Annabelle's birth story.
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|Wed, 01-04-2012 - 10:56am|
Short version: Annabelle Elizabeth born at 12.27am on 23rd Dec weighing 9lb and about 20 inches long.
Long version: I was putting Nate to bed around 6.45pm on 22nd Dec (39w5d by my dates or 40w2d by the hospital's dates) and had a contraction – it was very different from the cramping I’d been having for the previous few weeks – a more definite and sharper cramp which came, stayed for about 20 seconds and then went. They came irregularly, sometimes every 2 mins, other times with a 10 min gap, I could still talk through them so knew it was early days and might well just go away! I had a bath to see if they would stop but they gradually became more intense and by about 9pm I couln’t really talk through them. Pain wasn’t anything bad as by the time I’d taken 8 or 10 deep slow breaths it was over. The gaps made it very bearable. I told DH to get some sleep around 10.30pm and figured I’d see how fast things progressed. I’d talked to my midwife a couple of times by now so she was up to date with where I was. After 11pm the contractions were much closer together…less than 2 mins and were painful enough for me to quickly go and lean over a chair or the kitchen side as I couldn’t stay standing or sitting through it. Leaning worked well and I just concentrated on breathing slowly and relaxing as much as possible…no point fighting it and I knew it would stop after a minute or so. About 11.30pm I realised I was properly in labour and that the pain would get more intense. I didn’t want to homebirth as Nate was sleeping so I called Nancy (the midwife) and she came round within 10 mins, called the hospital and found that the really nice water birthing room was available. Through a stream of serious contractions I think I cheered as that room is lovely! Called my Mum to come and babysit Nate, Nancy woke Dom and with me labouring over the back seat of the car we made it the 5 mins to the hospital. The contractions were pretty bad in the car as I was a bit crunched up and I started humming when breathing out to try and keep my breathing slow. Got to the hospital and had to be on hands and knees in the car park during a contraction, then bent over the rail in the lift (elevator) then over the check-in desk in the maternity unit. By that time I was counting to 5 repeatedly on the out breath which seemed to help me stay calm and get through it! Nancy checked us in at 12.01am. I could see the birthing room and it was a huge effort to make it into that room with contractions rolling one on top of another! Nancy organised the gas and air…thank god for gas and air…like being stoned so you know what’s going on but can interpret the sensations in a bit of a different way. I love it. So knelt over the birthing couch breathing in gas and air as quick as I could and I must have reached full dilation because it felt like climbing a mountain and then my waters broke and everything reached a climax (a lot like an orgasm…not the sensation but the mental side of it) and then I stood up, put down the gas and asked if the baby was here…much to Dom’s bewilderment! He said…um…no. The pool had just finished filling so I got in and got my lovely gas and air back just in time for my body to start doing enormous pushes. Nothing I was controlling…it was very primal! I was in my own world with my eyes closed and felt the head descend, then come back, then descend and then I took a moment to stop fighting, to try and relax everything and to let the head come out with the next push. I could sense that it was painful but I really was in my own world so the pain didn’t ‘bother’ me. There was a bit of a gap where I guess the baby rotated ready for the next step, then the body came out Nancy said “pick up your baby Jac!”. It was now 12.27am. She was there floating between my legs and I picked her up and she screamed a lot! I don’t think Nancy had to do much. There was no point checking for dilation as it was all progressing normally, she called for a second midwife to be present because there has to be 2 during actual birth, but I think they both just observed. It was all very quite during the birth, lights low, no one really talking except I think I heard Nancy whisper to Dom that she could see the head at some point! The placenta kind of came down while I was holding baby in the water and then after a few mins Nancy cut the cord, I got out, lay on the couch and she breastfed on and off for about an hour which was incredible as Nate never latched so I hadn’t experienced it the first time round. Then baby got weighed and briefly checked over and Nancy stitched up my 2nd degree tear (from her hand up by her face, not from her head itself) – which meant a trippy hour on gas and air for me and an hour of cuddling from Daddy for Annabelle! A doctor came round about 5am to do her checks to be discharged and we were home by 6.30am in time for me to get Nate up.
The first couple of days were hard. Breastfeeding was very painful. I had the hormone crash on the first night and was hysterically crying and hyperventilating and saying how I couldn’t cope with the feeding. We gave her about 20 ml of formula, she slept, I calmed down a bit, carried on with breastfeeding…the pain was bad. Then blood blisters formed, scabbed, fell off…and the pain became tolerable. Another setback when she got a cold at 5 days old…wouldn’t really eat…my milk then tailed off a bit and when she recovered I ended up feeding every half hour for a whole 9 hours because she was STARVING! It worked though and now my supply is back up. I haven’t had to supplement since that first night…not that I have anything against formula…just saying that this breasfeeding thing is working despite it not working with Nate and despite the fact I was very ready to give her formula and had bought a load in!
So that’s it. A long story for a straightforward and unexciting birth. Nate’s was a different and much harder experience altogether (24 hr labour and narrowly avoiding a c-section by having a forceps delivery in the operating theatre…spinal block…hard to bond with baby….2 days in hospital…breastfeeding was a nightmare) and I feel like I’ve experienced birth (and feeding) from two very different perspectives. I’ve been lucky this time round and I’m very grateful for that. I’m grateful for a quick labour, to have had chance to experience every bit of it (with a little help from gas and air!) and to be able to breastfeed rather than having to express (I had an awful time feeding Nate…so much stress!).
I’m glad that births can be very different and that having a bad experience the first time round doesn’t mean it will be bad the second time. And I’m glad I’m not going to do it again – we’re stopping at two! Annabelle is refusing to sleep unless attached to my breast…so she’s steadfastly sitting in her bouncy seat looking exhausted and refusing to sleep! We’re co-sleeping for now…I will encourage her out of that as soon as she’s ready (or I’m fed up!)….co-sleeping gives me freaky dreams!