Sunday, November 21, 2010

Joshua's Birth Story

For the last few weeks of my pregnancy, I was having niggling pains on and off and I was constantly getting my hopes up that maybe I was going into labour.  My due date was Monday, May 17th.  It came and went and I was still pregnant.  On Wednesday the 19th, I woke up to something new.  There were some streaks of blood in my mucous.  You needed a magnifying glass to see it, but it was there and it made me happy!  FINALLY, maybe something was happening!  I had to go to the doctor that day, regarding all the blood pressure stuff, and I was sitting in the waiting room having mild contractions.  They were nothing different to the ones I'd been having for the past few weeks though, so I didn't really want to get my hopes up.  The afternoon was pretty uneventful, the pains did not turn into anything but the amount of blood in my mucous was increasing over the day so that it was stained pink rather than just being a few almost undetectable streaks.  Josie said it definitely sounded like I was losing my mucous plug.  That evening, Rod and I decided that we would walk up to the shop and that Rod was going to make a spicy laksa for dinner. I thought this was a good idea, and hoped that the walk and some spicy food would kick me into labour.

Well, as soon as we got home from the shops at 6pm, I went into labour.  The pains were different to the ones I'd felt before and they were coming about 5 mins apart.  I hoped that this was really labour, because if it wasn't I was going to kill myself (not really!  But they were bad enough that I didn't want to be going through that for no reason!)  I didn't feel like eating laksa now, so I just walked around, bounced on my ball and had a warm bath.  The pains continued, so I was pretty sure I was in labour.  I gave Josie a call at about 8pm to let her know I was "dying".  She asked me if I wanted her to come over.  I told her that I didn't feel the need to have someone come over and watch me while I was in pain.  LOL  So she told me to call her back in an hour or two to let her know how I was going, or to call if I felt that I needed her to come over.  I went out and told Rod that I had called Josie.  He asked me why.  I said "To let her know I am in labour".  He said "Are you?"  Yes honey, that is why I have been in pain for the past few hours.  Nothing changed over the next few hours.  I didn't feel like it was getting worse.  The pains were still 3 to 5 mins apart, but they weren't getting worse and everyone said you knew you were in labour because the pains would get longer, stronger, closer together.  So I thought maybe I still had a long way to go, because it just didn't seem to be getting worse.  I was coping quite fine by walking around, sitting on my ball and using my heat pack on my back.

At 10pm, I thought I better call Josie back as it was getting late.  I had no idea how much longer this would take and I didn't know if she really needed to come over yet, but she decided that she would.  Her and Meryl arrived at about 11pm.  I was still doing my thing, walking around with the heat pack on my back and sitting down on my ball between contractions.  Rod started getting my birth pool ready, and by about midnight, I got in.  Things did start to intensify a bit once I got into the pool.  I think I was thrashing around in the pool like a harpooned whale.  All the while, Josie was periodically checking the baby with the doppler.  After some time, it became apparent that his heart rate was dropping during the contractions.  They asked me to get out of the pool so that they could see how things were going and how close this baby was to being born.    This was my first vaginal examination of the pregnancy and I HATED it.  In any case, it revealed that I was fully dilated but that the baby was still fairly high in my pelvis.  My membranes were still intact.  Towards the end of my time in the pool it was starting to dawn on me that my body had started pushing involuntarily, but since this was my first time doing this, it was taking a while for me to get my head around things.  So now I was on all fours on the futon and I was trying to push.  I felt like I was a pushing failure, and that it was doing NOTHING.  Meryl suggested that I go and sit on the toilet because sometimes that can help, so I did that.  And I pooped.  But I didn't have a baby.  This was pretty much a last ditch effort because they had decided that we should go to the hospital and they were rushing around getting things ready to go.  Naturally, I was trying really hard to push now because I didn't want to go, but that is where we were at.  This baby didn't seem like he was coming out soon, so we had to go.

I was on my knees on the floor of the car on the front passenger side, pushing all the way to the hospital.  When we got there, a security guard came rushing over with a wheelchair, but I wanted to walk, so walk I did, with Rod on one side and Josie on the other, stopping every few steps and pushing with all my might.  By the time we got up the lift and into the delivery suite, I was starting to feel the much talked about "ring of fire."  The walk had done me good and he was much lower now.  They strapped the monitors to me while I was standing up holding onto the bed pushing, and his heart rate was not good.  It was dropping down into the 80s during a contraction. They got me up onto the bed to see what was going on.  The doctor put her fingers in and said "Look, see where my fingers are, the head is right there, push it out!"  (What do you think I have been trying to do?)  They told me that this baby needed to come out right now, and much to my disgust, an episiotomy was done and Joshua was born with vacuum assistance.  Rod was practically passed out on the floor by this time, so he didn't cut the cord.  Joshua was taken over to the paediatricians who were there waiting.  I couldn't see him, the doctors had their backs to me while they were working and I hadn't heard him cry.  I was thinking, aren't I supposed to hear him cry now, and I said "Is he ok?" But nobody answered me.  It felt like ages to me, but I don't think it was very long before I heard him make a noise and he was brought over to me.  He was placed on my chest and the doctor was stitching me back up.  I was offered pain relief when I got to the hospital, but I refused it, except for a local anesthetic for the slicing and stitching.  I think that was actually the worst, most painful part of the entire ordeal!  (the needle that is!)  So Joshua was laying on my chest while I was being stitched back up, and his breathing was a little noisy, so they decided that he should be taken to the Special Care Nursery for observation, particularly as there had been meconium in the waters.  So Rod went with him, while they finished up with me.  I had a quick shower and changed into a hospital gown (as I had no other clothes with me, since the hospital trip wasn't part of my plans and I didn't pack a 'just in case' bag because I was trying to think positive!) and then I went into the Special Care Nursery to see him.  They told me he was doing really well, and that he should be able to be in my room with me in a couple of hours.  The nurse said that we may have to stay in the hospital for 24 to 48 hours because the doctors may want to give him some antibiotics due to the meconium, but he was doing really well.  I sat down to give him a cuddle and he started looking for a feed, so we had our first breast feed.  Things hadn't gone to plan, but everything seemed to be ok.  I stayed with him for several hours and then decided I'd go and try and get some rest, as by this time I had been awake for over 24 hours.  Rod decided to go home and do the same and would come back in a few hours with some clothes and other things for me.

Joshua Bevan Shepherd
Born 20th May 2010 at 4:03am
3510gms (7lbs 11oz) and 51cm (20in) long

Being given oxygen after he was born

When he first went into Special Care for monitoring

A cuddle with Mummy

Our first breast feed


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