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.

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