Hatching Catherine, My Birth Story

By Thursday morning my blood pressure was up to 160/125 -- not great news. The doctors had not been keen to induce for some reason, but this changed their minds. The medication for the blood pressure was slowing Catherine and myself down. Having nothing to do but sit and watch the walls, I became acutely aware of every one of Catherine's movements, or lack of movement. It seemed that for hours and hours she was still. The hourly fetal heart monitoring was somewhat reassuring, but still scared the living heck out of me.

Thursday night I was taken down to the delivery ward. What an uninspiring place that was. I was given a uterine catheter that would hopefully start the dilation process. That was 9 pm. At 7 am I was examined and told that the catheter had done nothing to encourage the cervix.

On to plan B. My membranes were artificially ruptured and I was hooked up to the drip. Thank God that the catheter was removed. I could pee again. Andrew developed a migraine around this time and we decided that seeing as nothing much was afoot that he should head off to the doctor to get sorted out for when I would really need him. My father took him off and he was back by 11:30 am.

Nothing much happened for a few hours, just the odd pain here and there. The decision to crank up the drip a bit more was given at noon. Labor was established at 2 pm. Regular strong pains were coming every few minutes. I was completely oblivious to everything. I remember the pain, sort of. Nothing that was hugely unbearable though. I could deal with this.

Due to my bleeding problem I was not able to have an epidural. The last thing I needed was the potential for bleeding into my spine. I was given a PCA and was to press the button when the pain got too bad. I have no recollection of this, but I have been told that at one point I threw the PCA at the doctor and told him that it was as useful as "tits on a bull." Oops!

I was re-examined at about 6 pm. Only 2 cm dilated. Catherine's heart rate was dipping with each contraction and we were getting nervous. Andrew asked the midwife how long did she think that "the next bit" might take. Silly question, or so I thought. The midwife said that it could be a couple of hours or it might be another eight. At that apparently, I sat bolt upright and declared that there was "no way that I was going to be able to do this for another eight hours!"

Twenty minutes later I was examined again. Yuck! I can't complain really, from conception to delivery I was only examined internally the grand total of four times. In those twenty minutes I had jumped from 2 cm to 10 cm. No wonder that bit hurt.

Catherine's heart rate was dipping again. All of a sudden there was a great mass movement. People everywhere. Doctors looking at the fetal heart traces and talking in hushed tones. If anything was going to scare us it was that.

Because of my bleeding problem I had said that I did not want to have a forceps or vacuum delivery. If this baby had the same bleeding problem as me the last thing that I wanted was any trauma to her head. I can remember someone saying quite firmly, "We'd better get her to surgery fast." And we were off.

The birthing classes that I took while pregnant were run through the Community Midwifery Program. It was an active birthing workshop and we had a blast. We learned yoga poses, massage, swaying and rocking -- none of which I could remember during the labor. The blood pressure medication rendered me stupid. I couldn't focus on anything or anyone let alone tie myself in knots and think of rolling green hills and meditate.

The only thing that I could remember to do was the low guttural moaning that was meant to relax the pelvic floor and help things move downwards. As they took my down to the surgery room, I have been told that you could hear me moaning on other floors. How embarrassing! Mind you, at the time I had no idea.

As I was wheeled out of the elevator and into the surgery room, the midwife told me that there was time for one last push, so I pushed. There was the doctor with his drugs in hand waiting to knock me out and then he looked and saw that Catherine was just about here. Where the heck was Andrew? I couldn't do this without him. Suddenly he was there and then, so was Catherine.