Monday, 7 November 2011

My Birth Story - Anouk 27 October 2011 16:17

Well it's all done and dusted.  My beautiful little girl Anouk is here and she is such a good baby that I actually have time to write this!

To say I was petrified before the birth is putting it mildly.  I was scared stiff.  We just arrived in Australia, we couldn't get medical insurance as there is a 12 month waiting period, which meant I had to go to a public hospital and have a c-section done by whichever registrar is on duty which is basically a trainee doctor.

My antenatal care was fine but basic - waited a long time to see a doctor who took my blood pressure, listened for the baby's heart beat with a doppler and measured my bump with a measuring tape.  I got so nervous that I thought about having a natural birth, but all the obstetricians I spoke to were negative about this, saying it's safer to have another c-section as it's my third and I'm quite small.  I realized without the proper support it would probably not be the right thing to do.  Although I wished I would go into labour before my scheduled c-section date which was booked for the 27th October, a day after Mieke's birthday!

Just before Mieke's pamper birthday party on the 15th, I had quite a lot of contractions and it felt like the baby was pushing down - it was so sore that I struggled to walk when it happened.

This continued for a few days but the week before my c-section all went calm and I had no pain or contractions at all (even though I was desperately hoping for some!).

So at 10am on the 27th Werner and I checked in at the Birralee Maternity Unit at Boxhill Hospital.  I was taken to a room in a ward which was just off the antenatal waiting room so at first it didn't seem very private, but later on I forgot about it as the curtain was up most of the time.  I was very nervous but the midwife answered all my questions and concerns and I started to relax.  I was last on the list so had to wait until 3:30pm for my turn to go to theatre.  A doctor came and put a drip in my hand - she struggled quite a bit and then called a midwife to come and see if it was okay, so I was a bit worried at this point.  The registrar and assistant anaesthetist also came to see me.

When I got to the theatre there were loads of people - all of them trying their best to make the experience as comfortable as possible.  Werner was sent out while the spinal was put into place but as soon as it was done he was back.  In the meantime the theatre nurse held my hand and the anaesthetist kept on asking how I felt and adding meds to my drip if I didn't feel well.  They kept on chatting to me and asking me questions to keep my mind of things, I wasn't told when the operation started, so it felt like only a few moments when I saw my baby being held up, dripping blood and stuff all over my face!!  The anaesthetist took loads of lovely photos while they quickly checked her and dried her off a little.  Then they immediately placed her under my hospital gown on my chest, and got her to latch - still covered in vernix and smelling so sweet!!

She cried a bit at first but quickly snuggled cosily into me - it was such an amazing experience and one I only dreamt of having with my other children.  I was enjoying it so much that I didn't pay much attention to the sewing up bit and she stayed there in recovery all the way up to my room.

Finally, and very unexpectedly, I had the birth experience I always dreamed of.  Ok it was still a c-section, but it was still magical.

My recovery was also great.  On the second day I asked when I could go home and the midwife said 'Tomorrow!'.  I wasn't really ready and would've liked to stay another night, but they sent a midwife to my house twice after I was sent home to check on me.  And I didn't really get much sleep in hospital anyway so maybe it was for the best.

My most tender sweetish, saddish moment was on the second night after she was born.  It was about 3am, she'd been up most of the night wanting to breastfeed all the time.  Every time I put her down she would start fussing again, I didn't know what to do... eventually I lay her down on the bed next to me and fed her lying down - we both fell asleep and only woke up the next morning!  Sweet...  I wish I had a picture of that moment, of the crumpled bed and the exhaustion and the blissful sleep and the tenderness I felt while holding her.  But it will always be in my mind and my heart.

At home she is such a good baby, I'm actually a bit worried as she sleeps an awful lot.  Last night she slept from 10pm to 4am!  She does cluster feed at night so no more late nights for me, but overall she is a dream baby.  And I'm enjoying her so much - can't believe I've been given another chance...

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