Sofia's birth story.
27 th July 03
9 lbs 2 oz
21 and a half inches

I fell pregnant with Sofia the first time my partner and I tried, which surprised me because it took four months to conceive my first baby Christina. I can remember taking the test in the bathroom with my hands shaking, was I pregnant? I was overjoyed when almost immediately the second blue line appeared and I ran downstairs to tell my partner.

The pregnancy went well. I was classed as high risk because I had severe swelling during my first pregnancy and high blood pressure which resulted in an insufficient placenta and a small baby, but this time, apart from a slight scare at 28 weeks, my blood pressure stayed at a normal level.

I fully expected to give birth at around 38 weeks like I did previously but Sofia had other ideas! My due date was the 14 th July and soon I was overdue. There were no signs of labour whatsoever, only slightly stronger Braxton Hicks contractions. At 41 weeks and 1 day, I went into the hospital for an antenatal appointment only to discover that my blood pressure was rising and they booked me in for an induction on Sunday the 27 th July 2003 when I would be full term plus 13 days. The doctor did a membrane sweep to try to soften my cervix but found that it was completely unfavourable, very posterior and totally closed. She did say however that it might help soften it for the induction.

On the day of the induction I was up very early, about 5.00 am. I had a bath and ate some toast and then sat around with my partner Bart while I waited for 8.00 am to arrive so I could phone the hospital to find out what time I was to go in. I had felt some quite strong Braxton hicks contractions in the night, so I was hopeful that it might have softened my cervix enough not to need the prostiglandin gel, which takes ages to work. I was hoping that they would be able to break my waters right away.

I phoned the hospital at 8.00 am on the dot and they said to go right in, but I had to make several phone calls first so I didnt get there till 9.00 am. When I arrived, I was shown straight into a  delivery room
which surprised me as I went into the induction suite when I was induced with my first child 2 years ago. The midwife got round to examining me at about 9.30 am and prounounced me 1 centimetre dilated. She stretched my cervix and it stayed at 2 centimetres, I was very happy because it meant that she could break my waters right away without the prostiglandin gel! After she ruptured my membranes, she said we would wait a few hours to see if I would go into labour on my own, so for the next 2 and a half hours, I  waddled round the labour ward dribbling amniotic fluid and feeling generally uncomfortable and wet. And guess what? Nothing happened!

Finally at 12.00 noon, the midwife decided to put in the pitocin drip, which I was pleased about even though I know it causes very painful contractions as if from nowhere. By 12.30 pm, the contractions were coming and they were quite painful but not regular and painful enough for the midwife to say I was in labour. I was strapped to a monitor once the drip was in so I couldnt get off the bed to walk around in an attempt to make the contractions stronger, so all I could do was wait. By 2.00 pm, the contractions were much stronger and I felt like they were doing their job of dilating my cervix. The midwife brought me something to eat as they do not have a no food policy in the hospital I gave birth in. They were laughing because they could tell every time I had a contraction, not because I was shouting in pain but because it was the only thing that would stop me eating! My partner and my dad who were present were laughing and joking, and this made them laugh even more.

At 2.30 pm the student midwife who was also present suggested I try some gas and air. I accepted as I was now in quite a bit of pain and I wanted to see if I could give birth without an epidural, which I had when I gave birth to Christina. At first it made me feel light headed and dizzy, but I soon realised that it was worth it to relieve the pain of the contractions. I used the gas and air till about 3.45 pm when the student midwife told me she was going to do an internal examination to check my progress. It seemed to take forever! At long last she prounounced me at 6 centimetres. The other midwife looked at the monitor which was now showing regular strong contractions only 3 minutes apart and she said that we would have a baby in 2 hours. At this point, my father left the room so my mother could come in for the birth.

2 Hours!!!! Well Sofia had other ideas! All of a sudden her heart rate dipped with a particularly strong contraction. The midwife told me to lie on my side so the heart rate would become more reactive. I can remember mumbling something about the cord and was it wrapped round the babys neck? But I was assured that the baby was fine. As soon as I rolled onto my side, transition hit with a huge impact! The contractions were so painful and intense I was in agony even with the gas and air. Literally three contractions after the internal when I was pronounced 6 centimetres, I felt a huge pressure in my bottom like I needed to use the toilet but much stronger. I told the midwife this and they immediately turned me back onto my back  and started preparing for the birth. I couldnt believe how quickly I had dilated the last 4 centimetres.

Suddenly, I began to experience excruciating second stage pushing contractions which I just could not control. By this time It was 4.00 pm. Every time a contraction came, I felt like I was being shoved down the bed I was pushing so hard. I can remember saying to the midwife " I need to push" and she said to me "go ahead then" without examining me again to check if I was fully dilated, which pleased me because it proved that she was confident that I had confidence in my own body to give birth to this baby. At this point the midwife left the room because the student was delivering my baby which was fine by me. She was very competent and I felt very safe in her hands. I can remember pushing for what seemed like hours and moaning that it felt like the head was never going to come out even though the midwife could see it crowning. Finally, I felt a nasty burning feeling around my vaginal opening and heard the midwife tell me to pant so the head could be born slowly, it was horrible trying to hold back the intense pushing contractions but I managed to do it and the head was born with no damage to my perenium.

The next thing that happened was scary. All of a sudden my partner ran out of the room looking unwell. I heared the student midwife tell my mother to push the red emergency button on the wall. All of a sudden the room was filled with people.One of  Sofia's shoulders was stuck inside me. They had to remove the end of the bed and pin my legs back to my shoulders so someone could reach in to free her. They also had to push hard on my stomach, and I admit, I screamed and shouted from the pain, it was the first time I shouted all through labour. All together freeing her only took 3 minutes but it felt like forever. As soon as her shoulder was free, she slipped straight out of me and was whisked away to be given oxygen because even though she was breathing, she was very blue looking.

All in all, she was a healthy baby. She weighed in at 9 pounds 2 ounces and was 21 1/2 inches long. She had apgars of  8 and 9 and was born over an intact perenium even though she was so huge and I  had a hand inside my pelvis!
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