Ainslie Nevae’s Birth Story
The original plan: A Home birth
Andrew and I had planned on having a home-birth with the assistance of two local hospital-based midwives, a student midwife and my doula. I was SO looking forward to it. We had hired a pool, I had everything ready and ticked off on the checklist and was psyching myself up for something which I believe more women should be able to do. Birth at home. I surrounded myself with like-minded people, I joined groups of women who had all different birth experiences and read, read, read, and watched Ina May’s documentary. With our Doula we talked about everything over four meetings; (labour positions, what type of epidural, even if a c-section was needed what type of I wanted)
I was ready for a homebirth.
Then my blood pressure wouldn’t cooperate
My blood pressure went a silly on me and it resulted in daily wee testing at home, extra bloods, and 37 weeks ultrasound and a lot of fear on my part. I had always wanted to escape and avoid as much intervention as possible. I am a firm believer that birth is over-intervened in and women need to be more educated.
After it all, everything came back as not having pre-eclampsia, but I wouldn’t be able to have a home birth….but I WOULD be able to labour at home as long as possible. I grieved the no homebirth.
How it all began
I was 38 weeks and the talk of induction started and I KNEW I wanted to avoid induction at hospital at ALL costs. So I went to acupuncture on the Monday and Friday of that week and said “put me in labour.”
And he did.
I started having contractions, mild ones, at my midwifery appointment Friday afternooon…right after acupuncture. Those then started about 8-10 minutely from Saturday midnight to 6am. I phoned the midwives at 4am and my Doula to say that they were increasing. Due to my high blood pressure my midwife came to my house about 10am and my BP was 160/104…too high. I was 2.5cm, 50% effaced and my midwife encourage my cervix forward (which hurt like hell). i was going to hospital earlier than i wanted.
I was devastated.
I knew that by going to hospital they were going to monitor me closely. They talked about giving me blood pressure medication and that I was going to be given 24 hours to labor on my own and then they were going to induce. My BP cooperated and i avoided medication!
I was BOUND and DETERMINED NOT to be induced. My doula came along from 10am onwards and we did everything we could to keep the labor going. So I did the following:
- Clary sage oil rubbed onto my tummy and in an oil burner. We hot boxed the hospital room
- Acupressure on the inside of my ankles (that worked)
- I expressed for about 20 minutes using my breast pump
- Got cuddly with my husband
Labour kept going every 8-10 minutes were contractions lasting about a minute. At 6pm another midwife checked me, I was 2.5cm but 80% effaced and cervix was forward placement. Went for a walk and then things started to get more real. We stayed in the small room we had been checked into, I had a McDonalds cheeseburger (it tasted amazing) and kept going and staying positive.
We moved into the birthing suite around 7pm. I laboured in the shower, I laboured in the pool. I laboured walking around. I made noises I didn’t know I could make. It was about 8pm and I wasn’t coping anymore. I was BEGGING for an epidural, I was physically exhausted. I hadn’t slept in about 24 hours and I was falling apart. My Doula and Husband were amazing and encouraged me. Midwife came in and said “how about using the gas.” In Australia, you can use laughing gas as a pain relief.
OMG. I Love the gas. It helped me SOOOO much. For about an 1.5 hours I was able to cope with contractions and get through them. Then my midwife, Susan, came and checked me. I was 5cm. Not gonna lie, a little devo. It hurt like hell and I was exhausted.
They broke my waters and Ainslie had pooed in them. There was recent and fresh merconium in the waters, which can cause fetal distress. So I had to be hooked up to the CTG (the monitors on your belly). Up until this point I did not have anything on me or even have an IV in my arm. I was left to labour…and I appreciated it. Now the water birth and shower were out. i had to have the monitors on which meant standing, birth ball or bed…I was attached
I was shaking at the side of the bed while I paced in place through each contraction, I was exhausted. I was mentally fried. I was standing naked, screaming the F-word through contractions, trying to suck the gas like it was my job. I got to the point where I was begging for a c-section. I did this for about half and hour and then said “I’ve had enough. I’ve done enough, I want an epidural”
Still screaming, standing up, with monitors on my belly, sucking gas…My doctor flies in. My Doula is standing next to me, holding my left arm, the midwives are prepping everything and then
I said “Who’s doing my epidural?” …
“It’s Charlie!” He’s a co-worker of mine. OMG..mortified. Remember, I’m still naked.
Charlie whips in “OH HEY GAY! Look at you!”
“Charlie, give me the f-ing epidural! Remember that bottle of wine I brought back for you from Oregon, well know you owe me!”
i asked for a very low strength epidural and that is what I got. I relaxed, got the shakes, but to his absolute credit I could still feel contractions. I could feel the pressure and at times I could feel pain. I didn’t want an increase in my epidural. it was perfect. I knew I could push her out!
I was determined to birth her my way
After about 1.5 hours with epidural, my student midwife Catherine was monitoring Ainslie on the machine. She was going fine. Absolutely nothing wrong. Oh and my BP…never ever went high again throughout the WHOLE entire time I was in hospital. God was so looking out for us.
I started to feel pressure, I was leaking more fluid.
I said to Catherine “I can feel her coming down the birth canal. The pressure is increasing.”
“Oh, ok. Well Susan is sleeping, she’ll be back in about 1.5hrs”
“We can’t wait that long, she’s gonna come soon.”
Susan came in around 2am on Sunday morning…so we’re pushing 26hrs people. She examined me and I was 10 centimeters “OH my! I can feel her head! Push when you feel the urge.”
So I pushed. Kept pushing. Everyone around me expected it to take forever. I was told that I would most likely need labour augmenting drugs with the epidural and that most first time Moms’ need either forceps or vaccum to deliver.
“Oh my, she’s coming now, you can feel her head Michelle if you want to. I’m gonna go call the doctor and because of the merconium we’ll have to have her reviewed by a pediatrician” –> That scared me because I really wanted skin-to-skin, delayed cord clamping and breast feeding striaght after birth.
I pushed and I pushed. I could feel each contraction and it was awesome. At one point i reached down and I could feel her head! Crowning hurt like hell. I remember telling my Doula “this hurts like hell!” Ainslie came out and I pulled her up out of the midwives hands and straight onto my chest. She sat there for a bit and then went straight to the breast. Was amazing. The doctor missed the birth and the pediatrician didn’t answer his phone. She had apgars of 9/9 for both times. We had an hour of uninterrupted skin-to-skin and delayed cord clamping.
She’s the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen. I didn’t cry I just LAUGHED out loud the most joyous laugh when i first saw her. We didn’t know the gender…andrew looked “its a girl!”
Ainslie Nevae Pope
25 May 2014 at 2:34am
She was born on Andrew’s dad’s birthday. He died when when Andrew was 19. Nevae is our decided feminine form of Neville, which was his name. We love her to bits.
The birth was nothing that we planned, but I grieve nothing of it. I went in with an amazing team who let me labour and were hands off until needed. I educated myself and felt so empowered.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.