10 October 2015 (34 Weeks+0 days)
Well I guess the best place to start is at 34 weeks(10 Oct). I woke up with some bleeding. At this point I had a pretty easy-going pregnancy with very few complications. I called the Birth Unit at the hospital and we were told by the midwives to come in to see what was going on. So off we went to the hospital, not knowing if this was going to be the start of labour or if it was just a false alarm. The Obstetrician had a look but couldn’t confirm where the bleeding was coming from. They advised us to stay at the hospital for 24 hrs of monitoring. The bleeding stopped shortly after that and we were discharged the following day.
In the week that followed I took it easy but was not on bed rest. I walked when I could, and rested when I needed to.
22 October, 2015 (35 week+ 5 days)
On Thursday 22 Oct I had quite a big day. I had breakfast with a friend and then we had our bi-weekly appointment at the hospital with a doctor. I usually visit a midwife for our visits but this visit was scheduled to discuss induction options originally. However, at 35 weeks +5 days our little one was in breech position. So the appointment turned into planning a c- section for 16 November, 1 week before my due date. I wasn’t thrilled about having a planned c-section but it was the only option if he/she didn’t turn. There was still hope that he/she would turn to be head down and if he/she did then the c-section would be cancelled and I would be able to labour and deliver vaginally. I was quite upset by the news as I wanted the opportunity for our baby to come on its own terms and I wanted to prove to myself that I could get through labour and deliver our baby as naturally as possible. Thursday evening just as I was getting ready for bed I had some more bleeding. So we called the Birth Unit at the hospital and they told us once again to come in. I was monitored and checked but they couldn’t find the source of the bleeding. So I was told to stay for more monitoring for 24-48 hours. The bleeding stopped but I stayed in the hospital until Saturday.
Once I was home I decided again to take it easy. At this point I was 36 weeks.
On Monday I had some pretty intense back pain but I thought it was sciatica pain( Now I think it may have been the start of very early labour sings).
28 October, 2015 (36 weeks+4 days)
On Wednesday 28 October I went to yoga and acupuncture. Both my yoga instructor and Acupuncturist went easy on me in our sessions. However, after yoga I noticed my back pain had increased and I was having difficulties walking without being in pain.
That night I was still having some back pain, so I decided to have a bath. I am normally not a bath person but in the last two weeks it had become a form of pain relief for me and a time to relax and talk to our baby(gently encouraging him/her to turn head down and choose their own birthday). When I got out of the bath I was putting on my pajamas and I started leaking(this is relatively normal), however, as I ran to the toilet to try to wipe it and I sat on the toilet I felt a gush of liquid. I thought to myself that it was quite a large amount for a pee, especially since lately I would pee often but not very much would come out. Then I thought maybe it was because I just had a bath and some bath water got in. Regardless, I put a liner on like I normally do, and went to have dinner with hubby. I didn’t tell him what happened because I didn’t think it was significant. Just as we finished dinner we were watching a funny show and I laughed, and a bit of liquid came out and I said to hubby “I think I just peed myself” and he said “really?”. Off I went to the toilet and another gush of liquid came out. So I told hubby what happened and he said “I think your waters just broke.” my response was “No way, it’s far too early. My parents aren’t even here yet! and nobody’s water breaks first, surely its something else????” Yes, at this point I was in pure denial that my waters had broken. So I put another pad on, got out my ‘What to expect when expecting’ book and looked up waters breaking. Sure enough the explanation was very similar to my experience, but again I was still in denial. I told hubby I just wanted to watch the show for a bit longer before calling the hospital. But another 5 minutes later and another huge gush came out and I had NO CONTROL over it. So, I called the birth unit and explained my situation and they told us to come in. So I finished packing my things and off we went to the hospital for the third time in 3 weeks. At this point I didn’t have any contractions. Once we arrived and I was monitored for a bit the doctors confirmed that my waters broke and we were told to spend the night, not knowing if labor would start soon, or whether they would do an emergency c-section. The Obstetrician on duty said that the latest I would have my baby is 31 October. I was in shock, our baby was coming and within a few days we would have him/her in our arms!
I didn’t have any contractions until early Thursday morning. They weren’t that bad, I would describe them as waves of pain that started low in my abdomen and traveled from the right side to the left and then upwards. I breathed through them easily enough and the pain was tolerable.
Since my contractions hadn’t been too intense or regular and the baby seemed quite happy and content the doctors decided to plan for a c-section for Friday morning (baby was still breech). They would only do an emergency c-section that day if they had to (c-sections are usually done on Monday, Wednesday and Friday at this hospital). Doing a c-section on Thursday required a special team and it could up to 3 hours to get the team together. Plus the longer bub stayed in the better for her.
Originally when I had asked about my friend/Birth Photographer A attending the c-section I was told it would be not be a problem, however, when we asked again if she could come in on Friday they told us flat out no. I was so devastated that nothing was going to plan. First, Baby comes early and my parents aren’t even in the country yet, second I have to have c-section instead of a vaginal delivery like I wanted, third, my very calm friend/Birth photographer won’t be there to capture the moments our baby enters the world. It was the only time I cried that day of pure disappointment. My friend A assured me she would be there before and after and she would still be able to capture beautiful moments.
I spent Thursday at the hospital and I had a few contractions but I could still walk and talk and be my normal self, nothing too painful. Other than being super tired I was feeling good. A even took our 36 week timeline photos as we had scheduled it for later that day and I wanted one last picture of my bump before Baby arrived.
Barefoot and pregnant
Just hours before the Birth of our baby.
Then around 3pm I had a few more contractions these ones a bit more intense but as soon as the midwives tried to monitor me, the contractions stopped. At this point we were still aiming for 8am Friday morning for the planned c-section. Around 5 pm they moved me from the birthing unit to the maternity unit to try to get some sleep. They also gave me some panadeine forte (equivalent to Tylenol with codeine) to ‘slow’ down the contractions as they were coming more frequently but not intensely or regularly. When I asked the midwife if they would take away the pain she said “no, they just slow them down. BUT if you are in true labour then they won’t do anything.” By 8:30pm Thursday night I started having contractions that were getting more intense and had become quite frequent (every 5 minutes) for about an hour. Problem was I couldn’t find a comfortable position to get through the contractions nor could I relax after. Standing hurt my legs but sitting felt worse! By 10:00 the pain was so intense and I knew I was not going to be able to last until 8 am. We called the midwife who monitored me for a bit(I had to sit for this and it was so uncomfortable) and she must have seen something because the next thing I know my on Duty Obstetrician(the same Dr we had at our first bleeding, and she was the kindest Dr I have ever met) came in and said “so, this baby can’t wait? she/he just wanted to choose her birthday? So we will take you up and get ready for your c-section tonight.” I told her I was sorry I couldn’t wait, with tears in my eyes I was SO relieved! I never thought I would be so relieved to have a c-section but I was exhausted and in pain. We then asked if A could come to capture some pictures, and the Doctors said she could come in once baby was out (apparently night staff are a bit more flexible) but she needed to get there fast, that they would be doing the surgery within an hour. We called A and told her the news and told her to get to the hospital FAST. Good thing it 11pm at night or she would not have made it! In what felt like minutes they took me up to the pre op. They checked a few things including if I was dilated. One Dr checked and says “I think I feel a foot.” She has a worried look on her face and looks at me and says “it’s ok” All I could think was of course there is a foot, he/she is breech? Then my Dr checks and says “You are 9cm dilated, and there is a possibility that we may be able to deliver you baby vaginally.” I couldn’t believe it! Here I was thinking the whole time that I was in early labour but I had managed to make it to 9cm with only some pain relief. I told my Dr I was ready for anything and that if I had to push the baby out I would…I had watched some you tube videos, so I was prepared! They all laughed! I just wanted the baby out and healthy. We get into the theater and another Dr checks and confirms baby is footling breech which is the worst kind of breech, so they decided to go ahead with the c-section. I have to say at this point I was so thrilled with the team in the theater they were SO professional, calm and made the experience very pleasant! Within minutes they held up our baby and we got a good look and saw she was a GIRL!!!!! A Girl, wow!
Elsa Audrey was born at 11:35pm 29 October, 2015. She was whisked away and needed a bit of help breathing but then once she was stable they brought her over to me and we had some skin-to-skin cuddles. I couldn’t believe how alert she was staring right at me. She already has a mind of her own choosing her own birthday instead of it being chosen for her! She was listening all those times I told her to choose her own birthday, she just missed the ‘head down memo’.
Once they were done sewing me up we were moved to recovery where our Baby girl was put on me for skin to skin and she had her first feed. It was such a special moment and I couldn’t believe she was finally in my arms.
Even though, I didn’t get the vaginal natural delivery I wanted, I am still proud that my body labored quickly and had she been in the right position I would have been able to push her out no problem…I think! I am still so impressed with my body and how I managed to make it to 9cm without any pain relief. I think that part of it was that perhaps I have a high pain tolerance, and partly because I didn’t have any medical intervention. Meaning no one was pushing me along to get through the labor, in fact I am pretty sure I was so calm about labor that I had all the midwives and Doctors fooled about how far into labor I actually was. The funny thing is, that while I was experiencing the worst of the contractions I felt like I didn’t deal with them very well at the time, because in my mind I was still in early labor. Now that I know it was active labor, I feel as though I did pretty well, especially for not having ANY of the labor tools I thought I might have access to(fit balls, mats, bean bags, etc).
It’s now been almost 3 weeks since our little one was born and I couldn’t be happier. I am still healing from my c-section and have had some complications, which I am now taking antibiotics to help prevent infection. The recovery process will be a lot slower than I initially anticipated but I am hopeful I will be fully recovered in a few more weeks.
Awake and alert, making fish faces!
Our Happy place after feeding!