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4th December 2013 12:07 PM #1
Malachi's Story (first birth, hospital, posterior labour)
Wrote this some years ago. We lived in a country town with a very small hospital. My labour was 28 hours all up, and I think that had we been in a bigger, busier hospital, I would have ended up with a csec, so we were lucky there.
At about 2am on the 28th August 2005, 5 days before my 'due date', I woke up suddenly, feeling what I thought were contractions. I poked S (now ex-husband) in the back and he sort of grunted a bit, I think he acknowledged what was happening.
I got up and ate a tin of fruit salad, then went back to sleep.
I called my mum before I got out of bed, and she and dad got in the car and started driving (a 2 ½ – 3 hour drive).
I have no memory of the early morning. I don’t know if S got E’s breakfast and stuff before he went to work, or if I did. (E= S's daughter, who was 2.5 at the time). The contractions were maybe 10-15 mins apart, and in the scheme of things, not that strong.
I already had a doctor’s appointment that morning, so E and I went to that. The Dr asked, “Do you think you’re close?” and I said, “Yep, I’m in labour!” He did an internal and confirmed that I was indeed in early labour. I called my mum and S to let them know, and E and I went home.
My parents arrived probably at about 11ish. I had things to do, and I knew S wouldn’t do them if I was in hospital, so we went to the bank and went grocery shopping. I took my hotpack with me. The ladies in the bank asked when I was having my baby, and I said, “Soon. Today I think”. They were concerned and made sure I had someone with me…
Grocery shopping I don’t remember much of. I think I gave mum the list, and I walked around groaning with the hotpack on my lower abdomen. I probably got some strange looks but I didn’t notice! When we got to the checkout, I went to sit down on the bench outside the supermarket, and dad bought me a drink. When it was time to pay, I tried to walk back to the checkout but dad told me to sit down, and mum payed for the groceries.
S had seen us drive into the carpark and had followed us to find out what was happening (he’s a taxi driver). He decided to stay at work, as my parents were there with me.
We went back home. Again I don’t remember the rest of the day. S finished work at 6pm. We had Subway for dinner (god I love Subway!) and then about 8pm we decided to head for the hospital.
We arrived at the hospital (all of us, me, S, E, mum & dad) and went into a room where a midwife did an internal and stuck a monitor on me for a while. She said that I was getting there, but I probably could go back home if I wanted to. There was no one else in the labour ward so we decided to hang around. S filled up the lovely big bath for me, and I floated around in that for a while (no idea how long!).
Now my memory goes a bit fuzzy. I don’t remember why I got out of the bath, but I did. I remember sitting on the end of the bed, and the two midwives watching me through a contraction. Until this point, when they’d asked me how I was going, I’d said, “Fine”. They stood in the doorway (Amanda and Fitzy were their names) and said, “Ooh look, her toes are starting to curl, they must be getting stronger!”
Another memory blank. Contractions got stronger. At one point, as I sat on the end of the bed, I yelled. “Get him out! Get him out!” A midwife asked mum what I had said, and she told them, “Get it out.” I said, “No, I said him! Not it!” A midwife broke my waters (accidentally, I think) while doing an internal. I was asked if I wanted gas, which I said yes to (Wish I hadn’t!). The gas made my hands, feet and face start to tingle, and I started throwing up (transition!) I tried to tell them that I didn’t want the gas anymore, that it was making me feel yuk, but they told me to keep having it, and I was all off with the fairies, so I was a good little girl and did what they said.
S and my mum were in there with me. Mum had put E to sleep in another room, and dad was in the visitors lounge sort of thing.
Through all of this I was either on my back, or on my knees bent over the raised end of the bed.
This continued most of the night. I was asked a lot if I felt the urge to push. I didn’t. Hmm maybe if I was left alone I would have been more in touch with my body, but I wasn’t.
At some point in the early morning, a doctor had turned up. (A really nice doctor, he’s on the BFHI committee with me now!)
I still maintained that I felt no urge to push. One of the midwives had a look and Malachi was really close, so she was like, “Push, push!” So I did. For a while.
The Dr had a look, and Malachi was posterior. He got the ventouse and turned him, and at 6.35am on the 30th August 2005, out slid my bubby!
Well, then it was action stations!
“We’ve got a cord around the neck!”
So they grabbed him and cut the cord. He was rather blue. I remember asking if he was OK, and they said yes, but they took him over to a trolley and I remember one of the midwives saying “Breathe, baby, breathe.” Well obviously he started breathing, but he was still blue and purple. They gave him to me, with a little air tube, and I was told to hold it to his nose and mouth.
I held him for a while, and the doctor finished stitching my tear- I think he’d started while Malachi was on the trolley. Over the right side I could feel the stitches going in. I said, “Ow, that hurts, I can feel that, OW!” So he gave me some more local.
Malachi was taken away and put in a humidicrib for a while, and S and everyone went with him.
I was told (rather sharply) to have a shower. In the labour room I was in, the bath was in an adjoining little room, and it had a shower over it. So I went to step into the bath, and the midwife was like, “What are you doing?” I noticed that there was also a shower fitting on the wall, so I went over to that one.
Stupid lady! I was naked, bloody, sore and my baby had just been taken away from me. I didn’t need her being rude to me!
Anyway I finished my shower, got dressed in a clean gown, and sat there. For ages, it seemed, before anyone came to take me to where Malachi was. I had a drip in and was attached to one of those pole things on wheels, so it was slow going. I was also rather sore…
Anyway I went to see my baby properly for the first time, about an hour and a half after he was born. I don’t remember when I first tried to feed him, maybe it was then.
Whenever it was, we had a slow start, but got the hang of it eventually!
And I have the most beautiful boy in the world!R, mama to M (8), Z (5.5), and bellybabe due Jan 2014
5th December 2013 07:31 AM #2
Thank you for sharing the story that bough Malachi into the world (what a beautiful name this is). It sounds like you were so strong. I hope you feel proud of what you achieved - a posterior labour with your first baby.
But I wonder how things would have progressed if you had been left alone more. If you were in a darkened room with only whispering not hearing any one else's comments. If you had felt fully supported every minute of your labour. The more I hear other ladies' birth stories the more I think these things really do matter in labour; where we need to be in our most natural, uninhibited and perhaps primitive of states.
This reminds me of a Ina May Gaskin quote (from Ina May's guide to Childbirth):
'Remember this, for it is as true and true gets: Your body is not a lemon. You are not a machine. The Creator is not a careless mechanic. Human female bodies have the same potential to give birth well as aardvarks, lions, rhinoceri, elephants, moose, and water buffalo. Even if it has not been your habit throughout your life so far, I recommend that you learn to think positively about your body.'
I'm sorry too that mummy and baby were not nurtured and respected and undisturbed immediately following the labour.
Thank you for sharing your inspiring and interesting birth story here.
5th December 2013 01:07 PM #3
Oh definitely- it could have been an entirely different birth if I'd understood the birth process more, if I'd stayed home, etc etc. I can look at it and think, for a hospital birth, it wasn't too bad... but I want more for me and my babies than just 'not too bad'!
The midwives who were there during most of my labour were nice, and at one point tried to get me up off the bed and moving around, but I think I was in the middle of a contraction and as soon as my feet touched the floor, I wanted to be back up on the bed... if they'd encouraged me not to get on the bed at all in the first place, and shown me other position etc, that could have been much more helpful, and maybe Malachi would have turned on his own.
Cutting the cord when they did was just stupid, and that's something that still makes me grumpy. 'Oh look, we're slightly worried about this baby's breathing, let's cut off his only air supply!'
And shoving the gas mask back onto my face when I was clearly saying I didn't want it... just ugh.R, mama to M (8), Z (5.5), and bellybabe due Jan 2014
16th December 2013 06:05 AM #4
Knowledge does seem to be key when it comes to having a positive birth experience, doesn't it. Now I know how very little I knew at my first (traumatic) birth. But I made sure that I was armed with knowledge, research and positive birth stories (as well as assisted by my excellent doula) when I went into labour with my second baby. These birthing experiences were world's apart. Whilst there was not much medically different between the births; one was an empowering, positive experience where I felt in control and the other was not.
I truly hope that the birth of your next baby is not simply 'not too bad' but a life-affirming, wonderful start to the journey of meeting your beautiful new baby.