After two weeks of contractions every night, on Sunday 14/09/2014 we were getting ready to go out for our usual Sunday morning breakfast with our friend Ben, his dog and our dog. I had just hopped out of the shower and was getting ready when I heard a trickle and noticed water had dripped all over the bathmat, not a lot though, maybe a couple of tablespoons full. I went out of the bathroom and told my husband Dale that I thought my waters might have broken, he looked at me and said “you’ve probably just pissed yourself”. This may seem harsh but towards the end of pregnancy every sneeze and cough pretty much resulted in an outfit change for me. I went and got dressed and put on a small liner. Then I felt more water come out and it soaked my pants. Feeling pretty confident that I hadn’t pee’d myself I phoned the hospital and they suggested I come by for a check. Just then our friend Ben came over, and he jokingly said to me “don’t f*** up my Sunday”.
The boys, not feeling confident that anything was happening were trying to convince me to go out to breakfast still and then go to hospital after. I really just wanted to go and get checked out so we compromised and they got takeaway from our favourite cafe, then Dale, Ben the two dogs and I continued on to the hospital.
Once at hospital the had a look and said they didn’t think it was my waters but couldn’t be sure to go for a 30 minute walk and then come back. We obliged and when I came back they still weren’t sure so brought in a doctor who did a speculum which made it very obvious that it was my waters. I had had a hind water leak so the amniotic fluid was just trickling out, instead of a big gush. I was having very tiny contractions at that point but nothing exciting. The doctors offered to induce me right then. However we had the two dogs and our friend in the car and no hospital bag. I also wanted to wait and see what happened naturally. The hospitals policy was once your waters had broken, they would give you a maximum of 72 hours before they induced you, so that would have brought me to my due date (17/09/2014). They sent me home with a thermometer to monitor my temp for infection every 4 hours and a list of things to look out for as well as instructions to return to the hospital the following morning.
That day we tried to stay relaxed and carry on normally. We tried to go to lunch but the water was so inconsistently leaking out it made it really impossible to be out in public. We went to our local shopping centre just as a huge gush of water came out and saturated my pants (typical). So we stayed at home watching movies.
By about 5 pm I was having strong and painful contractions but they weren’t regular which was very frustrating. I couldn’t sleep from the pain and Dale tried to stay up with me but I eventually sent him to bed knowing that I would need him later on. By about 6 am I had had about 1hour of broken sleep and had started to vomit quite heavily with every contraction. Every time I vomited water would pour out at the same time. I went through so many clothes! We went to the hospital early for the check up and our baby was in a perfect position, just not quite ready to come out. They said it was likely a psychological thing on my part stopping the labour from progressing. They didn’t check how dilated I was because it would have meant they would need to admit me, which we didn’t want. Again the doctors offered to induce me but I decided if the baby wasn’t born in the next 24 hours that I would let them.
They sent us home again with some panadeine forte, antibiotics and told me to try and sleep, drink and eat. They also advised to stop trying to time the contractions. Dale and I spent the day trying to watch funny movies to help me relax and help the labour progress. We went for a long walk with the dog which ended up with me on all fours on a cricket pitch at a local park trying to breathe through my contractions. As the afternoon and evening went on, the contractions got worse but I didn’t focus on that too much. I didn’t even notice Dale was timing them. I have to say, he was absolutely amazing the entire time! Every single contraction he was by my side. Holding my hands, rubbing pressure points and cheering that our baby would be here soon! He kept saying that every contraction was one less to seeing our baby. He even ran out of the shower during one contraction so I wasn’t alone.
At about 9 pm Monday I was so exhausted I just wanted to sleep. I hadn’t been able to keep any food or liquid down and hadn’t slept since Saturday night. I tried to lay on my side in bed but that was making the contractions and pain worse and I was really struggling. I finally asked Dale to be the one to make the final decision on when we should go to hospital because I couldn’t tell anymore. My contractions still weren’t regular at all. About 10 minutes later he said “lets just go”. He phoned the midwives and they agreed hospital was the best place for me at that point.
It was a quick trip but I still had at least 4 contractions on the drive. Once we got there I did a quick urine test which showed I was very severely dehydrated so I was trying to drink sports drinks and water as much as I could. The midwives filled up the bath for me and I hopped in. Not long being in there my heart rate shot right up and the baby’s heart rate plummeted. So I got out and was put onto a CTG. We were both fine but because of protocol I wasn’t able to have a water birth anymore and had to do the birth strapped to the CTG. As I was laying there they attached a drip to try and get my fluids up. The midwife then decided to do a check to see how far along I was. She was very surprised to see that I was 10 cm and ready to push! They quickly called my student midwife and a doctor to come and check. The student midwife was on her way and one of the doctors came and decided I was only 9.5 cm, not quite 10 cm. Still they were very impressed that I had been at home and pretty quiet the whole time. My student midwife arrived and about an hour later the doctor come back to check my cervix. I was still at 9.5 cm so she ordered some pitocin to get rid of that last half cm.
I had tried to use the gas but I really didn’t like it and it kept making me gag and dry retch. It was a really good distraction tool though. 2 hours later I was fully dilated and ready. I tried birthing on all fours but not much was happening. I kept asking if they could see anything and they said yes but Dale told me later that they couldn’t and were just nicely trying to coach me along. Finally the doctor (who I didn’t even realise was there) told me to flip over onto my back for the next contraction. This made me pretty hesitant but I did as she said and I could see the top of the baby’s head poking out! They told me to feel it, I did and it was so gross, I wiped my hand on the bed sheet! They said if I tried really hard the baby would be out with the next contraction. I took a deep breath when the next contraction came and POP! I don’t remember seeing it happen so not sure if my eyes were shut or not, they told me to pant through the next push which I tried to do but I think I tried too hard because the baby came out so fast and ripped me very badly! At 4:40 am Tuesday 16/09/2014 our baby girl Harlie Eva arrived! She was very blue but went straight onto my chest to try to attach and we were able to do the delayed cord clamping.
Once the cord stopped pulsating, Dale cut it, Harlie was still very grey/blue so the doctor and midwife took her to give her a bit of help with oxygen, while the student midwife tried to get my placenta out. It was very stuck. Once they brought Harlie back, she want back onto my chest to try and attach while still trying to get that placenta out but it didn’t move. They gave me a pitocin injection into my thigh as well as more in the drip. 45 minutes laters the doctor came over and gave a firm yank and it came out. They told me I had tore but weren’t sure of the extent. The doctor came and had an inspection and concluded that it was a third degree tear and that I would need surgery to fix it. I still hadn’t eaten properly since Saturday, it was about 6 am Tuesday by this point and because of the surgery I still wasn’t allowed anything. I was feeling very awful, I couldn’t focus or talk very well, everything was very hazy. They gave Harlie to Dale and wheeled me downstairs to the surgery ward for my operation.
It was very different to the maternity ward. Lots of lights and all business. I had to have an epidural and once that kicked in, they laid me down and went to work. I couldn’t seven people working on me in there and no one talked to me the entire time but did have their own conversation. I feel asleep during it and was woken up just as they were finishing then sent to recovery. At about 8 am when I was wheeled back upstairs to my room where Harlie, Dale, my student midwife and my mum were waiting for me. I had a catheter in and wasn’t allowed out of bed until the following morning where I was able to shower and walk around and have a good proper look and cuddle of my baby girl.