Monday, November 24, 2008

Ainslie's birth

Our baby was due on the 20th of October. I was kind of hoping to go a little early this time as my first baby was 8 days overdue and my second came right on her due date. I figured it was time for an early baby! But I was wrong - babies only come when they are ready.

I had a really good pregnancy, and felt really well right the way through. I was so lucky not to suffer with symphysis pubis and nerve pain in my leg like I did the last two times, which is apparently unusual - it's supposed to get worse each time! What a difference it made though.. I mainly felt like myself with a big bump out the front!

My baby was sitting posterior the whole way through the pregnancy, just like my first two, so a week before my due date I had some acupuncture with one of the midwives who works with my midwife. I'd never had it before, but it was fine. I had trouble relaxing because I'd been having really restless legs during the last part of my pregnancy and really struggled to stay still! The baby turned though! Two days later at my midwife check up the baby was anterior for the first time ever - I was so happy!

I had niggly period pains every day, lasting for most of the day for the last 2-3 weeks of this pregnancy, but I'd had that with my second baby too so I knew to just ignore them the best I could.

Our two daughters had been sick on and off for a good month with a D&V bug and a cold each. My husband had also been sick so I was starting to feel quite distraught at keeping / getting everyone well so that I could relax and surrender to my labour whenever it started. None of us had had much sleep in the past few weeks either. I was still feeling happy though, and we were all excited to meet our new baby.

My due date was a Monday and my husband was really hoping to not go back to work! Over the weekend I developed a sore throat! Ugh! I was so annoyed!
We had a fantastic weekend anyway and did lots of family things. We drove to our favourite beach, went for a bushwalk, and drove around and around the bumpiest car park (just like we did the day I went into labour with #2!), much to the amusement of a group of people in the carpark! I was so crampy and hopeful things would start that night.. but no. I woke up on the Monday feeling rotten with the beginnings of a cold and tearful. DH decided to stay home from work anyway, which was great. I had another acupuncture appointment with Carly, and this time I managed to last a whole hour, and I really relaxed and focused on letting the acupuncture do it's trick. I spent the whole time imagining my labour, and imagining holding my baby. I said my birth affirmations over and over and also found I had a song going over and over in my head. "I'm ready" by Tracy Chapman. I had a lovely relaxing hour, covered in warm towels. It was exactly what I needed.

Monday afternoon and Tuesday we decided to spend as family days. We took the kids out, went for walks, went for long drives, went to the zoo, tram rides, ice blocks, fish and chips on the beach, playgrounds etc. We had a fabulous time, and it was almost like a holiday at home.

On Wednesday my midwife came for our antenatal appointment (isn't she great coming to our house?!). Baby was great. STILL in anterior position! She asked if I wanted a stretch and sweep, and I accepted because although I was keen to follow my body and let things happen, I knew the stretch and sweep wouldn't do anything if things weren't ready.

At this stage I was about 2cm dilated and everything was really soft and well effaced. I had a little bit of a show afterwards but nothing much. I sent DH back to work because I was really feeling by this stage that this baby was never going to be born! We took our eldest to kindy, and everyone was so nice and sympathetic about me being overdue.. I just felt like crying, and then I felt stupid because I knew I was only 2 days over! My friend (who is just the SWEETEST) invited me over for lunch, and it was too nice an offer to refuse. I spent the afternoon there while she fed all our kids (my two, her two and my neice), gave me some delicious homemade lasagne and made me sit there. I had a great afternoon just chatting away, and she made me leave Miss 4 there to play. We arranged for DH to pick her up on his way home from work. I hope I can return the favour one day because it was exactly what I needed!

Wednesday night I got on the trampoline and had a bounce (as suggested by the midwife, lol) - and when I say bounce, I mean that my feet never left the mat, I just gently rocked up and down. It was quite fun actually! We bundled the girls in the car and took another bumpy ride into the city to our favourite South Indian restaurant and got the hottest takeaways. Such a treat!
That night I finally lost my mucous plug, and continued having a show all night, every time I got up to the toilet.

Thursday arrived and I felt rotten. Sick, grumpy, tearful, FED UP! It wasn't so much the pregnancy, I still felt ok except for the cold, but it was the waiting, and people ringing me several times a day to check if anything was happening! My Mum offered to pick up Miss 4 from kindy which was great because I was starting to feel like I couldn't really cope anymore. I should have rung DH to come home, but I didn't want him to use another day of leave if he didn't have to. I kept losing my mucous plug all day, and was still crampy, but nothing more than usual. When DH got home he took over everything and made me just relax. We had a lovely, relaxing evening, and then both of us had a great sleep that night. I still had to get up lots of times to pee though and each time I felt this huge pressure, like I had to pee urgently! I thought to myself "my waters are going to break soon" (just like my last 2 labours).

I woke up at 6.55am and looked at my phone to see the time. Said good morning to DH, and I think we had a quick conversation about how it was a shame he had to go to work (can you tell we were hanging out for his 4 weeks of leave?!). I remember saying "I need to pee SO bad", and as I went to move out of bed I felt a big gush and started laughing. I leapt out of bed as fast as I could and stood at the side of the bed as my waters broke in a spectacular fashion.. LOL. DH was laughing too - I didn't need to tell him what the noise meant - it was his third labour cleaning up a puddle of amniotic fluid from beside our bed!

I felt SO excited - finally things were starting! I remember saying to DH "YAY! You don't have to go to work now!!" I went and had a shower. I had contractions straight away, but the were mild and only just stronger than I'd been having for the past few weeks. When I got out of the shower DH had made our bed (with the plastic sheet underneath, lol), and was getting the girls all ready for the day. I set myself up in my room with my birth affirmations (which my lovely friend K had given me), my iPod, some nice moisturiser, my water bottle and some toast. I had some nice quiet time in my bedroom while the girls got ready to go out for the day. DH kept coming in and seeing if I was ok, and I was fine. The contractions were getting stronger, and I was having to breathe through them. I was feeling really nice and relaxed, really excited that things were happening, and I was focusing on my affirmations, on breathing nice and deep like I learnt at yoga, and keeping my body nice and soft and relaxed. I sent a few text messages to my sister, my Mum and my midwife, just to let them know what was going on.

DH and the girls left to take Miss 4 to kindy, and I had about 20 minutes of really focusing on relaxing. I even stood up and danced and rocked to my iPod. When they got back from kindy my midwife rang (about 9.30am), and I spoke to her about what was happening. I had two contractions whilst I talked to her and had to stop talking so I could focus on breathing through them. We agreed I would ring back when I wanted to be checked out. My contractions were still coming frequently - they were never more than 3 minutes apart, and still lasting 30-50 seconds each time.

DH's Mum arrived to take Miss 2 out for the morning, which is the usual Friday routine anyway. My sister A arrived at our house (she is training to be a midwife so my plan was always that she would be there). I was still listening to my iPod and was getting frustrated that it seemed to be playing the same 10 songs over and over. I heard Miss 2 and my mother in law leave the house, and DH came and fixed my iPod for me (I'd loaded it wrong the night before, lol). It was funny because I'd filled it with music that I enjoyed listening and singing to - and I'd included lots of yoga music. When it came down to it the yoga music was completely irritating, too slow! I was enjoying listening to all sorts of things, like Cat Stevens, Tool, Paul Simon, all sorts of things. When DH handed it back to me and pressed play, you know what song was playing? "I'm ready" by Tracy Chapman!! It was exactly the right song to hear. I felt myself go deeper into my labour, and I let the contractions really wash over me. Just like the song says.

"I want to wake up and know where I'm going
Say I'm ready
Say I'm ready

I want to go where the rivers are overflowing and
I'll be ready
I'll be ready

I'm ready to let the rivers wash over me
I'm ready to let the rivers wash over me

If it's love flowing freely
I'm ready
I'm ready

If the waters can redeem me
I'm ready
I'm ready

I'm ready to let the rivers wash over me
I'm ready to let the rivers wash over me

Oooooh, Oooooh

I want to wake up
I want to know where I'm going
I want to go where the rivers are over-flowing

I'm ready to let the rivers wash over me
I'm ready to let the rivers wash over me
I'm ready
I'm ready
I'm ready"

You can listen to the song here. (I can't listen to it without getting chills and feeling teary now!)

I think it helped knowing that the girls weren't home too, and I could really relax and start moaning through the contractions without them hearing.

They were getting nice and intense now, and stronger. I was really trying to focus on going with them and feeling myself open up, rather than feel tense and fight against them. It wasn't easy, but the affirmations helped so much.

I had specifically asked that I be left alone as much as possible, so that I could focus. I really found in my last labours when people came and talked to me, I had to stop focusing on my contractions and start focusing on what they were saying and I had a feeling that it had really interrupted the flow of things. This time I was determined that I would just get on with the job, and allow myself to go into 'la la land' - that space labouring women go into where you are really off in another place. It worked really well for me this time. By this time I was finding that I was the most comfortable perched on the end of our bed, and in this position I could feel myself opening up nicely.

My Mum arrived around this time, and was surprised to hear me moaning so much. She came and talked to me, and my sister had just told her that I wanted to be left alone, so after a quick chat she asked when I was going to call the midwife back, and I remember saying I didn't want to ring her back and then find out I was 3 cm again (that happened last time!) - and she suggested to me that I might be further along than I thought. To be honest, I suspected I wasn't 3cm, but I didn't want to get my hopes up. I decided to leave it till I was sure. Mum left the room and I got back to my own little world.

It was about half an hour later that I decided that YES I did want my midwife to come back. I was thinking that if she came and said I was 3cm then I was going to cry!!

DH came and told me our midwife would be here soon. I found out afterwards she had said she would be 40 minutes, but could come ASAP if needed. I was blissfully oblivious to this, and could really feel things heating up. I knew I was dilating up nicely, and I was reassurred by knowing G (midwife) was coming soon. It seemed to take ages for her to get here, and during this time my contractions were really long. They would roll one after another, washing over me, with no gaps in between. I focused on breathing through them, on moaning louder and louder. I had my eyes closed and really concentrated on relaxing as much as I could.

It was about this stage that I started thinking I might need to call out to my sister and tell her she might have to deliver the baby. I was wondering where G was, and thought I could feel that I wasn't far away from pushing, even though I didn't really have the urge to yet. Little did I know, A (my sister) was sensing the baby was very close and had formulated a plan of what she needed to do if G didn't make it!

G finally arrived and organised another space on the bed for me so I could recline back so she could check my progress. It was such an effort to get up and change position but once I lay back I knew I wasn't going to move again. She checked me, and the look on her face was priceless. She gave me a huge grin, and rushed over to give me a hug and kiss, and exclaimed "It's all going to be ok this time Kate, you're 9cm and the baby's head is right there!!". That's exactly what I needed to hear. I remember grinning and relaxing into the feelings even more.

The contractions continued nice and strong. G rang her back up midwife, and while she was getting all the emergency equipment and delivery equipment ready, T (back up) arrived. I remember feeling really relaxed, like I was in good hands, and things were happening as they should. They tried to encourage me to get out of bed to go to the toilet, as I needed to pee, but there was just no way I could. I tried so hard, but it felt impossible! I started feeling quite grunty and pushy around this stage. DH had left the room for something and I remember saying to G "I want DH!". She called him quickly back, and then I asked for A to come in too.

This bit is a bit blurry because the pain was intense and it was taking all my concentration to listen to what people were saying to me, and to concentrate on doing my job. I could feel my baby moving down as I gave small involuntary pushes. My sister was holding my hand, and I still had my eyes closed, trying to concentrate. DH was ready to catch the baby. G was really encouraging and talked me through all of this next bit because I was past it really.. I just did what I was told! We had talked in our antenatal appointments about trying to slow the birth down, because both my previous births had gone so fast (the birthing stage), and it was really important to me that this time, the baby had time to clear the mucus from it's lungs.

G got me to pant and breathe the baby out, and not push. It took all my concentration to focus on doing this. I'd really lost sight of the fact that a baby was coming, and I remember feeling like my whole body was splitting in two. Everyone kept saying they could see the head, and the baby was coming, but I could hardly believe it really. I just kept breathing and panting and kept my eyes closed. G said to me 'Give a little push, and then we'll be able to see the nose' - I thought to myself "What?!" - I had really lost sight of the fact there was a baby coming, and I really didn't think we were that far through with the birth!

There was intense pressure and burning as her head was born, and then the rest of her just slipped out, into DH's hands. He handed her to me, and she was all warm and wet and just lovely! I had no idea if we'd had a boy or girl. DH came and gave me a kiss and I was just in complete shock that there really was a baby!
I just thought she was the tiniest little thing!! I asked Joseph if we had a boy or girl, and he said girl. Another beautiful daughter! How wonderful!

I was just so delighted that she was here, and I'd done it! I was all smiles and feeling fantastic. I did feel a big gush of liquid about now, and looked up at G to see if it was what I thought it was... and yes, it was a bleed. She asked me if I was ok with an injection of syntometrine, and I agreed, knowing it was important now to get the placenta out. I didn't feel the injection, and we quite quickly got the placenta pushed out, and the midwives had a quick check of my perenium at the same time and I was completely intact. (Woohoo!).

I got the baby latched on to the breast, and she was quite happy there. I remember holding her little bottom and saying to my sister 'Feel this!' - because it fit in my hand exactly the same was as it did when she was in my belly and I could feel it! My sister had spent lots of time palpating my belly too so she recognised it as well, so funny.

Miss 4 had arrived home from kindy with my Mum just minutes before the baby was born, so she came in to meet her little sister, and was delighted!

About 5 minutes after that, Miss 2 arrived home with my mother in law and she was a bit bewildered and said 'What's Mummy got that for?" - hehe!

After everyone had met our little baby, the midwives did the newborn exam and found everything was just right. Someone said that we'd had a big baby, and I seriously didn't believe it.. she seemed so tiny! But when they weighed her.. yes, she was 10lb 11oz (4.8kg) and 57cm long.

DH and I had a quick conversation about her name and we decided to go with the name we had ready for a girl 'Ainslie Theia'.

So here we are, parents of three beautiful daughters!

Welcome to the world and welcome to our family, sweet girl!


Kate said...

Aww Kate... It was lovely to read your sotry in it's entirety, although I felt like I knew it all already! ;) I loved it all, how you were in such control and yet surrendered into the process and let Aislie come when she was ready. I'm so pleased the affirmations helped you. They were such a huge part of my last labour. Well done goregous and welcome to the world beautiful Ainslie Theia!!! *big cuddles* to bubba! xxxx

cranky said...

Big CRY CRY CRY at this lovely post Kate!

COuld you email me your address?


M said...

What a wonderful wonderful story Kate. I remember reading the birthing story of both Amelia and Natalia, and especially the emergency ambulance ride, and am so so happy for you that you had this wonderful, natural, beautiful birth.

And, just as a side note, you may want to update your profile as you are now a Mother of 3 beautiful girls :)

Congratulations again to the whole family. M xx

Phil said...

I'd been waiting patiently (!) for this story Kate, and you didn't disappoint! I'm so happy that everything went so smoothly for you this time. I listened to the song while reading it, which made it all the more moving I think!

Thank you so much for sharing this with us.

Hope all is well with you and your lovely family. xx

Chris H said...

Congratulations on the birth of your darling daughter.

Tina said...

Kate, what an amazing story. You had the exact birth you wanted.

Your photos are amazing and the girls look very happy to be big sisters.

Thanks for posting such a wonderful story. said...

Oh Kate!!!!!!!
What a truly beautiful and magical story :) :)
Can I have one now please too *wink*
One day soon I may get to expand my brood to 3 but I'll never be as brave as you to have one at home (kinda not an option since #3 will almost certainly be c-sect for me)...but oh wow!
What a story.
And what a family!
The pic of you all after the birth...the way Joseph is looking at you....what a women I've got is what I bet he is thinking!!!
Congrats to you super mom!

luv P

Tania said...

Congratulations on the birth of your beautiful little girl Kate! What precious photos, so glad to hear that all went well with your home birth - I hope Ainslie is settling into a good routine.

Argy said...

I melted....

missy vas said...

What a wonderful story Kate. It just sounds like the perfect birth. Well done to you and lots of love to your beautiful family. Thanks for sharing such a personal time with us xxx

Corin said...

What a BEAUTIFUL story! I'm so thrilled that you were blessed with such an amazing birth and I found myself relating to so many parts of the story.


Anne said...

Such a beautiful story of a very special, calm delivery of a beautiful little daughter. Congratulations to you all:-)

fitcat said...

Kate, this story almost made me cry! I sure had tingles running up and down my spine! Thank you for sharing - it felt almost intrusive to read something so special and personal and I love that you shared it with your friends.

Funny story - I recently found out that I'm receiving an award from uni and Mum went around telling all the office staff that "Catherine has some great news". And almost every one of them thought I was pregnant!

One day but for now I am content to have a class of little darlings to contend wtih XD

Rachel said...

Fantastic birth story Kate.
I love your birth posts, I feel like I am right there with you.

A big Congratulation to you, Joseph, Amelia and Natalia.

All the very best,

Mish said...

What a beautiful story & new lovely baby. Congratulations on the birth of another little lucky! I'm expecting no. 2, due in July, very exciting. Hope all is going well for you all xxx

Kelly said...

Wow Kate - what a fabulous birth story. You are one amazing women. Thank you so much for sharing! A very belated welcome to beautiful Ainslie!

Little Fat Duck said...

Kate, that is such a lovely lovely post. You are totally my inspiration when it comes to childbirth!

Becca said...

You know... I read your story here MONTHS ago. I don't know why I never commented to wish you congratulations... I thought I had, but then something today told me to comeback and double check.

You are such a strong and powerful Mama. This birth story is pure triumph. I am so happy for you and you beautiful family. The pictures of you are gorgeous. You radiate.

Thanks for sharing... and for not deleting me! ;-)