|Welcome Nicola Rose|
We were not happy with our care in the hospital system. We believe there were a number of things that we could have tried that would have given us a better outcome for myself and Lily if we had had the proper support. My being able to get into different positions to try to turn Lily anterior or simply just waiting for labour to take as long as it needed (at no time was she stressed) may have resulted in a very different outcome for us both.
We started on a journey of researching and asking many questions. We talked to obstetricians, midwives, homebirth midwives and heard and read many, many birth stories from mums and dads. Eighteen months after Lily’s delivery we were ready to try for another baby and this time we planned to have our baby at home surrounded by people whom we trusted and who we knew would support me in the way that I needed.
Nikki’s ‘due date’ going off my last monthly period was 10th July 2008.
Nikki dropped at 35 weeks and she had been in a great anterior position for most of my pregnancy. I was also getting Braxton Hicks which I did not notice when pregnant with Lily so I thought she may come close to her ‘due date’. But Nikki had other ideas.
I was getting clusters of good tightenings from 5th July especially between 8-10pm each night.
We had the La Bassine birth pool set up from 8th July and tested the filling time and temperature on the 12th July. I got in the pool so we could see how much we needed to fill it and was surprised to found how easy it was to move into different positions in the water. I had no pain in my hip or pelvis and felt really supported by the water. I could feel bub move her head down when I was in the pool and got scatty contractions that afternoon.
On the 16th of July I was fed up with being pregnant mostly due to the constant pain in my pelvis that made doing anything hard to endure especially getting in and out of bed. Dale stayed home so he could massage my back with Clary Sage and we told bub we were ready for her/him to come. We had such a relaxing day together as a family. I am so glad we took this day out. It would have been an impossibly long week for me if we had not tried to encourage bub to come on this day but I was also pleased that bub did not come and that I had not picked her birthday for her. This day was a special part of Nikki’s journey for me.
18th July I started losing my mucous plug. 21st/22nd July lost the bloody part of the mucous plug.
22nd July had contractions throughout night but slept between them. It was sooooo nice to be at home rather than be at a hospital like I was with Lily. I had soft carpet to walk around on. I could use as many pillows and cushions as I needed to get comfortable. I mostly stayed in the lounge room snuggled in my quilt with all the lights out except the soft light from my brother’s fish tank. It was so nice to just be on my own so I could experience the contractions with just the peaceful fish for company. I had scatty contractions throughout the next few days.
I really, really wanted bub to be born before my 30th birthday on the 27th of July. I had it stuck in my head that I wanted to actually give birth before I was 30. I had a teary meltdown on the night of the 26th. Since I was getting scatty contractions but nothing further I took castor oil on the 27th and had more contractions from 2pmish – 9pmish then it settled back down to scatty contractions again.
28th July - The birth pool that we hired was due to be returned but no one else had booked it so we were able to keep it. Yay!
1st August – My brother flew overseas for a pre-planned holiday so we arranged for an extra support person (C ) to come so there would be three people to support me and look after Lily.
Dale took the 31st of July and 1st of August (Thursday and Friday) off from work so we could spend some family time together. I was not worried about my baby this time like I was when I went to 43 weeks with Lily but I still needed heaps of support to help me get through ‘another day of pregnancy’. I had another mini meltdown after my brother had left for the airport. In early pregnancy it had all seemed like a joke to say bub might come after my birthday or after my brother went on holidays. Now it was starting to feel like a nightmare. We did not have family and friends surrounding us with all their fears this time but I still knew they were out there worrying and talking amongst themselves about how ‘irresponsible we are’ and how ‘overdue’ I must be by now. But this time we had people who supported us and trusted that we were making informed decisions. You simply cannot put a price on support like that.
We had a wonderful weekend but on the 3rd of August (Sunday) I started to feel the ‘pressure’ again of Dale having to go back to work with no bub born yet and his work finding him odd jobs to do because he ‘might leave at any minute’ so they didn’t want to give too big a job.
At one point the contractions started to feel too intense but then I found that vocalising and moving through them helped. Once I got to the vocalising stage as each contraction ended I must have got a rush of hormones as I got a rush of a ‘this is fantastic!’ feeling and ended or felt like ending each contraction with an ‘Oh Yes!’. This part of labour was definitely ecstatic! I was surprised at how ‘normal’ I felt between contractions too. Between contractions I could easily forget I was in labour. I felt like I could just run off and play soccer with Lily or do some housework or breezily wave to the guy next door who was mowing his lawn ‘Oh, don’t worry, we’re just having a baby’. Of course I couldn’t as the contractions were too close together but it was bliss compared to the seemingly constant pain that I could not get on top of whilst labouring at the hospital with Lily.
I just wandered up and down our hall and around the deck outside our bedroom/ birth room during the first stage of labour. I remember asking Dale to vacuum the lounge and wash the dishes as I suddenly didn’t want the house messy when our support people came. haha He managed to do both, fill the pool AND look after Lily (who tried to get her teddy to swim in the then full birth pool at one stage). I had some washing that had been folded but was still sitting on the dining table so I put it away. I just had to make sure that I didn’t carry too much all at once so I could still hold it all when a contraction started half way down the hall. haha
I think it was about 6.30pm that the contractions got intense enough for me to just want to stay in our dark porch area and I started to think that the pool would be good. I still had fears that labour would stop so I didn’t want to get into the water too soon in case it slowed everything down. I think it took another half hour for Dale to convince me to get into the pool.
In the pool I got in the pool soon after my support person L arrived (about 7pm) and it was beeeaauutiful!!! I hadn’t allowed myself to expect much from it as I had heard a few mums say that it did nothing for them. It was the perfect temperature (thanks Dale!) and made the contractions easier again.
Not long after this L called C to come. C was originally going to come to help look after Lily and leave Dale and L freer to concentrate on me. But as it turned out Lily spent most of the night sleeping by the birth pool and C had a full time job helping L and Dale get me through 2nd and 3rd stage. C arrived at the beginning of the pushing stage. I think I greeted her with “This is aweful!” and didn’t say ‘Thank you for coming” until a couple of minutes after that. heehee
Both C and L were fantastic throughout this time. L asked me if it was hurting when I pushed and it made me realize that it wasn’t hurting. It was pressure that I was feeling, the pressure of bubs head descending. Someone told me it was probably the pressure of the unruptured membranes too and L encouraged me to see if I could feel the membranes but I wasn’t ready to do that yet. (I was sure that I wasn’t as far along as I thought I was so if I felt then I would just be discouraged. haha ) I’m not exactly sure when my membranes ruptured. I was expecting a sudden rush and the sudden feeling of bubs head dropping. Once I felt bub descending more and then felt her head with my hand I knew the membranes had ruptured. Then I remembered a feeling like a breeze blowing through my vagina a few contractions previously so that was probably when they ruptured. Later Dale said that they had all seen bubs hand pushing through my stomach during one contraction so there obviously wasn’t a lot of fluid in there.
At one stage I asked L and C “You did this, right?”. C said she did it without a pool and L said she did it in stirrups and that encouragement and understanding helped me get through quite a few contractions and made me so glad to be at home. Not that I needed convincing, there wasn’t one time during the entire labour that I wanted to swap places to be at hospital. The worse I felt the more glad I was to not be at a hospital.I did think at one stage (I thought about heaps of random things during labour) that there were drugs at hospital but I realized that I had no desire for drugs at all. The very thought of drugs made me feel light headed and nauseous (I had tried gas briefly with Lily’s labour). I had back pain but it was more annoying than anything and right towards the end I got a leg cramp for a few contractions and my stomach muscles got that ‘tired’ feeling for a couple of contractions but it certainly wasn’t something I wanted to be ‘saved’ from. The biggest ‘problem’ for me during labour was tiredness or worry about getting tired, I really wouldn’t have called labour painful. It certainly didn’t come anywhere near the pain I’ve had in my pelvis and hip.
I asked everyone a few times if I could push and they just kept telling me to listen to my body. I wasn’t really listening to my body so kept trying to fight all those ‘annoying’ urges to push. I got frustrated at one staged and said ‘Why can’t someone just tell me whether I can push or not!!’. So C shone the torch on the next contraction so she and Dale could have a look and see if my cervix was still in the way but they could Nikki’s head was already descending. So then I actually let myself push with the explosions.
Sometime during labour bub flipped into a posterior position and her head had moved into a high brow presentation/ deflexed position. This is what Lily had done too and we now, know this is very likely due to me having a crooked sacrum. This plus Nikki being 10lbs 12oz caused the pushing stage to take 4 hours. (In hospital I would only have been ‘allowed’ to push for 2 hours as I was a VBAC and they wouldn’t have even vontoused bub because of her head position so I would have had another C-Section.) I was never worried about my Caesarean scar during labour. I thought about it at one stage and I could feel that my body was working just fine.
It didn’t feel like I was pushing for 4 hours. I felt like the labour was going quickly but at the same time I was a bit worried about getting too tired once the 2nd stage had gone on for a while. At one stage I know I turned to Lily, who had woken up, and said ‘A Casear wasn’t that bad was it?’. (Fortunately she wasn’t even aware that I was talking.) But I really had no desire to be at hospital. My feelings and thoughts were more ‘I’m getting sick of this’ ‘This is getting repetitive’ “I can’t believe I can push this hard and it still takes this long’ ‘I really hope bub comes before I get too tired and have to transfer’.I could feel Nikki descending with each push. After each push I had trouble holding Nikki there between contractions as I was tired so she did recede some between contractions but I could feel progress with each push although I did still ask everyone for confirmation of that after every contraction. Someone held the mirror for Dale to see so he was able to tell me that my pushes were working. L kept encouraging me to feel bubs head with my hand which I eventually did and then I could feel my progress with my hand as well.I tried different positions and got in and out of the pool a few times to help bub move down.
L and C kept giving me drinks of water and Electrolytes. (Apparently I called it Electrolux during labour and L had a giggle over the image of me wanting to vacuum the floor during labour).During this stage of labour Dale had to hold my hand constantly. If he left to get something for Lily (or me) I said ‘Where are you going?!..... Well, be quick!”. During each contraction I had to have L or C holding my other hand. Once Dale was in the pool I sat leaning against him and L and C held my feet for me while I pushed against them. I’m afraid I was very demanding and would say ‘Here’s another one. Hurry!’ as each contraction started if L or C weren’t there. As I found out later poor L and C weren’t ‘deserting’ me, they were trying to keep the pool at the right temperature, keep the room warm, keep my water bottles filled, give me rescue remedy, get snacks for Lily, set up props so I could try different positions, hold the torch and mirror during contractions, take photos, have blankets for Nikki ready, heat soup up for us etc etc Whew! Makes me dizzy just thinking about it!! Thank you SO much L and C!!
I knew Nikki was fine, I could feel her shifting positions and doing dolphin wriggles that seemed to start some contractions off but I knew that the pushing stage had gone for a while and we needed to try and get bub out soon. (I didn’t actually know how long I had been pushing at the time as I looked at no clocks during labour.) So just before 2am I got out of the pool again and sat on the toilet for a few contractions to try a different position. I sat backwards on the toilet leaning on a pillow for about 3 contractions. I said I could feel the stretching sensation. Then I could feel Nikki crowning which was nowhere near as bad as I thought it would be, something in my head told me to relax so I relaxed my hands and tried to let everything go and just panted, then bubs head was out. I think I just kept panting though as C reminded me to breath slower so I didn’t get too much oxygen to my head. Of course no one else knew that bubs head was out as I was sitting on the toilet. Someone asked if I wanted help to get off the toilet to push bubs head out and I thought ‘It’s out. Don’t they know that?’. haha I checked with my hand and felt Nikki’s head and told them the head was out. So we got me off the toilet and on all fours on the carpet. I asked if I should get back in the pool (I was a bit out of it ) L said I couldn’t (as bubs head was born) and apologized that I didn’t get a water birth but I wasn’t bothered. I’d wanted a pool if I needed it during labour but I knew some mums didn’t want to use it once they were in labour so I had been ready for that.
The rest of Nikki came out in 2 contractions straight into Dale’s arms. She was born in an anterior position so must have done a 180 on my perineum somewhere between the pool and the toilet during those last few contractions before her head came out.She cried pretty quickly and Dale rested her on the mat as he held her as she was slippery. Lily woke up once she heard her sister crying. Dale passed her to me through my legs and I felt too spent to pick her up so I bent down to cuddle her until I was ready to pick her up.
She was asleep when Nikki was actually born but woke up once Nikki cried and just sat up and said ‘Baby here!’. She just stayed wrapped in her pillows and quilts till she was ready to come over and see her new ‘so tiny’, ‘little sister’.
After a bit I wanted to try and push the placenta out as we knew it would help us figure out if it was that that was making me bleed or if it was a tear. With my pelvis pain I knew it was going to be an ordeal for me to get off my back and upright so I wanted to cut the cord first so Dale could hold Nikki. The cord had stopped pulsating so Dale cut and tied the cord with the embroidery threads that I had made. Lily watched. Then Dale and Lily sat nearby and spent time with Nikki. It took some real will power to try to get myself upright as I knew how painful it was going to be. Once I was up I tried kneeling and sitting on the toilet etc but I was still bleeding and still no placenta. Dale brought Nikki back over so I could feed her and get some contractions going again. She knew exactly what to do and fed, no problems.Dale took Lily off to bed so she could get some sleep. I think I sat on the toilet again for a while and L and C made up a bean bag ‘bed’ in the corner for me. I rested against the bean bag for a while and took some herbs. I wanted to get up to kneel over the birth pool again to see if I could push the placenta out. So I lay poor Nikki next to me in a washing basket full of linen. heehee (She would have made a cute photo! ) I finally felt the weight of the placenta so knew it had fully detached and I was able to push it out. It felt bigger to push out than I’d imagined but apparently it was a large placenta too. I had heard a lot of mums say that their baby’s head crowning hurt a lot and that birthing the placenta was bliss after the head. For me it was the other way around! Birthing Nikki’s head wasn’t anywhere near as painful as I’d imagined but birthing the placenta hurt! Perhaps just because I wasn’t expecting it too. Once the placenta was birthed the bleeding stopped.
Nikki was born at 2.03am and the placenta was birthed at 5.35am. I had lost about 1.2 litres of blood. So after a very quick first stage I still ended up with over a 12 hour labour. After the blood loss I was feeling faint so I asked C to dress Nikki for me. L got knickers, a pad and a pj top on me. I wanted to sleep in my own bed so once I was ready I crawled in stages to bed, stopping to put my head down whenever I felt faint. It was amazing to be in my own bed holding our new baby myself with Dale right there and Lily sleeping peacefully next to us.
L and C slept for about an hour and then got up and drained and cleaned the pool, cleaned up the birth room, put washing on, checked on me etc etc I think it was past midday before they left. This was so fantastic as Dale was able to just look after his family.
I felt pretty weak for about 3 days but was able to have a quick shower the next day because I wanted to check for tears to see if they needed attention but no tears! My milk came in the afternoon of day two so we had a very content bub and she gained 8 ounces in her first week. Well done Nikki.
So after 43 weeks and 4 days Nikki Rose was born deflexed posterior at home on 04.08.08. Funnily enough my body which ‘failed’ to birth an 8lb 3oz baby in a deflexed posterior position was now able to birth a 10lb 12oz baby in the same position. I guess it just shows what can be done when you are surrounded by people with faith in birth.
Welcome to our home Nicola Rose. You picked a beautiful date my darling!
Read Angie and Dale’s account of the impact of the Healing Journey and the births
©Angie and Birthtalk2008
© Birthtalk 2002-2009