Damon's Birth Story
I woke up at 5:30 AM to put our dog outside and suddenly I felt a cramp which I thought was strange. I went to the bathroom a couple of times because I kept feeling the need to go, but then I realized I was having contractions at two-minute intervals. I sat in bed until 7:30 AM and then I woke up my partner Greg and told him I thought I was going into labor. We were both a bit surprised as my due date wasn’t for another 18 days. I rang the hospital and they told us to come in at 10 AM. We rang our families and told them we were going to hospital that morning.
We got to the hospital and my contractions were still two minutes apart but they were much stronger and longer too, but still bearable. The nurse asked if I really was going into labor because I was too calm, and I thought that was funny. At about 11 AM the doctor came in and did an internal exam and told me that I hadn’t dilated at all. That was disappointing and I was worried that I could be there a long time. The doctor told us to walk around the ward and she would check me again in a couple of hours. If nothing had happened then we could go home. We walked a bit and then sat in the TV room and then my contractions started to get painful so I got on my knees and rocked and swayed awhile and then we went back to the room. At about 12 PM the midwife came in and because I was starting to feel quite a bit of pain she offered me some relief. I had two choices, either a pethadine injection or a warm bath with a couple of Panadol. I took the bath but I threw up the Panadol.
While in the bath the contractions got really strong and I started to moan a little and press my back up against the bathtub sides. My show also made an appearance and after about 45 minutes in the bath Greg helped me out and dried me off. At about 1:30 PM, my new midwife and her trainee (who I agreed could be there) arrived. They checked me and found I had gone from zero to eight centimeters in two-and-a-half hours! My mum and my sister came in then and saw me just as I went into transition. I kicked them out but Greg stayed with me, got me water, held my hand, and kept encouraging me.
I used the gas for about 10 minutes but it wasn’t really that helpful for me and it just made my mouth really dry. All I wanted to do throughout the labor was to drink water. After I stopped using the gas I was ready to push. My midwife said I could and asked if there was any particular position I wanted to use. I had gone to prenatal classes and tried positions and I thought all fours was the most comfortable then but first I tried sitting upright against pillows and the midwives would hold my legs when I needed to push. That worked but it was taking a while so I moved to all fours but it turned out not to be comfortable.
For me, the pushing part was actually less painful than the transition contractions and it was quite bearable as pushing eased the pain. I ended up lying on my left side with my right leg up in the air pressing against the midwife’s shoulder. During the pushing part of my labor, which by now had gone on for almost two hours, the midwives would check the baby’s heartbeat with an external monitor and check my blood pressure and both stayed pretty good.
Damon’s head was starting to press out and Greg could see it and he encouraged me to get him out but the baby kept slipping back. We found that his head was actually facing the wrong way. He was coming out occipital-posterior and he had been hitting my cervix at a funny angle for almost two hours and the top of his head was getting very swollen. The midwife asked if it was okay to give me a bit of anesthetic around the opening and I said yes. She also said that I had to get him out soon or she would have to get the doctor in to cut me to help him out.
I really didn’t want to be cut so I got right into it and I gave a couple of almighty pushes that were accompanied by some bloodcurdling screams (but not from pain, from power) that made Greg cry. Finally, out came Damon’s head. I rested a moment and I pushed as the midwife eased out the rest of him. They placed him on my side and he was so slippery I had to hold on so he wouldn’t slide off. I felt great and I felt overwhelming love for my baby and Greg. Greg cut the cord and then they checked Damon and gave him Apgar scores of eight and nine. Damon was born at 4:12 PM and weighed five pounds, ten ounces. He was a lightweight but perfect.
I couldn’t believe I had done it and all without intervention, pain relief, or an epidural (My mum had told me that I would beg for pain relief). I didn’t need cutting and I didn’t tear either. I had a really fantastic birth experience and I think that the most important thing to remember is not to worry and to relax.
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