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Thread: Miss C's birth story - The long tale of Emily Acacia! (40hr labour and Emergency CS)

  1. #1

    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Rural England

    Default Miss C's birth story - The long tale of Emily Acacia! (40hr labour and Emergency CS)

    My birth story begins with being diagnosed with GD at 34 weeks. My initial GTT came back normal at 28 weeks, although the figures were on the high side. I had two growth scans, one at 28 weeks and another at 32 weeks that showed that my baby had a tummy that was high on the centiles. I was sent for another GTT at 34 weeks, which came back showing I had GD. On reflection, I felt the diagnosis was not very accurate (as GTTs can be quite inaccurate late in pregnancy, I found out later) - I completely controlled the GD with a minor dietary change (took out fruit juice and the odd chocolate and pastry I was having and that was all) and I did not need any insulin. Perhaps I had glucose intolerance? I had another growth scan at 36 weeks that did show that bub's tummy was still "larger than average" and then came the discussion about induction and concerns about letting the pregnancy get past term for fear of both the GD and the baby being too big.

    I was referred to an OB specialising in GD, and she was really great. I voiced my concerns and my preference for a natural birth and she was able to tell me what she honestly thought the risks were in our personal situation, and from there we made a plan. Instead of the stock standard "We'll induce you at 38 weeks" she compromised and said that she would like me booked in for induction at 39 weeks. I spoke to her about wanting to do what was possible to get my body prepared prior to induction so that I was giving every chance my baby would come without needing induction. A series of stretch and sweeps were scheduled for the week or so leading to the induction date. I also made arrangements to have some reflexology and moxibustion done around these dates.

    I had my first session of relexology/moxibustion just before 38 weeks, and it was wonderful - very relaxing - the practitioner was a wonderful woman - and it was then that I started to feel everything was going to be ok, after all the stress of IVF treatment and worry during the pregnancy, and the GD. I had a moxa stick that I used at home also. I had my first S&S a couple of days later, at 38 weeks 1 day. The midwife came out with a show, and said she thought the cervix was quite soft, I was 1cm dilated and the baby was starting to engage. The baby was slightly on the left, but mostly anterior in presentation. I was so very exicted! I thought that this could mean that my body and my baby were really getting ready to go and we would be able to avoid induction. That night, I started having more painful tightenings (more so than the BH I had been having for a few weeks) when I went to bed, and a few woke me up at night. However, they had stopped by morning.

    My next S&S was at 38 weeks 4 days, and this time a different midwife performed the S&S and informed me that I was 1-2cm dilated, and that things were looking very good. She came away with a good show, which continued during the day but stopped by the evening. I was very excited, and I said to DH that I thought something might happen overnight, given the response to the first S&S I had. DH was sceptical, but little did he know! I was due for another session of reflexology the next day, but I never made it! The next morning, 16th December, I woke up at about 7.15am to a very strong tightening, and feeling warmth on the sheets. I immediately knew what had happened - my membranes had ruptured! I jolted out of bed as fast as was possible at 38+ weeks pregnant to avoid staining the bed too badly, and waddled over to the loo with my legs closed tight, leaving a dripping trail behind me!

    I called the midwives at the hospital who said to come in and be monitored. DH helped me get ready, collecting the little things (toiletries etc.) that we needed for my bag, and off we went, a 45 minute drive to the hospital. I was a little nervous, but there was a calm about me as I knew this was it. Our baby was finally going to be here with us before too long. DH was calm, but I could tell he was nervous also. I brought a number of towels and sat on these in the car, although it seemed that sitting down was the one thing that stopped the flow! I was watching carefully to see whether I had any more tightenings - I was - but they were irregular and varied a great deal in strength. Sometimes 15 minutes apart, sometimes 7 or 8. By the time we arrived at the hospital, I had completely soaked through my tracksuit pants, and walking to the maternity ward only made matters worse. I arrived in maternity very clearly showing that my waters had broken, with dark patches almost down to my ankles! I was put on the montitor, and bubs was doing very well. I changed my tracksuit pants, and as the morning went on I continued to have irregular tightenings, some quite painful, others barely at all. Each time I had a tightening, a heap more fluid would leak, so I ended up going through another 3 pairs of underwear, a packet of maternity pads, and another pair of tracksuit pants! DH went into town to buy me some more, as I think he felt like he needed to do something. He came back with pyjamas, tracksuit pants, and even a new pair of lovely slippers for me, as well as the paper etc. He went to town literally! Action man, DH!! I spent a lot of that day walking briskly around the maternity ward and leaning on all fours over a chair, trying to help things along. I was excited and frustrated by equal measure, as I really thought things would have kicked off by that point. By afternoon, nothing was happening aside from the irregular tightenings, so a consultant came to talk to me. I made sure they were aware that I wanted to give my body and baby a chance to start things naturally, and the consultant was pleased and happy for me to continue to as I was, up to 72 hours after SROM to avoid the risk of infection (which would bring me to that date of induction in any case!). We made a decision to stay in hospital at that point, as it was a long drive home and back again, DH felt more comfortable with me being monitored, and I felt calm and safe in the hospital, having spent a bit of time there for GTTs, scan etc.

    I asked to have the monitor put on that evening just so I could hear bub's heartrate for some reassurance before bed, and at about 8.30pm I was hooked up, and I settled down to listen to our baby for a while. After about 10-15 minutes where I had a couple of moderate tightenings as I had been on and off all day I suddenly got the most painful, prolonged contraction that lasted almost 2 minutes from start to end. It had me really groaning, and the midwife heard me from the next bed and came to check on me. As she did, the monitor started beeping, and our baby's heartrate couldn't be picked up. She tried to find it, and eventually did on the other side of my stomach and it was very low. Panic stations. She pressed the buzzer and about 6 people came running in. I was a bit shellshocked and wondered what was happening. My baby's heartrate recovered, and everything settled down, but I was moved very quickly to a labour room and set up on the monitor in the new room. DH had gone home for the night at about 7.00pm as nothing seemed immiment, but he was called back in as there were thoughts about whether our baby would need to be born quickly. He arrived around 10.30pm. Our baby had done a complete twist during that full-on contraction and we realised by the next morning she had moved posterior, with her back completely on the opposite side of my body to where it had been.

    I was kept on the monitor for quite a while, with another consultant on shift coming in to check the print out. Everything with our baby went back to normal with her heartrate and eventually I was taken off the monitor, despite having quite a few more prolonged 2+ minute contractions. I eventually suggested taking the monitor off as I was tired of the stress and was getting very uncomfortable and felt that once things had returned to normal that I wanted to be able to move about more as needed. The consultant okayed this, as long as I was back on the monitor every hour or so to check how bubs was. From that first initial very strong contraction at 8.30pm, every contraction I experienced after that was strong and I would need to breathe heavily through many of them. They were not coming anymore regularly than 6-7 minutes apart, so DH was advised to go get some rest, as was I. DH went to his parent's house at about 12.30am for some sleep as it was much closer than going home again. I had a very restless night as I was having hard contractions every 5-6 minutes that I often needed to get on all fours for, or lean over the bed - sitting in the chair or lying down was awful. I could not sleep for more than a few minutes between contractions here and there. It was also proving very difficult to monitor the baby on and off overnight as she had moved into this posterior position and it was hard to keep track of her heartbeat consistently, At about 5.30am it was suggested that an internal be done to see how things were going and to place a scalp monitor on. At this stage I thought "I don't want a scalp monitor, I'm tired of being monitored, I'm concerned about intervention, and I just want to be left to get on with things" but I was also worried (as I had been a lot during the night) about how the baby was doing, and I was tired of people fiddling with my stomach constantly to find baby's position and adjust the monitor pads. The internal showed I was 3cm dilated and only 70% effaced, so there was a long way to go, and the scalp monitor was placed but unfortunately wasn't giving any reading. There was a fair amount of caput happening to baby's head also, and they thought the the monitor may have attached to some membrane left on the baby's head and hence couldn't get a clear attachment.

    DH arrived at about 9.30am and I was still in early labour, Still only having about 2 contractions in every 10 minutes or so. They were painful, and I was tired, but felt encouraged by the internal I had early in the morning, feeling that even though it wasn't happening at record pace I was making progress slowly but surely as the contractions became a little more frequent. As the day went on, my contractions did not get any more frequent, but remained very painful. In fact, at times they would stop all together, particularly when I was moving about and not resting. Another internal showed that I was still 3cm dilated and not fully effaced. I was trying to relax, but found it difficult with worrying about the baby and having a scalp monitor hanging off my leg that was doing nothing. They had tried to attach a second one at this internal, and it did not work either. By late morning, the midwife who was looking after me started mentioning augmentation, as the consultant who had seen me that morning (the third different doctor since I arrived) was concerned about infection becoming a possibility as time went on, as it had been more than 24 hours since my waters broke and it didn't look like anything was happening - active labour showed no signs of starting. I flat out said no to augmentation - I had spent so much time trying to avoid induction, what was the difference with needing to be augmented?! But I had a lengthy discussion about the pros and cons with the midwife with me, and decided that if I hadn't made any more progress in a couple of hours that I would think about it properly. I had been sitting on a birth ball for hours, and at about midday an anaesthetist came in to insert a drip into my arm to give me some antibiotics and have everything prepared in case of induction, which took three separate goes, a lot of blood and his hands were shaking! Poor guy - I'm a tough case when it comes to veins!

    DH had been coming in and out, feeling a bit helpless and had been in to town to run more of his little errands for me (sweet man!) and he'd got some lunch etc. In the meantime I had requested a TENS machine earlier in the morning as I was finding that despite the frequency of my contractions, they were getting progressively more and more painful. I was groaning through all of them, often rocking on the birth ball. If I moved around or got up and walked the contractions would stop until I was sitting back down again, surprisingly, except when I went to toilet and as soon as I sat down on the loo, I would have an awfully strong one! I had not been allowed to eat breakfast, so I had not had any food since dinner the night before, and I asked to have some food and a shower to try and perk me up a little. The drip was taken off, TENS was unhooked, as well as the monitor and I had a shower after having a bite to eat. I thought it would help with the pain, but as soon as I was moving again the contractions stopped. The shower was lovely though - I felt refreshed. I was hooked up again and I had an internal at 2pm, and this time I felt really disillusioned. I was still at exactly the same place as I had been at 5.30am. A new midwife shift had started and a wonderful, professional but sensitive and soft-spoken midwife was assigned to me. I voiced my concerns about augmentation again, and my fears about how painful it was going to get as I was already finding the contractions in non-established labour so painful. I wanted to do everything I could to avoid pain relief.

    The midwife explained that the syntocinon would not make things more painful than they would get naturally in a progressed labour, it would just ramp up the intensity of how quickly they would get more painful. This made sense to me, even though I was really frightened of how much pain I could bare. At this point though, with her guidance and knowing that this midwife would look after me and help me with my target to try and do this pain free, I agreed to go on the drip and everything was set up. I was informed that the dose would be doubled every half an hour, and we would start at the minimum, and to expect it to take a little bit of time to see an increase in the frequency of the contractions, as I had asked that we do the syntocinon as slowly as possible. I started the drip at 2.45pm, and an internal was scheduled for 4 hours later to see how things were progressing.

    It took about an hour or so, but the contractions started to come on more frequently as the dose was slowly increased. I could not sit on the bed anymore, and moved back to the birthing ball, swinging around or leaning up against the bed with my elbows and head on my arms, bouncing away. I requested entonox as the intensity increased. The pain was so focussed and heavy, like someone dropping a huge weight downwards into my pelvis. It took a few goes, but I got the hang of the gas and air quite quickly, and found that as I got used to the frequency of the contractions (1 minute contracting, 1.5 minutes rest when I started it) I was able to time when to start the gas and air so that it was working by the time I was contracting, usually about 30 seconds before the contraction. I was asking the midwife to remind me to switch the TENS to boost also, as I kept forgetting in the heat of the pain. Eventually, I could not sit any longer through contractions and I started standing through them and swaying my hips and getting quite vocal! I was breathing the gas and air like my life depended on it. This midwife did not worry or stress like the other ones did when the monitor lost contact with the baby's heartrate - she was much more instinctive, and she would be happy that contact was there when I wasn't moving and could see how the baby was doing at those times. I was often asking how the baby was doing and she was doing great.

    The entonox made me feel extremely "drunk" which took me away from the pain and gave me some hallucinations at first, but very quickly - as the contractions increased in frequency - I was losing my awareness of time and was starting to lose myself in the pain, being detached from it when the affects of the gas wore off. DH tells me I was very vocal and was starting to breathe too rapidly at times, not breathing deeply enough, so he and the midwife were helping me to breathe deeply and keep from panicking. I don't have have much recollection of this at all. Eventually all sense of space and time was gone and I was functioning instinctively on autopilot, and the next thing I was aware of, I was on the bed having an internal, sucking the entonox without stopping (apparently at this point I was having 6 contractions in 10 minutes) and the midwife was trying to get me to focus on her and telling me "Miss C, you're still only 3cm dilated". I was absolutely devastated. Even though I have very little memory of the time leading up to the internal, I do remember how much I was focussing and continuing to think this whole time "Each contraction is dilating me and helping my baby to come. I can go through this as I am getting closer each time". And to find out that all that 4 hours had been for nothing and that I was going nowhere was the worst thing possible. I was balling my eyes out, completely beaten. I can recall that I started wailing "Epidural and caesarean" over and over again without any conscious decision that I wanted that - my autopilot self was demanding an end to the pain, I think. I also kept asking "Is the baby ok?". Things go back to blurry at this point, but I know vaguely heard my midwife and the head midwife discussing and then trying to tell me that the anaesthetist was held up in emergency and I was going to have to manage to wait for the epidural. I think I was pretty desperate, as DH tells me I was yelling a fair bit!

    Eventually another anaesthetist was wandering around and was able to come and give me an epidural. I don't remember anything about it other than crouching over myself breathing the entonox, trying to stay as still as possible during the contractions. I was then propped up on the bed, and the midwife turned the synotcinon down as I was basically having contraction after contraction without pause and it was too full on. As the contractions dropped in frequency I started to regain my awareness as I was having breaks in between using the entonox. A consultant (one I had seen during my pregnancy) came to talk to me and said that we would give it another 2 hours to see what was going to happen, and then we would need to talk about the next option. I started to feel less pain as the epidural took effect, but realised that it was only working on one side quite quickly. Still, it was much better than it had been - the pain was much more tolerable as it was taken away by half, really! I was tilted over to try and see if the drug would balance on the other side, but it did nothing. I had gone back to having about 4 contractions in 10 minutes which seemed much more manageable.

    In the midst of this, my wonderful midwife finished shifts and I had another brisk, rather grumpy midwife attend to me, which wasn't all that pleasant but I was still very blurry so couldn't take much offense to her manner at the time. She decided she wanted to do an internal herself when she came on shift so she tried to attach another scalp monitor for the 3rd time. Needless to say it didn't work. She examined me, and said "Oh I think you're about 5cm dilated. No wait. You're 8cm." She was very rough and it wasn't pleasant, but I was so encouraged to hear that things seemed to have progressed very quickly! The time until the consultant came back went by quickly, and when she did an internal at 9.30pm she said I was 3-4cm dilated according to her, and she tried to attach another scalp monitor for the 4th time. I was exhausted and not taking things on board so well now. I was extremely emotional. It turns out the midwife was examining me in the middle of a contraction, hence it seemed like I was much more dilated than I actually was. I was still no further. We talked about CS and the consultant was very kind - I remember her taking my hand and saying to me "Miss C, you have done everything you possibly could to bring your baby into the world, now we need to give you a hand to finish it off. You should be so proud of how much you have done to this point." It helped me regain my composure some more, and we prepared for a CS and it was like a load was lifted from my shoulders.

    My grumpy midwife ripped up my gown and shaved me without any thought of my privacy whilst another new anaesthetist was assessing the epidural and whether to start a new one/change to a spinal block etc. The epidural was switched off, as well as the syntocinon and I shakily signed a consent form shoved in front of my face by Mrs Grumpy, and we were off. DH held my hand until he had to get dressed up, and I was wheeled into theatre. The anaesthetist was so very kind and gentle, he said that he was going to replace the epidural with a spinal block and he was sorry that it had not worked correctly to begin with. I was crouched over for the second time, trying to stay still during my contractions (my own natural contractions were now very full on once the synotcinon and epidural were gone). Once the spinal block was in, it was like the sweetest relief I have ever felt. I felt no more contractions, after 26 hours of pain amounting to nothing and 40 hours since my waters first broke.

    DH was seated at my head, never letting my hand go and the fear of what it would feel like to be cut open was quickly abated when it was all happening and I realised I could feel nothing. Before long - such a short time! - our baby was hoisted above the curtain at 10.46pm on Wednesday 17th December and DH and I saw her for the first time, all squishy-faced and red! It was a miracle! Our baby was taken by the midwifes and cleaned a little and wrapped before quickly being placed in DH's arms. He found out her sex for himself as we asked no one to tell us, and she made her first sounds in his arms - the sweetest most incredible sounds ever. We named her Emily Acacia there and then. The world narrowed down to myself, DH and our baby, and it was the most special, intimate and amazing experience of my life, all in front of a dozen busy people. I turned to my anaesthetist and said "Thank you for looking after me" and he smiled so kindly. Everything was perfect.

    The time for me to be stitched up went so fast. Before long I had my baby on my chest as I was being wheeled back to my room, and I made the biggest effort with Mrs Grumpy pushing on my feet upwards to try and lever myself upright whilst still under the effect of the spinal block so I could let Emily attach to my breast. I was so determined, and we did it. She was bossy and brisk, but I did appreciate her helping me to do this. Finally, she left the three of us in private and our daughter and I had skin to skin contact for about 4 or 5 hours as I would not let her go. DH took lots of photos before he left to sleep at his parents again, at about 2.30am.

    It turns out that Emily's neck was flexed - probably when she manoeuvered in distress at the initial prolonged mega-contraction I had the evening before her birth. This was why I did not progress - as her head was not in a position to help dilate my cervix properly, despite the augmented contractions. She was not an overly big baby as predicted (there was also talk of shoulder distocia during my labour ordeal) but she was our perfect girl who had a bit of a bumpy ride into this world.

    As much of that evening of my augmented labour I have no memory of, I will never forget what holding my daughter was like for that first night. I did not sleep for the second night running but the adrenaline kept going and I couldn't have been lighter or more on top of the world. Our daughter was here with us, after a big journey full of ups and downs to be here. All was well.

    Emily Acacia
    Born 10.46pm 17th December 2008 (UK time)
    38 weeks 6 days gestation
    7lb 15.5oz (3.622kg)
    52cm length
    35cm head circumference
    Apgars 9 & 9

  2. #2

    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Waterloo, Merseyside, UK

    Default did amazing go that long you did really so pleased you got the skin on skin contact after emily was born...congrats huni.
    lots of love rach xxx

  3. #3


    lovely to read about Emily's arrival. I can't believe that she is 3 months already!

  4. #4

    Join Date
    Feb 2007


    Wow, you did such a fantastic job! Well done

    Thanks for sharing your story

  5. #5

    Join Date
    Mar 2007


    Great story, almost exactly like my own, even down to the epidural not working on one side and having to have a spinal for the c-section.
    Well done!!

  6. #6

    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    South Gippsland


    Wow what an incredible story. Congratulations on the job you did and on Emily's arrival x

  7. #7

    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    On the move


    Well done C! What a beautiful, honest, painful, but brilliant story. The end part brought tears to my eyes. I love that you were able to feel sorry for the anaethetist who missed your veins in the middle of it all! xoxo

  8. #8

    Join Date
    Jul 2004


    You did so well. The talk of your first contact is simply gorgeous

    Well done and Congratulations

  9. #9

    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Gippsland Vic


    Thanks for your birth story it was a great read...I'm so glad your baby girl arrived safely, it is so stressful when things just don't go to plan.I also understand the feeling of finally meeting your bubs, at the time it does'nt matter that they were born via c-section, you know that you did the only thing that you could and you have a healthy bubs because of it.
    Congrats again, a long tough road but well worth it in the end.

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