Previously, on “Tricky gets born” - Booked in for an induction but didn't need it (hooray!), got put on a Syntocinon drip to speed up labour and Tricky had a bad reaction to it (boo!), got prepped for a caesarean section (boo, hiss!). If you want to read all about it, have a look at part one. If you're up to speed then keep reading...
In the next few hours my contractions still weren't doing much. This is what the obstetric community call 'stalled labour' but an old-school midwife will tell you that labour never stalls, it just slows down when the labouring woman is faced with danger. It is the classic case of fight or flight. Our bodies are designed to temporarily halt labour so that we can run away from a sabre tooth tiger if we need to... unfortunately the shock of being prepped for surgery does the same thing.
At 1.40pm I was 3cm dilated and the contractions were about 4 minutes apart. Not good enough. More Syntocinon was ordered, but this time at a lower strength. Were these people trying to make Tricky distressed again? He had such a bad reaction last time but yet you're going to try it again? It made no sense to me. So as the Syntocinon went up, my spirits went down.
It acted fast. My contractions started coming every two minutes and were lasting for what seemed like half an hour but was more likely two minutes from first twinge to peak to final release. I was wearing a TENS machine for natural pain relief and I was getting close to the top setting – it was no match for the super contractions. The drip was stopped after half an hour because it was obvious it was becoming too much for me. It was now 2.25pm and I was at 4cm. All of that for one lousy centimetre!
Even though the Syntocinon drip had stopped the contractions were becoming more and more intense. I was told that it would be another four to six hours of labour and the midwives suggested I have an epidural since it didn't look like I would progress much more on my own and with the pain relief they'd be able to crank up the Syntocinon and get the show on the road. These afternoon midwives, Penny (not to be confused with Aunty Penny) and Mary, were amazingly supportive and when they said they were proud of me for going so far without pain relief I believed them (Miss Melodrama's shift had finished and I was glad to see the back of her). I don't know why, but those few words made me feel a little bit better. I had done more than had been expected of me hours earlier when I was being prepped for a c-section, so even if I wasn't going to get my natural birth, at least I'd felt some of it.
In the next ten minutes my contractions went insane! They were less than thirty seconds apart and lasting for two minutes. I was getting no break between them and I was pounding the boost button on my hired TENS machine so furiously that I might not get my deposit back. Penny had gone to get the anaesthetist and Mary stayed with me and Hubby, helping me focus and breathe. It was 2.35pm... I told her I felt like pushing... she checked me... I had gone from 4cm to 10cm in ten minutes. So THAT'S why it had started hurting so much! I was being offered the epidural for what they thought was an unreasonable level of pain only to realize I was in transition (the stage between 8cm and 10cm, considered the most painful stage of labour)! Women in transition have been known to say they have changed their mind, they're not having this baby, and they would like to leave now, thank you very much. I can see why.
She said I could push whenever I felt like it. But there was a slight problem... I had not heard her say that I was at 10cm. I was thinking “Are you crazy, woman?! I'm at 4cm and you're saying I can push?! You're all insane!”. So I used all my strength to resist the urge to push, thinking I was about to injure myself! Only ten minutes ago she had said we were looking at about five more hours and gone to call the anaesthetist. Penny and Mary managed to get my attention somehow and told me that this was it, they could see Tricky – he was coming now! We were go for launch!
The room got very busy all of a sudden! The OB came rushing in announcing with a laugh that the second most important person in the room was now here. Penny and Mary were running around getting everything ready and a student midwife stood watching the scene unfold in front of her, trying not to get in the way. Hubby, who had been holding my hand, rubbing my back, pressing the acupressure pain relief points this whole time, whispered words of encouragement and love to me, saying our baby was about to be born... and I STILL didn't quite believe it.
His cord had stayed by his head and therefore the pressure on it while he was coming out meant his heart rate started dropping again so an episiotomy had to be done because there was no time to let me stretch that last little bit naturally . About half a dozen pushes later... Tricky came in to the world at 2.54pm weighing 3825grams (8lb 7oz), measuring 54cm long (21.3 inches) with a head circumference of 36cm (14.2 inches) and was placed on my chest.
His crushed cord and low heart rate meant we couldn't have the delayed clamping we had wanted, so the scissors were shoved in to Hubby's hands to do the cutting. He hadn't yet taken a breath and they wanted to take him to the “Cosy Crib” (what a lovely name for a piece of machinery that looks so ominous with heat lamps, wires and oxygen tanks!) to get him going, but in true Tricky style, the second the cord was cut he sucked in a huge breath and let out a fantastic cry! It was the most wonderful noise I have ever heard! Although ask me in a few weeks if I still think his cry is wonderful and I may have changed my mind.
Mary picked him up saying “I'll just give him to Aunty Penny for a check” and even in the haze of endorphins and adrenaline I remember thinking, no, he already has an Aunty Penny and she won't be happy if you take her title from her! A quick check over and he was handed straight back to me. Hubby and I stared at him in amazement, saying hello to him over and over again, looking at every inch of his body, in total awe that he was here. Mary and Penny fussed over all of us and then said the words that will stay with me forever, “We love to be proven wrong”. It dawned on me, I had done it. I had just given birth with only the supportive hands of my husband, a TENS machine and a whole lot of determination (some would call it being stubborn). I will admit that part of me wanted to say "I told ya so!" but I was too fascinated by this new creature in my arms to care about anything else.
Immediately I felt a fierce protective love for him. I had only just met this child and already I knew I would do anything and everything in my power to protect him. It had been such an adventure and now he was in our arms, perfect in every way. There are no words to describe the joy.
From water's breaking to birth had been ten hours... so I guess they got their average of 1cm an hour after all!
Note: In the coming weeks I'll endeavour to keep blogging my experiences with this new little guy as often as I can. From the nights with no sleep, the tears of the baby blues to the first meetings with the dog. I hope you'll come on this journey with me.