Back to Sally's PageMatthew's Birth Story

In 1996, after 18 months of high blood pressure, my doctor decided to take me off the pill, just to see if that was the cause of the problem. Within weeks my blood pressure was normal and we decided that now was a good time to start a family. We had been going to wait 5 years, but I just didn't want to wait any longer and Kerry was not getting any younger!

I stopped the pill in April and we were pregnant by the end of September. I actually got a positive pregnancy test just after my birthday, which was a lovely present. We were very excited!! I had a bad dose of the flu early on and was very sick. It was just awful as the only thing I could take was panadol. Apart from that one episode, I didn't have terrible morning sickness, though there was one incident where Kerry cooked me a lovely meal, which I ate with relish, only to bring it all up again minutes later!!! I was very tired though and did little but eat and sleep.

My pregnancy was healthy right until the end. In the last few weeks my blood pressure started to rise and required frequent monitoring. I was into the hospital many times for non stress testing etc. I spent one night there at about 36 weeks. I remember that baby was in the transverse position in the evening, which concerned me greatly as it meant instant ceasarean. I had to do a "kick chart" and count up to 10 kicks in one hour. After getting that number in about the first 10 minutes I gave up! Baby was very active that night and by morning was head down again, thank goodness!

I made it to 10 days overdue before my doctor started talking about inducing. I saw him on the Friday afternoon, when my blood pressure was higher than ever. It was decided to have me monitored in the hospital on the Saturday & Sunday and induce me on the Monday if nothing had happened by then. He examined me and felt that the cervix was still not "ripe" and conditions were not ideal for a successful induction, but my blood pressure gave him little choice.

On the Sunday I went in for the non stress test and to have my BP checked again. It was so high this time that they decided to admit me and start the induction that night. I was very nervous, but also very excited, finally this baby was going to be a reality. I love being pregnant, but I admit by now I was ready for it to all be over!! I had been ready for this baby for weeks and just sitting around waiting for it to arrive.

On Sunday evening they inserted the first lot of Prostaglandin gel. They gave me a sleeping tablet to help me sleep and left me to it. I slept fitfully and woke at 5am with mild contactions coming every 2-3 minutes. I called Kerry to come in and then my mother, who was to be a support person. They put in some more gel around 6am and then I had a shower and some breakfast. The contractions continued at 2-3 minutes apart and felt like very bad period pain. They moved me into a labour and delivery room and we settled down to have this baby.

The contractions continued regularly all morning, getting stronger all the time. Kerry counted me through each one which helped immensely and mum rubbed my back while I groaned loudly through each one. At around 12pm they checked me and I was disappointed to find I was only 2-3 cm dilated. I continued to walk around and was coping well with the contractions as long as I could keep moving.

By around 5pm I was getting very tired and since further checks showed little progress, I decided to try the gas. I was not coping with the contractions any longer. The gas was great, it didn't take the pain away, but I didn't care about it anymore. After a while on this my doctor examined me again and decided to put up a drip and break my waters to speed things up a bit. I had heard about how painful labour with Pitocin is so I immediately requested an epidural. My doctor replied that this was a good idea as the way we were going, we were looking at forceps or a ceasarean.

Before I knew it I had a drip, an epidural, a EFM attached, a catheter and my waters broken. The epidural was bliss I must say after hours of pain. Almost as soon as the drip went up the baby went into distress. The midwife kept turning the rate down with little effect, so eventually she turned it off. I was still dilated to only 2-3 cm, so sometime between 10- 11 pm it was decied to do a ceasarean. I remember crying at this point, but I am not sure what about. I know I went into this labour with no expectations except for a healthy baby, but this is not what I had expected. No- one else in my family had ever had this much trouble having a baby! At this point I just wanted it all to be over, so I agreed.

I was wheeled off to theatre. I felt nervous and scared, of having surgery, of something going wrong.It took a while to get the epidural to work effectively for the surgery, I had a persistent window on the left side. Eventually it worked, though the block went halfway up my chest, which was way too high. My anaesthetist was wonderful, he held my hand till Kerry got there and talked to me the whole time, letting me know what was happening. At 11:32pm on the 2nd June, 1997, after 17 1/2 hours of labour, Matthew James Slavin was finally born, weighing 6lb, 14 oz, 50cm long & with the cord wrapped around his body twice.

Kerry and I were a bit surprised as we thought we were having a girl, but glad it was all over. I got a quick look before he was rushed off to the nursery to be checked out. Kerry went with him, where he sat for ages cuddling his boy. I fell asleep at this point and remember the anaesthetist laughing because I was snoring. Mum &Dad saw me in recovery, before Mum went home for a well earned rest. My Doctor saw me in recovery, where he told me that he could see no reason why I could not have a normal birth next time, as Matthew was only a small baby. Based on that I decided then and there to go back to him for our next pregnancy and birth.

It was 2 or 3am in the morning before I got back to the post natal ward and got my first cuddle with my baby. I don't remember much about that day. I know that the nurses got me out of bed in the morning but I kept falling asleep, so they put me back in bed. I slept most of the day. The photo tells it all.

I was disappointed about how things turned out, but not devastated. I felt that my body had let me down and that I had failed in my first test as a mother. The immediate post op period was pretty miserable, every movement hurt and I was so thankful that Kerry was there every day to help me look after Matthew. I went home after 5 days, where I developed a post op wound infection, which slowed my recovery somewhat.

Breastfeeding went well at first. At around 11 weeks though we began to have trouble with the milk supply and after complementing with a bottle and expressing after every feed for about 6 weeks with little success, Matthew went onto the bottle. I found this very hard. I had failed at childbirth and now I had failed at breastfeeding too. However I learn't that motherhood is more than the birth and breastfeeding and Matthew has now made it to 6 years old, so we must have done something right!!



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