I Birth on Tuesdays: A Study in Contractions Part Two

If you missed it you can read Part One of Zee's birth story here.

Recap of Part One... To make a long story short, I've been induced and in stop start labour for over 24 hours now...

29.07.13, 9:30pm to midnight:
As soon as my waters are broken it's on. The contractions start getting stronger and stronger and are still draining around to my back and hips. I'm sitting on the fitball, breathing through them, and Dave is counting the seconds for me so that I can have some kind of idea when each one will finish. With Punky the contractions would last for about a minute, would rise to a peak at around the 30 second mark and then slowly subside to nothing by the minute mark. With Zee, the contractions rise to a peak at around the 15 second mark and then stay at that strong peak until around the 50 second mark, at which point they start to subside and the pain then moves to my back and hips and stays there. It's horrible. And much harder to cope with.

J, my acupuncturist and doula, is here by that stage and she is a godsend! In between contractions she is massaging my head, neck, shoulders and back, reminding me to breath when the contractions intensify, giving me sips of water and just generally encouraging me with her words. The bloody midwife manages to walk in every time I am having a contraction and always tries to start talking to me and it's J who firmly tells her to wait until the contraction has finished before trying to speak to me. I am so, so thankful now that I hired her to be my doula. It is one of the best decisions of my life. Honestly!

The midwife wants to hook me up to that fucking infernal foetal monitoring machine again and tells me to get on the bed. I flat-out refuse. At this stage I am standing between contractions and leaning on the bed during them and I tell her she can strap me to the machine where I stand but I will not get on that bed again! She reluctantly agrees as she can see I am serious but she isn't happy about it. Well fuck you lady and the CTG you rode in on!

She gets me strapped in and leaves the room and I alternate between standing and sitting on the fitball. Around 11pm she comes back with another midwife and tells me that she has to go with another girl to theatre for a c-section and that Stef will now be looking after me. This is the best thing that has happened all day!

The first thing Stef does is get me off the monitor and checks my vitals. She then tells me I look like I'm coping really well and she'll leave me to it and to call if I need anything. Every time she walks in the room she waits and observes me, she doesn't just walk in and start talking away like the other woman, and she speaks quietly to me in between contractions if she needs to. If she wanted to check the baby's heart rate she would just hold the thing to my belly in whatever position I was in, she worked around me, I hardly even noticed her. She worked exactly the way a midwife should.

Tuesday 30th July, 12am to 1:54am:
The contractions are so intense now, so much more intense than they ever got with Punky. I am having to moan through the contractions rather than just breath, and I need to squeeze both of Dave's hands and keep moving to get through them. It's about 12:30am when I start to get this horrible pain in the front of my belly, really low. It starts with a contraction and then just doesn't go away for the rest of the labour, it just gets worse and worse.

I start to push a little during contractions and it really helps to ease some of the pressure that is starting to build up and by quarter past 1 I'm pretty much pushing with each contraction. The midwife hears this and comes in to see how I'm going. She's concerned that it hasn't been long enough for me to be fully dilated yet and I agree to let her examine me to make sure I'm not pushing on cervix.

I've been labouring over the back of the bed at this stage, on my knees with my body draped over a beanbag to keep me upright, I'm so exhausted that I'm almost falling asleep between the contractions, despite the persistent pain. The midwife suggests I lie on my left side to give my legs a rest while she examines me. I'm almost fully dilated but not quite. She says to stay on my side for a few contractions to try and rest and not push, and within 15 minutes I can no longer resist the urge to push and my body takes over.

Just before I feel that urge to push I ask if it's too late for an epidural. The last rational section deep inside my mind knows that it is, but the irrational side has to ask, purely so that I can hear them all repeat that I'm almost there, it won't be long now. I beg to be allowed to get in the bath. Because the bath felt so good earlier in the day I am convinced that this is the only thing that is going to help me and I'm almost in tears with my begging. Looking back now I'm pretty sure this was transition! Transition, otherwise known as the point in a labour when a woman will say and ask some of the craziest, most desperate things!

For 24 minutes I lie on my left side and push for all I am worth.

With Punky I didn't really feel anything while I was pushing. I was in a weird semi-sitting/semi-reclined position with my legs being held up and I don't remember feeling much and feeling like the pushing was not doing anything.

This time I was on my left side and I could feel everything! With every push I could feel her head move lower and lower and I could even feel it slip back once or twice when I stopped pushing. It was seriously the most bizarre thing I have ever felt! When they told me to be gentle and to pant instead of push, J was in my face, helping me to pant and control that urge to just push as hard as I could. I felt like I was going to split in two.

Finally, her head was born, and in the next contraction she was here. The midwife had her straight in to Dave's hands and he lifted her on to my leg, she had a very short cord and couldn't even reach my belly! After waiting for the cord to stop pulsating the midwife showed Dave how to clamp it and then cut it, and finally my baby girl was on my chest and we got to see each other face to face for the first time.

I honestly don't think there is anything more magical than that first moment of eye contact with your child. It's a moment you will never forget. Everything that has come before just fades away in that moment and the rest of the world ceases to exist. It's just you and your baby, the wideness of their eyes, the softness of their skin, and the most amazing feeling of wonder that you created this perfect little being that's looking up at you.

Tuesday 30th July, 1:55am to 9am: 
After the customary skin-to-skin time, delivery of placenta and first breastfeed, it was time for the midwives and doctors to inspect the damage. Unfortunately I did tear again, but nowhere near as bad as with Punky (thankfully Zee didn't come out with her arm around her head and neck!) and I was going to have to be stitched up. The more concerning thing though was the amount of blood I was losing. I was given a second shot of syntocinon to stimulate the uterine contractions and stem the bleeding and (TMI warning!) passed some really big clots. So big that even the Dr and midwife expressed surprise and the Dr was worried there might have been some retained placenta.

Thankfully the placenta had remained intact but I was still bleeding more than I should be and so Dr. M got to work to try and stem the bleed and get the clots out. I was hooked up to an entire bag of syntocinon and monitored closely. It's kinda ironic that the one thing I had wanted to avoid, being hooked up to the syno, was what happened at the very end of it all! Still, as a friend of mine (who's a midwife) said to me after the birth "Better a bag of syno than a bag of blood" and she's right! It seems the prolonged labour took its toll on my poor uterus and she just didn't have the energy to keep contracting, hence the excess bleeding and need for syno to stimulate her into contracting once more.

By this stage I was pretty close to passing out and so Zee was handed off to Dave because I couldn't actually move my arms I was so weak. Once the bleeding seemed to be slowing down J left and the lights were turned off and the three of us just kinda hung out together for a bit. A few hours had passed by this stage and the midwife was wonderful enough to make me some toast and tea while the drip ran through and it was the best toast and tea I have ever had!

Once the midwife had some food and a quick break herself she came back and weighed and measured Zee. 3.880kg, or 8 pound 8, and 53 cms long. Bigger than Punky and exactly what I predicted her to be! After that we called our Mums with the news, texted all the important people and then Dave curled up on the chairs and Zee went in to the cot and we all settled in for a sleep while the drip continued to run through.

I woke up not long before 6:30am feeling a million times better. The drip was almost finished and I'd definitely regained my strength. I sat and looked at my sleeping husband and baby girl and just basked in the love I felt for them both. Then I realised it was Tuesday, and because there was no chance I could get back to sleep, and I was confined to the bed and couldn't do more than lift my phone to my face I copied and pasted the picture and text that I had sent to our friends and family in to a blog post and linked up the news of baby Zee's arrival for IBOT.

(It may seem strange that I even had a thought of the blog in my head, let alone actually writing a blog post (well copying and pasting to a blog post) less than 12 hours after giving birth, but that's how good I was feeling. I also wanted to let the people who have become my friends over the last 4 years of blogging know my news, I was excited and you've all been so supportive throughout the pregnancy.)

And then I waited a few more hours for the drip to finish and to be transferred back to the maternity ward so we could start our new life together with Baby Zee. 7 hours after her arrival we finally left the delivery suite and got on to the job of getting to know this precious little girl we've been so privileged to be made the parents of.

And that's the epically long story of how Baby Zee made her entrance in to the world. And while the entire process from start of induction to birth was almost 30 hours, total labour is only ever counted by midwives and OB's from the time you hit established labour. So according to my records, Baby Zee was born in 2 hours and 24 minutes! I call bullshit!

The contractions during established labour never got closer than about 5 minutes apart but they were a million times more intense than anything I'd experienced with Punky and each one lasted a lot longer. The pain in my back and hips was exceptionally bad and the pain/pressure that I got in the front of my belly was excruciating by the end, I seriously wanted someone to just cut me open to make it stop.

Weirdly though, except for the very end, the thought of having any kind of pain relief never crossed my mind. I think having the support of J, my doula, and of course Dave, was what got me through it in the end, they were both amazing. Dave's voice, encouraging me, was the thing I focused on the most towards the end, it kept me tethered to reality.

If you're pregnant I couldn't recommend hiring a doula more. Not just during the labour and delivery, but in the weeks and moths beforehand she was such a support and helped me in so many ways, especially emotionally, when I felt like I was going to be pregnant forever!

It may seem like I'm angry or unhappy about the way this labour turned out but to be totally honest I'm not. While it was a lot longer than I would have liked or expected, aside from the monitoring and that one crappy midwife, the staff tried their best to allow labour to progress as naturally as possible. As far as inductions go, this was a pretty good one despite it's length.

The one thing I would change if I could though was having my waters broken earlier. It really should have been done in the afternoon, but I'd just get so close to establishing that the doctor would think we could get away without it. And then the midwife would leave me on a monitor which would ruin all the progress I'd made. I could go on about that but it's a blog post in itself so I'll save it for another day.

And the most important thing of all, is that I finally got to meet my precious little Zoe Anne. ZAP!

Full credit has to go to Aroha from Colours of Sunset and Twitchy from Twitchy Corner for the title of this birth story, Aroha came up with the I Birth on Tuesday's pun and Twitchy the Study in Contractions! Both puns so good I had to use them!

Linking up with Grace and getting my blog flog on!
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Kylie Purtell said…
They are awesome puns. I noticed A study of Contractions straightaway! Well, that sure is an epic birth. I was feeling your pain there for a second. How scary for you at the end?! My sister had some retained placenta which wasn't noticed until a week later and she got very, very sick. You did an awesome job as did your Dave. Great team! Beautiful pic of Zee too :)
Kylie Purtell said…
Cute photo with the flower. I think it must be hard being a midwife, as you're trying to help and do what needs to be done and no woman is in the mood to listen...(I hated all mine, but apparently it was me not them, according to my partner)
Kylie Purtell said…
Wow that was a long labour hun :( I have to say I am envious of those 5 minute apart contractions, I had about two hours of 90 seconds apart and they just got more intense. Luckily the midwives left me alone, third baby and all, I just hang out in shower on fit ball for last 30 minutes with a portable gas tank - BOOM! Lovely birth story, apart from the annoying monitor, they just strapped mine on wherever I was and I just ignored them. I bet the bleeding part was scary, and tiring. I've had to be stitched up three time - ugh - hate that. Well done clever mumma on delivering your princess and yay for Dad and you doula xxx
Kylie Purtell said…
Aw.... Well done! I read up a lot on doulas during my last pregnancy but out here in good old DubVegas we don't really have any. The more I thought about it, the more I think - maybe when my kids are all in school, maybe I could train up as a doula?
Anyhoodle, well done on making it through a difficult labour, well done on birthing a beautiful baby, and well done on a great birth story!
Kylie Purtell said…
Good job kylie, what an epic effort and story. I feel you will hate me if I get around to writing speedy's birth story!!
Kylie Purtell said…
*sobs* Even though I've heard it, it still makes me choke up!
Kylie Purtell said…
Love the puns, love the conclusion to the story, Baby Zee is beautiful, congratulations!
Kylie Purtell said…
It makes such a difference when you get a great midwife. For the first half of my second day I got a student midwife and she was brilliant.

I love the picture of Dave, he looks so proud.
Kylie Purtell said…
Okay. Well. Wow. I need to sit away from my laptop and have a cup of tea or something. That was intense!
The puns are perfect but most importantly, so is Zee.
She is simply perfect xxx
Kylie Purtell said…
Wow!! What a story! I can totally see why someone would hire a doula, she sounds amazing!! Hope your enjoying the newborn stage, and Zee is gorgeous!!
Kylie Purtell said…
Oh girl, she is magnificent. Truly magnificent. And you are a rockstar. x
Kylie Purtell said…
What a beautiful girl! Amazing birth story. It is just incredible what the human body can endure! You are so brave to do that all without an epidural. Congratulations on all accounts! V.
Kylie Purtell said…
How cool is it that you guessed the weight! She is gorgeous. Congrats on having a natural delivery with no pain relief. Especially given the induction. I had an epidural for my 2nd, and think I'll be ordering it again as soon as I'm admitted for any future babies! For me, it took the labour out of labour x
Kylie Purtell said…
She's adorable Kylie! Thousands of congratulations! I love her name too.
Kylie Purtell said…
Sending our huge congrats to Kylez! Little baby Zee is gorgeous! Enjoy this precious time xox
Kylie Purtell said…
Finally catching up on part II. :) I love ZAP!
She is perfect! You're so lucky to have such a gorgeous healthy baby X
Kylie Purtell said…
Congratulations!! Loved reading the detailed birth story. I'm currently 35 weeks with my second as well but have forgotten all about the first time and slowly realising my time is soon and totally freaking out now. Beautiful name too

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