4 September 2011
Just after midnight: There was one moment when I was on the table getting prepped for theater and one of the Drs rocked up and started questioning the other one on whether or not this should be the course of action and if every possible thing had been done. I guess hospitals are very wary about delivering babies under a GA (general anesthetic). There is a lot of risk as the GA can affect the baby and it can come out not breathing. Thankfully this didn’t happen with Monkey. He came out crying apparently.
At that moment, when I thought this whole thing might not come off because of another silly Dr who doesn’t have a clue what is going on, I almost burst into tears. I honestly thought they might send me back up to deliver naturally. But then the Dr said “No, this one has had enough. It’s time to take her in.” I could have kissed that Dr.
12:41am Our little monkey is born.
Later in recovery: I remember being woken by the nurses in recovery. “Rachael, Rachael. It’s time to wake up.” The very first thing I say is “How’s my baby?”.
I’m told he is just fine and that Daddy and the midwife will bring him down to see me right away.
I still remember the very first moment I saw him. No, it wasn’t the first moment he arrived on earth. Yes a number of other people got to hold him before I did. But it was still our first moment and I will always treasure that. Yes, it would have been nice if I could have seen him from his first moment on earth. I’m not disputing that. But things were how they were and I don’t regret his birth for a single second. I feel no guilt. We did what we could do with the information that we had and a number of complicating factors and that’s what I mean when I say my birth was different to most. We had some unique circumstances that you simply don’t come across every day that drove us to this rather unique conclusion.
What will I do next time? I’m not sure to be honest. For one, I’ll have an OB. I’ve done a bit of a wrap up below of the things that I think can be taken home from this whole experience. They could be helpful for anyone so if you have a baby on the way and are crazy enough to be reading this story then have a squiz. Best to arm yourself with as much knowledge as possible so when it comes to time for decisions you can make them.
I can say with certainty that it hasn’t put me off having another child. If anything I feel more prepared than ever before. I know what I’m in for and I know some of the things we are up against. And as my mum always says…it’s only temporary. That period of pain and difficulty in bringing a newborn child into this world is only temporary. And then the fun really begins.
The wrap up
What a saga hey? Well I’m going to attempt to wrap this up quickly as if you’ve made it this far then that’s a lot of reading.
I think there are a number of lessons learned from my experience. Here are just a few of them:
- I wish I’d had my mum or a doula there. My partner was there and was great but I think women are better advocators when it comes to birthing. She could have found out more about why the morphine couldn’t be administered, probably would have gotten me being more active and things like that.
- I’m not sure how I feel about the whole thing with the epidural. I know my birthing experience went downhill from there, big time. But at the same time it was useful information to know. It would have been worse if I was being wheeled in for a Caesar only to find that the epidural didn’t work on the table. I shudder to think of what might have taken place.
- A good midwife makes all the difference.
- I should have asked more questions about the water breaking palava although again, with the low water levels I’m not sure I would have made a different decision anyway.
- Continuity of care is important. This is possibly my biggest take home message. Check if your hospital will have a midwife on with you for extended shifts or how much involvement your OB has. Someone needs to be following you most of the way through so they have some sympathy for you if you’ve been at it for 24 hours or more. For my birth I’d deliberately chosen the public hospital system as I had my previous back injury. I figured that it would be the best place to cater to my needs and any possible complications. This isn’t how it worked out. You get a new midwife every 8 hours and Drs are on a similar rotation. Everyone is just reading off notes and so no-one is actually looking at you and feeling that this is too much. It wasn’t until that Dr came on for her second night shift and saw me still there that someone actually felt some alarm in relation to the duration of the whole thing. You want to deliver somewhere that at least has staff on with you for an extended period of time if not the whole process (sometimes the whole process would be unreasonable).
I think I am really really lucky that I am not scarred from this whole experience. I tend to be quite a pragmatic person and I can see that it is what it is and that’s all. It’s one moment in my life with my son. Sometimes I have a slight pang that I didn’t see him the moment he was born but I don’t carry it around with me. I did have trouble bonding with him and some would say that is due to the full on birth. I have another post to write about that but in short, I don’t know that it played such a massive factor. I think, for us, it was simply a matter of personality and getting to know you. I love him always. I’ve loved him from the moment he was an idea in my mind and that never changed – even when bonding was challenging.
Next time I will have an OB and we will have an agreement on how long things can go on for before they intervene and we go down the GA route again. I’m not having things go on and on and on like they did last time. Looking after a newborn after that ordeal was hard. And my milk didn’t come in for about 4 days. Poor kid was starving. But again, that’s another story. I also think that I will have a doula next time. I really think that a great doula can add something wonderful to the birthing experience and can be your ongoing person and staunch advocator. I bet the hospital staff hate having them there bossing them around! Oh well.
For those that stuck with me in this three part series – thank you. I hope you’ve enjoyed my story. Feel free to share yours in the comments below.