Sunday, October 28, 2007

Sophie's birth story

As promised to Lee, here is Sophie's birth story, exactly as written just a few days after her birth. This is a long one too, another cup of tea is in order.

On Tuesday 15 June (when I was either just overdue, or a week over depending
on accuracy of dates) I had an appt with my dr. We discussed induction and
other options and decided to wait one more week before making a decision.
He did my first internal exam of the pregnancy and said I was just a
fingertip dilated, and did a sweep of the membranes.
That day too, I had run out of the naturopathic remedy I had been taking to
prepare for and help bring on labour so I was trying to organise getting
another bottle made up.
I had no reaction to the membrane sweep, no spotting, no cramps, nothing.
On the Wednesday, I had appts for chiropractic and a remedial massage. My
chiropractor also does acupuncture, so I got to sit with five needles in me
for 20 minutes (hands, inner ankles, pelvic bone, if anyone cares). She
said it should take effect in 1-12 hours. The masseuse was a bit nervous
about giving me an hour massage after I’d just had the acupuncture but I
promised not to go into labour for him. :-) Afterwards he predicted I would
have the baby by 10:15 that night (ie 12 hours after I’d had the
acupuncture). I didn’t, but at about 10:15, I did have my first

I had a few contractions overnight, nothing regular, I wasn’t even quite
sure if they weren’t just stronger Braxton-hicks. When Paul got up for
work, I told him I’d had a few contractions and probably sometime that day
or night, something might start to happen. I found it hard to believe that
I was actually in labour as I’d never started spontaneously before
(inductions and c-section). I was very non-committal with the approximately
400 people who I saw at school and preschool as I dropped off the kids
(‘aren’t you sick of that baby yet?’ ‘when is that baby coming out?’). I
spent most of the day with my mum, we did some grocery shopping and other
bits and pieces. I was kind of keeping track of timings but they were quite
variable depending on my activity level. Sometime during the day I had a
big globby mucus show, which we figured was a good sign. While we were
shopping ctx were about 8 minutes apart, but I could walk and talk through
them. Mum said she would pick up the kids for me so I could try to
sleep/rest, since we thought I was probably in for a long night of labour.
I went home and laid down and the contractions stretched out to about 15
minutes apart, but I didn’t get much rest as I had to get up to empty my
bladder after each contraction. There were a couple of quite strong ones
while I was resting, I used the pressure point the acupuncturist showed me
(between thumb and forefinger), which seemed to take the peak off the
contraction (I experimented, using it with one, not with the next etc). At
this stage though, I was thinking an epidural would probably be a good idea
if I was going to do this all night. :-) About 4pm mum brought the kids
back home and we tried to decide what to do.

We decided to pack all their things and go to mums house, and wait for Paul
there and then maybe head to the hospital. After we got them all packed up
we headed out. As we were leaving the driveway I decided that maybe we
should go to the hospital straight away, and drop the kids off at my sisters
instead (I’m so glad we all live close by!). So we dropped the kids off
there, Bethany was very upset (she’s been finding it hard to separate for
anything lately). We debated whether to bring Ryan up to the hospital with
us, but figured mum could come back and get him a bit later. So we headed
up to the hospital and got there about 5.15pm. I let Paul know I was just
getting checked out and for him to meet us there. He was just heading home
from work. During the walk from the car to the hospital I had to sit
several times for contractions. Mum was surprised at how close together
they were. But they certainly weren’t very intense – I could definitely
still talk through them and could keep walking, it was just much more
comfortable to sit. :-)

We went into an exam room and met Michelle the midwife and Kate the trainee
midwife. While in the toilet (did I mention I went to the toilet about a
million times that day? Any pressure in my bladder was extremely
uncomfortable so I didn’t drink any water for the whole day either) I had a
contraction that felt a little bit pushy with some forward pressure.

They did a quick check on baby’s heartbeat and then were going to do an
internal. Kate the trainee had never done an internal and said she would
prefer to do her first on someone who had an epidural :-) particularly since
they would have to have another one done by a ‘real nurse’ afterwards. They
asked if I was happy to have her do it, I diplomatically said I would have
the real nurse do it, and if it was okay, Kate could have a go too. They
thought that was a good answer. :-)

So Michelle begins to do the internal and says ‘I can’t find the cervix. Or
the membranes. Here is an anterior fontanelle though.’ Hmm. I had a
contraction during the internal and she then could feel the cervix and bag
of waters. She said I was about 8cm. Mum quickly rang Paul to tell him to
hurry up, while I did a quick run down the hall to the delivery room. When
I was on the bed I had a contraction that was quite pushy-feeling. I had a
discussion with Kate about how pushing was like vomiting. Sometimes you’re
nauseous and not sure if you are going to vomit, sometimes you have no
choice in the matter. I said that I thought I could manage not to push but
I would have to concentrate very hard on it, so she called out to everyone
that I was ready to push. They ran around getting everything ready while I
had a nice strong pushing contraction. I called out that I could feel bag
of waters or head coming so they all started to pay attention to me. :-)
Mum came back in (she’d been running around frantic trying to find Paul) and
held up my leg (I was on my side). Paul came in and held my hand. Then I
had the only really painful contraction. I think it might have been the only
one I had to vocalise through (I pretty much whimpered loudly) – that ring
of fire!! Suddenly the pain/ctx stopped and all was silent and painless.
It suddenly dawned on me ‘did the head come *all* the way out then?’. Yes
it did! I was expecting quite a few pushes to get to that point. Her cord
was wrapped quite tightly around her neck so they got Paul to cut it. I
think he was a bit shell-shocked, he’d just walked in and now he was cutting
the cord! I don’t even really remember another contraction, but I guess I
must have pushed to get the rest of her body out, and at 6.03pm on June 16
Sophie May was here! She was pretty pale and limp so they gave her some
oxygen (her Agpars were 7 and 9 so it wasn’t too bad). I was just laying on
the bed going ‘oh my god, she’s out, she’s here, I can’t believe it!’ and
just generally being amazed and laughing that it had all gone so quickly.
They wrapped her up and gave her to me (all still shaking our heads and
laughing incredulously – ‘she’s out already’). We waited a little while and
then the midwife started to pull the cord to get the placenta out.
Unfortunately she managed to break off the cord and the placenta got stuck
inside. Oh, about this time, the doctor finally made it. He stuck his head
in for a minute, told the midwives they were doing a good job, congratulated
me on a successful trial of labour and went again. Anyway, the midwives all
took a turn to try and get the placenta out, boy that hurt! They got the
gas and air ready so I could have some for the pain. I didn’t end up using
it though. We got Sophie nursing in the hopes it would help the uterus
contract, but no luck. The placenta of course was too slippery for them to
get a good grip on. In the end, Michelle, who’d broken off the cord,
obviously was feeling terribly guilty and frustrated and basically stuck her
whole hand in and grabbed it out. Interesting feeling, that one! My dad
brought the kids into the delivery room about then so everyone had to have a
nurse of her. The midwives were so patient – they were probably itching to
get a good look at her and clean her up but they just waited while all the
kids had a cuddle. Because the cord had been cut around her neck, it was
still quite long. They let Ryan cut it to the right length, he was very
happy about that. The midwives really let the kids be involved. Kate even
held Bethany up so she could see Ryan cutting the cord better. After all
the chaos my parents took the kids home (it was about 7pm by then I guess
and they hadn’t eaten or anything). Paul stayed for a while longer and had
his first peaceful cuddle of Sophie (he’d held her for a little while
earlier but just before the kids got there). After they all left I was
ready to get up and have a shower but they took my blood pressure and said
it was very high (160/100). They dithered around for a while about what to
do (first guess was that I was bleeding too much, not the case though). I
really wanted to get up and walk around since the bed wasn’t the most
comfortable and my shoulders and back were achy, plus I had the shakes.
They figured it might just be I needed to go to the toilet combined with
shock so I had a long shower (although not the warmest), couldn’t believe
how much my bladder emptied, then got dressed. They took my blood pressure
again and it was much more normal for me (100/60 ?). We packed
up all my stuff and walked around to the ward. While we were in the
delivery room we’d overheard them discussing room allocation – ‘give Rachel
the big room, she’s earned it’. So we got the private double room with the
double bed and sofa. Michelle and Kate came in and asked how I was feeling.
I felt really great, no pain except a bruised feeling stomach. Michelle was
amazed ‘I had my hand in there…’ but I said that that head had just come out
of there so a hand was nothing! Kate thanked me so much for the lovely
birth, she’d seen some really crappy ones as part of her training and this
was the best one.
I really did feel hardly any pain, just a bit swollen and tender, but that
was gone by the morning. My stomach was quite sore though – the first night
I couldn’t move around without holding it, because it felt like it would
fall out! This was my stomach well above where my uterus was by then, so I
think it was just basically pulled muscles.

I still can’t believe how quickly and easily the labour and birth went. I
was so sure that the contractions I’d been having were too weak to do much,
and I thought the baby was still quite high so not doing much to get the
cervix dilating.
I realised this was the first birth I’d had with *no* medical intervention,
no pain relief, I didn’t even get an oxytocin injection to expel the uterus.

Today (day 4) I feel better than I did while pregnant – I feel totally
myself again (except for the milk coming in this morning, ouch!).
I came out of hospital on Saturday, later in the day than I expected, but
only because my mum and Ryan finished cleaning my house before they came and
got me. My mum sure is good value!! Sophie was kind enough to mostly sleep
that afternoon, so the kids and I got to get back to some sort of normality.
Paul has a long tough stretch at work (13 days straight, long days too) so
he’s mostly working and sleeping, but he has had some nice cuddle time with
his newest princess.

Oh, her stats – she weighed 3.78kg (8lb5.5oz), was 51.5cm (20.3 in) long and
head circ of 33.5cm (13.2in). She only lost 100 grams and is back over her
birth weight already.
We already had her first outing, to my cousin Bella’s 1st birthday party
yesterday, and then today (Monday) I had to do the grand tour of the school
and childcare showing her off to everyone.


Nicole said...

Guarantee me a birth like that and #4 might happen (well - baby also has to sleep as well as Lucy at night or it's a no go)
It took me longer to read it than it did for you to do it :)

Rachel said...

You know sleep isn't part of the deal - I get a good nine months and birth but then no sleep for a couple of years! In the end yours is probably a better deal...

Nana Gabe said...

Thanks girls for your record of your births. it is so incredible to have been a part of most of our granchildrens' entry into the world. Dad has enjoyed reading them. He is the unsung hero in all of this. He stays home waiting for news while looking after the older kids. Thankyou Nick for enabling me to be there at the births and for the kids to have peace of mind that you are there for them.

Lee said...

Yay! Children on their way ;)

Gabrielle said...

your blog has changed ,it looks a bit weird.