The road to motherhood is such a different experience for every woman. I’m blessed to be able to share my positive IVF journey with you, which resulted in an immense reward – the birth of our healthy and happy little boy. This is my birth story.
At about 36 weeks, it hit me that I was going to be full term very soon. I had three fears of labour – my waters breaking in public, episiotomy/tearing and the crowning stage. I never had a birth plan and was open to doing whatever needed to be done to deliver our baby safely. I was also open to using pain relief if I felt I needed to but also looked into natural pain relief options, and came across a book called Birth Skills by Juju Sundin. It included stories of women who had a range of birth experiences – those who used pain relief, had caesareans and vaginal births. The book explained how you can use a number of techniques in labour such as movement (walking, stomping, using stress balls), breathing, vocalisation and visualisation which I found did help in the early stages of labour and probably had a positive impact overall as I ended up getting through it without drugs.
Due to my IVF pregnancy, I was going to be induced if I went over my due date (as the placenta ages differently in IVF pregnancies). In the final week, I still felt quite comfortable but did begin to experience lower back pain and more frequent cramping. At 39+3 I had my final appointment with my obstetrician. We had discussed having a stretch and sweep the week prior, however on examination my cervix was long and closed so no sweep could be conducted. At 39+6 I lost my mucus plug. That night (Friday, the day before my due date), my contractions started. Initially, they were 15 minutes apart, lasting about 30 seconds then continued consistently every 10 minutes for about 35 – 45 seconds. At 2.30am on the Saturday morning I had a bloody show so I was sure that bub would be arriving very soon. Turns out that baby wasn’t ready to make an appearance and over the weekend, I was in and out of hospital a number of times in early labour. By Sunday afternoon, contractions were 6 – 8 minutes apart. I can’t put into words what contractions feel like. I had heard they feel like period cramps on steroids but I don’t agree! For me, it was a very intense all over pain and tightening in my tummy and lower back that literally took my breath away.
On Sunday night my ob examined me and found I was 2cm dilated. Due to the dilation, I no longer needed to be induced and my waters were going to be broken the following morning. We were told to go home and get a good night’s sleep for the following day. We arrived home at about 11pm Sunday night. We hadn’t slept since the Thursday night due to the contractions so we were not thinking straight. For some silly reason we went home only to return to hospital an hour or so later as the pain quickly intensified. I realised the pain was now unbearable while lying on the bathroom floor crying. I knew it was time to go and this was it!
The birthing suite
Soon enough, I was back in the birthing suite and only 3cm dilated. I wondered how the pain could get any worse. For the next couple of hours, I was in and out of the bathroom trying to pee but nothing was happening. The midwife assured me that it was because of the baby’s position. DH kept buzzing her in for help but she kept insisting there was nothing that could be done. I begged her to do something to relieve the feeling of my bladder about to burst and she agreed to try a catheter which was unsuccessful. She suggested I try the gas to take the edge off the pain but one puff and I vomited. I then tried a tens machine which was basically two patches placed down either side of my spine that released electrical stimulation each time a contraction started. It was a nice distraction and I can see how it would be helpful in early labour but it wasn’t providing much relief and I soon gave up on it. DH buzzed the midwife back again, and on examination she found I was 7cm dilated. My urge to pee was actually an urge to push the baby out. My obstetrician was called and it was at this point I asked for, actually demanded, the epidural. Turns out there was a 20 minute wait for the anaesthetist to administer it. By this stage I was begging for pain relief, in fact I think at one stage I turned to DH and said ‘just give me a caesarean!’ Not long after, my ob arrived, so cool and calm (which is why we were so drawn to him) and told me the epidural was on its way but that because I was so close, he thought I could get through it without the pain relief. I remember hearing in the birthing class that if you can get through the transition stage of labour without pain relief you could get through the pushing. It was now about 7.30am and I was ready to push without the epidural.
Firstly, my waters were broken. I didn’t feel the actual breaking, just warm water coming out. Thinking back I don’t even know what they did with the fluid as I don’t remember lying on a wet bed. Then the pushing started. Pushing really is exhausting and you feel like you aren’t getting anywhere. It was the first time during my pregnancy that I desperately wanted the baby out. I had heard about the ‘ring of fire’ when the baby’s head is crowning and this is what I feared most about labour. As the name suggests, I felt an intense burning and stretching sensation but it was still such a relief from the pain of contractions I had in the lead up to this moment. My ob guided me through every step, directing me where to push, how hard to push and how long to push for. At this stage I was glad I didn’t have the epidural as I think it would have prolonged my labour and I could have been pushing for hours.
Once the baby’s shoulders were pushed out, my ob told me to get ready to finish the delivery and lift my baby out. It was such a surreal moment and a feeling that will stay with us forever. With bub on my chest, DH cut the umbilical cord.
I have no doubt that my ob is the reason I didn’t tear, didn’t need an episiotomy or have any stitches even though I was only pushing for 30 minutes. I never did the perineum massage during pregnancy or pilates or yoga. I just had an amazing obstetrician.
Our beautiful baby boy Jayden arrived into the world on 5th February 2018 at 8.15am weighing 3.54kg and measuring 50cm. We fell instantly in love with our precious little angel and he has brought so much joy to our family.
It’s true what they say about forgetting the pain of labour. Although I found the contractions absolutely horrible, all the pain magically disappeared when I looked into Jayden’s eyes for the first time and our long journey to get to this day was truly a distant memory. My road to mummy had finally became a reality.
Special family moment
First milk drunk photo
Our little cutie, 18 days old