Monday, 26 July 2010

Birthing Alicia

Hmm, my newborn is now five, nearly six, weeks old and although I've visualised myself many times blogging about her birth - and other events of the last few weeks - I haven't quite managed to act. Shame, as I've now told the story so many times I am no longer gagging to give a blow-by-blow account. However, I do want to record at least an outline of the day, or rather dayS plural, for posterity. So here goes...

I got the birth I'd hoped for. It was a lot longer than I'd imagined but I kept calm throughout, apart from a slightly panicky/'I want to give up' 20 mins towards the end (when I was probably in transition). I also dealt with the pain incredibly well considering a) it bloody hurt way more than I remembered b) I had a LOT of strong contractions over a 27 hour period - although, insultingly, I was only in 'established labour' for 10 hours c) if I stub my toe the whole world knows about it - I would consider my pain threshold to be fairly low.

Yes, not even a toot of gas and air passed my lips. Well, not till afterwards when my nether regions got aquainted with needle and thread. I put this down to the hypnobirthing course and CDs helping me to be relaxed and to deal with the pain without fear, the wonderful nurturing warmth of the birthing pool, and the amazing support of lovely hubby J and fab friend and birthing partner Sarada.

Oh, and I found that blowing on the outbreath, mooing and making low, loud 'ooooh, aahh, eeh' noises helped me cope through the contractions. Unfortunately, my voice is still not quite back to normal as I was quite vocal throughout the 27+ hours and had only just recovered from a rather persistent cold so my poor ole vocal chords took quite a bashing.

The contractions were all in my back and greatly soothed by massage, heat packs and encouraging words. Thankfully, I had a wonderful sense of time distortion which meant my one minute contractions felt like ten seconds and the two or three minute pauses in between became twenty minute rest breaks, so much so that I even fell asleep during them!

J had really set up the sitting room beautifully. He'd cleared some of the furniture to the garden shed to create space, covered the floor with cotton sheets on top of plastic sheeting, set up 12 hours of chillout music on the Ipod (which we had to replay!), inflated and filled the pool, dimmed the lights and had Roman Chamomile essential oil burning in the oil burner. Deeply relaxing.

I was often encouraged by Mary the midwife to get out of the pool and walk around to speed things up (hah!) but much preferred languishing in the warm water and trancing out in my liquid labourland. Around 3am on Thursday morning (17th June, my niece Sulis's birthday) I got out and went to the bedroom, doubled over cushions on the bed and was massaged and soothed by John through a particularly painful set of contractions. Then - at last! - my waters went with a 'pop' and I got back in the pool hugely encouraged by this sign of progress.

A few hours later I was pushing with all my might, contrary to my birth plan and the hypnobirthing exortation to 'breathe your baby out'. No way Jose. I wanted to PUSH and had no faith that breathing would get my little lady to make her entrance into the world. So push I did, and I was surprised to find that this stage was completely pain free and actually quite satisfying. I didn't even experience the 'ring of fire', just a mild stinging sensation as she crowned.

Reaching down to feel her head was a beautiful moment. I was excited and relieved that it would all be over soon. As it turned out, not as soon as I'd have liked. I was pushing hard for about an hour and Alicia was half way out with just her head and shoulders in the water for ages. Luckily, I'd watched quite a few water births on You Tube and knew that babies could hang around in the water for ages without their being any risk of drowning - they don't breathe until they're immersed in air.

So, there I was with my baby half in and half out for quite some time. I started to lose fiath that she would come out at all and in desperation asked 'can someone please just pull her out. I can't do this any more'. Mary asked me to stand up and both midwives helped me out of the pool, as I scissored my legs over the sides the rest of Alicia slid out in a gush and Mary caught her and passed her to me. My slippery little baby! I clung to her and just thought 'thank god she's finally here'.

I looked up into J's eyes and saw..abject fear. Not quite what I was expecting. I noticed the midwives' eyes had also widened in surprise and seconds later I found out why. Mary said, 'Anna, we may have to take you into hospital, you've lost more blood than we would like.' Oh, so that was the gush then. Not actually a gush but a haemorrhage. I had my baby in my arms was still in the floaty world of labourland so this turn of events didn't bother me in the slightest. J however was clearly shocked.

A quick injection in my shaking leg to help clot the blood and I was allowed to stay at home. Yay! Here we are a few minutes later...

A job well done by all!

See my previous post for pictures of Alicia looking distinctly less blue..


Anonymous said...

aahahaha, this bought tears to my eyes, thank you for sharing this Anna. James was a c-section and I must admit apart from seeing my lovely man in a set of blues, the whole event was rather uneventful and I felt deprived for both Tom and I, after having the girls naturally.
Paula x

Hayley said...

Awww hun sounds like you had a wonderful birth! Well done you! So pleased for you :D

Millennium Housewife said...

I suppose you can't get hindsight hypnobirthing? I really wish I'd know about it, a lot of people are saying what a difference it makes to giving birth. Well done girl x

Anna Colette said...

Thanks for your lovely comments. Paula, I know how it feels to be disappointed in your birth experience and really feel for you. MH - love that idea! I hadn't heard of it when I was first pregnant either. Hypnobirthing is much more widespread now so hopefully more of us will be having good, calm births.

Anonymous said...

Lovely to read your story. I did the hypnobirthing CDs too and thought they were great, midwife said I was unusually calm (though she could have just been making me feel good!) Glad to hear the bleeding stopped an you were able to stay at home. Good luck with the instructor training.