Janet and Philip

Janet’s birth story happens in a small maternity ward using hypnobirthing.

Well it all started on Tuesday 15th June – one day past the due date. I was totally fed up being pregnant and we were sitting watching tv when the contractions started. Neil went into alert mode and started dashing around. He rang his mother as Colleen had agreed to come and mind Edward when we had to go to the hospital. I explained to Colleen that we’d only had a few contractions and it could well be a false alarm but she said it was better to be safe than sorry and she got Neil’s dad to run her over here. I finished packing my bags too!!

I went to bed as usual as recommended and had a few contractions overnight but nothing which kept me awake, then at 7am I woke up to feel my waters breaking (yucko). Neil rang the hospital whilst I sat on the toilet for ages. The fluid wasn’t clear though it was yellowy brown which we later found out meant the baby had become stressed and had passed meconium into the fluid. The hospital recommended we go in straight away. I put on my dressing gown and off we went. I had a few contractions in the car and they were certainly coming thick and fast – but the Hypnobirthing breathing really helped and they were painless.

When we got to the hospital the fluid was still trickling out – it must have been a sight for the van of workmen sitting by the hospital entry. Westmead private is a small hospital so luckily it wasn’t too busy there. Neil took me in wheelchair up to maternity (first floor) and we went to the delivery suite for assessment. I put on the gown and got on the bed to be hooked up to the monitor to see how the baby was doing. The baby’s heart rate was normal and so there were no outward signs of distress which was good. Examination showed that the cervix was still very high and was only dilated 1-1.5 cms which wasn’t so good.

When I was in the antenatal ward for weeks when I was pregnant with Edward every night they brought in lots of women whose waters had broken and labour had stopped – they often put them on drips and they walked up and down the corridors with their partners in a desperate attempt to get their labours going again. I always thought it was sad – they must have got so excited when the membranes ruptured and then nothing…

The midwife rang the obstetrician and I carried on having contractions for a while. The contractions were coming thick and fast – 3 in 10 minutes – very regular. The midwife brought Neil a breakfast (I was nil by mouth til the obstetrician had come!!). I listened to my relaxation music whilst Neil ate and at about 9am we moved into one of the birthing suites.

Once hooked up to the monitor again it was hardly any time before my obstetrician arrived and had a chat. She did another examination and the cervix was the same as before (no change). Dr Gayer delivered Edward and so she knows us pretty well and knew I wanted to have a natural birth but with no change in the cervix she knew it would be a long labour from here, a big baby and with the meconium already in the fluid the baby was at risk. She recommended a Caesarean and we agreed knowing that we didn’t want to risk the baby’s health. I was really sad and had a big weep. For weeks we’d done the Hypnobirthing course and everyday I’d done my relaxation and my positive affirmations and it seemed like such a waste and I felt like such a fool for believing that I could have had a normal delivery.

I signed the consent forms, got shaved, etc. Neil put on his green suit and hat for the operating theatre and we joked around for a while. At least I’d actually had some contractions this time and made it into the delivery suite – even if not for long. I have the photos to prove it!!

Down in the outer room of the operating theatre we seemed to wait for ages. Everyone comes and asks you the same questions about allergies etc and it gets quite annoying after a while. The anaesthetist came and in a flurry of words explained all about the options – general anaesthetic, epidural and spinal, and then the risks. I got a bit scared – it’s always hard when they explain the complications. We agreed on a spinal and I got wheeled in leaving Neil outside. I got the spinal – which is much less painful than the cannular they put in your hand and I moved onto the table. There were a number of people floating about whose roles I wasn’t sure about. They said they’d start and then bring Neil in. I could see the yellow fluid they were cleaning my tummy with in the reflection of the lights but not much else. The screen was high up.

When Neil came in I was really worried about him. He had a mask on and his eyes were wide. He isn’t strong stomached at the best of times and I thought seeing your partner opened up on the operating table would be a terrible thing for anyone to see. He said he was fine. I was very calm and relaxed – numb from the ribs down. The anaesthetist explained that the worst part is when they push on the upper part of the tummy to get the baby down and it could be distressing but I didn’t have any problems. Neil told me she had a big needle of something ready to go and I just said I was fine (maybe the Hypnobirthing was working after all!)

The baby was born and they held him up but I couldn’t see anything – Neil said it was a boy and I remember lying there thinking everyone was wrong as they kept telling me it was a girl!! It didn’t really matter either way and I was happy to have little Philip with us. Suction cleared out any meconium in his mouth etc and his Agpars were 8 and 9 so he was pretty good from the word go. Neil went over to cut the cord which he thought was pretty much a waste of time and a bit too grisly for his taste. Philip came back wrapped up in a blanket and I got to give him a kiss and say hello and rub his little face. 4.270 kilos (9lb 6oz) – a bruiser really. Then the midwife, Neil and Philip left.

All I can remember from there is being really lonely – everyone was busy doing something and I just wanted someone to talk to. They took my glasses off so I couldn’t see much and it seemed to take ages and ages. My obstetrician said they were doing some cosmetic surgery – apparently they remove the old scar to make everything clean and neat – so maybe I got a tummy tuck too!! Finally I was moved to the trolley and then went to recovery. Recovery was a really boring place with not much to see. Everyone else in recovery had had a general and were pretty much out of it – the bloke across the way was vomiting – much to the nurses disgust. The anaesthetist said I had to stay until I could wiggle my toes but it was 40 minutes before I could move my knees and then they sent me back to Maternity. I had a Morphine drip on a button for pain, but it took a fair few hours for the effect of the spinal to wear off. We got up to room 6 and I got to see little Philip again. Neil explained some of what had happened whilst I was away and then a nurse appeared with an urgent message. Apparently Edward had locked his grandmother out of the house and so Neil had to go straight away and rescue them.

The nurse Salma was really nice and Philip had his first feed of colostrum. It was nice to spend some quiet time getting to know him. The nurse even took some photos for me.

The obstetrician later told me that the uterus had thinned quite badly and might have been in danger of rupturing, and I spoke to the paediatrician about meconium and he told me how it is the worst thing. He said it’s the only thing that gets him sweating on his way to visit new patients. Overall I know it was the right decision to have a Caesarean delivery but it still makes me sad that I couldn’t have had a natural delivery. I really believe that Hypnobirthing works and I was looking forward to having a lovely peaceful delivery but mostly being up and about soon afterwards, being able to lift Edward and drive and all those other things I have to wait 6 weeks for.

ll’s well that ends well as they said and now we are proud parents of two gorgeous healthy robust little boys – what more could we ask for!!

Written by Janet

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