Hey Baby!

LABOUR

Although, I had been shying away from extensive planning, I knew what I wanted my birthing process to be like and I had cautiously gone about putting little things in place. I didn’t want negative or nervous energy. I was nervous enough. I didn’t want bright lights or noise. I didn’t want the epidural until I was half way through the dilating process (5cm) and I didn’t want any extra drugs: oxytocin, etc.

We pulled down the blinds and put on my yoga playlist. I was calm and slowly becoming more and more excited because I would meet Liam soon! A midwife came and examined me, I was 1cm dilated and still not having strong contractions.

Let me say now that the WORST part of this process was the vaginal exams to measure how dilated I was. It hurt and put me in a bad mood for a good few minutes each time. Around 11am, my doctor decided (against my wishes) that I needed help getting my labour going, so they administered Propess, a hormone that was supposed to help ripen my cervix and get the contractions going. It was VERY uncomfortable and I said some not so nice things to my doctor since he said it wouldn’t hurt and it did!

About half an hour later, the mild contractions that I was taking like a champ, became some not so mild contractions and Guille was banned from speaking during them. I did my breathing, I walked around a bit, I had Guille massage my lower back and we joked in between contractions.

I was about 2 centimeters dilated at this point. Since things were still going slowly, they brought me some lunch. After eating I felt extremely nauseus and threw it all up! I was really tired since I hadn’t really slept much since my water broke. They gave me something similar to morphine to help me sleep since I didn’t want the epidural yet but I was exhausted. I might have dosed off for about half an hour.

I started to get frustrated because I was so tired but couldn’t sleep- and that’s a feeling that I really hate. Around 6pm or so, they examined me and I was about 3cm dilated. Talk about SLOW! We decided to tell my aunt that  I was in labour and she decided to tell the rest of my family. At first she didn’t believe me because she said I sounded so calm, but we sent her some pictures and she eventually believed me. I then decided to inform some close friends and family members and put my phone away because I didn’t want to be bothered or distracted.

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Labour

Around 7pm, I was about 4cm dilated, so they took me down to prep me for the epidural. I wanted to wait, mainly because I read somewhere that the epidural sometimes slows down the process and it was going slowly enough already. I was in pain, but nothing too unbearable, but they decided to take me down anyway. Guille wasn’t allowed to go with me so I told him to go have something to eat and come back in like an hour.

It took a  while for the anesthesiologist to administer the epidural because they can’t do it during a contraction and I started having contractions like crazy. The epidural didn’t hurt but it felt weird- I had a random cramp in the side of my left thigh for a little bit. Once it kicked it I was aware of my lower body but didn’t feel any pain. I think I expected to be totally numb or something. Around 830pm or so, they took me back up to my room, and I have to admit, that while I wasn’t in excruciating pain before, it was a nice relief to not be in any pain at all.

Around 9pm , a midwife came to examine me and her facial expression changed to one of shock and a little confusion. I immediately got worried and asked what was wrong- expecting the worst. She told us that I was completely dilated and that she was just surprised that I went from 4cm to 10cm so quickly! She said she was going to call down to the delivery room and they’d take me there.

I should mention now that this is when I got really scared for the first time since my water broke. I don’t know what you’ve experienced or been told but all the stuff you see on TV with women labouring and seemingly on the verge of death- was not my experience. The contractions weren’t a walk in the park but for me they were just like very painful period pains (and I’ve always had very painful periods). I think for me, it wasn’t that bad because I knew that at the end of it all, I would finally get to meet Liam. I would finally not worry about something going wrong in the pregnancy.

Anyway, I was nervous because, contractions weren’t anything too difficult. Being examined and hooked up to IVs etc.- been there; done that, but now they expected me to actually push this little human out of my body! I’d never done THAT before!

While waiting for them to come up and transfer me to the delivery room, I had an incredible urge to push. Which was weird enough, seeing as I had the epidural. I told the midwife and she said it was because the baby’s head was in the birth canal and I should practise pushing every time I felt the pressure and need to push. So Guille and I did that while waiting.

At 9:18pm, they took me to the delivery room. Guille wasn’t allowed to come in because he was wearing shorts and flip flops (it was almost the end of August). So a midwife took him to find him scrubs to put on. I had already started pushing and asked for a mirror when they said they could see the baby’s head! Guille got in at around 925pm. At this point, I said to the midwives and my doctor, that if Guille fainted or something, to ignore him and focus on my baby and me, he could always be revived later! AND I WAS DEAD SERIOUS! Thankfully (for him) he didn’t faint.

A few pushes later (2 or 3) and my doctor said to me, reach down with the next push and pull the baby out. I was like HUH?! But I did what I was told and at 9:37pm, pulled Liam into the world!

I was in awe! He just looked at me for a few seconds. My first words to him were ”Hi! Hello baby!”  When he eventually started to cry, I said ”Oh no! Don’t cry!”. The midwives told me that crying was good, so I said ”Ok, well cry!”.

I didn’t cry. I was just in absolute awe, that Liam was finally here and that I pulled him out!

At some point during the delivery, the doctor had to cut me to make room for Liam to come out. I will NEVER forget the sound of the cutting. Nor will I forget the healing process once the epidural wore off! Episiotomy is no joke!

All in all, it was an amazing experience. Not at all traumatic or similar to any of the birthing ‘horror stories’ I’ve heard from some women. That first night was great. We were just in awe, trying to figure out who he looked like, which features he got from each of us. We were (and still are) so in love with Liam.

Throughout the night, nurses checked on us every few hours. Taking my blood pressure and temperature, etc. I wasn’t allowed to drink anything for the first 2 or 3 hours after giving birth and that was rough because I was VERY thirsty!

I eventually was allowed some water and had half of a sandwich. I didn’t sleep much although Liam (and Guille) slept almost the entire night.

It’s been 6 and a half months. I have had some very trying moments but I wouldn’t trade my Liam for ANYTHING in the world. He is the best baby I could have every imagined/dreamed of/prayed for and I consider myself eternally blessed to be his mother. (It also helps that he is so stinkin’ cute!)

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Oh Baby!

There’s no secret to how this story ends because I’ve mentioned my son a few times in previous posts and there’s even a picture of him in my first post.

I’ve shared about my miscarriages and the constant anxiety during my pregnancy- the fact that I was unable to truly relax and enjoy what (they say) is supposed to be one of the happiest and most exciting times in a woman’s life. Don’t get me wrong I was happy but I just couldn’t surrender to fully enjoying the experience.

They talk to you about having a birth plan. I was hesitant to make one because to me, making one meant I was sure I was going to have this baby and I wasn’t; or at least I couldn’t be too sure. I didn’t want to leave any room for extra worry or disappointment.

One of the things I was sure about was that I didn’t want anybody but the necessary medical staff and maybe Guille in the delivery room. YES! I was skeptical about Guille being there too!

Now, I can deal with pain. I believe most things are mind over matter. Plus it seemed obvious that the pain of childbirth does not last forever, or women would just have one child. Let me also put as a disclaimer that I had an epidural and therefore cannot speak on the pain of actually delivering a baby because I have not experienced that.

I’ll need to somehow summarise the experience because though it wasn’t long, there is so much I can say- and maybe you’re not interested in it all! 🙂

This is an account of  my experience, through the private healthcare system in Madrid. I cannot say what is standard  or speak for any other country or even Madrid since procedure and protocol vary from hospital to hospital.

Somewhere around 36 weeks

I had technically 4 weeks to go but the baby could decide to make an appearance at any time. I was still nervous but I was happy because it now felt like a real possibility that I could have this baby, that even though he came early, he had high chances of survival. SO I resigned myself to being happy- though VERY READY for this baby to be out!

Coming down to the end of your pregnancy, you have an appointment where you have final blood work done to ensure that things are ok, there are no infections and so that the anesthesiologist knows what to do for your epidural and in case of emergency caesarean section.

My results were fine. I had a monitoring session to check the baby’s heart rate and if there were any contractions and was scheduled to have another monitoring session 2 weeks later.

Friday 19th. August, 2016

By this point, my due date is 11 days away and I am FED UP of being pregnant. To top it off, I had developed Symphisis Pubis Dysfunction (SPD) and everything hurt: rolling over in bed, standing up, sitting down, walking- even my yoga classes were no longer enjoyable. ( I did yoga from 14 weeks pregnant until I was 37 weeks).

My monitoring session went fine. So I went up to the gynecologist’s office and they examined me, checked my cervix and told me that I had at least 2 more weeks to go because I had no contractions and I wasn’t at all dilated.

Talk about disappointing news. I had to deal with the damn pelvic pain and on top of that I had to wait even longer to meet my baby!

I should mention now that I had been trying everything that didn’t seem unhealthy or too time consuming to induce labour. So to be told that I had AT LEAST 2 weeks left- well I wasn’t happy, at all about that!

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I read somewhere that pineapple helped to induce labour.

I left the hospital and I was upset. I had plans to have lunch with my friends and I cancelled.  I called Guille crying, telling him I was so tired and fed up and that I couldn’t wait 2 weeks. That it was way too long and I was too uncomfortable. I was also annoyed because the doctor’s only advice for SPD was to take paracetamol! (I wasn’t happy with that because I was totally against taking anything that wasn’t 100% necessary for the baby’s health and safety.)

I went home and cried some more. Guille gets home early on Fridays so he decided to take me to lunch at one of my favourite Chinese restaurants. I ordered a few of the things I really like on the menu and once they brought it out I was completely nauseous and had no appetite. I picked at the food a bit and ate what I could- which wasn’t much.

We picked his brother up from his dad’s house and went home. They were working on installing some speakers on the terrace. Guille’s friend came over and he decided to barbecue in hopes of cheering me up. I was in such a bad mood and in so much pain, that I gave in and took a paracetamol and fell asleep around 830pm.

Aside from the SPD, the other really bothersome issue I had towards the end of my pregnancy was mild insomnia. It would take me forever to fall asleep, then I  would sleep maybe 4 or 5 hours a night, but wake up every two hours or so. I guess it was my body’s way of preparing for the sleep- or lack thereof- when you have a newborn baby.

Saturday 20th. August, 2016

I was really surprised, That I’d managed to sleep over 4 hours when Guille woke me up around 1am to tell me I should probably eat something since I hadn’t really eaten at lunch. I told him I wasn’t hungry but I’d come out to chat with them for a bit. I lay in bed for a while because I just felt exhausted and then eventually rolled over to put my slippers on and go outside. I got up to make my way outside, took about 2 steps and felt this gushing sensation!

I figured, maybe this was the incontinence they talked about that some women had in pregnancy. I was briefly irritated,thinking, well, this is all I need now; another issue! Then there was another gush! I called out to Guille. I told him, I don’t know if I’ve developed incontinence like Gigi (one of our dogs) or if my water just broke. We kind of laughed about it and I went to the bathroom, while he went outside.

I mentioned earlier that I didn’t have an extensive birthing plan, but that I was sure that I didn’t want people in the delivery room. I had made it clear to Guille that he was to inform NO ONE when I went into labour- so of course, his brother and his friend would be there when my water broke.

Once the gushing continued off and on, I realised that my water did in fact break. So I started to time the contractions using the Pregnancy + app I had on my phone. My contractions were fairly irregular and not painful, so I didn’t go to the hospital since we were advised in the prenatal classes to not go until the contractions were 5 minutes apart for at least 2 hours.

I still had no appetite but figured, I might as well eat something, so I had a barbecue rib (yes! I did!). Guille’s friend left and he and his brother fell asleep in the living room. At about 3am, my contractions were still irregular, so I decided to have a shower. I hate showering anywhere other than my bathroom, and who knew how long I’d be at the hospital once I got there, so I had a nice long shower, with my favourite shower gel.

I danced around because I was so excited to get the baby out! Then I settled into bed and continued binge watching The Fosters.

Somewhere around 6am, I fell asleep and around 730, Guille came to bed. He decided to go walk the dogs a little bit later, I got dressed and we took his brother home, then headed to the hospital. We got there around 9am and they hooked me up to a monitor, examined me and my doctor told us that I was barely 1cm dilated and that we were going to be there for a long time.

The hospital’s policy was that I had to be admitted, since my water broke, although I wasn’t technically in labour. They had me fill out some forms and then took me up to my room. I managed to get the suite because all the other rooms were occupied! (Score!) Guille went to get the bag, I’d packed maybe a  month before and we settled in for what they said was going to be a long day and possibly night.