It all started 4 years ago with this big bump! 🙂 Wow what a 4 years it has been!
So many changes over 4 years. Changes to my life, my mind, my body, my attitude, my soul. My whole focus in life took a new direction on 9 February 2014. My time, my heart, my fears would never again be my own. There has been so much learning. So many new challenges and adventures.
I still remember every detail of TJ’s 40 plus hour labour and after 4 years I have finally put “pen to paper” to record some of the “highlights”. Be warned, this is probably my most revealing personal blog.
I don’t think I was ready before now to share this story….not that I had an exact birth plan and whilst both TJ and I were well at the end, the birth process was nothing that I had envisaged. It was long. It was an emotional rollercoaster. There was an operation for me. It was not a quick easy birth with 2 pushes and he was out.
I think for a while I was afraid to share this story. We are somehow lead to believe that birth stories should be wonderful – and whilst the ultimate ending to mine was – the birth process itself was not. Why is it we feel that if our birth was not smooth or as we planned we have failed ourselves somehow? I know now that it is crazy to think that and it is an amazing privilege to birth a baby, but I was disappointed in myself for a while that I had to have an epidural and that I needed an operation. I share this story because I want you know that actually every birth is a miracle and we should celebrate what our female bodies can achieve. But also because I learnt a lot from it and maybe something of my experience will help you too. Finally, I know lots of you just love reading a good birth story because they are so different! So grab a cuppa…
Please note that the story shared below is my personal one. Just like every woman is different, every pregnancy is different and every birth is different. Just because something happened, or did not happen, to me does not mean it will be the same for you.
I was diagnosed in my third trimester with gestational diabetes. I was able to control the diabetes through diet and exercise, but I was induced just before my due date. The doctors were concerned about TJ’s weight and if I left it longer to see if he would come naturally he would be too big for a natural delivery.
We were living in Cologne, Germany at the time of TJ’s birth and so I was induced by drinking a cocktail made by the midwives. I forget the exact ingredients, but it included white wine, orange juice and caster oil! It was disgusting, but it worked. About 5 hours later my contractions ramped up and about 15 hours later, about midnight on 7 February 2014, my waters broke…so far so good! In those initial contractions we took a walk, I ate a burger (with my cannula in my hand!) and I felt so excited.
The contractions continued to get more intense and strong. TJ was doing well and I was feeling good. I was at about 4cm dilated.
The doctors, however, kept telling me I should take a painkiller to ease the pain of the contractions. I have a pretty high pain threshold and really did not feel in pain. I resisted but they kept telling me it was the best thing to do and convinced me that it would not slow anything down and would help me deal with a long labour.
But within about 30 minutes of taking the painkiller it all slowed down and stopped…I had to drink another cocktail. YUCK!
The contractions then re-started, but soon after they pettered out again. Every time TJ was monitored he appeared to be sleeping or completely relaxed. He was in no rush to leave. They even gave me orange juice at one point to get him to wake up. He didn’t but I did throw up! Far too much sweetness during labour!
I paced the corridors, tried to relax and I cried with frustration. I doubled over in pain when the contractions were there, but I loved each contraction because I knew then my body was doing something. I hoped this was it…..now we would be progressing…
However, I did not dilate further. So, after a huge debate, tears and much anxiety I was given oxytocin and an epidural on the basis it would help to really get the contractions going and relax the muscles to help everything move quicker. I had not wanted an epidural and I took a lot of convincing to have it. From that point on I was stuck in the bed because my legs were kind of numb…I knew that is not what I wanted to do. I remember though that for about 2 hours I was relaxed and there was very little pain.
At 24 hours after my waters had broken I was still only 6cm dilated and TJ seemed to be asleep and not moving down the birthing canal at all. I was told by the doctors it was time to have a c-section.
A c-section was not in my “plan”. I begged for one more hour and it was agreed with my dr that as TJ was doing well it was ok.
Uwe and I spent an hour talking about a c-section and getting my head around it. During that hour the midwives also gave me some homeopathic crystals that were supposed to help with the progression of my labour. By the end of the hour I was ready to do whatever was best for my baby.
Then the dr came in to check and said “oh – you are 10cm and baby is right there. It’s push time.” I was so unprepared for that. I’d just prepared myself for a c-section….the stop start nature of this labour was a really rough emotional rollercoaster.
The epidural was wearing off and I begun to prepare to push.
I can’t tell you how long I pushed for…it was all a little bit of an outer body experience! His head crowned a few times, but his big old head would not come through…I remember pushing and as I looked down the dr grabbed some scissors…the next go I was cut and TJ’s (not so) little head was born. That cut was unbelievably painful. There was a scream and a swear at that! The doctor gave me no warning at all that it was about to be done and I had not thought beforehand to discuss it with them.
After the head was born there was one more push and there he was. TJ was born at 3.59am on 9 February. He weighed 4.3kg (9.6lbs).
He immediately started to feed and there was about 10 mins of just perfection. He was so squishy and soft and perfect. Daddy cut the cord and he just laid contented on my chest suckling.
As soon as TJ was born, however, my contractions stopped…..my oxytocin was increased again…the doctors tugged and pulled, but the placenta could not be birthed. At that point I was aware of the blood dripping from the table into a pool on the floor. I was loosing a LOT of blood. I remember asking Uwe to remove his top and TJ was passed to him for some skin on skin time while I dealt with the placenta. I remember Uwe’s face. He thought it was all done now TJ was there. He later said that at point shock set in and he started to panic that I may not be ok and he had this new little bundle.
I went into surgery for the removal of the placenta and to be stitched up. I went under general aesthetic in the end because when they started to operate with a local I felt unable to deal with the pain and I was starting to shake and go cold.
After an hour or so I was pushed back into the labour ward and reunited with Daddy and TJ. Phew. I was assured that TJ had passed all his initial tests with glowing colours and we should rest. Daddy slept several hours straight that first day (LOL), but I had so much adrenaline pulsing through me I just laid there gazing at my new bundle, checking him and cuddling him.
It was seriously all worth it and in the larger scheme of things those couple of days were minimal. We had a great team at the hospital in Cologne after the birth and stayed there for a few days, which provided a big comfort to me as a new mom.
I learnt a lot from this labour and Izzy’s birth was a very different process….maybe in a couple of years I will share that too!!