The surprise that was Ayla...
Posted 09 January 2013 - 07:58 PM
The first two trimesters were fairly cruisy with no morning sickness and not even the insane tiredness. There was some “hangover” type days but nothing really to complain about. It was all fairly textbook and similar to my pregnancy with Lucas. I had been convinced for a long time that I would one day have a boy and then a girl (wishful thinking more than anything I’m sure) and I had a gut feeling this baby was going to be a girl. I didn’t have any crazy cravings but I did eat a lot of salad, fresh fruit and chocolate. Sweet was definitely my thing although the same could be said about my daily pink donut breakfast that I ate while pregnant with Lucas.
Due to previous issues with my cervix and the Ashermans Syndrome I was due to have regular scans done at the hospital including one at 17 weeks. Dom and I discussed finding out the gender and decided we’d have it written down and then think about whether to open it. During the scan the baby wasn’t co-operating but finally the sonographer announced “Aha – gotcha!”. She did clarify that she wasn’t 100% certain but that she’d finally got a clear (albeit short) look between the legs. I skipped out of the hospital on cloud 9, our baby was perfect, my cervix was holding well and I was about to find out we were having a baby girl. We got back to the car and I said to Dom, “I have to open the envelope, I literally can’t wait a moment longer”. Dom let me do the honours. I looked down at the paper in my hand and couldn’t quite take it in. “BOY” was very clearly staring me back in my face. I felt a bit dazed, I started to cry. It wasn’t that I didn’t want another boy, it was just that I had been so sure it was a girl and I felt like I’d lost a little piece of me. Dom held me and let me have my little cry that evening. While still not 100% accepting of the news, by the next day I felt ready to embrace my second son so I did what all sane women do and went shopping for baby boy clothes. This helped me bond with my boy and while I came to be excited about the news, I decided not to have the gender confirmed at any of the following scans. Not completely logical but I wanted to hang onto that tiny piece of hope that was hanging on the sonographers words “not 100% sure”.
The next few months sped by and despite getting hit by morning sickness in the 3rd trimester (would wake around 3am to vomit each day) I remained fairly symptomless. Yes, pregnancy is not really my “thing” but it was a much easier pregnancy than with Lucas. I attribute most of this to being pregnant over winter / spring rather than spring / summer though.
From about 34 weeks I started to be on high alert for any signs of labour. Lucas had arrived, without warning, at 35+5 when my waters broke and I was told there was a very good chance I would go early again. I was quite relieved that I was probably going to go early as I was consistently told that the baby was “very big” (around 80-90th percentiles and measuring up to 2 weeks ahead) and was also posterior. This time around I got organised early, I installed the car seats, bought what I needed to and then not so patiently waited for this baby to arrive. I had a lot of Braxton hicks and a lot of period type pre-labour pain but no baby. Each day felt a little bit longer and very slowly the weeks started to tick by. I finished work at 38 weeks, a day I never actually envisaged I’d make it to, and a few days later I woke to vomiting, diarrhoea and contractions 7 minutes apart. I continued on this vomiting warpath for the next 6 hours or so, unable to keep even a mouthful of water down. The contractions stayed at 7 minutes and never ramped up. I ended up calling Dom home from work and rang the hospital who told me to come in. So in I went, horrendously ill but excited at the thought of bringing my boy home. Unfortunately it turned out I just had a nasty bout of gastro and the vomiting had stimulated my uterus to the point of early labour. With some anti-nausea meds and a few bags of fluid, the contractions died down and I was able to go back home to rest. While I didn’t really want to have a baby in that state, it was still disappointing to have thought I was heading to the hospital to have a baby and to be coming home without one.
That week I decided it was time to start gently encouraging this baby out of me. I had a stretch and sweep done at 38+5 where I was told I was about 2cms dilated and 50% effaced. The midwife assured me it wouldn’t be too much longer before I had a baby in my arms. That week I also tried reflexology, acupuncture, acupressure, sex, bouncing on a fitball for at least an hour a day, ate pineapple and curries, and went for long walks. At the next week’s midwife appointment, disappointingly there was no change internally and so I had my 2nd stretch and sweep. Again, I was told that everything was very favourable and ripe and that I would probably have a baby in the next day or so. I kept up with most of the old wives tales that week and also mowed the lawn and added fenugreek to the list of evacuation attempts. By this point I seriously felt about a month overdue. A week later, still no sign of any baby, no change internally and I was back at the hospital officially overdue.
Monday 10th December 2012
An appointment was held with the registrar to start talking induction. My due date (in line with OPK’s and dating scan) was 7th December. According to the hospital though, they were going by their NT scan date of a week earlier, the 30th November and considered me 40+10 and wanted to induce straight away. The doctor did a bedside scan and I asked her what the position of the baby was as I thought I had felt it turn the day before. She told me no, it was still posterior and there was a risk it was now too big to fit through the birth canal. I think she was trying to scare me into an induction to be honest. Even though I was quite over being pregnant, I didn’t want to induce purely on dates I believed were incorrect and refused. As a compromise I agreed to be induced that Friday (41 weeks by my dates and 42 by the hospital) and agreed to my 3rd stretch and sweep that day. They sent me for another scan to check fluid levels as well as CTG monitoring to check whether the baby was ok. CTG was perfect and the scan was even better. Fluid levels were 11cms (they said anything over 8 was great!) and the doctor had it wrong and the baby was not posterior, slightly sideways but definitely face down. They also estimated weight at 3.7kgs which was not the monster baby I had been led to believe I was carrying throughout the pregnancy. I went home that day far more relaxed than I had been for a long time about the whole thought of labour. I felt confident I could push this baby out.
Thursday 13th December 2012
Dom and I made our way to the hospital at 7am with Lucas in tow to start the induction process. Phase 1 was to have cervidil inserted that morning and then if that didn’t put me into labour to have my waters broken the next morning. I had expressed that I really didn’t want to have the drip (which I did have with Lucas) but they were confident given the fact my cervix was already favourable, and that I’d had a baby before, that the ARM would be enough.
My mum, sister and I were in the process of buying an investment property so while I was being monitored I sent Dom and Lucas to look at the house we were considering as it was only 5 mins from the hospital. Meanwhile I lay in bed and went through the sales contract making notes on some queries I had. About 10am, the midwife came to do an internal before inserting the cervidil, and decided there was no need for it. At that point I was 3cms dilated and the cervix was completely thinned out. She gave me my 4th S&S and declared that I should go home as I’d probably be having a baby by the end of the day anyway. To be honest, I’d been hearing similar things for at least 3 weeks so I cheerily told her I’d be seeing her the next morning and off we went home.
We put Lucas down for a nap at lunchtime and went and lay down ourselves. We had a few hours sleep although mine was a bit interrupted by some minor contractions that were around 8 mins apart. By around 3pm the contractions were 5 mins apart but very mild and I could continue to talk through them. I spent most of the afternoon talking with solicitors and real estate agents about an issue I’d discovered in the contract. It was probably a good distraction from the contractions. Around 5pm, my MIL arrived to pick up Lucas and take him for his usual Thursday night sleep over with her. We chatted and had a cuppa while I bounced on a fitball.
At 5.30pm, although the contractions were still just mildly uncomfortable, I decided to call the hospital as I was getting worried about peak hour traffic. The hospital is only about 15 mins away but could take close to an hour if traffic was really bad. I had a chat to the midwife for quite a while who decided I was probably still just in early labour as I’d chatted normally to her through 2 contractions but to go on in anyway as they weren’t that busy. Apparently 3cms is the magic number where you’re allowed to stay and won’t be sent home again. Luckily I knew I was already at that point so we decided to head in. She said based on my 4 1/2 hour labour with Lucas, it was likely to happen quickly once it did get to established labour.
Thankfully traffic was not too bad and we arrived at the hospital around 6.15pm. Dom asked if I wanted to be dropped at the main entry but I decided to walk from the carpark with him. Contractions were getting slightly uncomfortable and it helped to breathe through them rather than talk. I felt a little excited but I also thought we were in for a long night of pre-labour at the rate I was going. We wandered into the hospital, checked in, went through to labour and delivery, went to the waiting room for a while and was finally greeted by Kell the midwife. She showed us to a delivery suite and had a chat about what was happening. During the walk and chat I’d had about another 4 or 5 contractions but Kell didn’t think I was in labour because I was too normal and not in pain. She said she’d do an internal but it was likely it was still early days and I might be sent home again after all. Devastated!!! I was starting to get really tired of going to hospital thinking we were having a baby only to leave with empty arms.
I hopped up on the bed and Kell asked if she could feel my tummy while I had a contraction. It wasn’t long before one arrived and she looked quite surprised. “Are they all like that?” she asked. “more or less” I said. She thought they were good strong contractions and thought I might be in “real” labour after all. She then did an internal and I was very relieved to hear the words “5cms” come out of her mouth. Not only were we allowed to stay but she didn’t think we were that far off having a baby!
I got changed, danced (yes danced some crazy lady dance) through a few contractions and then hopped in the shower. By this point it was around 7pm and contractions were starting to get somewhat uncomfortable and were around 3 mins apart. Dom helped by fetching iced water, holding the second shower nozzle on my belly and timing contractions. I stayed in the shower around 20 minutes and then asked if I could get in the bath and Kell asked if I wanted to have a water birth. I hadn’t put a great deal of thought into what sort of birth I wanted other than to have as little intervention as possible and that I didn’t want an epidural. I liked the idea of a water birth though so was hoping to try that if at all possible. While the bath filled Kell gave me a few instructions about the birth. Her main concern was that if she told me to get out of the bath, then I had to do it no matter what. She said if she told me to hop out, then it was serious and to not argue with her. I figured that was fair enough.
We dimmed the lights and I got in the bath around 7.30 and I asked for the gas at the same time. Kell asked us if we knew what we were having. Dom told her we were having a boy and I piped up and said “yes, apparently it’s a boy, but I still think it’s a girl”. We’ll see I thought, knowing I was being ridiculous but unable to let go of the thought.
I lay down in the bath, firstly on my back and then found a more comfortable position on my left side. The bath was quite hot (I’m assuming it was around body temperature?) Kell kept a close eye on the bath thermometer and added more hot water a few times to keep the temperature consistent. I was hot though so she put cold water compresses on my head and chest which she changed regularly and Dom gave me iced water after each contraction. As each contraction hit I slowly breathed in the gas and rocked myself back and forth in the water. There was a metal bar at the foot of the bath that I could rest my right foot on which helped give me the leverage to swish back and forth. The next hour passed quite quickly in a state of total relaxation. Breathe in and out, swish back and forth, floating on a cloud. Between contractions we talked a little but for the most part I just kept me eyes closed and focused on my breathing.
Around 8.30 I started to get concerned because the contractions were still only mildy painful and I was waiting for the intense, back breaking, uterus shredding contractions that I’d had with Lucas. I asked Kell if she’d do any more internals and she said no, not unless I really wanted one. I asked if she would because I was genuinely concerned that labour wasn’t progressing and I was going to be there all night stuck at 5cms. Imagine my surprise when she declared,”well you’re 9cms, actually more like 9 and a half. There’s just a tiny bit of cervix left on one side”. I was seriously dumbfounded. Why wasn’t it hurting very much? She got me to roll onto my right side to help the last bit of cervix to disappear. Dom was sitting to the right of the bath and I turned to him “If this is what real labour is like, I can so have another baby. I reckon I could have a dozen babies! This is a breeze!”. I was so joyous and elated. I couldn’t believe I was almost 10cms and it wasn’t even really hurting yet, nor had it even occurred to me to think about drugs other than the gas. Yet here I was about to start pushing and I’d heard that was often the easy part compared to contractions. I must admit I felt a little bit smug that I had almost got through labour and was barely in pain.
The contractions started to slow and Kell told me when I felt the urge to push to just go with what my body wanted to do. I’d had an epidural with Lucas so I wasn’t really sure what to expect other than people saying it was an overwhelming urge. I swished my way through another few contractions with an immense pressure building up and up to the point where I thought my vagina was going to burst. I kept saying over and over, there’s so much pressure down there and Kell kept asking me, do you need to push and I kept replying, no, I don’t need to push but I need this pressure to stop. Kell suggested I try pushing at the next contraction. I started to feel the wave of the contraction and gave a little push. Holy fricken crap. IT HURT!!! I hadn’t anticipated the pain so I immediately stopped pushing. No way in hell was I going to do that, what sort of crazy pills had these midwives been taking that they thought I was going to willingly put myself through that sort of pain? Kell told me to push again at the next contraction so again I did a very small push and again the crazy pain was there. It burned and it hurt and the pressure was so bad but with that push came what felt like a small explosion and I knew my waters had burst. The relief was immense and in my delirious state I did have a moment where I hoped they were going to tell me the baby came out at the same time and it was all over. Crazy thoughts and it was quickly obvious that the baby was still very much inside me and I still needed to get through this pushing phase. Dom described my waters breaking as a rush of white cloudy liquid bursting into the water. I later learned that it’s cloudy due to the vernix that had come off the baby over time and dissolved into the amniotic fluid. I heard Kell and Dom looking between my legs and discussing the next phase. With Lucas, Dom and I had both touched his head as it was crowning but in a waterbirth, we weren’t allowed to touch the baby at all until it was out of the water in case we startled it and it tried to take a breath under water.
The next contraction came suddenly out of nowhere and with it came this immeasurable force that started in my chest and slammed its way through my body forcing me to bear down to get rid of it. It was nothing like I imagined an ‘urge’ would be. It was indescribable in its power and the closest description I can come up with is it felt like someone was using a sledgehammer on my insides. I screamed blue murder and pushed with all my might. I had no thoughts of being gentle on my body, I just wanted this over and done with as quick as possible. Thankfully I felt the head pop out and I knew that with that would come relief from the pain. But what the hell? The head was out, I knew it was because I could feel that it was out but the pain was still there, the pressure was still there. Where was the relief? “Why is it still hurting?” I kept repeating over and over again. “It’s supposed to stop hurting when the head’s out.” It was a complete contrast to my relaxed and silent contractions. Now I was sobbing into Dom’s arms and telling him I didn’t want to do this anymore and that I never wanted anymore children ever again. I really thought in that moment that there was a good chance my body was about to split in two. Just as I was about to have a complete and utter breakdown another sledgehammer came from nowhere and I screamed my lungs out again and pushed as hard as I could. With that push, at 9.06pm out came my baby and Kell quickly lifted it onto my stomach. Like with Lucas, it had the shortest umbilical cord and couldn’t reach up to my chest. I looked down at this bruised and battered face and started sobbing. The emotions were totally overwhelming. I couldn’t believe that it was finally over and this baby was finally here. I was waiting for a cry from the baby and it didn’t come. I started to panic and asked “is the baby ok, is it breathing? I don’t think its breathing.” Kell told me the baby was fine and gave a gentle rub over the head and it opened its eyes and gave a little squawk. I looked at Dom and felt quite an overwhelming love for him too that we had got here and made our family of four. It felt surreal but so right.
Kell let the water out of the bath and we waited for the cord to stop pulsing. After a few minutes she asked us, do you want to see what you’ve got? Of course, what was wrong with me? It hadn’t even occurred to me to check that it was a boy! She pried open the legs and all I could see was the umbilical cord hanging between the legs and on the left of the cord was one very swollen testicle. “It’s a boy”, I said, “of course it’s a boy, but I couldn’t be happier”. I gazed down at my son as Kell gently moved the umbilical cord out of the way and said “umm, I think maybe you might want to check again”. A GIRL? Even with those very swollen lips, there was no mistaking a lack of penis. We had a girl! I looked at Dom, who I seriously thought was going to fall off his chair. A Girl? We just kept repeating it over and over again to each other and laughing at the craziness of the situation. Then it hit me all of a sudden... no boy... as silly as it sounds, I was a little sad. With the birth of our daughter vanished my little dream of two sons. I had fantasized about my two boys playing together and growing up the best of friends and as much as I had always wanted a girl, a part of me was sad that the boy I had bonded with, no longer existed. But as the sadness passed, with it came the most amazing joy and love and an instant connection to this most beautiful baby that we had been blessed with. Here was my baby Ayla that I had dreamed about for so long. I truly felt like the luckiest person in the world to now have the two most perfect children in the world.
Dom cut the cord then and two midwives worked at getting the placenta out. There was concern that there would be problems again as I had a manual extraction and PPH with Lucas. This time, there was some massaging and pressing on the uterus but within 10 minutes or so the placenta came out and the blood loss was minimal. Dom took the baby while the midwives helped me out of the bath and over to the bed. Due to the rather fast pushing phase, I had sustained 1 second degree and 2 first degree tears requiring numerous stitches. But first we got to have cuddles and a breastfeed with our brand new daughter who took to the boob like an absolute champion. After she’d nestled into my chest and gone to sleep, a doctor arrived and administered a local anaesthetic and suggested I suck on some gas. Hooly dooly, the gas in the room was on a completely different level to the gas in the mobile tank! I was flying far and away with the fairies, the room was spinning and I couldn’t feel my face or my arms. I knew I was holding the baby on my chest but I couldn’t feel her there at all. I didn’t want her to leave though so I just repeated (possibly a thousand times) “Watch the baby Dom. I can’t feel that she’s on me. She is still there isn’t she?” To which he continued to reply in a more and more exasperated tone “I am watching her. She’s fine. Of course she’s still there. I’m not going to let her fall am I?”
Despite all the stitches, I’m glad I got Ayla out in two pushes. Kell later told me that after the head came out, she was having a good look with the torch in the water and thought the baby was stuck and she didn’t think the shoulders would fit. She was about to tell me to get out of the bath when I gave that almighty push that got her out. Thank goodness I wasn’t half way out of the bath when that sledgehammer hit!
After the stitching, I got up and had a shower, got dressed and they did the stats:
I had told them I had wanted to go home asap and at 11pm they asked if we still wanted to go home. We said yes and they set about doing the discharge paperwork. Unfortunately, no one was still at the hospital from the early discharge program so they asked if we could stay the night and go first thing in the morning so we said ok. Ayla was being fussy again so we gave her another breastfeed and then walked up to the ward. We were given our own room and Dom had a fold out sofa to sleep on. The midwife on the ward did a few obs and then left us to it. She told me that they like babies to breastfeed 3 times in the first 12 hours and because she’s already fed twice that if she slept the whole night, to just leave her to sleep. Yeah right!! Unfortunately I had the noisiest baby in the ward, the one who cried the WHOLE night long. She probably fed another dozen times in those early hours but every time I put her in the bassinette she cried. Eventually at about 5am, I nestled her into the crook of my arm and we both got some sleep.
It’s now been almost 4 weeks since that amazing night and Miss Ayla is already exerting her personality. She sleeps well in our bed but hates sleeping alone and loves to be held all day long. She’s a great eater and rarely cries (unless she’s put down). Lucas adores her and loves to pat her and give her kisses. I can’t believe it’s almost a month and I still feel like I’m in the newborn bubble of bliss. It’s hard to picture life could be any more perfect.
THE 3 OF US
THE DAY AFTER SHE CAME HOME
8 DAYS OLD
Posted 09 January 2013 - 08:38 PM
What a surprise to find out she was a girl, did it feel a bit surreal for a while?
Congratulations - she's beautiful, and I love her name. xx
Posted 09 January 2013 - 08:43 PM
Posted 09 January 2013 - 09:03 PM
She is absolutely beautiful, goodgirl
Posted 09 January 2013 - 10:30 PM
Posted 09 January 2013 - 11:00 PM
I've been hanging out for this story and I'm so glad you posted it. How wonderful you got a water birth! I knew exactly what you were talking about when you described the urge to push; it's unstoppable and so primitive, isn't it.
Welcome little Ayla, it's lovely to meet you.
Posted 09 January 2013 - 11:54 PM
Ayla is absolutely precious and you did SO well with the birth!
Congratulations again xx
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Posted 10 January 2013 - 05:26 AM
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Posted 10 January 2013 - 06:34 AM
Such a fantastic birth story, thank you for sharing
Posted 10 January 2013 - 11:31 AM
I didn't realise you thought you were having a boy. I think you are the first person I know of that has ended up with a girl thinking they were having a boy, it's usually the other way around! What a lovely surprise at the end though
I loved your story. You are right that the pushing urge is just so forceful and primitive. I had a farily cruisy contraction stage and coped well with the pain in the bath and didn't think it was hard at all until I got the uncontrollable urge to push the freaked the living daylights out of me. Annoying I was only 8cm when I was getting pushing sensations and I had to 'not push', which was nigh on impossible! I could totally relate to your story though, you described the sensation very well.
I'm so pleased you are enjoying life with Ayla. She is gorgeous and you are a very sweet family of four! Congratulations again.
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Posted 10 January 2013 - 12:15 PM
Posted 10 January 2013 - 01:35 PM
Posted 10 January 2013 - 05:09 PM
Congratulations, she is adorable
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Posted 10 January 2013 - 10:16 PM
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