——-Rachael share’s her birth story——-
Giving birth wasn’t what I expected at all. I had these grand ideas of having a water birth, something I had talked about with my midwife most of my pregnancy. I love being in the water, it calms me, helps me think clearly at times, makes me happy. I am a Pisces after all.
My plan was to go to St Georges in Christchurch. Stay there and bond with my tiny baby for a few days before coming home and settling into life as a mother. Those plans went out the door on New Years Eve 2017. I was 36 weeks pregnant and all of a sudden things weren’t going so great anymore.
The night started out great. Went to a friend’s place, spent time just relaxing and enjoying the night. Then everything went downhill. What I thought was back pain got worse, I felt lightheaded and felt like being sick. I got hold of a friend who told me that it didn’t sound normal and to make my way to the hospital. The nurses in A&E didn’t know what was wrong, they thought I might have been having heart problems so I was hooked up to an ECG machine. Nothing.
The next lot of nurses thought I was in labor – they were excited because I could be the first to have a 2018 baby. I was transferred to the birthing unit. Again, nothing, and I was sent home the following morning.
For a week, I was in and out of that birthing unit. They didn’t know what was wrong with me. All sorts of ideas were thrown around. Was it kidney stones, was is just back pain, who knew. The whole experience was draining. I wanted to be at home getting ready to have my baby. They finally figured it out – I had pre-eclampsia. For another week, I was mostly in hospital, being monitored because my baby wasn’t growing. I became depressed, sick of staring at the same four walls because I wasn’t allowed to go far. My blood pressure was high and I was in so much pain. I slept, and held myself time after time as another wave of pain hit me, leaving me in tears.
They induced me at midnight on the 13th of January. By that point, I was so over it I was begging for them to get her out. I didn’t care how, I just wanted everything to end.
The induction hurt and I was so uncomfortable the next day, barely sleeping so I walked around a lot. I sent hubby home at 1pm because I was exhausted and didn’t feel like company anymore. I fell asleep crying.
I woke up to a feeling like a rubber band had snapped inside of me. I felt something trickle down my leg but when I called the nurse, they didn’t believe I was in labor but said they would keep an eye on me. I knew my body though and knew something was happening so I called up hubby and told him I thought I was in labor. When he arrived, a wave of pain hit me again and I was taken down to an observation room. From then it was all on.
Within the space of 5 minutes, I went from having a tiny bit of pain to my waters breaking. From there, I needed to push. They kept telling me that I couldn’t, I wasn’t ready but I screamed at them, telling them I had to push. I wasn’t even fully dilated. I was rushed to a birthing suit, my backup midwife called and by the time she got there, I was all but pushing to get my baby out.
I get severe pain in my legs and hips from fibromyalgia so sitting on the bed with my legs up was not an option. For almost 7 hours I stood leaning across the bed, my legs like jelly. I was hooked up to monitors because my girl’s heartbeat wasn’t normal, I was panicking and even though I was fully dilated, I was losing too much blood. They clicked on to the fact that somehow a piece of my cervix had been moved so I’d gone a step back and needed to wait until I was fully dilated again until I could push.
My legs gave out not long before my final few pushes. I lay on that bed thinking ‘I can’t do this anymore, I can’t do it’. They’d put a line in incase I needed to have a cesarean and I was starting to think that it would be for the best. But those final few pushes and my baby girl was out. She wasn’t crying, and that scared me. The cord was wrapped around her neck three times. My heart sank. But once it was free and she was placed on my chest, she had the most beautiful wee smile on her face like ‘hi mummy, I’m here’.
I didn’t bond with my baby right away, in fact it took me a few months, dealing with post-natal depression. Everything was too much for me. In my head I kept thinking that if I hadn’t been stuck in hospital for a week before, and if I had more time to go through labor, it would have all been different.
She’s now 7 months old and she is my everything. We take each day as it comes and despite going through a traumatic birth, she may end up with a sibling yet.