27 Oct 2016

I have read thousands of birth stories before I gave birth to my daughter. There was always something frightening and very exciting. I was just ready to experience this moment myself and I think I wondered all my life how it is going to be. Maybe it became a little bit obsessive, but I can tell that all thoughts which came to my mind at the end of pregnancy where great preparation for that big event. I did not know what to expect in Irish hospital and after many stories of Polish friends, who still live in the country, I was scared. I spent some time watching on you tube documents about birth and pretty good series: Midwifes, which was taken in UK. It was just great to see women (mostly!), who are devoted to their job. Such an underrated profession in Poland!
I had a luck also to meet few good midwives, who were very helpful through all my pregnancy. I was perfectly fine for all that time. Even tough I was diagnosed with gestational diabetes and had huge swollen feet, when Irish weather was tropical in summer. But my sweet disease meant my baby could be bigger size then usual or I might have more water. Any of those  could be a reason to induce my labor and bring baby earlier to this world. 
I made a plan. I put all my expectations and suggestions on fancy paper, printed few copies - one for my chart, others just in case. I was sure I did not want any interventions. As much natural labor and delivery as it could be, that was my goal. I kept in my mind that everything might go totally differently, but it was for the most of pregnancy just like a blink. 
Firstly I taught she will be born earlier. My due date was on 22nd of September, but we have heard on antenatal classes we should be prepared from 1st of September and that would be just normal. So we were. My husband picked up my every call with question: "everything ok?". And it always was. 
As a diabetec I had one extra scan just for check of baby size and amount of amniotic fluids. I felt very heavy. Like a  huge ball. I was already on maternity leave and cleaned up our house 10 times. Windows twice. I made a nest and... nothing happened. 

Scan showed baby was in normal size, expected weight should be about 3.6kg (about 7lb), which is just fine and my body should handle that. But I had polyhydramnios - not much, but still I was full of water. Apart of that everything was fine and that was the reason why doctors wanted to treat me as a normal patient. So I had one week. Went for my last yoga class in Harmony Yoga Ireland  with great teacher Gail. I think in this crazy natural induce attempt I ate all the most spices dishes on earth, drunk raspberry leaf tea twice or even more a day, ate pineapple (even I should not) and made love so many times. And nothing. Two days before d-day I had appointment and agreed  for sweep, which was attempted, but did not make any difference. My body and my cervix was ripening quite well and it was just slowly process. Baby was kicking as usual or even more. Hiccups two or three times per day. And I could not believe that any women feel decrease of movement. I felt same, just there was not enough room for all those wriggles. 
Week after I had another appointment. And that was it. I could not be treated anymore as normal, even she was still fine there was a risk, so decision was made - I had to be induced. That meant for me most of my birth plan was pointless. I would not give birth in pool. I would not walk and dance and have a tea during first stage of labor. I will be in hospital. In bed. With monitor. But all what mattered for me - I will be not anymore a ball and will have my baby in arms. 
So let's give a birth next day! 
I packed everything one more time. We went to bed earlier as we should be in hospital at 8 am. But being induced is more about patience. I was not a priority, that is obvious, as anyone else who is in labor is going first. I was monitored on assessment unit twice during that day. And apart of increased -crazy movement of baby, which was odd for midwives, I was just fine. 
We waited all day. It was sunny Wednesday, 20 degrees, great weather like in summer. We were home, waiting most of the time, had a proper lunch and then dinner. I checked my sugars for very last time and about 7 pm I got a call to come to hospital. So we took last photo as a family of two and we were just excited. We were going for magic. To come back as a 3 people.

I had a great room, which was called at that day "express room", as all births went there very fast. But I said to myself I would take time if I would need to. 
About 8 pm doctor broke my water. I hoped I could wait if anything will start naturally, but they decided to give me drip with oxytocin straight away. I just hate hospitals, syringes and tubes in hand. I did not want to feel ill, lying down on bed and being medicalized. Ugh. And they made me so. And I wanted to focus, just focus on that what would be my part and depend on me. 
First contractions came few minutes after introducing a drip. But they were not very painful. I talked with midwife and a student, we went through my birth plan even though it was not adequate to the situation. And I asked. Yes, the pool was available tonight to give a birth. And I was here not there. About 9 pm I felt contractions were pretty stronger. But I also felt I could cope and manage them. My husband was observing monitor which showed the baby's pulse and strength of contractions. Sometimes he knew before me they were coming. And he made a game to distract me and compared all contractions calling which was the top score. I did not bring any music. First I wanted but then I said I would not be able to listen to anything after labor in same way. So they had something on computer - few songs, which I do not remember at all. But it was pleasant to have some background not only a silence. 
The only thing which I could do was jump off the bed and go to birthing ball. I was chained like a cow. And I felt if I would sat on a ball that would speed up labor. And I think it did. Contractions where much stronger and I had impression I was a big toothpaste and something tried to squeeze me along. But that was good pain. More intensive as midwife said, as on drip everything go stronger and faster. It just hurts. Very much, but I tried to focus, to look inside my body and listen to my instinct what to do. So I bended, I waved on the ball according to contractions. I was a contraction. Once at a time. I did not think about the next one or the previous. I focused just on now and here so I jumped into every single moment of that pain and rested for every single break which were becoming shorter and shorter. My husband instead of playing that game as he saw my body is scoring just higher and higher he was just there. Behind me, touching my lower back with his warm hands, bringing me cold wet cloth, glass of water, talking, encouraging, walking to bathroom with me, breathing, stroking, cuddling and holding my hand when I needed. I was a big thought. A huge focus. 
I came back to bed when I had to be examined. I was 70% effaced. I hoped for 6-7 cm but it was just effacement. Long way. But I think I did not wait too long for dilation. At some stage pain was so overwhelming and breaks between contraction were so short I could not think anymore. I went to bathroom and I wanted to quit. Just to go home and came back next day. I even asked myself if I want epidural, but my husband convinced I might try first gas and air. Came back to bed and felt really bad. I took gas and tried to breathe through. I am not good in such things and I felt sick. I was dizzy and my mind was just objecting even gas as not natural remedy. On the other hand I was just tired. It was 11.30 pm and I wanted this baby out. So I agreed that gas will help me relax. So I breathed through it. And after few minutes I found this so enjoyable I could not believe. Literally I just felt high. So nothing bothered me anymore. I was lying, waiting for another contraction and they were just coming. One by one. I hold my husband hand so strong he could not believe I am able to do so. I was 7 cm and it went pretty fast. And after some time of that lethal phase I had to push. I felt such a big urge. But midwife was telling me to stop. My body tried to convinced me just to push. Something was coming. So they decided to examined me again after 20 minutes of previous one. She even did not have to check my cervix. The head was so close they had to rush with lights and all equipment. My husband and the student was asked to hold my legs when I would go through active phase. But they were so shocked of nature's miracle they forgot and I had to look after legs myself. We were nearly there. Somewhere else a baby was crying. For this stage I could not use gas anymore. And we did it without epidural. I was pretty proud of myself and I was so terrified to push a watermelon through my birth canal. It was not easy. It did hurt, but it hurt totally different way than all contractions. It was like a putting fingers in a wand. Or maybe not. Maybe it was just like a fire. We were to far to stop and to close to start properly. And that is what midwife do. She knew I will panic and she knew what to do. And somehow my husband looking at head of our baby knew what I should do. Everyone says pushing is like two steps forward, one back. So I did try my best to bring this head outside and when it did happened I do not know what forces did the rest. Well for sure that was me - pushing, breathing when midwife asked, but I have no idea where they came from. And suddenly she cried. She just did and, I am sorry, all that pain disappeared. All mothers will tell you that, pain was just gone. I felt sore. I felt my tummy was empty. No more kicks. I felt all bloody waters in such amounts I could not believe. I felt pushing placenta. But all of that were like an echo, like a fade background. She was crying. She was all wet, in mucus and blood and I expected it will be kind of disgust, but it was not at all. I fell in love. My husband fell in love. Now we were 3 persons. Me, my man and my little girl. That was all what mattered. It was 1.13am, 29 of September 2016, Thursday. It was windy night and it was raining. I imagined all leaves just started to fall from trees, all orange-brown-greenish, as I found them under my feet on Friday afternoon. Early autumn. My beloved season brought by my baby. 

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