At 42 weeks pregnant I finally got my first contraction at about 6:15am on Tuesday the 13th of May. I think I was about to wake and the pain of it made sure I definitely did, I lay there for a while thinking OUCH! and wondering if that was a contraction. I kinda thought it was because the night before we'd walked up the driveway to feed the horses and I got pretty severe back pain, I don't know why I thought that meant anything but I did. I lay there for a while longer thinking about how I was feeling and waiting for more pain, sure enough I got another one about 6 minutes later. WOW! This might just be it!!! They were pretty strong and full-on too, not at all what I'd been told or read about how it started. I then got up and went to the loo and got back into bed just before getting the third around 5 minutes later again, just as Chris' alarm went off at 6:30am. I told him I think he'd better let his bosses know he wont be in today as I've just had three contractions and they seem to be around 5 minutes apart and pretty strong. I'd read and been told that they start like period pain and pretty mild and further apart, so that's what I'd been expecting, I'd also expected that the first stage of labour would last a day, at least half a day and that I'd been fine to get some stuff done (including pack my bag! hehe Hopeless huh?!?!). Chris started timing and they were 5 minutes apart lasting around 30-40 seconds and pretty strong, enough to make me really take notice and be in quite a bit of pain. Within an hour they were really strong, so that I had to concentrate on relaxing and breathing through them, so we thought I'd better call my midwife as we'd never discussed when to call her - so I made the call to find out when to call! I told her that I'd been having what I can only imagine are contractions and they're 5 minutes apart and lasting around 45 seconds, she asked how long I'd been having them and I told her an hour, she then told me that I should ignore those as it could go on for a day or two like that. Christ all mighty woman! There is no way these could go on for two days like that - I sure as hell couldn't anyway! They were really sore and strong by then. She seemed rather irritated by me calling after just an hour and I explained that I just wanted to know when she wanted to hear from me as we hadn't discussed it. She said usually she would tell people to call her when they were 5 minutes apart, but only getting the first one an hour ago, it was highly unlikely that I was even in labour yet. Phft! Not in labour - by then I knew I definitely was in labour and it was happening quickly. She told me to call her when they were lasting a minute.
They got stronger and stronger each time, I had a shower to try to ease the pain which was growing strongly in my back as time wore on. By now I was really breathing through them and having to focus on relaxing, along with the moaning in pain of course! I was able to eat some porridge, not sure how, I didn't want it at all and I was in horrendous pain. It seemed like no time and they were lasting a minute and sometimes 3 minutes apart - these were really strong buggers too! I called back and let her know, she still seemed unconvinced that I was in labour, telling me to meet her at Botany and she would see if I was in labour, if I wasn't I'd have to come home, if I was we'd go straight to Middlemore so bring my bag. Hhhhmmm my bag... SHIT! My bag!!! Got off the phone and started attempting to get dressed and pack my bag - wow this was a feat and a half! I just couldn't do it! There I was thinking I'd be able to get a load of washing done, wait for it to dry, get it in, fix a fence with Chris and move the miniature horses, all while in first stage labour - getting these far apart polite little period pain contractions I heard so much about. Ha fucking ha! No way!! With my excruciating doubling-over totally impolite contractions I could barely put my bloody undies on!!! They were coming so hard and fast that I would not even get over one before the next one started - good lord, how on earth was I going to survive the car ride to Botany?!?! Not to mention the one to Middlemore after that, yes after that, meaning the contractions would be harder and closer together. I couldn't imagine it, but it still frightened the shit out of me. I couldn't pack my bag at all, Chris had to come in and do it while I leaned over furniture dying of incredible back pain - which soon Chris was rubbing my back frantically through to try to ease some of it. Shit people weren't wrong when they said that posterior labours are excruciating with unbelievable back pain. Not wrong there. The contractions themselves were sore and through a few of them I was rubbing my abdomen to ease the burning pain, but that was something I could handle, it was really sore but not kill-me type sore like the back pain.
Finally the bag was packed and I was in the car, dying through another hideous contraction. I was in the back seat really pulling against the back and front headrests to get me through the contractions that were much stronger now. I couldn't imagine making it all the way there, but of course I had to so I just focused myself and tried to relax in between and really think about all of me relaxing so I truly was before the next one came. I don't remember how many I had on the way there but it wasn't fun. I just wanted to be standing and leaning against something as I had been at home. When we got there I promptly hurled in the carpark in front of some man who was more than likely horribly grossed out by me. We were parked right outside the front door but I still managed to have two contractions on the way in leaning on Chris. I felt pretty horrible by now, with the nausea and totally wiped out by how hard and fast it had all started. Gill (my midwife) asked if my waters had broken "No" and had I had a show "No", I think this just made her think even more that I wasn't in labour. But when she checked me she announced "Well you're definitely in labour and are halfway there. 5cm dilated." That was such a relief because if she had have told me to go home I would have just cried and refused to leave! hehe She told us to head straight to Middlemore and she'd meet us there. Fuck, another car ride, well this might just kill me I thought.
But no, I survived, to make another spewing and contracting entrance in the carpark there at around 12:30pm. It was horribly embarrassing cause there were so many people around, I went to the front of the car to get my lean on and promptly hurled as the contraction started. It so hard to focus on heaving and dying at once! But I also managed this quite well and thankfully we got a carpark right next to the entrance. We walked in and I had another contraction on Chris infront of the elevator, with the silly girlie at the coffee bar next to me laughing. Arsehole. May bad things happen to her for that!
Upstairs in our delivery suite I spewed my way through more painful back contractions with Chris pressing really hard on my lower back through them, and then Gill gave me something for the nausea, which was great when it kicked in! Wahoo no more vomiting!! I was hooked up to a machine to track the contractions and one to monitor the baby, though this kept on falling off and after a while a monitor was attached to the baby's head. A catheter was put in - ugh, but made things way more comfortable. And I was used as a pin cushion while they tried to put a lure in for liquid and drugs. Wow this took a long time, Chris said he had to stop watching after a while because it looked too brutal. Felt too brutal too!! The membranes ruptured at 1pm and things kept on as they had been for a while and then backed off, the contractions really slowed down but were still really strong and getting worse for my back. It picked up again and it got to the point that I seriously thought I was going to die from the pain. That sounds crazy now, but that's how bad it was. I felt incredibly ill, shaky and like there was something really wrong with me. I just wasn't there, even in between contractions I wasn't there. Chris said I looked horrible and not there as well, he said I was a horrible colour and looked like I was going to pass out or had a lot of the time. It really was horrible. After talking about an epidural with Gill and her explaining that it would pretty much take away the pain and enable me to rest, she said she thought it would be a good idea, so I said I wanted one. Waiting for the epidural to be organised and the anesthetist to become available was the worst time because everything was getting stronger and worse - I was at the point of shouting and crying through contractions due to the back pain and telling Chris it's going to kill me. The gas did nothing, like absolutely nothing. Because it was doing nothing I kept stopping taking it but was told by everyone there to keep breathing it. So I did. I think because it gave me something to focus on and make me keep breathing.
Getting the epidural in place during the contractions was soooooo hard. I had to be in a horrible position on my side and keep still through the contractions - wow, what an ask! It took a while, but once the epidural took effect it pretty much took away the contraction pain but the back pain was still there, slightly eased, but still really bad. After an hour more of painful back contractions (pretty much didn't notice the actual contraction pain anymore at all) the anesthetist was called back in, they tested the block and explained that I wasn't getting the coverage I should have been from it. Sheesh - I didn't really need telling! They topped it up and we waited for that to take effect - it was heaps better. I still had bad back pain but it was handleable. Thank god!!! At 5:30pm Gill checked me again and I was 10cm - fully dilated! Yay! Although the baby was nowhere near where it should be, argh! At one stage the babys heart was doing some dicky things which concerned Gill a little and another Dr came in to look at the chart and then decided to come back in 10 minutes to see how things were doing. Gill said if it continued we'd have to get the baby out via emergency caesarean. But when the Dr came back it had all settled down again and the contractions had slowed down as well. After a few more hours they picked up again and when they'd been around 3-4 minutes apart for quite some time Gill said I should start pushing to try to move this baby down.
The pushing started, it was so difficult and tiring. After about an hour or so Gill asked if it felt like I was pushing my baby down with the contractions and my answer was "Not at all!". I was getting tired and it really didn't feel like it was doing anything. Gill then turned the epidural back to half of what it had been on - I'm thinking now that she thought I couldn't feel anything. Though I actually meant that the baby didn't feel like it was moving down at all. Anyway once this took effect my back got much worse again. Chris was amazing throughout all of this, putting pressure on my back when I needed it (I know it would have been killing his hands after a while) and really supporting me wonderfully, telling me how well I was doing and encouraging me through the pushing. Gill disappeared a few times and then told me that a Dr would come in an examine me, I knew that it ending in emergency c-section was a possibility and I'd told Gill that I would be fine with it, I'd gone into labour, I'd tried and done everything I could. Well the Dr examined me through a contraction and afterwards she said that there's no way this baby is going to be born vaginally and it would have to be caesarean. I cried. I didn't expect to feel so disappointed, I knew it may happen and I thought I was fine. But I wasn't, it was so disappointing, after all of that and then it still couldn't happen. I got so close to having the birth I wanted, but it just didn't happen. I lay there and said "Ok" as the tears streamed down my face. Chris was stroking my hair and telling me I did amazingly and that I did all I could. I just nodded and silently cried. He lent down and hugged me as the Dr and Gill went about the business of organising the emergency caesarean.
It seemed to take forever for this to be arranged and the whole time the contractions were coming really hard and fast and everything in me was telling me to keep pushing, but everyone around me was telling me not to push and just breath through the contractions. That was so hard. I was in agony again by now and totally unplugged from all the drugs. Shortly I was again crying through the contractions and saying "My back! My back! It's going to kill me". It was a horrible journey in the bed to the operating room, a haze of moving corridors and incredible pain. Again I was amazed at all the people in the room (as I was with Caelan) and they were pretty quick at getting the epidural into me and up to the right level of no feeling. Thank god! I think it took around half an hour to get this up to the right level though because it had apparently pretty much totally worn off - no wonder I was dying again. We were told that it would take longer as they were dealing with an already scarred uterus etc.
Well it sure did take a very long time and shortly after I was told that all the cuts had been made and they were about to get the babies head out, things changed. There were a lot of horrible pulling sensations and awful feelings, I was told that my babies head was nearly out, more really ugly feelings, then they said the body was getting pulling out now. I heard the cry and immediately I cried and smiled. My baby. It's such an amazing feeling hearing that first cry. I was being told that it was a beautiful baby and had lots of hair. I was then asked if I'd like to know what it was and I said I'd like Chris to tell me. I was dying to know and he wasn't telling me, I was lying there hearing that cry with tears running down my face. I heard Chris ask if it was a girl and then Gill was holding the baby and walking past me, as she held the baby in front of me but it wasn't low enough and I still couldn't see. "What is it?" I asked and Chris turned from the table where they were checking the baby and said "A girl!". He was no longer a person, he was just a smile. A huge walking smile. I watched him and cried. The feeling of love I felt for him as I watched him looking at her with such joy was amazing. I lay there watching him with a big smile as the tears were getting wiped from my face for me. We had a girl. A little girl. Our little girl.
It was quite a while later that I realised the feeling in there had changed from being pretty relaxed to very tense and urgent feeling. Gill went from being normal to very concerned and looking worried, she started asking me if I was ok a lot more and holding my hand or rubbing my arm or head. She was asking Chris if he was alright a lot as well and rubbing his hand or arm. It struck me as kinda weird as I thought she would have seen all of this a lot, why is she so concerned. I nearly asked if something had happened and turned to look at the girlie that was always by my left shoulder explaining what was happening. But she wasn't there, she'd appeared suddenly and put more drugs in and looked kinda worried too while telling me that it will make the pulling sensation I might be feeling go away. I was feeling like I could vomit again and was given something for that. Chris was soon next to me with our little girl snuggled up on his chest having skin to skin. I couldn't see her well but it was wonderful to look at her being held so close to Chris. It felt nice to know that she was bonding straight away with him seeing as though she couldn't be put straight on the boob. After a while Gill came over and put her on me against my face - that was awesome, she was too close to see but I was able to talk to her and kiss her. After a while I thought I was gonna vomit on her so she was taken off, that wouldn't have been a good welcome to the world! I was given more drugs for the nausea. As I lay there I thought I heard from their hushed talkings something about my uterus and tearing. Though I wasn't sure and was going to ask again what had happened but I couldn't see anyone to ask and got distracted by our little girl. It took a very long time for them to stitch me up but when it was finally done we headed down to recovery.
Gill put our little girl on my breast and she started suckling immediately. What a clever girl!!! After so long as well and she just knew what to do. I was so worried that she wouldn't know after Caelan, but she was great. Then the surgeon came in and explained that there had been complications and when they were trying to get her head up and out my uterus had torn down the left hand side as had my cervix and top of my vagina. She explained that she stitched these up as best she could and she was happy with the job she'd done, though due to the nature of the tearing and where it was not all of it could be stitched and that hopefully these will bind and heal themselves. There was concern that they'd nicked my left kidney as well and I would need a scan on Thursday to check the status of my left kidney and bladder. It was weird listening to all of this being explained to me and thinking 'Wow, this sounds serious and it all just happened to me while I was awake and here I am hearing about it all'. It was odd, we were told a Doctor would come to see me in the morning and answer any questions and go over the implications this has on subsequent pregnancies. When she finished explaining everything that had gone wrong, Chris asked if it was serious and she said if things dont heal properly then it could be serious. I asked how this would effect recovery and if it would be longer because of the tearing, she said that it wouldn't, it would be the same 6 weeks recovery as a normal c-section but I would be in a lot more pain initially (christ she wasn't wrong!!!! The pain was incredible!). She explained that I would need a check up in 12 weeks and again in 6 months. I thanked her and off she went. We were soon taken up to our room and I was able to feed Siahn properly. We have our little girl! That's the end of kids for us now after all that drama unfortunately, so we're soooo thankful that we got our girl, we have one of each and that's pretty damned lucky.
Siahn Anahera Clark
13 May 2008
Here are photos of her extraction :) I found out afterwards that my uterus was outside my body for over an hour while they located and mended the rest of the tearing. Gill was horrified by it all, she'd never seen it be taken out of the body before, let alone for so long! You can see my uterus sitting there in one of the photos - so weird to look at your organs outside of your body!