Members birth stories

Ella-Grace's Birth Story

By Yarn
24th April, 2005

This birth happened in Australia, so some of the details/terms may differ from the ones you are used to. For that I apologise and if I really confuse anyone, feel free to PM me and ask!

For a little bit of background, I had been monitored closely by the hospital, via the ante natal clinic, for pre eclampsia from about week 30 onwards. My blood pressure kept creeping up and I started throwing some protein in my urine as well as having elevated uric acid levels. In week 32 I was admitted for one night because my blood pressure sky rocketed. From then on I took blood pressure medication, with limited success. By week 36 no one was happy with me on the Thursday in day stay (ante natal day admission), but after an internal examination and some tears from me (they were involuntary, but so heart felt), I was allowed to go home providing I promised to go back on the Saturday for monitoring. The midwife and obstetrician warned me to expect to be induced that weekend.

And now… the juicy bits!

I arrived at the hospital mid Saturday morning, as promised, for monitoring. (One good tip. If ever you do have to be hooked up to a foetal monitor during your pregnancy, and it’s the sort that does a print out of baby’s heart beat, movements etc., ask if you can stay a bit longer and get a sheet of the print out for yourself. It’s great in the scrapbook!) After the obligatory blood and wee tests (it’s just as well you can wee on demand when you’re pregnant!), I was told that I would be admitted that day. After spending hours playing Uno with Joel, he decided to go home and come back the next morning to figure out what was happening. Later, once the registrar had had a good feel, he told me (well actually, he told the nurses, outside my door and I just happened to be able to hear) that he wanted me to get a “good” night’s rest and that they would induce me in the morning. Right-o!

5am! Yes, that’s what I said – 5am! They wake me up and tell me it’s time for me to go to birth suite. Oaky Doaky – get myself ready and off we go. First they had me hooked up to the foetal monitor for an hour to see what was happening and then one of the midwives on duty did the gel thing to see if they could start contractions. Not the most pleasant of experiences, but certainly better than the registrar’s “examination” the night before! Of course, I’m still hooked up to the foetal monitor at this point to see if my uterus is contracting at all. While it does appear that I’m having some contractions, apparently they are not regular enough to be considered useful by the midwives.

My blood pressure is taken again for the umpteenth time, but you know it’s bad when the midwife looks at you, looks back at the sphymonometer, then smiles and calmly says, “I think I’ll just go and get another midwife to take your blood pressure”. Consequently the second midwife arrives, produces almost a carbon copy reaction of the first one and calls the obstetrician! *laugh*. All the while, they wouldn’t actually tell me what my blood pressure was, yet they had every other time. My guess is that it was quite high! By this stage they were saying that it would be best for me to have an epidural as it is effective in lowering blood pressure. OK – not what I had planned, but there seemed to be a good reason for it, so no problem.

By this stage it’s mid morning on the Sunday and I’d love to call Joel, but, bless his heart, not really knowing what was going on, he’d taken himself off to Church and I couldn’t contact him.

At 11.30am the on call obstetrician comes in and, after 3 – count them – 3! attempts, eventually breaks my waters. All I have to say to that is OUCH! That hurt! Next he tries to put in the canular (sp?) for the oxytocin drip (to induce me) and the fluids I will need as a result of the epidural. Now then, admittedly I do have, and always have had, bad veins for this sort of thing, but 7 tries later (and each attempt was preceded by a jab of local anaesthetic), he finally gets a line in with a smaller gauge than he should have ‘cause it was the only way he could get it to work. Halfway through this, Joel comes waltzing in after Church. Unfortunately for him, he’s not real good with needles, and seeing the Doctor shove all these needles in me was a bit much for him. Regardless, it was GREAT to have him there.

One final funny memory of this bit was as the Doctor was trying so hard to get the jolly needle into my arm, and getting more and more embarrassed and upset about it, the lady giving birth in the room next door let fly with, “Get this thing out of me NOW!” in a scream like you’d never believe! The already nervous Doctor just looked at me wondering what my response would be and I just laughed and said, “Oh, the things I’ve got to look forward to!” He seemed somewhat relieved by my response.

All this time, since the application of the gel, I’d been experiencing really, really, really bad period-like pains. I mentioned them to the midwife, but after checking the monitor, she decided they weren’t real contractions, just an effect of the gel they had put on earlier. However, after trying to play a few games of Uno with Joel, they started to get quite bad indeed. Joel even started timing them, but as my reaction to them was mostly “owie, ow, ow, ow, owie” and the monitor was evidently not screaming at them, they didn’t seem too concerned. I, not knowing what a contraction was supposed to feel like, had no idea that this, in fact, was a contraction! I suppose I should mention that because I was required to be hooked up to the foetal monitor the whole time, and their portable unit wasn’t working, I spent the majority of my morning lying in bed – not really what I’d imagined, but what can you do?

It was probably about 1pm (not real sure – bit fuzzy from about now) that they decided to have a look see and low and behold, I was 4cm dilated and what do you know? Maybe they were real contractions I was having! I should add here that even before now they had paged the anaesthetist to come and give me my epidural, but he was caught up in surgery and would come as soon as he was able.

Anyway, they started paying me a bit more attention now, despite the fact that my reaction to the contractions still consisted of “owie, ow, ow, ow, owie” or other words to that effect. “Ouch” may have been used too. At some point I asked if I could have some gas, and the midwife said that I wasn’t allowed to have gas unless I’d already had the epidural – something to do with my blood pressure – wasn’t paying too much attention after I heard “no”. So, things progress along, as they do, with the pain becoming more and more intense. Finally, at 3.30pm, while there was still no sign of the anaesthetist, there was a shift change and shortly there after, the new midwife asked me if I’d like some gas. After confirming my wish to have the gas in the most vigorous fashion, I was promptly hooked up and bit on that mouth piece for dear life. In fact, I’m not sure whether it was the gas itself or the mouth piece to bite on that was the biggest benefit to me.

Joel, mean time, is holding my hand, passing out lollies to the medical staff, and once the gas started, feeding me ice chips (man does your mouth get dry!). He really was fabulous.

By the time I was about 8cm dilated, it was getting extremely hard not to push, but I was exhorted several times by the midwives not to, so I did my very best to comply. At one point my lovely Joel, thinking he was doing the right thing, went to get more ice chips, but this meant he was gone during a contraction and I was not particularly happy about that at all. I kept asking everyone, in between “ouch”’s where he was. When he finally returned, after the contraction had finished, mind you, he was soundly scolded by both me and the midwives.

“Do – do – do – do” (trumpets sounding) Enter the anaesthetist! Scottish accent (which, over here, is a great and unusual thing to hear) and ready to epidural me. The midwives, however, declare that I’m 9 ½ cm dilated and could he just wait in case things don’t continue to progress. The anaesthetist, however, says he has a kid being prepped for OR with a burst appendix, so he either had to do it now or after the operation. In between drags on the gas pipe, I tell him to go look after the kid and “thanks”. Now everyone’s just laughing at me ‘cause I’m thanking a guy for coming and not doing the job he came to do!

So, that’s about it. After seemingly ages of more trying not to push, one of the midwives looks at me and says, “You know you can push now?” “What? If I’d known that, I’d have been pushing ages ago!” I respond. Well, actually, I think I just thought that afterwards ‘cause at the time, I was just grateful to be able to push. So grateful that after the second attempt, with reasonable amounts of pain and an accompanying “I don’t think it’s going to fit!” out popped her head. Deep breath, one more push, and out ‘jumps’ the rest of her, taking everyone by surprise. Joel seems to think that it was definitely a slips catch on the part of the midwives. It was 4.30pm.

This baby was placed on my chest and I was just lying there, in awe, and after ages one of the midwives asked me if I had a boy or a girl? I hadn’t even thought to look! So as soon as I did, Joel and I were able to welcome Ella-Grace Emily Walton into the world and it was just a miraculous thing.

Ella had a hard time keeping up her core temperature in those first few hours, so they had her under the lamps, but later I was able to hug her and hold her and it was just brilliant!

Yarn's second child's birth story can be found here