Firstly, apologies for the radio silence for two weeks… I’m sure you’ve guessed the reason… the boy has put in an appearance!
Interesting times really – here’s what happened:
Went for acupuncture on Thursday 1st Aug. The acupuncturist was very experienced and I felt I was in capable hands (which is good when someone is sticking you with needles). I wanted to book another session for the following morning but she quite confidently said “Well, you can if you want, but I don’t think you’ll need it”. Insert my expression of slight disbelief here.
By that evening contractions has started – they were quite strong but not that close together. Now who knows whether the acupuncture brought on the labour, or if labour was going to start anyway. It’s kind of hard to do a randomised controlled trial on yourself… In any case I didn’t get any sleep that night.
Friday morning we had a scheduled follow-up with the obstetrician so we decided to keep that. When I dropped down to squat during a contraction in his office, he took one look at me, said “You’re in labour” (he has always been the perceptive type) and sent me upstairs to the labour ward.
At the labour ward, we had a CTG performed (electrical monitoring of the baby), where the midwife declared me ‘not in labour’, rolled her eyes when I told her my doctor’s name, and sent us home. Bummer.
Contractions continued (with increasing strength and frequency) and by Friday evening, waters had broken as well, so back to the hospital (luckily we live close by!) where we were promptly admitted to the labour room. Cervix was 3cm dilated… Hubbie and I laboured all through the night and the following morning until the contractions were coming fast and furious with no breaks in between. Apart from the ‘regular’ contractions I’d also developed excruciating back pain. I felt like someone was trying to snap my spine like a twig. The midwife advised that I was probably in transition and checked my cervix, stating that she expected me to be fully dilated. Alas it was sad news, I was still only 3cm dilated. 3 CENTIMETERS! Did I mention I was only 3 centimeters? Sigh…
The decision was then made to ‘augment’ the labour with oxytocin, combined with an epidural. This continued until mid afternoon when I’d dilated to 8cm. Baby’s head was still high and ‘very molded‘ in the wrong place. It was found that he’d turned during labour so he was now in a posterior position. Aaaah, that explains the back pain. They tried turning him but no luck – and given that the labour was augmented, not much chance of him turning on his own.
We was given an option to ‘continue and hopefully vacuum the baby out’ or proceed to C-section. As you can imagine, I was quite unhappy with the state of proceedings thus far. So much for my earth mother tree hugging natural delivery. Anyway, my husband and I had a discussion, we took a step back and tried to look rationally at the situation: my waters had broken for some time, baby was not moving down, his head was high and molded in the wrong place. I was definitely against assisted delivery (eg. vacuum) – besides which, I knew that the chance of successfully vacuuming a large, malpresented, high baby was low, which was going to end with a C-section anyway. I would rather have myself cut than have the baby injured in any way, so C-section it was.
Once C-section was decided on, it was all systems go. I was in the OT within 40 mins with the baby out shortly after at 15:42hrs. I sobbed hysterically and was shaking the whole time, likely a combination of exhaustion, relief, excitement at finally seeing the bub, and (I’m told) a side effect of the epidural.
Baby cried and turned pink soon after delivery and I was lucky to still have skin-to-skin in the OT. My hubbie then cuddled him while I was in recovery.
From then on, the rest of the afternoon was a bit of a daze. There are photos of my husband and I cuddling the baby and posing for family photos. What the heck? I don’t really remember those… but I was rocking the nasal cannula look.
That evening I had (read = lost) a fight with the midwife. I wanted the urinary catheter out and the compression stockings/ machine off. I was convinced I would be able to walk to and from the bathroom several hours after major surgery. I won the compression stockings fight, and lost the catheter fight. In hindsight I’m glad… I was being a bit ambitious. But I was a bit naughty… the nurse demanded I remained in bed, but I really wanted to wash my face/ brush my teeth. So I dragged my sorry butt to the bathroom along with urinary bag and intravenous drip, hoping to sneak there and back before the midwife returned. Sadly she caught me in the act. No doubt a black mark was put against my name on the patient board.
Baby was fine apart from a tiny bit of neonatal jaundice and we were discharged home day five post-op.
Looking back on the whole experience, to be honest I initially felt a bit fraudulent because I’d always planned for a natural delivery and ended up with a C-section. I then slapped some sense into myself and realised that the lesson learnt here is to change your plan as necessary… my experience is a prime example of how a birth plan is only a plan. One that may need to be changed.
Take home message? IMPROVISE, ADAPT, OVERCOME!
In any case, we’ve taken home the prize: