Posterior Baby

Nic shares the birth story of her son Samuel


The first indication that there was anything going on with my body was on Friday 23rd February. I was getting mildly painful contractions throughout the day, with heaps of pressure on what I can only assume was my cervix. I totally went off my food too. We went ten pin bowling (well, Nomis did, I just watched) and I just got more and more uncomfortable as the night wore on. When I got home and went to the toilet, there was quite a bit of blood on the toilet paper. It wasn’t particularly mucousy but more like about day 4 of a normal period. I put on a pad, and we went to bed.

After a night where I was up half of it with severe insomnia, I had a terrible day. I was still getting mildly painful contractions with absolutely no regularity to them. By this stage I had quite a severe backache with each contraction, and was getting pain through my groin. I rang the midwife to check that all was normal with the bloody discharge and she said it sounded like my ‘show’ and her advice was to get as much rest as possible before I actually established a labour.

That night I had my little brother’s 21st birthday party. I sat as much as possible, and didn’t let anyone know that it was likely there was something happening. I did tell anyone who asked that I had had stern words with my son and he was joining us the following day JI was still getting the irregular painful contractions with the backache.

That night (24/2) I just couldn’t sleep well. The contractions were coming more often but not close enough together to time them. Husband was up at about 1:30am feeling very sick. I think it was a combination of tiredness and plain and simple worry about me. Probably a bit of a blessing because he went to the spare room to sleep the rest of the night (he didn’t want to give me anything). I ended up getting some more sleep but was up by 3am with timeable contractions. By 10am they were ranging from 4 minutes to 7 minutes apart, and they were starting to move from my back to my front.

And they continued exactly like that throughout the WHOLE day. They eased at about 1pm and I got about an hours sleep, but when I woke up they were even worse than when I went to bed. I wanted to stay at home as long as possible, but by 10pm I was getting incredibly frustrated so I rang the midwife and she suggested we come in. So we went in and she did an internal only to find out that I was only 2cm dilated. So we went home with some panadeine forte in the hope that I could get some sleep. Of course I couldn’t as when I was laying down the contractions were excruciating. So from about 1am to 4am, I watched TV while husband slept (at my insistence). By 4am I was just not feeling safe so I woke Husband up and we went back to hospital. The midwife did another internal and in the 4 hours we’d been gone I’d dilated one whole extra cm.

By 10am I hadn’t dilated any further so the midwife broke my waters. This of course should have made the contractions come a little closer together, but it had no effect whatsoever on my contractions. I continued with contractions about 5 minutes apart until another internal at 1:30pm. I had dilated to 4cm. After nearly 35 hours drug free I was at my wits end. I just didn’t know what to do as it seemed my body just wasn’t doing what it should have been.

It was at this point it was discovered that Sam was actually posterior (i.e. lying back to back with me) and this was causing my body not to do what it should have been doing. Up until this point we had been hoping to do things totally drug free, and were in the birthing centre. When it was discovered that he was posterior, we really had to re-evaluate because not many babies are actually born posterior and it could be a looooong wait for him to turn. My midwife had faith that I could keep coping, but totally understood if we wanted to transfer out and into the labour and delivery suite for an epidural.

We decided that after 35 hours with me having little to no sleep, it was just beyond my capabilities, and we transferred out. At 2:30pm I had the epidural put in and OMG it was bliss. I think I was asleep within 10 minutes of it taking effect. Anyway, in between my dozing I was examined by about 4 different doctors, and they started talking about a cesarean because my body wasn’t coping. However, Sam was coping absolutely fine, and we were NOT happy with this option as they were barely giving us a choice. I had the most brilliant midwife on the planet and I told her how unhappy I was that they weren’t even going to give my body a chance to get to 10cm. She agreed and convinced them to put me on syntocinin until I was fully dilated and at least give me a chance to push him out. If at any stage Sam was getting distressed, THEN we’d be perfectly happy to go for the cesarean. The upside of this was that with strong enough contractions, there was a possibility for Sam to actually turn himself around to be anterior. So they started me on the ridiculous amounts of monitoring and drips that you require for that kind of stuff. And I quite happily went back off to sleep!

The doctor came in at around 8:30pm and gave me an internal, and I was nearly fully dilated! AND… was pretty positive that Sam had turned himself around to be anterior! He said that he would finish his rounds and come back to check it properly. At 9:20pm the doctor came back and told me I was good to go. Time to get him out!

I really struggled with the pushing stage, and it wasn’t until the midwives set me up with a mirror so I could actually see the progress his head was making that I really understood what they were talking about (I actually thought they were lying to me about being able to see the head)! When his head was FINALLY out the cord was wrapped around his neck, and the midwife had to quickly fix that before the body was pushed out. I didn’t tear at all for the head but his shoulders gave me a second degree tear. I ended up pushing him out in under 50 minutes.

Introducing Samuel – 9pd 4oz (4.2kg), 53cm long, head circumference 36cm.