The Day Before the Scheduled Medical Induction
My due date had come and gone without a whiff of our baby girl coming any time soon. Adam and I had discussed with the midwife (Rosie) that I wanted to push back my due date as far as I could as I loved the idea that our baby girl would choose her own birth date, she would decide when she was ready to head earth side. Fortunately, our baby girl was healthy and as she was on the small side keeping her in there just that little bit longer wasn’t an issue.
As each day ticked over, 40 weeks and 5 days, 41 weeks and 2 days, my hope for a spontaneous labour looked less and less likely and as I would soon discover would not be part of my birth story. This was my first test of surrendering! Surrendering to a medical induction which was not part of my birth plan and truth be told something I hadn’t even considered during my pregnancy. I had mentally prepared for a possible epidural, c-section but not a medical induction. I had to let go of the idea that I would go into spontaneous labour and trust this was the way my birth story was meant to transpire.
During my 41st week I ramped up operation BRING ON BABY. I did the works acupuncture, sex (so awkward when you have a watermelon bulging out of your stomach) and soft sand walking almost every day. Still NO BABY! On the Friday, the day before my scheduled medical induction I went in for my stretch and sweep. Oh, how naïve I was to think the stretch and sweep would be a walk in the park. I was a sweaty mess after the procedure. A stretch and sweep is exactly that, they stretch your cervix and sweep your membranes. If you haven’t had a stretch and sweep, don’t worry you’re not missing out! It was by far the most uncomfortable experience I’ve ever been through. Unfortunately, the stretch and sweep didn’t progress into spontaneous labour but helped with the medical induction none the less.
It was D-Day or should I say Olive’s soon to be birthday. Not surprisingly, I didn’t get much sleep the night before. Adam and I awoke around 4.30am, showered, dressed, ate breakfast and headed off to the hospital. We arrived around 6am and headed up to the birthing suites at Gold Coast University Hospital. I was anxious, nervous and apprehensive, as I knew with being medically induced the possibility of having an epidural and/or c-section was significantly increased as they’re considered more painful than spontaneous labours. In addition to this they can also stress the baby out, which can in some cases see the baby’s heart rate drop resulting in an emergency c-section.
I had my waters artificially broken at 8.15am, at 9.15am I was hooked up to a drip containing Syntocinon (synthetic oxytocin). My labour had begun! The pain for the first few hours was totally manageable. I even boasted to Adam “Maybe I’ll just be one of those women who breeze through labour”. Again, how naïve I was!
As time ticked away the pain intensified and at around 12pm I began vomiting from the pain of each contraction. After another hour Rosie offered a drug to stop the vomiting, but I liked vomiting (I’m sure Adam would’ve been happy for me to accept the drug, as he was the one holding the vomit bags up to my mouth for me… sorry babe!) as it took my mind off the pain of each contraction, even if only momentarily. Yup, I’m a weirdo!
At 1pm the pain was becoming unbearable, I was having 5 contractions within a 10 minute timeframe. Breathing through each contraction but oh my lordy, at times I was screaming like an exorcist had possessed my body! Cursing countless “fucks” which Rosie so kindly reminded me was the reason I was in this position in the first place. How thoughtful of her!
At 1.15pm, I demanded pain relief, I was feeling so overwhelmed by the intensity of the pain that I needed something now! Like right now! Rosie suggested “Let’s start on sterile water injections and we’ll see if you need anything more after that”. Sterile water injections? What the heck are sterile water injections going to do, I thought? I was thinking give me the EPIDURAL NOW! As I was determined to have a drug free labour I hesitantly obliged. Minutes later, they injected the water into my back which felt like cigarettes were being burnt into my skin. Ouch! Again, I loved the pain it brought because it temporarily took my mind off the pain of the contractions. Seriously, what is wrong with me? To my surprise the injections worked a treat, taking away the intensity of the pain which gave me the second wind I needed to keep going.
I laboured away for another 2 hours, which brought me to 3pm. The pain became overwhelming again so I demanded another round of sterile water injections. Apparently not many women ask for a second round, because the pain of having them injected is too unbearable, but because I’m a weirdo who relished the pain, I went back for more. At this point Rosie also checked how dilated I was which was 4cm, definitely not the news I was hoping to hear! It was going to be a long night… or so I thought.
Throughout the entire process Adam had been by my side, helping me to breathe through each contraction, holding my vomit bags, rubbing my back and just being my moral support. I honestly couldn’t have done it without him. At 3.15pm Adam (I have subsequently found this out) secretly checks with Rosie if he has time to duck out quickly and get some snacks for me. Rosie whispers “sure, I don’t think she’ll birth until 7pm”. Whilst he’s gone I say to Rosie “I think her head is coming down” “There’s a lot of pressure down there” Rosie checks, and says “you’re not going to need any more of those water injections, this baby is coming out now” “feel the head”. Sure enough, there was her head! As soon as I heard those words “this baby is coming out now”. I burst out laughing and said “OMG I’m having a baby” I jumped up onto the hospital bed, draped my arms over the head of the bed and said “Let’s do this!”.
3.30pm Adam returns and I I yell to him, “get in here now, we’re having this baby right now!”. Then the pushing began. Now, pushing a baby out, not even the whole baby, just the head. It feels like your entire pelvis is being pushed open by a gigantic watermelon that has smeared with jellyfish tentacles (because it stings like all hell). Once the head was out, by the next contraction she was here. I kneeled down held Olive in my arms, grabbed Rosie’s arm and said “Thank you” “Thank you so much” with that I began to cry tears of happiness. She was finally here.
Moments after giving birth, Rosie says “Megan turn around and hold Olive in your arms” I did as she said and as I laid on my back I had a blanket covered over the top half of my body. Rosie was holding my uterus in an attempt to stop the bleeding, which I have subsequently been told was spurting metres out of me onto the floor. Not pretty. The other midwife in the room slams the emergency button and within seconds 7 doctors come flooding into the room.
My legs were placed into stirrups. All I could see at this point were my feet which were dripping with blood. I had a needle jabbed into my leg, blood taken from my vein and three women staring at my vagina trying to figure out where this bleeding was coming from. Adam described the birthing room as a war zone, with blood all over the floors, all over my legs, back, stomach and dripping off the hospital bed. At one point my lips turned blue.
I must admit at the time I didn’t completely comprehend the severity of the situation. I was in a bubble of Oxytocin and hadn’t witnessed the amount of blood I had lost. In hindsight, I am grateful for this. Now only after speaking with Adam do I realise how serious the situation was. Adam was beside himself and he tells me that when he asked one of the doctors if I was going to be ok their reply was “We don’t know yet, but we’re doing our best”. Not the response you’re looking for when you think you may lose your partner.
The doctors eventually located the site of the bleeding, I had torn my cervix. What are the chances right?! My midwife had never seen this in 25 years of practice. Once the bleeding was located I was poked, prodded and stitched and after 5 hours a nurse came in to clean me up as I was covered in blood and not allowed to have a shower. I was then dressed and slowly lowered myself into an awaiting wheelchair, finally leaving the birthing room at 10pm, 6 hours after I gave birth to Olive. Nothing could’ve prepared me for the events that transpired that day. My birth story will certainly be one to remember.
In total, I lost 1.5 litres of blood and when you consider the human body carry’s anywhere between 4.7 to 5.5 litres of blood, 1.5 litres is a sizeable chuck to lose. As it turned out I had a 17 minute second stage labour, going from 4cm to 10cm dilation in this time, usually the second stage of labour can take anywhere between 2-4 hours, no one knows if this was the reason for the cervical tear.
As I reflect on my birth story, I’ve come to realise that much like our babies, our birth stories are all unique and different. We can listen to mothers who’ve been there and prepare as much as possible but at the end of the day you’ll never meet someone who has the exact same birth story as you. What a beautiful thing that is, to have your own story to tell that is unique to you in every way.
Whether you birth naturally or have a caesarean, birth drug free or opt for an epidural. Trust that you have the birth your meant to. As I reflect on my birth I would say 80% of my birth didn’t go to plan but what did go to plan was I got to birth my Olive naturally and drug free, it didn’t matter that I had to be induced, it didn’t matter that I suffered a post partum haemorrhage. They all form my birth story and I wouldn’t have it any other way.