it wasn't quite right as my legs and feet felt like pins & needles, not numb as i knew was normal.
my waters did break at 3am as my dr at predicted and at 4am my lovely midwife checked me and i was 4cm - progress! it was my dr's weekend off and i was told by many if the midwives that if i had my baby after 8am i wouldn't have him. i just put this out of my mind.
at 7.30am on saturday morning my dr came in to check me. I was still 4cm so we started the drip. the drip was then increased in dosage every hour as allowed. the dr then says he will be back at lunchtime to check on me again, lunchtime i thought? i will be having this baby before lunchtime!
lunchtime came and so did the dr, checking me again and at the time I am thinking anything but 4cm is great, and i really feel like i am making progress now. nope still 4cm - NO! he says there is no reason why this might be happening as i have had 2 prior births and he really doesn't want to give me a c section as he thinks i don't need it. no i replied i definitely do not want a c section! ok lets keep upping the drip each hour and i'll be back at 4pm - ARE YOU KIDDING ME! 4PM!
at approximately 3pm i notice a few extra midwives have come in checking the monitors, checking the drip dosage - hmmm this is not 'normal' i know this. then i hear one of them mutter to the other 'yep definitely i'll go call him right now'. within 10mins my dr is there - i knew something wasn't right. he checks me again and the words that followed i will never forget as they were my worst nightmare... 'you're still 4cm, the baby is now in distress, it's time for a cesarean'
my husband was in my room sound asleep, i felt all alone, my worst nightmare coming true and i bawled like a baby. i sobbed and i sobbed. my midwife quickly ran out of the room to wake my husband to tell him he'd better get in there - he wakes up saying 'ok, we're on, it's time?' 'not exactly' she says 'she needs a cesarean'.
then he was there but not by my side as there seems to be people and things going everywhere. as soon as they stop the drip the baby's heart rate settled which was comforting. even as i right this now some 7+ months later it brings tears to my eyes. i did not want to be cut open - i can do this - i've done it 2 times already!
all the theatre staff and pediatrician who were on call were called in and we were in theatre at 3.30pm. the anesthetist was a different one from the night before but just happened to be the one i had for my first child. he tells me he will use the existing line already in and just 'top me up'. 'ok' is all i can manage. i also need and iv in for recovery medication. i already had an iv in as when i was admitted the day before i was told i had tested positive for group strep b and would have to have iv antibiotics throughout my labour.
he decided that the line that was in was not sufficient and he would have to do another on the side of my wrist - ok... oh but no, for some reason that one wasn't ok either.... over to the other hand - oh no - that's no good either, have to do the side of the wrist on that arm - finally we have success. i am again beside myself at this stage - thinking this is seriously a really bad dream. not only was really where i didn't want to be, i was alone.
thank god i think - lets just get this over with. then the 'top up' of my epidural begins. he tried about 8 times and i could still feel my legs - he is very agitated now and says 'well i don't know what you want to do now, but this just isn't working. do you want a general, do you want me to try and do another spinal on you - but i really don't think i will be able to do that as you have already had your spine punctured 4 times last night and i don't even think i will be able to find a spot or do you just want to abandon the whole idea?' WHAT? abandon the idea, are you serious!
still alone i thought i have got to make the right decision here. i said nothing for what felt like forever then i managed 'well i don't know but i don't want a general anaesthetic'. 'well i'll have to try the spinal' he was very gruff. over the bench we go again, only this time i am having regular contractions and bending over is very painful. so we got the spinal in first go after about 40mins, i was layed back on the table, the blue curtain went up, cambell was allowed in (he knew nothing about what was going on), i was cut open and in 20mins our baby edi elizabeth balderson was born.
10 needles in my back, 4 iv line attempts in my arms and one big cut through my stomach, i'd had my smallest baby and longest, most dramatic labour ever. 7lb 4oz, 50cm long and so very much worth it in the end.