Friday, January 25, 2013

Rory's Birth Story

Well, we're still in hospital!  I thought today would be the day when we went home but, alas, it wasn't to be.  Rory is under the lights being treated for jaundice.

So, I thought I'd use the time to blog his birth story instead.

At first I thought I'd never blog this.  It seems with this kind of information you alienate the blokes with all the gory details, yet the women can't get enough.  I wasn't the type to have a firm plan in how I wanted to give birth.  I had several options in mind (NOT natural - I respect people who choose that option, but I can't stand pain and I often wonder if medieval women would think modern day women are nuts - "What! You've got pain relief available and you're choosing not to use it?")  I thought I'd try a few different things such as a TENS machine, gas, sitting in a bath (which has helped me with arthritis pain), and then an epidural.  There was only one 'plan'...to avoid a c-section if at all possible.  Having a c-section was my birthing worst nightmare.  The thought of being cut open while awake freaks me out, and the recovery would be horrible being out in woop woop with no grocery delivery or takeaway available and not being able to drive.

It didn't happen at all the way I thought it would.

Last Friday (the 18th which was our due date) Duncan and I went to our 40 week appointment with our obstetrician and he was concerned when I mentioned that I'd been 'leaking' for the past few days.  I just thought I was incontinent (which I read can happen in late pregnancy) but it turned out my hindwaters had broken and were leaking slowly and I would need to be induced that day.  When the obstetrician tried to examine me to see if the cervix had dilated, it hurt so much he suggested I have an epidural earlier than I had expected.  This was fine by me...the more pain I could avoid the better!  But it was a very surreal feeling to know that we would be having the baby that day!  All week we had been watching and waiting.  The midwife said I must be so excited, but, in reality, I was more dazed than anything.  Duncan rushed back to where we were staying to get all of our stuff.  I got changed into my gown and waited for the anaesthetist to arrive.  He was a very pleasant chap, the epidural was a very straightforward process, and I was put on a drip for Strep B (which I knew was going to happen).  I was told I would still be able to move my legs.  But when the obstetrician came back and tried to examine me again, it still hurt something terrible.  The same thing happened when the midwife tried to insert a catheter.  So they decided to up my dose.  Pretty soon I couldn't feel my legs at all.  They were like two big logs just lying there.  I didn't have the upper body strength to move myself so it took several people to rearrange me in the bed.  It made me experience just a little bit of what it must be like to be paralysed.  Once I was numb I was examined again and the catheter was put in.  I was only 2cm dilated.  It was 2:30pm when I was first induced.  I began to wonder if the baby would arrive before midnight or on the 19th which would have been my Nan's 100th birthday.

From then on the labour proceeded relatively easily although the cervix was dilating very slowly.  I was told that there was a possibility that I would need a c-section (which I prayed wouldn't happen), but then things improved a bit, the baby's heart rate picked up, and I wasn't in any discomfort.  I had a great midwife to chat to.  She was from Ireland and had been in Australia for three years (most of the midwives at this hospital seem to be from the UK or Ireland).  Duncan and I really liked her and she made me feel at ease.

It was by 9pm that things started to go pear-shaped.  The epidural wasn't working; I had shocking nerve pain in my left hamstring.  They called the anaesthetist back and he had to fix the line which had gone in 3cm.  I was given more and more drugs but they didn't make a difference.  I was shaking violently and my teeth started chattering so badly I was afraid I'd bite my tongue off.  It felt like I was being given every drug available and they kept turning me over, trying to get the epidural to work and make me comfortable.  But nothing worked.  Dilation was still very, very slow.

Eventually I started pushing by about 2:30am.  By that stage I was 9cm dilated and I pushed for over an hour, resulting in utter physical exhaustion for no success.  There was just no way the baby was going to fit through;  the cervix would just not dilate any further.  I begged the obstetrician not to give me a c-section, and he said he would try everything, but there was only a 30% chance of avoiding it.  I tried not to cry, but at that stage it was all too much.  I was terrified of going to theatre, but I was wheeled away and they tried to vacuum the baby out which was excruciating.  By then I knew I had to face the inevitable, but in God's mercy, I became so out of it, I don't remember much.  I remember shaking uncontrollably so that I had to be held still while they were doing the spinal block.  Duncan said I blacked out at one stage and I do recall being so sleepy I no longer cared whether I was awake to meet the baby straight away or not.  I woke when an oxygen mask was put on my face and then I heard the obstetrician say, "It's a little boy."  I saw him being lifted out over the curtain, he was checked out (Duncan said he saw him do a wee), and then was wrapped up and placed in my arms while I was stitched up.  I couldn't believe how lovely he was.  He was so alert, just staring at me with his blue eyes.  I thought he'd look like an alien, but he was so incredibly handsome.  He didn't make a sound.  We just stared at each other.

I was awake enough to mumble thanks to the staff as I was wheeled to my room.  He tried to have a feed and I was surprised that I didn't hurt which I'd been warned it would.  But then I remembered that I couldn't feel anything (it hurt when I tried the second time).  I had a high temperature so the epidural line was removed, but I was still on a cocktail of painkillers so it was all good!

Duncan and I tried to decide which out of the two boys' names we liked best suited our little man.  Although either would have worked, we eventually settled on Rory.

I thought a c-section would be beyond horrible, but I have survived!  It shows that if I can do it, anyone can.  I'm not a fan of sharing birth stories with the purpose of scaring women who don't have kids yet, or to make out that I'm a martyr.  This is just my story.  I think it was worse for Duncan because he said he felt helpless watching me in pain.  I never believed people who said they forgot about the pain the moment they held their baby, but it's true.  God willing, I will go back and do it all again (although I'm in no hurry for number two).

Of course then came the adventure of getting to know our cute little fella who unfortunately didn't come with a manual (not that I'm great at reading manuals anyway).

But that's another story.

Welcome to the world, Rory.

Enjoying cuddles the day he was born.

Cuddles with Dad.

4 comments:

Deb said...

Ahhh, more sweet photos of your little man! Don't worry - we won't tire of them because he is just delightful so keep 'em coming. Glad you and he were safe and sound in the end after what sounds like quite an ordeal. It's a wonderful thing that we have access to good medical care.

Karen said...

He is lovely, Sarah. Sorry to hear it wasn't quite as smooth as you were hoping for, I do remember the shakiness and chattering teeth from at least a couple of my epidurals along the way! It's great that he was delivered safely and I do hope the jaundice starts to resolve itself so you can head home!

I know you said you weren't into manuals for babies (and believe me, it won't have all the answers you need!) but for some good common sense advice about newborns, could I recommend Baby on Board by Dr Howard Chilton? I borrowed it from the library and took it to hospital with me when I had Rowan, great for all those newborn questions (yes, I still forgot some of the little things, even though he was number 4!) if the midwives are a bit busy. And good for the first few days at home too :)

bettyl said...

Congrats on Rory's arrival! I'm glad it wasn't as bad as you expected and I know it will be a wonderful journey for the three of you.

Sarah said...

Thanks for the book recommendation, Karen. I'm definitely not against people suggesting things which they found helpful. My local library is very small, but hopefully it'll have that book.