This was originally published over here: http://www.kiwimummyblogs.co.nz/pregnancy-diary/pregnancy-diary-the-arrival/ , but I thought I'd put it up here as well, with some bonus photos :)
On Friday (40wks +4 days) Daisy, Phil and I went out for Thai for dinner – I got my curry hotter than usual in the hopes of invoking one of those old wives tales. Later that evening I started having some regular, but mild-ish contractions. I phoned Jacqui before I went to bed to let her know there may be a call later in the night. At 3am I woke up with contractions which required breathing through – they were anywhere from 5-10min apart, and I got up and pottered around in the kitchen while stopping to breathe and sway when needed. By 5am they had slowed down so I went back to bed. At 6ish I could hear Daisy stirring so I went through to her room and we had a lovely family cuddle for an hour or so. I was very aware it would possibly be our last snuggle as a 3 person family.
Late afternoon on Saturday, swaying through contractions, on computer betweentimes!
In the morning I phoned Jacqui again to let her know how we were doing. She said that most likely things would pick up again that night, and to just have a restful day. Phil took Daisy out to the park and I went back to bed. We all had another nap at Daisy’s nap time so come evening we were feeling quite good. At 5pm-ish contractions started picking up again and were about 5min apart. Phil started filling up the birth pool. We phoned Jacqui and Grace and both arrived around 5.30. Grace took Daisy up to her bedroom to watch DVD’s as I was requiring some help from Phil by this stage. Unfortunately the change in pace – with everyone arriving – meant my contractions slowed down to about every 10min. Jacqui set up some of her gear, had a listen to baby’s heart rate and observed some contractions. At about 6.30 she decided I needed some space to get things going again, and predicted labour would ramp up once Daisy was asleep. She left saying she would be back in about an hour and a half unless we called her in which case she’d be straight back. At 7ish it was time for Daisy to go to bed but she obviously knew something was up. She became very upset and wouldn’t settle for Grace, so Phil went down to put her to sleep. About this time my contractions became very intense. I was working through them on my own for about half an hour and it felt quite lonely and overwhelming. I texted my support person, Jenny, to please come now, and called out for Phil to come back out. Daisy was still awake so we just decided to let her watch DVDs in her bedroom with Grace for as long as she liked. Routine out the window on a night like this!
Reading Daisy a bedtime story while waiting for contractions to ramp up again (about 7pm)
Phil helped me through the next few contractions – we weren’t really timing them but they seemed to be about 3 min apart lasting about a minute. We called Jacqui at about 7.45 and asked her to come back. Jenny arrived shortly before 8 also. For the next half hour Phil rubbed my back through the contractions as I leaned forwards into the bean bag. I went to the loo at some point during this time and called out for a bowl as I needed to vomit. The contractions I had on the loo were really sore – I had been curious as how it would be, having heard stories of women spending a lot of their labour on the loo…it clearly wasn’t for me!! I had a huge vomit and went back to my possie on the bean bag in the lounge to breathe through the contractions. Jacqui and Jenny started getting the pool up to a good temperature. At about 8.30 Jacqui said I could get in, but I was hesitant to, as I expected to be in labour for a good few hours yet and didn’t want to get in too early. After a particularly painful contraction I decided to give it a go, so I stood up and took a few steps towards the pool. All of a sudden I felt the strangest sensation…There was a head in my bottom and it wanted to come out! I announced to the room that I needed to push and there was a flurry of activity. The birth mat was put down on the floor and I knelt on it in front of the sofa. I leaned forwards into the sofa and something primal took over. I vaguely remember the 2nd midwife being phoned, and everyone telling me I was doing a great job. I felt like it was too early to be doing all this – surely I still had ages to go, but I couldn’t control it. I was making a lot of animal noises, low moans and grunts but apparently the others didn’t think I was being overly vocal. It sure felt like I was! I was scared to push too hard as I was a bit afraid of how big this head felt and didn’t want to tear. Jacqui gave me some instruction about when to breathe and when to bear down, to help minimise tearing. She was also applying hot, wet flannels to my perineum to help the tissues stretch. This felt really good. At 9.07pm Olive was born and passed up through my legs for me to hold. It was an amazing feeling – a mixture of relief that I was finished the hard work, and amazement that I had actually had a baby. Daisy and Grace came out and had a wee look at this point. Daisy was a bit overwhelmed by all the people in the lounge so they went back to the bedroom after a short time.
Inspecting Olive a few minutes after her birth
The cord was quite short so I wasn’t able to easily hold Olive up to my chest. I was helped into a sitting position, leaning back against the couch. The next few hours are a bit of a blur to me, time passed so quickly. I birthed the placenta about 9.30pm and shortly after Phil cut the cord as I needed an injection to contract my uterus as it was relaxing too soon. Olive latched on fairly quickly – I’m not sure exactly when but probably within the first 30min. She didn’t really stop feeding for the next 3 days! Jacqui and Kelly (the back up midwife – who had arrived about 10min before Olive was born) examined me and decided that to be on the safe side I should receive my stitches in hospital. Jacqui did a quick examination of Olive before we went – from looking at her I was sure she would weigh less than Daisy – but I was wrong – she tipped the scales at 5000grams exactly. That’s 11lbs! She was 56cm long, and had a 38cm head. It was a shame to have to get all dressed and transfer to the hospital in the middle of the cold night, after such a lovely birth, but I’m grateful that the midwives decided to err on the side of caution – probably best not to have a “she’ll be right” attitude when it comes to your nether regions!
At hospital they were able to do the repair under local anaesthetic which was awesome as it meant I was able to negotiate to leave after one dose of IV antibiotics, and not stay for a full 24hrs as they wanted me to. By 4am we were home and tucked up in bed. The next morning was so incredibly precious – Daisy came in and “discovered” the new baby in the bed. She was such a proud big sister – pointing out all Olives little features to us. Having a home birth was incredible. We can’t help but compare it to Daisy’s highly medicalised birth, and in every way it’s been a wonderful experience.