Meimango's Pregnancy Journey, STEPS

Fishica » STEPS » Sharing » Meimango's Pregnancy Journey » Meimango’s Pregnancy Journey – 41 Weeks

Meimango’s Pregnancy Journey – 41 Weeks

“We want to give you the best chance of having a natural birth.”  My community midwife snapped her gloves with a sense of purpose.  I lay on my bed on a bathroom towel feeling a little absurd; only a moment ago we had been sitting in the lounge room drinking tea.
I’d read about membrane sweeps a while ago and dismissed them to my mental file ‘What’s the point of them?’  I’d concluded that they would only work if the cervix was ready to efface, and so, would be likely to give birth pretty soon without the procedure anyway.   I hadn’t taken into account that I would do almost anything to avoid going over my due date, ending up in a battle of caesarean versus induction.  
“This will hurt a little” declared my midwife.  My eyes popped out of my head and I involuntarily began panting as though I were in labour;  I was surprised rather than in pain.
“It looks like you’re one centimetre dilated already,  I’ll just see if I can stretch you to two.”  My midwife had a rummage.  “Oh, I’ve just touched your babies head!  She’ll be surprised, so her heart rate will speed up a little now.”  It was Bump’s first contact with the outside world.
After the procedure, my midwife told me that if anything were to happen due to the sweep, it would happen within the next 24 hours.  She also warned me that if it were to start to snow heavily, that I should call for an ambulance and not chance it on the hilly roads.  I joked that maybe I would get a home birth, but I don’t think she found that particularly funny.   
At around 4 am, I woke up with what could only be a contraction.  It was a deep sensation and lasted about thirty seconds.  I had another one several minutes later and woke up my husband.  
“It’s happening.”  I said as I passed him my TENS machine to stick on my back.
“Ok” he said, “Give the hospital a call, and let’s go.”
We explained to my son what was happening, and that Gran would be with him at home while we went to the hospital to bring back his Mei-mei, his little sister.  Getting out the door proved difficult, since my contractions were coming fast.   I thanked whoever invented the TENS machine and held onto it for dear life.  My husband loaded my many bags into the car and we were off.  It was around 6 am, pitch black, and bitterly cold.  
I cursed every pot-hole and bump in the road,  but with no traffic, the journey didn’t seem as long as it had previously.  We parked up at the hospital and I shuffled to the entrance of the maternity wing with one or two contractions on the way.   It was 7am.
No one was at the admissions desk.  We waited for a short while when a cleaner spotted us and said they would get someone.  A weary midwife turned up.  She was at the end of her shift and was finding it hard to string sentences together.  It turned out they had twelve women admitted through the night.  I was placed in an empty assessment unit where they strapped me to a continuous monitor.  I thought to myself, “No, it’s not meant to happen this way.”  And I resolved to raise my concerns once I was properly admitted to the ward.
After an examination, I was told I was only two and a half centimetres dilated.  Effectively, I wouldn’t be classed as in labour until I had reached three centimetres. My husband gave the midwife my birth plan and she had a quick look through and assured me that they would do their best to keep to it.  She seemed a little surprised that I had been told I would be able to birth in water.  She said that it would take some time to set up.  
There was a change of shift, and another midwife appeared.   By this time,  I had started making louder groaning noises during my contractions.   Looking at the monitor’s output, my contractions were strong, but I still hadn’t progressed any further.  The midwives decided to move me to a labour suite.   I was immensely relieved.  I was unhappy being stuck on my back in an interim bed.  There was a curtain between myself and another lady in early stage labour, and I felt quite inhibited.  
I waddled from the assessment unit, stopping several times for contractions.  The labour suite was large and in the middle of it, there was a blow-up pool filling up with water.  I immediately felt more relaxed.  I asked my husband to fetch my bags from the car, and as soon as he left the room, I heard a distinct ‘pop’.  My waters had gone.  It was 10 am.  
My midwife said they were having problems with the telemetric monitor, which would allow me to be continuously monitored in water.   Another, more senior, midwife appeared and began tinkering with the monitor.  By now my husband had returned with my bags and was given the hugely important task of pressing the ‘boost’ button on my TENS machine, and so zapping an extra strong blast of electricity to my back during each contraction.   
Whilst sitting in a chair waiting for the water monitor to be fixed I had several urges to push.  
“You’re not ready to push.  You’re not dilated enough!” said the senior midwife.  
“I am.” I grunted, ” I really am!”  
A few seconds later… “I want drugs.  I want all the drugs you’ve got.  I don’t care about my birth plan.  Give me an epidural and the pethidine.  I want some morphine too.”
The midwives laughed.   
During the next contraction I let out an almighty bear-like growl.
“Right!” said the senior midwife, “Lets get some mats out, this monitor’s not going to work.”  
I silently thanked whatever powers may be.
“Do you think gas and air would help?” I asked my midwife.  
“Sure.” she said ” I’ll get you some.”
As soon as the mats were on the ground, I threw myself on all fours.  My midwife then showed me how to use the gas and air.   
“You know at some point, you’re going to have to take off your knickers?” laughed the senior midwife.  “Do you think you can do it?”
I made a noise that affected a ‘no’ and some scissors were whipped out and snipped away my pants.   I thought this was hilarious at the time.  Gas and air is amazing stuff.
“We’re a bit concerned about you,” floated the voice of the senior midwife.  “You’re not as dilated as we would like you to be at this point, so we’d like to put in a venflon, just in case we have to take you in for a …”
“Yes, yes.” I indicated as a needle jabbed into my hand while it still supported me on all fours.  “Oh God,” I thought.  “I don’t want it to go this way.”  Images from my natal hypnotherapy cd came to the fore of my mind; lots of flowers blooming and such…  A phrase from a Gaskin book, ‘I’m going to get huge.’…
“I have to push!”  I grunted as I felt another contraction coming on.  “Tell me when I can push!”
“That’s fine.” said one of the midwives.  “You’ve opened up.  It was fast.”
The pressure was immense.  
“You can touch her head, if you like.”
I reached through and touched her crowning head, and was elated.  I just wanted to meet her.  I was ready in every way. This surreal morning suddenly became very real to me.  
A couple of happy pushes later, my baby girl was born.  
The midwives passed her to me through my legs and I crouched over her, completely in awe and speechless.
We lay down on a bed at the edge of the room with my baby girl resting on my chest.  It was mid-day. We waited about half an hour for the placenta, and then a couple of hours for some fancy needlework repairs.
My midwives went out to get my papers sorted, and my husband, my daughter and I rested together in the labour suite.  One of the midwives returned and said that we could go home as soon as we liked.   The post-natal ward was full and there was a blizzard forecast for the night, so it would be best to get home while the roads were still passable.  
My husband carefully dressed our girl while I showered.  We gathered the many unneeded bags. Then we carefully drove home as sheets of snow fell, quietly joyful, and full of thanks.