Bringing Stella into our World

Bringing Stella into our world (Written by Mum Kate)

It is a Wednesday in May around 4am when I wake up feeling as if I have wet my pants. I get up to go to the toilet and feel more fluid leek out down there. I think nothing much of it until it happens again a couple of hours later. Oh oh, I thought, my waters are leaking. I then checked the notes from my midwives which tell me to to back to bed and rest in the event of waters leaking. I knew my husband and I had an appointment with one of my midwives in the morning, so I tried to get some sleep.

At our appointment I explained what happened during the night and my midwife examined me straight away to see what my cervix is up to. Nothing much it seems…it’s “unfavorable” – a horrible word to describe little dilation and change in how the cervix feels. My midwife then gave me a “membrane sweep” to try and get labour progressing during the day. We make a plan to meet my midwife at the hospital at 8pm should nothing happen during the day because the baby could be at risk of infection due to the waters leaking. My husband and I leave the appointment ever hopeful that a long rigorous walk might bring about labour naturally. However, by 7pm when my midwife rings we tell her nothing much has happened apart from a few period like  pains. So off to hospital we go!

It’s now 8pm and my husband and I have been checked into a birthing suite at the hospital. My midwife arrives and hooks me up to a monitor that gauges my contractions and the baby’s heartbeat. Since the baby could get an infection, I am also given penicillin by UV drip four hourly.
And then we wait…I have a few “tightenings” over the next few hours but nothing close to productive contractions. By midnight I have been examined again by my midwife and a  consultant who decides I should be induced later on after a bit more monitoring. Two doctors on
duty later decide to use the gentler approach of applying a gel to my cervix to get things kicking in the first instance. If this had not achieved anything by 6am I would be given hormones through a drip to get labour progressing. I was scared at this point because my midwife said I
may need an epidural either way because I may be exhausted from the slow progress followed by an intense labour if on the drip. My vision had been to have as natural a birth as possible to make the baby’s transition into our world the best it could be.

So just after midnight my midwife goes home to try and get some rest. My husband is given a lazy boy chair to sleep on and we try to drift off. As my husband sleeps, I begin to feel stronger tightenings that gradually become concentrated down across my pelvis and back. I then spend the next few early hours walking around the room dealing as best I can with these feelings that come in waves, over and over. Meanwhile husband is asleep mostly, snoring to himself! I am happy he is asleep though, because I know I will need him soon in as strong a frame of mind as possible.

At 6am the doctor who induced me comes in to check on me. She examines me and says that my cervix is dilated 3-4cm and we were all go…to make sure she did a “sweep of my membranes”  and said she would get my midwife to go ahead with the drip too.

From 7am onwards things really kicked off. My midwife arrived and was amazed with my progress. She held off setting the drip up and reassured me that I would be able to give birth naturally. Yay!

Now the contractions were getting stronger and stronger and suddenly I felt this extreme pressure to push. It was really hard to control but my midwife said my body was not ready for me to push quite yet. This went on for awhile while my midwife got the “delivery cart” ready. With the pain becoming more intense I was offered gas and air. My husband helped me to concentrate on breathing in the gas with each contraction and then breathing out and resting in-between. I’m not sure whether this actually relieved any pain but it was a good distraction! After what felt like an eternity, I asked my midwife if I could start pushing because the urge was too great for me to control. My midwife said to go for it and so we began the journey of delivering wee Stella. At this stage I continued to use gas and air with my husband helping me along to get me through each surge. Then things appeared to change and Tina suggested I turn on my side as she could feel Stella’s head – she even commented on how much hair the baby had! So I moved onto my side with my husband staying close to me allowing me to grab onto him and sometimes the hospital bedside with each surge. I swear my grip on my husband must have hurt as I still have sore muscles under my armpits from the movement two weeks later.

My progress with getting Stella’s head through my pelvis was tough. My midwife buzzed in the help of two midwives on duty and a consultant also popped by for a look. With my husband still on my left, another midwife beside him holding my leg up, and my midwife with the second midwife at the end of the bed, I had a group chant of “PUSH” going. The encouragement really got me through the uncomfortable pressure on my pelvis and by about 10am, after four massive pushes in a row, Stella’s head had emerged. I was so hot at this point after forgetting to change out of my long sleeve top, but the relief was like nothing else I had felt!

Then there was this strange pause…I missed a contraction and we all waited…then Stella turned round a bit and with one contraction popped out at 10:23am. She was then put  straight onto my chest and the feeling was something I cannot describe in words.

The afterbirth and other procedures were something no one really prepares you for. Whilst feeding Stella for the first time, I was poked and prodded and stitched up (with some good pain relief mind you). There was also some comic relief as the midwives discussed which
parts down there meant to go together – they seemed a little confused! I then gave birth to the placenta – a painless process – and my husband cut the umbilical cord after it had stopped pulsing. Stella was then briefly taken to get checked and my husband and I shared a very special
moment of excitement and relief. At that point I said to my husband, “not sure about number two”…but two weeks to the day and I can honestly say that some of the details are becoming blurry already. Welcoming Stella into the world was much more exhilarating than memories of pain associated with labour and birth.

And that’s our story – we love you Stella xx