I had birthed two beautiful baby boys before, and I really thought my 3rd baby boy would be a breeze just like the first two… oh, was I wrong!
My pregnancy was very up and down. I had severe morning sickness, and I was in and out of hospital being monitored as bubs was measuring on the smaller side. My last two weeks of pregnancy was exhausting. The baby hadn't been seen 'practising breathing' that obstetricians look for in any of his scans. The fluid in my uterus had become less and less, and I had started to have reduced movements.
On the 27th of October 2020 (2 days before my birthday), I was at my routine 39-week OBGYN appointment, which was when it was decided I would be sent off to the hospital to look at induction as bub hadn't moved the entire day.
I arrived at the hospital and was checked yet again by another OBGYN who decided they would start induction that day! I was so unprepared. I had my kids at kinder, husband at work and groceries sitting at Coles click n collect that I was meant to pick up (this was stressing me out more than the kids being at kinder!).
I called around and organised everything, and I called my husband, who was bursting with excitement!
As I was being checked into the ward, it was explained that I would be examined to see if I was at all dilated to determine how they would induce me. I wasn't dilated, so they told me I would need a balloon catheter. This scared me. I was terrified!
I heard so many horror stories about the balloon catheter that I started getting enormous anxiety. My first two babies were spontaneous, natural vaginal births. I had no idea what to expect with an induction.
My husband arrived, so we were taken to my room, where I'd stay the night with the balloon in. It was a shared room. As I settled in and got comfy, I could hear the lady next door beginning to have slight contractions from the gel induction. This was giving me even more anxiety (and slight excitement). My husband did his best to distract me to take my mind off it. About 1 hour later, I was called in to get the balloon catheter in. The nerves really started to kick in! I don't remember too much of this other than trying three times to get it in until they had to get a doctor in to do the procedure. After the 4th attempt and a few screams, it was in.
The minute I got up, I had slight cramps that just felt like normal period pain. I was back in my room and had some dinner before Paddy had to leave. That was a horrible goodbye. I'm not quite sure why I was so emotional, but it just all hit me that I was going to be having a baby tomorrow. I think it just feels so different when you actually know the exact day bubs is coming! It's a weird feeling.
A midwife saw how stressed I was feeling, gave me a sleeping tablet, and said to get some sleep as my waters would be broken at 7 am! So off to sleep I went.
It was 6 am, and I was awake from cramping. Paddy had arrived half an hour later. I went to the toilet and out fell the balloon (this was a good sign meaning my cervix was ready). I pulled it out and showed Paddy, whose face turned green, haha.
It was 11 am now, and a midwife came in and said it'll be another hour till I went into the labour room. This was the worst, just sitting and waiting. I just wanted it over with. I was becoming so upset and nervous. 12 pm came, and it was time!
We were walked to the labour room, and it all hit me. I started crying. I was so scared and so nervous. I can't describe the feeling. The team were so beautiful and calmed me down. They took everything so slowly and explained everything they were going to do. First, it was the cannula. Three attempts failed, so again, they needed a senior nurse. 4th attempt, they finally got it (I was left with huge bruises, I didn't have any good luck this day).
Next, it was time to break my waters. I clung to Paddy's hand and closed my eyes. 2 attempts later, they were broken! Five minutes later, they started the oxytocin drip! I remember the pain coming on so quickly. I reckon within 15 minutes, I started contracting.
I breathed through them so well despite being confined to the bed as I needed to be monitored during the labour. I got to stand up at one point, but the midwife was having trouble reading bubs heart rate, so they placed a monitor on his head to allow me to labour standing.
About an hour went by, and the pain was unbearable. I was adamant I needed to push! I was checked and was told I was only 4cm. I was so deflated. I started begging for an epidural! They were hesitant to give it to me since, being my 3rd baby, they thought I'd go from 4 to 10cm quickly! I didn't care, I wanted that epidural, and I wanted it NOW!
I was yelling out, "it's my birthday tomorrow; all I want is a pain-free labour. I never got that with my first 2!"
My amazing midwife listened to an angry Mumma and was straight on the phone to the anaesthetist. He was up within 20 mins. I was then explained the risks; to be honest, it all went over my head as I just wanted it done right away. I was all prepped up (my god, it takes ages to prep for an epidural, I reckon it took 20minutes for him to set up everything.)
My husband tells me now that the entire process of the epidural from start to finish took about 1.5hours. This is where everything went downhill. I remember being numb, ready to go, and he kept pulling the needle in and out and kept saying, "I just can't get it in the right spot; your spine sits differently" this was taking about 20 minutes.
I ended up saying, "just don't even worry about it" He ended up pulling out and said he would go and get the head anaesthetist to try. I was so emotional. My husband was getting so frustrated seeing me be poked and prodded so much. He said he attempted so many times to get it in. 15 minutes later, the head anaesthetist was there. BAM, he got it in the first go. He said it was the shape of my spine.
Once the epidural was in, and I was on the bed. He explained that it took six attempts. He then told me they punctured fluid in the spine (lumbar puncture). He said that I would experience the most intense migraine I'll probably ever have, which will last seven days (known as the epidural headache). He explained most women who get this need to lay completely flat and can't sit up. They said they could speed up recovery with a blood patch that does require another epidural.
All this information was going way over my head. I was so happy that I had no more pain and could actually enjoy the birth. My husband, midwife and I were all having conversations the whole 1.5hrs I was labouring.
The midwife checked me, and it was time to start pushing. Ten minutes and a few pushes, and our beautiful boy finally was out! Noah Michael Hall 9:14 pm 7.13lb My gosh, I will never forget that feeling. It's just unexplainable. I love him so much. All that pain and fear was gone. He was worth every minute of it. He came out screaming, and there was no better sound.
About 30 minutes after he was born was when all the pain came back in my head. I was in a lot of pain. My head felt like it was going to explode, and my back was killing me. The following day the anesthetist team came in. 3 of them. They kept me in for three days and monitored me closely. On the 3rd day, I was lucky enough not to need a blood patch, and they were so pleased with how well I handled the puncture.
Although I thought I was in the worst pain ever, they said they were happy with how well I was handling it! I was on bed rest for the remaining four days at home, so my husband had to step up a lot, and I couldn't thank him enough. He is a legend, and I couldn't be luckier to of had him by my side.
All in all, I had a terrible experience with an epidural but, call me crazy… I probably would have it again to have that pain free delivery (yes, I know I'm crazy).