I was 38 weeks and 0 days with my first pregnancy and at 4:40am hours I woke up with period like cramps, only small amount of discomfort but it was there constantly, with what I called "flare ups" which I look back now were probably early contractions, but I don't think I fully realised at the time. I went to hospital at 8am to get checked, as I thought my water might have broken and I still had these cramp pains. We did a swab test at hospital and it wasn't my waters, so I was sent home and told I could possibly be in early labour, or go into early labour soon. This period type pain continued all day, it varied in strength and frequency, but I went about my day feeling a bit uncomfortable every so often. After around 12 hours of this pain, at 4:30pm I got off the couch and felt a small gush of fluid, so I knew that this was my waters breaking for real this time, I then went to toilet to see because I was wearing a pad from that morning as the midwives suggested and I also had the bloody show. I called the hospital again informed them and they asked me to come back in.
Before we left I remember bracing my hand on the toilet wall as my "flare up" of this period type pain was now quite bad. I was timing it and it was happening every 1-2 minutes for around 40- 60seconds. But I still didn't fully realise it was active labour at this point. Of course it was peak traffic time driving to hospital we got there at 5pm. The car ride was uncomfortable and by the end I just wanted to get there and get out because it was so uncomfortable. When we were waiting at reception I was so irritable, my partner asked me if I wanted to sit and I remember sort of snapping at him, I did not want to sit down, I had to stand or move around. We let reception know I was there for my waters breaking. And waited a few minutes, I was so irritable and getting annoyed as to why they hadn't come out to see me yet, the pains were getting so bad and then I think it finally hit me. I was having this baby right now. I went back to the reception and said I need to see them right now, I'm in active labour. The midwife came out promptly and called me in after that.
I went into a birth suite room, and was told a midwife would be with us soon. I don't know how long it was but it felt like an eternity and I was so annoyed that it was taking so long, I needed help, all I could do was stand up and brace myself on the beside table and wait for them. It hurt. The midwife came and ultimately said often they would usually send me home but because I was in alot of pain they wouldn't. And I remember saying "i'm not going home". I was so irritable, and a bit stressed/anxious about everything about to happen. We decided to try gas for pain relief and that helped alot, because I was no longer so irritable at everyone, both my partner and the midwife said I was much calmer. And I was.
I had continuous CTG monitoring on throughout and i found it quite comfortable through my labour. A few times with me moving around the reading was inaccurate but the midwives just came and changed it as needed. I kept labouring for awhile and then the midwife said she was going for her dinner break and would be back in 30mins. I was sitting on the toilet as that's where I was most comfortable, and when she came back I told her "I think I'm pushing", it was happening by itself. I was bearing down and moaning but I had no control over it. It happened twice since she was gone. I don't know if she believed me until she overhead one of these moments. And then she said well maybe we should do an examination to see what's going on. I agreed. She checked me on the bed and she asked if I wanted to know and I said yes. She said I was 9cm dilated and I remember saying "are you for real". I was absolutely shocked. I think my midwife was also shocked. How was I that far along and I had only just got here to hospital a few hours ago, I didn't think things would be happening so quickly. All I had thought was first time mum's usually have long labours as that's what your told. I was also ecstatic, coz it was my ideal plan that if I was nearing the end of the dilation phase, I would hold out and not get an epidural if I could avoid it. I wasn't against having one in fact I went in to my birth prep thinking I would probably end up having one, due to the pain. But because I was so close I felt like "okay let's do this".
As I was already having uncontrollable urges to push, I continued labouring with the gas for awhile. The gas worked wonderfully for me as pain relief. It did give a metallic taste in my mouth at times, but a drink washed that away. At 9pm the shift changed to nightshift, so I thanked and said goodbye to my midwife who was leaving and I met my new midwife along with a student midwife too for the nightshift. And I think I began actively pushing shortly around this time too. My pushing phase ended up going for 1hour 50mins, baby was getting stuck behind my pubic bone and I needed coaching to keep up the pressure to help get baby out. They took the gas off me, I think on purpose so I could focus and feel things more, but the pushing phase wasn't painful, just absolutely exhausting and ALOT of pressure. The amazing third year student midwife was coaching me through it. She was such a good support to me for my labour. Nothing was really happening and so the midwives suggested an episiotomy and I agreed. And as soon as I had the episiotomy, she basically just came out instantly. Her head in only a few pushes and then her body came out right after. And I felt such relief, all the uncomfortable feelings were gone instantly. I met my baby at 10:40pm, her apgar score was 9 and 9. I also had the injection to assist the birth of placenta shortly after.
We did an amazing 2 hours or so of skin to skin. The midwives left us alone as a new family for this. We did a breast crawl in that time and my partner fed me sour worm lollies as I was exhausted and needed a pick me up, we hadn't eaten since lunch. The midwives then came back and did all the checks. At around 2am or 3am I had the best shower of my life, it was so refreshing, my partner dressed our baby girl for the first time and then we went to the maternity ward. I ended up staying that night, well it was already 3am, and then the following night in hospital.
So as a first time mum, I had a 6 hour 25 minute labour. I couldn't believe how quick my labour was, I had fully mentally prepared myself to go to 41 weeks and need to be induced as a first time mum. I didn't end up using a birth ball, my birth comb, or my hired TENS at all, or have a water birth which I originally thought I would prefer. I just went with what I felt in the moment. Basically sitting on the toilet, the bed and had gas for pain relief. The hospital staff were so wonderful for my stay and I am so blessed to have had such a positive first birth experience.
Hollie was born at 2240hrs
38weeks 0 days
Rosie Fitzclarence is a Registered Midwife, Registered Nurse, Childbirth Educator (Geelong Born) and a Hypnobirthing Australia Certified Practitioner.
She is based in Geelong and can be contacted by email at email@example.com or phone 0419170783.
To find out more about Geelong Born Birth Prep private classes via Skype or face-to-face CLICK HERE