Monday, September 01, 2014

Phoebe's birth story - Part 2

Tuesday was fairly relaxed and uneventful. Rob came in about 11. I spent the day snoozing, reading I Capture the Castle, sometimes going for a walk. I managed to sleep for a while in the afternoon. When I was awake, I bounced on a birthing ball. 

At some point in the afternoon, I was told I was next in the queue to be transferred to the delivery unit. Around 4pm we were finally transferred.

The delivery room was smaller than the induction suite and the windows looked out onto a wall. Not exactly exciting or homely. But it was private and comfortable with a big adjustable big for me and a chair for Rob. Our midwife Laura settled us in. First task was getting the monitor sorted. 

I was keen to be on a wireless monitor so that I could move around as much as possible. This was trickier than it sounded. The monitor in the room was missing a piece for the clip on the wireless sensors. A second one was found and some teething problems, it worked. I had a cannula fitted in my left hand – not a comfortable process and a real pain for most of the rest of the time, once it had served its purpose delivering Syntocinin. Laura examined my cervix. I was 1-2cm dilated, open and soft – a good place to start, but some way to go. Then about 6pm, she started the drip. Every 15 minutes she upped the dose and gradually my contractions which had slowed to being almost non-existent and very erratic began to get stronger and more regular.

I had decided beforehand that if I had to have the syntocinon drip, I would want an epidural, but I also wanted to see how far I could get using the TENS and entenox. I think around an hour into the drip, I was ready for gas and air – bouncing on a ball with the TENS and standing for contractions wasn’t quite cutting it. Gas and air is fun stuff. I think the concentration needed to breathe in and out is as much an effective distraction as any painkilling effect. I puffed through each contraction and then felt very lightheaded and drunk afterwards. It helped for a while, but by about 8pm, I was ready for an epidural. 

After that things get hazier. I think the anaesthetist arrived fairly quickly. I continued to puff on gas and air as the epidural was inserted. It took a while to get right. Rob says the process looked painful. I’m not sure if that was the needle or just having to sit still on the bed for it. The position you adopt for having the needle inserted – hunched over and hugging a pillow – is sort of comfortable, but not ideal. There was some fiddling with the dosage and, I think, the position. From now on I wasn’t very mobile. I half sat, half reclined on the bed, fairly out of it, breathing gas and air through contractions when I needed it and saying strange things. (I talked about library books, towels, Rob and his drone). 

The epidural was very effective on my left, but there was one point on my right which still hurt, like a slice through my body which still felt every contraction. Eventually, the midwife and the anaesthetist turned me onto my right side in an effort to move the drugs into the right places. This was my worst moment. I started shivering and feeling very sick. It also didn’t really shift the epidural, if anything the pain on the right was worse once I was back on my back again. I was beginning to feel some pressure in my bottom (only on the right of course). I said “I think I feel pushy”. The midwife checked me again – I was almost fully dilated. By now it was getting close to midnight. The midwife checked with a senior colleague who told her to wait an hour and then another one before I could start pushing. Those two hours are a blur – blame the gas and air! At some point a clip monitor was fitted to the baby’s head to monitor her directly.

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