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Molly’s birth (Part 2 – the actual birth)

Posted on: March 22, 2011

This is Molly’s birth story, continued on from here.

I didn’t sleep much on the night before Molly’s birth. I was feeling too miserable. I made up my mind not to go through with things in the morning until I had spoken to an obstetrician and confirmed that this was definitely the right thing to do. It sure didn’t feel like the right thing to do. It felt like I was about to allow my perfectly healthy baby to be taken from my body way before she was ready. I could have justified it more easily had I felt that I was so unwell I couldn’t continue the pregnancy. But I didn’t feel unwell at all. Looking back, I think this has been the hardest thing to accept: that my body was failing Molly, and she was the one who was going to suffer most for it, not me.

In the morning, a nurse came to take us down to the delivery suite. She looked at my belly and asked, very concerned, how far along I was. When my reply was 31 weeks she said, “Oh, that’s okay then, I thought your notes said 37 weeks.” When we looked doubtfully at her for calling this a good thing, she explained that my baby, being perfectly healthy and a good size for her gestation, was in a much better position than would a 37-weeker of the same size, because a 37-weeker that small would probably have something seriously wrong with it. Hopefully, our baby would only need to grow and learn to feed. This gave us a bit of perspective, but it wasn’t enough to make us feel better.

When we met our midwife, I immediately told her that I wanted to talk to the doctors again before going ahead. She replied that we had to wait anyway, as there were still some blood test results pending, which would confirm our course of action. She set about getting the preparation underway, all the same. I was cannulated, given IV antibiotics (for GBS), and hooked up to foetal monitors. When the doctor finally came, my last hopes were dashed. She came to confirm that my platelet count was normal, and we could continue with the induction instead of a caesarian. What??? Nobody had bothered to mention that I was under consideration for a caesar. I had assumed they were checking to see whether the medication I was on was working, which I hoped might mean we could delay the induction and wait and see how things went for at least a few more days. However, they were doing nothing of the sort – the blood test they were referring to was to rule out a much more serious problem, called HELLP syndrome, which is potentially life-threatening. The reason they were checking for this was that my liver enzymes were much higher than what would normally be seen with OC. Sadly, even though HELLP syndrome was ruled out, there was still no going back for me or my poor bub, it just meant that we could try for a vaginal birth rather than a caesarian.

 Once underway, Molly’s induction was much the same as Tiernan’s, only much, much quicker. The midwife attempted to break my waters, but couldn’t. She tried for at least ten minutes before having to find an obstetrician to come and have a go. It’s really not the most pleasant procedure at the best of times, and it was terrible to have it dragged out this way. Molly really, really wasn’t ready to come out!

Finally, the membranes burst and the Syntocinon drip was started at about 9:30am. We waited, terrified, for the contractions to start. We weren’t terrified of the labour, as we had a fairly good idea of how that would go, but we had no idea what our baby was going to look like at the end of it, or whether she would be okay (we didn’t actually know the sex but it’s easier to just say ‘she’!) Natalie, our midwife, made us feel a little better by saying that she had delivered a 31-weeker only a few days earlier, and this baby was doing well. It had even come out crying, which was a great sign.I tried to relax, but I just felt sick to my stomach about what we were doing. Forcing my baby out like this was all wrong.

Meanwhile, the Syntocinon was doing its job and I was starting to feel period-like cramps. These became stronger and more regular as the labour progressed. I started to think about pain relief (not because I needed it yet, but because I thought I’d better at least have a plan in my head!), and realised I was very much against having an epidural this time. I knew that our baby would be taken away from us to be stabilised in the NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit) as soon as she was born, and I wanted to be able to follow as quickly as possible, without having to wait to be able to use my legs again.

As with Tiernan’s birth, the Syntocinon drip was turned up every half-hour, until the labour was established (three strong contractions in every ten minutes). And, as with Tiernan’s birth, I was coping fine, until I suddenly wasn’t! Natalie had told me to let her know when I felt the urge to push, as this would be her cue to call in the paediatric team, who would take care of the baby once she was born. Having not felt the urge to push with Tiernan (I was under an epidural before I got that far), I wasn’t sure, but tentatively announced that I thought I would need to push soon. Ish. By the next contraction I was quite sure. Natalie did an internal (flat on my back again – agony!) and said that I was only 6cm dilated, so it wasn’t time yet, but she thought it wouldn’t be long. She suggested I try the gas and air to get me through the next few contractions. After setting me up with the gas, Natalie turned to fill out some paperwork, but before she had gone two steps I was screaming and writhing in pain. The baby was coming, right now! The pain was so sudden and so intense that I started to panic, hyperventilating and bellowing the house down. I think I scared Natalie, too. She called the paeds, and then had to work hard to try and calm me down, repeating my name, over and over, until I listened to her and started to breath properly with the gas. It didn’t do much for the pain, but it did give me something to focus on. Once again, due to the Syntocinon, the contractions I experienced were so intense that I had no control over my body. Rather than pushing Molly out, I felt that she was forcibly expelled by the drug. I later found out that the whole birth lasted an hour and twenty minutes, with a ‘pushing stage’ of only four minutes!

Our beautiful, tiny, baby was born at 12:50pm, weighing only 1700g (or a little over three pounds). Natalie held her up to me, very briefly, so I could give her a kiss and see that she was, in fact, a girl. I had only a moment to take in her tiny form. I remember thinking that she actually looked quite good – like a ‘real’ baby, but much smaller. She had good colour (well, a bit blue, but her skin was pinkish and not translucent as I had been half expecting). And, she was crying! My brave little girl was crying as loud as she could (which wasn’t very loud at all), letting us know that she was okay, but rather cranky at being out here so soon. I breathed a huge sigh of relief.

All too soon, Molly was whisked away, and I had to get down to the business of birthing the placenta. Without a baby in my arms to distract me, this seemed to take much longer than it had the first time around. I didn’t need any stitches this time. I was so pleased to be able to jump (well, maybe not jump, but hobble), into the shower straight away to get cleaned up. We were then taken to my room on the maternity ward, where we nervously waited to be allowed to see our little girl in the NICU…

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2 Responses to "Molly’s birth (Part 2 – the actual birth)"

[…] This is the story of Molly’s birth, continued on from here. […]

[…] hope it’s not too wordy for you. Skip this one if you like! This story continues on from Parts 1, 2 and […]

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