Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Ophelia Birth Story Part 1

Darren had the morning off on Monday so he was able to join me for my midwife appointment. Walking there, we were talking about how perfect it would be if Ophelia decided to make an appearance that day so Darren could take his full two weeks of paternity leave just before our first "post baby" visitor would arrive from Canada. We wondered whether my midwife would do a membrane sweep (an internal exam where the midwife sweeps her fingers around the cervix to separate the membranes of the amniotic sac from the cervix, which releases hormones that can stimulate the onset of labour) to potentially speed up the onset of my labour.

When we arrived at the clinic, just before 10am, the receptionist said that my appointment may have to be postponed because my midwife had just been called out to attend a homebirth. I felt a slight twinge of disappointment as I waited, while the receptionist checked to see if Ann had time to see me quickly before heading out. Thankfully, she agreed to squeeze in our appointment before she had to rush off. While quickly checking my blood pressure, she explained that unfortunately she would be off for 10 vacation days starting this Thursday. This meant that unless I went into labour before Wednesday, I would be looked after by another midwife for the rest of my pregnancy. She asked if I had tried reflexology or any other natural labour induction methods and I explained that I had been practicing hypnobirthing (listening to a recording of relaxation and visualization exercises every day that would help me stay calm and relaxed during the process of labour) and doing lots of walking. I told her that Darren and I had been wondering whether she would do a membrane sweep and without skipping a beat she replied, "Oh, do you want me to do one now? We'll call it an 'internal exam' if anyone asks though, because I'm not supposed to do it until 40 weeks..."

The sweep wasn't nearly as uncomfortable as I anticipated and I was excited to hear that she thought the sweep would work, she even went as far as to say that she would see me at our place tomorrow for the birth of our baby! The chances of a sweep being successful go way up if the cervix is already ripe/ready for birth and I was already 3cms dilated and 50% effaced! (the cervix has to open to 10 cms and thin to 100% effaced in order for the baby to be born).

As soon as we left the clinic, I began feeling minor cramping that progressively got worse as we walked down to the Kelvingrove Museum to look at the animals with Sebby.

The cramping continued throughout our lunch at Crazy Wok (our favourite Cantonese food restaurant in Glasgow) and our walk back home. Darren went off to work after lunch and I went home to put Sebby in for a nap and laid down to relax. At that point, around 2pm, I was beginning to feel very minor contractions so I texted Darren to update him, and then turned off my phone to relax while Sebby slept. After Darren's meeting ended, he texted to say he had to go do some errands in town and told me that our friend, Joyce was willing to watch Sebby so I might as well send him off to the park with her. I was reluctant at first, saying that the contractions were pretty weak so I was fine with having Sebby with me but Darren convinced me that it would be good for Sebby to get some fresh air and hang out with Joyce, even if it was just so I could bake a few more loaves of bread or get things more ready for once the baby was here.

 I contacted Joyce then headed into the kitchen to wash the dishes before she arrived while Sebby played in the living room. At around 4pm, I noticed that the contractions were starting to come closer together so I sent Darren a text message, telling him that I thought he should come home as soon as possible because my contractions were 4 minutes apart and getting closer together. By the time Joyce arrived, about 20 minutes later, I had long abandoned the plan of cooking or cleaning and was pulling the furniture out of the living room and the birthing pool out of the closet. 

Joyce jumped into action, helping me re-arrange the living room and vacuum under where the pool was going to be set up. Sebby was thrilled that the air pump had re-emerged from the closet and was excitedly pumping with it. I was leaving the room every few minutes as the contractions would hit so that I could be alone to focus on getting through them.

A sweaty Darren arrived a few minutes after Joyce and sent Joyce and Sebby off then started getting the pool set up. At that point, I decided that I would stay out of the living room until the pool was entirely set up. I had a shower while Darren inflated the pool then went into our bedroom to relax with the help of my hypnobirthing recording (a 50 minute recording we had downloaded from iTunes that contained different breathing, relaxation and visualization exercises that I could use during labour). 

*** Check back soon for part 2 ***


Sarah said...

This is just fantastic, Tara. I would love it if things could move quickly (and early!) like that. So funny that with having toddlers one of my main hopes is that it was be super fast so it won't disrupt their lives too much!

Can't wait to hear the rest of your story. I was also wondering if you could share the name of the hypnobirthing recording you got from iTunes. I am looking for one and see that there are several so I'd rather try one out that someone I know has used before. And a figure someone who delivered their own baby would be a good tester!

Hope you are feeling well, mama.

Karen said...

Tara, your strength never ceases to amaze me. Thank you for sharing your journey through this pregnancy! I cannot wait to read part 2.

Tarren said...

Sarah, we had the same hope & were asking people at church to pray that Sebby would cope well during the labour...was totally one of my biggest concerns that God answered.

The recording we got was called Journeys Inward and we just got part 1 in the series. (Let me know if u find it...I can get the specific name tomorrow, just on my phone now). We previewed a few & chose this one mainly cause many of them were done by people in the UK or Australia (where hypbobirthing is more common) & I didn't like the accent. In the end, I really enjoyed the variety of exercises on the recording, a bit about breathing, some relaxation & visualization and a part that was positive thoughts about birthing & the baby.

Tarren said...

Thanks. Will post the next, juciest, part tomorrow.

Vanessa Strickland said...

Love it, Tara! Sounds very familiar. :) So, so glad she's here and love the latest picture Darren posted on Facebook. She is gorgeous.
Can't wait for part 2! :D

lindsay said...

Wow... this is such a good story. I can't believe you were moving furniture and getting the birthing pool ready while in labour!
Praise God that it all went well. :)

Emily Morrice said...

loving reading this! I wish everyone would post a birth story - what a magical time in your lives!

the membrane sweep has always been my friend. both times my OB did it, I was in labour within 48 hours.

I agree - it's not as painful as I've heard, however, I will say that each caregiver has their own methods. My OB was able to do membrane sweeps without me so much as wincing, yet even a basic vaginal exam at the hospital by a hurried nurse has me shouting out in pain.

Glad you were able to get Seb off to a babysitter - can't imagine a home birth with a toddler running around!

Tarren said...

@Em - So true that everyone has their own methods. I found the same thing in Canada, some of the docs/residents at the hospital were a lot rougher. Here they don't do internals....I didn't have one during the whole pregnancy!!! Different methods.