Monday, 6 September 2010

Welcome to the world Lena Jo

I wrote this not long after having our third baby, Lena Jo on April 23rd, but I haven't added it to here until now:

Although I know that every pregnancy,
every birth and every baby is different, this being my third baby, I
had quite a few preconceptions about how things would pan out. Although
I'd been doing everything in my power to ensure that I didn't have
another long labour, I was fully expecting to be at it for quite a
while again, and to be overdue. In the last week or so though, I'd
begun to have doubts, I was pretty sure that I'd had a show, and this
baby was engaged and much lower than either of the boys ever had been
at this stage, maybe this time it would be different?

On the Thursday evening, I gave Mahe his
bedtime feed, and immediately got quite bad braxton hicks contractions,
they didn't last for too long, and soon stopped. He was awake again in
the night, and after another feed, I had about half an hour more of
contractions that came to nothing. I didn't really think much more
about it, I'd decided that Friday wasn't going to be the day that I had
my baby, although I'd quite have liked it to be, as it was my Nana's

I spent most of the day pottering round
and finishing off little jobs that I'd been meaning to do for a while
but just hadn't got around to as yet. I didn't have a twinge all
morning, and at three, when I was picking up Kai from Big Steps, I was
really quite surprised to suddenly have a big contraction that took my
breath away. I still didn't really think that it was the start of
anything, so once I'd driven home, I walked up to the shop to post some
letters. It quickly became apparent that things were happening and that
my baby was on the way. I timed the contractions and found that I was
having them every five minutes or so, and they were lasting about 30
seconds. I text my midwife, and tried to keep my mind busy so that I
wasn't thinking about the pain. Because I've been being a good girl and
doing my homework, I was doing my best to get into the right position,
seeing as I've had such long labours before, I spent each contraction
on all fours with my bottom wiggling.

Unfortunately I'd decided to go into
labour on one of the few occasions when my midwife wasn't on call, so
after looking forward to knowing the midwife who was going to deliver
my baby, right at the last fence, it wasn't to be. Her back up midwife
knew all about me though, and shared similar ideas with my midwife, so
it was ok. I spoke to her first at about five and she said that they
would be back in touch with me shortly to decide what to do. Usually
they waited until the contractions were coming around every three
minutes, but as I was going for a vbac they thought they might want me

It became clear, as I waited for them to
call back that perhaps my body wasn't waiting around in quite the same
way that it had in the past, he contractions were now coming every four
minutes, and between them I managed to let M know that we'd better get
his sister round to watch the boys and get going. I called the midwife
back, and said I thought I'd better come in.

It's a half hour drive to the hospital,
and I spent much of the journey thinking, just slow down and hold on a
bit longer, as things were certainly moving along. We reached Waitati
only to discover that they were diverting the traffic up into the back
of beyond due to a bad accident on the main road. M pulled up at the
road block, and in true television fashion explained that his wife was
in labour, they quickly waved us through, I think M was a little
disappointed that we didn't get a police escort though.

Once at the hospital, all should have
been plain sailing, but a few little things started to go wrong. My
promised cordless monitoring went out of the window, as no one could
actually get the one remaining machine to work. (The other two were out
of order due to error in one case, and someone accidentaly chucking one
of the $4,000 pads into the laundry basket in the other.) So for a
third time I was to spend my labour wired to the monitor. Next came the
fun of trying to site the cannula, which they were putting in just in
case I needed a drip. They also needed to take some blood as I seemed
to have two NHI numbers and no one could work out my blood group as a
result. When I had Mahe they took two attempts to get it in, and I
ended up with a very swollen hand, due to my small veins. This time,
the midwife decided to get the consultant in to do it, and even he took
quite a while to find a suitable site to place it.

Finally it was time to check how far
along I was, and after my previous experiences of having to be told
that I was only a few centimetres dilated, I could have kissed the
midwife when she told me that I was already 7 - 8 cm. I quickly got
back into the bottom in the air, on all fours and wiggling like a mad
thing with every contraction position that I'd been in before. They
gave me gas and air, which helped a little bit, but to be honest I only
used a handful of times because it made my mouth so dry.

By this point the student midwife I'd
been seeing had also arrived, so although I hadn't got my midwife,
there was someone there who'd been following the rest of my pregnancy
which was nice. They kept telling me how well I was doing, and how well
I seemed to be coping. I told them that it must be my British stiff
upper lip, but I'm not sure that these Kiwi's always know how to take
my sense of humour. I decided about now that I needed to go to the
toilet, and discovered that actually sitting on the loo was really very
comfortable. I stayed there for three contractions, and was a little
concerned in case I ended up having the baby on the loo, but the
midwife assured me that although she'd had some close calls in the
past, she'd always managed to prevent the baby arriving in the toilet
bowl in the past.

She'd been asking me if I was feeling
any need to push for a little while, but I wasn't feeling the need at
all. Once off the loo, she wanted to see how far along I was. I was
quite surprised to find out that not only was I fully dilated, but the
babies head was actually only about an inch from appearing. I still
felt absolutely no need to push, and I continued to breath through each
contraction, letting my body do the work. After a while the midwife
said that I should perhaps think about trying a push with the next
contraction as the doctors tended to start to panic if things went on
for too long, with me having a vbac. Trying to push, when I didn't
actually feel the need to was very hard, the midwife used her fingers
to give me something to push against, and before long little baby was
on the way out.

I think the whole pushing process took
about 45 minutes, which was a similar length of time that it took with
Mahe, but everything else had been much faster. They held up a mirror
so that I could see the head emerge, and the progress I was making with
each push. When the head arrived, unlike Mahe, who lay there still
until he actually fully arrived, little babe opened one eye and wiggled
a bit. Little babe was delivered straight onto my chest and half
wrapped in a towel, while I had my first cuddle. M cut the cord, and
they gave me an injection for the placenta which followed fairly

We'd been busy taking in our new arrival
for about ten minutes, when a different midwife (the one who'd been
there for the birth had to go and deliver another baby, apparently
there is very rarely more than one lady in labour at a time, but that
night there were three,) asked what we'd had. M had a look, and had to
double check “is it a girl?” I could hardly believe it, I'd actually
got a daughter!

She was soon having her first feed, and
although feeding a little one again took a bit of getting used to, she
was soon having a mammoth feed. Meanwhile I was having an array of
different midwives checking my blood loss, and that things were
returning to normal. Mic-feed and mic-being poked and prodded Lena
suddenly went blue and floppy, and she was quickly whisked away. I
don't know exactly what happened, and she quickly recovered, but it was
perhaps the scariest thing that I've ever experienced. Apparently
sometimes they forget to breath and swallow, and she was thoroughly
checked over to rule out any other problems.

After everything had been sorted out I
got my tea and toast, which were divine, and then a shower, which was
so good that I would have been quite happy to spend the rest of the the
week in there. A few more checks were done, and we made our way back to
the ward. I was still too full of adrenaline to get much sleep, that
and the noises of the hospital and the need to check my little girl
every few minutes, meant that I did little more than doze for half an
hour here and there.

I'd done it though, a little girl and my third, and by far my easiest, birth.