Last Monday I was experiencing sharp stabbing pains in my cervix which didn't feel like period pains - and because we had every reason to believe it could have been an infection Robin and I decided to get it checked out at the hospital. What a MISTAKE.
I saw a midwife in triage who made me feel totally stupid. She was one of those nurses that sort of rolled her eyes at everything I said. Worst of all, she did an internal which left me feeling wholly violated. It felt like she'd thrust her fist up - no warning, no kind words of encouragement, nothing. If I was in pain before this, I was in agony by the time she'd finished.
The long and short of it all is that she told me there was no way of telling if I had an infection or not and that I wasn't in labour. At this point I was only 1cm dilated and the baby's head 2/5 engaged. I cried all the way home in the car, confused as to why I was feeling so much pain, and traumatised by the care I'd received at the hospital I would soon be giving birth in.
To make matters worse, after the internal examination, the pain intensified. By 3pm I was having regular waves of fairly intense pain every 20 minutes or so lasting around 15 seconds each along with a tightening in my upper abdo. But since I 'wasn't in labour' I decided to do some shopping and get a few last minute presents wrapped.
At 11.45 that evening I stood up, felt a pop and a torrent of fluid gushed down between my legs. I kid ye not, it was a torrent. Then I noticed the waters were dark green with flecks of what looked like spinach in it. PANIC! This was, I later learned, the most serious kind of meconium stained amniotic fluid.
Tuesday 12.30am (half past midnight)
Robin and I got to the hospital in double quick time where I was examined and admitted. At half past midnight I was 1cm dilated and feeling a lot of pain.
Seven hours later I was still only 1cm dilated.
Four hours after that I was only 2cm dilated and in a significant amount of pain. So the decision was made to induce labour.
By midday I'd been given an epidural and was hooked up to a Syntocinon drip.
Four hours later (after a nice long snooze) I was 10cm dilated and ready to push.
After only half an hour of pushing, Elliot Broden Huffer arrived. The midwife plonked him straight onto my belly which was truly one of the most amazing moments of my life. And the rest - as they say - is history!
After such a bad start with the midwife from Hell, my labour and Elliot's birth ended up being a wonderful, positive experience. The midwives were friendly and reassuring and gave me all the support I needed and wanted.
It wasn't the 'natural' birth I'd hoped for; I couldn't walk around to alleviate my pain because I was hooked up to a monitor and I couldn't use the birthing pool either. In some respects it feels as though I cheated because I had an epidural and it took away ALL the pain.
After Elliot was born the midwife told me that I'd never actually been in established labour because I'd never gotten beyond 2cm dilated. Whaat? All that pain and I wasn't even in labour???? Boy, do I have a new found respect for women that do it au naturel.
And as for Robin - WOW! There is nothing glamorous about giving birth; it's an undignified, bloody and messy business. Yet Robin (who is squeamish at the best of times) was a tower of strength to me and an absolute gem with his words of gentle encouragement. He didn't cut the cord but he did see the baby's head crown. And the look on his face when he held Elliot for the first time will stay with me until my dying day.
So there we have it. My birth story. The end of one chapter ... and the beginning of a whole new one with my healthy, happy, gorgeous little baby.
Link to photos: http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=169302&id=595396671&l=b8c1bcff1d