Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Olivia's birth

October, 2006
Auckland, New Zealand

Olivia Jades Birthday
Short and Sweet!!

I had just hit 38 weeks, and was trying to not expect to go into labour within the next couple of days, as I went into labour with Kaylee at 38.1 and had her at 38.2, so I was thinking, yeah, right, NOONE goes into labour at exactly the same time, they are always either earlier or later! But I just knew something was going to happen very soon, my midwife (Jo) had even said to me at our last appointment when she was making my next appointment, “knowing you, this will be a postnatal visit, not and antenatal one!” I was happy with that statement! She also said that she thought I wouldn’t last the week, again, I was happy with that! But trying SO hard not to expect it, as I still could of gone another 4 weeks!

I woke up the next day (38.1 weeks) and at around 10am I felt her definitely drop down, and it did take my breath away! I had some minor pains afterwards and carried on having regular minor contractions for the rest of the evening.

We had a Mortgage Broker arrive at our house (pre arranged appointment) at around 6pm and went about doing a bit of talking and paperwork, we were just tying up the loose ends and doing a bit of photocopying (about 7pm) when I was standing talking to the guy and I felt my waters break, EW! GUSH! I had to quickly excuse myself and go and get cleaned up! The contractions were getting a bit stronger, so I called Kate, and she came over, but unfortunately by the time she got here the contractions stopped altogether! Kate went back home and we went to bed, (10pm)

I woke again at around 1am with definite strong regular contractions, whoa! Now I remember this pain! I managed to hold off until about 2.30am when I woke Darryl as I wanted him to make me wheatbags and get me panadol! We rang Jo at around 3-3.30am-ish, I was ready to pack up and go to hospital, like hell was I going to do another several hours of this! Give me the drugs!!!

Darryl was getting a bit worried as the contractions were coming a lot faster and I was in serious agony, I found it really hard to breathe through the contractions by now and started to feel myself lose control and my body take over, that was difficult for me because I hate losing control. Darryl ran me a bath and the midwife arrived just as I hopped in, Darryl said to the midwife, “shall we go to hospital, im really worried about how long this will go for” the midwife told him that judging by how I was acting, there was NO time!

I was in the bath for around 15-20 minutes and had definitely lost control by then, Darryl was pumping the rescue remedy into me and then I said “I have to push” the midwife said “no you don’t, not yet, don’t push” then she put her hand between my legs and was like “hmm ok if you want to push you either have to stay right under the water or get out of the bath” I wanted out of the bath and onto the bed by then, I was helped out of the bath and walked into my bedroom, I made it to the end corner of my bed, and I said I have to push NOW!” so things went down on the floor under where I was standing, to protect it, (Kate arrived at this time, and she thought I was just getting internals done, she had no idea I was ready to go! She was in the lounge with Kaylee - who had woken up at 3am and was on the couch watching cartoons… we were not arguing with her!)

I could definitely feel the head moving down and out, I was pushing but not too hard really, gravity kind of did its thing for me and really helped, the head come out, and straight away she started crying, it was such a relief that this was nearly over, I had to push the shoulders out, and Olivia Jade was born, 4.22am on Friday 27 October 2006. She was passed up between my legs; I remember the cord rubbing a bit on my fanny, ohhh such agony! Kate came in and took some photos, (no I will not be sharing them!) and I made it back onto my bed holding my new baby girl and delivered the placenta with a couple of pushes, its such a relief once that is out, its finally all over, you just feel so free again!

I stayed holding Olivia for a long time afterwards, Darryl cut the cord once it stopped pulsing and Kaylee came in to meet her new sister, was a very sweet moment.

Jo checked Olivia over and she was weighed at 7pds 6oz, 50cm long, Apgar score of 10, i finally got up off the bed and had a shower, was an amazing shower, I tell you! It just felt so good to have a hot shower after so much intense pain. Then I was dressed and was sitting in the lounge by 6.30am with Darryl, Kaylee, Olivia, Kate, Natalia and Jo and ready to start my day as a mum of 2 now! I felt so good, and so happy, and apart from being a bit sore and tender, perfectly normal, able to walk and talk, it was just so nice to stay home, be in my own surroundings and have my own bathroom! I don’t regret it for a minute and im pretty sure I had the perfect homebirth, I just found it so calm and relaxed and peaceful.

Olivia has been a dream, she is feeding well, sleeping well, hardly cries (only when its feed time!) and its just been so wonderful to add her into our family, Kaylee is a fantastic big sister, has lots of kisses and cuddles for Olivia, and is so sweet and gentle, although does need a bit of reminding now and again! It will take us a bit of adjusting and a lot of time management, but we will just enjoy the ride for now.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Amie's birth

August 1985
Auckland, NZ

Labour started at 12.30am after spending a relaxing and loving evening in front of the fire with Gary. I managed to spend the first hour and a half on my own. The contractions weren't too bad but they were too intense to sleep. I breathed through them and rubbed my own back. However, after many trips to the loo, Gary woke up and asked me if I was ok. I took great delight in telling him that I thought it was going to be our baby's birthday that day.

Gary got up and lit the fire. I put some music on. We were chatting about the coming event and getting really excited, wondering whether the baby would be a boy or a girl, wondering whether it would be born before or after breakfast, hoping it would be before morning tea.

Somewhere between 2.30am and 3am we rang Barbara in case things sped up and we needed an extra pair of hands. I waited for Barbara to arrive and say 'hi' before having a bath. She arrived around 3am with a bunch of flowers, a hotty she had taken from one of her children's bed and a tape recorder. It was lovely having some fresh spring flowers. We chatted while Gary showerd her where and how I liked my back rubbed. At about 3.30am we decided that we should ring the Doctor and the midwife to let them know that I was in labour. I wanted to make sure well in advance so that they didn't disappear to another delivery even though I felt awful about waking them. The midwife said that she would be there in half an hour and true to her word she was.

By this stage I had hopped into the bath. Contractions slowed down a little and were less severe but after a little while they built up again although they still remained reasonably comfortable. The midwife just about bent in half leaning over the bath to check the baby's heartbeat which I admired because she could have left it until I got out of the bath. I felt an immediate rapport with her and had a great deal of confidence in her efficiency and willingness to give support.

While I was still in the bath, my sister in law and neice arrived and the children woke up. Kate, Adam and our neice jumped into our bed. By this time it was 4am. It felt really good having so many people around all chatting and laughing. I could hear that the children were happy with their cousin reading them stories and their aunty chatting to them about the coming event. This sort of atmosphere helped me to relax a great deal.

I had been joking with the midwife, saying I was probably only 1 or 2 cm dilated but when she examined me I went from 4 to 6cm. I felt jubilant because of the progress yet lack of excruciating pains. Most unlike my other labours which were both posterior babies. I was still on my feet and coping really well. Gary and the midwife were really supportive, both of them there for each contraction. Gary rubbing my back and the midwife doing accupressure on my ankles. This helped tremendously. It seemed to close the circuit of pain so that it didn't reach the nerve endings.

A little after 5am the contractions started to get pretty heavy. I was examined again. This time I was 8cm. Another friend was rung. It wasn't long before I started feeling fed up with the contractions, nauseous, weepy and a little shitty. Basically I was beginning to feel sorry for myself because the contractions were pretty severe, close together and lasted a while. At this point I wanted my doctor. The midwife wanted to examine me first and I started to get upset.

I was checked and found to have a thick anterior lip. Barbara rang the Doctor and the midwife stayed with me on my request. Which was just as well as things started to happen with a rush. I was upset about the thick anterior lip as I thought that this meant that I would get stuck in transition. Once again the midwife reassured me. Contractions were running into each other and I was having to puff almost continuously. The midwife applied hot pads to the perinium, the waters had just broken. She called out that I would have to puff this baby out. It seemed that everyone was helping me puff, especially Gary and Barbara. Barbara was holding my leg up and yelling at Jill to take a photo. The last contraction lasted 7 minutes. I was still puffing through it when the midwife put Amie on my stomach. Everyone was chorussing 'it's a girl' and 'oh, she's beautiful'. Everyone was so happy, especially me. There were kisses, hugs and tears all round. Kate and Adam were amazing. They weren't phased at all - they just took it how it happened. They were lovely.

It was a wonderful birth and not too painful until the last three quarters of an hour. I attribute the good birth experience largely to all the people around me and to all the positive feelings from everyone, but especially to Gary and the midwife. I could never go through a birth without Gary's support and his knowing me and my physical and emotional needs. I couldn't praise the midwife enough. She was the right person for Amie's birth. She was extremely supportive and efficient with just the right amount of firmness. I never once felt a lack of confidence in her ability. During labour I learnt to trust her without a doubt.

I'm glad that I had so many people around me. The roles they played really helped me to feel relaxed and happy.

Amie is beautiful and looked exactly like Kate at birth only smaller. She weighed 7lb 14oz. I wanted a baby that was under 8lb so that it stayed smaller for that little bit longer. I was in no hurry for her to grow up, I just wanted to enjoy her.

When she was born she gave a initial squeak and then appeared to stop breathing for a minute or two while she lay on my stomach. The midwife suggested that I rub her back and away she went. She let out a good squawk.

For the first time, I didn't need stitches. What joy!

The Doctor and my other friend arrived just a couple of minutes after the birth. It was a shame that they missed it. I would have liked to have had the Doctor present at the birth but I didn't feel upset that he hadn't made it because he was rung as soon as I wanted him. He arrived twenty minutes later which considering that he was in bed and had ten minutes drive ahead of him was pretty good going. What's more he didn't go to the house next door this time. So there was all the haste and no waster of time. Anyhow having him there straight afterwards was just about as important.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Henry's birth

New York
March 20th, 2006 - 11.16pm

One of the reasons why it's taken me so long to post Henry's birth story is that I don't remember much of it. It was 20 hours of labor, 2 hours of pushing at the end, followed by a c-section. In the end, I suppose none of it really matters because Henry is perfect. He was never in any distress. In fact, his heart rate never changed...Was the same 150 it was when he lived in my belly. Henry is healthy and happy and, I'm told, came out screaming like a champ.

But, as a mother, there's a certain amount of guilt (isn't there always?). How can I NOT remember my son's delivery? So, for my own sake, I'm piecing it together. I talk about it a lot with my husband, mostly because I think I'm trying to resolve this guilt. Also because I want to know the little details, the moments, that I think--had I been conscious and/or lucid--I would've been sure to commit to memory. I can tell you, with absolute certainty, that it was a long day. Mistah L told me last night that he's glad I don't remember most of the delivery as it was "tough." When I asked "tough for whom? Me or You?" He responded with a hearty "both." So, here's what I've got--a lot of generalities, not much in the time/space continuum, but most of the bases are covered. If I get highly motivated, I'll throw in some pics. And maybe later Mistah L will fill in the blanks.

I started the birth story a while ago, so I'll pick up where I left off. I've cut and paste from my previous, incomplete, post for continuity.

We arrived at the hospital at 8:00 pm to induce Henry. By 9:00 pm, the cervidil was in and we waited. Shortly after midnight the cramps began. By 2:00 am the cramps were contractions, by 3:00 am the contractions were coming regularly between 3 and 5 minutes apart. And the frequency and intensity of these contractions increased throughout the morning.

Both Mistah L and I had felt sad that we never got to have early labor at home. Because I was induced, I never got the chance to wake him up in the middle of the night saying, "Honey, wake up. It's time." There was no middle-of-the night phone call to the in-laws to say "It's time!" Although, for the three weeks leading up to Henry's delivery, every time we called them we had to start each conversation with, "I'm not in labor, but..." So when the cramping started, I was so happy to wake Mistah L up and finally, finally, get to tell him, "Honey? They've started. We're in labor." And being the dork that I am, I took a picture of him right after I woke him up.

I loved early labor. LOVED it. I can't remember a time that I've ever felt so close to my husband. We were bringing our son into the world. Wild! And we were doing it together. He walked with me around the labor & delivery floor, he ran down to the cafeteria to heat up my sock full of rice (sock full o' rice was KEY to my comfort as my labor progressed and my contractions increased in severity/frequency). He sat in the rocking chair, and I on our birthing ball and we held each other, breathing in and out through the contractions. I think we both cried a little. Happy tears. Tears of anxiety. Tears of anticipation. It was go time. It was Henry Time.

We saw the sun rise over the Brooklyn Bridge on the morning of what was to become our son's birthday. Ever since we moved to Brooklyn, Mistah L and I have held a mutual admiration for the bridge. We discussed how it was our favorite bridge, and how bizarre it is to even have a favorite bridge. The sunrise was beautiful and the sky was this gorgeous steely blue turning purple and pink and the clouds were amazing.

Around 7:30 am, the residents came through and checked dilation. Heartbreakingly, dilation had only increased--maybe--a half centimeter. My OB decided to go ahead and administer the pitocin and see what happened. OB said, "well, you've had no change in dilation, but we'll go ahead with the pitocin and see what happens. If there's been no change by 5:00 tonight, we'll send you home."

"SEND ME HOME? Oh no. There'll be no sending me home. No sending me home...Without my son. None. No. None of that. Thank you."

So the pitocin started and within the next hour or so I could definitely feel the intensity and frequency of the contractions increasing. And the pain. Oh, the pain.

The breathing helped and I was so happy to have brought my boom box. Mistah L had worked on a delivery mix for weeks and weeks--all in all we collected about 5 hours of music to guide me through labor. And thank goodness for that, it gave me something to pay attention to.

I've lost track of time at this point and the next thing I can remember is all of my in-laws coming in to the suit. I had expected my m-I-l; I had asked her to be with us as a birthing coach having had 2 children and wicked sense of humor. My f-I-l came with a giant book of Soduko puzzles to keep him occupied as I brought his grandson in to the world. My s-I-l had arrived from Vermont the previous Friday, knowing I was to be induced on Sunday. I knew my grandparents-in-law would come to visit, most likely after Henry was born....But there they were. Grandma and PopPop, they brought the chicken broth, as requested.

I distinctly recall hanging on to the side of the bed for dear life and breathing through a contraction as the whole family piled in to my labor and delivery suite. I'm not so sure that I eked out a proper greeting but thankfully, they'd called ahead and I was prepared to be decent. No coochie hanging out of my gown or anything. Yet. From there, things go hazy and time compresses. [[A lot of what I remember of the event comes to me in bits and pieces and some of it is repetition of what the family has told me. Never in my life would I ever say that 20 hours went by so quickly!]]

Because I had tested GBS positive, the OB wanted to keep my internal exams to a minimum to reduce the introduction of bacteria in to my lady parts. But the next exam showed I had increased to 3 centimeters. I was beginning to be vocal in my contractions--and certainly no longer talk through them. A resident asked me if I wanted something for the pain--I hedged. I wanted to wait until I was at least 5 cms before taking the epidural. She was waiting for me to ask her for the epidural, I was waiting for her to ask me for the epidural. We seemed to be at an impasse. Who would budge?

Meanwhile, as my OB sat at the end of the bed and we discussed my progress I had the most bizarre sensation. Like a pop, only much much bigger. Then wet and warm, like pee, but I couldn't stop it. And I said as much. My OB wondered if my water had broken and I said I sure thought so. Inside, I was elated as I knew I wouldn't be going home without my baby. I would meet Henry that day. Hooray! But the OB and my husband looked and said "nope." They didn't see any fluid. But I insisted. I could feel it. It kept coming. Twice they looked at me as though I were nuts. Then the OB decided to ask me to lift my hips and sure enough: water. And lots of it. I was so proud!

But only 3 lousy cms?! After 12 hours of labor? And let. me. tell. you: I was in pain. P.A.I.N. PAIN. I caved and accepted the narcotic. But I was sure to ask for only half the normal dosage as I don't react well to narcotics, recreational or otherwise. They obliged.

I had been so dead set against taking a narcotic--I didn't want to be dopey when I first met my son, how ever he came into the world. I thought, truly, that I could tough it out for the first 4 or 5 centimeters. I mean, how bad could it be? Well, sooooprise soooprise. Bad. Ouch doesn't cover it.

Immediately, I had that horrible sensation I had the first time I ever got drunk and had to call my friend Matt, my only friend with a car, to come and get me and he shows up with his parents. I sat in the back seat, totally polluted from drinking Schnapps and tequila and thinking "if I'm silent, they'll know I'm drunk" and then spent a half hour blabbering on about something.

Anywhoo, I get the narcotic. Instantly I shut up, because I knew I was slurring and I couldn't focus my eyes. I pass out.

I woke up every 5 minutes or so, for the most intense part of the contraction then would pass out cold. All the while, Mistah L was at my side holding my hand and both my m-I-l and s-I-l were on either side of me. All telling me to breathe. Lather. Rinse. Repeat.

I'm told by my family that I cursed a blue streak and my humor was on fire. At one point, I pulled myself up by Mistah L's collar and screamed "This. Breathing. Isn't. Doing. Shit. For. Me." and passed out cold.
I mean really? Breathe? I don't think so. That was some pain.

I know I was screaming my head off and I didn't care. There would be no self-editing now. And modesty was long gone. This shit HURT. I hollered.

A resident came in and said "I heard you in Brooklyn. Is it time for the epidural now?"

"Oh yes. Yes it is" said I.

Help was on the way.

The anesthesiologist arrives and kicks everyone out. There was a little scuffle between he and I. In the end, Mistah L was allowed to stay. And our birthing music mix happens to land, ironically, on "Comfortably Numb" and the anesthesiologist says he's done thousands of epidurals, but never once has he done one to Pink Floyd.
I 6 cms dilated. Then I blew through to 9 cms in no time flat. And we were off to the races.

Then it was time to push...the epidural was kind of freaking me out. I really don't know what I had expected, but I hadn't expected NOT to feel my entire lower half. I felt pins and needles. Actually, I felt like I was floating on a raft in a pool. Only the raft was my legs. I could feel my legs with my hands, but I couldn't feel my hands with my legs. And I was starting to break through my narcotic haze. It was the most bizarre feeling. The only way I could describe it to my s-I-l, when she asked what it was like, was that it was like the highest I'd ever been. Everything seemed so quiet around me, and I was so focused. I could only pay attention to one thing at a time--everything else just fell away. I could only focus on one voice at a time, only do one thing at a time. It felt like my brain was cold and things were just slowing down. Go time.

The pitocin was kicked up a notch--and as my pushing continued, the pitocin would continue to be pushed up. And up. My OB sat at the edge of the bed and she coached me through pushing. I couldn't feel anything, and it sure didn't feel like what I had expected. I had expected to be able to feel pressure, but I couldn't feel a thing. It was weird because I couldn't independently move my legs, so when it was time to push, I couldn't use my feet and legs as leverage. My husband stayed my head while my m-I-l and s-I-l each took a leg and I pushedpushedpushed for 2 hours. It seemed like I was making progress--I could see Henry's head. I remember the OB saying "Oooh, he's got strawberry blonde hair!" And I was so excited because in my dream, Henry had red curly hair. But not red red, strawberry blonde.

But then the progress stopped. Henry wasn't budging. Despite the pitocin being turned up to eleven, so to speak, my body just kind of got used to the contractions and they slowed down.

I was exhausted. EXHAUSTED. I'd been awake for 36 hours or so and my body'd been through the wringer. I knew what was coming, but I didn't want to be told. So I said it. I said it first.

"This baby isn't coming out on his own, is it?"

My OB looked truly disappointed and sad to say "No. No he's not."

I can't say I was surprised--rationally, we knew it was possible given my husband's size when he was born. And given the fact that this was an induced delivery and odds of a c-section increase. So I felt fully prepared for the possibility. But...

The epidural was turned off. The pitocin was turned off. I was being prepped for surgery.

And then it came: the intense wave of disappointment. I had tried so hard to be brave the whole day. In the face of my husband and his whole family...I wanted to be brave and I wanted so much for everyone to be proud of me. The wave just came and took over and I cried. I bawled.

The nurses hurried around me and prepped me for the OR. Mistah L got his little suit so he could come in with me. The suit was way too small for him and there was a fair amount of hilarity surrounding that. Which was nice, a little comedic relief to take the pressure off of me.

The OR was ready for me, everyone was in place...Henry, here we come!

My epidural had been turned down/off because I couldn't feel anything to help when pushing, and I was beginning to get the feeling back in my lower half.

And just as I was about to be wheeled in to the OR, the OB came to say that there had been an emergency next door--another baby had gone in to distress. I was bumped from the list... which was fine by me, I wasn't in any pain at that point. Since the pitocin had been turned off, I wasn't having contractions. They said it would be about another 45 minutes until it was my turn. And honestly? What's another 45 minutes when it's already been 20 HOURS...

And then they came. The contractions came on like a motherf*cker. With no epidural. Or amniotic fluid to cushion the blow. The back labor was so intense. It started with a small back ache--I figured it was just from lying in bed all day or that I had pulled a muscle pushing. All completely understandable and reasonable explanations for the pain that was intensifying and radiating.

Then I was just in hell.

I was screaming with each contractions, which were coming very fast and very furious. The pain was the worst pain I'd ever felt. As my friend Erin once said, I don't even know why they bother calling it pain because it's just so far beyond any pain you've ever had.

I was screaming at the top of my lungs, and crying, and not breathing very well. The nurses had scattered. There was only one anesthesiologist on duty, and he was in the OR with the emergency c-section lady. And my nurse, the mean one, kept telling me that. "It was an emergency, she needed to go first." I yelled at this nurse, and Mistah L kicked her out of the room. I understood it was an emergency, and that's fine. But good god damn, that doesn't do me any freakin' good and it doesn't help my PAIN SITUATION DOES IT?

This was the only time I saw anyone in my family break. I looked over and saw both my m-I-l and s-I-l silently crying. And Mistah L had his head down. This couldn't have been easy for any of them to see, me in that kind of pain. All day they had been so strong for me, supporting me and coaching me and we were so close to the end. But the agony was unbearable.

Finally, FINALLY, the anesthesiologist came running in the room and the blessed epidural was, again, turned up to eleven.

What was supposed to be 45 minutes had turned out to be more than 2 hours of intense back labor, entirely drug-free. Feh.

When the OB came back in the room to tell us that the other lady had been delivered and we were next, I looked at the clock, it was 11:00pm. I looked at the doc and said, "this baby WILL be delivered before midnight." I wanted so much for him to be born on the first day of spring.

And then I was wheeled down the hall and I don't remember much after that at all. I puked in the OR for about 5 minutes, must've been from the morphine on an empty stomach.

I felt a lot of pressure and pulling and tugging and I heard a baby wailing far off. It was my baby. My Henry.

Henry was finally here.

View the story at The house of H for more pictures, and to read what Henry has been doing since!

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Adam's birth

October, 1982.
Auckland, NZ.

(Written by the neighbour, who was the support person at the birth. Submitted by Michelle - Adam's mother).

It was a stormy night. My husband thought that our neighbour's baby would come that night 'male intuition'. I hoped it would be. I was getting quite nervous and excited myself. It was quite frustrating at times trying to console a fed-up preggy lady. There was not much I could do.

It seemed like an age ago that my neighbours said that they would like to have their baby at home and would I feel willing and able to be the support lady - she who's listened and read but never conceived. It was a scary exciting honour. One which didn't feel too real initially, too far away and then there were complications in that Adam was breech and it seemed as though the home birth was not going to be possible. My prattling about at least it will be good to have a decision made one way or the other - maybe inwardly hoping it would have to be at the hospital. But it isn't going to be and I'm very glad.

Adam John was born at 8.05am Saturday. Earlier that morning just after 4am Gary rang to say that this was really it this time. Surprising how calm and awake I felt. Into the shower, out into clothes and over next door to find lights on, Kate asleep and Michelle hugging herself in a warm deep bath. Castor oil had rather drastically done the trick at last. Checked up I had the phone numbers I needed and sat to await my orders. As contractions came, Gary and I massaged Michelle's back down through the water. Michelle asking if I'd ever seen a nuddy pregnant lady before, big stretched taut tummy. I left the bathroom to make the big bed ready for after delivery and Michelle's nauseous innards proved too much again. The midwife was still on her way. As we helped Michelle out of the bath and into a nightie, light was starting to tinge the sky. in the playroom / delivery room a fire cheerfully crackled and warmed the room. 27 month old Kate slept on in the next room. This was very useful. To date Michelle was breathing beautifully through her contractions. The midwife arrived and I helped her up with all her bags, boxes of instruments, and linen. It took two trips each. She quietly set up her gear while inquiring how things were progressing and then checked Michelle's pulse, and blood pressure and listened for the feotal heartbeat. THEN the 1st internal to see how things were going. The cervix had dilated only 5cm. Disbelief and dismay showed on Michelle's face. Lots of encouragement was needed now.
Gary and I were massaging with contractions. It was much lighter now outside, quite lovely. 7 o'clock and Kate awakes sleepy, bemused and wide eyed at Mummy on her delivery bed. We decided at this stage Gary was better with Kate and Michelle with me - just until she woke up more. Contractions were longer and more intense now. Gary was getting anxious so I grabbed a pile of books and headed into the lounge with Kate. The midwife rejoined Michelle and stayed with her. From here things obviously moved more quickly. Kate and I read stories while the breathing from the other room became deeper and closer together. The midwife came out to ring the doctor as Michelle was 8-9cm dilated.
Kate and I had a big cuddle and talked about Mummy's need to concentrate very hard on her breathing to help the baby be born and I showed her what I meant. Minutes, even seconds later, the midwife was back on the phone saying to the doctor "it's all go", Michelle sounded frantic and near the end of her tether. Things quietened down and Gary called for Kate and I to go in. Kate was wide eyed in my arms. The midwife had her hand resting on Michelle's fully stretched vagina and I realised the black hairiness underneath it was the baby's head. I felt calm and accepting of what was about to come. Katie was in need of gentle reassuring and we started to tell her that the baby was coming. She remained quiet and calm in my arms. No mirror, out we both went to grab the mirror so Michelle and Gary (who was at Michelle's head) could see the baby arrive. And he did - a calm serene beautiful head followed in a shoosh of liquid by a perfectly complete body. As the midwife gently lifted him onto Michelle I saq dangly balls. "It's a boy". Hugs, tears and kisses all round. Gary and Michelle looked so proud of their son. Kate was reunited with Dad. A quiet peaceful happy time. Contractions continued and a large thick blood filled placenta rolled out to be examined and bowled for later planting under the big Kauri tree. Adam came into the world in such a hurry that Michelle had a tear that needed stitching. The doctor arrived in time to deal with this. I resumed my role of drink provider and watched all the wind up checks and weighing. It was over and contrary to Michelle's comments, a short safe delivery. We were all well prepared (including Kate). I felt a real sense of calm and strength throughout. I never seemed to doubt things would go well and I tried to pass some of those feelings to Michelle. Kate was reassured by my explanations of what was going on and took the whole birth in her stride amazingly well. She gradually warmed to the reality or a baby brother as the day went by. Gary was.... indescribably quiet, patient, caring. It was lovely to see a family united in birth, to see Gary's pride in Michelle and Kate, and his new son Adam.

Saturday, September 30, 2006

Emerson's birth

Born: Sunday 11th January 2004 Wanganui Hospital

I am a mum to a 5 year old and 17 month old at this stage, I am due in 2 dys when my third child is born and I can't wait, I have 3 vaginal infections, yuck. Which my midwife tells me are not sexually transmitted, dont you love that. you have to laugh. It all started on the Friday when my midwife asks me to come into the hospital and go on a monitor to see how we're going. The resultsa dont look too good , the baby isnt moving very much. My midiwfe sends me home and tells me to come back at 4:30pm and we'll have another go. She tells me she will probably have to induce m on Monday. I go back at 4:30 and go back on the monitor. It looks like I am having contractions, though I cannot feel them yet. Which I dont mind. So she sends me home and we'll wait and see what happens. She also gives me some evening primrose capsules to insert ot help things along. I wake on Saturday morning to get up to the kids and I can feel the contractions but they're not too bad. Greg is at work so I carry on my day with the kids, housework and everything. My midiwfe rings and tells me that everything will probably happen once we get the kids to bed that night. We have dinner and get the kids bathed and off to bed. Sit down to watch tele and relax and my contractions become quite painful now. We head off to bed, Greg gets some sleep and I am sitting on the side of the bed squeezing his hand everytime I have a contraction.Yet he is still sleeping. It is now midnight and I am feeling like I wanna push, so I ring my midwife, she says meet you a hospital. ring mum and wake her to come and sleep at our house to be with the kids and while I am waiting for her to get there I am vomiting, something I do everytime I am in labour. We get to the hospital at 12:15 am and I am 8 cms, it is now that I decide that I dont care about drug free birth and I want some drugs but it is too late. The midwife breaks my waters for me again and we are away. My beautiful girl is born at 1:11 am . I do have to say that she also had the chord around her neck and had passed meconium in her waters too. Dont ask me why all my babies had that problem. I am not sure. The only thing that matters is that they are all okay. I did have to wait in hospital with her for 12 hours to be watched as I had a staph infection and we had to be sure she hadnt caught it whilst being born. I had started antibiotics a few days beforehand so we were lucky it was caught. Babies can die from staph infections and they get sick before you can tell. So I am very thankful to have her here safe and sound. She is truly beautiful and tops off the 4 greatest things to happen to me in my life. My 3 gorgeous kids and my beautiful husband.
8 pounds 12 oz, where she hid it, I dont know.
Welcome to the world Emerson Rose.

Submitted by Mistie

Cian's birth

Lincoln Hopsital < Christchurch
10:30pm Friday August 30th 2002.

Well when my eldest daughter Quinn was a year old, I managed to meet a wonderful man, who I had met in high school but not really known very well. Romance bloomed, we dated, moved in together, got engaged and got married. I di it right this time. LOL. My daughter was 3 when I got pregnant again. She was very excited,as my husband and I also were. I was due a week before Quinns 4 th birthday. The pregnancy went well apart from being super hungry and putting on about 20 kgs. I knew this was a hungry child,a dn I was right. On the day before I was due I woke about midnight having felt a little pop and then wet in my bed. I woke Greg and told him that I thought my water had broken. We then rang my midiwfe and told her, she said to relax and see what happens but to meet her at 6 am . I dropped my daughter off to my parents while we went. She met us there and said that nothing much was happening, it could take hours and to go home and she would check on us later. So we went home. Mum kept Quinn for the day. I started to have contractions but they were weird. I had major back pain and my contractions were I'd have one then 1 min later have another 1 and then nothing for 10 mins. Barbara did an exam and said that I was 3 cms dialted and that the baby was posterior. So no wonder the back pain. She told me to walk every 30mins for 10 mins , rest and then go again. When not walking , be on hands and knees trying to get baby to turn. She then said she'd ring later. She did and told us to meet her at the hospital at 8pm. We got to the hospital, a small rural one just out of Christchurch and I was the only person there, that was great. The two midwives decided that my waters hadnt broken properly but merely popped a little, so they broke them for me, yet again, this brought everything on harder and faster. I then began to vomit and was sent to the spa bath to relax. This was great, the jets helped relieve my back pain. Now when it came time to get out and birth this baby, I couldn't move. My husband lifted me out of the bath and helped me over to the bed. I forgot to say, that this baby had also passed meconium and was distressed, so I couldn't have him in the water. After a bit of pushing, burning and pain, Cian was born. It felt like this took forever and I couldn't open my eyes. Here he was, this beautiful boy, but to scare his mother he wasn't breathing, he almost looked like he was gone. I began to panic, the midwives were suctioning him and he had an oxygen mask being held over his nose and mouth. then all of a sudden he let out a big cry and opened his eyes. Thank god. He was beautiful. It took us atleast 5 mins to sse if he was a boy or girl. He was an 8 pond 10 oz big healthy boy. I had no pain relief for this birth either. It all happens so fast once my waters go. Welcome to our world Cian Ethan.

Submitted by Mistie.

Quinn's birth

Born: 6:15 pm Monday September 7th 1998

Christchurch Womens Hospital

I was 19 when I found out I was pregnant with my first baby, younger than I had planned but there was no doubt in my mind that I loved this baby and would forever. I had a pretty good pregnancy, read loads of books and felt as prepared as I could be. I woke early , about 5:30 in the morning, 2 days before I was due, with pains. I thought this was it, so I got up and ran a bath. I lay in the bath breathing through the pains which where about 10 mins apart. Once out of the bath I made myself some breakfast, ate a little and then threw it up on the kitchen floor. Rang my midwife, she said it could be awhile and to ring her later on if things kept progressing. I then rang my mum and told her not to go to work. My mum was my support person, as I was going to be a single mum, this didnt really bother me by this point. I had moved on and couldnt wait to have my baby. Mum was great , she came over and helped me through. I met my midwife at the hospital in the morning and she said she didnt think I would have the baby that day. But I knew I was. She then sent me home with some panadol ( of all things) and some sleeping tablets to help me get some rest. i spent the afternoon on my mums couch, trying to deal with the pain, and no, not sleeping at all. I rang my midwife agian at about 4:30 as my contractions were 5 mins apart and my nose was bleeding, and I felt awful. She told me to meet her at the hospital at 5pm. Mum, Dad and I went to the hospital and my midwife did an examination. I was 6 cm. She asked me if I wanted her to break my waters and help bring on the labour faster. I said yes, as I wanted the pain to stop. She broke my waters at 5:15 pm, and then the real pain began. "Oh my god" . The contractions came faster and stronger, My baby had passed meconium in her fluid , she was distressed, so my midwife got an obstetrician in to assist. She was great. I was offered some gas, which was empty and whistled, so I didnt have any in the end. I had a pain relief free birth.Mum held a mirror for me so I could see, but I had my eyes closed most of the time. Dad stayed up the other end and held my hand and cried. They were great support. I had my midwife, the obstetrician and 2 midwifery students, my parents and I in the room. A bit of a squish. But we got there. My beautiful baby girl was born at 6:15 pm, with the chord around her neck, looking a bit like a pale aborigine.LOL. I could see her looking around when just her head was out. I knew she was going to be a clever girl and she is, the first great thing to happen to me.

A healthy beautiful 7 pounds 4 oz, brown eyes and dark hair.
Welcome to the world Quinn Mistie Karen.

Submitted by Mistie.

Friday, September 29, 2006

Kael's birth

Drinkin' Music ( Kaels birth, part 1)
You know that feeling you get when you've had too much to drink? That must-concentrate-on-something-or-will-vomit kind of feeling? It could be concentrate on something like the spot on your jeans, or concentrate on a movement like frantic hand waving. Concentrate on something to take your mind away from the must-barf-now feeling you've caused yourself.

For me, it's loud techno music.


I was up bright and early on the morning of Thursday, June 8th. I arrived at the hospital at 5:50 am ("You're early! That's always a good sign.") for my scheduled 6am induction. One quick check has me pronounced "3 cm dilated, nice and soft... You'll do well today!" and I was given a half dose of Cytotek as per doctors orders. ( for those not in the "know" Cytotek is used to help prepare the cervix for dilation, making it soft. I was soft when I got there.)
Four hours later (10:30) my doctor arrived to check and see if the ol' cervix had made any changes, or did we need more cytotek, or should we start pitocin. No cervical changes. BUT, still a 3, still soft.... Doc decides that instead of drugs, he'll break my water(A.R.M.) and see what my body decides to do on it's own. That was at 11:10 am.

OK, who likes the feeling of wetting your pants all the time? Not me.

Just thought I'd put that out there.

ANYWAY... I noticed a change immediately. The uncomfortable cramps/contractions I'd been having for weeks all the sudden found the candy jar and were coming fast and furious, "bouncing off the walls". Less then 10 minutes after the A.R.M., I was huffin' and puffin' through each contraction.... And they were coming 3 minutes apart, lasting 1-2 minutes each. Nice, regular, long contractions. 45 minutes of monitoring later I decided I needed to do something about all this... And the tub sounded like a good idea.

The Redmond birthing center has some nice, comfy, HUGE jetted birthing tubs. Matt got up at the first prompting and started filling up the monstrosity with some soothing hot water. While it filled, he brought me his MP3 player.

Prodegy, Lautsprecher, KMFDM, Moby, Paul Oakenfield............. Oh yeah.

My mind goes back to those drives home from the bar... Matt manning the steering wheel, sober. Me, lounged back in my seat, window down, eyes closed, foot thumping, radio blasting. I didn't get that drunk often, but when I did, it was always the same on the drive home. My blitzd mind was somehow able to focus on the beat..... Thump, Thump, Thump...... My stomping foot reminding me that I'm in the car and not spinning in circles like my head thinks I am.

I climb into the tub with much aid from my hubby.... Sink down.... And turn up the music. Now it's just me, the contractions, and the MP3 player. The hot water makes it easier to relax in between. The jets blowing on my back and feet are that thumping reminder that I'm still here. I'm still here. Yes, it hurts, but I'm still here. The music is as loud as it's gonna get. I'm still here......

Half an hour into my soak it starts. I can't huff through them anymore. Huffs turn to moans. The relaxing break between gets shorter and shorter. I hear visitors in the room outside the door between songs. The all thought leaves again as I concentrate on relaxing my muscles, breathing, relax, breathe.. I'm still here...I call Matt in and ask him to go ahead and request that epidural.

I can't do it anymore.

My nurse comes into the bathroom 15 minutes later... she's informed my doc of my request and he'll put a call into the Bend hospital to get an anesthesiologist over and get me my epidural. OK... Half hour. He'll be here in half an hour.

I spend another 10 minutes in the tub before deciding that this isn't working. They aren't manageable here. I need to get out.

The thumping in my ears is getting quieter. The music.... Harder to "feel". I'm losing my concentration.. And all I can think about is the next contraction. My focus, once outside of me and in the music, in the thump of the beat.... Has faded.

All of the sudden, my focus has changed.

I turn off the MP3 player.


Remember those pain scale you were shown at the doctors office as a kid, with the faces in different stages of grimace... "How much does it hurt, on a scale of One to Ten?" Did anyone else have a hard time picking a number? How would you know?


Out of the tub, I had to stop twice before reaching the bed to moan through more contractions. Fast and furious doesn't begin to describe. I feebly try to dry myself off while putting on the lovely gown provided, Matt all but holding me up. Once to the bed, I request the nurse in here NOW. She wanders in several contractions later. I've lost all sense of time at this point. My whole world exists in the few seconds I have between mind blowing pain.
"When will that epidural get here?" I ask.
"On, Dr. B just called in your request."
WHAT?? I requested that epidural a LIFETIME ago! I can't do this! I can't do this!

I'm getting scared at this point. The are getting harder, faster..... Moans have been replaced with an escalating "ouch, ouch, ouch".

I'm told I got rather loud.

I remember saying I was scared.. I remember seeing my husband across the room, sitting on a chair, a helpless look on his face. I remember thinking... He's scared too.

I remember saying to him, teeth gritted "I'm OK. I'm OK"

I remember the nurse offering me an IV drug to take the edge off. I don't want IV drugs... Baby feels those too!

Another contraction hits.

OK, yes, I'd like the IV drug.. Maybe just a half dose though?

I notice no difference other then a nausiousness when opening my eyes.

I remember feeling terrified that I was drugging my baby. Was he nauseous too? I'm still scared... Is he scared too?

Then things change.

At the end of each life altering contraction.. I have to grunt. Push? What? No.... I can't be ready to push.... Yet there it is again.. With each contraction, I get this overwhelming need to push. The urge is so strong, I can't describe it. Yet, I'm not ready to push! Must grunt, breathe, anything... But don't push! It's like telling a drowning person, upon pulling them out of the water, not to breathe. You can't control it. Grunt. Push.

My nurse checks me... 8+ centimeters. Fully effaced. +1 station.

"I'm sorry honey, I don't think you're going to be able to get that epidural... You're too fast"

Beeps. Dips. I learn later that between each contraction, my son's heartrate is dropping..... It resumes it's speed WITH the contraction... But between, it drops. My doctor is called in. He check me again. I don't know what the results of that check are.

I'm terrified.

I feel all alone with this pain. Nothing else exists. Breathe, Moan, Ouch, Grunt. Repeat. I remember someone telling me to breathe for my baby. Pant for my baby. Don't push!

I remember my doc saying something about an injection..."Go ahead and get it". I have no idea what "it" was.

I remember apologizing over and over for needing it... For not being strong enough... Brave enough. I don't remember any replies.. Matt tells me he said it was OK. I DO remember seeing his face. Still scared.

Me too, honey. Me too.

I am sat up... Grunt. Don't push! And folded over, my spine bared. An anesthesiologist from the ER comes in and pokes a needle in my back. Lightning shoots down my left leg. This is the one and only time in the whole ordeal that I scream. It was such a sharp, unexpected pain! That on top of the somewhat predictable yet horrifying contractions was too much.

"Which leg?" He asks.


He pokes again. More lighting. A yelp. More apologizing on my part.

"Which Leg???"

"Left!" I sob.

Breathe, Moan, Grunt.

"Left again??!!"

A few minutes later I hear him mutter "it's done" and I am helped to lay back on the bed. An Oxygen mask is placed on my face. I kind of remember seeing Davinie and Alyca come in the room... But not really.

I remember asking when it would work.. I can still feel everything!! I'm told to wait, it will take a few minutes.

A few minutes later... They are going away. I can feel them less.. Yet I still can FEEL.. And it stays that way.

This is WONDERFUL!! I can feel the contractions, but they are back to being the easy crampy ones I've felt for weeks now... And I can still feel my legs, the rest of my body! Whatever they injected simply took away the pain in my belly... And that's it.

Finally, I relax. Breathe. Catch my breath.

Next thing I know, the nurse asks me to push. I push.

I remember her asking for 2 people to come hold my legs. I remember thinking I am perfectly able to hold my own legs, thankyouverymuch....At some point in the confusion I'd asked Davinie and Alyca to decide among themselves who would cut the cord ( Matt not at all interested... Alyca cut Raegans cord..) Davinie comes up on my right, Matt on my left... Although I think at some point they change sides. Holding my legs with me, I'm asked to push. My doctor is here again, not the nurse, doing some perennial massage ( hows that for too much information) between each push. I remember Davinie telling me to relax my arm... Apparently I was flexing? I remember my air mask falling off all the time, and she fixed it for me several times. I remember her patting my arm, rubbing my leg. I remember Matt's soft presence counting to ten. Several times. I remember all the blood rushing to my face..

"I don't think I'm doing this right!"

I don't know how long I pushed. I do know that it was both easier and harder then when I had Raegan. I could feel what I was doing. Easier. I could feel that progress was slow. Hard.

Then all of the sudden I've got him. The squirmy blue-ish little man on my chest.

My Son.

A few brisk rubs and he is whisked away to the warmer. The paparazzi ( Davinie and Alyca) go over to assess his condition... He is yelling furiously... So apparently fine.

My foggy memory brings up me asking several times if he was OK. Short laughs from my doctor, patiently waiting for the placenta to be ready to deliver. "Yes" he says, "Hear him? That's One Healthy Boy."

I ask Matt if he wants to go over and see him? He is still holding my hand, rubbing my wrist with his thumb. "I can hear him" he says. "I'll stay right here."

Quiet, soft support.

I look at the clock. 1:43 PM.

My entire labor process, from time of A.R.M. when I started having real contractions to the time my son was delivered, was just over two and a half hours long.

It felt so much longer. It was... An entire lifetime.

Now, one week later, the memory of that day is becoming fuzzier. I remember there was pain. I remember I was scared..... But mostly, I remember that cry. I remember my husband at my side, holding my hand, counting in my ear.

I remember the important stuff.


Hours late, my daughter has met her brother, my sisters and mother are all here again, and my brother-in-law is asking me about the labor.

"So, did you find your ten?"

Yes. I found my ten.

And so much more.

"Things I've done during labour"

Things I've done while in labour.

* Eat at a restaurant (early stages of a long slow part of labour)

* Take my eldest to our local playground while hanging off trees and yelling during contractions ("Mummy tummy working hard?" "YES! Mummy tummy working VERY hard!")

* Drink castor oil (didn't seem to speed up the slow one)

* Machine quilt (brought the sewing machine to the hospital)

* Eat chocolates

* Moan, grunt, growl

* Breastfeed my eldest

* "I don't think the baby will come tonight but you may as well ring the support people just in case, but tell them to bring their books." (Denial)

* Bathe (great!)

* Gaze at a lit Christmas tree

* Hide my head in a pillow

* Visualise pushing a truck up a hill with my support people beside me, cheering me on but not helping

* Bite

* Demand acapella singing, reading aloud, acupressure, no - different massage, food, drink, ice, cold cloths on the back of my neck, silence and distracting conversation.

* Move around

* Wish I could still move around

* Try not to push

* Wish I'd mentioned to my midwife that I'd prefer any vaginal exams on my hands and knees

* Push

* Poo

* Bleed on things

* Forget what people were saying during their sentences

* Have a baby (twice)

* Enjoy the boneless sliding of the placenta on its gentle way out (twice)

Both my babies came out fast once I was dilating, the first was late and I didn't start dilating for 10 days of on-and-off-again patches of labour (and having been through "real" labour I can't call that "false" because it was the same). The second was early. I birthed both kneeling, though I wanted to get into a different position for my second as she was part way through and I just couldn't get up. Both were natural and pretty much drug free (I had a little gas when my midwife broke my waters for the first, late, baby. It felt stupid, like why would I do recreational drugs when I was busy having an important baby). The first was in hospital, the second at home. The home birth was fantastic, the hospital birth was fine.

Contributed by Susan Harper. You can also contact her at "susan at sean.geek.nz"

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Kate's birth

Date: June 1980

Location: Auckland, New Zealand

I went to my doctor one Friday afternoon to have my pregnancy confirmed. I was to meet my husband after work with the news. I'll never forget walking through the Strand Arcade and sighting him walking toward me. I just could not keep the smile from my face. We laughed and hugged each other and then walked on toward the car. As soon as I sat in it I started to cry. I had this overwhelming feeling of emotion and sudden fear that my baby might not be perfect. (My mother's first baby was stillborn). My husband tried to comfort me although he was totally amazed and confused.

I suddenly realised that I did not know a thing about pregnancy, birth or bringing up a child. I was scared but elated to think it was happening to me.

As my doctor no longer delivered babies I had to find another doctor who would. I asked around and came across one who lived in the area who seemed to specialise in delivering babies. When I first met him, he asked me where I wanted to have the baby. I didn't have a clue where I wanted it, which hospital or how I wanted to give birth. I wasn't ever aware that I had a choice in the matter. All I had considered was that I thought I wanted my husband to be present, to which my doctor replied "if he wasn't, I would want to know why not!". That settled it then, obviously it was the done thing to have one's husband present.
Now I would not ever consider to not have my husband present at a birth. For those that for some reason find it impossible for their partner to be present, I strongly recommend that you have someone that is close to you, your mother, father, sister, brother or friend, with you during the birthing of your child.

I began to read books on pregnancy and childbirth. The more I read, the more I realised how little I knew. I talked with friends who had children. Some were helpful, others kept telling me how awful pregnancy and childbirth were. It never ceased to amaze me the amount of horror stories I heard about labour. It seemed that practically everyone had one tucked away somewhere and some people were only too happy to have the opportunity to impart the facts on yet another willing, captive ear.

It didn't stop there either. Friends would point out their children misbehaving and say "look what you've got yourself into". It disturbed me that people could only relate the woes of childbirth and childrearing. Where was the joy, the excitement? I knew there would be rough times but I wanted this child and you've got to take the good and bad with it.

Pregnancy didn't seem to be what it was cracked up to be. I didn't feel as though I was blossoming. I felt sick from morning to night, I felt emotionally vulnerable to criticism and I felt fat. I couldn't believe my stomach was stretching and still stretching some time later.

I attended antenatal classes and a series of LaLeche League meetings. The League meetings left me thinking that these people were devoted to the aspect of breastfeeding, some of them were even feeding their toddlers. Good grief, I thought, that's a bit of a joke, isn't it? I wasn't aware then of the many benefits to mother and child of breastfeeding and that these benefits are not only applicable to the young baby but carry on through to the older baby too. Neither was I aware of the protective mothering feeling that one has for one's own baby and how that baby seems a baby to the mother long after other people have started to see it as a small child.

I'll never forget my first evening of antenatal class. The physiotherapy was fine, the discussion and supper fine, but then we watched a birth film. It was the first birth film I has ever seen. I didn't want to be sick or faint as it is commonly feared will happen, particularly by the men, I just wanted to stop my pregnancy midstream. How could I go through that? All that stretching, all that pain. I just sat there dumbfounded and thought, oh well, it's got to come out, but does it have to be like that? After the film I couldn't help but notice that none of the women present joined in the discussion and I was wondering if they too felt as I did.

On the way home and for quite a while afterward, I just couldn't stop myself from crying. My husband couldn't understand this at all. He thougth the film was great and felt that we could cope with what was ahead of us.

Another valuable antenatal evening for me was the night we visited the hospital and delivery suite. I knew that once I entered those doors the next time would be easier for me.

By the time our baby was ready to be born I had gained a great deal more confidence in myself, my body and the act of giving birth. I had also gained a great deal more knowledge and knew what I wanted from the birthing experience. We decided that to the best of our abilities we would let nothing interfere with making this one of the most memorable occasions of our lives.

We arrived at the hospital at 11pm one Saturday night, 8 days overdue, very excited and not a little scared. Contractions were a little irregular and not particularly uncomfortable. I later learned that this was really preparatory labour (false labour). I was taken to a prep room, without my husband although he had asked to stay with me all the time. I was examined and found to be only 1cm dilated. The contractions I was having stopped and I felt deflated. With my doctor's permission, I was given an enema.

I was then directed to a first stage labour room and informed that my husband had been told to go home and get a good nights sleep as I would be ages yet. On hearing this I started to cry. "What's wrong?" they asked, and I replied that I didn't want my husband to go home and leave me alone at the hospital. As I said this, he walked into the room and said he wasn't going anywhere. The Sister then told me that it was alright for me, I would be nice and comfortable but my husband would have to sit in a chair all night.
Naturally I felt riddled with guilt, at the same time wondering how on earth this woman thought I was going to be comfortable. Luckily my husband came to the rescue by saying that I had been uncomfortable for the last 9 months, one night wouldn't hurt him. So he stayed and dozed in the chair. Within the next hour or so, painful contractions begain in earnest.

Fortunately, the Sister that came on duty next was wonderful. Encouraging, positive, gentle, quiet, comforting. Not only did she encourage me but also my husband, who strangely enough was finding sleeping between contractions quite easy. As I got a contraction, I would growl at him, "rub". Sometimes I would have to say it 3 times before he awoke and rubbed my back. I found the back rubbing immensely helpful through out the contractions.

Time had lost all perspective for me. I got up and walked around a little and spent what must have been a couple of hours in a warm bath. I found it easier to cope with contractions sitting in the bath. My husband still rubbed my back and between contractions I would start to drop off to sleep, only to be re-awoken by another contraction.

To begin with I tried to concentrate on other things or people during contractions. It didn't take long for me to run out of people; Mum, Dad, my brother, my mother in law, sister in law. I was fighting contractions without knowing it. The midwife suggested that I think of the contractions as power and concentrate on them. Power, a force that was moving down into my pelvis and pushing my baby out into the world. I started to go with the contractions.

Sometime later, back in the first stage room, I was still vomiting and was offered some honey, which unfortunately, only made it worse. My urine indicated that I was running out of energy yet I didn't feel as though I was. The midwife suggested to my husband that he go across the road to the shop and get some sweets that I could suck on. While he was away, the midwife stayed with me continually as she promised she would. I had read in "Spiritual Midwifery" that saying the words 'I love you' helped to dilate the cervix so I kept saying them, keeping a mental picture of my husband constantly in my mind because I hated him leaving me. I'm sure initially the midwife wondered what on earth I was doing but she soon accepted my peculiarities. He was only gone a few minutes and returned brandishing a packet of 'lemon sparkles'. I sucked one of these and immediately went into transition. (A good advertisement for lemon sparkles!). At this stage contractions were almost unbearable and I can remember thinking that I hoped I didn't get offered any medication because I would have been sorely tempted to accept it as much as I hadn't wanted to. I could feel the baby moving down and after a minute or two of this sensation, I recognised it as such and quietly, almost apologetically said "I can feel the baby coming". My husband then pushed my bed into the delivery suite. I realised for the first time that it was day time.

I felt excited and ready for the next stage believing that it wouldn't be long before we would see our baby. The midwife helped me to move from the labour bed to the delivery bed in between contractions, consequently I didn't find it an ordeal at all. I couldn't tolerate the contractions in any position other than my side.

Someone started to explain the use of the mask to me, but I interrupted because the fear of having something covering my face was greater than the pain.

Co-incidentally, the Dr arrived at this time, surprised to find me ready to deliver. He had come to give me accupuncture to help me relax. He stroked the back of my neck and immediately I relaxed just knowing he was there. Both my husband and I had built up a trust in him. I'm sure that made it easier. He tried to examine me to see if I was fully dilated but as contractions were following one directly after another I couldn't stand to go on my back for the examination. He told me to go ahead and push. I couldn't hear a word he was saying and kept impatiently saying to my husband "What's he saying", and my husband would act as interpreter. At the point of the baby's head crowning when I was required to pant I had forgotten how to puff, puff, blow. Fortunately he acted as a guide and I followed him every now and then losing the rhythm and panicking a little but getting back to it. After a few good pushes, Kate flew out onto the table. The Dr immediately picked her up and put her on my tummy. She gave a little squeak as she was delivered, but that was all.
I could feel her body against mine. She immediately clasped my husbands finger. He had tears in his eyes. After a few minutes, the Dr said "Oh, we don't even know what sex it is". He picked up the blanket that was over her announced we had a daughter. Wow! The placenta was born about 20 minutes later without the aid of an injection. Kate, all 8lb 10oz of her, was put to the breast which she enthusiastically suckled at. I required a few stitches for a small tear.

Shortly afterwards she was examined in a crib beside me. She just lay there quietly looking around. Shortly after this, we were left alone to get acquainted with our daughter.

(Writen by Michelle, for a book of birth stories she compiled in the 1980s)

Heather & Kay's birth

When I started writing my birth story it quickly became obvious to me that my it is part of a trilogy that begins with my pregnancy, continues with the birth and goes on to the saga of early breastfeeding.

Part I - Pregnancy

I learnt I was expecting twins early. I had a scan at seven and a half weeks and the gynaecologist said, "There's two", and I replied, "I was expecting that", thinking he meant the two fibrial cysts that had been among the difficulties I'd faced in getting pregnant in the first place. Then it dawned on me that the sonographer was measuring a hazy baked bean within each sack of fluid and not the sack itself, and that meant .... The shock slowly hit me.

During my pregnancy people constantly asked, "Do twins run in your family?" Initially I interpreted this as "Do twins run in your family or did you use fertility drugs?" and found it overly invasive. Later on I figured out they might be asking, "Am I in danger too?" or "Were you as surprised as I'd be?" and found it easier to answer. For the record, I had twin great-aunts who were probably identical, and I did use fertility treatment. At one now memorable visit to the fertility clinic I was asked flippantly, "How do you feel about quads?" Then even one pregnancy seemed so improbable that quads was an unimaginable risk. Looking back, knowing there were four developing follicles in my ovary at that time, it seems like a terrifying close shave.

I went on two overseas trips in the first couple of months of my pregnancy. My main memory of them is sleeping. At every break during a conference in Seattle I would pop up to my hotel room, set the alarm clock to wake me in 25 minutes, and be asleep in moments. In Brisbane I napped on park benches between sight-seeing.

Everything I read during my pregnancy made me determined to get as close to full term as possible. I wanted the best start for my babies and I wanted to exclusively breastfeed them (more about that later). I believe sustaining pregnancy is about three things: luck, genetics, and good management. Luck was out of my control. Genetics seemed mostly on my side: I have a strong family history of singleton pregnancies going to 42 weeks. Good management was about focussing on what I could do to improve my chances. Eating well, eating lots - particularly protein. Drinking lots of water. Listening to my body. Sleeping lots - napping frequently. Reminding myself that resting earlier at home would save me from being forced to rest later in hospital.

Two books were particularly helpful regarding self-care during pregnancy: Mothering Multiples by Karen Kerkhoff Gromada (available from the La Leche League), and Holistic Midwifery Vol I by Anne Frye which I got on interloan through the Wellington City Library.

More than anything else my advice to anyone pregnant with twins is to reduce stress, and for me that meant taking maternity leave from my high pressure job at 14 weeks. I was very tired and didn't seem to have the kind of brain I was used to doing my job with anymore. I felt I was letting my team down. I talked to my midwife, who was very supportive of me leaving early. She talked about the increased risk of complications if I pushed myself too hard. Having a medical certificate meant I was still eligible for the usual amount of leave after the babies' birth. I am due back 46 weeks after their due date.

I had been a support person for my sister at the birth of my niece, and attended Birth Wise antenatal classes with her, so when I first found out I was pregnant I felt terrifically well prepared - until I found out it was twins. I decided to go to Birth Wise classes again because I felt that my partner could best learn from them how to support me in being a stroppy patient.

I also chose the same group of midwives as my sister, Domino, because their positive natural birth philosophies suited me and the group's ability to tap into one another's experience appealed. I wanted my midwife as LMC but I was advised I would need an obstetrician, and I chose to go private with a particular obstetrician who would only take me if he was LMC. Nevertheless my midwife was extremely important during the pregnancy and birth. I was pleased with the combination of a natural-birth-oriented midwife and an obstetrician very experienced in delivering twins. I had alternate visits with each.

Part II - The Birth

I was due on 16 February. Throughout my pregnancy I told everyone, "They're not allowed out until February." It was my mantra against premature labour, my answer to all the many people who told me twins are always early, and my best maternal advice to the two inside.

On 26 January I had the first sign that the birth was approaching - a pink watery discharge and some very tiny red clots. Fortunately my waters weren't breaking, but it was an unusual 'show'. Unfortunately blood tests showed my liver was no longer coping so well. I had slightly raised ALT levels although not so high they were a definite problem. The obstetrician talked to me about induction but we settled on monitoring in hospital every other morning. The 'show' continued and I had some definite contractions which petered out at night.

Then at 5pm on 31 January I looked in the mirror and thought, "It's going to be tonight." I promptly ignored my intuition. But I started to take it more seriously as the evening went on. As the contractions got stronger I found that I was most comfortable sitting very upright on the sofa pushing my back very hard against a cushion. (Later this position made the drive to hospital much easier than I expected). I closed my eyes to ride the contractions and held my partner's hand to stay anchored. The wind raging outside seemed the perfect accompaniment to something so natural and primal.

At 1am I was 4cm dilated with bulging membranes and the first baby seemed correctly positioned., I felt very successful. At 3am I felt ready to go and get settled in hospital. Delivery Suite at Wellington Women's was quite full so they put us straight in a theatre. Another disappointment followed as my obstetrician advised against a bath - something I'd been looking forward to. I found it frustrating that the midwife talked to the obstetrician on the phone and I couldn't argue with him.

Through the night my labour progressed slowly. My sister says I slept between contractions, but I only remember holding Damon's hand and thinking that it was amazing it still worked as my anchor even though he was dozing. Meanwhile my sister was trying to keep monitoring two separate heartbeats with all her determination and focus.

In the morning dilation paused at about 7cm. I agreed to the rupture of the membranes of the first baby - lots of nice clear fluid but no change in my labour. No progress so I agreed to having a gradually increasing dose of syntocinon to increase the strength of the contractions, but no epidural. By 1pm I'd been on the highest dose of syntocinon for an hour. The contractions were very intense but I still felt able to cope with each one without pain relief. However, an exam showed that although I'd reached 9cm my cervix was now a thick rim as the first baby was facing my front and not providing the even pressure I needed.

The obstetrician told me he advised a caesarean and I remember collecting every ounce of composure I had to ask calmly, "What are the alternatives?" In this surreal situation with my body still intent on each crashing wave I still demanded to make my own informed choice.

For me what tipped the balance was the safety of the second baby - I might have been prepared to continue a difficult anterior birth for a singleton (like my own birth) but then that would mean a dangerous delay for the second baby.

The next hour was the roughest of my life - the syntocinon was off but my body didn't know the labour wasn't needed. From welcoming each contraction as a move toward birth, now they were unnecessary. I now tried (as unsuccessfully as you can imagine) to ignore them and sort my head out. I had put everything I had into it and it hadn't been enough. My sister reminded me of the three things I'd written at the end of the birthplan:

"No plan survives contact with the enemy."
"The birth is not the important thing; the family it creates is."
"All mothers are heroes; it is not necessary to be the most heroic, there are no medals."

The caesarean was a whirl and I was euphoric when the babies arrived. Two big girls: Heather first (7lb 2oz), and then Kay (7lb 11oz). They were so beautiful. In recovery I just wanted to hold them both against me. The recovery midwife was worried I was too tired to be safe with them. I cuddled them and fed them and couldn't bear to give them back.

Part III - Beginning Breastfeeding

I was extremely confident about breastfeeding. My mother and sister had both breastfed successfully with ample milk supplies. While I was pregnant I'd read about breastfeeding, been to a couple of La Leche League meetings and talked to Maggie Morgan, the Wellington Hospital Lactation Consultant. Whenever I read that most women can fully breastfeed their babies I took it for granted that I would be able to. I knew that many (some say most) breastfeeding problems can be resolved through correct latching, good support and persistence.

Things started well. The babies latched on in recovery and were eager to feed. A couple of days later however things weren't looking so good. Heather and Kay were very unsettled and they suckled constantly but I didn't seem to have much colostrum . I kept hoping that everything would be okay when my milk came in. It started to sink in that a caesarean or a difficult birth can delay that.

Three days after the birth, no milk yet and only minute amounts of colostrum. Both babies had lost more than ten percent of their birth weight and were very hungry. I didn't want them to have formula and after discussions with my midwife, Maggie Morgan and a paediatrician we agreed to "top up" using a lactated-like arrangement with my sister's expressed breastmilk. So my sister, who was breastfeeding my one year old niece, starting pumping for my twins. It was a tremendous gift. She pumped at the hospital and at home, her husband delivered milk at all hours.

Still at the hospital that night we got the midwife from hell. At 3am she decided to start an argument about our decision making and independence. We requested not to have her again and when I made sufficient fuss this happened (it helped that what she had written in my notes backed up our complaints). I think they save them for the night shift when you're at your lowest ebb.

Next day I vomited and continued to be nauseous for a few days. After some trial and error I discovered I could only eat dairy products and bland stuff I couldn't smell ( e.g. white bread).

Day 6, finally, MILK. I was over the moon and convinced that it was only a matter of following the advice to increase my supply. But when I gradually stopped supplementing, my babies stopped growing. I fed almost constantly. I even slept propped up so I could sleep while tandem feeding through the night. My milk supply simply could not meet the demand even following all the advice available to increase it.

There have been some case studies published that suggest that insufficient milk supply can be a symptom of Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) which was one of my barriers to conception in the first place.

Heather and Kay were exclusively breastmilk-fed until they were 15 days old. Nine months on they are still primarily breastfed, I top-up three feeds a day with about 75ml of formula and they are also on solids. This is a impressive success given the problems we faced but it still looks like failure when they are sucking on a bottle.

The hardest thing to deal with was the grief I experienced. For months thinking about feeding would make me cry. Writing that my babies were hungry tears at my heart. I will never know if I should have done things differently. Breastfeeding IS best and sometimes it takes persistence to get it established. If I had formula fed earlier or topped up more maybe I would never have established as much supply as I have.

I found it hard to get good information about mixed feeding. The La Leche League is focussed on exclusive breastfeeding and can seem to have the perspective that any formula feeding will inevitably lead to early complete weaning. This misses an important message - if you do mixed feed the more breastmilk the better. The women I know with twins of similar age are all mixed feeding but all of us do it differently for a variety of different reasons.

The best advice I can give about breastfeeding is to keep trying, get as much help from family as you can and talk to a lactation consultant if you have a problem. The lactation consultants at the Plunket Family Centre are available free or you can contact Maggie Morgan through the hospital. There are also private lactation consultants who will come to your home. The La Leche League can provide a friendly ear. Support from my partner and family has helped me more than I can say.

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Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Christopher & Stephanie's birth

Christopher and Stephanie - 28th September 1995

Auckland - New Zealand

Pregnancy was difficult - had to stop work at 12 weeks due to the safety factor of the twins and was on bed rest for the 9 months with stays in hospital when required.

September 27th 8am – arrived at North Shore Hospital for a planned induction. I was 35.5 weeks, and the twins were becoming stressed. Don’t remember much of the next 24 hours but here goes.

Pains began at about 11am, also at this time they placed an epidural in (not fun) so we waited and waited, later that afternoon, nothing much happened so had my waters broken. When the midwife came back and checked I was about 3 cm dilated – the pain was bad at times, I remember saying the f**k word a bit and having soaks in the bath by about 7pm still not a lot happening. I tried the gas and hated it. Still pains and starting to get tired from all of this. Still only about 5 cm dilated so knew I was in for a long night. At this stage my parents were there and Andy and MIL. Anyway not a lot happened for another few hours at about 11pm was told I was about 7 cm dilated whoohoo I thought “I am going to have these twins naturally”. A sudden enthusiasm came over me and I got excited thinking it was all going to happen in the next hour or so I tried to push when told and did everything in my power to have these twins naturally – how wrong could I be!!!!

By 3.10am I was exhausted and the twins were in danger especially Christopher who was getting more distressed by the second, so the specialist said enough and we decided my only option was C section – my heart was broken, because I knew we were probably only going to have the twins I really wanted a natural birth. But then another bout of pain and I screamed get me to theatre, I had, had enough, I was exhausted and in great pain. So within what seemed like seconds but was proberly minutes I was in theatre wide awake waiting for the twins to be born and out came Christopher at 3.31am followed 1 minute later by Stephanie at 3.32am. I heard them cry they gave me a quick look and took them away. I remember panicking thinking what was happening, I heard them cry again what a relief that was. They were 2260 grams and 2080 grams

Anyway I assume I was stitched back up and then got told we needed to transfer in an ambulance to National Women’s Hospital as the twins needed to go to SCBU – well that made me panic as no-one bothered to tell about what SCBU was. Anyway this is where the nightmare began…….

Waited for an ambulance and we had to wait for one from National Women’s for what ever reason, meanwhile we are in a corridor waiting by the ambulance bay – this being the twins, nurse and me as we thought the ambulance was only a few minutes away. They told me one was on the way well 1 ½ hours later it arrived – by this stage panic was setting in with the nurse re: the twins they were having trouble breathing and very cold. At this stage Andy had taken the car and gone home and gone to National Women’s and still bet me there – and he was starting to wonder what had happened to me. Why they could not take an ambulance form North Shore I will never know. The worse part was they wanted to leave me at North Shore Hospital and take the twins to National Women’s (over my dead body).

Finally the ambulance arrived at 5.30am and we had to share an ambulance with another lady who needed to go to Auckland Hospital so we had to make a detour there, meanwhile she was vomiting in the back of the ambulance all the way there…… dropped her off and finally got to National Women’s at about 6.30am. They rushed the twins to SCBU and took me to a ward – I mean what the hell I wanted to be with my babies. Andy came and got me, found me a wheelchair and took me to them. I finally saw my babies properly for the first time, they were so tiny (well they looked tiny) and so perfect. They were on breathing apparatus and had needles coming out of them….. but they were alive and that was alI I was worried about. Finally the tears arrived, I cried and cried….

My stay in National Women’s was nightmare, as because I had the twins at North Shore Hospital the politics took over, my specialist (who I had had, right from when I knew I was having twins) had to come and visit me as a friend because he was not allowed to be my specialist there - I felt like an outsider no nurses in the ward spoke to me…… It was a disaster but having said that the staff at SCBU were AWESOME and the most FANTSTIC nurses anybody could have asked for.

5 Days later the twins and I were transferred back to North Shore Hospital where it was wonderful, because I had twins I got a room of my own and a double room. I got treated with respect and 2 days later I felt confident enough to go home.

And that is my story…….

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Sonny's birth

Date of birth : 12th June 2006

Location: California, U.S.A

Click here to read all about Sonny's entrance into the world - fantastic story!

Monday, September 25, 2006

Zoe's birth

Date: 29th August 2006

Location: Sydney, Australia

Monday 28th August
- Doctors appointment at 11:30am. Blood pressure was up slightly and therefore the doctor thought it would be best to admit me for induction. So off to hospital at 6pm. The gel was applied at 8pm and I was given a mild sedative to ensure a good nights sleep for a very hectic day that lie ahead. Jamie headed home about 10pm for a decent nights sleep also.

Tuesday 29th August - Woke at 5am for a shower and to prepare for the big day ahead. Jamie arrived at 6am and the midwife came about 10 mins later for an internal and to apply a second lot of gel. After the second lot I started getting some cramps but nothing that gave any real discomfort. Just mild period like pains. The doctor came about 9am and performed an internal. This proved that the cervix had come around a little from the previous day but was still quite high. I was given until 1pm to make any real progress. If nothing had happened by then it was off to delivery for my waters to be broken and get the ball rolling. We spent all morning pacing the corridors of the maternity ward trying to encourage something to happen but no real progress so as planned off to delivery suite for the real action to begin. The doctor arrived at about 2pm where she broke my waters and put my on a syntocin drip to encourage the contractions. Boy did they encourage then alright!! None of this 10 mins apart crap!! They were super painful to begin with but just very regular which was tiring. Another internal was done at 6pm when it was revealed I was only dilated 2cm. What??? All that for only 2cm!! At this point I was having difficulty with the pain. Mainly because I was confined to the limits of the bed or standing beside the bed with the syntocin drip and the fetal monitor which was permanently attached to my belly to monitor Zoe's condition at all times. At this point I opted for the gas. What a weird feeling that is! I was a little spaced out with it but I more so remember the tingling feeling it gave me in my face. Very strange indeed. It did take the edge off the pain though so it did the job. At 8pm another internal was done to reveal I'd now dilated 3cm! WTF!!! How could I be in so much pain and not even be half way there!!! The doctor said we would have at least another 8 hours of labour before getting anywhere near then end. When the doctor looked at the monitoring of baby Zoe it showed she wasn't coping very well and her heart was a little on the erratic side so in the best interest for her safety we chose the c-section. The anaesthetist came to see me where I signed my life away and he did the usual run down on what would happen and various complications associated with the procedure. I was taken immediately up to the theatre where I received the spinal block/epidural and at 8:41pm little Zoe arrived into the world!! It was without a doubt the most memorable experience of my life and nothing will ever beat it. To hear that little cry for the first time just brings tears to your eyes and it's like she already knew who we were. She was so alert!! That was what really surprised my the most. She was without a doubt the most beautiful little thing I'd ever seen (biased!!) before in my life. After she was cleaned up and wrapped I got to spend about 5 mins with her while they were stitching me up. After this she was taken back to maternity with Jamie where she was weighed and measured etc. The doctor came to see me before I went to recovery and gave me a run down of what happened during the procedure. Basically little Zoe was in no hurry at all to enter this world on her own accord. She was stuck and had to be removed using the forceps. Yes that's right forceps even in a c-section delivery!! She was apparently entering the birth canal face first with her head tilted back. This would have been a very ugly natural birth indeed so in the end the right decision was made. We are all healthy and that is really all that matters. In reality I was pretty terrified of a c-section before I went into hospital and the thought of a epidural was just as horrifying but it wasn't all as bad as I thought it would be. I suppose an epidural in my circumstances was not the same as with a natural birth and I couldn't imagine a c-section under general anaesthetic so I really can't compare the two. Anyway, after half an hour in recovery I was back in the ward with my beautiful little baby at 9:45pm and in total awe! Needless to say I didn't sleep much that night. Although I was totally exhausted I was running on pure adrenalin!!

Wednesday 30th August - Not much sleep the night before. With both the nurses coming in every 30 mins - 1 hours to do obs etc and just pretty much lying awake looking at my beautiful little baby who could sleep! Jamie woke at about 6am and we just sat there admiring our daughter. I had the catheder in so I was unable to get out of bed or anything but was itching for a shower. The doctor arrived at 9am to check up on us and at that time I was advised I was allowed to have the catheder removed. Yes!! I don't think the nurse had left the room and I was already out of bed and headed for the shower!! It's amazing how much more human you feel after a nice shower! From then on it was motherhood for me!

Zoe Marie -
Weight - 3.88kg / 8lb 9oz
Length - 51 cm
Hair - Strawberry Blonde

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Kaylee's Birth

Kaylee Brooke, Born 10th July 2004 at Waitakere Hospital, Auckland NZ

My due date was the 22nd of July, so I wasn’t expecting to go into labour for a while, however when I had a show around the first week of July, I started getting excited and thinking maybe I may not reach my due date!

At around 5pm on the 9th of July 2004 I was online with my mother and I felt a bit of a twinge, little tiny cramps, I joked to her, “im in labour” haha little did I know that it was indeed the beginning! The cramps were regular right from the start and as much as I should have been resting, I was too excited! I didn’t eat, I didn’t sleep, I just lay awake, and I think a small amount of dozing happened!

I eventually fell asleep at around 11pm and woke quickly at 1am busting to go to the loo, I sat up and my waters broke! Thank goodness I had put a lot of towels down on the bed, it was the weirdest sensation I had ever felt before in my life! I went through so many towels and sanitary pads! Just kept gushing! I had no idea there was THAT much “water” to come out, with so much more to come!

So that was it, I was completely awake, and nothing in me could go back to sleep, I texted Mum and told her that my waters had broken, of course she panicked and rang the house a few times to see if she should leave then (at 1.30am, she was at the time a 4 hour drive away!) we told her to go back to sleep, because we wanted to, and come up in the morning. Somehow I don’t think she got back to sleep!

Darryl went back to bed, and I got up and sat in the lounge, backwards over a chair (was the most comfortable position for me at the time) on a huge pile of towels, and watched Animal Planet! At around 3.30am I woke Darryl up again as the contractions were getting stronger and I needed someone to keep heating my wheat bags as I was finding it a bit harder to get up and down all the time, I remember when he got up standing in the kitchen with him, having a contraction come and instead of breathing through it (like any normal person would!) I sang! I think with every contraction I got through every TV ad I knew at the time! God knows if the neighbors heard (in the house we were in the windows had been painted open… couldn’t be closed…but we wont go there, that’s a whole different story!) but here I was at around 4am singing TV ads at the top of my lungs… haha

I sent Darryl off at around 4am to the supermarket to get some more supplies, (god bless 24 hour supermarkets!) I was ripping through the sanitary pads like anything! And I think he got chocolate and energy drinks too (great healthy food!), and I kept sitting backwards over my chair watching Animal Planet!

At around 6am (ish) I noticed I was bleeding, and did a bit of a panic, because I was told that if you bleed, there is something wrong, and get to the hospital NOW (have since found out this is wrong, it was just my show coming away fully! – had started showing about a week before) So we tried getting hold of my midwife, turns out it was her weekend off, so we rang the backup midwife, whose mobile phone was turned off! We left a message on that and tried to get hold of her in other ways, and finally she rang back, she said she was at the hospital anyway (at another labour) so we should come in, so we took off to the hospital at around 7.30am with Darryl’s mum closely following.

Once at the hospital I got hooked up to a monitor for a bit to see how my contractions were, and there were pretty decent, but they said to me I could either go home for a while longer, or wait around and see what happens, I asked for an internal because I needed to see how far along I was, the midwife was surprised to see that already I was at 5cm, she said to me at 5cm I would be nuts going home, so stay in the hospital we did!

I had planned a water birth, but unfortunately wasn’t put in a room with the birthing pool, there was however a nice deep bath, so I asked if I could go in that for a while, it was bliss, I loved being in the water, I felt weightless, I could move with each contraction with ease, I could relax, I could lie back between contractions, I recommend being in the water to anyone! The only problem I had was every so often the midwife wanted to do an internal, and I had to get out of the bath for them, I didn’t like that! Darryl had the job of keeping the temperature of the water regular, and after a couple of hours the contractions started coming thick and fast, I had some gas come in, but the canister was faulty, had another canister come in, that too was faulty, so I ended up sucking on the nozzle anyway, as it gave me something to concentrate on, and my breathing was SO much more regular with something to concentrate on! I had an internal in the bath and the midwife said I was at 10cm and it wouldn’t be too long at all, I remember thinking at the time, “wow, im going to have the perfect birth!” hmpf… after several more contractions the midwife asked me to get out of the bath so I could have a proper internal (OMG nobody tells you these things damn well HURT!) I got out of the bath, and yep I was at 10cm, but by then I didn’t want to get back in the water again, I thought I was going to have a baby really soon! (This would have been about 10.30am) and I was told that by lunchtime we would be parents!!

Lunch time came and went… the contractions stayed the same and after another internal (I lost track of how many I had, but there were a lot!) it was found that I was not 10cm dilated, I was 7cm… I was devastated! So we jumped in the shower for a while, the hot shower really helped, sitting on the toilet was comfy too, however as my room and an adjoining birthing room shared a toilet, I had the midwife next door knocking all the time as THEY wanted to use the loo…. I found that really hard to deal with, I didn’t want to be rushed and hurried, I wanted to relax!!

However I was completely exhausted, I could handle the contractions, but the tiredness and lack of food was really getting to me, but I still didn’t see the need for any drugs, around 3pm however I could barely move, I was just physically and emotionally exhausted, millions of woman every day push out a baby, why wasn’t mine coming out!! So the decision was made for me to have an epidural, WHAT BLISS! It was amazing, and as soon as I had it I slept for a good couple of hours, much needed sleep to bring me some energy! I was hooked up to all kinds of monitors at this stage and had a drip in my arm, but I really didn’t care anymore, I just wanted this baby out! I remember looking up after I woke up (I was pretty much naked my whole labour, I have no shame and think if people don’t want to see it then they don’t have to be there) and seeing a family of people looking through my door, one of the nurses had left the door open and they were having a good old gawk, Mum (who arrived just before I had the epidural) got up quickly and shut the door in their face!

The contractions were still thick and fast as they had been for hours, but babies heart rate started dropping, I was apparently back to 10cm dilated again and started pushing, but I think I lost all energy again, and before I knew it the room was full of doctors, nurses, midwifes, my mother, Darryl’s mother and Darryl! Heaps of people in a little room, my legs got put up in stirrups, the doctor tried to explain to me that I will be cut (episiotomy) and baby will come out with the help of a ventouse (Vacuum) I really didn’t care and just kept pushing, I remember being told at one stage to stop making noise as it was using up all my energy, once again, I really didn’t care!

After a snip and a suck, at 6.41pm on the 10th of July 2004, Kaylee Brooke made her grand entrance into the world, fully awake, completely covered in vernix, they put her straight up onto me and I remember lying there holding her with this amazing sense of love and guardianship, I was now responsible for another life, I was blown away by how beautiful she was and instantly I was in love. It was a surreal moment.

Unfortunately that moment went away all too quickly when it came time to deliver the placenta.

The birth of the placenta sticks in my mind as one of the most painful things I have ever experienced in my life, I had the injection to help it come away, but there was no waiting for any contractions (although there were some mighty ones!) the Doctor was between my legs (still in stirrups) and the midwife started pressing very hard on my stomach, the doctor was grabbing the cord with (so I got told since!) one foot levered up against the bed pulling the placenta out while the midwife pushed on my stomach, not a pleasant experience and never one I want to repeat ever again. Then, as I had an episiotomy, I had to have a lot of stitches, and unfortunately for me even with a few injections of local anesthetic I felt every damn stitch, for me, the part that come after the delivery of my baby was the worst, hardest and most traumatic thing I have ever had to go through, and I will do everything in my power to never repeat it again.

After all the doctors, nurses and my midwife had left, a couple of hospital midwifes came in to help Darryl help me shower, I was so weak and so tired, so we got into the bathroom, where I promptly fainted, I was helped up onto the toilet and ‘brought to’ and then we tried for a shower a couple more times, fainting each time, I was helped back to the bed where the midwifes made me some toast with jam and a sweet milo, it felt SO good after not eating for so long (last meal was way before I even went into labour!) however it wasn’t enough and I kept fainting, the decision was made for me that I would not shower that night, I was too tired to argue, and I was put onto drip bags for much needed fluids, I wasn’t taken off the drip for over 12 hours.

At around 10pm I was moved into a private room with Kaylee, Darryl went home for the night, and I remember lying there, exhausted, Kaylee was looking at me, and I was looking at her and I knew right then and there that words could not explain my love for this child, and every ounce of pain, discomfort and exhaustion was completely worth it.

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