Thursday, October 22, 2009

The Birth of Eloise

Iris and I came down with a really nasty flu and that was the sickest I had been in quite a few years. Being sick with a sick toddler at nine months pregnant is not a whole lot of fun. I was living in fear that I was going to go into labour while I was still sick.

I was also exhausted because Iris was only sleeping for 20 minutes at a time. I was worried that I wasn’t going to be able to cope with labour because I was just so tired and sick and not feeling up to doing anything let along having a baby!

Iris and I were starting to get better. Tuesday night Iris slept for 13 hours! She had never done that in her entire life, so I got to have the best night’s sleep I’d had in months! When I spoke to my doula/friend Sazz she said “oooh, a good night’s sleep?!” and suggested it meant the baby was coming.

Super doula Sazz (as I call her) came over on Wednesday to cheer me up after two weeks of being cooped up in the house, sick. She bought me a box of chocolates and we chilled out at home for a while, eating chocolate and talking about our favourite books. Then we decided to go for a walk to a bookstore.

We waddled (or at least, I did) down to the shops, Iris in the pram and Sazz’s daughter Harriet on her back in an ergo. We couldn’t find the book I had been telling Sazz about in our favourite book store. Sazz suggested we go to the library and give the kids a run around in there. I felt heavy and fat and pregnant and didn’t want to walk that far. Sazz wanted Harri to stretch her legs so we ended up going to the library and girls had a play in the children’s section, while we sat down, after not being able to find the book we were after.

Then we walked home and it began to rain. I started to get a stitch on the walk home. I thought I was just tired from all the walking around. Harri fell asleep on Sazz and she walked straight back to her place. I went home and had a lie down. While I was lying down Sazz rang to say she’d left something behind at my place and that she’d come back the next day to grab it.

At this point I formed a conspiracy theory that Sazz had walked be round all day to make me go into labour and deliberately left something behind at my place to come back for the birth.

The contractions were about 10 to 20 minutes apart over night. They remained regular like this. I went to bed early because I did not want to be tired during labour like I had been when I had Iris. The contractions weren’t so strong that I couldn’t sleep through them. I woke up a couple of times, but still managed to get a good night’s sleep.

On Thursday I was still having contractions about 10 to 20 minutes apart when I got up in the morning. I rang Sazz and told her that I had to have the baby today or on Sunday because Steven had to go to work on Friday and Saturday. Sazz said we could go for a walk again and joked about booking me into hospital for my induction LOL

Sazz came over that afternoon and we decided to go for another walk to see if we could warm things up a bit. On the walk the contraction were coming at least every 10 minutes, but they were still really short. By the time I thought “ow” they were over. As we walked I paused momentarily for each contraction and then went back to walking.

We took the girls to a playground in the shopping centre. We ran into a friend of a friend who had had her babies at home in New Zealand. When Sazz went to the toilets I said “but who will catch the baby?” turned to face this friend of a friend and jokingly asked “you’ll catch the baby, right?” She didn’t think it was that funny.

While we were there my midwife rang to see how I was going. She asked if she should keep her bag by the front door in case she had to come out that night. I was still sure that this was going to go on for another day or two so I said “I’m not sure, I’ll give you a call later” but I didn’t think that I would be seeing her that night.

After the girls had played for a while we went to the food court to eat. We were making jokes about Sazz’s friend who had had her baby in a food court and history repeating. Every now and then I’d have a winge about how I was feeling.

We started walking home around 6pm. We were still making jokes about labour, I was still convinced that I wasn’t going to have a baby until at least that time tomorrow. Sazz and I sewed together some wheat bags to be used as heat packs during labour “when it started” LOL. And we made the girls each a mini wheat bag too, since they were interested in them.

Sazz’s husband Ealesy arrived and he helped give Iris a shower and get her ready for bed. After her shower Iris attempted to give me an induction by scaring the baby out with a shark head we got from the aquarium LOL. We laughed a lot at that.

After my induction by shark head I gave Iris “side” as she calls breastfeeding. I didn’t realise at the time that that would be the last time she fed before she was a big sister! Whenever I got a contraction while we were feeding I wanted to rip her off the breast because being touched during a contraction felt very uncomfortable. She was also heavy and pressing herself against my stomach. I ended up taking her off a couple of times for contractions during that feed.

We put Iris to bed. Sazz, Ealesy and Harri went home for dinner (and watch Grey’s Anatomy). I wanted to go to bed early so I wouldn’t “go into labour” tired LOL. I went and lay down in bed and the contractions got closer together, though they were still quite short.

I made a few phone calls. The only way that I could talk while on the phone was to bounce on Sazz’s fit ball. I spoke to my other doula, Michelle and my midwife Brenda and suggested that yes, maybe she should keep her bag by the front door. I had a good talk to Michelle. I said I didn’t know what was happening but I said I could feel the baby dancing on my cervix, I remembered Sazz talking about Harriet “break dancing” on her cervix, spinning round and round on her head. The contractions were close together but still really short, I was telling Michlle “I’m just not sure what’s going on. I’m going to go to bed”.

Steven was rubbing my back while I was lying in bed. It was getting to the point where I needed someone with me when I had a contraction. That’s when we called Sazz because I didn’t want to be alone and Steven still had to go to work that night. Sazz was eating dinner and we agreed that she would come over when she was finished.

Straight away I had a massive contraction. It was so strong that I got up on my hands and knees (I had been lying on the bed) and swearing, my waters exploded from one end of the bed to the other! They soaked everything within two or three feet.

I was still thinking that because the contractions were short that it was still going to be a while before I had a baby. I sent Brenda a message, I was really grumpy that my bedding was soaked because I wanted to sleep, my message to Brenda was very sarcastic: “Looks like I won’t be getting any sleep, my waters just broke, fun times”.

Brenda rang me and said “Don’t get in the birth pool or you’ll have a baby. Waters breaking is usually the start or the end and because you’ve been having contractions for 24 hours, this is probably the end. Don’t get in the pool”. She asked if I wanted her to come over now, I said no, I was fine, but she knew what was about to happen and she felt she should leave soon.

I asked Steven to call my Dad to come and get our cat. I didn’t want the cat to wake Iris up, at that point she was locked in the other bathroom, but we couldn’t leave her there like that all night.

I asked Steven to start filling the birth pool and our tap fitting broke. I was trying not to get in the shower because I didn’t want to waste the hot water. But once I realised how long it was going to take to fill the pool and felt that the contractions were getting closer together I decided to jump in the shower. The contractions were coming every minute by this stage. I really needed the water for pain relief now.

Within five minutes of hopping into the shower things started to get a bit intense. From here it all happened really quickly. I went from leaning against the wall enjoying the hot water to getting on my hands and knees and really needing to vocalise to get through the contractions. I started to realise the baby was a lot closer than I had thought. I got Steven to call and ask Michelle to come and pick Sazz up on her way.

Steven was on the phone with Brenda a few times, talking about what was going on. I heard my Dad arrive to come and take the cat. I was really vocalising now and my Dad was keen to get out of there.

Despite the contractions being one on top of the other I was still thinking the contractions were short and that it would still be a few hours before I would need to start pushing. I just kept waiting for the contractions to get longer, but they never did! I was on my hands and knees and I started crying to Steven “I can’t do this again. I’m scared. I’m going to tear. I won’t be able to push the baby out!” I think this only lasted for maybe a couple of minutes. It was the world’s shortest transition. Steven was saying “it’s alright, you can do this”, I think he was getting a bit frightened by this stage. Then it got all too much and I couldn’t talk any more.

I started to feel lots of pressure in my bum. I remember thinking “no! That can’t possibly be what I think it is. I’m no way near pushing a baby out!” Then all of a sudden, no pushing, there was a head. I was on my hands and knees and all of a sudden this head popped out! I screamed at Steven “HEAD!”

I put my hands around her head just to make sure that’s really what it was. I don’t know what I thought it was going to be, but I didn’t push at all. Literally his head just popped out. Steven was looking really shocked. I yelled at him “SHE’S FINE!” Even though I thought the baby was a boy and didn’t actually know what we were having. I didn’t want to push, like I did with Iris, because I didn’t want to tear. So once I felt her head pop out I wanted to slow it down and breathe her out and she came flying out into my hands, she was not slow at all!

Within a couple of minutes I had also birthed the placenta. I birthed it into the bottom of the shower and got Steven to bring a red salad bowl into the shower to put the placenta in so that we could move baby and placenta around.

Her cord was wrapped around her neck. I unwound the cord and brought her up onto my chest. I didn’t want to see if she was a boy or a girl, I was waiting for Steven to look and tell us what we had, but he was running around getting towels. Then I asked him “Are you going to tell me what we have?” and he said “It’s a girl, you already told me that, you knew all along!”

Steven wrapped a towel around her and I sat in the shower with her for a good five minutes, when the water started to run cold. I got Steven to carry Lou and the placenta in the salad bowl to the lounge room. I followed a minute later. Lou and I sat in front of the heater to get warm and then our birth team started arriving.

Brenda and Barb got here and then a minute later Michelle and Sazz came in. When Sazz walked in to the lounge room I said “Baby Lou is a girl!”

I started to feel like I had to lie down. Brenda had a look and I was trickling blood. Because of Lou’s speedy arrival my body didn’t realise there was no placenta inside any more so my body was still pumping blood to a placenta that was no longer there. I tried feeding Lou to help it slow down, but it didn’t work. Brenda asked me if I wanted to have the injection to slow it down. Sazz asked if I could lick or eat some of the placenta at this stage to slow the bleeding but I said “Injection! No placenta!”

At this stage things became hazy. I remember one needle and then another needle and then I vomited. Sazz was holding my hair back and joking about how this was the most Frankston moment of our friendship. Sazz tells me that during this time I was lying down feeding Louie, staring at her while she and Michelle were holding heat packs to sore areas of my back, keeping me comfortable with pillows and Brenda and Barb were checking my blood pressure, bleeding and taking notes. I was having after pains that were more painful that my labour contractions. I remember complaining about them and I said they were even worse because you knew you weren’t going to get a baby out of them!

After about an hour the bleeding slowed down. My birth team got me all set up in my bed and Brenda brought in her scales to weigh Lou. Lou tipped the scales and we laughed about that. My birth team made sure there was plenty to drink and fresh fruit by my bed.

It was now that Steven, Brenda and Barb were determining what time Eloise was born by checking the time that text messages were sent and received on their phones. We estimated that Lou was born at quarter past ten, Thursday, June 11 2009. I lost all sense of time while I was in labour. Later we worked out that it was about 1 hour of “active” labour.

I couldn’t sleep, I was exhausted but I was just too wired from the birth. Lou was snuffling and making little baby noises and I wasn’t used to it so I couldn’t sleep. At about 6am Steven took her for a walk around the lounge room and a cuddle so that I could get some sleep and then Iris got up.

Iris wasn’t interested in the baby. She was more interested in the hat Louie was wearing: “hat! Hat!” and she just wanted “side”. So I cuddled up in bed with both my girls, Iris got her side, and so did Eloise.

Where Louie was born

Our first photo as a foursome, with the birthday cake Sazz made Louie

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