My labour and birth story
They say that you forget the painful experience of labour and birth, but four months since Cameron came into this world, and I still remember giving birth to him like it was yesterday.
It began on a Sunday morning at about 8:00am. I woke up and went to the toilet as usual, however just when I thought I had finished peeing I felt a gush come out beyond my control. As I sat there waiting for this irregular stream of watery substance to finish, my thoughts were "Yep that's not normal, pretty sure my waters broke" and "Least it wasn't on the bed and it was in the toilet". After a good 5min passed it finally stopped. I turned around to flush and in the toilet bowl was a pink tinge, which confirmed my suspicions. I stuffed my undies with toilet paper, went back to bed and woke Josh up.
"Are you sure your waters broke? Maybe you should call the midwife and check" asked Josh. "Pretty sure it is because there was a pink discolouration, and I sat on the toilet for five minutes, but I'll call the midwife after I have shower". I thought that if I was going into labour then I should freshen up now before the dirty stuff begins. I called the midwife at the hospital and she asked me how I was feeling and what exactly had happened. At 35 weeks and 5 days pregnant, she might have thought it was too soon, but told me to put a maternity pad on, wait thirty minutes and ring her back to see what happens. Ten minutes later, the pad was soaked and so were my undies. I double checked my hospital suitcase while hubby fed the two dogs, rang the midwife and went straight to the hospital. Note: Normally they may tell you stay home if your contractions aren't close, but because I tested strep B positive at my 31 week check (which is usually done at 36 weeks) and because I was early we had to go in as I would most likely be induced.
We got to hospital about 9:30am, went straight through to the maternity ward and into the birthing suite area. There we met midwife Jodie who got us settled into a birthing room, who asked me a whole bunch of questions again, as well as telling me that I may be induced at some point and hooked me up to a CTG (cardiotocography) machine so they could monitor my contractions as well as Cameron's heartbeat. From home to the hospital I only had about two-three contractions. Initially I didn't think I had any, until the midwife told me it may initially feel like my abdomen was slightly tense. By 11am my contractions had increased to about one every ten minutes and that was when I had my first obstetrician internal examination. I was already two centimetres dilated which was a good sign that things were progressing well naturally, and that perhaps I wouldn't have to get induced. Now it was a waiting game.
To kill time I brought my mindfulness colouring book so I could relax through it. Since I only had a banana for breakfast, Josh went and got us some toasted sandwiches for lunch, as I needed some energy for what was to come, and he needed the energy to stay up to support me the whole time. I only had a cheese and tomato toastie because frankly I was a little worried about pooping on pushing, but I also wasn't super hungry since the contractions had started to get stronger. At this stage my contractions were about every three to four minutes, and although it wasn't painful, it was a little uncomfortable. In my head I thought, if this is it, than I'll be fine!
2:30pm came, my clothes had come off and I was only in a gown because my waters had kept gushing out every hour, so it was easier wearing nothing. I also had a new midwife Kathy and a student that would be with me for the next seven hours of my labour. Another internal examination from the obstetrician was performed and I was only four centimetres dilated, so they decided from 3pm I would get induced to hopefully speed things up. Just before 3 o'clock I had intravenous antibiotics given to me for the strep B, and we also discussed pain management options, however I wanted a natural birth and was hoping to go without pain relief if possible.
We closed the blinds so the room was dim and I would feel as relaxed as possible. However once the oxytocin drip started, within the hour I was having about five contractions every ten minutes, each lasting for sixty to ninety seconds, and at that stage the pain was horrendous. Since Cameron was coming down in the non-ideal position of his back up against my back, rather than his back against my belly, I felt all the contractions through my lower back instead of the abdomen. It literally felt like someone was kicking my back in and it was breaking. I was already seven centimetres dilated now, so they decided to dial back the rate of the drip as it was causing distress to Cameron, and I would hopefully have more of a break. The whole time I was sweating, Josh was rubbing my back, my neck, patting me down with a wet cold towel; while I was trying to get into every position possible to feel comfortable. The midwives were great as they kept giving me words of encouragement, while I was just wanting the pain to stop. But I didn't give into the pain relief and ended up on the bed facing and grasping the back of it hunched over from 4-7pm. From 7-8:30pm they increased the rate of my oxytocin drip because my cervix had stalled at seven centimetres. Then fast forward all the moaning, groaning and curse words (when I could even get a word out), 8:30pm came and I was ten centimetres and ready to start pushing.
I ended up changing positions leaning back on the bed with my legs up in stirrups because this was the most comfortable position for me. It was definitely a whole less painful than the actual contractions too. I made sure to only push when my contractions had started or when the nurse told me to push, otherwise I would have increased my risk of tearing. "Take a deep breath and push as hard as you can, then take smaller breaths to keep pushing till the end of your contraction! Push like you're doing the biggest poop of your life" Kathy (my midwife) said. After ninety minutes of pushing, only the top of Cameron's head could be seen. I needed some energy so I had a few gulps of apple juice, while the midwives had handover and I now had Kate to guide me through the rest of my labour. To give me some extra oomph Kate asked me if I wanted to see or feel the top of Cameron's head. Next contraction she got a mirror, grabbed my hand and I not only saw his hair but felt it. Haha it was silky soft. It was a weird feeling but definitely something I'd never forget.
10:30pm came, two hours of pushing later, the obstetrician registrar came in to do an internal examination. Cameron was coming down on an angle so that's why it was difficult for me to push his head out, and since I was pushing for so long, he was getting distressed. I was told at that stage they would need to perform an episiotomy with an instrumental birth, most like the use of forceps to get Cameron out. But I was given another fifteen minutes to try and push him out on my own before the delivery team would intervene. Thirty minutes later with no progress at all, the lights suddenly turned on, and a flood of people came in.
One OB consultant, one OB registrar, two extra midwives and two paediatricians added to the room. The OB explained that she would be performing the episiotomy and would be using forceps to take Cameron out. She also added that she still needed my help getting Cameron out and when my contractions started, I needed to push as hard as I could (not that I wasn't already). I nodded as my eyes were closed I tried to block out the noise and focus on the next couple of contractions. A quick local anaesthetic injection, then a few cuts deep (confirmed by Josh), which I actually couldn't feel because I was in so much pain already, the forceps were placed inside and on Cameron and we were good to go. Thirty seconds later I had my first contraction, pushed pushed pushed and immediately felt Cameron's head pop out. "One more time and we should be able to get him out" said the OB. My next contraction a minute later, his whole body followed, as well as my body which had been dragged down the bed with the force of pulling Cam out, but after I heard his cry I was relieved.
Fifteen hours later and I had a beautiful baby boy weighing in at 2.5kg. After the paediatricians examined him, I had skin on skin contact with Cameron on my chest for a good ninety minutes, while the OB registrar took a good thirty minutes to stitch me up. Josh asked me if he was a Cameron or Lucas (because at this stage we hadn't picked a name and those were our top two names), and I told him I needed to look at his face. Once I saw his face I said "He's not a Lucas, he's a Cameron. Cameron Truong Barling" and that was how Cameron came into this world.