I had a really great pregnancy, but the week before my due date, my blood pressure rose. My obstetrician told me to check into hospital on the Tuesday night coming, and he would induce me the next day. My husband and I decided to have a final "last restaurant meal", and went to our favourite Italian. We hadn't been there in ages, and when I waddled in, the owner asked me when the baby was due. When I told him we were on our way to the hospital that night, he thought I was in labour and almost fainted!! he colour returned to his face when we explained properly...
Anyway, after a fabulous meal, we headed to the hospital and "checked in". At midnight, a midwife came in to apply a gel to start things happening.
I barely slept all night partly in excitement and anticipation of what was to come, but more because my darling husband, who was sharing the double bed with me, had had a few wines with dinner, and was happily snoring away!
Anyway, after breakfast my ob took me into a delivery room and broke my waters. We then sat back and waited for things to happen. And waited. And waited. I had a monitor strapped to my belly to check baby's heartbeat and my contractions. Midwife came in at lunchtime and asked how things were going and if my contractions were getting stronger. I told her they weren't, but that I was getting severe stomach pains (like I had eaten something bad), and that the were at the top of my belly. She looked at me like I was a half-breed idiot, and told me that they were contractions!!!(I humbly tried to tell her that I had expected to feel them in lower, or in my back. (So for all of you reading this who may have been told something similar, be more wise than me; they can be ANYPLACE!!!!)
Well, from that moment, things started to happen really quickly, and the afternoon raced by in a blur. At some stage I asked for gas and I got it. Bliss. I moved into a spa bath - bliss. I got out of the bath and onto a bed, then back into the bath. When things started to intensify around Pam, I begged for an epidural. I was moved back to the bed and was on all fours. The midwife started massaging my lower back and it was just divine, and I remember thinking, gee; this is really sweet of her, and sooo nice!!(I later learned that my baby was lying in a position which meant an epidural could not be given, so she was trying to manipulate her around).
Anyway, by the time my fabulous massage was over, it was too late - I was fully dilated and it was time to start pushing! That was at 5pm
I couldn't get comfortable on the bed, and felt like I was going to fall off, so I went to the birthing pool. (John Flynn hospital on the Gold Coast has regular size spas, and a massive birthing pool about the size of a kiddie wading pool. I will say here that all during my pregnancy the idea of a water birth seemed way too alternative for conservative little me, and the idea of "swimming around in my own gunk" was off putting, but the actual process of it was completely different).
Anyway, I stepped in sat in the pool with my darling hubby supporting me from behind. My midwife had called my obstetrician while I was being relocated to the pool, and in he breezed,cheery as anything and started putting on gumboots, a plastic apron and gloves which reached his armpits. Alarm bells started ringing, and for all you "A Country Practice"fans, I had sudden recall of the time Brendan and Molly helped one of their cows deliver a calf! At this point I was thinking "Holy hell - how far is he going to go in to do the internal??!!". (I later learned that the gumboots, apron and to-the-armpit-gloves are so he doesn't get his designer threads wet and gunky!!)
So, kneeling beside the pool with the midwife next to him offering words of encouragement, I pushed as hard as I could. Between contractions, I starfished in the pool which was excellent because I felt weightless and had no pressure on any part of me. (apparently in the afternoon when I had done this a few times in the spa bath I had actually fallen asleep between contractions!)When I had delivered the head, my best friend who is a nurse and had been with us for most of the afternoon, told me she could see the head, and that the baby's eyes were open. With the next contraction I delivered the shoulders, and then baby Madison just slid right out. The obstetrician caught her and brought her up to my chest. Maddie was very alert and looking around at her new world and didn't cry at all. We stayed in the pool for a few minutes, then moved to the bed to deliver the placenta. I also had ot have 3 minor stitches, which have healed quite nicely.
Good luck ladies (and expectant Dad's too!) and try to remember this useful piece of advice my mother gave me; labour will be as painful as you expect it to be..... I went in expecting it to feel like doing a massively difficult poo, and that is exactly what it was like, only with an infinitely more beautiful outcome.
BTW - My obstetrician is about to release a DVD about waterbirth (has facts and medical info, live footage of an actual birth, as well as a forum group of Mums (and one Dad) discussing their waterbirth experiences. I am in it too - I am the one in the group nursing a gorgeous baby girl!!) So, if my experience sounds like something you may like, contact John Flynn Hospital for details.
Qld, mum to Madison, born 25/5/05