18 February 2013

Shae's Birth Story: Part One

I woke up around 5am Monday morning with what I hoped were contractions. At nine days past the baby's due date I'd been hoping that any twinge was the start of labour, and after lying in bed for a couple of hours listening to a hypnobirthing track and timing the contractions, I decided that this was finally it!

I called our midwife Juliet to let her know that labour was underway and since she was already planning to come round later that morning she told me to get some rest while I could. Contractions were starting to take more of my attention by the time Juliet and our student midwife Jo arrived for our appointment at 10am. The contractions were about ten minutes apart and distracting enough that I didn't feel like talking through them, but it was obviously still early in the labour and it felt like it would be a while before things got serious.

We arranged that I'd call Juliet with an update every couple of hours. From then it felt like everything was on fast forward, and whenever I checked the time hours had passed. By about 6pm contractions were around five minutes apart and I was starting to feel like things were progressing so the next time I called Juliet I asked her to come round. Owen set up the birthing pool in the living room while I concentrated on breathing through contractions, both of us excited that it wouldn't be too much longer before we would be meeting our baby!

When Juliet and Jo arrived back at our place just after 8pm things had progressed a lot from that morning. Contractions were taking up my full attention, and it was most comfortable to be standing and swaying through them. Over the next couple of hours the contractions were starting to get stronger but with hypnobirthing breathing were still feeling very manageable.

Breathing through a contraction

By about 11pm I was definitely in the zone, focussing on breathing through every contraction and trying to rest in between. At 1am things were getting more intense with contractions every three minutes, so we started the "home birth epidural" - towels soaked in boiling water, slightly cooled, then wrapped around my lower back. It felt amazing! It was even better when it was time to get in the birthing pool,the heat of the water and feeling of weightlessness were wonderful and I didn't want to get out!

Relaxing in the pool between contractions

By 5am a whole day had passed since contractions first started, and we decided that it was finally time to check progress. Earlier in labour I didn't want to find out (if I was only a couple of centimetres dilated after hours of contractions it would be pretty disheartening) but as the time passed it got to the point where we needed to know. I was at six centimetres and unfortunately, after weeks in the perfect position, the baby had turned. That explained why things were taking so long, and in an attempt to get things moving we decided that Juliet should break the waters.

For the next few hours contractions were still about three minutes apart though more intense, but they weren't feeling any different and there was no sensation of the baby descending. As time passed I knew I was getting close to my limit. After a while I was starting to think that I couldn't go on much longer, which had me hoping that I was nearing transition (wanting to give up can often happen at that point). At about 9am we decided to check progress again, which would hopefully give an indication of how much longer labour would continue.

I was upset when we found out there had been absolutely no change since the first check...

[Read Part Two]