Sunday, 16 November 2014

Stacey: A Rainbow Pregnancy: My Birth Story

This is the last in a series of posts that Stacey is writing about her rainbow pregnancy. To read the previous posts, please click on the links below:

Stacey: A Rainbow Pregnancy: Weeks 29 to 32
Stacey: A Rainbow Pregnancy: Weeks 33 to 36
Stacey: A Rainbow Pregnancy: Weeks 37 to 38

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The birth

‘Do you want to go in the water?’ the midwife asked me during a contraction as I desperately tried to stay in any position other than on my back on the bed. I didn’t hesitate; we changed to the birth pool room and I was in the water within 5minutes, the relief as I sank into the hot water was amazing it took all the pain in my back away. I had gas and air but felt very in control and the pain wasn’t too bad. I knew I had to just get through each contraction and dilate to 10cm before I could push so all I had to do was wait for my body to be ready.

I started to get a lot of flashbacks of my labour with Maisie and became very grateful to be in the water as it was a totally different labour and environment from last time. In between my contractions I talked to my husband who was also finding the labour was bringing back a lot of memories from last time. Neither of us could believe that labour had finally started it felt like a medical process that we had to go through there was never any consideration for the fact that we were having a baby or that in just a few hours we might have a live child in our arms. It didn’t seem like that could ever be a possibility for us so seeing the cot in the corner of the room was actually very frightening.

I was aware of other women on the ward screaming, shouting and swearing all the classic noises you hear on the tv when a woman goes into labour. I occasionally heard the alarm go off and my midwife ran out of the room to go and help. None of these things helped me to believe we were there to have a baby as real as everything was around me it all felt like a dream and any moment I was going to wake up not pregnant and with no baby.

I wanted to stay in control of my labour and to try and help myself to be aware of the baby and to keep her safe I knew that I could lose her at any time so I kept my hand on my belly to try and feel her movements which became hard to feel during a contraction if I wasn’t focused. I also tried to remain composed when the midwife listened in to her heartbeat the weeks of CTGs and months of using my own Doppler meant that I knew what speed and rhythm was a normal sound for her heartbeat and each time I heard it myself I knew she was still ok.

I started to lose composure around 7cm when the midwife asked me to get out of the water for an examination. Leaving the water I felt all the pain suddenly hit me, my legs started to shake and I knew I needed to get to the bed and be examined as quickly as possible so I could get back in the pool. Hearing that I was 7cm and making good progress was a relief that the pain wasn’t for nothing. I think I was so relieved I used some choice rude words which is not normally something I would do in front of strangers!

I got back in the pool and all of a sudden things seemed to speed up very quickly. Every contraction was too painful to control with gas and air I felt a huge urge to push and couldn’t stop myself my body seemed to naturally start to convulse with each contraction. I became more and more vocal as the pain increased screaming out that I wanted and needed to push the baby out now. The midwives kept telling me it was not time and that if I pushed now nothing would happen but that the baby’s head was very low and that was why I was feel like I needed to push. I kept waiting for the point where I desperately needed more than gas and air to ask for more pain relief but the time never came. Although it was extremely painful the time in between contractions gave me a chance to think clearly and to be able to remember that however painful they were I would soon have another rest period.

I started to behave like a wild animal I swore a lot, screeched, cried and got very angry when the gas and air was taken off me to get out for my final examination. I couldn’t walk to the bed and was vaguely aware of my husband and midwife almost carrying me to the bed to be examined. Being told I was 10cm and was now allowed to push I almost cried with relief after hours of needing to push I was now finally allowed to.

I got back into the pool to push her head kept coming out and going back in it was increasingly frustrating and felt like a burning sensation. I knew I needed to focus and my pain started to change rather than the focus being on the contractions it was the burning sensation each time I pushed that hurt. The midwife left the room and when she came back was joined by another midwife, I instantly panicked thinking that something was wrong she reassured me that when they deliver there has to be two people present. She told me that I had been pushing for an hour (thank goodness I had no concept of time as I thought I had only been pushing for about 10 minutes) and that once I had got her head out I would be able to push her body out in one contraction. She warned me that when the baby was born she wasn’t allowed to reach in and touch her straight away but she had to let the baby rise to the surface of the water by herself.

I started to push again with everyone around me shouting at me trying to encourage me to push harder; finally her head came out. The midwife told me to feel her head as she had a lot of hair it was a very surreal experience feeling a head sticking out with masses of hair and again felt very much like a dream. I soon had another contraction and felt instant physical relief when she came out.

The relief lasted for a few seconds before I was desperately asking if she was alive when the midwife finally reached in for her, placed her on me and I heard her scream all I could do was close my eyes and keep repeating ‘she’s alive’. I couldn’t even look at her for the first few minutes all I could do was listen to the sound of her crying knowing that meant she was here and everything had been worth it.

Florence Ivy Davis was born on Monday 13th October 2014 at 9.58am weighing 6lb 9oz (much smaller than the scans had suggested!). It no longer mattered how hard pregnancy had been mentally or physically having her alive in our arms I knew I would do it all over again without hesitation.

Nearly 3 weeks later

Whilst I write this my 2 week and 5day old daughter is sleeping on my chest. I can lean down just 2 inches and kiss her head full of hair, I can hear her snore and I can see the amazing faces she pulls whilst she dreams. She will never replace her big sister but Florence gives us a reason to live again, she is helping day by day to heal wounds that run deep, too young to even know just how special she is and how many people’s lives she has enriched and completed. 4am is fast becoming my favourite time of day when I wake up to spend an hour with her feeding and changing her, there is no-one else around, my husband is still asleep and I have her all to myself in my arms. It is then that I realise how lucky we really are and how I hope that I never take a single second for granted. Of course I still have some anxieties; is she too hot, cold, hungry, has she got a dirty nappy and is she still breathing all frequently run into my mind but the few seconds spent worrying before I check her are worth it just to be near her again.

A dream is a wish your heart makes
When you're fast asleep
In dreams you will lose your heartaches
Whatever you wish for, you keep
Have faith in your dreams and someday
Your rainbow will come smiling through
No matter how your heart is grieving
If you keep on believing
the dream that you wish will come true

Thank you to Loss through the Looking Glass for giving me the opportunity to have a safe place to write about my hopes, dreams and fears for the past 9 months.