Friday, October 26, 2007

I'm on a roll tonight!

Lucy will be 4 months old on Monday. She is a happy baby.
Today I managed to catch a photo of her smile. It is such a lovely age.
She is starting to grab for things that she wants. She can roll over, but not all the time. She is quite content to just gurgle to herself on the mat. She is sleeping through most nights. She really is glorious.

Story of Charlotte's birth


Okay, 23rd December 2004. Last thing before bed I go to the toilet – again! And pass a big glob of mucous. Something’s happening! I silently hope for a Christmas Eve or Boxing Day birth.

I don’t sleep very well, which has been the way for the last month or so. I am humongous, in loads of pain with Symphisis Pubis Dysfunction, all swollen and puffy, and in the last week I had come up in the itchiest rash on my legs, hands and tummy. Plus Ella wakes up 3 times.

The next day (Christmas Eve) Ella and I have a list of things to do, and as the shops are going to be closed for 4 days we head to Coles (Madness!) I am feeling crampy, over it and so, so tired. So when we finally get out of the shops we head home and while Ella has a sleep I do too. We sleep for just over an hour, and by then I am pretty convinced that I am in labour. I keep thinking that when the next pain comes I will ring Raff to let him know what’s happening. But when the next pain comes I think – Oh, I don’t want to jinx it – so I wait till the next one. At 4 o’clock when they have been 7 minutes apart for an hour, I call him. He is on his way home anyway, but I tell him to finish running the errands that he has to do. He hasn’t even purchased his Secret Santa gift yet!

At home I am pottering around trying to think what needs to be done first. I pack bags, I tidy the house, I finish wrapping Christmas presents and I prepare food that I promised I would take to my Uncle’s for Christmas lunch. I talk to Mum on the phone a dozen times to work out the logistics of the evening. We try to decide whether to put Ella to bed here or at Mum and Dads.

Raff gets home, and he has bought us a digital camera! Cool!

It’s getting closer to Ella’s bedtime, and I don’t feel ready to go to hospital, so we decide to leave her here, and worry about it all later. Mum and Dad are at my sisters’ house constructing a swing-set for her kids. I am grateful that she only lives around the corner.

Around 9pm Raff decides to cook dinner, even though I keep saying that I am not hungry. While he is doing that I am making a Tiramisu for Christmas in between contractions. At 10pm and still not hungry, I have a nice long hot shower. When I get out I am so, so tired. I can barely keep my eyes open nor stand upright, let alone labour! I lay down in bed, and Raff brings in dinner. All of a sudden I am ravenous, but it sure is tricky eating Spaghetti Marinara lying down in bed!

Mum and Dad come around, and after watching me for awhile, they convince me to go to the hospital to see where I’m at. So after a lot of dithering about from me, with lots of lists and instructions and scenarios, off we go!

We get to the hospital and stand pushing the after hours entrance button for ages – no one answers! Eventually I looked through my bags and found the hospital phone number and Raff called them on his mobile to tell them we are waiting. Meanwhile, I am pacing, pacing, pacing.

The midwife arrives with a wheelchair, as she was watching me on the video monitor, and said I looked like I needed it. We arrive in the delivery room at 11pm, smack bang on change of shift. So we waited through handover and then met our midwife Cynthia, a familiar face as she assisted Ella and I with our breastfeeding attachment. In fact the whole situation is familiar. Same room and same bed as Ella’s birth brought back some vivid memories!

Cynthia does an internal and Bugger! Due to baby presenting posterior my cervix is high and tight! I so want to go home now, I am desperate for some sleep, and at least at home there is a semi chance of that happening. But Cynthia has other ideas.
Apparently she would ‘never send a lady home that was contracting that hard and fast’. Contractions are between 3 and 5 minutes apart, and even though the backache is severe I still feel like I am coping well. One half of me thinks that is great, the other half of me knows that I am in nowhere near enough pain to be doing anything constructive to my cervix…..

Its 11:45pm and the lady in the next room is screaming and moaning in the final stage of labour. I do not need this!! I am talking to Raff non-stop really, really loud to try and block her out. I want to go home.

At midnight my OB shows up, does an internal and pronounces me at between 3 and 4 cm’s. He offers to break my waters and I refuse. The news of the quick dilation plus the fact that the back pain is easing a lot, cheers me up as I now presume the baby has turned anterior. We ring Mum and invite her up. She managed to catch 2 hours sleep on the couch. Dad stays at home with Ella.

For the next few hours it’s just walking and talking. I reckon I must have walked 100 miles – the soles of my feet ached for days afterward! I asked very nicely, if at all possible could an episiotomy be avoided as I had months and months of pain with my last one. At some stage another internal says I am at 5 cm’s. Every time a contraction started I would go and lean against a bar in the bathroom. I was on and off the toilet constantly weeing and wiping off loads of mucous – nice! I felt that I was coping well on my own during this time. My sister, Rachel arrived around 3am, just as I was getting up on the bed for another internal. Oh – still 5 cm’s ? I agree to have my waters broken. Bugger, meconium staining. Oh sh*t – not progressing, in loads of pain and now my baby is in distress ? I was overwhelmed with panic – for 5 seconds – then, and I still don’t know how I did this, I managed to harness that panic into a positive energy. My baby needed me to be strong.

Cynthia wants me laying on the bed for constant foetal monitoring. No way! The pain is unbearable there. I need to be upright and moving. So she followed me around with the monitor My contractions are excruciating, I now need Raff’s strength and support to get through each one. In between contractions my poor husband is falling asleep, he looks so knackered. I almost feel bad for waking him every 2 minutes – then I remember that I’m the one in bloody labour!

I am getting to a not very nice place. I cannot believe that I came back for this a second time. Never again!! The midwife thinks that I am having trouble coping and really wants me to have some Pethidine. Whereas I feel that I am just so overwhelmed with tiredness, and therefore finding it hard to focus. But I know I don’t want Pethidine, and I believe I can get through it. Thank goodness that the baby’s heart rate is doing all the right things this whole time.

At 4:30am she talks me back up onto the bed and after quite a lot of effort I’m up there, and another internal puts me at 7 cm’s. She strongly, strongly, strongly recommends that I give the gas a whirl – which I do. (It’s funny, but up until now I hadn’t even thought about the gas at all) She then proceeds to manually stretch my cervix the last few centimetres hmm, I just crossed my legs thinking about it. Well, let me tell you, the bloody gas did jacksh*t to cover that pain. OMG!!! I’m screaming and screaming. The midwife turns around and says to Mum, Raff and Rachel ‘Oh, that may seem (SEEM!?) a little (LITTLE?!) barbaric, but it’s for the best’

And she had a point! Within half an hour I am feeling very ‘pushy’. So at 5:15am she calls the OB at home and tells him to come in (“Don, Nicole’s fully” then hangs up the phone LOL)

I was so hot, and so thirsty, I had a wet face washer covering my face, and just kept saying ‘Drink’. Then with Mum and Cynthia on a leg each (Interesting as there is about a foot difference in height, so their hips were in different places!) and Raff and Rachel at my side I’m ready to puuuush. What an awful, yet relieving feeling. 4 pushes and there’s a head – dark haired! The cord was wound tightly around the neck a few times, and I gather by everyone’s silence, and the midwife saying ‘It’s okay, the baby is still getting oxygen through the placenta for a few more minutes’, that all does not look well. But then with a very, very apologetic episiotomy (Quote from me when told – “Cut me, whatever, just get the f*cker out!”) and one more push it’s all over. 14 minutes after I started pushing.

And it’s a girl. A girl?! I was so positive that I was having a boy that all I could think was ‘A girl?’ I had to look from underneath the face washer still covering my eyes and I just couldn’t believe it. And she looked so, so small. I was expecting a really big baby. But, worst of all, she was very still and quiet, and as I was holding her someone else was holding the oxygen mask over her face. I placed my hand inside her blankets so that I could feel her heart beating. And waited. Then finally, she cried. Music to my ears! Then the OB showed up.

I deliver the placenta – easy. But then everyone starts to look worried (again!) I’m bleeding and bleeding. I get a drip inserted quick smart and I really don’t want to look down. Raff told me later that they had put a bucket under me, which seemed to fill up way to quick. No one is talking and they are all so busy, and serious.

Eventually, after some pretty painful uterine massage, they all seem happy that the bleeding has slowed down enough. The OB begins to stitch me up which hurts a fair bit, but OB keeps saying, ‘That shouldn’t hurt, you’ve had a local’. Maybe I should take a needle and thread to his genitals one day….

And then I begin to vague out. Raff took the baby from me, and I can hear her crying and I can’t do anything for her. It all seems so far away. I think we named her. Only that week we had decided on Charlotte Lily. I felt so awful, and everyone just kept talking at me to try and keep me awake. How annoying! I just want to sleep. All I can say is ‘I’m just tired, let me sleep’ and ‘I’m just hungry, that’s all’. But no one would get me food as the kitchen doesn’t open till 7….

And then my fantastic Mum appears beside me with a plate of buttered toast. I hadn’t even realised that she had left the room. She had driven home to get it for me! Cold and soggy, it was the best toast I have ever eaten. I heart my mum.

Eventually Charlotte was weighed 8po 2oz (3680gm) 50cm long and 33cm head circumference, so 2cm and 200gm less than her sister, plus a 4cm smaller head! I managed to breastfeed her. She latched on like a champion, and would have stayed attached for ages, but after 20 minutes I was nearly falling asleep. I just wanted a shower, some more food and a nice dry bed that wasn’t soaked through with my blood.
No one wanted me to take a shower. I was too weak, I had lost loads of blood and they were talking about a transfusion (I kept mumbling to Raff, ‘I’m A positive’) but I was covered in blood, it looked like I was wearing red knee-high socks. Plus I had Charlottes meconium smeared all up one leg and over my chest. They kept trying to talk me into a sponge bath. No thanks! I have no idea how I managed to walk to the shower, but thank goodness for the bench in there! Raff hosed me off, but I can’t say I enjoyed it. I was shivery and still very vague. I was carried to a wheelchair and wheeled through the hospital corridors with only a towel draped over me. The midwife and Raff helped me get dressed and then loaded me into bed. I fed Charlotte again while Raff handfed me bacon and eggs. Thank goodness Charlotte then slept for 5 hours, and Mum and Dad waited till 10ish to bring Ella in to see her baby sister.

Merry Christmas!

Though everything pretty much went as I wanted (no drugs etc) I was very, very down and traumatised by the whole experience, and took quite a few weeks to bond with Charlotte. I loved her, but………..

I handwrote this about 2 months after she was born. She will be 5 months old next week, and I have well and truly bonded with her, and absolutely love her to bits. I think that even though I honestly didn’t mind if I had a boy or a girl, because I was convinced that it was a boy, it kind of threw me for a while. (You know how people always ‘know’ what you’re having? Well, every single person that I came across in my pregnancy said BOY, the pregnancy was so different in so many ways, and at 38 weeks I did the wedding ring test – BOY. Bloody old wives tales)

Charlotte is under there somewhere :(

Story of Ella's Birth

While I am feeling all nostalgic ...

Well, it’s Tuesday the 9th of July 2002, 2 days before our Due Date. I don’t notice anything particularly different, though in hindsight I felt a bit ‘off’ all day – slightly dizzy, nauseous, crampy & tired. I even gave up on shopping and went home.
We had a very large tea – Chicken Parmigiana with loads of vegetables – little did we know that it would be the last effortful meal cooked for a long time!!

We went to bed at around 10:30pm. I fell asleep I think, only to wake at 11pm to go to the toilet – strange, because I usually only got up the once around 4am. I got back into bed a bit restless, and then I felt it. My first contraction!! I didn’t realise that at the time though. It wasn’t until I had had an hour of these at 5 minutes apart that the possibility crossed my mind – you’re meant to go overdue with your first!!

Up until about 3am I went to the toilet about 20 times, and about then I noticed that it was now every 3 minutes. I remember rushing out of the bedroom and saying to a very sleepy Raff “Oh my God, they’re getting closer together!!” I probably gave him the quickest wake-up call he has ever had!

There was no chance of sleep for either of us from then on. I was up and down until around 5am when both of us migrated to the lounge room, turned on the heater and tried to decide what to do. At 6am Raff rang the hospital and they predictably said “Take your time, no hurry, have breakfast, take a shower, pack your bags and come in whenever you like.” So we had a shower and I don’t remember feeling panicky or scared at all, just curious at how dilated I would be after 8 hours of contractions.
Looking back at those early pains I can’t believe that I thought they were painful!!

We got dressed, packed everything and tried to eat (I couldn’t). I said to Raff in the car “I won’t be disappointed if I’m hardly dilated, we will just come home” We got to the hospital around 7am. It was freezing cold, but it was going to be a beautiful, clear, blue winter’s day.

We entered the hospital, and all the Orientation classes went straight out of our heads. I felt lost, and it all looked so alien in the dawn light. We found our way to the Maternity ward, only to be told that the two delivery rooms were both in use, so we went into a tiny little room where I was examined internally. Not much happening apparently!! I could tell that the midwife didn’t think that I was in anywhere near enough pain. They gave us the option of staying there or going home. Easy decision, especially with no spare Labour rooms to sit and wait in!!

So home again, to bed to try and rest – what a joke!! After an hour or so I kicked Raff out. I felt better able to handle the pain without him watching me. We were waiting for an Electrician to come (I remember when we booked him in for the day before our Due Date thinking ‘This will guarantee that we deliver early…’), he arrived around 9:30am, and this kept Raff busy for a couple of hours.

By the time he left at 11ish, the pain was major. I was pacing up and down the hallway, walking around in circles. I couldn’t sit, stand, lay down, anything. Raff suggested putting on a video to distract me. We didn’t even get through the opening credits, before I decided that it was a stupid idea! We had day-time TV on. Painful enough at the best of times!! I recall watching a woman on the News that had just had sextuplets – that really didn’t help!
I told myself that we would wait until 1pm, see how I felt and then make a decision about going back to the hospital. One o’clock on the dot we packed the car and off we went. This car ride was far more unpleasant – it’s a 6 minute drive, and I had 3 contractions on the way! This time I knew that I would be devastated if something wasn’t happening!

This time the same midwife said “This looks a lot more convincing”. She did an internal – only 1cm dilated, but fully effaced. She suggested a bath and that was great. For two hours I sat in there with Raff pouring water over my back. I actually felt quite serene in there. Not long after I had gotten in there Mum rocked up. (She had rang home earlier in the day, as she had every day that week to jokingly ask “Have you had the baby yet?” I don’t think she expected Raff to say “Nearly”) I reckon she said to us about 50 times “Just tell me if you don’t want me here, I don’t want to intrude”

All of a sudden I had had enough of the spa. I needed to go to the toilet, and the appeal of the water had worn off. I dried off and ventured into the Labour room. It must have been around 4pm now. My brother and his girlfriend (now wife) came in for quite a while, which was a lovely distraction. (I think Eva is still walking around with her legs crossed! ) I was pacing back and forward, still peeing every couple of minutes. The pains were getting much stronger, but I felt quite positive – if a particular contraction was very painful, I would say “That one has to have dilated me another centimetre!”

The best way to cope was to lean up against Raff, hold him tight, bob up and down and breathe deeply. Occasionally he had to leave to go to the toilet or get stuff out of the car. So thank goodness that Mum was there also. It felt like lots and lots (and lots!) of contractions before I thought that I might need some gas. It took a little while to work out the right way to use it, and it made me very, very light-headed – not less pain though!

At some stage I felt very weird and strange between my legs. A quick trip to the toilet showed a lot of mucous – things were starting to happen! I was so excited that all these signs that I had read about and memorised were actually happening to me!! I can’t believe how many times I went to the toilet, and also how much mucous there was (TMI, I know)

I decided that I now needed to use the gas during every contraction. It was getting pretty hard to bear. The midwife kept asking me if I wanted a shot of Pethidine over and over and over. I resisted for a long time. During each contraction I thought ‘Yes’, but in between I thought ‘No’. I thought about it as much as I could, and when I realised that I didn’t even know how to think anymore I said yes. I don’t know if it helped – everything still hurt! But I felt a bit calmer and ‘together’, more in control.

As the midwife was trying to convince me to get up on the bed, I looked around and realised that my brother and GF had left. The midwife had done an internal earlier and I was 3cm. This time I was 7cm, and she attempted to break my waters with no success, so when my Dr came in he broke my waters. That was sooo painful. I knew that I was screaming, and tensed up, and totally not relaxing which made it so much worse, but I couldn’t help it.

It’s starting to get a bit blurry now. Umm, more contractions, more gas, more pain and more of the midwife trying to talk me into an epidural. This I knew I did not want (I was a bit p*ss*d that I had the Peth to be honest. If she hadn’t mentioned it, I would have gone without) Raff, Mum and I managed to convince her to give me another internal, and with surprise she said that I was fully dilated and could start pushing whenever I felt the urge. I couldn’t believe it! I kept saying “Are you sure?!” It just felt too easy. I think I must have read too many horror stories, and had prepared myself for the worst. I was thinking that ‘transition’ would be horrendous, but besides being extraordinarily hot and thirsty, it was fairly non-eventful.

Now, when I got to ‘pushing’, even after everything that I had read, it just felt so unreal – not pushing in the way I thought it would be. It felt like only 8-10 pushes, but maybe it was more…. The first couple of pushes were non-events really, until they told me that I had to push constantly for the count of 20. Raff was counting for me; all I could think was “Count faster!!” I felt quite controlled between each push. And then I would say “Here comes another one, start counting” Raff was counting down from 20 to 1, when Mum took over she was counting from 1 to 20. Talk about confusing!

During all this someone got Raff a chair as he looked very washy. I thought that it was all getting too much for him, but then he said he was faint because he hadn’t eaten all day! (Neither had I, but my mind was otherwise occupied!) Lucky for that block of chocolate I had packed in the Labour bag! After half of that he felt a lot better.

Mum was down at my feet, watching and waiting. Quicker than I thought was possible; she said “I can see the head! About as big as a 50c piece and it looks like it’s covered in black hair!” Now that’s motivation to push properly! Push, push, push – lots of yelling, grunting and in between each push that horrible feeling that something was stuck and stretching me beyond belief. (Which of course it was!!!) But definitely not a pleasant sensation!

I put my hand down there, and I could feel the head. So soft and downy, and covered in hair. I was just blown way!! One push and the head was out. Mum was yelling ‘Its got dark hair” over and over. (All the other bubs in our family had been baldies!) One more push and it just flew out – those midwives sure need good reflexes!
IT’S A GIRL!!! (I knew it!) Raff went down to cut the cord – very tough apparently.

All I could say was “Is she alright?” over and over again. She was screaming her head off, and oh so beautiful. I was expecting a funny looking, ugly, mushed up baby, but she was gorgeous! After a cuddle they took her to get cleaned up, weighed and measured. Then I delivered the placenta – easy and interesting to look at. Then the Dr showed up, just in time to stitch me up – not very pleasant at all.

Ella Louise was born at 6:57pm on 10th July 2002, weighing 8po9oz (3880gm)
52cm long and a head circumference of 37.5cm. Big and healthy, with loads of gorgeous black hair.

No words can truly capture the moment. The things that stand out the most to me are touching her head as I was birthing her, and the rate that she just zoomed out of me on that second push. Oh and of course just how perfect she was! I didn’t cry at all, I just fell in love. 5hrs and 10mins was the official length of labour. Not bad for the first time!

Unfortunately our breastfeeding relationship was a bit bumpy. I didn’t get her latched on properly until Day 8, but we then went on to feed for 15 months.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

The story of Lucy's birth

Very long! Go make a cup of tea :)

Well, this is a hard one for me to write. I have had to do a lot of processing of events to get to the point where I can write it down. In fact, the only reason I am writing it down now is that I did birth stories for both my other girls and I think my third child deserves the same ‘voice’.

We had been umming and aahing about a third child since Charlotte was about 12 months old. Up until then I had been absolutely positive that she was our last. I just couldn’t do it again – the pregnancy, the birth, the newborn thing. I had always had ‘3 kids’ in my head; it is just a pity that to have three kids, you kind of have to go through the pregnancies!

There is almost exactly two and a half years between our first two, and I was always happy with that gap, so as Charlotte edged towards 21 months I felt like we had to make a decision. Two weeks later with about that much forethought the positive test came up. Charlotte was asleep and Ella was at kindy. I lost it. I couldn’t get hold of Raff, and I just panicked. I reckon I had a full on anxiety attack. I just couldn’t comprehend that I would have to go through childbirth again.

I finally got hold of Raff and his comment? ‘Did we even have sex this month?’ I spent the majority of my pregnancy in a fair amount of denial. I really couldn’t bring myself to think about it. I was absolutely petrified. I was totally convinced that ‘something’ was going to go wrong. I had some bleeding at 8 weeks, not much, barely anything, but enough to make me think that it was over. During this time no one knew we were pregnant. My parents were overseas and we were waiting until they got back to tell anyone. Very soon I was 12 weeks and then everyone knew!

The pregnancy zoomed past, with me still in denial. Every time I thought about the birth, I had a yukky feeling inside and couldn’t go ‘there’. I talked at length with Raff about it, and all the conversations ended with ‘I am scared!!’ and me crying... I knew it wasn’t helpful to be stuck thinking like that but I couldn’t help it. Whoever said that as soon as the baby is out you forget all the pain was just wrong. Sitting here now, I can still feel the pain of three labours.

At about 34 weeks I was at the library and on a whim borrowed a whole heap of positive birthing books. I devoured them. There was nothing in them that was new to me, but I was ready to be ready to birth. I printed out positive affirmations, I recited positive messages, I had Ella and Raff reminding me every day that my body was made to birth babies and that I had done it twice before, and that my body knows what to do etc. I felt good. I really did. I had started speaking more positively to the general public in passing conversations. I was ready.

Both my girls were born the day before their due dates, so I was all prepped to go. My due date though, was the day of Ella’s first full day of transition visits to school. She was starting school in three short weeks and I had a parent induction to go to that day. I managed to get through that afternoon, but sat through the meeting counting contractions on the clock. They were pretty regular at 10 minutes.

Something was happening! I felt confident and ready and I was certain that it was going to happen fast once it started. I got a reasonable amount of sleep that night, but I was contracting every time that I awoke. The next morning we had a man here to put a built in robe in our laundry. I’m sure he loved the sound effects he heard from my gazillion toilet visits. I talked Raff in to staying home, as I was certain it was all of a sudden going to roll.

Raff was on the phone or at the computer (or both!) for the whole day really. I don’t have a real conscious memory of where the other girls were. Ella would have had afternoon kindy, I presume Rachel took her there and back. I spent the day with strengthening contractions folding linen back in to our new laundry cupboard. It was very good busy work. I was very focused on my body, but was glad to be physically distracted with something to do. I am finding that a lot of details are a blur. I don’t remember eating. I don’t remember who came and went. I do remember having a shower with both the girls as they were getting ready for bed. Ella was reciting my affirmations at me during contractions. Once the kids were in bed, mum had some catering (?) work to do. Dad stayed here, but he and Raff just sat at the computer. I wandered aimlessly around wondering how much housework to worry about doing. I then retreated to my bedroom and was happy in my positive place there, just being.

Mum came over and then we started talking hospital. I think I had another shower while Raff packed up some last minute things. I all of a sudden said ‘That’s it. Let’s go.’ and went out to the car. Mum went up with us in her own car. It was only as we were waiting at the hospital entrance for them to let us in, that we realised that we hadn’t let the hospital know we were on our way. It is a smallish country hospital and they do like to have the warning. Oh well. It was about 8:30pm by now and I got Raff to call our student midwife, Kylie, and she was on her way. I was fairly certain that this baby was close. I was contracting every three minutes pretty hard, yet coping on my own really.

I had a moment where I realised that my panic and anxiety was actually a lot closer to the surface than I realised. I thought I was under control and had surrendered to the birthing process, but I had a glimpse of it as we walked around the corner to the birthing suites and the midwife asked which room I would prefer. I saw the room that both my girls were born in and I nearly turned around and ran out. I had such bittersweet memories of that room and I wasn’t ready to go there again. I really wasn’t. I fought the feeling and didn’t let on.

After a lot of small talk and observing, the midwives got me up on the bed for an internal. I was 4cm. That surprised me, but I also thought that all of a sudden it would happen, you know? My contractions were regular and close and painful. Our baby was on its way.

There was a whole lot of banter between everyone. It was a lovely environment. My sister came up for a while and everyone sat around eating lollies and making jokes. The midwife pretty much left us alone. She said to mum at some stage that she felt superfluous as Raff and I made such a good team. He always knew exactly what I needed at each contraction. That man never ceases to amaze me.

We would have had change of shift at 11pm and this is when Julie came on. She was just the right mix for a midwife – firm and calm and pleasant and knowledgeable. One of the things that the hospital had all but insisted on was that I had a cannula inserted in the back of my hand at the beginning of my labour so that they could get the syntocin in to me quick smart if I looked like haemorrhaging as I did with Charlotte. Julie was lovely enough to listen to me and my fears and said that it wasn’t necessary at this stage, but that I had to listen to her when she said it was time. Fair enough.

So I laboured. I showered. I guzzled litres of water. I sweated litres. I contracted. I moaned. I complained. I was doing it. And then it began to really hurt. I was in that yucky place and the midwife thought things were close to happening. I jumped up on the bed and the internal saw me at ..... 4cm :( It was midnight by now and I was so certain that the baby was going to be born on the Thursday. Oh well, up and at ‘em.

So I laboured. I showered. I guzzled litres of water. I sweated litres. I contracted. I moaned. I complained. I was doing it. And then it began to really, really, really hurt. It was 2am and I was wiped. The midwife checked me again. Oh, flip. 4cm. I lost it. I really did. I insisted on a caesarean. I carried on like a stereotypical labouring woman. I yelled at everyone. I cried. I freaked out. I really wanted to punch the midwife because she wouldn’t let me have a caesarean. I wanted everyone to just go away. I went in to the shower and regrouped. I wanted to be by myself. I had lost my groove. I had lost my mindset and I had lost my belief.
I stood in that shower for two hours and I found myself again. I talked to my body. I talked to the baby. I envisioned it happening. I strived for my belief. I nearly got there, too. It was just a tiny niggle of ... worry? Fear? Something I can’t put my finger on. More than fear or worry...

Raff was with me in the bathroom and I was rolling. I was ready. The baby was coming. I swear I was feeling ‘pushy’. I decided that the time was right; I was going to jump up on that bed and push that baby out. So I gear up for another internal. What the .... ? Still 4 cms. The show was over. That baby was coming out via a scalpel. I was going to trust my body. Yep, trust that it knows something I don’t know. That baby was not coming out naturally. I could not go on. It was not even exhaustion; it was just a simple knowledge that it wasn’t going to happen. Now to convince everyone else in the room.

All of a sudden the vibe had changed. It was no longer a happy positive place. It was me against them. Everyone was the enemy. I cannot believe that everyone was still insisting that I can do it. I can’t. I won’t. I hated the midwife. I hated the registrar that came in to talk me around. I hated her condescending way. I hated being spoken to while I was lying naked on my back with my legs spread. The whole situation was awful. I ranted and raved. I yelled and said intelligent things like “I’m the patient and you have to do what I tell you to” and “It’s my body, you can’t tell me what to do” Yep, crazy. They wanted to just try breaking my waters, as then it could all just happen, but I was freaked. I will never forget that feeling when I had my waters broken in labour with Charlotte and seeing the meconium stained waters. I thought she was going to die and I couldn’t let it happen to my third. There was absolutely no rational thought behind my ravings. It was pure and utter fear for my baby.

They ran through the risks to me and the baby if a caesarean was performed. I yelled at the registrar “I know all that. I have read everything I can about birthing babies. I know so much” It is so hard to put in to words, but I was doing it to save my baby. By now my labour had basically stopped. They were monitoring baby’s heart rate a lot, but the baby was fine. At some stage they agreed, though they told me it would take over an hour because it was 4am and there was no doctor at the hospital to perform the surgery. There was no anaesthetist and no theatre team. I didn’t believe them. I honestly thought they were lying to me. I remember hearing her on the phone and I said to Raff that I don’t reckon there is anyone on the other end. She is just a big faker.

So now I had to stay flat on my back with the CTG monitor on. I had to have a catheter inserted, my pubic hair shaved and I had to stop drinking water. I had to take all my hair clips out and wait. I was still contracting, but nothing like I was before. All of a sudden I felt calm. It was going to happen. My baby was going to be okay.

I remember the very rude anaesthetist coming in and saying ‘Why is she still here? Everyone is waiting for her in theatre.’ I was then wheeled in to theatre. At that stage mum could come no further. She had to wait. She was on the phone to my sister, my dad and my brother and sister-in-law in Scotland. I remember the mean anaesthetist making me shuffle over from my bed to the surgical table while attached to all kinds of tubes and wires. The OB arrived and did another internal. Still 4cm and baby still very high. This seemed to confirm to everyone that it was okay to go ahead. Though the anaesthetist did have a few choice words to say, but I won’t go in to the actual words and reasons. The CTG was on non-stop and the heart rate never faltered.

I then had to sit up on the edge of the bed, bent over my massive belly, still contracting, while this cranky anaesthetist attempted to insert a gigantic needle into my spine. He jabbed me with a local anaesthetic a few times and began. He tried once and failed. He tried again and failed. He then told me that his third try would be his last, as he would then be putting me under a general. Just as he was getting the needle in, I felt Raff’s hand slacken, he was muttering something and then down he went. The student midwife managed to break his fall a little bit, but he still hit the ground very hard. Dr L (so sick of writing anaesthetist!) cursed him and yelled at me not to move. I didn’t.

He told Raff he had to lay flat for five full minutes or else he would just go over again. Thank goodness for the student midwife, as at least I still had someone holding my hand. Dr L was a bit brusque, verging on rude, for most of the procedure, but he did say something lovely. As I was making vague excuses for Raff fainting (hadn’t eaten all night, hadn’t drunk enough water, had been standing with me all night) he said that ‘No, he fainted from caring’ which was true. The whole thing must be horrendous as an onlooker.

Okay. Spinal block in, husband upright. I was lying on my back and Dr L wanted to make sure the spinal took well, so he rotated the table so that I was head down on a slant. I could feel the baby shift upwards and unengage. Then he started with the ice. Oh my God, by the end of this I was ready to shove that ice up his jaxy, I tell ya! He kept touching the ice on my feet, thigh, tummy, boob, face, over and over again. ‘Cold?’ ‘Cold?’ Cold?’ over and over and over. I was so confused and felt so stupid, because I just couldn’t define between pressure and cold. Feeling pressure was fine; feeling cold was not. If I could feel cold, then the block wasn’t working fully. He needed it to be numb all the way up to my nipples. ‘Cold?’ ‘Cold?’ ‘Frikkin cold?’

I kept saying ‘Yes, no, I’m not sure’. Finally, after repeated threats of a general he was happy that I couldn’t feel the cold anymore. The operation was on. I had to wear an oxygen mask and keep my arms straight out to the side. He attempted to put a drip in my left hand and massacred my hand up, so then went over to my right hand, and thank goodness got it in first shot. I kept telling him to take the mask of my face, but he wouldn’t. I think I was on the verge of panicking and really had to concentrate on the babies heart beat to get myself through it. My whole body felt all pins and needles and not pleasant at all. They put the blue screen up and then it was GO. I had no idea that it had started, but gosh, it seemed to take a long time. So many serious faces had me worried, but then at 5:29am I heard it. Oh my, two previous births, but this cry really got me. I was so worried about this baby.

“It’s a girl!!!!” and far out, she was huge. She was fat roll upon fat roll, and absolutely perfect. I couldn’t get enough of her. Of course they had to whisk her away to the warming table. I said to Raff ‘Stay with her no matter what’
I could see her the whole time, but I could also hear the doctors at the other end suctioning and muttering about ‘too much blood’. Turns out I ended up losing just under a litre of blood. From then on it just got weird. I could feel everything they were doing, not pain just a god awful pressure. It felt like they jumping up and down on my tummy, up really high, too. I felt really nauseous with that and really wanted it to just be over. It was starting to freak me out, and yet again, I was on the verge of panicking and was barely holding myself together. I couldn’t hold the baby as I had the shakes. I was quivering nonstop and didn’t trust my arms to hold her. (I must say here, that I thank goodness for all the birth stories that I have read over the years, as I knew that this was a very normal Caesar reaction, so it didn’t upset me)

I kept asking Dr L if everything was okay as they sure were taking their sweet time. He constantly reassured me that all was good, they had 7 (?) layers to sew up and we didn’t want to rush these things. He was a changed man, now that everything was over and done with, and happily took himself out to talk to mum and tell her that the baby was fine.

We had decided on names only a few days previously, so Lucy Anne she was (Anne is my mum’s middle name). I was busting for them to weigh her as I could hear mutterings between the paed and the midwife of upper 9 pounds. She just looked so fat! She was glorious. Raff cut her cord closer to her body, as they had already done the main cut when she was born. Soon they took her out of theatre so that they could work on warming her up, Raff went with her and not long after that I was all stitched up and could join them. Raff called out her weight 9lb 13oz and 54cm. Lovely :) He then got her dressed in her little tiny cloth nappy and her 000 Bonds suit, both of which only just fit her. My clever man managed to do that with his arms through the holes of the humidicrib. We could all hear and see her trying to latch on everything near her and I was busting to get her to the breast.

I still had the shakes and the midwives put a warming blanket on me, but it wasn’t noticed until later that it was blowing freezing air on me instead of hot air. I still had tubes and stuff all over the place, but the midwife brought Lucy to me and laying down we had our first breastfeed. My nipples were still numb from the spinal, so I got Raff to get the nipple shields, as I really didn’t want any trauma to my nipples straight away. She latched on like a pro. Mum was in recovery with us. I feel so blessed that she got to be with us throughout this journey.

I just said to Raff, that I don’t recall leaving recovery, nor arriving in the hospital room, but I obviously did! There were people everywhere, setting up my bed unpacking stuff, moving stuff closer for me etc etc. All I wanted was a drink of water, my mobile phone and my baby. All of a sudden the room was empty. Everyone had gone. Mum had to go to work; Raff had to go home to relieve Dad, so that he could go to work. My student midwife had to rush home to score some sleep before she had to be back for another ladies appointments. I rang home around 7am to talk to Ella. I really wanted to be the one that told her. She had been desperate for a brother and I could sense her disappointment when I said that ‘Sprout’ was a girl. She just kind of went ‘Oh’ and then handed the phone to my dad.

I was busting for my girls to come in and meet their sister, but was also hanging for a sleep, as it turned out, so was Raff. He got home, put the TV on for the girls and crashed out on the couch. By the time he awoke and got everyone dressed it was about 10am. It was so good to see them all, unbrushed hair and mismatched clothes. Gosh, I’m clever – look at all these people I made!

My Caesar recovery was pretty text book; I showered the next morning but was very sore for a few days. I stayed in hospital for 4 nights and was glad to be back home. It was a slow but continual improvement that saw me driving at 3 weeks and resuming most normal duties by 6 weeks. Lucy was a dream baby, easily going 4 hours or more in a stretch at night. In fact at 4 weeks old she did a 7 hour stretch. She really is delightful, and after nearly stopping at one child, we keep tossing up about #4!!
Emotionally my recovery has been the best of my three births. I keep wondering if I will be hit with any ‘blues’ but nearly 4 months out, I think I am safe. I feel really comfortable with how it all panned out. I never would have thought that I would have been a candidate for a caesarean, in fact we had leaned towards a home birth before I fell pregnant with Lucy. I guess we will never know what would have been.

In hindsight, I probably should have allowed my waters to be broken, but at the time I just couldn’t. I really couldn’t. I was in such a state of anxiety; I doubt much would have eventuated from there anyway. My mind really did overtake my body.

I was lucky, in that on Lucy’s most unsettled night in hospital, the midwife that I laboured with was on night shift and it was a quiet night on the ward. We managed a lovely debrief, as I sobbed about Charlotte’s labour and birth and the trouble I had bonding with her. I feel like birthing Lucy has healed so much of that. A caesarean certainly didn’t take away from my feeling of powerful-ness. I still feel like superwoman.

Raff after fainting.

Fat baby!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Our lounge room - part two

New floors, new paint and new furniture! We had the little windows replaced too.

Our lounge room

I have been meaning to do this for ages. We rearranged our house back when Lucy was still Sprout, and the dining/office became a lounge room instead. Now, everything is not finished, but I got all the books on to the bookshelves last week, so it looks a bit better. We are still going to paint the door frames with a few coats and also rehang photos and the clock etc. The walls were in really bad condition, so they kind of have a textured pattern to them now. Any imperfec tions are due to be touched up buy the time Lucy starts school :)

We have the before photos, but trust me, we didn't live like this all the time - it was purely during the messy renovation period!

You can see that the carpet was awful and the room was so squishy with 2 desks, a dining table, 4 chairs and mountains of computer stuff.

Our poor damaged walls!

Thursday, October 11, 2007

More photos by Phillippa

I had some more photos taken of my girls last week. The disk arrived today and the phots are gorgeous. Phillippa is a mum that I have met through an online parenting forum. She is not a 'professional' photographer as such, but she aims to be. I have offered my children as guinea pigs along with a small fee to cover her expenses and time. The girls were wonderfully behaved. Lucy was in her happy awake period and it all came together really well. It was still really difficult to get the three of them together, as Charlotte just loves to lean over Lucy continually, so a lot of the photos have her covering (or is that smothering!?) Lucy.
These are a few of my favourites.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Okay, okay...

Lucy isn't fat, she is just ....

Thursday, October 04, 2007

3 months - 14 weeks !

Time flies, hey?
Lucy rolled over for the first time this week, and as all good third borns should, she was watching TV, laying on her tummy. Obviously lifted her head up a little high and rolled right over on to her back!
She also has little giggles and is a nice fat roly poly thing. Do you think it is politically correct for me to call her 'fat baby' all day?
She loves her night sleep and happily sleeps 12ish hours each night. Her thick head of hair now has a bald spot! It freaks me out, as it is all prickly like 2 day old stubble.
She has really started grabbing at things and it is hours of fun for the older girls to watch her trying to grab at things that are just beyond her reach.

Our fat baby.

Watching the Cats thrash Port!!

Just had to add the photo of Raff's hot car :) They had a photo shoot done to get some pictures on their website.