Zara's Story (second birth, planned HB, born in car!)
I was ‘due’ to give birth on the 10th March. Malachi was born 4 days early, so I was waiting for this bub to be born early March. I’d been having pre-labour contractions, but the due date came and went. I was tired, sore and frustrated. I was drinking loads of raspberry leaf tea. I had acupuncture, which seemed to make things pick up, but it didn’t last. S (now ex-husband) kept offering to ‘help’ (Malachi’s labour started 6 hours after we had sex- TMI?) It got to the 19th and I was so over it, so I agreed.
Contractions (real contractions!) started less than an hour later and went through the night, but not strong enough to stop me sleeping. The next morning they seemed to stop around 9am, then started again at around 1pm, getting regular and stronger around 3pm.
They stayed regular and increased in strength throughout the rest of the afternoon. We had dinner, S gave Malachi a bath and I lay down with him (Malachi) to put him to sleep. I had two contractions while I was lying down (Malachi goes to sleep pretty quickly) and they were quite painful! I decided lying down was definitely a bad idea… amazing I spent so much time on the hospital bed for Malachi’s birth.
Mum, S and I hung around in the lounge room and I rocked and leaned forward through the contractions. This worked for quite a few hours, then I decided to get in the bath. It’s a narrow little bath and wasn’t the most comfy thing ever, but the warm water was lovely so I stayed there for a while, kneeling then rocking on all fours through the contractions.
After I got out of the bath I stood and leaned forward through each contraction, reciting ‘Horton Hatches the Egg’ in my head to distract myself. After a while I progressed to stomping around the family room singing ‘One Grey Elephant’ in my head in time to my stomping.
Around 3am I started to feel ‘pushy’ so Mum and S put the sheets and towels down on the floor and the couch in the lounge room, and we went back in there. Things started to get really painful, and I was yelling and eventually screaming through each contraction, and pushing with all my might. I asked S to wake Malachi, as he’d wanted to see the baby come out and said he wanted to be woken if he was sleeping. He stayed in bed awake for a while, a bit freaked out by my noise, but eventually came out to watch. In between contractions I reassured him that I was OK, that my muscles were just doing lots of hard work to push the bubba out. S said to him that I was making ‘cow noises’, but I reckon the only time a cow made noises like that was when it was being killed!
When I started feeling pushy, mum had done a VE and after an hour of pushing, she did another one. The head was still in the same place, bub hadn’t moved down at all. Mum was thinking that we should probably head to the hospital, but didn’t think I’d be too happy with that suggestion, so decided to give it another half hour.
I was absolutely exhausted by this time, had been hyperventilating and so I was all pins-and-needley and felt like I was getting no rest between the contractions. In between contractions I was sobbing ‘no more, no more!’ When I felt another contraction starting, I’d scream ‘NO!!!’
Mum had been checking the fetal heart rate regularly, and it had been around 120-130. She did another check and it had dropped to 100. We decided to go to the hospital. I was crying and saying, “No more, hospital fix it”, though in the small still-rational part of my brain, I was thinking, ‘what are they going to do to fix it? I have to keep pushing til there’s a bub here.’
S got the car ready and got Malachi in. As he was doing that, I had another contraction and my membranes ruptured. As soon as I got in the car (kneeling backwards on the front seat, with Mum in the back leaning over and holding me up) I had another contraction. It felt so different to the pushing contractions of the last hour, with the membranes ruptured I felt like I was making progress, and I felt bub’s head right there. I said, “Head was there, head gone now”.
It’s only a 3 or 4 minute drive to the hospital from our house, but about 30 seconds later I had another contraction. I pushed as hard as I could (never even thought about trying to wait to get to the hospital) and said “Head, head, baby!” and she was born, at 4.22am on the 21st March.
S said “What do I do?” and Mum said “Pull over!”
Bub was coughing and spluttering so I was holding her (we didn’t know it was ‘her’ yet) upside down and rubbing her back. Mum and I noticed she had a bit of meconium on her so we decided to keep going to the hospital.
When we got there DH went in to let them know what had happened, and apparently they (two midwives) stood there having a big discussion about who was going to get the wheelchair and who was going to get the blankets. DH came back out and we checked if we had a Rowan or Zara, and it was Zara.
Eventually one midwife came out with the wheelchair and got DH to come round and cut the cord. I was still kneeling on the front seat. The other midwife turned up with the blankets, and Zara and I were wheeled into one of the delivery rooms.
They asked if I wanted synto to speed up the placenta, and really I didn’t, but I was so exhausted and hey, I had a baby now, so I said ‘whatever’. They gave me the synto and one midwife started pulling on the cord. She made some comment about how it wasn’t ready to come away yet, but kept pulling. The cord snapped. She said “Well it was a very thin cord.”
A doctor turned up and explained that they’d have to manually remove the placenta. He said he was going to give me some sedation, as it wasn’t a very comfortable procedure (!) and if he couldn’t get it out they’d have to take me up to theatre.
They put a drip in and my head felt a bit funny. I passed out and they removed the placenta, but I had no idea I’d even been out, and no one told me that they’d been successful. I was under the impression that the drip had to finish and they were coming back to do the placenta thing. Mum, Malachi and S went home to have breakfast etc, and get some clothes for Zara and I as I’d had a singlet and a towel on when we got in the car.
So I sat there with this drip in my hand holding my beautiful girl, thinking about how I really hoped I didn’t have to go to theatre for the placenta removal. Zara had a good 20 min feed and was zonked out, but this silly midwife (not one of the original ones) kept coming in and banging and crashing everything, making her jump in her sleep. The first time she asked if I wanted a shower I said no, as I wanted to wait til I had some clothes to put on afterwards. She brought me some breakfast, the forms to decline the Hep B and Vit K shots, and all the Centrelink, Medicare etc forms. She offered me a shower again and I decided it would be a good idea, as I had no idea what time everyone was coming back to get us!
Not long after the shower Mum, Malachi and S turned up and we started getting ready to go home. The midwife told us that the doctor ‘needed’ to do a check on Zara before we could go. We went down to the waiting room in the maternity ward to wait. It was 9.15, the doctor was upstairs checking on other patients, but would apparently be down by 10. After a while Malachi was getting a bit over it, so Mum took him home and we kept waiting.
At 10.30 I said to S that we’d give the doctor til 11, then go home. He was all like, “Oh can we do that?” No, duh, the hospital can detain us against our will…
Anyway at 11 we went up to the midwife office thingo and said we were going. Obviously the doctor wasn’t that busy, cos the midwife went to apparently get the form for us to sign to leave, and came back with the doctor.
He did his check, which made Zara grumpy, and we went home, with me in the back with Zara cos the front seat was still all wet!