Challenging 2nd birth at RPA birth centre
We decided to use a Doula for the birth of our second baby as my mother attended the first birth and I found it useful to have another pair of hands around. It allowed my husband, Stephen, to concentrate on me a whole lot more whilst getting some much needed support. Read More…
Virginia was excellent for both of us. We are so glad we employed her services, as the second birth was unexpectedly long (although not really that long) and at times I found it really difficult.
My first birth was very smooth, contractions started at 5 minute intervals and increased according to the clock thereafter. After 6 hours of “real” labour my gorgeous girl, Dahlia was born. Because this was such a smooth and relatively quick labour, all the midwives (at the Birth Centre) and my GP thought the second birth would be fast and furious. It really wasn’t!
My contractions were erratic right from the start. Sometimes close together, sometimes not, sometimes extremely strong but often not so much. They continued to be erratic the whole labour, which was the main thing that I found difficult to handle. It was so different from my first labour! I found Virginia to be calm and reassuring, and her suggestions of different positions or activities were really useful.
Because everyone was worried about a very quick birth, I went to the birth centre a little bit early, and as a result they slowed right down and then stopped. Virginia suggested that we walk up and down the stairs (7 flights) a few times to get them going again, which it did, as my contractions started up again during the trek up and down the stairs. Still, they were erratic and unpredictable and not particularly close together.
I laboured and laboured and laboured. This time, it felt like forever that I was labouring. Virginia and Stephen had taken down the clocks, so that I wouldn’t be worried about the time that was passing, however I really wanted to know – so every now and then I’d sneak a look at the clock in the bathroom. It didn’t phase me at all, but I just wanted to keep track of what was going on. Don’t ask me why, it’s completely irrelevant and made no difference to the process or how I was feeling.
The whole labour my contractions were erratic and unpredictable. I’d have quite long periods (relatively speaking) of nothing and then long periods of them being close together. Some were very strong and some were not so full-on. Very different to my first labour, and I think I found that more difficult to deal with than anything else, such as how much time was passing or anything like that.
A few times I just wanted to give up, but was nervous to let either of them that I wanted to give up and not do things naturally. Eventually I told Stephen and he and Virginia put their heads together and gave me some drops. I’m not sure if they were Australian Flower Essences or Homeopathics but within a minute or two I felt like I could do it and was doing fine. I remember very clearly thinking to myself “why didn’t I say something sooner”? I’d obviously made myself suffer needlessly! So the next few times I felt like giving up, I was happy to let them know so they could “fix” it. And that worked, it got me through.
Anyway, eventually I felt the urge to push – it was almost irresistible. I was in the bath, as I really wanted a water birth with my first and didn’t get one as she’d done a maconium poo and I had to get out pretty much at the beginning of 2nd stage (what a nightmare)! So, I was determined with the second to try again for the water birth. Unfortunately, I still didn’t get to have a water birth, but more on that in a moment.
For some reason I felt like I wasn’t allowed to push, don’t ask me why, so I tried to hold on and said a number of times “I really want to push … I need to push”. After eliciting no response from anyone, I decided to take matters into my own hands and pushed away. It is odd that I felt I needed “permission” to push, but I guess the “good girl” in me extends even to the most stressful situations! Anyway, the whole time Virginia was massaging, encouraging and supporting both me and Stephen, helping us through and making sure we were okay. She was making sure that I was hydrated and kept me cool with ice-cold facewashers. Honestly, it felt like heaven when she put them around my neck or on my back!
Anyway, the problem with the pushing was that baby didn’t want to come down. He was still well up there, not moving, not holding up his part of the bargain! I was pushing and pushing and getting more and more tired, and my baby just wasn’t coming down. He just didn’t seem to want to come out.
So, eventually, I forced him into the birth canal, and he slowly started to move down to the light at the end of the tunnel. I gave a couple of huge pushes, and he more than crowned, his head came out almost up to his eyes, and then he scooted back up the birth canal again (at least, that’s what it felt like). I couldn’t believe it! I finally got him almost to the “easy” part, and he goes all the way back up again. My heart dropped and I thought “oh my G-d, I have to do it all over again”.
Then the midwife, Sarah, who’d been monitoring the baby very closely (thank goodness) said “his heart rate has dropped, you have to get out of the bath”.
I thought “oh no, not again” to myself, and looked at the side of the bath and thought “how the hell am I going to get out of here”? It was hard enough at the beginning of 2nd stage last time, but unbelievable at the end of 2nd stage this time! Anyway, I guess I may have looked as though I was hesitating (rather than trying to figure out how to achieve this physical feat) so Sarah said to me, in a pretty urgent tone:
“You have to get out of the bath, NOW”.
So, this 9½ month pregnant woman (me) leapt over the side of Mt Vesuvius and then Sarah said “get down on the bed, lie on your back”. I remember looking at her as if she was insane – are you kidding? I couldn’t even lie on my back in the bath, let alone on a bed!
Anyway, I said to her “No way, not doing it” and thought to myself “this baby is coming out … NOW”.
So, before I even got to the bed, while I was standing up, I grabbed hold of Stephen and had one massive contraction – the baby’s head and shoulders came out in that one push and Sarah pulled the baby out the rest of the way. I saw something around his head and neck and he looked a blue/purple colour.
Sarah said “the cord’s around his neck” and quickly – moving quicker than the speed of light – unwrapped it while telling me to lie on the bed and get ready. I lay down and once she’d unwrapped the baby (the cord was around his neck 3 times – no wonder he went back up, he had his first, and hopefully his last, bungee jump) Sarah lay him on my chest and then blew on him and moved his limbs until he took his first breath. As soon as he did he turned a normal colour again, and his apgar scores were 8 and 9, so he recovered very quickly. All of this happened in what felt like a few seconds, so quickly that we didn’t even get a chance to realise what was going on (thank goodness).
Virginia gave me and Sam some essences, to ensure a smooth passage for him into this life with me, Stephen and Dahlia, which I found very reassuring and quite lovely. She also gave me something, though I can’t remember what. All I remember is feeling absolutely wonderful, and loving my beautiful baby boy.
We hadn’t made the final decision on the baby’s name yet, as I wanted to see him to see which name suited him best. Most of the pregnancy I was fairly set on the name Max, however I started to feel differently towards the end of the pregnancy, so we decided to wait and see. We eventually decided to call him Samuel (Sam), as he seemed like a really relaxed, easy going boy, whereas when I think of Max, I think of a more mischievous type, and perhaps a bit more cheeky and “fun”, so to speak. I found it reassuring that Virginia agreed with our assessment of his personality (as she obviously was an objective bystander). Sam was born at 5:38am, exactly 10 days after his estimated due date. He was born naturally, with no intervention, as I wanted him to be, really thanks to Virginia and her calming presence and amazing knowledge of appropriate flower essences and other remedies.
If I were to have another baby, I would not hesitate to ask Virginia to assist with the birth. Thanks so much, Virginia!