Tahlia was our first baby. A very much wanted and waited for baby.
We had been trying for 2 and a half years to get pregnant, and I had completely given up hope, we were waiting to see the fertility specialists.
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I was charting my cycles but when my period didn’t turn up I just presumed it was yet another an-ovulatory cycle that I had miss-interpreted, and was waiting for my cycle to start to try next month.
However, at my brother in law’s 21st dinner I discovered all the alcohol smelt like cigarettes (yuck!) and I got suspicious. I did a test the next morning and when one line came up straight away I figured it was the ‘control’ line and I was getting excited about a very faint pink line forming next to it.
It wasn’t until a few seconds later that I realised the first and strongest line was the test line, I was very definitely pregnant!! I laughed out loud like an excited child, I truly couldn’t believe it! I told Matthew (husband) and Azaria (bff) straight away.
During the pregnancy I put on quite a lot of weight, and had lots of swelling and terrible hip nerve pain. I was later diagnosed with SPD and pre-eclampsia. The SPD needed physio and I finished up at work at 36 weeks. The pre-eclampsia was monitored very closely.
On the morning of the Sunday 8th of February 2009 I woke terribly hot (it was very hot and muggy outside as it was mid-Summer) and my hands, which were usually puffy, were huge and I had a screaming headache.
I rang Mary (midwife) and she said to gather our things together and meet her at the hospital at 11am.
When we arrived Mary checked my blood pressure, it was 165/105! because I was 38 weeks to the day and so unwell they decided to try an induction.
I was hooked up to a fetal monitor and a IV line (a huge one) was put in my arm after a couple of tries. Mary did an internal exam and found I was already 3cm dilated so she tried a stretch and sweep, which hurt like bejeebers!
Then she went to get some prostaglandin gel. After lying down for two hours with the gel Mary suggested I try the bath, as relaxing often helps the labor start.
I floated around in the tub for about an hour; I didn’t really feel anything until I stood up to get out and realized I was having some contractions.
Back to our room we went to be hooked back up to the monitor, yup sure enough they were contractions, now I could see them on the printout. Another internal revealed I was now 5cm but “not progressing fast enough” (they wanted to avoid me having seizures).
So I was hooked up to pitocin/cyntocin. Mary suggested I get an epidural, as they usually have them with pitocin/cyntocin and it would help lower my blood pressure, and asked me what I think. My reply was, “I don’t know, I’ve never done this before, if you think its necessary then yes, I will have one”.
By the time the anaesthetist came my contractions were coming hard and fast, and to keep them from overwhelming me I had shut my eyes, I don’t think I opened the again until she was born. I was kicking my legs to try and dull the pain.
They tried 3 times over the course of 2 hours to make an epidural work for me, but to me it felt like maybe 20 minutes. The wonderful magic of labor land time!
I was sick of them asking me if I could “feel the ice” and trying to hold still while they tried again and again in my spine. I felt like yelling for them to just leave me alone. Finally I said to Mary (remarkably calmly) not to worry about the epidural, I was fine without it.
Somewhere amongst this all they had to switch to a scalp electrode on my baby as I was moving around too much, the upside to this was I wasn’t confined to lying down any more so I got straight up onto my knees, much, much, MUCH better!
I rocked and moaned and went deep down inside myself, where no one would find me. I remember the anaesthetist saying to Mary, “Do you think she’s in transition?”
Mary said to me, “Do you think you need to push?” I responded with, “I dunno, I feel like I need to pooh?” Mary said “oh good, push” so I did.
Lots and hard.
The ring of fire really is an understatement, and I felt like I was actually splitting in two. Then I hear Mary say quite clearly, ‘Matthew push that red button 3 times will you? and Dana I need you to roll on your back, her shoulder is stuck’.
Gosh talk about panic, Matthew had no idea which red button, and didn’t click the significance of it, me, as a nurse, panicked a little and went from all fours to plonking on my back very quickly, I covered poor Mary with birthing goo in the process and felt an almighty click in my tail bone (which I later discovered was it re-breaking from when I injured it previously, and I got a bowel abscess/haematoma from the pressure).
Tahlia slid out with the change of position and she let rip an almighty wail. Matthew was called round to cut the cord (apparently he had been up my head end the whole time) she was then popped straight on my chest for cuddles.
It was 12:05 am, Uncle Pete’s birthday! More pitocin/cyntocin to deliver the placenta, which was ‘helped along’ by Mary. I had gone into shock, and was shaking all over, Mary covered me and baby in warm blankets and went off to find a doctor to stitch my ‘very extensive 2nd degree tear’ that I was ‘bleeding a lot from’.
While I was being stitched up (high as a kite on laughing gas) which took over an hour, baby girl was wiped clean and weighed and measured.
Then she was checked over then snuggled up and given to daddy. Once the stitches were finished Tahlia had her first feed and decent cuddle with me. After a while I got up for a shower which was bliss, then we started to move down to our post natal room, I almost passed out so Mary wheeled me down in a chair.
Other than being terribly sore in the nether regions from the stitches, the damaged bowel and the broken tail bone, I was as happy as can be.
I stared at Tahlia for ages, I think I managed to sleep for about an hour before breakfast arrived. I had done it! I was a mummy!
And though not entirely drug free, I had no effective pain relief, and a practically natural birth, all things considered. I had to stay in hospital for 3 days to monitor my blood pressure, which had gone from very high right down to 80/40 with blood loss which made me very fainty!
We got home on the 3rd day, and Tahlia was just starting to get hungry – it turns out she had gotten all the opiates that I wasn’t getting via the epidural.
She didn’t open her eyes for 48 hours. We were up all night trying to settle and feed her, and it was quite apparent to me that I didn’t have enough/any milk (my mother also had this problem).
Tahlia got more and more agitated and more and more jaundice. We took her back to the hospital after less than 24 hours of having her home. Her billiruben test came back off the chart, and her other blood work showed severe dehydration.
She had to go under the lights for 5 days, and I started taking herbs and medication to bring through a milk supply. I worked intensively with the lactation consultants to learn to express too increase supply and how to supplementary feed with a SNS system. Best invention ever!
After 4 weeks of hard work we managed to ditch the SNS and exclusively breastfeed. Tahlia continued to thrive and is the light of my life.