Carmen’s Birth Story
In the third trimester my blood pressure was trending high and a blood test showed a level of uric acid, signs of Preeclampsia. From 36 weeks I was going to the hospital 2-3 times a week for a blood pressure profile for me and an ECG to check baby’s heart rate. Bubs heart rate was always strong and no cause for concern, but my blood pressure continued to track high. I started taking blood pressure medication to lower it and was booked in for an induction as the only way to ‘cure’ preeclampsia is to get the baby and placenta out. I wasn’t thrilled about needing to be induced. I really wanted a spontaneous labour; my body and baby telling me when it was time. I also wanted to use water and was worried about the cascade of intervention. But we kept a positive mindset and were prepared for any turn that my birthing takes.
I was booked in for an induction at Bunbury Regional hospital to deliver on 16 February 2021, five days before my EDD. I couldn’t birth in Bridgetown as preeclampsia is considered high risk. I packed my bags and off to the hospital we went on the afternoon of 15 February. It was actually quite nice being so prepared and stopping for a coffee on the way! That night, the doctor inserted a balloon catheter for cervical ripening. I went to my room at about 9pm and soon after mild contractions started. I rode these out with my breathing techniques. The midwife suggested I take a sleeping tablet saying this will be the last good night sleep you have in a while! The tablet kicked in about 2am and I was able to get some sleep.
The next morning I was taken to the birthing suite at about 7am. The midwife examined me and I was 3-4cm dilated which I was relieved about. The midwife was going to break my waters but as baby’s head wasn’t very low, the doctor did this as there was some risk of cord prolapse. What a gush of water there was! The doctor needed to jump out of the way so her shoes didn’t get wet! Next they started the oxytocin drip to bring on surges and the midwives were monitoring my blood pressure and baby’s heart rate with a bluetooth device strapped to my belly. This allowed me to move around and use the shower. The midwives adjusted the oxytocin dosage as labour progressed. I used the hypnobirthing breathing techniques early on and used different positions to encourage baby to get into a good position as the midwife thought baby was posterior. I thought I would spend most of my time in the shower but I actually spent most of it on the toilet (so glamorous!). 3.30pm rolled around and I asked to be examined as the surges were very intense and close together. I was also showing the ‘purple line’. The midwife had reduced the oxytocin as my surges were coming too close together. But this didn’t slow them as my body had also kicked in and was releasing oxytocin.
I was 7cm at this stage and my blood pressure was high and baby’s heart rate was dropping. The doctor recommended I have an epidural to give my body a baby a break, which I was happy to do. The anaesthetist was promptly in the room and I needed to sit on the edge of the bed for him to administer the epi. This position was not a comfortable one when having contractions every 30seconds and needing to sit still! But then relief, the epi was kicking in. I was then limited to laying on my back in the bed and from 4pm-6pm I let my body and baby have a ‘rest’. My blood pressure and the baby’s heart rate stabilized. The midwife assessed me at 6pm and I was fully dilated and the baby was in an anterior position! They began the oxytocin drip again and put a heart rate monitor on the baby’s head. By 8pm I was ready to push. The midwife and doctor provided some great pushing training as I couldn’t feel a thing and they needed to tell me when I was having a surge. At the end we needed a vacuum to get baby over the line and then Will was here with a big mop of hair and bright eyes at 10.22pm. We had immediate skin to skin and assisted third stage to birth the placenta and also some stitches from where the doctor needed to make a cut.
Very thankful for all we learnt in the Positive Birth course. I had gone back and re-watched the induction birth video that we watched during the course and it prepared me better for what was to come and left me feeling more confident. The course helped us make informed decisions along the way. A lot of our birth preferences were taken away from us due to preeclampsia, but it didn’t matter as we had a healthy little boy and healthy mum at the end of the day