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The shelling of Peanut

February 5, 2010

Little bird in its nest

On Peanut’s estimated due date we visited our OB to check on progress, but as per the previous few weeks, Peanut’s head hadn’t engaged, and we were told we were to come back next week at which point we would start planning induction. Having had so much medical intervention to get this started, I had really wanted to have a natural drug-free birth if I could manage it, and so I left his office feeling disappointed. Strangely though, as I sat down for my non-stress test and the midwife leant over me to attach the monitor, she stared into my face, and told me I would go into labour soon.

We shrugged this off and instead the next day I got going on some traditional ways to induce labour – a long walk, raspberry leaf tea, evening primrose oil and a yoga class. Later that afternoon I was hanging out washing, and began to feel this ache in my side. Thinking I had pushed it a little hard in yoga that morning, I sat down for a rest, and noticed the pain coming and going. You could almost measure it by the clock. Oh wait…

So we got very excited that things were starting to move, and went out to dinner with the family while we kept time of the contractions (thank goodness for the app on my iPhone!). From the very beginning the contractions were fairly close together and long – around a minute long and 4-6 min apart. But knowing my mother had had long labours, I settled into this knowing it could be a while.

With little sleep that night, I was up early the next morning. A beautiful spring Saturday, as the temperature climbed to 31 I walked from the front of our garden down the path alongside the house to the back, listening to relaxing music and stopping every so often to bend over and breathe through a contraction. By 2.30 that day I’d been in labour for 24 hours and we headed to the hospital to check where we were at. Once there, they strapped me onto a monitor and decided that while I was having contractions, it was ‘false labour’ – and that I could be like this for a week or so. Significantly though, they didn’t do an internal exam, which I would ask for next time, as I think I was actually further along than they thought.

I came home feeling discouraged – having worked hard for a day, it was difficult to think that I was facing several more days of this. That evening I headed off to bed, only to wake at 11 or so with REAL contractions – the sort that forced me to bend in half and elicit a little swearing!

I moved into the lounge, at which point some of the skills I had read about from Birth Skills and my Hypobirthing came into play. Initially focusing on relaxing through the contraction, squeezing stress balls, vocalisations, and finally, when I was finding it hard – a nice warm shower. At about 2.30 on Sunday morning, I rang the hospital again, only to be told that I was still probably early on, and I could come in ‘if I wanted’. Feeling like a wuss, I stuck it out for another 2 hours at home on the sofa, with my mother, who had woken up massaging my back through each contraction. Finally around 4 I decided I couldn’t do this anymore, and we woke up The Baron. He wandered around dopily changing and showering, while I hissed at Mum – “He needs to hurry up!!” Just before we left, I felt a massive need to push, which I knew was a sign I was far along.

Luckily the car ride was quick – only 10 minutes at that time in the morning, but still enough time for me to have 2 big contractions in the car – not fun! On arrival, the midwife wanted me to be put on the monitor again, but I insisted on an internal exam, at which point she exclaimed that I was over 9cm dilated, and about to have the baby!

She paged my OB, and told me to breathe through the pushing contractions (impossible), but Mum took over and coached me through panting through them, which held off the pushing for the 15 min it took for the Dr to arrive. Once he was gowned up, I started pushing, which was incredibly hard, as I couldn’t feel any progress being made (and it really hurt!!). The nursing staff, The Baron and my Mum all shouted encouragement and told me I was nearly there. Towards the end, my Ob told me he might have to to an episiotomy as it looked like I might ‘shatter’. Luckily I didn’t hear him say this! But one or two big pushes later and Pea’s head was out, and the rest was easy.

They tried to get Pea onto my tummy, but the cord was so short it couldn’t reach, and The Baron had to cut the cord quickly – the only part of my birth plan which didn’t go to order. Once free they placed the baby where I could see it, at which point I said (as babies are all really swollen down there at birth) “it’s a girl…isn’t it??’ Confirmed – and Lady G was named and officially welcomed into the world. 15 minutes later after being cleaned and weighed, she fed for the first time, and I got a really good chance to stare back into her slowly blinking eyes. Weight was a small 3kg (6 lbs 12), but she was serene and perfect.

We stayed in the hospital for 4 days getting to know each other, before Daddy and Granny welcomed us home. The first thing we did on returning home was to bury G’s placenta under a ‘Little Gem’ magnolia in a pot outside the lounge room window, a small link to her NZ heritage.

The next few nights were rough – bad engorgement made feeding very hard, but with the help of a lactation consultant and the passing of the baby blues, we managed to get things sorted – and it’s been far easier and better than I was expecting.

She’s now 3 months, smiling, laughing, starting to roll – and it should all get more fun from here on in!

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