Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Birth Story

On the day Littlest was born, it was a Thursday, and as usual, I went to toddler group with Oldest in the morning. There was another lady there who was due around the same time as me, and we were both complaining about how uncomfortable we were, but even though we both wished that our babies were born early, we were giving up hope that they would. I had resigned myself to the fact that my baby wouldn't be born until my actual due date and came home and had a nap.

When I woke up from my nap at 2 o'clock, I had my first contraction. And another one. And another one. Luckily Oldest was taking an enormously long nap and was still asleep. I called N and told him not to panic or rush, but that my contractions had started and things were happening. They were still irregular at this time, so he managed to finish his work day and did our weekly food shoppping before he came home. During that time I managed to feed Oldest a snack, get my hospital bags together, get Oldest's overnight bag ready with his bear and his favourite books.

There was a small 'gush' that happened at around 5 o'clock. I couldn't be sure if it was my waters breaking (I didn't know when my waters broke with Oldest) but I waited until N came home before calling the hospital. Around that time, my contractions came on stronger and at a regular interval. I'd gone into labour!

When N came home, he started making some food while I called the hospital. They told me to come in so they could check if my waters had broke. So we gathered up our things and dropped Oldest off at his Nana's. I started crying at that point. I felt so sorry for Oldest, it would be the last time it was just the three of us. I wondered how much his life would change after that night. He didn't seem to care at all when I said 'goodbye' he was so excited to be at his Nana's.

When we got to the hospital we had to sit in the waiting room because there were no rooms available. We seemed to wait forever before we were seen. This labour only ended up being 3 hours longer than my first, but everything about it seemed to take and feel longer.

A midwife examined me and said that my waters were still intact and that I was only 2 cm dilated. She said she thought my waters would break anytime now because they were bulging and that once that happened she was sure my baby would just fly out. She said that because my waters hadn't broken, each contraction wasn't as effective because the waters cushioned themselves against my cervix.

From that moment on, with each contraction that didn't break my waters, I was disappointed. I tried walking around the room, I tried sitting in different positions, but I wasn't very comfortable. N couldn't do much to help apart from pouring me glasses of water and so on. Eventually we were moved into a room in a different ward. The midwife there was incredibly helpful. She gave me gas and air and came in continually to check on me. Normally they would have sent me home because my waters hadn't broken, and the midwife did suggest this because my contractions had gone back to being irregular and quite short.

Just as I was making my decision to go home, the contractions came on again quite strongly. Sitting upright or standing made them more intense, so I'd tried to stay sitting up, but all I wanted to do was flop over and lay down. By this time, I wasn't handling the pain very well at all. The gas and air didn't seem effective at all. I kept sucking in, and I'd get the lightheadedness afterwards but none of the actual pain relief during a contraction. I'd turned my TENS machine up higher and higher and it did kill a lot of the pain in my back, but I'd started having pains in my legs as well and at one point the machine's batteries went dead even though they were meant to last for hours longer than I'd used it for.

I was not happy. At all. The time between each contraction was awful as it just gave me more time to anticipate the next wave of pain coming. I started to cry and I couldn't stop. The pain was too much. I caved in and asked the midwife for different drugs. I could N wanted to talk me out of it, I'd already said I didn't want any drugs. I didn't want pethidine because it caused the baby to be drowsy, I didn't want an epidural because of the scary needle part. The midwife said an epidural would take at least 50 minutes to be effective, but I could have pethidine if I wanted. She just needed another midwife to assess me. I said OK. Another midwife came in and during the exam, a contraction came on. She said I was only 7 cm dilated but that with each contraction the baby's head was pushing down on the cervix really well.

At that time, I had the urge to push. Both midwife and N tried to get me to breathe through the pain and not push, but there was no stopping it by that stage. I pushed and I pushed and I pushed. And finally my Littlest was born, with my waters having never broken. He was born in his amniotic sac, something I'd never heard of before, but apparently it's meant to be lucky. It was 6 minutes to midnight and he weighed exactly 6lbs.

We stayed in hospital overnight but left around lunchtime the following day. When I started calling my friends to let them know the good news, I found out that my pregnant friend from toddler group had her baby the day after Littlest, and another friend had her daughter three days after Littlest.

I was a bit down that whole weekend, as it was N's birthday as well as Easter. We'd made plans to do something for both events and had to cancel. Instead, we stayed inside and tried to fall into some sort of routine and keep Oldest occupied and entertained. A day would finish, I'd go upstairs and think to myself 'what have I done today except breastfeed?'

Littlest did breastfeed better than Oldest (who was hopeless, as was I) but during the nighttime feeds, he'd latch on and want to feed continuously. I didn't want to resent either Littlest or N, I didn't want to lose patience with Oldest because of my lack of sleep, so I gave it up. We're formula feeding now.

And I feel happier. Not only because I gave up the breastfeeding, but because I realised I needed to get out of the house and get back to my usual routine otherwise I'd go insane. On the weekends, N does his best to take at least Oldest out or all of us to do something, anything. We're both doing what we can to spend quality time with just Oldest and Littlest and we're still taking photos every single day of both boys. Oldest still loves his brother and I'm still adjusting to the fact that I have two children. But all is well.


  1. I love reading birth stories...What a great story. You are such a proud mommy, you can just see it in your words...

  2. aww! your post brought tears to my eyes, especially the part about feeling bad that it was the last time it would be just the three of you. i felt that too. but it's wonderful, i love being a family of four now!

    and i know exactly what you mean about needing to get out and resume life as usual. good for you! i had forgotten just how consuming having a newborn is!

    congrats to you and thanks for sharing your wonderful story!

  3. It's so neat that he was born in his amniotic sac, I heard about it in my child birth class, and they said particularly in native american culture it's supposed to be lucky. How cool, and contrats on new baby Joshua!


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