All birth stories are different and we want to empower and support all kinds of births. We all have individual reactions to reading birth stories; some make us happy, laugh, cry or feel sad. Here at The Merge Journal we hope to give the mother who writes her birth story a sense of empowerment. A time for reflection. We respect all the different types of individual birthing stories.
Chantelle has bravely shared with us here her birth story of daughter Evie:
41 weeks pregnant and I was beginning to wonder if I would be pregnant forever. I had an induction booked for the following day and went to see the obstetrician at 9am in the morning who advised that I was still not starting to dilate or efface and the baby was still not engaged.
After spending the morning with hubby having breakfast we headed home. Lo and behold, at 11:15am as we pulled up in the drive I had a little cramp. I didn’t say anything to him, but I knew it was time. At 1pm I had a bloody show and ran out to the lounge room to give him a high five – baby time!
Fast forward 12 hours and with contractions coming five minutes apart and for 30 seconds we phoned the hospital as instructed to see how things were progressing. On the way to the hospital I started to vomit and shiver, something didn’t feel right.
The nurse did an internal and found that I was only 1cm dilated after 12 hours of consistent contractions. There was blood, and combined with my not being able to keep anything down, they decided to admit me for the night and put in a cannula and drip. Throughout the night I was vomiting and there was more fresh blood.
My contractions became intermittent, so at 9am they decided to break my waters to see if that would progress things along. After breaking my waters they found more bleeding, and that the baby had defecated meconium as well. But I dilated instantly to 3cm which was a good sign.
11am rolled around and the decision was made to start monitoring the baby and begin a syntocin drip to progress my labour. It was a long few hours that followed, I was exhausted having not slept over 30 hours and the pain was really wearing me down, the baby was moving so much between contractions that my muscles were screaming at me. It felt like someone was stabbing me with a knife in the lower abdomen. I asked for an epidural at 2:30pm and the nurse agreed that was a good idea. The epidural was administered around 3:30pm, however they had trouble getting the needle in, there were some pretty tense words had between myself and the anaesthetist but we got there eventually. They advised they would give me another 2 hours, and if labour didn’t progress they were recommending a caesarean.
After the epidural I felt like a new woman! I was ready to have this baby! They bumped up the syntocin some more but then noticed both mine and the baby’s heartrate were dropping during contractions.
Then the baby’s heartrate continued to drop. An internal monitor was inserted just in case there was something faulty going on with the equipment. There wasn’t. Her heartrate had dropped to just 70bpm.
The obstetrician was explaining to me that we had to go into surgery, the baby’s heartrate had dropped too low and we needed to have a caesarean to safely deliver her.
I was quickly rushed through the hospital, with what felt like the entire cast of ER surrounding me, reassuring me, shouting out at each other, it was chaos. I had a cannula in one hand, a catheter coming out of you know where and the internal heart rate monitor also coming out of you know where. We actually crashed into another bed running down the hallway, and finally made it into the operating theatre where the cast of Grey’s Anatomy was waiting for us.
I’m not sure what happened to my husband, he went off to scrub up because we were told he could come and be in the theatre, cut the cord and do the new dad thing. He didn’t get to do that.
I was in tears, hysterical, so fearful for my baby girl. Someone, I don’t know who, explained that as her heartrate had dropped so low they couldn’t wait, they were going to put me under general anaesthetic and get her out now.
I later learned that I had what is known as a Category One Caesarean which means there was a risk to life of either mother or baby.
It was probably for the best in hindsight. She was born “flat” which means floppy and not breathing, the paediatrician worked on her for nearly 2 minutes before she could get her to breathe. She was covered in meconium, which she aspirated and swallowed, and had the cord around her neck three times. Chris got to be there whilst they suctioned the meconium from her lungs and oesophagus, and he held her little hand. He said she was all green and fuzzy.
Evie Hazel Doulis was born at 4:10pm, 3.2kgs and 51cm, after 28 hours of labour. The caesarean took 12 minutes from start to finish, which apparently is very quick. I got to meet her around 6pm, once I’d finished up in theatre and recovery. They wheeled me around to the Special Care Nursery (SCN) in bed where I met my daughter for the first time, I got to touch her through the isolette arm hole.
Watching my baby girl laying in the crib and not being able to hold her is one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do. It broke my heart. All I wanted to do was hug her, smell her, soothe her and all I could do was look at her and pat her head. It was so surreal laying there, watching our little human, I kept thinking to myself, surely they’ll let us have her tomorrow morning, we can cuddle her and feed her. How on earth did this go so pear shaped?
She was in the SCN for three nights before we got to spend a night with her. I heard the other babies crying on the maternity ward during the night and ached for the same thing, it’s really mind blowing how strong the maternal instinct is so quickly.
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