I finally got some time to film my Labour & Delivery Story video...it's so hard to get a free second nowadays, which is why this blog post is a day late! I'm not going to write a really long detailed post on my labour & delivery -- you can watch the video for that! But here is how things progressed through pictures. Jonathan & I actually took a lot over the course of the two days which I'm very happy about because it's so much fun to look back on them three weeks later!
I was induced on Monday September 10th for her to get here by Tuesday. Inductions usually take a long time so I went into the hospital at 4pm. By that stage I was one week overdue and not dilated at all. Here I am enjoying some hot tea in my leopard print dressing gown, ha ha ha! That's something they give you a lot of in the hospital, tea & toast!
I was given my first dose of prostaglandin gel, which was a little uncomfortable but nothing major -- it feels like a smear test or internal exam and was done by a midwife. All of the midwives were so nice by the way...I met so many different ones during my stay and they were all lovely. After I was given the gel I got hooked up to this non-stress test machine which just monitors the baby's heartbeat as well as any contractions (which at this point were very faint).
After a couple of hours I was given my second dose of the gel as things hadn't progressed yet...this is pretty normal for an induction I believe. Jofus stayed with the the whole time. After the second dosage was when the baby contractions started. They were not painful but felt like period cramps. I remember at this time thinking "hey, this is pretty easy!" Ha ha ha!
By this stage it was getting pretty late and one of the midwives suggested we take a walk around the hospital as that can sometimes get things going...so we climbed several flights of stairs! All the while in my leopard dressing gown...so stylish! ;)
Jofus went home at about midnight after we were assured that nothing was happening and my doctor was going to come and break my waters at 6/7am the following morning. Initially I was really scared when he left because I had never spent the night in a hospital before (or at least, since I was a baby!) but the midwives were so nice & good at making you feel looked after that I didn't mind so much. They gave me an injection to help me sleep through the contractions and I slept right through the night.
The next morning my OB came to break my waters. That was pretty uncomfortable but they gave me gas & air which basically makes you feel like you're drunk. I didn't really like it but it definitely helped later on when my stronger contractions kicked in! After my waters were broken it turned out that there was meconium in them which meant that Emilia had had a bowel movement while still inside the womb. I had heard of this happening before, especially with babies that are overdue but thankfully my doctor was amazing at putting my mind at ease because I never felt like there was any need to panic or freak out...he just assured me that everything was okay and normal - they just would continue to monitor her. What they didn't want was for her to ingest some of the meconium which could potentially be dangerous/harmful.
At this point I think I was dilated to about 1cm...in other words, nothing was happening. So I was moved up to the labour ward which is a private room and hooked up to a drip. I was given oxytocin which brings on contractions & forces the body into labour. The cool thing about being induced this way was that I was able to opt into getting the epidural as early as I wanted...normally I think you have to wait until you're a certain amount of centimetres dilated. That just about made my day because I knew I was going to get the epi from the beginning!
I was also assigned a midwife (or she was assigned to me, whichever way that works!) who would stay with me until the end -- I actually did not realise that in the beginning but this midwife was going to be the one who helped deliver Emilia. It's crazy to think how you meet these people and develop what feels like such a strong relationship with them, go through a life-changing experience together and then never see them again. It's kind of sad actually! I'm the kind of person that gets super attached to people if I get to know them so I was relieved that she stayed the entire time. It was also a big deal to me that I really liked my doctor and he checked in on me the whole time I was in hospital. I am so thankful that he was the one who delivered Emilia at the end...I think seeing a familiar face makes such a difference when you're going through something so huge. I trusted my doctor & midwife 100% - as well as the hospital I was in so that made me feel really comfortable and at ease about the entire labour & delivery.
Before getting the epidural I was just breathing through the contractions using gas & air which definitely helped to take the edge off! But then they started getting really painful and I knew that even if I hadn't gone into this whole experience expecting the epidural I would have opted for it anyway at this point. Those feckers hurt like hell!! Ha ha ha...
At this point I was in so much pain everytime a contraction would start. It sucks because in between them everything is normal and you think "oh I'm fine now!" and then you feel it start again and you think "noooooo! not again!"
This was me getting ready for the epi! The needle going in was very painful, I'm not going to lie. But I could care less afterwards because the relief you get from the injection is amazing! I wanted to hug the anaesthesiologist...he was like my hero at that point!! Even Jofus said to him, you must get a lot of women who worship you around here! Ha ha ha!
And this is me after getting the epidural. All the pain just melted away...it was amazing! Of course it started to wear off after a while, and by then I was able to get a top-up.
The entire time I was hooked up to the oxytocin, Emilia was also being monitored. The midwife was increasing the dosage little by little and at one point Emilia had a little freak-out which was quite worrying. Once again, the hospital staff were amazing at keeping things calm so I never felt panicked. However they did lower the oxytocin, my doctor was called and Emilia was given a blood test...to check her pH levels and to see if she was okay to move forward. It was at this time that I was told she had hair! I started crying as soon as they told me...I have no idea why her having hair made me so emotional, ha ha! I was just so happy plus it was kind of bizarre that they could see her head inside of me! At this point I was dilated to 2cm only, so still not a lot going on down there :( The doctor said that if things didn't progress or if Emilia reacted badly to the oxytocin he would deliver her via C-section. The midwife also told me that she had "a feeling" that it was going to go that way so I should be prepared. I know many people would be upset by this but honestly, I was so relaxed about the whole thing that I did not mind either way. A healthy baby was all that mattered to me so I was willing to do whatever it took to get her out!
An hour later they did another blood test and within that time I had actually dilated 6cm! It was crazy...I don't think anybody expected that! Also Emilia was fine and the doctor said he was happy to deliver vaginally -- yay! :) Everything kind of went a bit hazy after that. I remember bits of what happened but I think a lot of it was just so intense that I still have trouble remembering! I was so focused on the pushing that everything else went out the window. The problem with pushing through an epidural is that you can't really feel what you're doing. So even though I thought I was pushing hard I couldn't be too sure and I found that pretty frustrating. But when the epidural wore off a little bit it got easier to feel what was going on and I could actually feel this huge urge to push like it was the most natural thing to do at that time. Sometimes I felt like I was pushing for centuries...but when I look back I realise that it actually happened fairly fast! Right at the end the doctor used the ventrose/vacuum as otherwise I most likely would have had to push for another 2 hours. It was also at this point when the paediatrician or "baby doctor" as they called him entered the room to check Emilia after she was born. I honestly barely remember the poor guy...even though we were introduced!
At 4:24pm on September 11th 2012 baby Emilia entered the world! She was 7lbs 3oz and 19.5 inches long. Apparently she opened her eyes and cried right before she was even fully out...how freaky is that?! I'm glad I didn't see it, but Jofus did! He described it as one of the craziest things he'd ever witnessed...only her head was out by that stage! When they placed her on my chest I was in total shock...I didn't even cry or get emotional, I just could not believe that this baby had come out of my body! Jonathan cut the cord (which looks gross by the way...ha ha ha, I wouldn't have done it!) and she was checked by the paediatrician before getting put back onto me, under my gownie. She was pretty cross about being pulled out of her mama though -- I'm sure she would have stayed in there longer if it were up to her! ;)
I think the worst part of my whole labour & delivery was not so much the actual pushing but rather what happened after giving birth. I had needed an episiotomy so my OB had to stitch me up...by this time the epidural was wearing off even more so even though I was still pretty numb down there it felt very uncomfortable and felt like it took forever. All I wanted was for it to be over and to be alone with my baby & husband but unfortunately it took a while to be stitched up ;( However the doctor and midwives were so respectful of this and we could tell they were trying to finish up as soon as possible.
But no matter how much pain or discomfort it took to get her here, Emilia was so worth every bit of it! After she was born we put her in this cute little giraffe babygro from Carter's and there were no pink blankets left so she had to be wrapped in a blue one, ha ha! These are the first pictures Jofus and I took of her :)
When it was all over I was starving. No seriously, like I was RAVENOUS. And like always I got tea & toast! I was so sick of tea & toast by the time I left the hospital 3 days later but that particular one was pretty amazing seeing as I had just laboured for hours!
People keep asking me what my thoughts are on this whole pregnancy/labour & delivery experience and to be honest, I would do the whole thing again in a heartbeat! I never would have thought that pregnancy would be so enjoyable or that the birth would be so rewarding but it really is one of the most amazing experiences I've ever had. Also I can't stress enough how much I loved my doctor, the midwives & the hospital I gave birth in. If and when we decide to have another baby I will hopefully do it in Cork :)
I hope you guys found this post interesting and that it wasn't too long-winded or boring! Feel free to watch my labour & delivery video story video here and if you're interested in seeing the birth, you can watch that here!