I awoke on Thursday 8th September with spontaneous release of membranes. My surges didn't start until 1pm though so the hospital said I had prolonged release of membranes (PROM), so the hospital requested I come in for a check over. On arrival they requested to do an internal to determine if it was amniotic fluid I was leaking, which I was happy for them to check. They confirmed that it was indeed and recommended that I receive antibiotics to prevent infection during labour every 4 hours. I politely declined and let the team know about my decision.
The day prior I had an acupressure massage and acupuncture, so surprisingly I dare say this encouraged my body to go into labour which was awesome since by this point I was 41 weeks gestation. Surges started at 1pm, Mitch got home from work about 2:30pm and helped me put on my TENS machine and setup my birth space (loved my TENS machine - helped so much with the strong surges). Mitch also began using some of our accupressure points we had learnt in Hypnobirthing, which also really helped and I lasted at home until about 4:30pm, then Mitch took us into the hospital as the surges were getting a lot stronger and I was feeling less and less in control of my body every time a surge came on - by this point I'm certain she was posterior as the surge pain was mostly in my back and getting quite unbearable.
Got to the hospital and Mitch setup the birth space, kept everything calm / dark and quiet. I did at this point agree to have one cervix exam just to get a baseline of where we were. They checked and I was 3cm, offered for me to go home, I declined as I knew it was gonna stress me out having to leave and then come back when I was in so much pain. Also I had started using the gas by this point and couldn't take that home with me so don't know what they expected me to say knowing that. Also had the obstetrician who was on duty in birth suite had a talk with Mitch using very direct and forceful language, apparently saying things like "so when we use the instruments to help your wife birth we will do an episiotomy". Luckily Mitch had opted to have this conversation with her outside the room as to not stress me out and politely asked her if she'd read our birth plan and if she was aware that none of those things were on there unless our baby was distressed and we needed her out ASAP, which she was not distressed. And then he came back into the room leaving the doctor in the corridor as he was unimpressed with her comments and he didn't want her near me with that kind of negative forceful language. Also luckily she finished her shift not long after this and a new doctor came on. We knew this doctor from a previous encounter in birth suite a few weeks earlier and she was so lovely and supportive. The next few hours rolled on and we did all manner of different positions as well to get her to move down in my pelvis and turn to anterior. At about 10pm I was getting really tired and needed to know if I was progressing, so got another cervix exam and I was 7cm by this stage. Pain was much more intense so I ended up requesting sterile water injections and morphine to help. It didn't really help just made me sleepy so ended up in an upright position in the bed, just so I could rest between surges, which is where I stayed right up until her birth.
So they ended up putting a CTG on me because I was already in the bed for my own comfort, which I didn't mind because Evelyn's heart rate stayed within normal ranges the whole time. There was never any signs of distress at all, I think because I was kept so calm in the birthing process. Also the new doctor that had come on apparently gave Mitch some really good reasons backed up by evidence / research about me getting at least a single dose of intravenous antibiotics for the PROM, so I agreed to get just one dose during labour, trusting the rationale that she'd provided and trusting that Mitch had also agreed it was a good idea.
By this point bub had finally rotated to anterior and the pain improved. That's when the urge to bear down started and I was getting involuntary grunting during surges. By this point it was about 12:30pm and I had started to bear down during contractions, and pushed for about 1 hour, the head would become visible and then go back in. I was breathing the gas through a lot of the surges so the the midwifes took the gas off me to get me to focus (totally fair). As soon as they took it off me I was able to focus on pushing properly and it was so satisfying to get her out. I mean obviously painful but satisfying as every surge I beared down her head came out more and more and never went back in like at the start of the pushing stage.
They were actually awesome too the midwives were so encouraging with my pushing, giving me such positive affirmations everytime I did a surge and also had a mirror and they were doing warm compress on my perineum. I ended up having a 2nd degree natural tear in the end, and the doctor said it was really straight forward and easy to suture. I ended up pushing her out in about 40-60 minutes and she was born at 2:43am.
I pulled her straight up on my chest myself and rubbed her until she took her first breath, it was the most beautiful thing I've ever witnessed in my life. She let out a massive cry and then after a few minutes of skin to skin I got her to breastfeed, she latched so well striaght from birth. I had about 1.5 hours of skin to skin whilst she fed and also whilst I birthed my placenta physiologically, which went well and we kept the umbilical cord attached the whole time until the placenta was birthed and the cord was not pulsating any more.
After my suturing was done I gave Evelyn to Mitch and the midwives and they got a photo of her attached to my placenta with a little love heart shaped cord and then Mitch went over to the resuscitare and helped clean her up and cut the umbilical cord and get her weighed and measured.
Post birth, I also had a small post partum haemorrhage of 700ml so I ended up getting transanamic acid and an oxytocin infusion to slow down the bleeding after birthing was finished, which I was happy to consent to. The hospital also kept us in for 48 hours post birth to check for any signs of infection, due to "inadequate antibiotic cover" - as I had only agreed to have one dose of antibiotics for the PROM - not every 4 hours like their protocol says. I didn't see the point in this. But was happy to stay a bit longer anyways as the midwives were super helpful showing us how to look after bub and whatnot.
Overall I am incredibly happy with how my birth went, the environment felt so calm and loving. I loved that we did Hypnobirthing too; it gave us so many practical tips / pain management strategies and we really just felt more confident, in control and informed in our decision making, it was truly empowering.
Mama Sam and Dad Mitch
Hypnobirthing Practitioner Mother Moon Hypnobirthing