Wednesday, September 16, 2009
A fortnight later
Wow, how things can change in two weeks.
At precisely this time two weeks ago, I was laying on a hospital bed with an epidural in. So let me tell that story (as quickly as I can, since my little girl has been sleeping soundly all morning so she's likely to wake up ravenous any second now).
Anyone who has visited this site recently would know I was pretty passionate about having a go at a VBAC. I really, really wanted to try to have my baby naturally. Which was all good and well until she went OVER her due date and because I'd had a previous C section there wasn't the option of induction (because of the increased risk of uterine rupture).
So a caesarean was booked for Thursday September 3. And in the days leading up to that I was willing the baby to do its thing and make a timely appearance. All the medical team could do was offer me one last 'stretch' of the cervix (I had three in the space of a week! Three!), which I had on Tuesday September 1.
Come Tuesday afternoon I noted a few stronger twinges (but having had prelabour pains for weeks I wasn't too fussed). By late afternoon I was getting a little excited at the prospect of an imminent labour. I dragged my 4yo over to the park so I could keep on my feet and keep moving, so any early contractions didn't stop.
Making dinner I had to stop what I was doing a couple of times. Then after Shaun got home I told him I thought things were underway. By 8.30 we watched a couple of episodes of Flight of the Conchords because the pains were too strong for me to bother going to bed.
Then at 11pm we figured it was probably the real deal (hint: some serious breathing going on, and God forbid I put down the stress balls!). There was no sleep to be had that night, but at least I did rest a bit. I rang the hospital and they said yes, it sounded like I was in true labour and to hang out until things increased in intensity.
2.30am - my waters broke and holy moley, did things intensify?! I was a little panicked by the 100-fold increase in the pain and began making this guttural, deeply primal 'aaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhh' noise that I couldn't really control (nor the volume - apologies to the neighbours). We dropped a sleepy E off at his carer's place and went straight to the labour ward.
In hindsight, one of the things that went a bit askew was that the midwife we got was a bit ... matronly ... and not at all encouraging or supportive. It was all a bit 'right, let's get you in the shower' which I have to admit I took as a sign she thought I wasn't coping (this in turn made me not cope).
Well, I hated the feel of the shower. It made me feel the pains more strongly and I felt like I might throw up. So I asked for the gas. God bless the gas. It is good stuff. I sucked on that gas pipe like there was no tomorrow and indeed it did help me out for several hours.
I had a first examination and they thought I was 4cm. A couple of hours later, and the gas wasn't holding the pain at bay. So, next step up, I had a morphine shot AND the gas. I felt like a junkie with my eyes practically rolling around in my head, but it worked (thank goodness).
The next thing that went a bit wrong was that I had a student doctor who did the next cervical examination. She told me I was 6cm ... which was OK but a little disheartening since there was still all the hard work to do. The real heartbreak came a few more hours later, when the midwife reported that the student doctor basically had no idea what she was doing, and she thought I was more like 4cm or 5cm.
At this point I was begging for more morphine ... or something. After chatting to the obstetrician we decided to try an epidural. The thinking was it may relax me and let the cervix do its thing, but the risk was that it could stall the contractions.
Guess which happened?
So I never made it beyond about 5 or 6cm after about 18 hours of labour. And therefore I had another caesarean. My theory is that Thea was not actually ready to be born. By the end of the process I'd been subjected to FIVE cervical stretches. I'm not sure what I make of that now.
In hindsight, I can say it was a good caesarean (as far as any surgery can be 'good'). The anaesthetist was an absolute pro, the obstetrician did a great job and the recovery has indeed been better the second time around.
There you have it. A potted history of my first labour and second birth. And that moment, at 4.19pm two weeks ago when they lifted Thea up and announced ' it's a little girl' will forever be one of the great moments of my life, no matter what it took to get there.