Profanity and TMI warning. I use real body parts and talk about things intimately and descriptively. Well. It turns out writing Liam's birth story has taken longer than it took to grow him! This is take 2, after my first story was halted by a broken computer, then finally when resurrected, crashed irreparably and didn't survive a back up. Devastating, there were hours of work and emotion poured into telling his tale! It's too good not to tell though, so I'm starting from scratch. In fact, I start when Zeke was just a day old...
Cradling my newborn son, and trying to memorise every second of this new mama bliss I was delighted by, I had a brilliant moment of clarity, a welcome change from the pain-killer-induced fog I'd been in. I knew without a doubt at that moment that I could do this again, a thousand times over if I had to, anything to feel that joy and amazement as I gazed in awe at the beautiful, perfect, unique little person I had created.
I knew immediately as well that my next birth would be different. No induction, no epidural, and especially NO cesarean! My research and reading in the first place had educated me about VBAC, vaginal birth after cesarean, and less than 24 hours after my first birth, VBAC was in my future. It might seem a little strange (or as Ryan thought - downright crazy!) to be contemplating your second birth when the fruits of your first labour are less than a day old, but that moment of realisation had been so strong, even though I was still healing from Zeke's birth, I knew I would have my VBAC one day, I just didn't know when.
As it turned out, it would be some time. We had agreed we thought at least an 18 month age gap was right for us, as well as Zeke's surgery, moving house twice and finally getting married keeping us busy in the meanwhile. I was busy too - researching, reading everything I could about VBAC, already making decisions for a baby I hadn't even conceived yet.
I wasn't just after a vaginal birth though, I was after a low intervention, low interference birth, and although I hadn't minded the gas, I loathed peth, and was scared of another epidural. So my reading took a turn towards natural, active births, and I saw how the cascade of intervention had played out while birthing Zeke. I re-read his birth story, replayed moments in my head, and saw how my choices had interfered with the natural progression of labour. While feeling instinctively Zeke was always meant to be delivered by cesarean, I also understood how much my attitude, decisions and actions would affect my next birth, and was determined to make the changes to have a different result next time around.
With a birth plan for an imaginary, for the time being, baby in place, it was no wonder I was feeling clucky! I was excited and empowered, I looked forward to growing and birthing this new baby, expanding our family, not to mention writing this very story! I am a birth junkie, as well as being addicted to writing, and sharing what I felt sure would be a beautiful and triumphant tale was as exciting (well, almost!) as the new baby itself. So, with the wedding and honeymoon out of the way, I set about convincing Ryan it was definitely time we added another member to our clan.
Another thing we had agreed on was instead of ‘trying’ to get pregnant, we preferred the idea of letting the baby come in their own time. Zeke had been born despite trying NOT to have a baby, so we figured we’d go with the flow and let spontaneity and natural affection take its course, and things would happen when they were meant to. I still knew what my cycle was doing though, and knew when to test, and of course we knew that something *could* happen the first time we stopped using protection - but all the same, what a surprise to see those two pink lines just 12 days after we agreed it was time! (For those counting, we decided it was time for a new family member on 29/05/10, and I saw a faint line 10/06/10 at 11DPO.)
I had constant all day nausea for the first 15ish weeks, although I didn’t throw up nearly so often as with Zeke, so I felt pretty lucky! My gag reflex got hypersensitive as well, textures grossed me out, anything slimy and thick. I couldn’t have smoothies, lentils, most soups, or porridge, even some curries - as soon as the texture touched my tongue I’d start to gag. I found the porridge and curry especially disappointing. I ate lots of citrus fruit, and drank litres of ginger beer and lemonade (1/3 ginger beer to ⅔ lemonade, absolutely ice cold) to combat the nausea, as well as vanilla ice cream, anything sharp or cleansing to take the “sick” feeling out of my mouth. The nausea started earlier too - during Zeke’s music class when I was barely 5 weeks along, I bent down with too much vigour and suddenly felt very ill, having to take several deep breaths and keep my hand pressed to my mouth. Well, when you turn green in the middle of a room full of toddlers, your plan of keeping the news to yourself disappears very quickly! I was quick to assure the mums I was not contagious, just pregnant!
It was a very different pregnancy from Zeke’s though, the nausea was different, the baby’s movements were different, my cravings were different, so different in fact, I was hopeful I was carrying a girl. Despite this physical difference, instinctively I knew it would be a boy, there would be 2 years and 9 months between Zeke and this new baby, and I could feel it was the perfect age for brothers. We had decided to wait for a surprise at birth with the gender, as we’d loved the surprise at the end with Zeke. But instinctively I felt we’d be finding out before hand, I had told people “We’re not finding out, although if the baby’s an exhibitionist, I’m okay with that.” Sure enough, at the 20 week ultrasound, there was our baby, with his legs widely displayed and everything on view! However, we’d specified to the tech that we didn’t want to know, and as she moved down to find his feet she gasped, “Oh! You should probably look away!” Neither Ryan nor I said anything till we’d left the appointment, but we both thought we'd seen the same thing, despite not being convinced because neither of us are in any way qualified to read ultrasounds.
As it turns out, almost-knowing is worse than not knowing, and two weeks later, we went back for a repeat scan to find out for sure. We may not have been qualified ultrasound technicians, but we were right, there was no mistaking it - we had a boy! In fact, within seconds of the radiologist finding the right spot, and laughing “well, I don’t think I need to tell you what THAT is!” A tiny hand reached down and grabbed firmly onto the little boy parts we were looking at - any further doubt gone! (Many jokes of being his father’s son ensued later when we told the tale to our friends!)
With his gender determined, we set about finding a name. We had picked Ezekiel David before I'd even been pregnant with Zeke, but this time, while knowing we would use James as middle name, there had not been another boy's name that either of us liked, much less agreed on! Then, laying in bed one night, I asked Ryan about Callum. He said no, the double L sound in the middle didn't work, especially with our last name. I had to agree Callum Fullerton didn't work for me, so we lay there in the dark, feeling our little boy wriggle, and making silly noises. "Llllllum. Lllllll. Lllum Cal-LUM" Playing with that double-L until the name lost meaning. Suddenly, off the end of my random sounds, came Liam. "Callum. Ca-LUM. Llll-um. Liam! Hey, what about Liam?" Even Ryan had to admit it sounded good, and as soon as we heard Liam James Fullerton, that was it. We did play around with other names, reluctant to set it in stone in case the baby didn't look like a Liam, but the closer we got to my due date, the more often we called the baby Liam, so much for waiting till baby day!
The biggest part of pregnancy for me however, was planning this peaceful birth I’d envisioned in the first place. Within a day of knowing I emailled the wonderful doula Julie, who I’d had with Zeke, and let her know the exciting news, and to book the end of Feb 2011 into her calendar. Unfortunately she emailled me back and said that she would be busy around then - with her own newborn! Julie put me in touch with another amazing doula, Erika a VBAC mama herself, as well as an Independent Midwife as an IM support in hospital was a better chance at VBAC.
I called around a few hospitals to find out their policies on VBAC. The first, Warragul was immediately ruled out because it was too far away 2 hours in clear traffic at best, despite the reputation as being extremely VBAC friendly we didn’t want to be so far away from home if I stayed overnight, we didn’t want to risk a peak-hour drive in labour, and I knew moving to a motel in early labour would upset me. The second the Women’s was in the city, a 40 minute drive, but had a great reputation, although the VBAC policy I had found shared online required more interventions than I was comfortable with. When I rang to find out about how to become a patient there, the midwife told me “you’re out of our catchment area, and you’re high-risk, you have to go to Box Hill Hospital.” Now, I had switched away from Box Hill after finding out about Birth Centre availability when I’d been pregnant with Zeke, and was not keen to go back, as something about that unit gave me an unsettled feeling.
The closest hospital, The Angliss, where I’d had Zeke, required a VBAC mother to have an obstetric model of care, be ‘approved’ for VBAC, as well as an OB present at the birth - who may not have been the same OB who’d given the green light, so right up till labour the plug could potentially have been pulled. I also asked the midwife I was speaking to which obstetricians had a VBAC friendly policy, and was told she couldn’t give that information, but she helpfully added that as a VBAC I was high-risk, and should be attending Box Hill. So much for choice!
I called Box Hill briefly, and spoke to an extremely unhelpful midwife, who basically took my details and said she’d send me the registration forms, the gist of the conversation I’d got was it was a similar situation to the Angliss. An OB must approve my VBAC attempt, and present at the birth, again, not necessarily the one who I’d been seeing, just the one on-call. Well, that was it. Being told I was high risk, (at barely 5 weeks pregnant) and being told I basically had no choice, and HAD to go to the one hospital I didn’t want to, was more than I could take. I did what I always do when I’m frustrated and overwhelmed - I cried!
I couldn’t do it. I was too scared to home birth, I was still holding onto “What if the baby’s head is like Zeke’s?” and I felt forced to go to the hospital I didn’t want to, where they wanted ARM at 3cm, 4 hourly VE’s and 2 hourly after 7cm, CEFM, well I just *knew* I would end up with another cesarean at that point! I couldn’t imagine having another epidural, there would be the same complications, and I would have another general anaesthetic, which was my worst fear, being asleep when my baby arrived. I couldn’t birth at home, I couldn’t birth in hospital... I was just going to have to stay pregnant forever, but I knew that wasn’t a possibility, so I knew I was going to have to give birth, in a way I didn’t want... Yeah I’m not the most rational!
I spoke some more to Julie, Erika and my IM, and one of them gave me enough confidence to ring the Women’s again. If I had to be in hospital, which ultimately I felt more comfortable with, it would be the one I’d chosen. This time I found myself talking to a much more helpful and understanding midwife, she listened to my story, and why I could not attend either of the closer hospitals, and my plan to VBAC with an IM and doula. She agreed I was a great candidate (the first hospital support I’d had!) and explained how to get a referral that should get me accepted to the clinic. Off to the GP, who while not supportive of VBAC herself totally respected my decision (“I can see you’ve done your research and are confident in your decision, well done!”) wrote and faxed off my referral.
Around the same time (getting late into the first trimester) I also officially met and decided to take on Erika as my doula, although I was a little sad to “properly” say goodbye to Julie who had never left my mind as “my” doula. (In fact, I still refer to Julie and Erika as “my” doulas, even though the pregnancy and births they attended are long gone!) I also decided to hire the IM I had been speaking to after meeting with her and discussing a supported home labour followed by transfer and hospital birth.
My first appointment at the Women's went much better than I expected, the midwife I was seeing took one look at my notes, asked me about my intention to birth, and transferred me to the Cosmos program, a team of 3 midwifes, who were providing one-to-one care in low-intervention births, it was still on the main ward, but had a birth-centre mindset. I would be seeing the same midwife throughout my pregnancy, get to meet the other two, was guaranteed one of them would attend my labour birth, I would be contacted by my midwife sometime in the next week or so - I just about bounced back from my appointment with that news! Slowly but surely my fears and concerns about birthing in a hospital were being taken care of.
I enjoyed the home visits with my IM as well for the most part, it was nice being in my own environment, not needing to worry about care for Zeke, and to have Ryan who was working from home at the time, come out to hear the baby’s heart beat and go back to work right away. I also liked that even to check my blood pressure she would ask permission rather than “Ok, we’re going to check your blood pressure now.” I got at the hospital, not that I would have refused the test there, but it was nice to be actually ASKED rather than assumed consent. However, I did find it a frustrating when she was consistently 15 minutes or more late. There was an appointment where I was particularly sick, tired and nauseous and had dragged myself out of bed just to be ready when she was due, to find I could have stayed in bed almost 30 more minutes annoyed me given how awful I was feeling.
I met with my Cosmos midwife Louise around 16 weeks, she was lovely and very excited, although a little nervous, I was her first VBAC mother. We went over my birth story with Zeke again, and talked about how I was feeling. I was concerned about my back and hips again. I had had pelvic instability and sciatica with Zeke, and it felt like it was coming back already. I was concerned about it, as I had had trouble during labour with sciatic pain causing more grief than the contractions, and I didn’t want to be in the same position again. She immediately agreed to refer me to the hospital physio, and, listening further to my anxieties, suggested a referral to the anesthesiologist for a consult regarding the complications I’d had with my previous epidural. She was very clear that I didn’t want one, but suggested it might ease my fears.
So my next appointment was a busy one, physio, epidural, and midwife! The physio immediately began with a general muttered amazement regarding my lousy back - I have not yet seen a physio, chiro or osteo who has not laid their hands on me and been awed/shocked/impressed by just how dodgy my hips and back can get. Anyway, shock over, she set me up with a few gentle exercises to try and keep the ligaments from stretching further, as well as a series of what-not-to-do regarding taking stairs, the right way to get into and out of bed, anything to protect my very sore hips. With the increasing weight, we agreed the best I could to was to try and prevent the situation getting any worse, treatment would have to come afterward. By the end of the pregnancy I ended up with a Tubi-Grip around my belly, and a belt supporting my hips, I looked pretty ridiculous, but I did feel better!
I was very much in two minds about seeing the anaesthesiologist, on one hand I knew I didn’t want another epidural at all, ever, and didn’t see the point but at the same time, the thought that in the very minute chance that something did go awry and I needed a repeat section, that I would have to be under a general anaesthetic when my baby was born again made me physically sick, and I needed that weight off my mind. Turns out I didn’t like the guy very much, he ended the consultation with the advice that VBACs are dangerous and I should have an epidural just in case regardless of whether or not I felt the need. However, the rest of the appointment was productive and informative, he looked at my spine and determined placing another epidural should be easy, it seemed the issues at Zeke’s birth had been a combination of poor luck and poorer management. I still knew I would not be having an epidural, but the news I could just lightened my heart.
I relayed this news Louise at my appointment immediately after, she gave one of her big smiles, and said “Great, now let’s talk about your birth plan so you don’t have to have one anyway!” I realised almost at once my birth plan for this birth had kind of been hanging on that fear. I knew what needed to be done to achieve a low intervention birth, but hadn’t really thought about it for my birth. Planning was now well and truly underway I’d labour at home for as long as possible, use the bath and heat packs to cope, and only transfer when I felt really uncomfortable. Erika gave me a meditation/relaxation CD she’d made with lots of positive affirmations which I listened to as often as possible, and I began to feel content and confident about the idea of giving birth.
I shared the news about my new found positivity with my IM as well, explaining to her my fear that I would have to have another general for the birth, and that now I knew that I could have an epidural if I needed one, that I would not have one at all. However, in what I felt to be my first real revelation of self-affirmation and confidence, I was cut off suddenly as she spoke over me, “If you think you can have an epidural you will!” I tried to explain that I had never intended to, but for me it had cleared a significant mental block, but again she cut me off, not exactly aggressively, but very harsh in her manner “You WILL have an epidural!” It was not a challenge ‘come on prove me wrong’ kind of manner, it was scolding and definite that I was wrong, she was assured in her belief that I would be unable to birth the way I intended. We changed the subject after that, however, later in the same appointment, she would make an extremely rude and personal remark to me. I forgot both these moments for quite some time, but when I remembered them down the track after the birth, I realised I had been shaken and hurt by her remarks, feeling scolded, naive and juvenile for being so positive, and when I needed to call her a couple of days after the appointment, I was actually physically trembling and delayed the reason to call by almost a week. Remembering that she spoke to me like that still makes my eyes sting more than a year on, although the front of my mind (as it often does with confrontation) shut the memory down quickly, I know I never truly relaxed in her presence after that date. (I have seen her two or three times post birth at other occasions as well, and still felt uneasy.)
The rest of my pregnancy flew by generally uneventfully, I saw the physio and Louise at the hospital, my IM had a couple of visits, I chatted with Erika and practised lots of Optimal Foetal Positioning, and spoke loving, affirmative words to my baby. I figured even if my conscious was still being a bit doubtful about everything, instilling confidence in my baby and my subconscious listening to those words would help. The last few weeks were restless, random practise squeezes, sciatic pain, nesting, an overwhelming desire to either be out of the house, or asleep - whichever was least convenient at the time, and generally coping with summer heat and a busy 2.5yo.
I had always known that my EDD of Feb 20 was fairly irrelevant, I’d gone well over with Zeke, and knew I’d be the same with Liam. Around 16 weeks I’d woken up one morning with March 4th firmly in my mind, that would be 41and 5 days, and was pretty convinced that was when I’d have the bub. Naturally, my SIL who was going to Scotland for a year on the 3rd of March was no so impressed with my intuition. The other people who disagreed with me, were the obstetricians. I’d had my last appointment with Louise at 38+2 and had told her I would not consent to a repeat c/s unless we were unwell, I was waiting till I went into labour regardless. Her last words to me as I left that day, knowing I’d be seeing an OB the following week were “Stay firm, and walk that baby out!”
39+2 and I met the obstetrician, who immediately started in on the “let’s get the baby out of you” angles. Sympathy “You must be SO tired of being pregnant!” didn’t work, yes I was a bit over it, but with March 4 in my head as my “due” date, I was not going to be expecting anything before then. She also went for a bit of fear mongering, telling me that a new study had been released showing ultrasounds could be as much as two weeks inaccurate when it comes to dating, saying “You could be TWO WHOLE WEEKS more pregnant that you thought!” The only reason I had a dating scan in the first place had been because around 8 weeks I had rapidly felt better without reason, and wanted to check that everything had been ok, or that I was not more pregnant that I thought, and the EDD from that scan coincided with my LMP and ovulation charts - a fact she chose to ignore. I also asked, could I be two weeks LESS pregnant, and only be 37 weeks? “Oh no, your fundal height and descent station are far more consistent with 39 weeks!” Needless to say she didn’t get very far in convincing me I needed to schedule surgery.
The week of my due date came around, I had been waking regularly at 4am with predictable, though light squeezes, that I could not quite sleep through, although they regularly petered out by about 9am. The same thing happened the morning of my 40 week obstetricians appointment, so on seeing the dark circles under my eyes the new obstetrician went straight on the attack about a repeat section. She suggested immediately booking myself in for the following week, and when I declined, saying I was happy to wait as long as necessary, she replied that if I waited until my next appointment, all the elective spots would be filled, and I’d have to wait another 2 or even 3 days to get in “and you will be SO tired of being pregnant by then!” I still said no, unless it was a medical necessity I would not be having a cesarean. Instead, I agreed to a CTG and fluid check after the appointment, and as the OB filled in the forms for that, as well as the one to make my next appointment at reception, she told me, “I’m requesting you see me again next week, that way, if you haven’t had that baby yet I’m going to book you in personally!” My appointment with was made for the following week 1 March at 10 am - remember that!
Over to the CTG and more anti-VBAC attitude, although this one I wasn’t meant to hear. I had handed my request form to the nurse on the desk, and stepped back to wait, while she entered the details into the computer, on reading my info, she turned to another colleague, showing her the notes. They both shook their heads and tisked one remarking “Which OB ordered this? She’s trying for a VBAC, and already 40 weeks. I can’t believe they’re letting her try - it’s practically negligent!” More ‘what is this world coming to?’ head shaking. The CTG was perfect, as I’d expected, fluid was beautiful, and my lovely boy was head well down and in a great position. I headed home, and ranted about the idiocy I’d encountered, receiving lots of lovely positive words of support and encouragement from my birthy friends.
The rest of the week was much the same, long walks, longer baths, practise squeezes that occasionally got regular enough for me to want to take notice, but faded away not long after. The strength was gradually increasing, but not enough to hurt, but no other real symptoms. So we just kept on with life at home. The 26th, the Saturday my SIL had her going away party, which was a lovely day at the park. Other than a few quiet squeezes that only I noticed I was having, I didn’t go into labour at the picnic as had been predicted - my money was still on that I’d start labour shortly before Kyla boarded the plane, so she’d know the baby was coming, but have to wait the better part of a day till she landed to find out the news.
Sunday 27th Feb, 4 am again! This time the squeezes were harder, and almost exactly 10 minutes apart. I rode them out in bed till 5am, then walked around the house, and had some breakfast, which I threw up almost immediately. Around 9 I called my IM to let her know I was warming up, but not convinced. I spoke to Erika as well, and by 10am, everything was back to normal - no squeezes, but the beginnings of some show. I didn’t want to cook that night, nor was I very hungry, but we went to Hungry Jacks, mostly so Zeke could burn some energy on the playground. The squeezes started up again while we were there, and those little plastic chairs are no fun! Home as I was feeling antsy, but ended up asleep quickly enough.
Monday 28th, this time I didn’t end up waking at 4am, and I was definitely relieved. More show each time I visited the toilet, and intermittent, mild squeezing. I touched base with my IM again but generally stayed quiet. I also had a long chat with Erika that day, who (lovingly) told me to hurry up and get into labour, as she had a client being induced the following day, and it would be a matter of who called first. Well, not even that would hurry me along it seemed, and after a quiet afternoon, I decided a trip to the shops for proper dinner (I was hungry again!) wouldn’t hurt, and might even get the baby shifted. I absolutely stuffed down my kiev and wedges when we got home and quickly put Zeke to bed afterward, so I could run a bath. Full and relaxed I soaked in there for a while, and while I had no inkling, at this point Ryan said later that he could sense a change and knew the baby would be on the way soon.
10.30 pm - I hopped out of the bath, and given that it was a warm Feb evening, wrapped myself in a towel and played on Facebook, assuring everyone that I was most definitely STILL pregnant. I was squeezing again, and figured I had been in the bath as well, but the water had dulled it. Oh well - nothing new.
11.30pm - Hang on, those squeezes are awfully consistent, and if I’m not relaxed when they come on they knock the breath out of me. I pace around a little while, yep that definitely kicks it up a notch. I let Ryan know something’s starting up, but that it’s time to hit the hay for some sleep before anything gets too intense.
Tuesday March 1 12.30 am - I can’t sleep and have to shift every time I squeeze, which have gone to a regular 13 minute interval. Ryan is getting disturbed whenever I move around, and not getting the sleep he needs for a 40-minute hospital drive plus labour support. I don’t need his company that much yet, so I decide to run a bath and chill out there for a while. We’re blessed with a big corner spa, and after thinking about all things birth for a while, I decide a deep squat on the floor of the bath will keep my belly and back immersed nicely, and keep the baby’s head low, and with a folded towel on the edge to rest my head on, I could stay in a good labour position and relax and rest. I propped my book on the floor in front of me, and read for a few pages, but the warm water and resting my head quickly lulled me into a half doze.
3.30am - I’m awake again, and feeling the squeezes more definitely. The bath’s cold and I’m hungry. I decide to hop out, make myself some cereal, and reheat the bath. I resume the same squat a few minutes later, with the bowl on the floor where my book had been, eating between each squeeze, and rocking my hips gently throughout.
4am - Even that 5 minutes of walking to make some food really kicked things up a notch, the bath, although soothing isn’t enough, I want Ryan and I want my heat packs. I get him up to help me, and begin pacing with each now definitely a contraction, hugging one pack to my front, and using the other on my back. Soon they’re intense enough I need to vocalise long low sounds to move through them. My hips begin to ache if I stand still for too long, and I tell Ryan that if I’m upright, I don’t care if he has to push me, just keep me walking!
5 am - Zeke has heard me, and is awake already, so we call Ryan’s mother and sister to come take care of him. His Thomas DVD is driving me nuts, but keeping him occupied. I also call my IM between contractions while Ryan is outside speaking to his mum, and let her know that I’m definitely on the way to having a baby and beginning to have trouble with the sensations. She suggests I call her back in a hour after listening to a contraction or two. I don’t like that - I feel awkward and self conscious and I’m glad when the call is done. I continue to pace during the contractions, trying hard not to freeze when they begin, and resting on all fours against the couch in between so Ryan can rub my back or resettle my heat packs.
5.30am - Julia & Kyla arrive to play with Zeke, Julia rubs my back between contractions as well, and heats my packs again for me. She also keeps time for a little - something we had not bothered to do - and they’re coming every 5 or so minutes. My hips ache like hell, and the cat bounces around the kitchen mewing, and I threaten harm if someone doesn’t get her out now!
6.00am - I make the mistake of freezing during a contraction and it HURTS. “Call Erika, I need her!” I gasp to Ryan. Oddly enough, she had woken 10 minutes earlier, unusual for her she said, without knowing why, and would arrive soon. I get Ryan to call the IM again, as it’s been over an hour by now and I no longer want to talk on the phone at all. She didn’t speak to him for long, and merely suggested we head to the hospital, and she would meet us there. We decided we’d wait for Erika as she would not be far away, and leave shortly after she arrived. Maybe a minute after that, she walked in mid-contraction. She came straight to me and put her hands low on my back, helping me refocus my now scattered energy and calming me at once. Boy was I glad to stand up straight and hug her when I was done! After hellos, introductions and a brief catch up, she helped me get ready for the car, making sure I had my bags, settling me with pillows, freshly heated packs, and a towel just in case. She would follow in her car, and we were off.
7 am - I’m anxious about the drive, we fiddle with the radio and CD player for a bit deciding on silence, feeling almost surreal that we were on the way to have a baby. I wondered most of all what would happen if I had a contraction on the drive, which I knew I was sure to, would the people in the neighbouring cars notice? Thankfully, things slowed down, and instead of the 7 or 8 I had expected in the drive I had 3, maybe 4 in the car - not nice while sitting. On the freeway I searched the skies, the way we drive in, you can often see hot air balloons doing early morning flights, and they’re something of a good omen for me. There were none, I was anxious about this, I needed that sign, and just as I’d given up the idea, there was one, a big red one shaped like a house, and a few more soon after. I’d been looking too soon, but seeing them at last made me smile for a bit as the drive continued. Off the freeway, and waiting for the lights to change, I told Ryan very calmly that I wanted some gas, my back was sore, and I was tired. He listened to me, and understood that I wasn’t just complaining mid contraction, but suggested I see how I went in the hospital.
8 am - We pull up outside the hospital, but have to wait to get out as one last car contraction comes on. I’m surprised to find how warm my heat packs still are, keeping them pressed so close was obviously effective. We walk into emergency, and I cheerfully announce to the triage nurse “I’m in labour!” She didn’t seem too impressed that I couldn’t tell her how often my contractions were coming, apparently “Often enough!” doesn’t cut it, and less impressed again, that I marched off mid-sentence to walk another one through. Ryan stepped up, explaining that they were every 3-5 minutes before we’d left home, and filling in the form she’d wanted me to do. They took me into the triage room, and a few minutes later my IM, and then Erika arrived. They were calling upstairs, letting them know I was coming. For some reason my nose was dripping like crazy, something in that little room set me off, so I kept searching out tissues. The room was aggravatingly small, and pacing to relieve a contraction wasn’t doing it. I was getting anxious and tired, so I accepted the offer of a wheelchair up to my room.
I told the midwives a number of times I was on the Cosmos team, but they were too distracted by the computer not finding me, given that they had not listened that Louise was my midwife, they were looking in the wrong case load. There was noise and confusion for a while, until eventually one of them understood I wanted Louise called. I refused continual monitoring immediately, but said I was happy with half an hour or so to check Liam was well, and said I did not want a hep lock placed. I also denied an internal exam until Louise was there to do it herself. The OB was called in almost immediately to “convince” me. Well, what an idiot he was - “I’m not trying to scare you but...” in the most patronising tone you can imagine. I repeated myself firmly, and with the monitor on, everyone finally left and shut up.
8.30 am - Peace at last, just my birth team, myself and Liam’s heart throbbing away gently. I’m tired so I try sitting on the ball and leaning on the bed. My IM stays close with her hand on the monitor to keep the position, it seemed much like Zeke, Liam did not want to co-operate with being monitored. The position of my hips on the ball was awful and hurt like crazy during a contraction, I stood up hurriedly, smacking at the ball with my hand to be able to bring my hips to a standing position to rock through. The second time I went to hit it, someone rolled it away quickly, bringing it back so I could sit down when I was done. Erika moved around quietly, giving me water, providing tissues when I inexplicably (I felt) got weepy, and feeding me a little fruit and jelly to keep my energy up. My heat packs are cold again, and Erika leaves to heat them for me, returning mid contraction, and hurrying to place it on my back. Between the way I’m leaning and swaying the pack doesn’t want to stay on, I know it needs to be tucked into the waistband on my pants, but unable to verbalise, I flap my hands at her, and she steps away, thinking I’ve signalled for space. Eventually I manage to get out “Just... stick it in my... pants!” and end up giving a sniffly giggle at how silly that sounded.
9am - The OB showed up again to try and convince me to keep the monitor on, but it came off fairly soon afterward as the read was perfect. I’m beginning to feel lower pressure and back ache as the contractions increase, and I pace the room in between, going to Ryan for cuddles and reassurance during, Erika rubbing down my back softly, keeping me focused. I keep checking the clock a little, as I could tell things had stalled out somewhat in the car, and I’m relieved to see things are picking up again - I could certainly feel that they were!
10 am - Louise arrives, and I’m stoked to tell her that right at this moment I’m supposed to be downstairs, seeing an obstetrician! My back is still sore though, and after I let her check with the doppler, she suggests I hop into the shower for a while. It’s just Ryan and I in there for a bit, I’m getting him to hold the flexible head, keeping it pointed at my back, while I stand with the fixed shower flowing over my belly. The steam gets to me quickly, and I want out. Coming back out into the cooler room is more of a shock than good, and I start with the crying all over again, feeling tired, sore and generally over it. Everyone speaks to me gently, and encouragingly, telling me that I’m progressing with signs like that. I try to rationalise in my head what I know about labour, and how I’m feeling. Erika gives me some more fruit, seeing I need more energy. It’s a bit weird being fed from a spoon, but between the tissues for crying, clutching a heat pack, my drink bottle or leaning on the bed to rock my hips, I don’t really have a hand to feed myself. Erika is amazing and intuitive for me now, switching the objects in my hands before I realise I want something different, her voice low and unobtrusive, but penetrating my inner conscious and reaching me on a different level to focus on working toward my baby.
10.30am Louise asks if she can do a vaginal exam, and I agree. I’m keen to know where I’m at by this point too. I’d explained previously about my hatred of VE’s, and she was extremely gentle. I am absolutely stoked to be told I’m 7cm, and Liam (as I’d guessed) was head down, anterior with his back on my left side - perfect! I’m so relieved to have made it past the point I got stuck at last time, and without pain relief!
I get off the bed again quickly, I don’t like lying down, and go back to pacing, and returning to Ryan to lean on during a contraction. The pressure is lower again now, and while the pain stops between contractions, the pressure is relentless, so I look Ryan straight in the eye and tell him I want gas, and I mean it. Erika, Louise and my IM encourage me gently to continue, but I’m ready for it, and Louise sets it up. I vaguely noticed that my IM said something - although neither Ryan nor I can remember for sure as I was focusing on Louise, Ryan said it was unsupportive and guilt trippy - and she withdrew her assistance from this point while I had the gas. I needed to go to the toilet after that, and remembering from my first labour how bad contracting on the toilet was I asked if I could bring my gas. Ryan is told how to set it up, and we go into the bathroom. I sat on the toilet, mouth piece for the gas in hand, and beamed at him. “Did you hear that? I’m 7 centimeters!”
“Yeah, you’re doing great bub.” A man of few words as always! We joked about the gas cheering me up, and when I gave the gas to him to hold while I stood up, he cracked about trying some himself. Back into the bigness of the labour room, and I’m quickly overwhelmed again. I’m ushered, with a few protests about how hot my head gets, back to the shower, and stand back under the spray, Erika fanning my face and feeding me the last of my jelly.
Almost immediately after things get hazy, partly the gas and partly (although I’m not aware) transition hits almost the second I’m back under the water. Contractions seem relentless and in between I’m angry, weepy, overwhelmed, begging for an epidural. I’m over it, well and truly. I keep looking to Ryan, trying to get the message through to him that I’ve had enough. I’m pretty sure that Erika and Louise were telling him I’m fine in between, and as much as I carry on between contractions, each time one hits I’m back in my own little world, sucking the gas and stomping/swaying through each one. Through the haze I hear someone murmur “transition” behind me. Well that makes sense! My need to constantly be in control is satisfied. I’m still overwhelmed and sick of it all, but at least I know why. I zone out again as another intense rush comes.
I come to, realising the gas has slowed down. Not happy! I’ve been trying to talk but too woozy from the gas to be coherent, and the contractions seem to have slowed. It’s been turned down to get my attention again. I voice my displeasure, a lot, yelling at anyone and everything. I snap at whoever puts my water bottle to my lips, they squeezed it and I got far too much, dribbling all over the floor. There’s some mention of moving around or changing position - absolutely not as far as I’m concerned! My IM is present with me again, now the gas is gone for the minute. She wants me to put one foot up on a little stool thing, and lunge a little. (Reading after the fact, I suspect I was pretty well fully dilated save for a small lip.) I protest furiously, my head and mouth not connecting to explain SPD makes an action like that unbelievably difficult and painful, much less in labour.
Somehow my foot gets up on the stool, I think the IM helped me lift it up there, Ryan close beside me to add balance. Yup, it hurts like hell. My pubic bone burns as it does when I climb steps. Something else shifts inside me a second later, and with an intense rush and change of energy, I feel a deep, guttural roar come from somewhere my singing teacher would have loved me to find after years of telling me to use my diaphragm, and I turn to Ryan fully, sinking to my knees and closing my eyes.
Even hazier now, it turns out I’m sleeping between the contractions, sucking on the gas again. There’s a massive argument (mostly on my end) where I yell at anyone who will listen that they haven’t turned the gas up fully. They have, I’ve just lost my little labour land for a bit is all, and soon enough I’m back off in my little world. I settle onto my butt, legs bent out to either side and doze. Ryan stays in front of me sitting on that torture stool, not saying a word, holding me close when I rise up for a contraction and letting me lean on his knees as I doze between. I keep coming to rapidly, annoyed my dream state slips away so fast. At one stage I look up sleepily and ask “Can I just have my baby now?” a little while after, I cry about being scared, I’m scared of transition (although I’d already done it) I’m scared of tearing. I don’t really take in the calm rationalisations, just verbalising my fears is enough to help me drift back again.
I actually dream almost. I’d just read a novel about this teenager who goes on a journey in the Amazon with an ancient mystical tribe and it’s all about introspection and self discovery, I end up in the novel, seeing the journey I read about as what I’m doing now. Not so much self discovery though, just that transition is a bitch, and wait... what is that tapping? A rhythmical hollow splashing sound, one a second much like a bass line. The mouthpiece is rattling too, double or even triple time to the other beat and a higher pitch, I think my friend Jay would like it, it sounds almost exactly like his music...
“Tell Jay to turn his fucking music OFF!” I’m suddenly conscious again, startling everyone. I’d been quiet for some time. Consciousness finally makes me aware it was the shower dripping and I think I lamely mumble what the noise was. I’m stroppy again for a bit, fighting my body to get back into my zone.I want silence now, furious whenever I’m disturbed. I like my sleepy labour land and I don’t want to be awake. I don’t feel the contractions when I’m zoned out and feeling that the deeply tranced and restful state is doing me good. I ask Louise to talk more quietly at one moment, she is not loud, just perky cheerful, and when she complies for a couple of sentences and switches back to her usual voice, I tell her with a snapped and pointed finger to get out. She does for a while.
Even the Doppler annoys me, as Louise checks Liam’s heart rate gently. The swishy white noise wakes me, I do not mind the heartbeat much, but the rest of it - which I describe as “stupid scratchy” is like nails on a chalkboard in my trance and I ask if Louise can’t use a stethoscope instead. Naturally I don’t say stethoscope, I think I said “ear thingy.” I whine about it some more, and she drops the volume a few notches.
Still wanting the epidural in the moments I’m awake. I mistake the gentle tones from Erika and Louise as patronising, (the IM meanwhile is silent, on her phone Ryan informs me) and shout at them about that, spewing profanity as I go. Erika apologises very sincerely, I take it in, calming down a little. Ryan reminds me the epidural had taken over an hour and half when I’d asked for it with Zeke. I don’t care, I want it NOW! Louise agrees, but tells me I need to get up and go back to bed for another check before that can happen. Bed... that’s a bad word, bed means on my back. Means staying put, means...
“Get the camera!” I gasp, coming to my knees again. My breathing has changed (Erika said grunting) and I have a death grip on Ryan’s knees, trying to explain where in my bag the camera is mid contraction. I’m not going anywhere. Back into my pattern, contract on my knees, hanging onto Ryan for dear life, sleep between, contract again grunting gently, sleep some more.
After a while (Nearly 2 hours it turns out, although I had believed it was only 20 minutes or so.), I’m on my knees, and hear Louise behind me, talking about my waters bulging, and remembering my birth plan, offers Ryan the chance to look or feel. He can’t really from his position, but I want to, and hear surprise when I swing around to check, I’d been quite limp and apparently asleep until I’d moved, I’d surprised myself even! I can see in the mirror Louise has on the floor, the yellowish bag hanging from me, and reach to touch it, it’s wet and slimy, kind of soft but plasticy at the same time. I try to drag Ryan’s hand to feel, but he’s not able, and doesn’t really want to anyway. I want to encourage him, telling him it’s not that bad, kind of like a condom, but think the better of saying something like that mid labour! I let his hand go and lean on his knees again.
“Why’s my water not broken?” I thought I had felt it earlier, a gush of warm fluid under me. I’m talking quickly, and the sleepiness makes my voice higher pitched, I can tell by the way Louise quickly and gently replies that it’s all perfectly normal I must have sounded panicked. I was more curious what it had been that I’d felt then, I later surmised I’d peed at some stage - glamorous hey? Back to sleep for a little. Knowing my waters are bulging, there’s a feeling in my heart I need to get to my knees soon, I can’t have a baby with my butt flat on the floor. The contractions are widely spaced now, I have a big rest between each one, and I try to rise up a few times, but cannot without the surge of power that comes with a contraction. I sleep again.
“What’s going on?!” I’m awake again, something feels different, I’ve managed to get to my knees without consciously trying, hanging onto Ryan. I try to spin around to see, but can’t with the way I’m clinging to Ryan and he’s holding me back.
“You’re pushing your baby out.” Louise responds from behind me. I’m pushing, this will be over soon! I’m doing it, no epidural, no cesarean, I’m actually having my baby!
“I’m pushing.” I repeat, sleepily, hazily, meeting Ryan’s eyes for a second. I think he’s pleased. Back into my zone for a while. I stay on my knees now, my body’s instinctively picked the right amount of time my dodgy sciatic nerve could sustain supporting me.
It’s starting to stretch now, ow ow ow. I demand a warm compress on my perineum. Tearing had been a major fear. It’s too hot and I don’t want anyone touching me, I flinch and bat it away. My body keeps pushing of its own accord. My skin and belly have never been so hard before, Louise tries to use the Doppler again, my hand flies back and yanks it from her. The pressure on my skin makes it feel like it’s on fire. Her hand closes around my wrist prying it back out of my hands gently. I yell that it hurts my skin, she is much gentler when I let her try again, but I don’t like it. More complaints about the “stupid scratchy” this time both the noise and the sensation of the probe on my skin.
More stretching, I think I’m bellowing and complaining with each involuntary push now. I’m not really aware of the sensation of Liam moving down, just the stinging and stretching. (It turns out my body remembered, which made for a very intense birth dream a few nights ago!) Feeling the stretching, I clench my teeth around the gas piece, not breathing it in but using it to remind me to pant to slow it down. He’s close now, I can feel it, the stretching reaches all the way up through my butt.
“If you can manage a push now, the baby’s head will be all the way out.” I tense, trying to bear down at Louise’s suggestion. My body clenches, refusing. Controlled pushing is not happening. I apologise, but his head slips out a second later with it an intense sensation, I can feel a stinging tear higher up. I scream and spew more profanities at the feeling.
“The baby’s shoulders will be turning.” My IM tells me. Oh boy are they turning, I can feel it, like a key in a lock, made to fit together but I don’t like it, it feels foreign and invasive. My body bears down again, eager to get this done, and with an almighty roar and a whoosh the feeling stops. I keep hollering for a second, the shock of the intensity with his shoulders fitting through me needing to be gotten out. Liam James was born at 2.45pm March 1 2011, with his head in the caul, it broke as his shoulders rotated.
“Miranda, your baby’s out, he’s out.” Louise says. A few seconds later, when I’ve gained some composure, she’s passing him through my knees. I reach down and hold close this slippery wet little being. He’s tiny, so tiny. I forgot how little he’d be. I’m shocked by the tininess, afraid to hurt him. His eyes are closed, but he’s breathing, and slowly starts to pink in my arms. Louise is close behind me, checking and backs off as she sees he’s fine.
“Look bub, look.” I keep telling Ryan. Of course he’s looking. I think he strokes our baby - he made contact at some point, I can see blood on his hands in the photos. Liam’s eyes open for a little, unsettled, I stroke my hand over the back of his head, he settles and it’s perfectly round and small. I relax, he’s perfect - another fear done, his head is not like Zeke’s.
“Look at our little boy.” I’ve sunk to the floor again, cradling him close to my chest. He nurses for a second, but not interested, lets go. Losing my nipple makes him let his first cry out. He’s amazing. Louise asks us to check he really is a boy, I peek to humour her, I’d known from the second I’d seen him, he was a boy, he was Liam. I ask the time at some point, it was 2.45 when he was born. I almost don’t believe almost 3 hours have passed since I came into the bathroom.
Soon after, Louise asks about administering a synto shot to help deliver the placenta. I kind of query about waiting until the cord is cut, forgetting what I’d discussed with Louise. Louise explains we’ll still delay cutting but wants to do the shot sooner. There seems to be a lot of blood around me, and I consent. My IM speaks up then, I had originally planned for an unmanaged third stage, and I have to get quite loud to be heard that I am okay with the shot as long as the cord is left unclamped. It stings a bit, but I focus back on Liam quickly. Oh he’s slippery, I’m wrapped in blankets and towels, but most of the moisture is between him and me, I’m afraid I’ll drop him.
Finally I look around the room properly, everyone is beaming. “I think I’d like some ice now please.” It hits me that I’m feeling tender and sore. There’s a collective chuckle. It’s suggested I move back to bed to finish the clean up, I manage to get my legs out in front of me, but the cord passing forward and up is irritating, I’m tired and wobbly and feel I’ll drop him. Louise encourages me to look at the cord, and feel it, it’s white, limp, finished, and it’s time for Ryan to do the honours. I watch curiously, and then Ryan takes Liam so I can get back to bed. I tell Ryan around now that he can have the next one!
Oh my knees! I’d been kneeling for two hours, and had sunk so fast there’d been no warning to get a mat, so I was directly on the hard tiles. It is a very slow shuffle back into the main room, I feel stiff from the sustained position, but at the same time, much of the weight on my hips and back has gone and I feel better. I feel oddly hollow and fragile in my belly, everything shifting. I remember that from Zeke. Not a fan. I’m glad to get back to lying down and to have Liam nestled back in my arms. Louise has the placenta out easily and quickly, it didn’t hurt, but I don’t like the sensation anyway and I’m glad when it’s over.
I’m still looking around for Ryan to see his face, and Erika points out that Liam is swivelling his head up to look at me a little, I gaze down into my baby’s eyes. He has dark grey eyes, I think they might go brown (yeah nope, bluer than blue like Zeke’s!) His hair is dark too, like mine (it’s since gone blonde) but he is all Ryan, he has his ears and feet and cheekbones. When he’s sleeping, he looks like a little wizened old man. I’m starting to shiver, and complain a lot, I feel uncontrollably cold. Erika gets my heat packs and tucks them in behind my back, and tightens the blankets.
Liam is moved to my chest still skin to skin, but he’s still not really interested in feeding. Louise is still concerned about how much blood loss I’m having and feels my belly gently. It’s very tender and I don’t like her suggestion of massage to help my uterus contract more firmly. I try to encourage Liam to nurse some more, knowing it helps, but he’s really not interested. She asks to call an OB for consult seeing as I’m resisting the idea of massage and want a second opinion. My IM asks while Louise is out calling the OB if she can feel. Liam is latches on briefly while she does, and it is less tender and feels firmer. He lets go again as the OB and Louise return.
Awesome it’s Mr “I’m Not Trying To Scare You” again, and within seconds he’s broken out that line, taking my request for something instead of massage as an outright refusal of help, threatening hemorrhage and transfusion. What a dick. Somehow my point gets across, and he suggests a stronger shot ergometrine I think it was called, as well as a tiny hit of morphine to help with the discomfort of the after pains. I agree to that, and the OB goes off to get it. My IM speaks up again, telling Louise my uterus had been firm and contracted well when she’d touched it, and they have quite a heated debate. I’m annoyed by the IM interfering after the fact, I know that it had felt firmer because Liam had been nursing, and I was fine with the extra medication if it meant I didn’t have to be massaged anymore. I’d listened, rationalised and consented, and didn’t like the discussion about me and my wishes - which I’d verbalised had changed - going on as though I was not there. I can’t remember if I spoke up or not about it, but I know I was aggravated.
The OB returned and gave me the shot, and I almost immediately feel better, especially when he leaves again, I really don’t like him. The meds help too, I can feel the bleeding has slowed and the morphine has made me more comfortable. Louise checks me for tears, I know I had felt something, it is minor, a little nick high up in my labia just under my urethra and does not need stitches, still I’m upset by the fact that I tore at all, however minor and sulk a little. Liam feels a little cold, and we decide to put a hat on him, Erika can’t find it in my bag, I was sure I’d packed it, and we make do with a knotted singlet. I delight in telling everyone that I wore one when I had been born too.
Not long after that I think Erika and the IM leave with a couple of hugs and Ryan, Liam and I are alone for a while. I cuddle Liam to my chest, but don’t remember much else. Louise comes back to show me the placenta, explaining all the parts of it for me - fascinating stuff. I was so amazed as well by the fact she asked if I’d intended to keep it. I’d no plans to, but the thought was lovely given I’d never even seen Zeke’s. I realise then that Liam has pooed all over my chest. Louise gets some warm washers and cleans Liam up first, Ryan takes his shirt off to cuddle him while I’m cleaned up. Liam poos on Ryan this time. We figure it’s about time to clean him up properly and get him dressed. He’s weighed first, 3142g, about 6 pound 14, I think he might have tipped 7 if we weighed him before the poo! I take photos from the bed, watching as Louise helps Ryan - who’s a bit nervous with such a small bundle. He’s snuggled up warmly, asleep again after protesting about being dressed, and Louise suggests a shower while he’s resting.
Louise advises someone come with me, to make sure the steam doesn’t overwhelm me, I’ve had the baby, so I’m a bit over being watched naked by random people, so the job falls to Ryan. It is the best shower of my life! It is hot and soothing, and I’m glad to get a layer of sticky sweat, blood and poo of me. At Louise’s suggestion I also try to pee, but I’m still too tender, and the little graze stings like hell. I get dressed in my pyjamas and shuffle out to sit on the couch, just admiring Liam snoozing in the bassinette, and try to find reception on my phone to update Facebook - nothing. Louise has found my dinner and a hot cup of tea, the dinner was foul, a rubbery egg bake kind of thing but the tea was bliss. I eat that while Ryan has a quick break too. I snuggle Liam for a while, but feel sleepy, and place him back to bed while I doze, sitting upright on the couch.
When Ryan comes back, he says our families have shown up, I’d asked him to call them earlier. I want them to meet us in our stay room upstairs, this room is my space, even though there will likely be another mum birthing there later, it is my birth space for now, and I don’t want a million people in it. I’m keen to get up to bed though, I’m tired and also eager to show off Liam and finally see Zeke again. We organise the transfer, and decide on a wheelchair with Liam in my arms, I’m too tired to walk.
I can hear them before I get there, and everyone is thrilled to see us. My sister in law Rachel comments that I look really well. I smile dopey, and tell her “I had a shooooower....” I realise that the morphine is well in effect, and retreat to the bed to cuddle Zeke and introduce him to his new little brother. He’s been coached all day and can say ‘Baby Wee-un’, his version of Liam, and I’m delighted. Photos and more photos! Everyone gets a cuddle of him as well, until he’s hungry and back with me. I’m blissed out, tired and content. I’ve got a double bed, and Ryan can stay, but wants to go home instead for better sleep, Zeke will sleep at Julia’s for the night. We say goodnight, and I’m left with my sweet boy alone for a while.
I snuggle him close, feeding and kissing him, still awed and somewhat in denial that I managed to have him on my own. I update Facebook proudly, sharing the news, still not quite believing it myself. He’s peaceful, and we both sleep well that night.
I had planned to go home the next morning, but as I was still having trouble peeing due to the stinging graze, I ended up another night with a catheter to let things heal. I was pretty upset by that, I really didn’t want a second night away from home as well as the catheter being painful and invasive to get in, I had a good teary about it, which was almost immediately followed by my milk beginning to come in. Another tantrum on day 4 would herald it properly, as it had with Zeke as well.
Home on Thursday, when Liam was just 2 days old. How perfect. What a difference a natural birth makes. I couldn’t believe my luck that night, snuggling down next to my husband, Liam and Zeke both asleep, at home, together as a family.
Looking back now, I’m still amazed that I was able to have a VBAC, there’s still a hint of awe and disbelief when I go over the photos from his birth. Unlike my first suggestion of never doing that again, if we decide to have a third, I am definitely looking forward to it. The difference between the boys and their births is remarkable too, their nature in the first week and the way they took to weight gain and breastfeeding shows how beneficial the natural labour and delayed clamping were for Liam, while Zeke had not had serious trouble, the improvement was marked.
What would I do differently if I decide to have another baby? I see now that the IM, or at least the one I chose had been a bad decision for me. If I choose a hospital birth again I will not be hiring one, there had been too much clash between the IM and my hospital middie over who was ‘in charge’, and if I decide on a homebirth I would not be hiring her again. My memories of her are mostly ones where I was disappointed or frustrated. Ryan was also unhappy with her, as she rarely spoke to him, and made him feel unwelcome as a man being involved in “women's business” when he was present during our appointments. I would also like to avoid having gas if I can, the moments (like pushing) when I was drug free and my body was working were insanely powerful and although uncomfortable (or downright painful) were incredible to feel, and I would like that to continue through my entire labour.
Zeke’s story wrapped up so neatly with the meaning of his name, and how it had been prophetic for his birth. Liam’s not so much, his name means ‘strong willed warrior’ and is more applicable to his nature as a toddler. Although, I guess the strength and determination of his name certainly applies to what I went through! I had to use power and strength I didn’t even know I had in me, and it was worth it, every uncomfortable, frustrating, painful, beautiful, intense, amazing second of it.
PS: For anyone who hasn't been on this journey with me before, here's a link to Zeke's birth (on my long abandoned old blog. http://maternalmayhem.blogspot.com.au/2008/08/ezekiel-davids-birth-saga.
And a brief rundown on his skull condition from the posts I made at the time: