Story by Aili & Luke
Hi Kat, on Thursday the 11th of March at 10.25 am Luke and I welcomed a beautiful little girl, Rae Ann into the world. Weighing in at 3.560kgs and 50cms in length both Rae and I are in good health.
On my due date the 10th, I went shopping with my mum and sister, I had no indication of the impending birth with no Braxton hicks, just the feeling of Rae bouncing up and down on my bladder/ cervix. Contractions began at 3.45 am I had 2 contractions 10 minutes apart and came on strong by 5 am. I was confused by this and thought surely labour couldn’t be this painful this early, as I was aware that first time mum’s usually labour for 10-12ish hours. By 5 am the contractions were only 2-3 mins apart and lasting 1 min at a time. Luke called the hospital and they asked us to come in immediately. Meanwhile, I got Luke to set up the tens machine and apply it to my lower back area. Leaving the house was painful, each contraction would delay us from leaving.
Thankfully the tens machine was very relieving on the trip down and made it all possible, giving me something to focus on. It took roughly 25 mins to make it to the hospital and arrived at roughly 6 am.
Once inside, I was placed in a wheelchair and sent to the maternity ward by security. However just our luck we happened to arrive when the lifts were out of service due to back up generator testing which is only done for 1 hr every 6 months. Contractions were almost unbearable and conversation with anybody was near impossible. For the next 5 mins we waited out the front of the lift with no answer of when power would return. At this point Luke and I agreed that the only option was to attempt to walk up the stairs towards the ward. As I walked up the stairs the contractions were strong, and I would stop and let it pass before proceeding.
Once we arrived at the delivery suite the midwife who greeted us was finishing her shift. She would monitor for the next hr before shift change, she asked if I wanted to be checked to see how dilated I was, I could not bear the thought of someone touching me and was probably transitioning.
The following midwife named Jenny took over. She was fantastic and really encouraging. She would complement my determination and effort throughout and even said I was welcome to come back and birth anytime. Luke was by my side the whole time feeding me chunks of ice and assisting in whatever way possible. This included Luke continually asking Jenny what was happening and engaging with the stages of labour. He was able to witness the purple line and Jenny said it was a perfect example of it. Once it reached a certain point, she was confident that I was at least 9cms dilated without doing an internal exam. Jenny asked several times after this point if I wanted any pain relief which I declined.
Contractions were strong at this point and I felt the need to push which Jenny encouraged me to do. I was in the second stage of labour for 1.5hrs. I began pushing on my knees lent over the bed for the first 45 mins.
Jenny showed Luke a glimpse of Rae’s head, “omg so much hair” Luke said with excitement.
In this position, I struggled to get Rae’s head past the curve in my pelvis and her heart rate was starting to increase slightly so Jenny suggested a different position. I reluctantly agreed as I knew changing positions was going to encourage movement. Standing up on the side of the bed it only took a few contractions for Rae’s head to pass the curve. However, standing up was tiring for my legs and Jenny then suggested moving back to first position on my knees. Jenny continued to monitor Rae’s heartrate and encouraged me to breathe and to push with the intension of getting her out.
Throughout this whole time, I was religiously using the tens machine not so much for pain management but to focus as I used the pulse button throughout the contractions.
Again, this position wasn’t progressing, and Jenny said I would need to get the doctor in to probably use the vacuum and have a episiotomy but my following contraction showed promise.
Jenny then suggested we try one last position and that was laying down on my side with Luke bracing one leg and Jenny bracing the other. Luke noticed Jenny draw up a needle and he asked what she was doing. She said it was syntocinon and Luke replied saying Aili does not want it. Jenny said that’s fine she but drew it up as a precaution. In this position it would take about 8 contractions until my waters broke and the following contraction led to Rae’s head crowning. Jenny applied a warm washer to my perineum and tried to talk me through slowly pushing her out which was difficult.
Rae was then born and was immediately placed onto my chest. Instant relief rushed through my body as Luke knelt in and joined us. I birthed the placenta by myself shortly after. I had a second-degree tear, so Jenny suggested syntocinon to manage bleeding. The cord was cut by Luke once it stopped pulsating.
Rae then spent over an hour on my chest having skin-to-skin contact with Luke and myself. Mesmerised by her features we couldn’t believe how dark and long her hair was. I would spend the next couple of hours in the delivery suite. We have been doing well at home, I’ve just been doing everything Rae tells me to. Feeding has been not bad, nipples are sore, but I know this will pass. The midwife visited us for 5 days at home and after her weigh-in on the 5th day with a weight gain of 30g, she was happy to discharge us from the at-home program.
Thank you so much! I definitely felt well prepared and had a range of tools to get me through the labour. I had so many things packed and ready to try but didn’t end up using them so definitely more over prepared than under!
One thing I forgot to mention, once I left the house I pretty much had my eyes closed until Rae was born I was really in my own world! It really is such a once in a life time experience!