Well, it all starts here, 3.20am Wednesday morning 10th June. My waters broke (thank-goodness it happened during one of my many trips to the loo that night, because I can’t remember if I unplugged my electric blanket). Feeling too excited and nervous, we stayed up the rest of the morning getting things ready ’cause you don’t know how fast everything could progress.
Here I am quickly publishing my baby shower blog post, because if it didn’t happen now, maybe it never would as we adjust to life with a newborn.
Dyl, who is a bit of a foodie, starts making ‘Groaning Cake’ in the muffin form. An old wives tale claims that the scent of a groaning cake being baked in the birth house helps to ease the mother’s pain. Some say if a mother breaks the eggs while she’s aching, her labour won’t last as long. I broke the eggs, but unfortunately for us, there was pain and for a loooong time. I will still however continue to lift my feet when driving over railway tracks, cross my fingers past graveyards and hold my breath over bridges. But probably because it’s a childhood habit I’ve never grown out of.
Hmmm, so about 4 muffins and 12 hours later, not much progress has happened, so I thought I may as well test out our birthing pool, as part of our plan (A).
Birth Plan (A). Home Water Birth – NO Drugs or Medical Intervention.
Oh WOW….. contractions start to get stronger and a little more frightening! During the night they come every 10 mins or so, which means my husband Dyl is jumping out of bed every 10 mins to massage my feet, which is a distraction from the pain. At midnight we call our midwife Jane to say I’m really not coping with the pain (I have a low threshold it turns out). By this stage we also hear the phrase “prolonged rupture of membranes” (gross) which means my waters have been broken for quite some time now and the baby and I are at risk for infection. Due to such slow progress, we decide it’s probably safest to switch to plan B), to go to the hospital and be induced to speed up Nova’s entrance to the world.
Plan (B). Natural Birth at Hospital – No Drugs that Cross the Placenta
First thing in the morning we arrive at hospital with our floral lamp, floral bedding and start to make this clinical sci fi looking room into a warm cosy version of our house. I’m a bit of a hospital phobe, so was super happy that Dyl had remembered some floral sheets to cover any scary looking medial equipment that may cause me anxiety. Dyl is keeping his energy up as he had a huge role to play, being my rock, supporter, cheerleader, masseuse and much more. Thanks goodness for those antenatal classes, he almost knows what he’s in for!
By this stage I’m huffing laughing gas during every contraction. It’s not much of a painkiller, but more of a distraction. My belly is all hooked up to a fetal monitor which is printing out the baby’s heartbeat and the size of each contraction we have to endure. The first contraction that is printed out, is a mammoth contraction with the waves going off the scale like a serious sized earthquake. Poor Nova’s heartbeat drops in response to these tightenings in my womb. Little do we know that this will go on for another 19 hours!
Here I am pulling sad duck face, wishing I was at home in the relaxing warm pool!
Fetal Monitor: The top scale measures Nova’s heartbeat and the bottom scale measures my contractions.
A few hours later the emergency alarm goes off in our room, activated by my midwife because Nova’s heartbeat had dropped dangerously low. A stampede is heard coming down the corridor and a mix of about 5 doctors, nurses and professionals arrive quickly to help. I am turned onto my side to help her pulse rate and this is how I stay for the rest of the birth. A terrifying moment for us all!
It has now been days since my waters broke, and contractions were still coming every 5- 10 minutes with not much progress. At this stage we decide it’s probably best to be induced to speed up labour. I didn’t want to have a distressed baby or endure a whole week of this, so they pop in an IV and give me Syntocinon.
Plan (C). Assisted Natural Birth at Hospital – Induction
Now things start firing up! Contractions come every couple of minutes and I’m not coping with the pain. I request an epidural (Medication delivered through a catheter into your spine), because I’m thinking I wont be able to get her out without the help of some serious painkillers.
Plan (D). Assisted Natural Birth at Hospital – Induction + Epidural
Ah, so much for my no drugs policy! I remember saying to Dyl that I now felt like I had been abducted by aliens and I was being experimented on as I was hooked up to 3 IV drips, 2 x catheters, the fetal monitoring machine and not to mention the many internal exams. At this stage I decide the camera is not welcome on this spaceship anymore (until Nova arrives of course).
At about 10pm that Friday night I’m finally allowed to push and it’s so bizarre because of the epidural I can’t feel anything from my hips down. After about 3 hours of “phantom pushing” I make some progress and Dyl can finally see her head! But the progress isn’t quite enough and I’m urged to consider the use of a ventouse (vacuum extraction). Dyl and I quickly discuss this and decide we’d like to get her out ASAP so yes please. Both of us had not slept for about 3 days, so you can imagine how desperate we were to get her out!
Plan (E). Assisted Natural Birth at Hospital – Induction + Epidural + Ventouse
Yay, the time has come to finally meet this little human that has been growing inside me for the past 9 months. 3 more pushes past midnight and she’s out, all screamy, wide eyed and perfect! She is placed on my chest and we stare at her in amazement, (also wondering how on earth she fitted inside me). Dyl and I have a quick bet on how much she weighs and I win being the closet to her true weight at 9 pound 3 ounces!
Nova Shona Lee – 10 hours old.
Even though our ideal birth-plan didn’t happen, Dyl and I felt like it all turned out the best way it could with our goal being that Nova arrives happy and healthy and me in one piece. And even though I felt like I was in a spaceship the whole time, the midwives and all other staff at Queen Mary Hospital were amazing! They were super helpful in the following few days showing me how to feed, burp, change nappies and are literally there for you at the click of the buzzer for anything you need. They never made me feel like a burden and took extra measures to ease my hospital/needle/catheter/ phobias. So huge THANK-YOU to Jane and Keli my midwives, everyone who assisted in Nova’s birth and looked after the Lees in room 15. xx
Below are some shots of Nova during her first month, with some fab handmade gifts from friends and family!
Beautiful handmade crochet blanket made by friend Jo Higgins
Amazing handmade crochet blanket made by friend Kathy Trevithick
Gorgeous handmade purple patchwork quilt made by Cuzzy Claire Smith and onesie from Great Aunt Adair.
Dyl and Nova on our first family outing one week later, loving the baby wearing (Moby wrap, thanks to friend Becky).