My baby arrived on his "due date" at 12.50am on Nov 30th.
Ultimately everything that we didn't want to happen - did happen - but all I feel from my experience is happiness and positivity!
We are completely in awe of our amazing little guy and going through the entire labour process has not only shown me how amazing our bodies are, but also taught me that babies will do what they want most of the time, which usually isn't to "our plan"!
Both my husband and I watched all the videos and I used the relaxations and affirmations throughout my pregnancy. I'm a naturopath and I had a great healthy pregnancy, I enjoyed it a lot and only felt uncomfortable in the last weeks. I was always on top of my health as much as I could be and was even hiking at 33 weeks! I never had any growth scans (just the 12 weeks and 19 weeks scans) and was only seen by midwives. Fundal height always measured a week or two ahead but we weren't worried. Both my husband and I researched everything regarding birthing... I was really passionate about minimal interventions and activebirthing as well as delayed cord clamping, skin to skin and all that good stuff :) we were fully prepared for labour and couldn't wait!
Then 2 days before my guess date my legs suddenly swelled. I took my BP and it had hit 160/95! I called the midwives who asked me to come for monitoring. We didn't take the hospital bag as we thought it would be fine and I'd be sent home. How wrong we were!
Luckily I had no protein in my urine and all my bloods ruled out pre-eclampsia. However the only way my BP would lower was having this baby, so the OB on call suggested a stretch and sweep to see whether that would start my labour as I was full term. I was happy to do this and she found I was already 4cm! I was glad my body had already started the process on its own as I'd heard being induced can be intense especially when your body hasn't started. Nothing much happened that night unfortunately so at 12pm the next day we agreed to break my waters.
Not much fluid came out but within 20 minutes I was in full labour. Contractions every few minutes lasting 45-60 seconds. No gradual lead up here!
I laboured for 6-7 hours using the birth ball, standing over the bed and moving my hips. The affirmations played and we had a beautiful dark room with clary sage in the oil diffuser. My lovely husband wiped my forehead with wet towels. The contractions were intense and from very early on I had to vocalize and hum deeply through them. Towards the end of 7 hours I started to lose concentration... I kept asking "when would this baby be here" and even got to the "I can't do this any longer!" It became very hard to focus. The midwives apparently told my husband I was really close and would start pushing very soon. I even felt some pressure of bearing down. They checked me and.... I was still 4cm dilated. No progression at all. We also realized bub had done a 180 and turned posterior which was why my contractions were especially painful! After being in the "perfect position" since 30 weeks. This was disheartening but I remembered the affirmation of going with your birth however it would take you.
By this stage my BP had not dropped even with the meds and was still around 160/100. I had also started getting a fever. We decided with the midwives and OB that an epidural and syntocin would be used to give my body a break and see if I would still progress/dilate as baby was still happy. The ob knew this was my first baby and didn't want to jump to a c-section. I also agreed to IV antibiotics due to my 39.5 degree fever. So again. Not what I had expected or wanted... antibiotics, an epidural and syntocin. But I repeated the dealing with whichever way your birth will lead affirmation and went with it calmly. We had done our research and knew the best decisions were being made.
I couldn't have been happier when the epidural kicked in though :) I laboured for another 2 hours. Still no progression. I advised the midwives this didn't feel right - my gut instinct was telling me something was wrong. I finally had another check and had only progressed to 5-6cm. Baby's heart rate had also starting dropping dangerously with each contraction. The ob came in and started to explain to me he believed a cesarean was necessary at this stage due to baby's position, his dropping heart rate and my failure to progress... I cut him off before he could finish and said yes let's do it now! There was no way I was going to risk anything happening to this baby at this stage.
Within 30 minutes we were in theatre. I was calm and confident with everything that was happening and so excited to finally meet this baby! They lowered the drapes so we could see him emerge - and after some intense tugging and pulling from the Dr he came out squawking and perfectly healthy. At a whopping 10lbs56oz! 4.8kg of newborn goodness. No one could believe I had carried such a large baby as I never looked "bigger" than average.
After a very quick check he was placed onto my chest for some amazing skin to skin and as soon as I was able to get back to the room he latched on and had his first feed. He blood sugars were also perfect and I had never developed GD. Must just make big babies!
Now 4 weeks later my recovery has been amazing. I was walking the same day and feel great now. My milk supply is awesome, he's a great breastfeeder, great sleeper and very content baby! I look back on my labour and birth story and know that everything happened how it was meant to, and hypnobirthing really gave me the mindset to accept each and every part of it even when it went completely different to how I expected!
Interventions and cesereans are of course over-used in situations... but sometimes also very much needed and I'm grateful I had access to one after experiencing the birth I had. I don't have any feelings of "failure" on my behalf for not having my baby "naturally". My baby was born. And I still laboured and birthed him! Just with some assistance ;)
Hypnobubs was amazing in helping my husband understand how he could help, and he was incredible. Even the midwives complimented him on how easy he was to work with and how calm everything was and how he was able to speak on behalf of me when I couldn't speak. The relaxation tracks I listened to before birth were calming and releasing my fears was so helpful. So even though I didn't get the birth I imagined - I got the birth that I was meant to learn and grow from. And we got the most amazing present in the end - a beautiful healthy baby boy and a mum happy and content in her entire birthing experience!
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