We had gone out to dinner with Stephan’s Rifle club to “Mr India” on Wed 1 November 2006 for a banquet meal so there was no “hot” curries – just all mild and tasty curries. About 9.15pm I started getting funny stomach pains and had a couple of visits to the toilet over the next 45mins or so, I told Steph that I wanted to go home as I just wasn’t feeling “right”.
Got home about 10.40pm, and after about 20mins in bed and not being able to get comfy and needing to go to the toilet yet again, I got up and after being on the toilet for quite some time, I started pacing the lounge and after about 1hr of being up and wandering around, I realised that the pains I was experiencing were in fact contractions! I decided not to wake Stephan up just yet as there wasn’t a lot he could really do, so spent from about midnight till 4.30am between pacing the lounge and spending time just sitting on the toilet as I found that to be quite a comfy position.
Woke Steph up at 4.30am as I had decided by then that all I wanted was a nice warm bath to help relax things… we ran a bath but once I was in it I decided that it just wasn’t big enough for me to really relax in – well not in the positions I wanted to be in! Must have been in there for about 20 mins before deciding I had had enough of being in there. After some more pacing around the house, we decided to page Edith (MW) about 5.40am. She rung back a few mins later and after talking to her between contractions, we both decided that I would “hang in” there for another hour and then check back in with her about 7am. I rung Mum (as she was one of my support people) to let her know in case she wanted to get ahead of peak hour traffic but as she had the car booked in for a WOF first thing, I told her to get that done first and then come down afterwards. Whilst talking to mum, I had the first horrendous contraction (the rest had all been “bearable”) and was then promptly sick in a bowl that only just made it to me in time! Then rung my friend Lynaire (who was to be the other support person) to let her know – Lynaire had work commitments in the morning but was going to try to get to the hospital after lunch.
Paged Edith again about 7am, and we agreed to meet at the hospital just as soon as we could both get there. We got there first after a stop on River Road so I could put my head out the door as I thought I was going to be sick again but just the fresh air seemed to help make me feel better. But every bump in the road, every corner we went around was agony for me and I did feel sorry for Steph as I cursed him the whole way!
We got settled into our room and once Edith arrived (approx 8.15am), she examined me and I was 3cm dilated. I was then hooked up to the monitor for approx 20 mins so that they could do a trace of Rachel’s HB etc… Once I was able to move again after the monitoring was done, I opted to spend some time in the bath to hopefully ease the pain of the contractions. I spent about 90 mins in the bath though didn’t find it that comfortable and the handrail was on the wrong side of the bath for me to be able to “squeeze” while I was having the contractions. Steph was great during this time just rubbing my hips, lower back and bum as that was where all the pain was. While in the bath, Edith spoke to us about having an epidural and after some contemplation we decided that it was better for me (and everyone else) that I did go with this option.
I then decided that I had had enough of the water and got out ready for the epidural… Mum arrived as I was getting out of the bath – it was great to see another friendly face. By this stage, the gas had all been set up as well so once I got the hang of breathing it in – I was hooked! LOL Edith then told us the “bad” news – that the registrar wouldn’t do the epidural until we had another trace done (for about 15mins) due to Rachel’s HB being so “steady” during the first one. So at this stage, Edith did another internal and I was now 6cm dilated, then she put a scalp clip into Rachel’s skull so that they could monitor the HB that way and generally when scalp clips are put on, the baby gets quite active and their HB goes right up… but no not our Rachel who kept on sleeping through all of this! Therefore, the 15min trace ended up being over an hour long before they finally gave me the epidural! So all up I had gone for about 5hrs without major pain relief which was great going for me. Lynaire arrived just before the epidural was administered so it took Steph, Mum, Lynaire and Edith to hold me steady and in the correct position while they tried to get the needle in. It did take two attempts to get it in the correct place…
The time was now about 2pm, and the next hour passed in a bit of a blur but I do remember being sick a couple of times, and I recall the registrar saying that they would give me an hour and by then I should be ready to push… About 3pm, they did another internal and I was fully dilated by then but the head was stuck on the lip of the cervix and they were unsure if I would have the strength to push it out at that stage, so a decision was made to try Ventouse (suction cup) to aid Rachel in coming out. That has to be the worst part of the whole labour! It was painful whilst they were attaching the cup to Rachel’s head and it was just down right awful when I was contracting and pushing and they had the suction going…. We did make some progress but as Rachel’s HB was still steady (she was still sleeping), we decided that we needed to get Rachel out ASAP. So Howard (the Obstetrician) was called up from theatre to get Rachel out using Forceps… So before he arrived, I was given an extra strength dose of epidural and also a local anaesthetic so I only have vague recollection of this part, but one part that sticks in my memory very strongly is Howard arriving and standing at the end of the bed, telling me to push, to which I said “NO” and he looked me in the eye and said “You WILL push when I say push” and next thing I pushed, Howard had gone and Rachel was on my stomach! I didn’t feel a thing at that stage obviously thanks to the epidural and local anaesthetic. So Rachel Judith Brownie arrived in this world at 4.13pm on Thursday 2nd Nov weighing in at 7lb exactly.
They had organised a paediatrician to be on standby in the room due to Rachel’s HB not having increased during the labour. So at the time of delivery, there were a total of 9 people in the room! Not quite what I had planned but our main focus was delivering a healthy baby! I had very brief initial skin to skin contact before she was taken by the paediatrician to be checked out – she wasn’t taken from the room at all as they had all the equipment there beside my bed. The only concern that they had was the mucus on her lungs affecting her breathing so we had to watch that for a wee while but all was ok. Her APGAR readings were 8 and then 10. During this time, I delivered the placenta naturally quite quickly and then I was stitched up having torn when the forceps were used and receiving a 2nd degree tear. Once, I had been sewn up I was able to have my first real cuddle with Rachel and put her to the breast.
We were then moved to a Post Natal room an hour or so later and settled in there. I have nothing but high praise for all of the Midwives and nurses at Hutt Hospital. They were all brilliant and so helpful especially during the night! I left the hospital on Saturday afternoon once the feeding had settled down and also after I had managed to pass at least one bowel motion!
WELCOME TO OUR WORLD RACHEL JUDITH – YOU ARE VERY MUCH LOVED BY ALL AND WATCHED OVER BY YOUR GRANDAD, HANNAH, AUNTY JUDE AND YOUR ANGEL BROTHER/SISTERS.
Visit Rachel's Mummy here.