Given that our last (and debut!) birth story was such a hit...we have more! We are planning to add a birth story feature each month, in the hopes that we can shed light on the magic that is birth - it's not always peaceful, or straightforward - sometimes it's the furthest experience from your carefully thought out birth plan. Here at Chekoh, we want to document all births: the VBAC's, the emergency caesarian, the back-seat births, the bathroom-floor births, the tranquil home births and the plethora of those births falling somewhere in-between. The good, the good and the good (because nothing about birth is bad or ugly - it's an empowering experience fraught with emotion and grit which should be celebrated).
*** Please note, explicit language used during Kyree's story...because if you can't swear like a sailor during labour, when can you!?
Five Quick Questions with Kyree
1. What were your goals going in? Did you have a strict birth plan?
We all have this image in our head of how birth “might” go. I went in to this experience with an open mind knowing that a birth plan is just a piece of paper, it would never be played out perfectly like a flawless script. We still imagined how it “might” play out though, the not knowing and not having control can be really draining (especially for control freaks/anxiety prone peeps like myself). We would often discuss all the possibilities; Where would we be when my waters broke, would my waters even break, would we be scared shitless and panic all the way to the hospital, or would we ride it out as much as we could through each contraction at home until we ventured in calmly to the hospital. We didn’t want drugs, but only if my midwife insisted I needed them. I wanted a water birth and to be mainly in the shower, because I know water helps me through my sever period pains.
2. Did your expectations meet your experience?
Our birth experience with Miss Sass was nothing but the complete opposite to what we had both imaged. To say i’m slightly traumatised and overwhelmed by it all is pretty close to how i’m now feeling. Traumatised by how it all played out so erratically and out of my control and overwhelmed with how much love both ben and I have for this little human WE CREATED!!!
3. Who were your support people during birth? What were your main wishes for the environment of the room?
I wanted only both our parents waiting for us instead of our giant family. I wanted to be naked, walking freely around the room, not tied up to anything and absolutely NO intervention (unless absolutely neccessary). These were all the things we thought we could control- How bloody wrong was I.
4. Can you recall the moment you first saw your baby?
Baby let out an all mighty cry, they lifted baby onto my bare chest and Ben was able to cut the giant cord (they said it was the fattest they had ever seen). It all happened so quickly!!! I was in complete shock that our baby, the baby we’d longed for, the baby we’d cried millions of tears for, the baby we’d baked away for 10 months was finally earth side and in my arms. Baby was in fact a girl. Both Ben and I bawled our eyes out over discovering we had created a daughter (trying to appreciate my girl, whilst I was also throwing up from the drugs pumped into me). Even in her completely swollen state, she was just the most divinely beautiful creature we’d ever laid eyes on.
5. What was your recovery like?
I’m currently now recovering from what I personally feel was a rather traumatic experience. I totally understand that other women have gone through far worse. But for me, this was not what I had imagined and I do feel anxious when I think about how it ended up. I’m still extremely sore, I can’t walk properly at all and have to sit down every five minutes or I feel like my insides and vagina will quite literally fall out of me. I have wet myself more times than I can count because baby has stretched my insides more than my body was preparing for. I get the feeling I need to go, but have NO control what so ever! I will have to work on this through intense physio to get back to a normal state of control. I did have stitches but they are healing perfectly. It’s the nasty bruising on my bones the size of a melon that’s causing so much pain down below.
Saturday 10th December
Had period type cramps all throughout the day and I kept whinging to Ben how nauseous I was feeling. I was getting shooting pains up my left leg into my groin and each time it made me stop in my tracks and wince. By 10pm I was having full blown regular contractions. I called my best friend Sherise and explained what was happening. She told me to start timing them and by 11pm they were coming every 3 minutes and lasting 40 seconds. I called the hospital just to let them know I may be in labour and was told to ride it out at home until the pain was unbearable and that’s when we were to go in. I got off the phone and was actually excited. I was excited to finally be in labour, to be finally meeting out little love possibly in the next day. Ben remained semi calm and sat with me on the bed repeating over and over “omg this is it, holy shit this is it”.
I went to the toilet and heard a loud POP. I yelled out to Ben “that was so weird, I just heard this weird pop down near my vajajay.” Shrugged it off, stood up and walked into my bathroom. A gush of clear liquid poured out of me. “SHIT MY WATERS JUST BROKE” I screamed out to Ben. We both inspected it, it smelt like chlorine, but it was a fairly small puddle to what we had imagined. While Ben cleaned my clear mess up like an awesome hubby he is, I phoned the hospital again to let them know. They asked me to come in right away due to chance of possible infection.
The drive to the hospital was oh so bloody calm. After each contraction I pretty much had a smile on my face. This is EXACTLY how I pictured this. Just the two of us driving in to the hospital on a wild adventure to meet our wee baby!!! Listening to my husband telling me to work on my breathing made me, in those seconds, so darn happy it was him that was by my side. The contractions hurt like hell but I was so proud of my body for doing it’s thang and getting ready to push out a human. I always thought i’d be scared and freak out, but I was surprising calm and at peace with the pain.
At the hospital the midwife on duty strapped me up the monitors and did an internal exam. I was only 1cm dilated and you could clearly see my contractions rising fiercely on the machine. She tested to see if my waters had broke and it came back negative. We were all stumped because I swore I hadn’t just pissed myself! I know my body and this certainly wasn’t urine. She told us baby was still posterior and to keep trying to flip him/her. She sent us home with some painkillers and told us to come back in when the pain got severe. I was pretty deflated after hearing this, I always knew it would be the case but I couldn’t have predicted how it would make us feel. We phoned my mum and explained what was going on. She had a 5 hour car ride to get to me so my dad packed her up and drove her down to Perth at 1am. We didn’t want to take any chances of her missing the birth.
That night the pain got so intense that I ended up in a steaming hot shower for over 3 hours. I just laid on the floor with a towel curled up as a pillow, moaning through each contraction like some wild animal in pain. The water felt incredible on my back as that’s where the majority of the pain was. It was 4am when I got out from the fear of overcooking my baby with so much heat. I took the panadene forte she gave me and managed to sleep an hour. When I woke up the contractions had completely disappeared. I was in complete shock, how the hell could they just GO like that? I was actually really disappointed with my body. Actually I was furious with my body. I had been “niggling” with contractions for over two weeks, had several stretch and sweeps due to being in spurious labour and even after going into what we thought was the real deal, it bloody wasn’t!!!
Sunday 11th December.
I spent the day bouncing on the fit ball to try and turn this baby of ours. I kept begging out loud for my body to naturally go back into labour so it could do it’s thang-on it’s own!!! I worked on my breathing and tried to go back into my calm, tranquil state. By 4pm on the dot, the contractions had come back. They were back in full swing as if they hadn’t even disappeared. We waited at home for two hours until I cried to Ben to please take me to the hospital. I was so determined that this time, this was the real deal and that I would be more dilated because of the intensity of each contraction.
The hospital was so packed, full of women just like me being checked, or induced or about to push out a human. The on call midwife checked me over again. Still only 1cm and baby is still spine to spine- hence the back pain. Yep ONE EFFING CM!!! I swear I could have slapped her face when she told me that. She said ever so calmly “just go home and sleep it off”. Sleep it off? Go home again? Are you bloody joking woman!!! I’m in so much pain right now how can this NOT be the real deal and you want me to sleep it off? I called my personal midwife Diane and sobbed down the phone to her. I swear the other six labouring mums in the room thought I was the biggest wimp out! She could hear the frustration and desperation in my voice. She understood that for two weeks i’d been some what labouring, I was exhausted and she explained that my body just needed some encouraging to keep on going. We walked out of the hospital and I broke down again, I had to grasp onto each light pole on the walk to the car as each contraction was getting worse. We drove home for the second time, bawled my eyes out the entire way home. I just wanted the pain to either go away until my body was 100% ready to do it for real, OR for it to do it’s thang NOW so we could meet our wee one.
Monday 12th December.
We drove back into the hospital at 7am to meet Diane. My personal midwife Di has to be the most calming human I know. I felt so safe and relaxed with her and I trusted everything she had to suggest. I was still contracting but not as fiercely. By this stage I had not slept since Friday night and I was ready to scream down anyones necks if they told me calmly to go home and sleep it off. Di examined me and said I was 2cm but still really high up and hard. Baby heart rate didn’t seem to healthy either so they were a little concerned that baby was in distress. She also checked for signs of my waters using this plastic thing that looked exactly like they use for papsmears. She confirmed she could see traces of white which would lead her to believe they had INDEED broken. However when tested again with their little test kits- Bloody friggin' negative. She could see how exhausted I was and was worried that if I had to go through this until my due date a week later then I wouldn’t have the energy to push. The doctor examined me internally (so that would make the tenth internal exam/prodding/probing in two weeks) and he agreed that my body needed a little push along!
I was to go back into the hospital that arvo where they would insert cervidil over night. On the drive home for the third time, instead of crying like a baby, I was finally calm again. Knowing there was a plan and the possibility of meeting my baby the following day was extremely empowering.
By 6pm the doctor had completed the 11th internal, done the third stretch and sweep and was now trying to insert the cervidil. My cervix was so high up that he was completely struggling hand deep inside!!! Ben had to hold my upper body down, stopping me from trying to ride up the bed and escape, he was begging me to breath properly. The doctor managed to finally insert it successfully and I was to now wait 12 hours for it to work.
I laid awake all night, listening to the sounds of the other women labouring in the ward, picturing myself in their shoes. I listened to the sound of baby heart beat thumping along like a sweet melody.
Tuesday 13th December- Alaskas Birth Day
Ben and my mum arrived for 7am and there was an unexplainable excitement in the air. Today was it, we would be working hard to get baby earth side. Even though I now hadn’t slept for three nights straight, I was overcome with so much adrenaline I just wanted to start labouring!!!
Di removed the Cervidil by 8am and she said “it’s not worked. You’ve actually gone backwards to 1cm again.” All our hearts sank, I felt like my body was failing me and this never ending story was turning into a nightmare. Di didn’t waste any more time and moved us to the labouring ward where she tried to break my waters. Everything was so high up in my that she could only just scrape them.
At 10am she called the doctor in, she boasted about her roughness and effectiveness as she had 100% success rate. She was bloody right. I truly thought her hand was going to come out of my mouth as I screamed the hospital down in pain. I was squirming around all over the bed, with my legs trapped in the stirrups begging her to stop!!! The instant relief once they popped was AMAZING. The feeling of warm water rushing out of me was like nothing else. They noted the baby had pooped inside me and began to worry about baby being in distress.
They hooked my belly up to the monitors, inserted the Syntocin drip to bring on contractions and we waited. By 11am I was sitting on the fit ball under the hot shower, breathing heavily through each intense contraction. The IV drip stand to one side of me, my husband behind me with the steaming hot shower hose and the belly monitors at my front. By 12pm I was screaming for the gas. I needed something to help take the edge off the stinging back pain.
The gas at first was incredible. Every contraction I breathed in deeply and went into a seriously calm, serene state of mind. I was loving being in labour but dying at the same time. I felt powerful and motivated and so friggen strong. I felt like I could totally do this, a strong woman surfing through the pain and was coping like a champ.
By 1pm though it was a different story. My contractions were angry, back to back with no break at all. The gas made me feel like I was utterly drunk or on drugs and I HATED how it was making me feel. I could feel my eyes rolling round and my voice sounded like the devils. Mum and Ben were tag teaming taking in turns to heat up both my heat packs. I swear there was a period where I blacked out as I just remember coming-to after a contraction and not remembering I was even on the gas. Di did an internal and I was still only 2 FUCKING CM!!! 4 hours of constant fierce, aggressive, nasty overlapping contractions that weren’t even doing anything internally!!!
Di said she’d give it another two hours but then would have to possibly go in for a cesarian due to the baby pooping, being in distress and my body just not responding. Hearing this broke my heart and was completely terrifying. My idea of what our birth experience was going to be was completely slipping out of my fingers. By 1:30pm I was crying through each contraction instead of breathing. I was losing control and I needed to get a grip back into reality for me to make this work. The male midwife asked me what i’d like, I said “help me, anything HELP ME.” He showed me the information sheets for the epidural and I begged him to give it to me. He said I had to read over the information and I was rudely rolling my eyes on purpose to Ben and Mum. Looking back now, he was hilariously funny and very soothing calling my darling and encouraging me through each contraction. But in those minutes I wanted to punch him in the face and tell him to stop talking. He then asked if i’d read the information as the anaesthetist would need to ask questions. I yelled back rather aggressively in my zombie like state “what, is he going to fucking quiz me or something.” Everyone laughed, but I didn’t see the funny side to it.
We waited over 45 minutes for the anaesthetist to get his ass into the room. That 45 minutes was a transitional period for me. I’d completely given up on my natural birth expectation, stopped powering through the controlled breathing and started going into freak out panic mode. I had my mind set on the epidural now and I couldn’t wait any longer for the pain relief. He waltzed into the room at 2:3opm and by 2:40 the needle was in and I was pain free!!!
I was now strapped up confined to the bed. Catheter in, several belly monitors on, heart monitor on my finger, IV drip rushing through my system. I could still move my legs but I couldn’t feel contractions at all!! THE PAIN WAS GONE and I felt like my normal bubbly self again. Not my version of “naked walking around freely letting my body do it’s thang naturally” BUT it was a total relief to be out of such horrid pain.
The epidural was only light, I was given the power to push a button every time I wanted to inject more into my system. But I chose not to as I wanted to keep it as natural as I possibly could.
Shortly after the epidural was working its pain-free magic, Di did another exam (this had to have been the millionth time). I begged her to lie to me and just say it’s 8cm even if it wasn’t. She had this giant smile on her face and said “You’re 8cm yippee i’m not even fibbing.” Finally hearing something positive was like music to my ears, my body was finally responding and working hard to help get this baby earth side. Becoming so relaxed after being so tense, stressed and exhausted after four whole days was obviously what my body was craving.
They all agreed that I would most likely be able to start pushing by 10pm and baby would be here soon after. At 4pm I felt this strong urge to poo. There was this all mighty pressure sitting in my bum and all I kept saying was “Ummm guys, I seriously need to poo!” The midwives said it was the baby’s head pushing against everything down there and that was a great sign. This feeling started getting worse and I noticed that it was during each contraction from watching the monitors. I kept squirming all over the bed trying to get into a more comfortable position but it just wasn’t possible. At 6:40pm Di did another exam (by this stage I was bleeding like crazy from so much interference internally) and we were all so excited to hear I was FINALLY 10CM!!!!!
I stripped naked. I can’t standdddd wearing clothes when i’m super stressed. I could feel pretty much everything apart from the intense contraction pains. Each contraction I would push, I bared down head onto my chest, legs pulled far back with both my hands, Ben behind me encouraging me to breath each time. The poo pressure feeling was moving down further and further. The only way I can describe this feeling was like I was extremely constipated and I was trying everything in my power to push it out, but it was stuck right at the end where there’s no going back! All i remember hearing each time was Di saying ” Two pushes and on the third push will make the difference.” This little encouragement really did help me focus on the goal of becoming a mummy.
I’d been pushing like this for almost an hour. I started to panic and forgot to breath the way I was meant to. My legs were cramping badly and I was flinging them around trying to get some relief. Instead of focusing on being this empowering, strong, woman who was more than capable of pushing out her baby, I started to panic like crazy. My arms were flapping about after each push, I was kicking both midwives, I was pulling Ben down over my shoulder into the pillows and growling like a friggen beast. I honestly felt defeated. By this stage I felt like I was having an out of body experience, totally light headed and not with it at all. From pure exhaustion I screamed I can’t do this any more and I honestly didn’t know how else to push baby out.
Di and the other midwife started to worry as baby and my heart rate were dropping drastically. The paediatrician was on stand by and I was told I may not be able to do skin to skin or delayed cord clamping as baby was in too much distress. Di demanded “Ky you NEED to get this baby out NOW.” Through the burning ring of fire, I remember staring at Di like I was staring into her soul and I started screaming like a crazy nut job “Someone fucking help me then, someone help me please. JUST FUCKING CUT ME, JUST CUT ME GOD DAMN IT PLEASE GOD.” So cut me they did. As soon as the cut was made, I gave one last push and baby came sliding out. It was like this instant relief and instant gratitude that someone had helped me as I just knew my body and I knew I wasn’t able to do it alone.
All of this led to a perfect baby that I get to call my own. I’m so unbelievably grateful that Alaska chose me to be her mummy. As awful as I felt this experience was for me and Ben, it was still a beautiful one as a BABY HUMAN was our reward. I’m sure that after a while all this will be a distant memory and i’ll be trying again for number two Bebe Harvey!!!
A huge shout out to Diane at the Midwives Group Practice in Armadale. I adore you and thank you for looking after me and Alaska.