Thursday, June 20, 2013

Birth Story Part 2

Catch up on on the previous blog, Birth Story part 1 here.

Recap: It was somewhere around 3 am, our doula Nicola was there, and I was in the shower. I got out for a bit, watched Nicola knit a hat with rainbow yarn and told everyone I was getting back in the shower. That's when Nicola gave her first and only strong opinion of the labour. "I think if you get back in the shower, you won't get out unless you want a home birth."

At this point in my pregnancy, I'd actually become okay with the idea of a home birth (I think the more research you do on childbirth, the fewer interventions you want), but we hadn't prepared the flat for that at all. So David called the Royal Infirmary, which, thankfully, was no longer on divert and had one room left in the Lothian Birthing Centre. The midwife told him to go to triage rather than the birth centre, but Nicola suggested we ignore that and go directly to the birth centre. I was really worried that they wouldn't let me into the Birthing Centre because of my hospital visit earlier that week.

We lived at the end of this adorable dead end
cobblestone street.
We gathered our belongings and walked to Glenogle Road where Nicola was parked -- the end of our cobblestone street. She'd offered to back down our road, so I wouldn't have to walk. But I preferred a wee walk to a slow drive down cobblestones.

I was still contracting irregularly, but often, as I sat in the back of Nicola's "people mover," unbuckled, facing backwards, hugging the back of the seat, and grumbling whenever
we hit a cobblestone (but still trying to glance up and catch a good view of the Walter Scott Monument and the Castle -- they look cool at night). 8 minutes, then 1 minute. Then 5 minutes, then 3 minutes. Then 2 minutes and 1 minutes. It was like Fibonacci in reverse. (Not really, but I like to say Fibonacci. Fibonacci. Fibonacci.)

Me in the back seat is usually a bad idea because I get extremely carsick. I don't ever actually vomit, however. I hate throwing up, and I'll do anything I can to hold it in, all the while being totally miserable. This time, however, the minute I got out of Nicola's car, I headed straight for the bushes and puked up every bit of the chili David had made for dinner. (And you thought this birth story would be gross because of OTHER bodily fluids, eh?) David even commented, "I think this is the first time you've thrown up since we've been together." Clearly my body was on Operation Expel.

After cleaning up, I waddled into the Birth Centre with David and Nicola. It was dim lighting, soothing, and quiet. A midwife saw us eventually and escorted us to triage (we tried), where the flourescent lighting immediately pained my eyes, and I put on my eyeshades to block out the world. David answered all the nurse's questions, while a midwife took my blood pressure and then said -- huge relief here! -- we could go back to the Birthing Centre. Apparently my platelet count had been low when I was in the hospital five days previously, so they wanted to take some blood to make sure all was well. Meanwhile, I settled into the "Tyne Room" in the Birthing Centre, and the midwife checked my platelets (which were fine).

There are six large private rooms in the Lothian Birthing Centre, each of them decorated like a Napa Valley Spa. A large birthing pool is the focal point, surrounded by a sofabed (for partners to sleep), various bean bags and pillows, a twin bed, a television and ipod docks, and a huge private bathroom. The rooms are also fully equipped with various medical equipment, but such intimidating devices are neatly hidden behind cabinetry. Basically, each room looks like a swanky living room designed for a homebirth. I wanted silence and darkness, so it was perfect.

One of the six private birthing rooms at the Lothian
Birthing Centre, Edinburgh Royal Infirmary. Our doula
knits a hat while I hide underwater.
David had worked hard to make a Birth Mix, but I wanted none of it. If my task was to zone out, then listening to music is the opposite of what I need. When I hear music, I analyze. I think about harmonies and song structure. I don't think about breathing.

All I wanted to do was to climb into the tub, go underwater, and ignore everyone.

Because my baby was posterior and my contractions irregular, it was difficult to know how far along I was. I didn't want to get into the pool too early because I'd read (there I go again reading too much) that getting in too early might actually slow labour down. But I'd been super proud of the fact that I hadn't had a single internal exam my entire pregnancy (read: my privates remained private -- even to the doctors and midwives), and I didn't really want to lie on a bed and be examined. Eventually, however, I asked for an exam because I wanted to be sure it was time for the pool. I was way nervous, but managed to lay back while a midwife checked me. I was about six centimeters -- and I immediately hopped in the warm water (well, hopped is an exaggeration).

It was amazing -- like actually a huge relief. The way women describe what happens when the epidural kicks in? Well, that was me when I got in that pool. It was right around 100degrees -- not too hot, but definitely relaxing. Long enough for me to stretch out and float in. I worked on finding comfortable positions for the contractions, the best being either floating on my side (as if I were doing side stroke, but not actually going anywhere) or on my knees leaning over the side of the tub. The hot water felt fantastic on my back, and I just floated around and around, not talking to anyone, hiding underwater whenever anyone asked me a question.

After about half an hour in the tub, I felt a huge kick from the baby which felt more like a pop. I stood up because I thought I had to pee (why I thought I should go to the toilet to pee when I was already naked in front of everyone was bizarre following of etiquette, I think), when I realized that popping had been my water breaking (that's my "waters" breaking, for my UK readers -- isn't language funny?). I got out of the pool and mumbled to everyone that I thought my water had broken, but I wasn't sure. They all kind of laughed, and I went to the toilet, then raced back into the tub (again, "raced" may be an overstatement).

At this point it was probably around 5am.

And that's enough for today because, my goodness, birth stories are long, aren't they?

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