Thursday, October 4, 2012

Ophelia Birth Story Part 2

For awhile I sat on our exercise ball, leaning my body forward and on to our bed to relax in between contractions and standing up then squatting when contractions would come. Later, I moved to the bed, kneeling on my hands and knees during contractions and leaning forward to lay my head and chest on the bed (the "child's pose" in yoga) in between them.

The hypnobirthing exercises REALLY helped! Outside the room, I could hear Darren busily working, then calling a friend to ask him to come help fill the pool with water because the hose wasn't staying attached to the faucet in the bath tub (oops!). Soon our friend arrived with his electric kettle and an extra pot and they got to work filling pots and dumping them into the 4 ft deep pool in our living room.

Throughout the entire labour I felt intensely focused, calm, relaxed and in control. I was able to fully relax in between the contractions (in hypnobirthing, they call them "surges" and emphasize that contractions do not involve pain, only pressure and that pressure is good because it is your body working to open the path for your baby to be born). When the contractions hit I would focus on getting through them, thinking and saying the word "open" as I visualized my  cervix opening and Ophelia moving down the birth canal

When I heard our friend leave, I opened the bedroom door and went into the bathroom where I laboured while sitting on the toilet for a few contractions. I told Darren that I had no idea when we should call to have the midwife come but I thought perhaps soon. I heard him calling then he came to tell me that the pool was ready. I headed into the living room and was struck by the peaceful, calm atmosphere that Darren had created. He had the pool ready, blinds down, lights dimmed, candles lit and hypnobirthing recording playing softly in the background.

At around 7pm, he helped me into the pool (it was so tall that I had to use a step stool to get in) and as soon as I sunk into the warm water (37 degrees is what they recommend and what we aimed to keep it at), I felt comfortable and even more relaxed. In the pool, I spent some time on my hands and knees then shifted to lying on my side, leaning one hand on the little inflatable seat on the side of the pool) and one leg against the side of the pool, foot partially out of the water. The contractions were getting even more intense and closer together and my soft spoken "open" was becoming a louder and louder "oooo" during each contraction as I visualized my cervix opening and Ophelia coming closer to being born. Darren was also there helping massage my hand during each contraction. 

Darren called back to see if the hospital had made progress on sending out a midwife because when he has called the last time, they told him that ours was busy at another birth so they would have to send a backup midwife who lived on the other side of the city, about 50 minutes away. This time, he told them that the contractions were getting closer together and that we would need a midwife to come ASAP, the baby was coming quickly. They asked him if I was feeling like pushing and I said "Yes!" as I was feeling the pressure lower and lower during the previous 2 contractions. I knew at that point that I was in the transition phase (dilating the final bit to 10 cms and starting to have an urge to push) and I also knew that she would be born before the midwives arrived, although I'm not sure I said that to Darren. The person on the phone with Darren told him that I should get out of the pool. He said that he wasn't sure he'd be able to convince me to get out of the pool but they kept telling him that he had to get me out of the pool. Finally they threatened, "You're going to be in big trouble if you don't get her out of the pool!" so at that point he said he would be hanging up and he did.  

A few minutes after he got out of the phone, I started to feel the intense stinging or burning sensation that signaled to me that her head was crowning. I was so excited because I knew that the second stage of labour probably wouldn't take more than a few minutes, we were about to meet our little girl. I had read that natural childbirthing advocates usually recommend against intense pushing in this stage (in the hospital when I gave birth to Sebby they were telling me to take a deep breath then push as hard as I could) as it contributes to tearing and isn't necessary (with Sebby I tore and had to get stitches, it was quite painful) so I told myself relax and be patient. As I felt her head and body slowly moving downwwards, I continued to breathe deeply, relieved that the stinging sensation subsided as soon as her head was completely out. 

Darren had spoken to our midwife on the phone and since she knew that there was a possibility that no one would make it to our place in time, she gave Darren a few instructions. She said that the most important thing to know was that we should make sure she stayed under water until her whole body was out then we were to grab her and wrap her in a towel and put her on my chest. She also told him to open the bags from the "homebirthing kit that had been delivered to our house and pull out a few things. She has a fairly thick Glasgwegian accent, though, so he heard something about instruments and something else about forceps but he admitted after getting off the phone that he had no idea what she was talking about. In the end he just zipped the bag back up and left it. 
I wasn't aware of the time and although it felt long because I was so excited that she was about to be born, I don't think the second stage lasted any more than about 15 minutes. I felt her moving slowly down and the finally I felt her whole body slip out. When we pulled her up out of the water, we noticed the cord was around her neck so we quickly unwapped it and then lay her on my chest. She was a little blue but breathing well and once on my chest in the water, quickly began regaining her colour. 

What a rush!

*** Check back soon for the finale & more pictures ***

PS: Sorry there aren't more pictures to share. Darren intended to document the labour and birth, however, things happened so fast that he didn't have time to snap any pictures until after the first midwife arrived. 


Vanessa Strickland said...

1. I canNOT believe the hospital THREATENED Darren! That's unreal!
2. YES to just letting your body move her down and out and not pushing like a banshee! So awesome.
3. Hilarious about the midwive's accent and Darren not understanding.

Tarren said...

I know! You'd think they were talking to a toddler. How could he possibly be "in big trouble"? Our midwife had a great laugh when we told her they'd said that.

I'm more used to her accent as I've seen her more times but her accent is quite thick and she uses lots of Glaswegian expressions.

Emily Morrice said...

WOW! way to keep calm through all of this. The cord would be completely freaked me out. Brad and I both tend to panic and sometimes freeze under pressure so I don't want to think about what we would have done in the situation - but it seems you and Darren were pros! What happened with the cord? Did you cut it?

lindsay said...

All I wanna say is, "You go, guys!"

This is an incredible story!! You and Darren make such a good team. I love hearing how Darren was able to support you and make this experience run more smoothly. And Tara, you are so pro! You sound like you were so calm!

I love hearing that through this whole pregnancy/labour/birth you stood up for what you wanted. Good for you (both) for not being intimidated/pressured by the hospital staff.

Tarren said...

@ Em - We just unwrapped it then left it. A lot of people prefer to leave it until it stops pulsating and I was hoping it would work to do that.

Emily Morrice said...

I read on Vanessa's blog about te pulsating thing... So when it did stop, did you cut it or have your midwife cut it? What are the reasons for that practice? Good to know if we ever have more babies!

Tarren said...

@ Em - It's because they are finding health benefits to delaying clamping & cutting the cord because they get a bit of extra blood. Studies have also shown that there are less instances of iron deficiency. You only have to wait about 2 or 3 minutes for it to stop ... I was in the water & there was so excitement with Darren & I that I wasn't even aware that it was still attached.

We didn't do anything till the midwife arrived and she clamped it & Darren cut it then...probably 10-15 minutes after she was born??

I need to get on writing "part 3" of the birth story. We've had evening visitors so I haven't had time to do it.

Tarren said...

@Linds - It was great & very empowering!