Some first footage I got of just before Heidi’s birth, and a niiiiccceee long post below it outlining my journey 🙂
What an epic tale. A tale where NOTHING went right (and for those of you who know me, know how MUCH that would affect my state of mind).
I promised you all that I would share my journey so here it is. There will be some medical references – so if that’s not your thing just skip along ahead. Otherwise enjoy!
After such a text book pregnancy of perfect tests, weight gains, and absolutely NO complications minor or otherwise, nothing went right in the end. Maybe a baptism of fire in life lessons (you would think I was putting my fingers in my ears going lalallalalalala) for me some may say.
But FIRST the stats that everyone wants to know 🙂
Heidi was born on Sunday the 28th of June at 5:44pm weighing in at 3990 grams (or for my international peeps at 8.8 pounds) and 52cm tall (or 20.47 inches).
She was born 40 + 12 – as in I was 12 DAYS OVERDUE!!! Yep – that’s right, 12 days and not a sign that things were even remotely ready to rock n roll. They say that 37 weeks is considered full time, so at that point in time I was ready to get her out and back into the swing of things (and becoming comfortable in my body again)…but then the weeks dragged and dragged on for me!
I did all the wives tales to get things moving….sex, nipple stimulation, walking, squats etc. No spicy food though – I don’t do spicy very well.
So at my 40+10 appointment we discussed induction. Even though I wanted a completely natural pregnancy (including birth) I was sooooo over it at this point I was like gimme gimme what you got!
After my first internal examination I was told that my cervix was favorable and 2cm dilated so a stretch and sweep was done and sent upstairs to book in to get my waters broken WOO HOO! This was it we’re going to be parents in 24 hours – OMG How excite!
This was Thursday afternoon and so we went up stairs into the birthing ward and waited hours to see the Dr. Finally they saw us and after letting us know they couldn’t read the messy notes of the previous obstetrician decided to do another internal examination.
Yep, same results good to go! Come back 6:30am in the morning for my waters to be broken and get this show on the road.
WOW what a feeling, rush rush rush – last minute preps, getting Ninja’s puppy sitting finalised and everything else….
That night we went to bed thinking that we would hardly sleep from the excitement. Well I was right to some degree, I did hardly sleep but then again – I hadn’t really slept in months anyway so no difference there! haha
Pickles and I got up early and we made our way to the hospital under the cover of darkness. The air was cold and crisp, the parking at the hospital was empty so we scored right out front.
We go into the hospital and the people around us can tell we’re those noob parents to be. All organised, all coifed and ready to go, suitcases in hands walking in all excited.
After being admitted into the birthing suite we wait almost 2 hours to get started (you know the public system, everything takes AGES). Finally people start coming in and get the ball rolling. Cannulas are added to my hands for drips, wee is taken and things are happening.
Pickles is feeling uncomfortable as he has never really had any dealings with the medical system especially watching someone else getting the treatments. As neither have I! Never had a broken bone, or a serious illness to warrant more than a local prescription so the experience has been very confronting for me.
The amount of times people ask me to drop my pants like its no big deal still amuses me. It is a VERY big deal for me but one that I HAD to get over very soon as the next few days will mean the end to that like no tomorrow.
I constantly ask him if he is okay….secretly my biggest fear was that he would have a complete freak out lol.
In comes in the Dr to manually break my waters and little did I know that this is the beginning of everything going wrong.
3 attempts by two different doctors all come to the same result….I actually had not yet dilated at all. My cervix was not ready.
How is it possible that TWO separate people made the same mistake the day before?? Apparently cervix’s just don’t close overnight…..
It was decided that they would give me the hormonal tape to prep me for induction the next morning. So again more internal examinations and checking into the maternity ward for monitoring of both myself and Heidi to make sure we took to the hormones okay. BUT they needed a few hours to get a bed ready for me. So Pickles and I went and had food, went home for a nap and then went back into the hospital.
At this stage I was just annoyed more than anything. One mistake sure, but two people the same mistake? It just seemed ridiculous. I was so sure by now I would be in the throes of labour so I accepted it and kept cracking on.
Little did I know that being stuck in half a room with a curtain that opened every 5 seconds was the beginning of me becoming really really down. How people spend a long time in hospital for large recovery periods or treatments I will never know! Well I guess if I think about it, they don’t have a choice. Definitely something you need to keep in mind when you next visit an unwell friend 🙂
Over the next 36 hours I had a thousand (okay an exaggeration but at least 15) internal examinations which irritated my insides to red raw and in horrific pain. Many midwives themselves winced when they had to tell me I needed another. I was trapped in a tiny space with no natural light, no natural air.
I shared my room with a new mum who was struggling to settle her bubs and breastfeed for more than 5min at a time. So all night long the light in the bedroom went on at 10min intervals.
I was not angry with her – she was a new mum for crying out loud and struggling! But I was very tired. Over the 36 hours I got barely 5 hours sleep….Pickles would spend the days with me whilst I tried to nap during the day.
They offered me a sleeping tablet but I refused….I was not going to subject Heidi to more drugs unnecessarily AND I am very sensitive to medications and it would have been a comatose sleep for me had I taken it. Given that they would offer it around 3am I couldn’t see the point!
As each hour went past I got sadder and sadder….I hated where I was. Why did the doctors fuck up in the first place? I wanted to go home. I had enough. I wasn’t even excited about getting her out anymore….I didn’t care about a natural labour that I had planned. I didn’t care about anything. Sounds dramatic but I was totally over everything. I think exhaustion was a major player.
Pickles tried to get me to walk around the ward for a change of scenery but I believe I was a sooky bitch and refused LOL
So we continued on with pains in my groin which I was praying were contractions (up to this point I had had so much pain in so many places I didn’t know what was real anymore)…and then FINALLY they checked in to see how I was going.
Guess what! Someone popped the tape in the wrong area (aka not high enough) so my pains were from not from my cervix as they should have been.
OMG Are you freaking serious??????? I think I burst into tears at this point. I had a feeling they knew I was starting to get to the end of my patience. This lady who was confident in control of her world and in charge was starting to fray at the edges…
“Lets try the tape a few more hours and come back and check” after it was rammed up higher.
Okay fine, well I might as well.
At the end of the day it turned out Heidi didn’t want to come….cheeky bugger 🙂
Again 4 hours later another check. Another raw internal examination. Excruciating pain suffered to be told.
Sorry nope nothing.
For fucks sake, are you serious?
At this stage I burst into tears. I was going to be booked in for a C-Section in the morning. I had so many things I wanted to achive in this labour….delayed cord clamping, skin to skin contact with me, no drugs, no interventions, going home 6 hours after birth if no complcations etc etc was all a pipe dream.
The MOST important thing on my list was NO C-SECTION.
The main reason why was the recovery. I did not want to experience (what I thought was going to be) 6 weeks of pain, not being able to drive, losing my independence and basically having people have to bloody do everything for me.
The actual surgery wasn’t the issue – it was the post surgery that I absolutely wanted to avoid.
So when this hit me I cried and cried for hours.
Pickles tried to console me but it didn’t work. He said he was proud of everything I had done so far, all that I had endured. That I hadn’t failed. Blah Blah Blah.
I didn’t care. My face swelled up enormously from the crying. I couldn’t see out of my eyes. They were so swollen. I was so tired. So exhausted. At this point we were Saturday night. Remember this process started Thursday arvo!
I just coulnd’t understand how my body at 11 days over due was still not ready to pop her out. If I was in the jungle with no medical intervention what would have happened? I am a big believer that our bodies can do everything we need if we let them. So what the fuck happened to my body.
One midwife joked my cervix was made of concrete…. for someone who normally silly and cracking jokes all day I had lost myself.
Poor Pickles I think he lost as to how to help me.
So that night I went to bed with a heavy heart knowing that tomorrow I would be sliced open.
But I had so much pain in my back every 10min I didn’t realise until about 3am that I had gone into labour naturally over night. Early labour, but labour nonetheless.
I had my show that morning which was the only thing that made me pause and tell the midwives that something had changed. Remember I had been in pain for so long it didn’t occur me to tell them that I was possibly having real contractions.
They checked me int he morning and yep – 3cm dilated. OMG does this mean no C-Section? YEP We’re going to give it a go!
BUT I am now entering a hardcore journey after fasting for surgery and not sleeping in days. This was going to be tough. I told Pickles that I am okay with having pain drugs (which I originally didn’t want) as I knew I wasn’t going to make it on low blood sugar and no rest. At least I wasn’t being cut open.
So back to the labour ward I go and get my waters broken. They are FULL of meconium which didn’t stress the Dr’s too much as at this stage I am 12 days overdue and its quite possible that Heidi is simply ready to get out.
Drip is started and then here we go…..
3.5 hours later of labouring I start losing my shite with the pain. The pain is horrific in my back. There is no break, its one after another after another and never dying down to zero to catch my breath. There is no time to pause.
The gas is useless and I ask for everything to help me get through it.
I eventually get the epidural and sweet sweet bliss. But It should have been obvious with the fact I was having back pain that I wasn’t dilating. Next internal I was only at 4cm.
BUT the biggest problem was now Heidi. Her heart rate was dipping from 165 beats to 80-90 beats and not coming back quick enough.
People starting freaking out…..so they turned off the drip and instantly she was okay.
Hmmmm so it looked like that without the drip, I wouldn’t contract and dilate – but with the drip Heidi would freak too much.
Stuck between a rock and a hard place for those who wanted to avoid a C-Section.
Too bad – surgery we go when her distress became imminent. One part of me is like “well at least you tried” the other part of me is like..”why did you bother! You should have had the surgery this morning and it would have been done by now!!!”
Because I had already had the epidural, I was easily moved to the surgery ward to get cracking with little prep needed.
I knew I had started crying silently at this point again but I didn’t bother trying to hide it.
Pickles was pulled away to get prepped and they started setting me up on the table. Sheets raised and everything ready to rock.
I was given so much anesthetic and I believe the tap was rather high up that I lost all feeling from the neck down. I couldn’t move my legs obviously but not my arms either.
I was also off my face tired and drowsy….I remember a midwife asking me if I was excited to see Heidi and I clearly remember saying no. The look in her eyes was one of fear.
LOL I think I freaked them out a bit and probably got a big mark against my name with POSSIBLY PND case or something like that as a TON of people started strokeing my face trying to cheer me up.
I told them I am happy to see her soon, but I am not excited.
I am not fucking excited to be cut into.
I am not excited to having my entire lady bits on show in front of 10 strangers.
I am not excited one bit.
Eventually things started happening. Sucking noises, the usual medical jargon blah blah.
Then apparently she was out but I didn’t even know. Pickles knew as he could see but I didn’t know as there was no sound.
She was white and blue and not breathing and COVERED in poop. It was in her nose, mouth, in her digestion and everywhere else. She was rushed to be cleaned up and brought to pinky skin.
I remember asking Pickles if she was alright and he said she was fine but he told me later he took one look at her and thought OMG but didn’t want to tell me.
Finally a gurgling weak cry and they cleaned her up and brought her to show me. I remember feeling very ‘meh’ about it all. I am sure that will shock many reading this but its the truth. I was also high on medication and could barely move my head. I wasn’t myself.
I told Pickles to go with her and forget about me an to not leave her side for a second and then they went off.
So they started closing me up…apparently for me there was a bit more to the surgery but eventually I was moved to recovery where I was to spend 30min before they sent me up.
I was actually there for much longer as my body couldn’t process the anesthetic out. No sensation was coming back (or it was very slow – I did warn them to be careful with drugs around me!).
I remember just drifting in and out of sleep and saying to myself with a mental slap across the face.
“Suck it up Donna – wake the fuck up otherwise you won’t see her. They will not send you to her if you don’t wake up. Lie at the next sensation test so they send you to her”.
LOL makes me laugh when I think about it now! I was the only one in the ward and I remember calling out “TAKE ME TO HER NOW” which they obliged.
I get wheeled into my room where I see Pickles is holding her in his top.
He looked relieved I was alive as it took longer for me to come back than they told him. He told me afterwards he kept telling me that all was saying to himself was “don’t kill the baby before Donna sees her” LOL
They try and put her in my arms for her first feed but hands are tingly and I can’t hold her so they help me out.
I’m shivering like CRAZY and Pickles asked me if I am cold and I am not. I am BOILING but its just the drugs leaving my system.
Ultimately that’s the story.
So what now?
Well here’s the thing. I have had the QUICKEST recovery. I was home after 2.5 days. I soley breastfeed her on demand. I did everything myself (except the first few hours when I couldn’t walk so I buzzed the midwives to put her in my arms for me).
I am on very little pain meds. She is super healthy, gaining a ton of weight. I needed NO help with latching on.
They midwives all told me I am recovering quicker than some other vagina births on the ward. Every time they walk in the room and see her feeding or sleeping in my arms with barely a squeek from her they are surprised. They are in love with how calm she is. I am in love with how calm she is!
I’ve been told it as a lot to do with me. Calm mama, calm baby. Every time there is a shift change I can hear the midwives say outside my door “this one is first time mama with Caesar but is doing amazingly well….etc”
Don’t get me wrong. I was in a TON of pain afterwards. But persevering through it helped me heal quicker.
So life lessons…..what did I learn?
There was lots of things learned BUT the most important thing I think was to trust my judgement. Because EVERYONE warned me that having a C-Section is hard. Its big surgery and hard to heal and it will impact my life etc etc and I believed it so so very much that I was fighting so hard against it. I wonder if my fear of having a caesar was actually impacting my ability to dilate. Maybe yes maybe no. It doesn’t matter anymore.
BUT since then I have basically had the same post birth process with everyone else. The biggest issue is I can’t drive which sure is a pain, but not the end of the world.
If 1000 people have the same experience as you it DOES NOT MEAN it will happen to you (especially if you don’t want it to)….. and the silver lining? I got the BEST room in the hospital all to myself! I watched the sun rise and set every day…. I got food delivered to me….I had a cleaner clean my room…. – it was not bad 😉