I found Tatum's birth stories so interesting to read - especially the differences between her four experiences - and thought I might share my own here. Dad, this is totally TMI (Too Much Information), just warning you :)
When I was pregnant with Sienna I was 22, Ben and I had been married for more than 3 years and were thrilled to be having a baby. I had actually been told that I was infertile - by a charming gyno with zero bedside manner - and that I would need fertility treatments whenever we wanted to try, due to Polycystic Ovary Syndrome. Stuff that.
I read up on PCOS and realised that stress was a trigger and I was way too stressed at my job. So I quit that and changed to an easy receptionist job only one day a week. That was also the first time I started introducing low GI type meals to my day - something which I *try* and do regularly - as PCOS is linked to insulin resistance. Hang on, this is supposed to be a birth story! Ok back to Sienna. Anyhow, she wasn't actually planned in the end.
Right, so I had one due date based on my cycles, but at the 12 week ultrasound the dates were pushed further along by a week or two. Then I was 6 days overdue from the latest due date I'd been given, when labour began. Slowly, but surely, with contractions every half hour to begin with on a Monday morning (9am? 10?). My memory is a bit fuzzy, I think I called Ben and he came home from work at lunchtime. I remember in the afternoon we walked ten minutes to check out a b&b where Ben's folks were going to stay the next night. I remember because the lady owner there commented on my pregnancy and laughed when I said the baby was probably going to be born the next day. I knew, because I was already in labour. She laughed at me. I was right :P
We were booked in to the family birth centre at the local hospital - which is quite a decent-sized one, it just happens to be five minutes from our house. I think we spoke on the phone with the midwives once or twice over the course of the afternoon / evening. I had a shower. It got to about midnight or 1am when I didn't want to be labouring at home anymore. So we went in, and tried to nap in between contractions. I remember saying "oh, man" A LOT, leaning my forehead on the pillows in front of me, and also lots of "breathe, just breathe" to myself.
At about 8 or 9 on Tuesday morning a different midwife came on, and around this time I also had a bath. I think I said to the midwife at just after 9, when she said I was at second stage (pushing), "that stage is supposed to last about an hour, right?" I was also wondering if it was too late to ask for a caesarean, or epidural, or any other alternative to the current pain I was in. Anyhow, that lasted for about four hours, it turned out, and I was back on the bed for awhile of that. Later on I had really tired arms from gripping the headboard of the bed for leverage while pushing.
When it came down to it, though, I was on my back / sort of sitting up for the actual birth. At one point one of the midwives there held up a mirror but I started crying and shaking my head (I had put in my birth plan that I did NOT want a mirror, I obviously knew myself well, LOL) so she took it away again. Not her fault, she had come on duty in the last hour and hadn't read anything about me. Then they started discussing an episiotomy because it was taking way too long (you're telling me!) and that must have motivated me or something because two more pushes and Sienna was out. It turned out she had one arm up around her head, and had to come out all in one push. That was at 1:35pm, so the total labour was about 27 hours. The start of it wasn't hard, though, so more like 18-20.
Anyway, the real dramas began then, with a quick oxytocin injection (not in my plan, either, but as a result of the complications it was unavoidable) with buttons being pushed and Ben being handed a swiftly wrapped baby and directed to a corner while I bled all over the bed like crazy and a bunch of nurses, doctors and midwives tried to sort me out. Eventually it all calmed down, I was settled with my saline drip and even got to have a shower, which was nice. I took Sienna's first photos while she was weighed and dressed. A doctor did come in and make me explain in detail - an hour after the birth, mind you - my religious standpoint on blood transfusions, until the midwife shooed him out of the room. I'd lost 2.4 litres of blood and had tore, but not at the end where the stitches usually go, so the pain was intense for weeks after, as was the exhaustion. Iron supplements and good food had my levels back to acceptable levels by 6 weeks.
But we had a healthy little girl, who we had named Sienna
Belle over four months earlier and who we were thrilled to finally meet.
She was 7lb 14oz (3.57kg), 51cm long and 36.5cm head circumfrence.
She'll be 8 years old at the end of October.