Tuesday, August 31, 2010

emily’s birth story part 2: early labour

Today’s is a long one without a lot of pictures, sorry!

As I mentioned last time, at 1:30am on Saturday, August 14th Craig and I were still up watching some television as I wasn’t feeling at all sleepy. I shifted over on the couch and felt something ‘give’. I didn’t feel anything else down there so I stayed sitting on the couch. A little while later I went to move and felt a little gush so I jumped up and ran to the bathroom; I put on new undies, a pad, and some pyjama pants and went back to sit with Craig (with a towel underneath me to protect the couch). I said to him “not to panic you but I think my water just broke”, and he gave me a look of combined disbelief (it really felt like labour was never going to start) and unsure-ity about what to do next. Lately I’d been leaking a little (pee) occasionally when I get up and she shifted down onto my bladder so there was no guarantee at this point that it was for sure amniotic fluid. Well, I didn’t have to wait long to find out as a few minutes later I all of a sudden felt fluid start gushing out and it kept coming and coming and coming as I ran to the bathroom, all the while trying to hold it in (impossible I found out). I completely soak through my pyjama pants and some flooded on the floor so there was really no doubt at this point that a baby was on the way!

I was starting to experience some contractions and the midwives had specified that we were to page them immediately if my water broke so we gave my team a call and spoke to my on-call primary midwife Diane. The fluid was clear and odourless so there wasn’t any danger of the baby having passed meconium, so Diane said that she would call again at 8am to get an update and to call her back earlier if my contractions came less than 5 minutes apart and around 1 minute in length.

Pretty soon after we spoke on the phone my contractions began to get really regular so I began timing them on Craig’s iPod Touch (totally awesome, I want to steal it) and was surprised to see that they were already coming in around 4.5 minutes apart and lasting between 45 seconds and a minute. The pain wasn’t unmanageable though and I was able to rest between the contractions, so I decided not to call the midwife and to try and wait it out until 8am. I wanted Craig to try and get some sleep, but he was concerned about making sure I was ok and didn’t like seeing me in pain, so he was up almost all of the night with me.

I also spent the time listening to my relaxation tracks on the iPod and I found them really helpful in relaxing me between contractions and a bit of a distraction during them – I can’t say enough good things about how the various scripts helped during my labour. I wasn’t the best at listening to them daily leading up to the birth but they were still excellent in giving me something to concentrate on.

Around 4am I decided I wanted to have a shower to see if the water flow would help with some of the pain. I was having a lot of back pain with each of the contractions so I turned the shower head to the strong jets and just stood under it for a while. I also plugged the tub so that it was filling with water while I stood there and after a while I lay down and let the faucet fill the tub. It felt SO nice to be in the bath as it was excellent in easing some of the discomfort from the contractions but our bath tub is pretty tiny so my belly was out of the water when I lay on my back. Laying on my side in the foetal position helped a little bit and I alternated sides for a while. After refreshing the hot water a few times, I finally got out at around 4:45 and tried to get back in bed.

Lying down was EXTREMELY uncomfortable at this point, so I moved out to the living room and lay on top of my labour ball. Craig came out and started trying some of the comfort measures we had learned from a video we watched, and I found the ‘double hip squeeze’ most effect. Basically he put his hands (fingers up) on my hips and pushed in; it’s supposed to counteract the effect of the baby’s head pushing the pelvis apart.

After what seemed like forever, 8am finally rolled around and the phone rang. I let Diane know that my contractions were under 5 minutes apart and almost a minute in length (they hadn’t gotten any closer together but were maintaining at the same rate). She said she would be over to the house by 9am with Stephanie, the student midwife apprenticing with her.

At 9am they showed up and checked me and low and behold I was 6cm dilated. Hallelujah!.

We were given the decision to stay at home and labour for a while longer or to head to the hospital. We decided to head to the hospital figuring there was no guarantee how long it would take to move the final four cm’s and we didn’t want to run out of time to get to the hospital. We would have loved to have done a home birth, but were definitely not prepared for it!

The midwives went ahead to the hospital to get things ready while Craig and I got ready to go. It was very surreal that it was finally happening however we needed to get a move on so there wasn’t much time to ponder on it! Craig grabbed our bags (packed weeks before of course) while I got changed, and then we headed off in the truck. Craig had the A/C and my seat heater on simultaneously to help me manage the contractions – what a godsend!

A few minutes later we arrived at the hospital and the real fun began!

hospital 1Resting between contractions and walks around the unit.

Come back tomorrow for the final two installments!

*Once again today I’ve mastered a new skill and typed most of this with one hand while cuddling her in the other. Blogging should be interesting the next four months until Craig gets home!*

Looking for more?

Part 1: Overdue
Part 3: Active Labour
Part 4: Delivery

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