The Birth of Emerson
Gold Coast Mum - Catherine Shares Her Birth Story of Son Emerson
Hi Mama and welcome to our first Blog Birth Story! Today we hear from a local mum Catherine who recently had her baby boy Emerson at Gold Coast University Hospital this past July.
I was lucky enough to journey beside Cat and her husband Zac as they brought their little boy into the world. Cat and Zac had a long labour but managed to stay positive and connected despite the numerous obstacles they were faced with. Here is their bespoke birth story....
"The birth of Emerson
At 41 weeks, it seemed like everyone had already given birth. All over social media all I could see were beautiful posts welcoming their perfect little bundles into the world. My partner and I joked continuously on what date our own bundle would join us, “It’s got to be in the next week” we’d chime as we considered the “best” days for a birthday, “Any day but the 23rd “ I joked “It just doesn’t feel right”…
The 21st came and finally things were starting to happen. My waters broke just before midnight and we were so excited to finally be meeting this stubborn little boy who had refused to move out of his (clearly comfy) posterior position.
I found it strange finally being able to put a feeling to these contractions, to experience what I had heard so much about through other’s experiences. Everyone’s journey is uniquely different, different experiences throughout pregnancy, birth and of course each baby is uniquely different as well. This was the start of our unique journey as a family. I tried to rest as much as possible and sleep through the contractions trusting in the process. By 6 am on the 22nd the contractions were around 5mins apart, and had been consistently for about 5 hours. They seemed to be getting closer together, lasting longer, and they were definitely getting stronger. I couldn’t sleep through them anymore. We headed into the hospital to check in as my waters had broken, but I wasn’t yet getting the 3 in 10 minutes they recommend.
When we reached the hospital my contractions were still 5mins apart and were lasting around 1.5mins. Gross soaked pad in a zip lock bag we headed to the MAC ward to get checked out. They did a test of the fluid to check if my waters had broken, and to our surprise it came back negative. I remember questioning if I had just wet myself, but I knew my waters had absolutely broken. They sent us home and said once I was having 3 contractions in 10mins consistently for an hour to come back. A midwife laughed as I was leaving as a breathed through my next contraction, “I’d say we’ll be seeing you very soon!”
Back at home it was back to the relaxing music and trying to get comfortable on the bounce ball, in the shower, whatever helped. Another 8 hours and my contractions weren’t getting closer together but were getting stronger and longer. I was struggling with the pain and it was getting harder and harder to breathe through the contractions. I was still convinced my waters had broken so we headed back in. At the hospital my contractions still weren’t 3 in 10, and by all appearances I seemed to be coping well with the contractions, I mentioned I believe my waters had broken previously and they re-examined me and confirmed my waters had broken 12hrs before. Now they had confirmed my waters had in fact broken at 12am they advised that to prevent the risk of infection it would be best to schedule an induction in the next day or so if things didn’t naturally progress. I was given some Codine to help sleep through the contractions.
Off home again we went, the Codine definitely helped me grab a solid few hours sleep but the contractions were intense. I remember thinking if this isn’t even active labour, how am I going to keep this up for potentially another 12-
36hours. My contractions were still 5mins apart and lasting 1:45 secs, how much longer could this go on for. After another 5 hours I felt an increase in pressure and I was beginning to shake a little during contractions. Back to the hospital and one way or another we were leaving with our baby this time.
As my waters had already broken the midwives were unable to do a cervical check to see if I was progressing, but as my contractions were still not 3 in 10 I was still considered to be in predominal labour. As it was coming up to 24hrs after my waters had broken it was time to look at an induction. It was a busy night of inductions and so I was added to the cue and popped into a room to wait in out and try to rest for the big event. I was given some more codine which did absolutely nothing this time, and after about 2 hours I was at breaking point. I was exhausted and I honestly did not know how I was going to be able to give birth after being induced. The shower didn’t help, laying down sucked, standing wasn’t great…this wasn’t even active labour yet! Eventually I cracked and I was offered some morphine for the pain so I could get some sleep. There was still a long wait until I would be able to be induced, I think I even asked a midwife quite seriously If it was possible to just get a c-section if that was quicker. I think this comment took the midwives back and they bumped me up in the list to be induced, because about 4hours later it was FINALLY time to move to the birthsuite to be induced. I was so excited, It was actually game time! We were finally going to meet our baby. The warmup had been intense and I was so relieved to know the end was coming.
When we got to the birthsuite I was popped on antibiotics which I needed every 6hours or so to prevent infection as my waters had broken so long before. My midwife was preparing the Pitocin to induce me as I was explaining our several trips to the hospital and how much predominal labour sucked. “Before continuing let’s just see how far dilated you are so we don’t induce you too quickly…” As she was checking my cervix, she seemed surprised and said, “You’re already 9-9.5cm dilated, you don’t need to be induced, what was your original birth plans like?”
…And just like that my whole perspective changed. I was actually ecstatic. Instead of having to go through another 36hrs of “real” labour, I had already done it, and I had done it on my own with just my partner. Turns out my body didn’t get the memo about the 3 in 10 rule, my contractions were still 5mins apart. If I had known I was on the home straight I wouldn’t have gone for the morphine! But I was back on track, I could have my now “semi” natural water birth. I was empowered and ready to bring our baby into the world. From this moment on I was so serene, the birthsuite was so calm, Rianna had joined us and we were all just hanging out. It was such a great atmosphere in the room Rianna and Zac were so incredibly supportive. The water was beautiful, I felt so supported and loved by my husband Zac, It was real magic. It felt as though our love filled the room. 6 hours later It was still magic, but baby wasn’t progressing, we were both happy and healthy but my contractions had started to slow down. My fore waters were broken to help baby move through the birth canal and increase the rate of contractions, (which for the first time finally reached 3 in 10mins), but I still didn’t have the urge to push. Things started to get a bit more frantic in the room, the supervisor kept coming in and pushing to get me on the Pictocin to move things along quicker, then the doctor came to assess what was happening. To say I was uncomfortable is a bit of an understatement at this point, there was no position that brought any relief, but I still didn’t have that urge to push.
The Doc measured my fundal height which had somehow jumped up from 41cms earlier that day to 46cms and did a quick ultrasound and exam to check baby’s size and position. Our stubborn baby in true form had remained in a posterior position and was having trouble getting down the birth canal. They also so estimated that baby seemed to be quite large and so a C-section was recommended. I remember everyone apologising to me, over and over again. I knew a c-section was a possibility especially with a posterior bub, (at least I wouldn’t have to deal with tearing, which was a real fear). I just wish instead of talking and apologising about it for what felt like forever that we could just get on with it. Sitting there with my 3in 10 contractions which were still lasting about 2mins each, once the decisions was made I was eager to get the spinal! By far the worst part of the birth was having the contractions while trying to get the spinal in. Sitting was so uncomfortable because of the pressure of baby so low in the pelvis, sitting on the side of the bed with your legs on a chair and curving your back over your legs AND having to sit still through contractions, the worst! But as soon as the anaesthetic hit it was AMAZING! I was cracking jokes and having some great chats with the doctors and nurses. We were finally going to meet this little life we had been lucky enough to carry and watch grow for 9months. A short time later our baby was in our arms. Our perfect bundle was here… born on the 23rd.
After the birth I was so thankful for completing a Hypnobirthing course. I was empowered by all the knowledge I had gained. I trusted my body, I surrendered to the process, and brought my baby into the world in an environment filled with love…the 3 in 10 rule just didn’t apply to me." - Cat