Hospital birth, minimal intervention – first baby.
After much anticipation Adelaide arrived on the 2nd January this year at 4:15pm. I found out I was pregnant when I was only four weeks so it made for a very long wait. I don’t know why but when we went for the test we were expecting some fancy doctor’s test that would take ages but when we showed her the home test she promptly confirmed that we were pregnant, estimated the due date and then sent me for a blood test.
We managed to keep it a secret for a whole 24 hours until a friend offered to buy me a drink and I asked for a soda water with the biggest grin on my face. I never could keep a secret! Our doctor recommended our midwife to us and at about six weeks Alex and I went to meet her. The rest of the pregnancy was pretty uneventful really. I had almost no morning sickness but wanted to eat steak and spinach all the time and the occasional pie. I did get incredibly tired in the first few months.
Every month we would meet with our midwife and have the standard blood pressure check and a chat about how things were going and about how we were going to handle the birth. I was more worried about whether I was going to be able to breastfeed easily than how I would manage the birth. I always expected that my body was designed to have a baby and my mother had four good births. (In the end Adelaide was very good at feeding right from the beginning.)
We did discuss a home birth but decided that we would like to spend most of the time at home, and when the contractions were 5 minutes apart for an hour, we would go to the hospital for the final part of the birth. Our midwife was very honest and talked through everything with us and gave us a lot of information to read.
My birth date was December 29th so I finished work about two weeks before the date and promptly cleaned the house from top to bottom and when that was finished we waited and waited and waited! We did things like swimming and walking and a lot of sleeping again to make the time pass. My due date came and went and finally on January 2nd something happened. We woke up that morning and thought we would go into town to get some late Christmas presents for family.
I was told that when I was in labour my tummy would go rock hard so every time I felt anything at all I would check how tight my tummy was. When I was getting dressed I started feeling some period like pains that seemed to come regularly so I told Alex but said that I didn’t want to time them as I was probably imagining things and was going to get disappointed so we decided to still go into town.
We were wandering around Cuba Street at about 12:30 pm and I really felt like a berry cone from the health shop so when Alex was getting that I had to find somewhere to sit down. I still really didn’t think that I was in labour because it wasn’t painful at all. I decided that I really did want to go home and rest though and on the way back to the car we chatted to some friends and I had to sit down a couple of times and wait for a moment before I could keep moving. When we got home I started reading the paper and Alex suggested that he could get a couple of videos out because if I really was in labour we could be in for a long wait.
While we were deciding about the video I started having stronger contractions and we decided to time them. The first we timed were 5 mins apart and then there was no time between the next contraction and that was the last time we thought about a video or timing contractions. Next Alex was getting cold wet towels for my tummy and doing acupressure on my back which was absolutely fantastic. I kept waiting for the 12 mins between each contraction that we were told that we were going to have so I could rest but the contractions kept coming one after the other and I kept wanting to go to the toilet.
Just after 1pm, I went to the toilet and found a ‘show’ so Alex thought we should phone our midwife. Alex spoke to her and she said that the show could come up to a couple of weeks before the birth so not to worry and then Alex thought that he should mention that I was having contractions and that they were quite close together. She then spoke to me to find out how I was feeling. She told us after the birth that while speaking to me she thought that I was already about 9 cm dilated.
Even though the contractions were quite intense I was feeling okay and in control but wasn’t sure how long I could cope if it was going to go on for hours. We decided that we would stay at home for a bit longer and keep in touch with our midwife. Alex kept getting cold towels and doing acupressure on demand while I was doing laps of the bed on my hands and knees and making the most incredible primal sounds. I laugh now when I think about it because there is no way that I could try to make that sound now.
At about 3pm I told Alex that I really wanted to go to the toilet. Then everything went crazy. We thought the baby was coming right there and then as I felt this huge pressure and I could feel something that I thought was the baby’s head but it was my waters bursting. So, we phoned our midwife again and she suggested that we go to the hospital straight away.
Alex threw everything into a bag and I tried to get down the stairs and into the car, which isn’t easy when a contraction is coming, and the car keys got lost in the confusion. (I hadn’t packed the bag properly either.) Keys found, we struggled into the car and drove to the hospital. In the meantime, our midwife phoned the hospital and told them to get the lovely natural birthing suite ready for us. Alex got me into the hospital with the help of a lovely young girl from the waiting room holding the door open for us. All the staff were busy as we couldn’t find anyone and our midwife hadn’t arrived yet so when someone finally came out to the corridor with a wheelchair I was very grateful.
We got into the birthing suite about 3:50 pm. Our midwife arrived and had a look to see how far I was dilated and told me that I was already fully dilated and ready to push. When we entered the birthing suite I remember seeing the bath in the corner of the room and thinking how lovely it was going to be when I could get into it. However, I was on the bed being told to push so quickly there was no way that I was having a bath.
Our daughter must have been keen to see the world as she veritably slipped out in two big pushes. At 4:15pm, 20 mins after arriving at the hospital our lovely Adelaide was born and placed in my arms. The placenta came quite quickly after. Adelaide was dressed and the three of us were left on our own for about two hours.
Every time I think about it I still get very teary thinking how beautiful it was with the sun coming in through the window, saying hello to our new daughter. I am glad that we found the Birth Wise group because they taught me that I could have control over my birth and that it didn’t have to be a major medical affair. In retrospect, the best thing throughout the birth was having acupressure and after, rescue remedy (which I couldn’t get enough of).
I think that if we have another baby we will probably have a home birth and then we can climb into our own bed after and relax in our own space and most of all, not have to make the marathon journey to the hospital. Especially when they say that the second baby usually comes faster!