‘I cannot believe this is happening to me again’. This thought went around and around my head, as I moved in and out of focus, waiting for the gas to start to work again. It was happening again. How was this even possible?
It all started a few hours before…
I woke up with cramps and a feel of anticipation. I had spent the last nine months saying that I hoped she would come on the 13th as it was a long weekend, my mom was still here before her holiday and I knew how over pregnancy I would be. I was past the point of ‘over it’ however. My dad took Lily and I out for breakfast and I had cramps on and off but nothing to say ‘this is it’. We came home and Lily and I spent the afternoon painting and bouncing on the ball, the pains were getting worse, bad enough to stop talking and walking. Eventually I decided to make an executive decision and call it. I sent Shaun a message saying ‘I think this is it’. He called me back, doubtful. He thought I was being dramatic. I told him to come home now. I then called the labour ward and told them that I would be in in a few hours and I started timing my contractions. They were about 6 mins apart so I called my mom and told her to make her way to my house as well to look after Lily. I started to prepare Lily for a night without us and made sure my bags were ready. I then wrote a list of Lilys eccentric vocab for my mom, so that she knew what she was talking about! I actually just needed something to do, to push down the terror that was building. As you all know, I had spent the last nine months swinging between calm acceptance of the inevitable, and crippling fear of a repeat experience. I wrote about it here for parent 24. I felt quite calm as I sorted and prepared though, I had decided to focus on the baby not the birth and knew that whatever happened, I would be a mom of two soon.
Shaun came home and started playing with Lily and making no move to rush or get ready. He hadn’t even changed out of his work clothes. When I demanded he move it he said ‘why? We’re not really going to the hospital are we?’. He was totally in denial. My response wasn’t polite but got him moving. My mom arrived and Shaun and I left. We got to the hospital, making bets on how long we would be there for. He said she would only be here on Sunday. I said before midnight.
We got to the hospital and the midwife checked me, I was 3cms with irregular contractions. Cervix was very thin and ready though. She suggested walking and bouncing for an hour to try break my water. My new doctor wasn’t on call, so after all my planning I would be delivering with an unknown doctor anyway. I decided to remain zen and not let it bother me. They called the doctor on call who agreed with the walking and bouncing and reassessing in an hour. They didn’t want to induce in anyway as I wasn’t quite 38 weeks yet, but were happy to let nature take its course. So we walked and bounced and at 8pm I was checked by a different midwife who said nothing had changed. In fact she said my cervix was still thick and far back. Not a good sign. It was two totally different diagnosis but what could we do? She went off to call the doctor and came back with a plan. They advised I have a dose of pethidine and atarax which would take the edge off the contractions and allow me to sleep for four hours. As I was only 3cms I was in for a very long night, especially since I was in a lot of pain already and the contractions weren’t dilating me anyway. She said in four hours they would wake me and check and reassess. They planned on inducing by breaking my waters in the morning. They didn’t want to do anything in the evening as less staff on call and just generally safer during the day. We hummed a haaed for a while. We were both totally against pethidine but also knew that I needed sleep in order to have the sterength to survive labour. The midwife offered a half dose but assured us that a full dose would wear off long before baby came. We decided to do it. I was tired and sick of being in pain. I wanted to go home to my Lily. So they gave me the jab and we settled in for a few hours nap. Shaun was going to go home and come back in the morning. We called my mom and said he would be home shortly, he was going to wait for me to fall asleep.
Thank goodness he did!
As I dozed, listening to the beeps of Candy crush that Shaun was playing, another contraction hit. It was sore and I complained loudly but knew the meds would kick in soon. A few minutes later another one hit, this one very sore. I breathed through it and as it ended I felt a pop. My water had broken. Shaun ran to get the midwife and she came in and checked. I was 4cms. She went out to call the doctor to tell her and as she left another contraction hit. This one was really bad and I told Shaun to go and get her and tell her to call the anaethatist because I wanted my epidural now. She came back in and checked me and didn’t remove her hand as I had another contraction.
That was the first time I swore at her.
The next second I had a gas mask on my face and she said to me ‘Shannon, you’re not going to believe this but you’re 9cms. This baby will be here in half an hour. The doctor won’t get here in time. There is no time for an epidural’
No time for an epidural. The words echoed in my mind as the gas kicked in. They floated around the room and out the door. Then I lost control. I screamed at Shaun. Told him that this was not happening and he can’t let it and how could he do this to me? I swore at the damn midwife again to get her hand out of my fucking vagina it hurt! Then I floated away again…
‘Shaz you need to focus, the doctor is almost here. Don’t push’
‘Please please get me an epidural, I won’t move I promise. I had it last time, I promise I won’t move’
‘Shaz you need to stop screaming’
‘ I’ll stop screaming if you get me an epidural!’
‘You need to stay in control. Breathe don’t scream’
‘I want a fucking epidural NOW’
‘Ok Shaz the doctor is here you can push’
‘I can’t I’m going to die’
‘You’re not going to die, push’
And so I pushed and I screamed and I pushed and a baby came out of me. Instantly I sobered up, all thoughts of gas and pain and epidurals gone. Shaun cut the cord and she was handed to me. Unfortunately the doctor started stitching me up right then and that was a whole new pain, but Emily Grace Richards was here. After 45 minutes from 3cms to birth. She was here. I was in shock. I couldn’t believe I had just given birth completely drug free. I was still not feeling any effects of the pethadine. I was terrified it would hit any minute though and insisted I get Emily latched before I passed out into a drugged sleep. She latched well though and we spent a few hours getting to know eachother before she was taken away for her paed tests and I went to sleep. I still couldn’t believe she was here. Before midnight. I had been right 🙂
She came out face up, this, the gyne informed me the next morning, meant that instead of having to open up 9cms, I had to open up 11.5cms. Which is why I had to be cut again, even though she was 600g smaller then Lily and I could push effectively as I didn’t have an epidural. Because it was all so fast, she didn’t have time to turn her so out she came, face up. This is why I was in so much pain after the birth. There was a lot of damage.
It has been just over two weeks and I am still recovering slowly. The recovery has been difficult this time as I am a lot more damaged then last time, although thankfully it is mainly physical. I do not feel as traumatised as I did after Lily was born. This time I know that things happened as they should, naturally and without us forcing the issue. She came when she was ready and I’m happy with that. Natural birth is sore, very very sore. I don’t know how women do it more then once!