Third Trimester

Pregnancy blog week by week: Giving birth

My baby finally arrived, ten days later than my due date and all very dramatically.

I had no pains or twinges all day and I just went about my day as usual. However at about seven pm, I started to have contractions and to be honest I thought "oh yeah practice ones as usual." So I carried on as usual, cleared up from dinner, bathed my eldest and then had a shower and got ready for bed. However this time the pain was getting more and more painful.

Now luck would have it that my mother-in-law was staying over so I didn't even have to think about who would stay with my little one if this was the real thing. But honestly I was still dubious. After so many months of Braxton Hicks and false labors, I’d convinced myself I’d remain pregnant forever! But soon the pain got more intense and the contractions were stronger more frequent and were lasting longer. Maybe this was it.

By this time my husband was packing the car, with me getting annoyed and shouting between breathing very deeply: "Don't be stupid, it's not going to happen, they will stop in a bit!"

However after two hours of this now worsening pain, I thought maybe this is the time. So what was the logical next step?

 - Pregnancy blog week by week: Giving birth
Giving birth © Brand X Pictures

Have another shower and shave my legs! Makes sense, right? Not really, but nothing really makes sense when you’re in so much pain. So after four hours of the contractions increasing and getting quicker, I let my husband ring the on-call midwife.

The midwife always wants to talk to you so as to gauge if it is time to go into the birthing unit. So as I was on the phone, answering her questions, my contractions were now two minutes apart lasting over a minute, and were very regular.

I think I was on the phone for two contractions, when the midwife said to be "how far away from the hospital are you?" I told her the hospital was about 15 minutes by car, her reply: “Yes I think you need to leave immediately or you may end up having a home birth!"

After hearing that it all became a lot more real, so we got in the car and rushed to the hospital.

I managed to walk to the midwife birth unit and I was very calm although by now the contractions were quick and strong. The midwife immediately gave me the gas and air, and it all seemed a lot better after a few inhalations. However by now the contractions were pretty steady, and I dared to think this may all be quick and easy! How I wrong I could be.

Now to be honest I will try and recount what happened next but it is all bit hazy, traumatic and what seemed to last forever, actually only lasted four hours.

On examination the midwife found I was only five cms dilated. Which considering the contraction speed and duration, I probably should have been further dilated. However as my water hadn't broken, the midwife decided that it would be a good time to break them.

All the way through the birth the baby's heart beat is monitored using a fetal heart monitor which uses ultrasound probe on the abdomen. Up until having my waters broken, my baby was fine, but once they were broken they couldn't get a fetal heart beat. All I remember is alarms going off, being turned onto my side and my husband’s face which was a vision of pure panic.

The next thing I knew, I was being moved on the trolley down the corridor with four midwives around the bed, with no pain relief and me screaming in pain. We were moved into another room, where an obstetric pediatrician was waiting for us. Baby was crowning but still they couldn’t find a heartbeat. The doctor put a saline drip in my arm, which took forever as I was in so much pain as baby was coming it was hard to keep my arm still.

I wasn't allowed any pain relief and I had to move onto a different table, again very hard to do. There was an army of midwifes around and I don't really have a lot of recollection of what was happening. But I do remember being in pain. I guess no one said it was going to be easy.

Complicated birth

The problem was everything was moving so quickly but they couldn't get a heartbeat so as I was giving birth they had to put a monitor on baby's head which was still moving down the birth canal, so as to get a reading from baby directly. They then got a heart rate from the baby, but he was in a lot of distress, so the pressure was on to get baby out ASAP.

This meant I couldn't have any pain relief as I had to get baby out as soon as possible and therefore have my wits about me. I just remember lots and lots of pain, a lot of screaming and lots of instructions to push.

As this was happening, the doctor was taking a blood scrapping from baby's head to check baby's blood oxygen level. Baby was still in distress and I was doing my best to get him out. The whole pushing time was 18 minutes but it felt so much longer.

There wasn't even time to do a piseotomy, which is where they cut you so there is more room for baby's head to exit. Instead I tore. I was so tired I honestly didn't think I could keep going, but I heard my husband say he's got hair, keep going. So three more contractions and pushes later and he was out.

But the panic wasn’t over yet.

My poor baby had the cord wrapped around his leg and neck, so basically once the waters had broke, he was being strangled by his cord. I didn't see what happened but my husband started crying as baby was white and not moving, and the midwives and doctor took him immediately away to potentially resuscitate him. It is only talking later that my husband confessed he thought we would be going home with no baby.

Giving birth © Digital Vision

The next two minutes were the longest of our lives. Our perfect baby boy started screaming, all 7lb 4oz of him. As soon as we held our little boy Jacob, he immediately stopped crying and looked at me with his beautiful big blue eyes.

I then went into total body shock and had terrible shakes, so baby went to daddy and then I was surrounded by midwives once again. I don't really remember what happened, I was monitored and after an hour, few cups of tea and chocolate I was fine.

Now this is where things just got better and better. I suddenly felt better, Jacob was perfect and breast feeding immediately. So I was sewn back up, got up out of bed, showered, dressed and discharged (with the midwives now in shock) within four hours of having baby Jacob, and was home with my big baby having breakfast.

Now my eldest son’s reaction was wonderful.

I think kids just know when you’re emotional, as the first thing he did was run up to me, jump in my arms and gave me the biggest hug and pat my back. It was a very special moment and just what I needed. As for his response to Jacob, well let's just say at the moment they are like ships passing in the night.

So finally my family is complete and the sleepless nights and days are exhausting. In the last 48 hours I’ve had an hour of sleep. But baby Jacob is putting on lots of weight and doing well. As for the doing the whole pregnancy thing again, we have decided our two handsome warriors are enough.

Read more of Roanna's week by week pregnancy blog! 





Roanna Dolan
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