Sunday, August 31, 2014

Phoebe's birth story - Part 1

I was booked for an induction on 4 August. I was nervous the night before – would they want me to come in today? I didn’t sleep well. But in the morning, I rang at 8:30 as instructed and was told to come straight in. We arrived around 9:45 and were shown to a bed in the induction suit on Sara Ward. There were 5 beds in a sunny room. My bed was by the window, overlooking a courtyard. The other beds were empty initially, although they would fill up over the course of the day.

After an initial 40 minute period of being hooked up to the monitor to check on baby’s heart rate, I started the induction drugs at 11:20 with a Propess pessary. Getting it in, pushed up past my cervix by Megan, the midwife looking after me, was quite uncomfortable. I had to lie still for an hour and be monitored some more to check that Zarquon was still happy and not being distressed by the process. After that, I could walk around.

Rob got pretty bored. There wasn’t much to do except wait, read, wander about. He took some pictures – the beginning of a series recording the whole process. At one point I went for a walk and he fell asleep on my bed which amused and confused the midwives.

That first day it felt like very little was happening. No contractions, nothing to do but bounce on the ball, read, go for walks. Eventually Rob went home and I went to bed.

Around 11:20pm, I felt some pains in my stomach, then a pop, then another one. I sat up and found myself in a pool of liquid. My waters had broken. Something had been happening that day. I called a midwife who checked the fluids (all clear, just a little blood), cleaned up the bed and found me some maternity pads (mine had got left in the wrong bag and were still in the boot of our car). Then I was hooked on to a monitor again for an hour just to check on baby. She was just fine. I was beginning to have contractions. I could see them as waves on the monitor trace and feel them as tightenings. Not too painful yet, but there, proof of something happening. I texted Rob to tell him what had happened. Neither of us were sure what the timescale would be from here, but the midwife told us we should get some sleep while we could, so I settled down to try to do just that.

It soon became clear that sleep wasn’t going to happen. My contractions got stronger and soon I couldn’t find a position in which I could both lie down and sleep and cope with contractions. I got a midwife to help me attach the TENS machine. I wore it for the next 24 hours and it made a big difference. After a while, I was sitting down bouncing on the ball or in a chair between contractions but had to stand when one started. Circling my hips helped, so did leaning forward against the bed.

I played Monument Valley on Rob’s iPad. It was a good distraction and the music was very soothing, though I had to put it down to stand for contractions. I don’t think I got any sleep, though judging by the moans coming from the other 3 occupied beds, neither did anyone else. I was in too much pain to sleep (and the gaps between contractions were too short to drop of in) but I felt the pain was bearable, especially with the TENS machine’s help. Eventually morning came. I ate hummus and chicken on brown toast in the kitchen (with stops for contractions). My last gestational diabetes friendly breakfast.

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