Thursday, 14 February 2013

Birth story with pictures. Warning, it's long!!

Ok, so the Monday came and I had to call the Delivery Unit to see if they had space for us at 8am. Luckily they did and S and went in at 9.30am. We were met by a lovely young midwife Charlotte who was friendly and very pro surrogacy. Nothing much happened, apart from the usual monitoring as is the usual for inductions until 10.30 when she assessed me and and found me to be 2 cms, with a medium to long cervix but soft, so a 4 on the Bishops score. Great news bearing in mind I was 38 plus 3 at this point. The CXs and Evening Primrose Oil had done something. So i was given some Gel, monitored for 30 minutes and and then told to spend the next 6 hours doing what we wanted.

 At first I had some mild CXs and we went for a walk around the hospital together. They didn't pick up as a result and I was already feeling tired- severe lack of sleep for the past 2 months will do that to you, so I knew I should have a lay down and shut my eyes. S had to nip back home as I had forgotten to pack my gift for IM so I managed a good hour and then we just chilled out together- I was actually quite fun away from the children!
My IF who was working that morning, kept popping in to see us and a lot of the staff came and said hi and to talk about the Surrogacy.

 After a while the CXs seemed to get a bit stronger and I went for a warm shower as a lot of the pain was in my back. Needless to say I chose the wrong shower room as this was just a bath with a shower attachment and I couldn't get the water on my back sufficiently without spraying the water everywhere. It was then that I got my self out, and had to mop the floor, that I felt a significant change and they began to take my breath away.  I knew that housework and chores would do

 Once changed, I really began walking around and bouncing on a labour ball to strengthen them and they checked my progress at 5pm. The CXs were very obvious on the monitor, coming every 2-3 minutes and lasting around 40 seconds  and combined with me being now 3 cms and thinning out, we were making progress. We all decided not to bother with any more gel as my body was apparently doing what it should and I asked S to call my IPs at 6pm as it was becoming harder to talk through them. I wanted to have some time with them which we did!

We all spent time chatting and laughing although the CXs were so frequent it was hard finishing a conversation. IM bought us soups and baked goodies which was a lovely touch!

 By around 8pm i was anxious to see when they were going to break my waters and head around to the delivery suite but Charlotte and the Consultant agreed that it wasn't time yet. I thought I knew better and tried to explain that the CXs just weren't long enough to be doing anything and my initial Induction of labour plan was that ARM would happen as soon as possible after gel. I have to admit that the pain was getting to me a little too but I felt frustrated no one was particuarly listening to me after birthing 4 times before and it meant more time waiting around. 

9.00pm came and I needed pain relief- I hadn't had anything at all by this point and so midwives, doctors and a lovely assistant escorted the 4 of us over. It really was such a relaxed and exciting time and everyone seemed to want to be a part of it all!
We headed to the same room that I had coincidentally had one of my daughters in 5 years ago and we all met the new team of midwives. it was then that we met Abby, another young midwife who was from Malta. I felt a little put out that we were given a young midwife again- i tend to prefer an older person who has seen it all before but within minutes she was putting me at ease and we are all laughing and joking. My Ips seemed even more nervous by this point but S kept them calm whilst making sure I was ok and they weren't annoying me!

 I told her that I didn't think the CXs were lasting long enough and I was getting tired. She spent time watching me and she said we would check at 11.30pm to see what was happening. In the end I got a little stroppy as it just didn't make sense to me that we were waiting so long to check and the contractions were still no longer than 55 seconds. I have been there before and knew my body, so she checked around 10.30 as a compromise. And that is when we found out that I was exactly the same. In 4 hours I hadn't changed at all, not even effacement. I knew it all along and that is when they agreed to break my waters- I knew that it would what I needed to progress. S was my perfect birthing companion as he was with our children and he helped me keep it together in the moments of doubt, rubbing my back and applying hot wheat packs to help with the back labour.

However before they bleeped the consultant to come and do the ARM as baby was so high still, I talked with my IF and we decided that I would ask for an Epidural. I haven't had one before but this wasn't my baby and i didn't need the sense of 'achievement' going naturally. I already had that, just by doing what I was doing after all.  I had gone through enough pain for other people and i quite fancied a pain free labour. By this point it was obvious that our plan to leave the hospital the same night was out of the window as time was not on our side, so why not!

The Doctor came, a junior colleague of my IF and it all fell in to place quickly. But I should have known that it wasn't meant to be however and after 20 minutes and 7 attempts at him stabbing my spine we gave up. I haven't ever been in such pain as when he kept trying. It was all the way up my spine, to the left of the spine, to the right with every time he prodded me and i remember crying out a lot as he missed his target. He just didn't seem to care and seemed flustered with the situation, may be because the stakes were higher than a normal case as he knew my IF was watching? I don't know, but my bruise on my back now ( i have seen pictures) is huge and you can actually see each individual stab mark. I couldn't stop crying at this point what with the CXs still on top of each other and in the end I just said for them to get the ARm over with or without pain relief. I of course used Gas and Air and that as usual helped me cope.

So 11.30pm, 13 hours after Induction started, my waters were broken. At this point I was still a 3 cms, baby was high and 50% effaced so everyone assumed it would be a while and again, my contractions were still short and frequent. It was at 12 am, that the contractions became longer and more spaced out and exactly what I knew I needed and I said that bearing in mind how I was feeling right then, the baby would be here in an hour and half. I think by this point Abby was beginning to believe me when I said I knew my own body and S sure knows this by now so there seemed to be a change in the atmosphere of the room. Things became intense and the pain was overwhelming. It was this point that they discovered the baby had shifted and confirmed she was back to back- the pain was all down my legs and lower back.

Sure enough by around 1am, my pain had changed, the familiar pins and needles had arrived in my legs and I asked my IM to go and get the MW. I remember hearing her say that I felt things felt different and she was there by my side within minutes. I pulled it together to explain that I was close and Abby seemed to take me seriously. She asked if she could check me and they found out i was still a stretchy 7cm.

Instead of feeling crushed, or put off, I knew how I felt right then- that my body was just on the verge of pushing automatically as per usual. And sure enough a started bearing down with little groans.
 Things got a bit hellish then because I knew I had to stop the pushing but couldn't, I was scared what would happen to me as a consequence. Abby and another MW were telling me to breath through it and Scott was holding me trying to coach me to stop it. But my body just does it and the pain is immense if I try to fight it. The room began to spin violently as I was breathing gas and air continuously, just desperate to hold on another 10 minutes or so but it wasn't meant to be.

Within 4 deep pushes I remember hearing a baby cry and lots of adult voices becoming excited and tearful. I didn't feel the same usuall relief I get when a baby leaves my body and the pain felt like I had torn. And badly.

Anyway, from what I can remember (as the room still was spinning and I think I was in shock) I looked at the clock, noted its time and high fived S! IM took baby as soon as MW cut the cord and they quickly went into their own room over the corridor for much needed bonding time and for me to deliver the placenta and check for tearing. She was given 10/10 Apgar score and seemed perfect although she is the smallest baby I have had at only 7lbs. I think it was due to this, that I hadn't actually torn and just had a graze. Everyone in the room was saying they couldn't believe how well I knew my body- that was a little victory for me!

I heard her cry and all I can describe it as, not sounding like my baby. She sounded different to my babies, immediately. It didn't call to me in my heart or feel a maternal link. Very very surreal indeed. I lay there with a smile on my face, dealing with the after pains. I had two MWs attend the delivery of placenta as being number 5 baby, there is increased risk of bleeding out but that went well too. S went back and forth, taking photos and coming back to update me and within an hour I was ready for a lavendar bath and change of clothes.

It was this time that I knew me now having an epidural was the best thing, i was up and walking around. S helped me no end in the bath, and cleaned me up and the mess I left behind.      
 I went to their room and sat with the new parents and baby and IF, IM and I all sat and talked, staring at her whilst S slept in our room. We had all been running on adrenaline, he had been running on duty and he needed to sleep.
  I admit I was worried about seeing her but I needn't have worried, I felt nothing and was just tired and grateful it was over. She didn't look like my babies, and she looked so content and loved in her mummy's arms. I held her for a while and it felt strange, like holding a friends baby and I even started to panic when she started to whimper. Just as I had hoped for and worked so hard for the last 9 months.
It as then we swapped gifts, my necklace for my IM and coincidentally, they had bought e a beautiful necklace and locket with a diamond on it, for a picture of Evie ad they are going to have it engraved on the back. It certainly is beautiful ad so thoughtful.

By this point, it was 4.00 am, so close to dawn, we decided that it would be best if we let S sleep a bit more and he could drive me home as soon as possible. So at 4 hours old, baby had her Pediatric check, declared perfect  and we were discharged at 5.30. I will never forget us all laughing and smiling in the hallway and then getting to the hospital corridor. My Ips had parked at the back and we had parked at the front and so it meant us saying our goodbyes and parting ways there and then. We all hugged and I cried, sad it was all over and sad we were saying goodbye. I tried to hold it together and Scott and I walked off in one direction with just a bag and they in another with the baby. And yet again, I didn't feel an attachment or longing, after 24 hours of being awake, I just wanted to go home and see my own family and sleep in my own bed.  
To be continued....

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