Lincoln was our first baby; I was young and naive and more than just not being educated; I didn't know back then what I even had to be educated on. As you may expect, what came next is the all too common 'cascade of interventions'; this is my story.
Leading up to 39 weeks, we had about a week of uncertain moving patterns, and I struggled to find a pattern since he flipped his head down. I wound up in to be assessed frequently; it was decided we would be booked in for an induction at 39 weeks for this.
"I remember looking at Peter and saying "let's go home, I don't want to do this anymore" 😅"
At 6pm on the 23/02/2019 we went in and they were so busy they didn't have an active birth suite and put us in the delivery suite area but in a back room that was stocked with supplies.
There were a bunch of emergencies and we were right near the ambulance path. Around 10pm when they went to put in my foley catheter there was a lady (who I later coincidently met through an online mother's group) who was giving birth at 32 weeks and was understandably screaming as she was wheeled past our room, I remember looking at Peter and saying "let's go home, I don't want to do this anymore" 😅. But we went ahead with the catheter and after about 10 minutes when going to the bathroom, it fell out.
As they still didn't have a suite for us we stayed there all night and I had mild period like cramps all night, but nothing regular. Again, due to how busy they were they didn't have a birth partner mattress for Peter so he was told he could stay but had no bed. He tried to makeshift a bed with 2 small chairs, but after folding in half onto the floor, he accepted his fate and slept on the floor with no blankets and pillows - until about 2am when they brought him a blanket and pillow 😅. I did offer to share the bed, but he was kind enough to decline and stayed on the floor.
The next day at 8am we got a room, had breakfast, put on my TENS machine and they broke my waters. After an hour of no progression we started the drip (in hindsight, I should have requested longer).
Right away contractions started but were irregular, but after 1 hour they were 2 minutes apart for 1 minute and increasing in intensity. Only an hour after that they were 1 minute apart for 1 minute and stayed like that for the rest of my labour.
I felt my contractions in my stomach/cervix, back and oddly, my thighs. We laboured like this with just my TENS machine, walking around the hospital and bouncing on the ball - Peter was lucky enough to get the job of trailing behind me mopping up my waters as I moved around the hospital.
About 5pm they asked to do a cervical check (again, I wish I had held off on this as it negatively affected the rest of my labour). I was told cervical checks when in labour were painful and it was recommended I start the gas. The check during a contraction was a lot more intense than I was expecting and the gas threw my breathing out and I was focusing on so much (the pain, what they were saying my dilation was (4cm) and the breathing on the gas/effects of it) that I forgot to boost the TENS - both of these were helping me so much, with them out of whack everything felt so much more intense. I wasn't able to find my breathing rhythm again and accepted the offer of pethidine (yet another regret).
The pethidine felt great for 30 minutes, but when it wore off my contractions hit me hard and fast and going from minimal pain to them being so intense I felt more out of control. I have a condition where I faint with severe period pains, I was worried it would affect my labour but it hadn't done so yet, until now - or so I thought. I started feeling faint around 7pm and it wouldn't go away, my team suggested that due to the intensity of my contractions and my condition that it was all becoming too much for my body, at this point Lincoln's heart rate was sky rocketing so they thought it was affecting him too.
They suggested the epidural and I was more than happy to accept (I now believe the faint feeling was from my long breaths out).
Shaking and terrified I got the epidural and it wasn't as bad as I was expecting in the moment - though it would become yet another regret of mine. I declined the option to press the button for more drugs as I wanted to feel as much as possible for pushing, but even as it was I was getting relief.
The epidural stopped the cervix and back pain which were the 2 worst for me. I rested for the next 2-3 hours and they checked me again at 11:30pm and I was only 6cm. 30 minutes later I felt a pressure and was nauseous and I was 10cm dilated. Lincoln's heart rate was still high and started increasing more, I was told I had to push right away.
I started pushing but due to being on my back and his position he was coming down but would go back up during the breaks. I begged for a C-section as his HR wasn't improving and eventually they said they'd prep me for theatre but try forceps just to hold him as I pushed and I had 5 minutes of forceps or they'd give me a C-section.
In hindsight, I wish I hadn't had the epidural so I could have tried other positions to get him to descend, or had asked what other positions I could be in with the epidural.
They wanted me to continue pushing on the way to theatre, I didn't consider the fact with a doctor/midwife on each leg that I was being wheeled through the hospital halls and waiting room - that was a fun memory for later 😅.
In theatre I was shaking furiously on the table due to the drugs as I looked over and saw the terror on my partner's face, he was so overwhelmed by the reaction I was having and the sight of 20 or so medical professionals rushing around the room as we raced to get our baby out. They then gave me an episiotomy and I began pushing with forceps. 4 minutes later at 12:35am 25/02/2019 he was born and we narrowly missed the plan for a C-Section.
They put him on my stomach briefly but his breathing was not great so he was taken to the NICU with Peter. I am not sure why, but I wasn't able to go up to see him until 6am the next day but Peter came down with some photos. Another thing I wished I'd have pushed back on, but I was so exhausted and at this point didn't really know what my options were or what I was supposed to do.
This birth as a first time parent gave me a lot of regrets and knowledge for my second and it taught me that I wished I had looked into more before going into my birth. Overall it wasn't a terrible experience, but not the birth I'd have imagined and still caused some level of trauma.
It also gave me a lot of pelvic floor issues from the forceps, which I have thankfully mostly recovered from.