Jenny's Birth Story
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Following on from Jenny's vivid account of her pregnancy in our weekly guide, this is her amazing birth story.
Monday (41.3 weeks)
Rob cancelled the appointments this morning as I've been having intense (read, bloody painful) back contractions every 10 minutes or so ever since 4:30pm yesterday. Also bled in the night after some particularly horrendous contractions and rang Leslie the midwife who said that is normal, it is just the cervix opening, but since then, no blood or discharge. So I am seriously feeling like crap, nauseous, feverish and I'm anxious as it's so long-lasting and I just don't know how long I can hack it. Barely any sleep, and even without the contractions the back pain is there. The midwives said to call back at 4pm to report on any progress and if there is none they said they might start to be concerned. I'm just trying to rest and keep my mind off all the pain, and Rob is home. We are getting inundated with phone calls and SMSs, which is really irritating as I really don't want to talk to anyone and despite telling everyone several times that we will let them know if there's any progress they still insist on calling. I just don't want to talk about it as I feel awful and am scared. I just want him out and for there to be some relief for my poor back.
Coping with the pain
The contractions are coming at about 6 - 7 per hour on average. Around 3pm the pain was bad and contractions were close together so we rang Yanni at the Birth Centre and she said to come in. I knelt in the back seat with the window cracked open and we drove to the Birth Centre with me breathing and moaning like a miniature heifer through the contractions.
Time means little in labour, and as this is written in retrospect, the sequence of events is all a blur and probably out of order. Essentially, there was no-one else in the Centre and we were shown to a room where Rob brought all our bags in. Never ended up using all my labour tools (relaxation CD, oils, snacks, etc, etc), just got down to the business of birthing. Anxiety and nausea left and it was just a job I had to do.
I stripped off and got in the shower, kneeling on knee-pads and leaning over a birth ball while the shower jet hit me in the lower back, where all the pain was. Don't remember feeling any abdominal pain. Yanni did an internal at one point and I was 6-7cm! I was so stoked as I'd expected to be in a lot more pain and distress so I rang Mum and chatted to her (while breathing through contractions).
I moved to the big spa pool across the hall but found it was difficult to get comfy - I needed to be on my front but the lip of the pool was at an odd height and difficult to lean on. I snapped at the midwife, "What are my pain relief options?", as I knew they offered gas/oxygen and she hadn't bothered to offer them to me so it was like she wasn't doing her job. She jumped up and got it organised but I didn't really like it; it had a funny taste and I felt it might make me nauseous so I only used it 2-3 times. Went back to the shower, when (thankfully) Yanni finished her shift and handed over to the lovely Sharon Penn, who was our fave midwife. Yay!! So that must have been about 7-8pm, but I'm guessing.
Our favourite midwife to the rescue
Sharon was very pro-active, suggesting different positions and ways for Rob to get involved. I remember drinking a ton of water. I also remember standing in front of the bathroom mirror leaning on the sink during a contraction, looking at myself in the mirror and hearing a pop and seeing my waters gush out of me onto the tiles. That was pretty amazing!!! Rob was like, wow!! It took a lot of pressure off my back. It got to a point when I suddenly grunted in the middle of a contraction and realized I needed to bear down. So after a bit of pushing (see, I don't remember much!!) Sharon checked me and said, "Oh my god, he's right at the entrance!" She and Rob had a look and a feel and there was hair right there! But I felt he was stuck.
I did a lot of kneeling on a gym mat and leaning over pillows. Also tried the birth stool a couple of times leaning back in Rob's arms but I didn't really like the birth stool even though Sharon was keen for me to use it because she could see. In the end she said I had an hour left to get him out and then we'd have to go up to the ward to get some assistance. I remember feeling very focused and dogged that I was going to budge him but it was not to be, and I knew this before the hour was up and said to get things ready to move. An attendant came and they got me on the trolley (lying on my back for the first time - Not Pleasant!! and trying not to flash the attendant during every contraction).
The labour ward
I arrived at the KEMH labour ward that we'd seen during our antenatal classes and they pulled out the stirrups. There was a doctor there and a trainee girl and Sharon, but it's all a bit hazy. I remember the doctor saying, "I don't want to do an episiotomy". They told me they were going to put the vacuum into me to attach to his head and boy, did that hurt - more than the labour that's for sure. I'm sure that's when I ripped in all directions. I screamed the house down and tried to push it away but Sharon spoke gently to me and said it would only take a second, which it did. Once it was positioned on his head, we had to wait for the next contraction so they could pull while I pushed. But they were moving further apart, to 5 minutes. In retrospect I think it was just my body conking out after 30 hours of back labour, but didn't know it at the time. So when the next contraction came, the doctor said, "Instead of yelling, I want you to put all that energy into pushing". So I did and then the contraction faded but I kept pushing because I wanted him out! But they said 'no, you can't push if there's no contraction'.
Tuesday 16 May (Jordan's birthday)
So there's Jordan's head, completely crowned, half in and half out of me and we had to wait 5 minutes for another contraction. I remember thinking 'you've got to be joking' but then turned my brain off as it didn't bear thinking about and I just waited for the next wave. When it came I said to the team 'here it comes' and I pushed, they pulled and out he slithered! He was 8 pound and born at 12:07am on Tuesday 16 May.
They put him straight onto my chest and I remember thinking how wonderful and warm he felt, and heavy! It was the best feeling in the world. I looked down into his wrinkled little face and he started to whimper. I remember watching Rob cut the umbilical cord, but I don't think either of us thought to talk to each other, which is such a shame in retrospect. Then Jordan was whisked to the other side of the room, and Rob went with them to cut some more cord, weigh, wash and bundle him up. I remember hearing his cry, but was more focused on other stuff, such as delivering the placenta. I remember watching Jordan on the other side of the room while working to get the placenta delivered, which was pretty large and I remember working through the pain by groaning and breathing with it, not pushing, then it just slid out. And now I'm now a proud mum of a gorgeous baby boy.