With both my previous pregnancies I didn’t have much notice about when the birth would happen… Elijah because he was an elective c-section at 39 weeks, when the doctor decided the day before and Naomi because I had no real contractions until after my waters broke. So this time I was very excited when cramping started the weekend before Asher was born. My midwife was doing stretch and sweeps every appointment from 38 weeks, and I was doing everything from hands and knees sitting to rebozo to get him in the optimal position for birth. He managed to turn into a good position but his head wasn’t low enough yet. So I took to heaps of walking on the weekend of the 10-11th September, we went to town both days, walking down the hectic hill we live on and back.
On Monday 12 September I saw my midwife Emma at 9am after having cramps most of the night and being totally shattered with 3 hours sleep. She did another sweep, this time his head lower, and she said I was around 1-2cm dilated but that my cervix was still long. However things were looking positive.
When she left I started having mild irregular contractions. Emma had suggested that I do stair climbing to get his head lower and get the labour properly started, so I asked my friend Nicola who lives close to me, if I could come and walk up and down her stairs that afternoon. So at 3:30pm I was walking up and down her stairs, it was super awkward but I could feel he was definitely lower. After a cup of tea and timing the irregular contractions, the kids and I headed home at 5pm. Much more intense contractions began once we got home.
Chris brought Burger King for dinner, thankfully because I was quite sore. We put kids in bed, and I had lots of contractions irregular but becoming stronger.
I spent time on Pilates ball and swaying and hugging Chris through the contractions. Around 8pm I spoke to Sharon (my friend and the student midwife who was following me) and Emma and discussed that we would head to hospital when contractions were regular around 3min apart, 1 min strong and consistent for an hour. Emma said I should get as much sleep as possible through it all. I was just about to head to bed for a nap at about 8:45 and was hugging Chris through a contraction when my waters broke. When I went to the bathroom to change clothes, I found that my waters were green tinged. Chris phoned Emma’s pager and messaged Sharon. Emma phoned me and decides we head straight to Wellington hospital. She came via the house to pick us up. We called Ruth (a lovely lady from church) to come sit with the kids while we head to hospital.
Got to hospital just after 9pm, settled in delivery room on monitoring machine, laughed and chatted with Emma and Sharon in between contractions, Chris was amazingly supportive. Contractions are around 4min apart and lasting a min, regular and getting more intense. I manage to breathe through them, and reminding myself of Phil 4:13.
Meet various midwives and staff in hospital. The OB on duty was a gentle lovely lady who doesn’t seem at all like the typical idea of a surgeon in my mind. She comes to explain that they will closely monitor progress because meconium is present in waters and I’m a VBA2C its a higher risk. All good. Met the lovely anaethetist as well and talk through the various anaesthetic options etc, although I’m set on not having anything for fear it slows labour.
Contractions get stronger and more intense. Quite painful now.
Emma does a VE and I’m around 4cm dilated, she is however worried as she thinks baby’s head is molding into the pelvis, so it may not fit. OB checks and says she agrees with dilation but not molding, likely just membranes.
Contractions get super painful and I’m struggling to just breathe, also very close together. Chris is my rock, holding me and helping me breathe.
After another hour or so, OB speaks to her boss, the OB head on duty, who was ok with my TOLAC but wants to see progress. She does another VE and sees dilation hasn’t changed. Not good progress and with meconium and some dips in baby’s heartrate with contractions, even though he coped amazingly well for the majority of them. She starts talking about what next.
Contractions are now bringing me to tears and it feels like his head is going to break open my pelvis. I can’t cope well, Chris holds me and we “dance” and Emma rubs my back and shoulders. Gas and air does nothing for pain just makes me sleepy and dizzy.
I’m tired from no sleep and in a hell of a lot of pain, knowing I can ask for an epidural but will likely end up in theatre due to failure to progress and the potential fetal distress, I start considering a c-sec.
I’ve spent this whole pregnancy begging God for a VBA2C, and the last few weeks just praying that His will be done. OB comes with papers to sign for a c-sec and Chris and I agree, no discussion needed, I cannot cope with the contractions at all and baby’s heartrate is dipping. I remember just saying over and over that I can’t do it, and with every contraction I was just like “not another one”.
Theatre team is assembled and we all get dressed in gowns and scrubs. Unlike the tears I cried with Naomi’s c-sec, this time I cried more with relief. Sharon and Emma and Chris tell me I’m super strong and that I have done amazingly, even the OB says she’s impressed with how I remained dignified and didn’t swear even though it hurt so much.
In theatre I start getting scared of the drugs again, and the contractions are coming thick and fast amid them trying to prep me. Petrified of moving while anaethetist puts in spinal needle, I feel like screaming and am crying while Emma holds me so doctor can do the local and put in needle.
The feeling when the spinal took effect was amazing… I had struggled so so much with the pain of the contractions that I can’t begin to describe the relief.
We had decided that Chris would do skin to skin in theatre as I had felt really bad with Naomi and couldn’t handle the skin to skin. Anaethetist chatted to me straight through the surgery and helped keep my mind off it, while still keeping updated.
Soon we hear “Head is out” and we hear the very welcome sound of a very loud pair of lungs. Asher Silas has been born at 2:33am on 13 Sep 2016. He is green from the meconium, which is funny since Elijah was red/pink at birth, Naomi blue and now Asher was green. OB makes sure to wait for his cord to stop pulsing before clamping. They show him to me and whisk him off to the side to check apgar (which he passed with flying colours) and see that he hasn’t inhaled meconium. Chris goes with and as soon as midwife is done with checks, he gets a towel-wrapped little baby to hold. Mister weighs in at a whopping 4.39kg!!
His head is slightly molded so can see that he struggled to get into my pelvis. God is giving me peace that this was part of His plan, I am finally able to start healing from the other c-sections, and deal with the fact that I will never have a full on natural birth. I’m grateful to have experienced labour though.
I did skin to skin with Asher in recovery, and fed him, he latched pretty well, although the midwife said he has a bit of tongue tie. I was in recovery for a long time because the doctor and midwife wanted the blood clots to come out, so lots of pushing on my insanely sensitive belly. Eventually got wheeled to a room/delivery suite (due to hospital being full) at about 5:30am. I was so so so tired but couldn’t sleep.
At 11am I had to insist on being allowed to get up and walk and go shower, which they reluctantly allowed, even though policy in NZ is only after 24 hrs. Shower helped me feel more human. Was however still on catheter, which I managed to convince them to remove at 4pm. After the whole day of noise and feeling like the staff have forgotten about me (as my roommates all get moved to rooms and helped with stuff), I finally got my own room in the evening. So managed to get some sleep, not much but better than nothing. And Asher didn’t wake up for the littlest things because we had a fairly quiet room with own bathroom etc.
We got discharged on the 15th and have been chilling at home since… hoping to recover super fast this time, although I can feel some pain around the wound site if I forget to take my pain meds and my back has some pain where the needles went in… but I will survive and God has been really good in helping heal my heart, and giving us a very healthy baby boy.