Monday, August 06, 2007
I was booked in to have some professional photos taken of my 38 week pregnant belly at 7.30pm on Thursday 26th July 2007, so I started getting ready at 6.00pm. I did my make-up and was in the middle of blow-drying my hair in the bathroom when I felt a warm gush in my pants and knew that it was my waters breaking. It was about 6.15pm, and I was 38 weeks 1 day pregnant. I moved quickly towards the toilet and called out excitedly to Jonny and we stood staring at each other in disbelief that this was actually going to happen. I also had my bloody show whilst on the loo, and started to have a bit of diarrhoea. Jonny called to cancel the photography session, and also the plumber who was booked in for the following morning.
I quickly realised that all my toiletries and overnight things that I would need for the hospital were at my parents place because I had been staying there during Jonny’s graveyard shifts, as I was nervous about going into labour while he wasn’t there. So we decided to go and get some takeaways for dinner and pop into mum and dads to pick up my overnight gear. They were surprised and excited to see us, and we sat together watching the final of Greys Anatomy and I finished knitting the final three rows of my baby-blanket. Contractions started while we were at mum and dads but were only very minor, and the diarrhoea continued. We started writing the times down anyway, and I lost my mucous plug just before 9pm.
When we arrived home I took two Panadol and hopped into bed, thinking I might as well try and get some sleep before we needed to go to the hospital. Because I had previously tested positive for group b strep, we knew that no matter where I was at with contractions, I would need to be at the hospital by 6am to have IV antibiotics.
By 11.15pm I started writing down the timings of the contractions again as I could feel things really picking up pace. By 11.33 I was on my hands and knees rocking my hips through the contractions, which were lasting 40-45 seconds and coming between three and six minutes apart. Not long after midnight Jonny decided to ring the hospital to find out when I should consider coming in for the IV antibiotics, even though I wasn't quite at the point the midwife had indicated (3-5 mins apart and lasting for a minute). It turned out that my midwife was already there for another delivery, so we went straight in. The time was 12.32am. I only had a couple of contractions in the car, and was beginning to wonder if the labour had stopped. At one stage I noticed Jonny was driving in a 50km zone at about 80km an hour and I thought that we would have a good excuse if we were stopped by the Police.
On arrival at the Te Henga ward at Waitakere Hospital, I was admitted and put on the CTG monitor for 20 minutes and told I was only in early labour and to expect a long night. I had to stay flat on my back for the CTG monitoring and I found this much more uncomfortable than being able to go on my hands and knees. I did try to turn over whilst still on the monitor but it stopped picking up the baby’s heartbeat so I had to go back on my back. I threw up at 1.30am.
My midwife, Frann, was attending another delivery so it seemed to take forever before she came in to see me. She put the antibiotic in at 3am after 2 failed attempts at finding a vein, and then she went home to try and get some rest. The student midwife, Kylie, popped in a couple of times as well, but she also went home to get some sleep. The hospital midwife, Denise, took over my care and pretty much left me to it, only popping in once or twice to give me a heat pack and check how things were going. At some stage she also told me how to breathe properly through the contractions which was a great help. Before she left Frann had said I could have some pethidine if I wanted it and I remember asking Jonny at one stage when they were going to offer me gas, but no-one ever did.
By 4am I was incredibly uncomfortable and felt a lot of pressure to push, so I called for the hospital midwife, Denise, who told me not to push yet as I wasn’t ready and could actually slow things down. I had to persuade to do an internal examination to check my progress - she was reluctant and still thought I wasn't contracting hard enough (I have NO IDEA where she got this idea!!!). Anyway she did the internal and discovered I was 9cm dilated so she rushed off to prepare the delivery equipment and call Frann back in. Jonny called my mum, and they both arrived at about 4.30-4.45am. If the internal had revealed I was only a few centimetres dilated, I might have considered other options for pain-relief as the pain of the contractions was very bad and I didn’t know how much longer I could stand it.
I started pushing at 4.40am and Frann was very encouraging and told me how to push. During this stage I couldn’t feel the contractions as strongly, but found that pushing was actually much harder work physically. Frann and Jonny were at the business end and could both see the babys hair and commented how dark it was. Mum was at my head administering a cold flannel, and at some point asked if I wanted a mirror so I could see as well, and I agreed. I actually found this really helpful with the pushing, as I could see my progress. Mum was encouraging me to have the baby at 5.19am as that is the same time that I was born, and we joked that I was inefficient with my pushing when 5.19 passed.
Kellie Grace was born at 5.23am on Friday 27th July, weighing 3250g, a little under 7lb3oz. Jonny caught her head as it came out, with Frann’s hands on the outside of his, and he pulled her body out by himself. I had asked mum to have the camera ready to take photos as soon as she arrived, and I found myself grabbing the camera out of her hands and taking the first photos myself. I couldn’t believe how small she was and how much dark hair she had. Her umbilical cord was HUGE.
After only a couple of minutes Frann told me to push again as the placenta was coming. Mum at this stage phoned my sister in London and broke the news to her that her niece had been born. She was on the phone when Jonny cut the umbilical cord, and she heard Kellie crying and cried herself.
Kellie was placed on my chest straight away, and I gave her her first cuddles. She was tiny and all covered in vernix and blood but I didn’t care. After a few minutes Frann told me I had to give her to Jonny while she stitched up my ripped perinium. The stitches hurt like heck and I don’t know if the local anaesthetic actually had any effect. At 6.00am we gave her her first feed, and she had her check-up, a clean-up and vitamin k injection.
I do remember feeling strangely empowered and elated that I had given birth WITHOUT DRUGS and without intervention. It is hugely satisfying to know that you have accomplished giving birth to another human being and you’ve done it in the most natural way possible. I was also so proud of Jonny for his support and love he showed during the whole labour, he was just fantastic and I only had to tell him off once for offering me food when I clearly had other things to think about!
Kellie wasn’t given a name until 9am, as we had to narrow it down from four or five choices that we had. I had a shower and got into a hospital gown, and at some stage my dad arrived to meet his granddaughter, and he walked into the room and burst into tears.
The midwives told us that the maternity ward was fully booked so we would have to stay in the delivery room until we were ready to transfer to the birthing unit at Helensville. This suited us fine, as we were able to spend the whole morning with our new daughter without having to move around. Jonny’s parents and niece also arrived to visit, and so did our friend and her 8 week old son.
Getting Kellie into her capsule turned into a bit of a drama (we couldn’t figure out how to adjust the straps), and even though we were allowed to leave Waitakere at midday, it was closer to 2pm when we finally left. We stayed at Helensville for 3 nights and they were fabulous, providing round-the-clock care and help with feeding. Jonny was allowed to stay for the first two nights, although their policy is usually only the first night for partners.
We came home on Monday 30th July and are settling nicely into a routine with our new addition. Welcome Kellie Grace, we can’t imagine life without you!
“Before you were conceived, I wanted you,
Before you were born, I loved you,
Before you were here an hour, I would die for you.
This is the miracle of life”