Sunday, February 21, 2010

A story of triumph, power and love. And a happy ending.

This is Millie's birth story. It is a lot like Lola's birth story but a lot different too. I am posting it here exactly as it was written a few weeks after her birthdate. I am posting it today because it will be two years on tuesday since it all happened.

Background: the birth of my son two years ago was very long and hard and involved a cascade of interventions. By the time my son was born he was put on my chest and I felt nothing but exhaustion, I couldn’t touch him or even look at him and then before I knew it he was whisked away. When I fell pregnant a second time I knew that I had to do everything I could to not let that happen again as ultimately I felt that I hadn’t prepared myself properly for that birth and that was the reason things happened as they did.

On the 22th of February I was 15 days overdue and had two days to go into labour naturally or I would be induced, something I was desperate to avoid. That last week pregnant I tried everything to get things going but on the Friday we decided to up the intensity. My acupuncturist told me about the ‘golden three-pronged approach that they’d had 100% success with – acupuncture, castor oil and a stretch and sweep. She went really hard on me with the acupuncture (it actually hurt) and told me to do the castor oil that evening. I was a little scared about doing the castor oil so I actually only ended up taking about a quarter of the recommended dose and decided I’d do the castor oil properly the next day after the stretch and sweep. The small amount of castor oil I had I’m pretty sure had no effect and so I went to bed at 11.30 that night.

I woke up at 12.30 with a full on stomach cramp that lasted for about 30 minutes, it wasn’t agony but I felt like I had a stomach bug and thought it was the castor oil but turns out it was the start of my labour. After the first 30 minutes the contractions settled into a pattern of about 3 minutes apart and were pretty full on right from the start. I found I had to be standing and leaning against something to feel somewhat comfortable and I was also making a lot of noise through them as that really helped as well, just moaning really but it helped. We rang the birth centre and found out it was empty which was really good news but I decided I wanted to stay home longer as I didn’t really believe I was making progress and wanted to avoid stalling labour. Bren busied himself packing everything and talking me through the contractions, he was so supportive throughout the labour.

Eventually at about 4am I realized that maybe we should head into the birth centre as since I had to be standing to get through contractions the 40 minute car ride could be fairly intense! So we rang to tell them we were on our way. What I learnt in the calmbirth classes really got me through that car ride, I went totally to another place to get through contractions but it was so possible and I was feeling good about how I was coping. When we got to the birth centre I didn’t recognize the midwife and I had in the back of my mind that I didn’t think she was a birth centre midwife but she seemed fine with the idea of me having a water birth so I wasn’t too worried. Plus I had Jenn coming (my support person and student midwife) and I had total trust that Jenn and Bren could support me through it. I still didn’t think I was very far along so refused an examination as I didn’t want to hear “oh you’re only 1 cm dilated.

I got into the bath and found that to be a great place to labour as it allowed me to really go into the birth zone although it took me a while to find a good position. Prior to getting into the bath I’d been chatting between contractions but that all stopped once I got in and I just got down to the business of laboring. I really didn’t feel like things were intensifying, I certainly felt like I was coping really fine and the thought of any drugs never actually entered my mind. It also helped so much that my support team kept telling me how well I was doing all the time and just generally looking after me. I also really lost track of time and honestly the time was flying.

All of a sudden, I guess about 7.30, I started to feel like pushing! This was a very pleasant surprise as I still didn’t really believe I was progressing. The pushing sensation was actually really satisfying to begin with and I was excited that I’d made it that far. That stage of labour was really good as well as I still got breaks in between contractions where I could rest. But I felt like something wasn’t quite right, it felt like I was only getting so far and then bubs was getting stuck. The midwives wanted me out of the water at this point so we could try a few different positions to push in. By this stage I wasn’t upset that my daughter wouldn’t be born in water, I just wanted to see her! Things moved really quickly from this point on, I ended up on the bed, on my back with my legs pushing against the midwives. I sensed I bit of panic in the room at this stage and the midwife told me she would have to do an episiotomy. I didn’t really have time to care at this point although I did groan a big Noooooo! At her.

At 8am on the 23rd of February Millie Patricia was born. It was the most awesome feeling ever to have my daughter put onto my chest. My husband and I were both crying and kissing and hugging and he kept telling me how amazing I was. It was the best feeling ever and I felt so awesome that I had done it. I was so in love with her from the first moment I saw her and the best part of all was that she stayed laying on my chest for two hours after the birth, no one tried to take her away and I was able to hold her and look at her. Staying in the birth centre was lovely, Bren and I spent the day laying in bed together looking at our daughter, Jackson came in for a while and played and kinda checked Millie out from a distance and I had a midwife all to myself to look after us. I think the things that made the birth everything I wanted was my two fabulous support people Bren and Jenn and the calmbirth classes that we did.


Spilt Milk said...

What a great story! I don't know if I read it at the time... was probably too busy with my own newborn to read anything.
It's wonderful that you were able to have a much calmer birth without the interventions that had made Jackson's arrival difficult. I remember you were nervous about it, but you did so well. You're a really strong mama bear Kristalee.
And happy birthday to Millie for tomorrow! xx

Jesse said...

A lovely birth story Kristalee, I have been thinking about you lots lately xx

and a very Happy Birthday to a big girl Millie!! Two years old!!