Third time round…Its just going to fly out right?
Last baby came on his due date…surely this one will come early!
My last labour was pretty efficient and quick….I better get to the hospital on time this time as surely its going to be even quicker and we don’t want baby arriving on the bathroom floor!
WRONG. WRONG. WRONG!
This was my longest and hardest labour and delivery out of all of them. A quick recap to get you up to speed:
Kylan – 42 weeks, induction, epidural, 5 hours of labour. 9lb
Arden – 40 weeks exactly, natural, arrived within 3 hours of getting to the hospital. 9lb
So you see why my thinking was that number three will be early and pop out in no time.
This whole pregnancy had been completely different and rather difficult so I should have known it would keep going right through till the end. I had been having braxton hicks which were so intense for months and on my due date I had such intense regular contractions I thought it was the real deal…but 9 days later and I was still pregnant! I knew I cooked up big babies so that was my biggest concern as I kept on cooking him past my due date. I could literally feel feet and legs all the way in my back up at the top of my ribcage, whilst I could feel other limbs down on my lower left side and I knew the head was down so I was just imagining a GIANT toddler sized baby growing in there!
I woke up just after 12am on the 14th May with my first contraction. I was 9 days overdue and petrified of how big baby was getting and I really didn’t want another induction so I was beyond happy waking up to real labour. they came 4 -5 minutes apart from that very first contraction. They also were lasting anywhere from 30-45 seconds so I there was no hope of going back to sleep. I didn’t wake Ryan, I let him get his rest and after a few hours I was getting too uncomfortable in bed so went and hopped in the shower. I must have stayed in there for close to an hour. My contractions were mainly in my lower back so I loved having the the warm water on my back. My contraction timer app kept telling me I had to go to the hospital as they were so regular but I could tell that they were nowhere near intense enough. In saying that, I was so worried about popping a baby out on the motorway as I had it in my head that this one would be so much quicker than the last that by 3.30am I decided to head to the hospital and meet the midwife there.
In hindsight I wish I had just gotten back into bed and laboured at home.
We arrived at the hospital where my lovely birth photographer was eagerly waiting and we made our way up to the maternity ward. I remember walking into the reception area there and didn’t quite know what to say so I said “Hi, I’m here to have a baby” which made everyone have a wee giggle. We made our way to my room and my mum and sister joined us shortly after (again remember I thought things would be moving quickly guys!) I laboured there for quite a while, contractions still coming every 4 minutes or so and increasing in intensity but still rather bearable.
Mum, Amy and Ry took turns heating the wheatie for me and holding it on my lower back where I was feeling most of my contractions. I struggled getting into a comfortable position with all that pressure on my lower back.
After who knows how long of that, I made my way into the birthing pool.
WOW! It was amazing. It instantly relieved that pressure and pain in my lower back. I was so happy in there with Ryan joking about me being a dugong or a manatee.
I went into this really wanting a water birth. I tried the pool with Kylan and hated it but with the induction things were just generally a lot more intense with his labour. I went into my pregnancy with Arden wanting a water birth and only found out in the final few weeks of my pregnancy that my midwife didn’t do them so I couldn’t have one. So this time round it was something I really really wanted to try as I had always heard such wonderful things about labouring in water. I wanted to go into this labour with as little human intervention as possible, just letting my body do what it needed to do…well that was my general plan going into it anyway.
It felt like I had been in the pool 10 minutes….the contractions had really stepped up a notch, still as close together as when they first started and I thought things were all go. At one point we thought things were going to happen within the next 5 minutes…but they didn’t. what felt like 10 minutes to me was actually two hours. Two hours of what I always imagined a beautiful labour to be like. Sharing the gas with hubby and my sister between contractions. Lots of laughter, calmness and peace. I remember joking about the sieve that was next to the pool informing Ry that that was the pooper scooper! Being focused through each contraction feeling weightless and then relaxing and joking in-between.
My midwife Matty (who was absolutely amazing might I add) told me that I had been in there two hours, which was the max that they let you stay in the pool. At this point she wanted to check me as she wasn’t sure why we weren’t progressing when it looked it was all go, I hadn’t yet been checked but we thought I would have been at least 8cm, if not 10cm!
This was a huge turning point in the whole labour for me. It was a moment where my whole mindset shifted. I felt defeated. Let down. Disappointed. Disheartened. Completely lost.
I was told I was only 6cm…. I have no idea what time it was at this point. I had been labouring for a long time and simply not getting anywhere. I probably wasn’t even in active labour when I got to the hospital, but with how close the contractions were from the beginning it had us all thinking it was all go.
I remember heading back to the room overwhelmed with emotion. I felt like my body was failing me. I wasn’t going to get that water birth I was after. I was exhausted at this point. Tears running down my face I remember looking at my midwife and asking for it straight up.
I still wasn’t progressing. It was unexplained. Matty assumed baby was just not in the best position to move down and put that pressure on my cervix that we needed to really get things going. She suggested that I get a drip of meds to increase the intensity of my contractions to try and push baby down to where he needed to be.
I told her that if I still had many hours left, at this rate that I wouldn’t be able to do it and I needed some pain relief. My mindset had shifted, and in my eyes I couldn’t do it anymore. Especially not with the medicine to increase the contractions when they were already very intense. I remember when I asked for an epi with Arden it took so long that by the time they arrived we had to turn them away as I was about to push him out. I didn’t want that happening again. This time they were in my room ready to do it before I knew it! They gave me the drill about how its not always successful. Some people will have a complete block, some people may still feel one side, some people will feel everything. It was just the general talk they have to do so I didn’t really think much of it.
I was able to jump into bed and have a rest. I was utterly exhausted.
The epi was working mostly all over but there were a few points in my back and tummy that weren’t being numbed. these points slowly started spreading. I was using the gas along with the epi more and more. This phase felt like an eternity with lots of tears shed.
Had Matty been able to give me the drip straight away I probably would have had baby very shortly after. But the hospital staff who had the final say now that I had been given the epi weren’t too sure. They were really concerned about why baby wasn’t coming down and were worried about him being too big to deliver rather than just being in a difficult position. Eventually they gave Matty the go ahead and those intense contractions worked a charm at getting baby to move down just as she knew they would.
A little back story here, at every single scan that we had, Millen had his hand on his face. Every time!! Once during a tummy exam my midwife said she thought she felt a hand on his head when feeling for where his head was in my pelvis. With this in mind I said I bet baby just had a hand on its face and couldn’t get its head into place!
So the contractions were getting extremely intense. I was struggling with every single one. I had been using the gas the whole way through now as the epi hadn’t done a complete block but I was relying on it more and more and vocally showing I was in a fair bit of pain. I laboured like this for what felt like forever. Eventually I asked for the anaesthetist to come back and please reassess me. I told Matty I felt completely ripped off. When I gave in and realised I wasn’t going to get my beautiful water birth I had been dreaming of, I changed my mindset and settled on the idea of a Kourtney Kardashian birth where I literally feel nothing and pull my baby out. Yet here I was, no water birth and an epidural that wasn’t doing its bloody job!!
Matty got some ice spray and sprayed me to see where I could feel and where I couldn’t. My whole tummy and back were not numb, but from below my hips down it was working slightly. She was about to call the anaesthetist but decided to quickly recheck me as I was in a great deal of pain and what do you know…10cms and ready to push. She told me to try give a push and see if that helped the pain go away. I’m sure I rolled my eyes at that statement, but I did as she said and it worked. whilst pushing all that intense pain in my lower back and tummy pretty much disappeared completely. It was like magic!
I was excited now. With both Kylan and Arden I think I pushed for about 15 minutes before they were born so in my mind the finish line was right there. But yet again things just didn’t progress.
I pushed and pushed and pushed. It took me a while to get into a comfortable position where I could get a decent push in. Also having the epi and being stuck on my back in the bed with my legs in the air left me feeling extremely exposed and it took a little while to get my head in the pushing game and get some decent pushes going. But still it was taking a long time. I remember asking Matty if I was even making any progress at all. I was moving him. It was just a slow process. The contractions were long and hard, and now that most of the epi had worn off even more lower down I could feel my pushes a lot better and was able to get some really good ones going.
Finally progress…baby was nearly here. We could see the bald little head popping in and out. Matty was coaching me amazingly. After not having control over my body with Arden and pushing him straight out, ignoring everything my midwife was saying about breathing and causing a bit of damage along the way I was doing my best to do exactly what I was told. I chugged back the gas throughout the whole pushing stage, another thing I wasn’t able to do with the others but made the world of difference! I was breathing when I had to breathe and pushing when I had to push.
Then something changed. I could hear Matty’s tone of voice change. Slight panic. More urgent. I heard her say “oh theres a hand! No don’t move it, hold it right there, don’t let it move” I didn’t want to panic but I could feel fear overcoming my body. I took that gas in my mouth and got as high as I could. I breathed it really hard and took my mind right out of the situation. I could still hear her instructions but I was away with the fairies at the same time. She was incredible. Coaching me through this whilst teaching her student midwife at the same time through the difficult situation. I think everyone was worried at this point about the shoulders getting stuck….thats why I stayed away with the fairies. I then felt a sudden release. This is when I knew the epidural was working down below as had it hadn’t been I would have felt a lot more than just a feeling of release at this stage.
Then Matty said “Tarryn, reach down and grab your baby” and I reached down and pulled up my beautiful wee boy and said “OMG its ARDEN!!!” as I burst into tears out of sheer relief and exhaustion that it was over and I finally had my baby in my arms.
That whole time he had his little hand on that giant squishy face of his so his head was never able to engage properly and put pressure on my cervix. It also made pushing him down that much harder and pushing him out trickier too. That little hand on his face was likely the reason that it took so bloody long! I got to the hospital at 4am and he was born at 2 in the afternoon.
He was the talk of the hospital that night. Everyone who came past said “oh is this the nearly 5kg baby!” When I was worried about baby’s size during my pregnancy Matty showed me a graph to put my mind at ease and based on my height and size she assured me that I could easily carry and deliver a baby up to 4.7kgs. Millen weighed in at 4.7kgs.
After two births already we went in with certain expectations on how things would progress based on previous experiences and although I never had a ‘birth plan’ I did go into this with hopes of a certain type of birth. But Squishy had other plans. I was so disappointed that I didn’t get the birth I had imagined. I felt like my body completely failed me but at the same time, knowing the size of babe and how he came out I’m glad that it did end up the way that it did for his safety and mine!
Millen Reeve Donaldson I am so incredibly grateful that you chose me as your mum. You are named after a very special person. Someone who lived life to its absolute fullest. Someone with such zest for life and adventure. Someone who holds a special part in your mummy and daddy’s heart. We wish for you the same love of adventure and fun. Just don’t be too cheeky and too much trouble for mum and dad okay?
We love you.
A very very special thank you to Marisa Alexis Photography for doing such an incredible job at capturing the day for me to cherish forever.