This story begins in May 2002. It was a very busy month for our family. We ahd just moved Kerry's mother into a Hostel and were very busy cleaning out her unit. At the same time my brother was getting married and Matthew was to be a pageboy. I was feeling incredibly tired but put it down to how busy we were. Joshua was still breastfed at this stage, so that contributed to my tiredness also. I was vaguely aware that my period was due, but since I didn't remember when I last had one, I had no idea how late it was, if at all.
After the wedding and after we had finished cleaning out my mother-in-laws unit, I was still feeling very tired and by around the 20th of June I was starting to feel a little nauseated as well. I couldn't stand the taste of coffee or tea either. A couple of friends found this suspicious and started asking questions. As far as I could work out my last period was in April sometime. My friends convinced me to do a pregnancy test, so I got one on the way home from church and did it before going to work. It was positive! I was in shock, my first (irrational) thought was, "But I can't be pregnant, we haven't been trying!" As if that makes a difference! Certainly we hadn't planned this, Joshua was only 1 year old and still having 4 feeds a day, my husband was out of work and I was the main wage earner. I was enjoying my baby, had no plans to wean and certainly had no desire for another baby just yet. I spent that entire shift at work in a daze, unable to think of anything but "God, what are we going to do??!!"
A visit to the doctor and an ultrasound soon confirmed everything. I was 11 weeks pregnant already and due on January 19. Just days before Matthew was due to start school! It is amazing how seeing that little baby on the ultrasound screen made it all so real. I was a bit hesitant to tell people our news, worried that they would think we were mad to have another baby right now- surprise or not. But everyone we told was very excited for us.
This preganncy was again uneventful and healthy, apart from the fact that I was so tired. I weaned Joshua by 15 months as I found it too tiring and my supply dropped to next to nothing anyway. Having 2 kids at home to keep me busy didn't help either. I went through the Public Health System for this pregnancy, I couldn't afford the cost of a private obstetrician, and my Doc for my previous 2 pregnancies would have booked me in for an elective c-section. Initially we were booked into the hospital where Matthew was born, our small local hospital, but changed to a larger Public Hospital at about 20 weeks as our local hospital would not allow me to try for a VBAC after 2 ceasaereans. All my babies have now been born at different hospitals!
By 36 weeks I had stopped work and I was getting very uncomfortable. I had a lot of pain and discomfort in my pelvis and around the scar when moving around and I was getting fed up with it all. Christmas and New Year passed and 2003 was here. Baby was given a strict timetable of when it was to arrive. Mum was to mind the boys while I was in labour and she was going on holidays between the 4th and 16th of January. So baby couldn't arrive before the 16th. Our good friend Ronda was to be there during labour and her daughter was to go into hospital on the 22nd for lung surgery. So baby had to arrive before the 22nd. My sister was having a party on the 18th, before going away for 2 years travelling around Australia, so baby wasn't allowed to arrive on that date either. The only really good date was the due date, 19th of January.
Mum got to enjoy her holiday and came home on the 16th. The day of the party arrived and it was HOT! The temp was around 40 degrees all day and I was melting. I had had a couple of contractions in the evenings on the previous couple of days, but nothing had come of it yet. We went to the party where a southerly change finally arrived and it was heavenly! Went to bed that night with all the windows open to catch the breeze. I woke about 2am with a contraction. I didn't get too excited, this had happened before and then it had stopped. But this time they kept coming. They were irregualr but getting stronger. I got out of bed as I couldn't sleep and sat in the rocking chair reading between contractions and rocking. I left Kerry to sleep, he would need his rest. By 6-7 am the kids were up and I woke Kerry to tell him this was it. I had some breakfast and a shower and rang Mum. She had to travel an hour to get to our place and I didn't want to leave it too long. Ronda was on her way. Mum, Dad and my youngest brother arrived around 10am, three people to mind 2 boys! Ronda arrived around 11am.
I stayed in the loungeroom in the rocking chair. Dad sat next to me, laughing at the noises I was making during contractions and trying to make me laugh. The contractions were getting stronger and more regular and shortly after Ronda arrived I decided it was time to head to the hospital. We got to the hospital around 12pm. When Kerry had rung them earlier to let them know I was in labour, they hadn't beleived him because only 3% of babies arrive on their due date! I was checked in and they put me on the monitor. I settles into the rocker/recliner in the room. Contractions were strong and regular. The doctor came in around 1pm. He did an exam to find that the baby was still high and not engaged (again!) Cervix was still posterior, only 1-3cm dilated and long. The doctor immediately said he didn't think I would be having this baby naturally. He expected more progress with the strong contrations I was having. He said he would give me 2 hours, if no progress was made he wanted to do another ceasarean. I was very upset at this. I was thinking I would have made more progress and this was looking like a repeat of prevous labours.
Kerry, Ronda and I prayed together and gave it all to God. The midwives moved me to a different room and put me on a portable monitor so I could be up and move around. I wasn't going to have an epidural this time as I knew that this only had the effect of slowing my labour down to nothing, but I asked for the gas instead. The contractions dropped off a bit, less painful and less frequent. I breathed through them and walked around. The midwife, Simone, stayed in the room with us for the whole 2 hours, talking me through contractions and chatting inbetween. She kept asking me if I had any scar tenderness. I said no, but in hindsight I think most of the pain during contractions was centred on the scar, though I had no pain between contractions.
At 3pm the doctor came back. He examined me again and no progress had been made. He wanted to do a ceasarean and all of a sudden I felt a great peace and knew this was the right thing to do. I agreed. Things were set in motion. I was shaved and an IV set up. The contractions kept coming and were getting stronger again. I couldn't help thinking that once a ceasarean was decided on contractions should stop! Around 4:30pm they wheeled me off to theatre. The aneasthetist gave me a spinal, this part of the procedure was easier this time. Then they realised I was still in my own nightie, so I had to get changed. The spinal worked well and before I knew it we were in theatre and the old familiar routine was in progress to get me ready for surgery. Kerry was beside me and he was allowed to bring his camera this time so as the baby was being delivered, he got photos of it all.
I heard a cry and then the doctor saying "It's a girl!" I cried with happiness. Emily Rose was born at 5pm on the 19th of January 2003, her due date! She weighed 7lbs 7oz. Kerry sat at my head holding Emily Rose while they stitched me up before they took her upstairs. I was wide awake for the whole thing this time and I was chatting to the aneasthetist about work while they were stitching me up. The doctor told me that the uterine scar had been very thin, they could see the baby's head through it when they opened me up. I realised that the peace I had felt upon deciding on a ceasarean had been from God. We had done the right thing. God was looking after us.
I was expecting to feel very upset during the weeks after the birth about failing yet again in my quest for a natural birth, but I found that I didn't. I give God all the glory for this. I have come to terms with the fact that I will never have a natural birth now. I am not sure why I have had so much trouble with birthing my babies. Perhaps if Matthew's birth had been managed better, if I had not experienced the cascade of medical intervention that made a ceasarean necessary, I may have been able to birth him naturally, thereby making subsequent deliveries easier, without that dreaded c-section in my history. Than again, the fact that I broke my tailbone as a teenager may have meant that natural birth was impossible for me anyway. It is all intellectual now. The fact remains that I have 3 beautiful children and I thank God for them every day.
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