My birth story began a week before it was ‘meant’ too. After a discussion with my OB/GYN and my husband we decided that due to hypertension that had begun in the last few weeks of my pregnancy it was best to get this guy out a week early.
That decision was made at our 38 week appointment. Fast forward to May 17th, we spent the day preparing the house and spending time with our dog, Archie before we left him with our friend Kyra and would return to him with a new family member. Honestly, that day went so fast. We were due at the hospital just before 5pm, I had so many plans for the day wanting to just get everything I possibly could done before we had this baby. In the end we spent most of the day getting ourselves organized and walking Archie.
At 4:15pm we headed to the hospital, after arriving and filling in the necessary paperwork we were taken to ‘Birth Suite 1’ where we made ourselves comfortable before I would be induced later that evening. It’s actually really hard to get ‘comfortable’ in a hospital room. It kind of feels like somewhere you aren’t going to be for a long time so it took us a few hours to actually settle in.
We ended up getting something to eat – provided by the hospital – before getting changed into some comfortable clothes before my obstetrician came in to begin the induction procedure. For my induction we went with the balloon method. For a little TMI the balloon method involves a water balloon being inserted and then filled with usually around 50mls of water in 2 different balloons to open the cervix. It was definitely not comfortable. After a while I forgot that it was there which was night and we tried to settle in to sleep for the night after being told that my obstetrician would be back at around 8am to remove the balloon, break my waters and get this show on the road.
Monday night was definitely not the most comfortable night of my pregnancy. I still had to get up and pee constantly and the balloon was causing me a bit of pain. I was given some medication to help with the pain and to help me fall asleep to make sure that I was rested for labour the following day which is something I definitely appreciated. It was a long night for both George and I, there was also a little anxiety mixed in there thinking about what the next day would bring.
Eventually we both got some sleep and woke up to a lovely hospital provided breakfast. At around 8am my obstetrician returned to remove the balloon and begin the hormone drip that would signal to my body that it was time to kick start labour and get this thing going.
Throughout the day midwives would come in and increase the amount of the hormone in the IV which slowly helps your body dilate at a more natural pace. It started off really chill. I was playing Animal Crossing: New Horizon on the Nintendo switch and ended up having a great conversation with one of the midwives who has kids and was curious about the game. The progress was pretty slow, which was not ideal but I was trying to just stay as relaxed as possible to let me body do its thing.
Around lunch time I started to feel the contractions more so George and I decided to try and distract myself from the pain by watching a movie. Obviously, being in labor I got to pick the movie. I thought something funny was in order, no one needs a heavy movie while they are experiencing contractions, so we ended up watching Thor Ragnarok.
I don’t think I’ll ever forget standing in the middle of a hospital room wearing a massively oversized mens Tee from Kmart and disposable underwear while clinging to an IV pole and dancing through my contractions while watching Thor.
We progressed through lunch using heat packs and Thor to help with the pain, however when we hit around 2pm it started to all get a little to much for me and I asked to use the gas. Initially I was using it more intermittently, for when the contractions felt particularly strong. But as the hormone drip was increased I began using it more consistently for all the contractions.
It became really difficult to push through the contractions. I honestly thought that I must of been at least 6cm, so when my obstetrician came in to check my progress and told me I was at 4cm I was not excited! It had already been a long day. It was 3pm and I’d been ‘in labor’ since 8am. It was a little disheartening to hear but I also knew there was nothing I could do about it aside from listen to my body.
Throughout the entire labor my blood pressure was being closely monitored as it had been quite high for the last few weeks of my pregnancy. After laboring for that long my BP began to peak higher than it had all week. With that my Obstetrician thought that the safest bet would be to get an epidural. After experiencing back to back contractions using only the gas as pain management I was 100% ready.
I didn’t really even feel the epidural needle at that point, I was ready for the edge to be taken off these contractions. Once the epidural was in i felt fantastic! I wasn’t in any pain anymore and I felt as thought I could crush this labor. With this second wind I prepared myself to keep going. Another hour passed and my Obstetrician returned to check my progress which was when I was informed that I was still only at 4cm. To add to that, I’d been monitored more closely in that hour to make sure my blood pressure was going down and during that monitoring they discovered that Hugo’s heart rate would drop significantly each time I had a contraction. Definitely not a good sign.
After a discussion with George and I the Obstetrician recommended a C section, with how my body was progressing and now Hugo’s distress during contractions I was on board to get him out as quickly as possible to make sure his arrival was a safe one. With the decision made I called my mum to let her know and George got decked out in scrubs to accompany me into the OR.
It was all such a surreal experience as this point. I definitely said “I feel like I’m on Grey’s Anatomy” out loud, which is definitely very awkward and I definitely thought I was thinking that as opposed to sharing it with a team of doctors. I was rolled into the OR and we waited for the Anesthesiologist to return as he was the only member of the medical team who had headed home for the day when the decision was made. The medical team was amazing, they really put me at ease about the whole situation, chatting with George and myself and reassuring us through out the whole procedure.
Don’t get me wrong the adrenaline was pumping! But I definitely felt that Hugo and I were in the best possible hands.
Just before 7pm we got started and my 7:19pm Hugo James had entered the world. It was so bizarre when they lowered the curtain for me to see him. It did not feel like he had been the little nugget that was rolling around in my uterus all these months. Even as they shifted him here there and everywhere he was quiet and content. He only began to cry when the pediatrician gave him his shots while giving him a once over.
Once he was giving the OK he was bought over and placed on me. There he sat, content as anything looking around at the world. It is definitely an experience I will not forget!
Overall, my birth experience was pretty good. Birth is something that you really have very little control over. It comes down to trusting your body to do what it’s made to and your medical team to assist you in that – or in my case assisting me when my body decided not to cooperate. The most important thing I took from this entire experience is the importance of finding doctors that you trust, be it a GP, OB or podiatrist. Trust is key.