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Lily’s birth story

November 7, 2010

I know it’s a little bit overdue (like my pregnancy haha!) but here is my birth story. As you may know, Lily’s birth story didn’t go as expected but it was still an amazing and incredible experience.

In summary after 28 hours of natural labour without any progression (due to my baby being in a posterior position), I took my obstetrician’s advice to have an augmented labour with the artificial Syntocinon (to produce more effective contractions), Epidural (to manage the pain and let me sleep) and vacuum delivery (to turn the baby to an anterior position). This took only 4 more hours and I was asleep for most of it until the pushing stage which lasted less than 10 minutes.

I knew that birth would be difficult to predict and plan so I prepared myself that things may turn out differently. So the most important thing for me was to ensure that I equipped myself with as much knowledge as possible to ensure that I would be satisfied with the decisions I would have to make on the day.

This made it a lot easier to see the positives out of this experience and I’m very happy with the choices I made.

So here is the full version of the birth story…

I started having regular contractions on the 27/10/2010 (4 days overdue) at 2.40 am with the baby moving around vigorously. You know when people say “You’ll know when you are in labour”? Well I certainly did after 20 minutes, as the contractions were a lot lower (compared to Braxton Hicks contractions), regular (exactly 10 minutes apart) and I just KNEW that this was it!

I had to see my obstetrician at noon for an appointment anyway, so they advised that I still come in to confirm whether I was in labour. In the meantime the contractions got stronger but they weren’t painful at all.  My obstetrician confirmed I was in labour and already 3 cm dilated. I thought…”Well this was easy!!” as I know some women are already admitted into hospital at 3 cm.

My obstetrician suggested I could have baby that night by having my waters broken at 5 pm but I said I wanted things to happen naturally and will go into hospital when contractions were at least 4 minutes apart and lasting for 1 minute. I didn’t want to go too early as my hospital has a policy that they would conduct interventions if labour has not progressed after 13 hours and since I was still managing okay I didn’t see the point in being admitted.

So I went home (and updated this blog), and during the contractions I was doing a lot of breathing, visualisation and bouncing on the fit ball to cope with the pain.

When my contactions were 3 minutes apart, it was 6.00 pm so I decided to make my way to the hospital. I managed to get the birthing suite at the hospital which was free of monitors and was set up more like a big hotel room, so I was free to move around and not be restricted on the bed. I put on my relaxation and hypnotherapy music, sprayed the sheets with lavender oil and got my heat packs out – I was ready to go!

My contractions got stronger and stronger but when they checked my dilation at 9.00 pm I was still 6 cm! I also had severe back pain and they confirmed the baby was in a posterior postion so I knew this was going to be a longer and more painful labour. I also knew from my research, that with a posterior position, the body will produce more endorphins (to cope with the pain) and that the baby usually turns (to an anterior position) so I kept focusing on managing the pain and assuming forward leaning positions (to encourage the baby to turn).

Image courtesy of Left posterior position – Baby’s back against mother’s back. Anterior position with the baby’s back against mother’s belly and the chin tucked in is the ideal position for birth.

I also rejected the hospital’s offer of breaking my waters to ‘speed things along’, as I didn’t want to increase the strength of the contractions, or the risk of causing fetal distress.

After a couple of hours, my contractions got so strong that my whole body was shaking and DH had to continuously massage my back and thighs as I went to the shower and back on the fit ball continuously. At 3.00 am the checked my dilation and I was still  6 cm! I was devastated as the contractions were so strong and over the top of each other I was sure I was getting close to 10 cm and assumed I had reached the ‘transition’ stage.

Because the pressure on the cervix with an posterior baby tends to be more uneven, dilation tends to be much slower. Furthermore, because the presenting diameter of the head is larger (due to angle of posterior baby’s head being ‘de-flexed’ instead of chin tucked in) and needs more time to mold, this also contributes to a slow-down during a posterior labor (also called “labor dystocia”).

So I finally agreed for the midwife to break my waters to help with progressing the labour. I prayed that the water didn’t have meconium (which indicates fetal distress) and thankfully it didn’t! I then prepared myself for even stronger contractions.

So for the next 2 hours I was not on this planet (if you know what I mean) and hypnotherapy was a god-send as I was managing to cope with the physical and mental pain of continuous back to back contractions.

Unfortunately at 5.00 am, I was still 6 cm dilated and I just couldn’t believe that my contractions weren’t effective in turning the baby  or progressing with dilation… By this stage I knew I had reached the 13 hrs of being at the hospital and they advised that augmentation (e.g. artificial Syntocinon drip) will produce more effective contractions as a prolonged labour would jeopardise the baby’s well-being.

Even though I was managing with the pain, the knowledge that I wasn’t progressing since the baby was still in posterior was very frustrating – not to mention the extreme physical and mental exhaustion that I was experiencing.

My DH was also knackered as he has been massaging me constantly for those 13 hrs, so I agreed it was best to get the Syntocinon to assist me as I couldn’t imagine another 13 hrs passing with no progression.

I negotiated with my Obstetrician that if the Syntocinon causes ‘fetal distress’ that instead of conducting an ‘Emergency Caesarean’, that they take me off the Syntocinon and I’ll try to go natural again. He agreed.

So I had to move out of the nice birthing suite to the traditional hospital room and remain in bed. Since I knew the contractions will be a lot stronger with the Syntocinon, I also made the call to get the lightest dose of  Epidural as I knew I wouldn’t be able to cope with the pain (especially being restricted on the bed) and to finally get some sleep for myself and DH.

After 4 hours, the Syntocinon worked to dilate me to 10 cm and the baby wasn’t in distress either (YAY!). But the baby was still in posterior position so my obstetrician had to turn her via vacuum as I pushed! My obstetrician was amazed I didn’t suffer any perineum damage (credit to Epi-No or a long labour conditioning the perineum to soften perhaps?)

And finally Lily came out after more than 32 hours of labour! She was still kicking vigorously I was pushing!

I was worried that she would be in a lot of trauma considering it was a long labour and the interventions which occurred during the last 4 hours, but she was very alert and took to the breast in under 5 minutes.

So was the 28 hour of ‘natural’ labour worth it? Well for me, it definitely was, as I got to experience the incredible feeling of all the natural hormones at work. I wouldn’t say it was an ‘orgasmic’ birth but it certainly wasn’t a scary or terrifying experience.  I also feel the experience was an amazing and special journey to share with my DH which wouldn’t happen if I opted for the interventions straight away.

So that is the story…sorry if it was a very long post! So even though my birth didn’t go as plan, I am still over the moon that I managed so long without interventions and managed to make informed choices on the day to have has my baby out safely.

5 Comments leave one →
  1. November 8, 2010 10:14 am

    What a fantastic story! Thank you for writing it up, so glad to hear everything went well and Lily came out safely. Very inspiring to read about someone who has researched and made informed choices and is happy with the outcome. Hope I can have a similar outcome when my time comes in Jan. What is the epi-no? xx

  2. November 8, 2010 7:25 pm

    Hi Anna

    Thanks for you comment. How is your pregnancy going by the way?

    I wrote about the Epi-No here:

    I found it easier than perineum massage but didn’t manage to complete it (I only reached 7cm) but it probably gave me confidence more than anything else..

  3. November 8, 2010 7:44 pm

    Oh wow, what a great birth story.

    You did so well to hold off on the interventions for as long as you did. I can imagine when you been labouring for so long and under intense pain it would have been tempting to do anything to speed things up, or go for the strongest dose of epidural on offer!

    It sounds like you had really done your research and understood what was going on with your labour from start to finish.. all your decisions were well informed and you stood up for yourself which is great.. Your birth experience sounds like a total success story to me.

    And well done to little Lily for being so chilled out during the labour and going straight for the boob afterwards! What a little champion!

    And Im sure your DH must have been impressed and very proud of both his girls.

    Thanks so much for the post!

  4. November 9, 2010 9:06 am


    I’m so glad that you had a wonderful (if a little dramatic!) experience.

    Your daughter is simply gorgeous!!

    You are a very lucky lady!

    Congrats again!

  5. November 9, 2010 2:59 pm

    You did a great job!
    I’ve heard the Epi no is fantastic, but it was nice to hear directly from someone who has used it.

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