For those of you who like the in and outs of birth stories here is Caleb's (born June 11th 2005).
If you read my blog you'll know that after the midwife came to give me a sweep on Friday afternoon my up-til-then ignorable and irregular contractions became a little more meaningful and they continued to do so all afternoon and evening. I stayed up until about 2am waiting for them to kick in to real labour, but then gave up and decided to go to bed. The irregular contractions continued, and they were enough to disturb me every 10-20 minutes from my sleep, until at 4.38am I had a big one that made me think I might have to call the m/w soon. At 4.48 (exactly 10 minutes later) I had another big one and a 'feeling' that felt like the baby's head dropping into my pelvis (although I was lying down) accompanied by a 'pop' - and yes, you guessed it, my waters were gone! Now, you must understand that for me this was highly unusual. For the last 5 births my waters have gone around the 6cm mark when I have been in well established labour, and for the last 4 births the baby has been in my arms within 20 minutes! So, as you can imagine I was a little paniced. I gave Paul a sharp nudge and told him to call the midwife and tell her to be quick!
10 minutes later I had two midwives here, but my contractions were not coming fast and furiously like I had anticipated they would, but on the contrary, they were short and sharp and only about every 5 minutes. I was a bit thrown to be honest and when the midwives asked me whether I thought they should stay or not I really did not know what to say. I did explain that this was quite different to my other labours and that I was a bit thrown by the fact my waters had gone so early. They decided to wait an hour and see how I went. One of the m/w examined me and said I was only about 2-3 cms, but that I easily stretched to a good 4cms. My thinking went along the lines of ; "well I would, being that this was my 6th baby and really that is not very relevant to much at all. I dilate fast once I get going and this is likely to set things ticking a bit faster." I told them I thought the examination would trigger things a bit and I was right :)
A little while later my contractions were stronger, but not much longer (thankfully) and I could tell that baby was beginning to push his way through. I tried to describe everything I was feeling to the midwives so that they too would some idea of where I was at. They were quite impressed I think, with how 'graphic' I was able to be - I always have been able to 'visualise' the process and as they seemed so unsure of what to do (i.e. whether to stay or not)I wanted them to too!!
By 7.30am I was beginning to push a little and at one point had a fantastic contraction that felt like - given another couple like that - I would have the baby in my arms in no time. I told the m/w what I was thinking and she prepared to catch. But unfortunatly I had to wait a while for the next contraction and when it came it wasn't so good, so Caleb crept back a little. Then for some reason I had to wait what seemed like ages again (although was probably only a couple of minutes) for the contractions to become more effective again and I fought off the odd few because I was experiencing excruciating pain in my inner-hip-sockets (best way to describe it) which was really distracting me from the job in hand! By quarter to 8 I had four midwives in the room - two going off duty and two taking over (it's also worth noting here that also in the room were 3 of my children and Paul, so 9 of us in all - quite a party!!). I think the two midwives going off were slightly disappointed not to catch the baby, but also glad, as they still had to go back to the hospital to write up a birth from earlier in the evening and at least my not having given birh yet saved them having to write up two!! The midwife taking over was one I knew from clinic, which was nice, and she was very good. Because of the pain in my hips she suggested I try standing down on the floor and sitting on Paul's lap, so that he could support me (up to this point I was leaning over my giant exercise ball, kind of semi-squatting on all fours). I liked the idea, but then when I tried it I hated it. I seemed to 'lose touch' with myself very quickly and within two pains I was back on the bed, but this time very much more squatting - right back on my haunches and pushing hard!! C. (m/w) decided to quickly 'see' where I was at and told me I was only 8cms and needed a few more contractions - "just get through them as best as you can." Me being me - I thought "tosh!" and pushed anyway! Next contraction the head crowned (with me still sat right back on my haunches despite C's requests for me to try an lean over a little - I don't think she could see a thing poor woman!) and then within seconds I had a baby laying on the bed behind me - at 8am exactly! C. passed him through, but I found that I was crying (my hips really had hurt Soooo much) and I wasn't quite ready to receive him. I did take him, but it took me a minute or two to gather my senses enough to adore him. C. said to me; "You weren't having any of that 8cms business were you?! You just pushed straight through it!!" - "Absolutely" was my reply; "I knew I could with it being number six and that's what I think I've done every time so far anyway!!"
To be honest, this time I think the pain in my hips far out weighed the actual pain of the birth itself. Perhaps I am just so 'used' to giving birth now and know so well what to expect that I actually don't consider that to be too painful anymore. But the agony in my hips was almost unbearable, to the point that at times I really did not know what to do with myself. The only slight relief I could get from it was to crouch well back and dig my hands into my inner hips. If I ever get pregnant again (which is not completely beyond a possibility ;) !) I just pray I don't get that hip pain again. The birth itself I can handle!
Joel, Abbie and Phoebe saw the whole thing :) Abbie thinks it was funny, Joel is completely fascinated by the whole process and Phoebe is a cool cucumber who has said little about it all, but seems completely unphased! Jacob decided he didn't want to watch ("too much mess and blood!", but he was about and came in the room shortly after Caleb made his entrance to meet him. Ellie slept until about 8.10, which was perfect and when Daddy brought her into our room I was sat on a potty holding Caleb to my breast, waiting for the placenta to come. The other children were oggling him and the two midwives were gloved and 'meddling'. She was a bit bemused to say the least. Not the usual scene in our room when she wakes up! But it didn't take her long to spot the new baby and she seems to have managed to put two and two together quite well (no more patting my belly saying "'baby").