Friday, October 19, 2007

Finally - Alex's birth story

I know it has taken me a long time to post this but I finally sat down and transcribed my chicken scratchings on paper onto the computer and wrote down Alex's birth story. It's a long one, so grab a cuppa and read on.

I had lots of plans for the birth of our first baby. I didn’t want a c-section. I didn’t want an epidural. I wanted to have as natural a birth as possible. I had visions of lovely music, of my husband being totally attentive and me looking radiant as I pushed my baby into this world. Of course, in that list was that I wanted to do whatever was necessary for my baby to be born healthy – and if that meant doing a c-section or any of the things I didn’t want to do then I would do it. His safety was foremost on my mind.

Bearing that in mind, I got the greatest selection of music from my lovely friend Lucie. Sadly enough, I don’t remember any of the music being played as once things got moving I wasn’t concerned about music at all. Once at the hospital we never even put the music on, even though I had it all there with me. So clearly not everything goes to plan. Still – I was pleased with the overall birth experience and this is the story of the birth of our son Alexander Anthony.

On Sunday 5th August I got up in the middle of the night to go to the loo and I knew straight away that I had had a show. It looked exactly as described by everyone. I wasn’t too worried as I knew sometimes you can get a show weeks before your baby is due, and I wasn’t due for nearly a month. I went back to bed and by next morning I was woken with very light contractions every 11 minutes.

The contractions grew in intensity over the next couple of days. On the Wednesday I discussed with the hospital whether I should come in to be checked out or not, and they suggested that as I was still considered premature, I should come in and just get checked out. We actually had tickets to the circus for that evening (a non animal circus!), and I really wanted to go, so I held off going to the hospital and we went to the circus. Wouldn’t you know that our tickets were for the very back row! – somehow I managed to make it up the stairs and sat, having strong contractions throughout the whole thing, and watched the whole circus show. The acrobats were amazing. The people next to me kept looking at me with a very worried look. Hubbs wasn’t sure we should have been there but I was adamant. I even ate a hotdog!

So as soon as the circus was finished, we went home and called the hospital. They strongly suggested I come in and told me off for leaving it so late (I never told them I had a circus to go to). So we grabbed our things and headed to the hospital. They monitored both myself and the baby and said that my contractions were irregular and that I probably wasn’t in real labour yet (sure felt like I was hehe). So I stayed the night there and in the morning the obstetrician came to see me and said I was 3cm dilated and most definitely in labour despite the contractions still being quite irregular (some were 4 mins apart and then they changed to 10 mins apart and then 8mins apart etc). He thought about breaking my waters then to get things going but said that as they were bulging through my cervix he felt I was going to be able to progress things by myself. He suggested I go home and do some walking and that he expected I would be back later that day to have the baby.

In Australia they determine that a baby is premature if born before 37 weeks gestation – and I was 1 day shy of 37 weeks – so if born that day the baby would be considered premature.

So I went home and walked as much as I could and later that day tried using the tens machine on my lower back to counteract the pain, and hopefully confuse my brain to not send out pain signals. But although this worked initially, the contractions became so intense it really stopped working so I rang the hospital and asked if I could come back to use the gas for pain relief – so we went back and I started using the gas – that stuff is awesome! I really wanted to try to have as natural a birth as possible, and the gas is the least problematic of all the pain relief options.

I knew there was a certain point where I wouldn’t be able to have an epidural (too far gone into the labour process), so I was determined to work myself through until I was too far gone for the epidural and have that choice taken away from me, as I really didn’t want the epidural if I could get away without it.

So I kept working through all the contractions through the night and at about 3am the nurse suggested a pethadine shot to help me have a few hours sleep. I did that and got 3 hours of lovely sleep before the shot wore off. At that stage I was 7 cms dilated so things were progressing. When I had the pethadine shot, hubbs decided to go home and shower and change while I was sleeping. I was terrified he would fall asleep or something and miss the birth but he was determined, so he went home and came back about 7am. I was so pleased to see him.

At 8am the next morning the obstetrician came and broke my waters which still hadn’t broken on their own – things started happening a lot faster after that and at 9am I started getting the urge to push. My Obstetrician was off delivering two c-section babies, so they urged me to wait for her return. During this time they were worried about the baby as bubs kept moving and they couldn’t monitor properly, so a doctor came in and put a monitor directly on the baby’s head (internally – yuk). Poor little mite had a cable clipped onto his head. The Obstetrician finally returned about 10am and I have never been so happy to see her. By this stage I had begun pushing as I couldn’t control it any longer, but when she came in she showed me a more effective way to push (by putting my feet up on her hip and the midwife’s hip and pushing against them) and once she did this I felt like I was making so much more progress.

I kept asking if the baby cart had come into the room as they told us in our baby classes that once that comes into the room then you know the baby is very close to being born. I also kept apologizing to the Obstetrician saying “I am sorry this is taking so long, I am sure you have other things to do” to which she would laugh and tell me she had nothing better to do than to help me deliver this baby.

Hubbs tried to be supportive, and kept a cool facewasher on my brow to make me comfortable.

After pushing for an hour the contractions suddenly started dying off, (which was problematic as the baby’s head was emerging!) so they gave me an injection of some stuff that speeds up contractions (synatosis?). That helped a little but they had to keep turning it up to keep my contractions going. Bub was still being monitored and was doing fine. A little stressed but not in danger levels. They kept showing me the head emerging in a mirror and it was amazing. When the head was almost out the Obstetrician let me know she was going to make a slight epistiotomy (a small cut) as it looked like I was going to tear.

She did that and seconds later at 11:54am on the 10th August 2007, Alexander Anthony emerged into the world. Being born on exactly 37 weeks – he wasn’t considered premature!

They put him directly on my chest, and I looked at the fingers and toes to make sure they were all there, and then checked whether we had a boy or girl – He was a boy. I cried, as did Hubbs – Our son was here. I was pretty exhausted and just held this baby on my chest while the Obstetrician delivered the placenta and stitched up the epistiotomy. (I never even felt any of that).

Alex pooped seconds after being born which was much better than doing that whilst in the womb.

Within about 10 mins Alex had squirmed his way to my breast and latched on. I was so happy as this was the birth experience I had wanted. A very natural birth, and the chance for him to find his own way to breastfeed. They left him with us as long as we wanted just frequently changing his warm blankie for a warmer one. We had him with us in the delivery suite for about 3 hours before we were moved to a ward. By this time he had developed a rather large bruise on his head off to the side. The doctor said that he didn’t come out completely head on but rather with his head slightly sideways (kind of ricocheted out) and this is why he had the bruise. It went in about 3 days.

He had an apgar score of 8 and 9

About an hour after he was born the midwife noticed he was breathing really heavily so she called the pediatrician to the delivery suite just to confirm he was okay. He arrived within about 15 minutes and by this time Alex was breathing fairly normally. He checked him thoroughly and said “he is pretty well made!” and said that he wanted sugar levels checked. So they did that and it came back a little low. Alex was admitted to the special care nursery and formula fed to boost his sugar levels. That broke my heart as he couldn’t be with me, and I wasn’t feeding him.

I was taken around to the ward and placed in a room with three other mothers – all who had c-sections and all who had their babies in the room with them. They all asked me where my baby was – it broke my heart hearing their babies crying and knowing mine was not in my room with me. Of course I was allowed in the special care nursery whenever I felt like it but it wasn’t the same as having him right there next to me.

I slept well that night, but was a little concerned that I felt I hadn’t really bonded with my baby. I was still a little amazed by this little person I had given birth to after all these years of trying. The next morning my fears of this evaporated when I woke and my first thought was my son. I threw my dressing gown on, slipped on my slippers and virtually ran down to the nursery, holding my breath the whole way. I leant over my son’s crib and the flood gates opened. I felt this overwhelming surge of love for my baby – MY BABY! I never imagined even after 5 years of desperate trying that I would have a baby in my arms. I wondered about my 3 lost babies, and whether they would have looked like Alex. At that moment I cried for them as much as I cried for the incredible baby who was sleeping right in front of me.

I was moved the day after he was born from the 4 bed ward to a private room – a lovely private room with a queen sized bed, my own chair and table set, make up table and mirror, fridge and ensuite. Like a good hotel room. I could still hear other’s people’s babies crying but it was a little easier being on my own.

Over the next three days Alex’s levels were checked and stabilized but my milk didn’t come in , no matter what I did, and as you know he ended up being totally bottle fed by 9 weeks. On the third day he was in the special care nursery they noticed he was a bit jaundiced so had his levels checked and he was put under lights for another three days. He hated the lights and being naked – and frequently screamed the whole nursery down. They ended up calling me a few times to come and nurse him as he would scream for them all, but be quiet as a mouse for me. That made me a very happy mumma.

I have it all on video (taken discreetly from over my shoulder) and on photos that HubbsChris was taking (including 4 full on photos of the head emerging and of Alex totally emerging), and Hubbs got to cut the cord.

We stayed in hospital together for 6 days and it wasn’t until the last night we were there that Alex came into our room. I stayed awake all night watching his chest moving up and down and just gazing at wonderment at our son. We went home the next day to begin our new life as a family at last.



At 1:47 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

A beautiful story. Have a lovely weekend, Joanne :)

At 4:00 pm, Blogger Sitting in Silence said...

I love a happy birth story....thanks so much for sharing such a private time with us.....specially me...the mad wanna be midwife he he he....

xoxoxox forAlex....

At 7:49 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm such a sook-crying again over the birth of OUR baby!!!He is just so blessed to have you for a Mum-he was so hard to get you are always going to appreciate just hoe precious he is and what a blessing he is. All babies are-but unfortunately not all parents see things that way.This is still one of my favourite "never give up" stories. All you went through, I don't think anyone would have blamed you if you had given up-but you didn't-brave, courageous, determined you-and look waht you got. You can keep telling me this story forever and I'll NEVER get sick of it. Love you both
Coz Loz

At 8:23 am, Blogger Katt said...

oh YAY finally it lets me post comment!!

Thank you so much for sharing your story with us! loved reading it..


At 8:37 am, Blogger Kate said...

I'm so glad that you were able to push him out yourself - well done you for hanging out so long with the contractions etc. Sorry to hear about the breastfeeding; it must be disappointing for you. My bub is formula fed as well and there are lots of upsides to this, like Dad being able to participate more and babies sleeping through the night earlier! Congrats to your both - he's beautiful!


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