Hannah shares the birth story of little Zoey. After her waters broke unexpectedly, she used one of our TENS machines to get her through a long night of stop and start labour.
On Friday 24th May 2019 I hopped out of bed at 8:30am and my waters broke. I definitely was not expecting this to happen. I always thought I’d have some contractions first and that my waters would break during labour. I rang my midwife and she advised that we come in to hospital to just check my fluid and that baby was fine.
Dean came home from work and we headed to hospital at 9:30am. We arrived and I was hooked up to fetal monitoring for 1 hour. At this stage I was still leaking clear fluid pretty regularly. The midwife didn’t need to do an internal due to fact it was pretty obvious that my waters had broke.
After fetal monitoring was done and deemed all normal we headed back home. We were given a little chart to fill out during the next 24 hours. The chart just got us to record my fluid loss, temperature and baby’s movements.
Friday night was not a good night. I started to have irregular period pains from late afternoon. I watched a few movies and tried to relax. During the night the pains intensified a bit - I popped my TENS machine on to help distract me. The TENS machine gave me something to do and was a great distraction. At one stage I took it off just to see the difference without it and immediately regretted taking it off! I felt such a difference with the TENS machine on, so I quickly put it back on. I loved the feeling of the vibrations on my back.
I probably only got 2-3 hours of sleep Friday night. I was disappointed that nothing escalated. By morning my ‘contractions’ were so mild again. Just felt like little twinges or period pain occasionally.
At 9am the next day we went to hospital as per instructions just to check fluids and baby again. I still had my TENS machine on and as we waited to be seen by a midwife I paced the hospital hallway with my headphones in and TENS machine doing its good vibrations at each twinge.
We were taken through and hooked up to fetal monitoring again as per hospital protocol.
After an hour or so of fetal monitoring it was deemed that baby was not moving as often and as normal as the midwives / obstetricians would have liked. Her heart rate was normal. At this stage (11am) I was very much over everything. I was still having irregular period type pains which were more annoying than painful. The obstetrician came and had a chat to us and advised that we should probably give birth that day given baby’s decreased movements. I was happy with this decision due to fact I was tired, over it and mentally exhausted. At this stage I was wanting an epidural - all my desires and plans for a natural birth had somehow gone out of my mind.
We were moved to a birth suite at 11am. I had an internal examination which showed I was 4cm dilated. The midwife that did the examination also did a stretch and sweep. At 12:30pm I was hooked up to a mobile drip with some oxytocin. The midwives advised me the oxytocin would just be put in slowly as to not be too intense (this was the induction).
We put our birth playlist on and I spent time just pacing the room and leaning on the bath and rocking. I remember standing in Dean’s arms and just thinking ‘I cannot do this’. Sally (my student midwife) asked if I wanted to get in the shower. I said yes and Dean and I hopped in the shower. At this stage I took the TENS machine off because you can’t take it in water. I had fetal monitoring attached to me (I think because baby had shown low movements previously so they wanted to monitor heart rate continuously). They had a lot of trouble with the fetal heart monitor in the shower. It kept slipping off. I was probably in the shower for 45 minutes or so. Sally and another midwife advised that they needed to monitor baby’s heart rate better so they decided it was best to attach a monitor to baby’s head. I was happy with this. At this time they also checked how dilated I was. At this stage i was 6cm dilated - It was roughly 3pm. Hearing that I was 6cm was not the greatest - I really felt I couldn’t keep going.
At this stage a midwife named Vikki swapped shifts with the midwife that was there. So it was myself, Dean, Vikki and Sally in the room. Vikki was amazing! As soon as she came in she said to me lets get you on all fours on the bed and she started moving my legs and back around to help move baby down. She applied pressure to my back which felt amazing. I think she then showed Dean how to do this.
I remember being on the bed and looking over at Sally and said I needed pain relief. She asked me if i wanted to try the gas. I said yes and she started to hook that up. I was so happy with this decision. The gas was amazing!!! My first contraction with the gas was great! I felt like I was there but also watching myself from above. I remember still making noises with each contraction because they were painful however I was coping so much better and started to think perhaps I can do this. Time felt really weird on the gas. I felt like time went so quickly. A couple of hours of labour felt like 10 minutes.
I loved the gas so much they struggled to take it off me :) I remember holding onto the tube with my teeth when they suggested I take a break from it. I remember telling people I loved them and telling Vikki that she was amazing. The gas made me relaxed and confident.
I remember hearing the midwives say that I had progressed well. Before I knew it I heard someone say that I was fully dilated ! Woohoo !
It took a while to work out how I was meant to push. To me it felt like 10 minutes of pushing however Sally tells me I pushed for close to 1 hour. I could hear Sally’s voice telling me what to do and when to push and how far to push. I eventually stopped taking the gas to concentrate on pushing. Pushing didn’t hurt as much as I thought. It felt like a lot of pressure and I was pushing something out of my butt. To me it felt like baby’s head was almost out however as i kept pushing with each contraction it got more intense and I realised she still had a little bit to go.
Sally asked if I wanted to feel her head at one stage and I said no because I was worried I would only feel a small part of her head and feel deflated that I still had a lot of head to push out.
I remember feeling the burning feeling as her head came out and someone said her head was out. When I heard that it was so amazing! I had almost got there! One more push and I felt her shoulders and slippery body come out. I was on all fours on the bed and a midwife said “pull her through to you!” I looked down and there was this little white slimy person. My mind was just blown! I reached down to get her but couldn’t quite work out how to lift her up so everyone helped me roll into my back and they laid her on my chest. Her eyes were amazing! She looked at me and i just cant describe the feelings! I had done it !!!!!! I felt like super woman. Dean was right there and I remember looking at him and back at her just in disbelief. They checked she was definitely a girl - even though I felt like I didn’t even care what she was. I remember a midwife saying she had never seen someone look so happy - I must of had the biggest smile on my face. She was born at 5:51pm.Dean cut the cord once it stopped pulsing. So surreal.
Zoey laid on my tummy for the next 2-3 hours while the midwives removed placenta (I had the injection to help remove it) and I was stitched up by the obstetrician - I had a bit of a tear. My placenta was intact which was great. My placenta delivery really didn’t bother me. It just felt weird - not painful.
When the Ob was first examining my tear she noticed there was some blood / clots still inside my uterus. Some midwives applied pressure to my stomach and i felt large clots fall out of me - felt like large slugs falling out haha. All up I lost about 1 litre of blood. I never felt scared during this time. I had the obstetrician there and a great team of midwives and I still had Zoey on my chest the whole time.
Zoey did her little breast crawl and she had a little feed. After this Dean got to hold her. She was then weighed and examined, passing all her tests well :) She was dressed and wrapped and fell asleep in Dean’s arms.
It was later that night they decided I needed a blood transfusion. I remember looking in the mirror and seeing how pale I was. So thankful that a midwife decided to check my haemoglobin (it was 124 when I arrived at hospital and had gone down to 85 post birth).
All in all birth was intense but the most amazing thing ever. The next day I remember saying never again but right now i think i could do it all over again :)
Throughout the entire birth Dean kept telling me I could do it. He was amazing. I had the best little team in Dean, Sally and Vikki.