We had a false alarm on Friday, when I woke in the morning with contractions every 10 minutes, but ultimately they failed to go anywhere. Then the last few nights I'd been having sporadic contractions, never more frequent than 15 to 20 minutes apart, during the wee small hours, which would then die off completely by morning, not progressing either. Most frustrating, but just one of those things. So, when I was woken about every 45 minutes on Monday night with mild contractions I didn't think all that much of it, tried to rest as much as possible, and pretty much ignored it. Imagine my surprise when I got out of bed at 6:45am and realised I had sprung a very slow leak!
Investigation proved it to be a bloody show, and possibly slow trickle of hind waters. I noticed there were a few light cramps going on, and they were actually coming every 6 to 7 minutes. Slap on a maternity pad, and get the kids up, dressed, breakfasted & out to crèche ASAP then! By 7:30am, they'd gotten to about every 5 to 6 minutes... looked like today would be the day at last. 41 weeks along.
Steve took Daniel & Joshua to daycare whilst I phoned the midwife, and then pottered around to get everything ready - putting some things together to leave on the dining table in case the boys needed to stay over with our neighbour for the night, and collecting the last minute bits for the hospital bag.
At 8am, our lovely cleaner turned up for the weekly house-scrub. At around 8:20am our midwife Judith showed up too.
Judith gave me an internal exam - 4cm, and also suspected my hind waters had ruptured, even though not much fluid had leaked out at that point. Given the necessity of putting an infusion line in for me before things get too far along, and my very strong history of post-partum bleeding, all of us figured it would be best to head to the hospital.
Judith went on ahead to prepare some things whilst Steve & I ordered a taxi. By 9:15am we were in the delivery room & ready to go.
Of course, as had happened so many times before in the last week, my contractions seemed to die away at this point. They were weak, and only happening every 10 to 15 minutes. The nurse put a line into my hand and Judith tried to break my (fore) waters, but there simply wasn't enough pressure behind them to tear the amniotic sack. No matter, I went for a nice long shower to get some upright time & hopefully relax enough to get my contractions back.
After an hour or so under the water, I came back out for another exam. 5 cm now, so slowly but surely progressing, and there was a bit more pressure on so Judith was able to break my waters at last. We were all hopeful that this would do the trick (as it had with Daniel & Joshua), would stabilise my labour & result in some stronger, more productive, contractions.
Sadly, even though the contractions did get a bit longer, they still simply weren't cutting it. Long slow minimally painful labour could very well be ideal for most women, but given the fact that I'm a known bleeder, we really needed my womb to be working a bit harder & a bit more decisively - weaker contractions don't enable the uterus to shrink back down fast enough immediately after birth and would likely increase the chance of another large haemorrhage.
After another couple of hours, I'd only made it to 6 cm, so we decided to transfer from Poli-clinic delivery under our own midwife to a clinical delivery with the hospital gynaecologist midwife, so my labour could be sped up a bit. Judith the midwife handed over to a different Judith - the gyne, and I got a collection of monitoring wires, as well as a syntometrin drip.
It took almost exactly an hour for the drip to do its work. As the nurse came in to dial up my induction meds for the third time, I told her that based on how things felt, if it was only my body doing this on its own, I’d say I was already around 9cm... Of course I couldn't be sure it wasn't just because of the syntometrin. She offered to fetch Gyne Judith to check me over, and I also emptied my bladder as best I could in preparation for the final stages.
I'm sure it can't have taken very long for Judith-the-gyne to get there, but it felt like a long time. I'd reached that point where there is always a few seconds of self-doubt, the creeping thought "I really don't know if I can do this!" that signals transition. Fortunately I was able to spot it for what it was - actually a very encouraging sign.
Judith gave me an internal exam, and reported that I was indeed getting very close. Technically only 8cm dilated, but all that remained was very thin and elastic, and Aaron's head was right where it needed to be. During the next two contractions I started to bear down very gently, whilst she stretched my cervix a little with her fingers to clear the rim. I could finally feel Aaron moving into the birth canal.
Three more contractions, a mere nine minutes later, and he was finally here!
He was placed immediately onto my chest, and after a few minutes for us both to come to, and for his cord to stop pulsing, the umbilicus was clipped so Steve could cut it. I then latched him on & breastfed him for the first time, whilst my drip was dialled up to max to expel the placenta.
Placenta complete & whole, bleeding within reasonable limits, although enough to warrant a second big synto shot to shrink my uterus even further. Some gynaecological embroidery (3 internal stitches & 1 zig-zag 'zipper' with about 8 points to it for the outside) and about ninety minutes after birth I was up & under the shower whilst Steve got his first proper cuddle with his latest son.
Aaron James Thomas Parkinson. Weighing in at a sizeable-but-perfectly-healthy-and-normal-for-us 4.640kg - that's 10lb3oz in old money.
We got home around 5:30pm. All in all, a good day's work!
Back home and everything is slowly settling into a new routine. Daniel & Joshua are both relatively calm about the new arrival, whilst obviously a little apprehensive, they're both very sweet with him, and want to shower him with cuddles & kisses. No doubt it'll take a few weeks for us to all find our new groove, but it's off to a promising start.
love C. xxx