Today I wanted to share Everly’s birth story, which was so very different to the calm birth I’d envisioned. It was fast, intense and traumatic – a precipitate labour – a term which I was blissfully unaware of until it happened to me. A world apart from Henry’s birth, and relaying it here will be cathartic for me. I never shared Henry’s birth story on the blog, as it was a sacred time that allowed us to heal somewhat after the heartache of delivering William and Noah, knowing that they would not survive. It was a natural birth, without gas and air or an epidural. It was calm, controlled. I breathed through the increasingly intense contractions, slowly and steadily, keeping focused. Everly’s birth was also completely free of pain relief, with labour only lasting for 2 hours instead of the 10 it took for Henry to arrive into the world, yet the intensity of it meant I would gladly choose a longer labour again.
This is our story, her story…
Then, much to my horror, it was on to the admin side of things. An endless list of questions, so trivial and meaningless, which should have already been known. Then an error on the system, further delaying me being checked to see how dilated I was. The nurse had no sense of urgency, no concern for my pain levels or interest in checking the wellbeing of our baby with foetal monitoring. Matt was repeatedly telling her that I needed antibiotics as soon as possible as I’d tested positive for Group B Strep, and that not only had my waters already broken, but we suspected there’d been meconium present. Still she slowly meandered around the room, as if I wasn’t writhing in pain just a few feet away. Matt began to answer the questions for me, I was in too much pain to talk, my contractions had just a few seconds break between them and I was struggling. Until the nurse said to Matt, “I need her to answer,” and I wanted to slap her for being so ridiculous.
15 minutes later and still neither the baby or I had been checked. I was tired of waiting.
“I want an epidural,” I muttered between contractions.
“We have to check you’re in labour first,” she replied.
And it was then that the panic rose in me as I realised that this woman did not understand what was happening to me, that time was running out, that this all consuming pain that had swiftly descended upon me would not be relieved. The contractions were on top of each other, one after the next, relentless. The slow, controlled breathing that had me labouring peacefully with Henry was rendered useless in this situation. The pain had me curled into a ball, clutching Matt’s chest into me. I began to shake uncontrollably, and I found myself murmuring desperate pleads. “Someone help me. I need help. Why won’t anyone help me?” I felt out of control and completely alone in a world of pain.
A few hours later, Everly was taken to the nursery to have her stats checked and Matt and I were left alone in our room. It was then that the overwhelming shock and trauma of everything that had just taken place had time to settle on my mind, bringing with it the sting of tears.
I was discharged from the hospital 2 days after giving birth (Everly needed to be monitored for signs of Group B Strep for 48 hours as I hadn’t had time to receive antibiotics during labour), and instructed not to lift anything heavier than our newborn, not to drive for 2 weeks, and I should only walk up a flight of stairs once a day max, so it was difficult being unable to care for Henry and Everly in the way I wanted to. Simply getting in and out of bed took great care and was very painful, and walking was difficult for at least a week – I had to take it extremely slowly.
Three weeks on and I’m feeling good again, and it’s lovely to be able to play around with Henry again and be more active in my involvement with him. Everly has taken to breastfeeding really well, just as Henry did, and I’m thankful that I’ve had no pain or difficulties with getting her to latch on. I’m hoping to continue breastfeeding for at least 6 months, preferably a year, it is such a beautiful and bonding experience between mother and baby.