Beatrix Ruby, weighing in at 6lb 9oz
I am blessed with easy, enjoyable pregnancies. I get the odd tummy upset but on the whole, it is very pleasant, for the most.
Except for the itching.
During my pregnancies I 'flirt' with Obstetric Cholestasis. It is a diagnosis of elimination rather then a firm result.
The itching is a good reminder to be mindful of babies movements.
Luckily, baby was very bouncy, until a week back.
I was sewing and Zara came and requested a baby cuddle. She commented that the baby didn't kick her. I went and had an icy glass of water and that didn't work. I tried poking and massage and even a shower. No movement.
After a worrying phone call to the Maternity Hospital we were in the car to head to town, and the baby kicked.
I was allowed to stay home but I had to start a movement chart and see the Health Nurse daily.
Fast-forward to Wednesday, at my check up, and the lovely Health Nurse was just not 'happy' with me.
When I told her baby had slowed its movements, she was very keen I ring Town again.
They wanted to see me.
Jed and I headed down and spent the day being monitored. We were prepared for this, every pregnancy has ended the same way.
An induction was gently suggested, that night in fact. I was 36 weeks.
I pleaded to go home, I had nothing for the baby, I had lent everything to my cousin and although it was all washed and ready to go, we had not picked it up.
I was given my wish but the onus was on me to monitor the baby and head back if I was not happy.
We headed home, picking up the tiny things.
I am not a worrier by nature but I will confess to being very stressed about monitoring the baby by myself.
I drank copious amounts of iced water and poked and prodded all day. I was very very worried.
Jed put the car seat in the car. We organised rides for Football and Netball on Saturday. We stocked up the fridge with vegetables and the fruit bowl with, well, fruit.
I got as much washing and ironing down as I could.
We explained what was happening, to the Fab Five and then tried to get some sleep.
We all had a lovely family breakfast together, the Fab Five hopped on the school bus and Jed and I headed to Town.
First up, blood works to check my bile levels and then another ultrasound.
Baby was looking good, approximately 7 lb, head down and ready to go.
unfortunately, the sonographer had a few concerns about the placenta, she said it was looking 'tired'.
More monitoring and then we waited to speak to my gorgeous OBGYN Sabrina.
After looking at all the facts, adding my age and my stress levels, we agreed to an induction.
Neither of us took this decision lightly but she knew my desire for a vaginal birth, if at all possible, and she simply could not offer me that if baby went into distress.
I was booked in at midnight for an induction.
Jed booked into a hotel and we spent a few hours cuddling and chatting about our new baby.
We arrived at the hospital at 11:30, we couldn't wait, me clutching a big jar of my macadamia and white chocolate biscuits for the Midwives (I warned them, they would need the sustenance with me).
I settled into my birthing room ( more like a hotel) and waited. Jed was so very tired so I sent him back to the hotel, it was not like anything was going to happen and I was very happy to sit quietly and practice my breathing and relaxation.
At 1am, my first lovely Mid, Karen, arrived to administer my first lot of prostaglandin gels. She then sat with me and chatted as the foetal heart monitor was put on for an hour trace.
Baby was looking good!
I was too excited to sleep, so I lay quietly and focused on deep breathing and keeping calm. I felt very ready and very safe.
I will be honest and admit I was disappointed to wake to sunshine and a breakfast tray at 7 am.
As nothing had happened, a second lot of gels were administered at 7:30. These kicked in straight away!
After lying still for an hour for another foetal trace I was well and truly ready to get moving. Things were heating up.
It was time for Karen to leave and she introduced me to Cynthia. After running a very experienced eye over me, she suggested I get walking to keep things going. I completely agreed.
By the time I had my tracksuit on, Jed had arrived, wearing the same rugby he has worn for every birth.
We set off.
Following the same path as I did with my last two births. Jed and I climbed the stairs to the top of the hospital and the all the way down again.
We walked each floor and then went outside and walked the block around the hospital. I assume this is a pretty common occurrence as no one seemed to take the least bit of notice of me stopping and breathing through contractions, the odd groan and once (embarrassingly) bursting into tears in a stairwell in front of a group of med students.
After an hour of this, we headed back for a rest and then repeated the exercise.
At this stage, I was not really sure if it was labour or just the gels 'tickling' things. I was getting pretty tired and the midwife was offering me pethadine. I asked if I had really started and a quick exam showed me at 3 cm.
Things had started. It was about 10am.
I love my water and I am a big water drinker. This has been a problem for me in previous births as a full bladder can slow things down. Thus I try and keep it empty.
Unfortunately, a unique twist to this birth, was when I attempted to wee, the pain was excruciating!
Cynthia said it was not common but there can be nerve pressure from the baby bearing down. I would lock myself in the lavatory and try not to scream as I made myself pee. I couldn't even sit on the seat, only hover over the top.
Jed said the noises from outside were horrendous and he found that the most upsetting part of the birth.
I don't have 'movie birth' contractions, I have big ones, small ones, ones that run into each other, nothing for a few minutes and then no breaks for a block.
They also affect my legs, predominately my thighs, so I have to keep moving.
I decided it was time for gas and air.
Unfortunately, my favourite mask is no longer used and I had to use a mouth piece thing, I was assured this was much better and I would not over use it.
Once I started on the gas I was not keen to leave it so I changed to a gown and stamped my feet and rocked my hips through the contractions. Jed let me lean on him during the pains and rubbed my feet in the down time.
Hours went past and Cynthia commented to me that Jed was looking a bit stressed. I think he found it quite hard watching me, so I suggested he go for a walk and get me some soft lavvy paper and look for a new phone charger. I had bonded well with Cynthia and was more then happy for him to go.
An hour later, it was the end of Cynthia's shift and Marley came on.
Marley was a dynamo!
She encouraged me to be less polite and be more vocal with contractions and I found it very empowering.
My OBGYN, Sabrina was very keen for me to have an epidural (if I wanted it). As I had experienced a bad time with my last birth, an epidural tap followed by an amoeba infection and a 12 day hospital stay, she was very keen for me to have a specialist do this, which meant windows of opportunity would have to be taken.
Around midday, Jed came back and the anaesthetist arrived and offered to do my procedure.
I turned to Marley and said 'I think I am okay, I really think I can do this'
Marley was super enthusiastic and agreed we were doing so well and we could assess things again later.
'Yes, you are doing this, you don't need an epidural right now'
The day moved on, I ended up with a portable gas and air unit I could take to the lavvy with me so at least that became a bit easier.
At 4pm, Sabrina popped in and offered to do a check.
I was devastated to find out I was still only 3 cm dilated!
All that work and we had got nowhere.
Sabrina offered to break my waters and Marley agreed that it was a good idea.
Oh my goodness, that hurt so much!
I don't know if it was being made to lie down or if the waters were hard to break but it was very very painful.
The waters were good and clear and monitoring showed the baby in fine fettle.
I got stuck into the gas at this stage which was not such a good idea.
I stood up and tried to keep walking but the pains came thick and fast and I started to panic. I lost my breath and took too much gas, I felt myself losing control and I could see Jed was very upset.
I remember turning to Marley and saying 'I can't do this, I need an epidural'
The wonderful girl responded passionately.
'Yes, you have done enough, you get your epidural'
She just knew I needed that affirmation, what a wonderful girl.
It was an incredibly busy day so there was quite a wait. I had lost my careful use of the gas and air and was definitely using too much but when I tried to use less the pain was too much to handle.
I whispered to Marley that I was quite 'stoned' and would that hurt the baby? She assured me it was fine and she would be there for me.
Jed said he barely noticed a change. He is a good man!
I definitely started to hallucinate, possibly it was the fact that Jed was wearing the same rugby, but I started to flashback to my other children's births and Jed's grey hair was muddling me.
Finally, the anaesthetist Sinead arrived, but her lovely Irish accent confounded me and I thought it was my online friend Millie. I was very confused and remembered the epidural I experienced with Matilda and started to panic.
I wanted to give the gas away so I could concentrate but there was now little break between the contractions.
I was not coping at all.
The wonderful Marley took me off to a calm corner and talked me down. She explained it was the gas, I was fine, she was there for me and no one was going to do anything I didn't want.
Jed spoke to Sinead who was absolutely brilliant!
She calmly talked me through what would happen, explained that what happened last time was not typical and should not have happened. That she would be far more careful, that she would stop at anytime, that it was my body.
She said I did not deserve what had happened last time, that epidurals were not bad, that I had just been very unlucky.
I have never been so impressed by a young doctor in my life.
Sinead started the procedure and again, I panicked. She stopped straight away and offered to remove what she had set up. She was just so kind and reassuring that she gave me the confidence to continue.
It was explained to me, that due to the blood patch I had after my last epidural, this one may be a bit patchy and I may still have some discomfit. I think every 4 or 5 contractions I felt a niggle but it was so much better.
I was absolutely exhausted and anticipating a long night ahead of us I tried to sleep.
Marley set up the foetal monitor and once I was settled she was able to pop in and out of the other rooms and lend a hand with the other birthing women.
I convinced Jed to set up the TV for himself (commercial telly is a novelty for us) and I dozed on and off for a hour or two.
To be honest, I would have been happy to see the baby by breakfast.
Around 9 pm Dr Geoff, (Dr Sabrina's partner) popped in to see how I was going.
He looked at the foetal trace and then glanced at my waters mat and declared 'I think we are going to have a baby soon'.
Marley and I looked at him like he was bonkers!
The epidural had been in for two hours.
He asked if he could examine me and I agreed. I nearly fell off the bed when he announced 'Lets get Sabrina in, you are ready to have your baby'
He left to ring her and I asked Marley to check me, she did and happily said she could not believe it, but, he was right.
This has happened to me with the last three births. I plod along until the epidural goes in and then 'boom' fully dilated in a few hours.
Louisa, my new Midwife had been popping her head in and out but Marley had stayed on with me. I told her she really should go home. She looked very tired. She said she would but made me promise to leave a note with babies name and what I had.
After the charismatic Marley, Louisa seemed very efficient and business like. I started to feel a bit lost and sad. I was not excited at all and I just didn't understand why. I think I was exhausted having barely slept in the last three days.
Dr Sabrina was there within the next half hour and we discussed how I liked to deliver. I was still quite floppy from the epidural and was still struggling to get motivated.
Either Sabrina didn't notice or she was not going to let me get away with this attitude. Her enthusiasm started to win me over and as the epidural wore off, things started to get very real.
I delivered Lidia and Matilda, sitting, with the end of the bed dropped down. Gravity worked for me then so I decided to go with that.
The drip was turned off and my contractions slowed down to two to three in a ten minute block. I love pushing, it is my favourite part of birthing, but the baby was in a very awkward position and it was hard work getting her moving.
Louisa was a calm and caring support person.
When pushing, I prefer not to hold Jed's hand as I worry I will squeeze it (because I know I can) and use that precious energy I need for bearing down.
I found by holding Louisa's hand, I has support, but as I was worried I would hurt her, I didn't squeeze.
After nearly an hour had passed Dr Sabrina suggested that forceps may be needed. I was pushing baby down but just couldn't get it 'round the corner.
She rang for the anaesthetist to come and top up my epidural.
I was so tired I agreed.
The response was that she was busy in theatre but could be there in 20 minutes.
I closed my eyes for a few minutes.
I woke to a huge contraction and just thought 'Bother this, I have had enough' and started pushing.
I held that push for 15, 25, 35 seconds and I felt the baby shift.
With the next tightening I started to give another huge push only to be told to stop and breathe.
The next second, all in a rush, my baby was born.
We discharged the next day and by 6 pm Sunday night I was home by my own fire.
We had a lovely week together as a family. Unfortunately, my blood pressure went up and Trixie became jaundice so we headed back to Town for a weekend of nurturing in hospital.
At no time was I 'pushed' out of hospital, it was my choice for an early discharge.
Beatrix's birth was fantastic. It was a great way to finish my child bearing story. I didn't achieve it without an epidural but the excellent one I received laid a lot of ghosts to rest for me.
I am very very blessed.