On the 29th December I finally got to meet my gorgeous daughter Ava. If you haven't already read my pregnancy recap then you can go here to read that before continuing on with this post.
My recap above was posted around the 35 week mark, so I was almost there but still had a bit to go.
The last 5 weeks of my pregnancy is a blur now of feeling tired, frustrated, nervous and excited. They say that the last 5 weeks drag on and while your in it, it certainly does. I was so ready to just meet her and to have some normalcy with my body again. I felt so stretched beyond belief and so uncomfortable.
Due to the fact that I had gestational diabetes, there was a chance that I may of needed to get induced earlier than my due date to prevent Ava from growing too big. By the end, I had no idea on what plan my obstetricians wanted to take; again very frustrating as every appointment it would always be a case of "oh we will see how you go at your next visit but everything looks OK for now".
Finally at my 39 week appointment, a decision was made to book me in for an induction the following week. I was super nervous and excited. I still had to get through Christmas though which thankfully made the time fly by in the meantime.
Monday 28th December rolled around and I checked into the maternity ward at around 5pm. I was hooked up to the monitor in anticipation to have Prostaglandin Gel. After 3 hours of waiting for Ava's heart rate to even out, I received the gel and was sent to my private room to wait out for 6 hours to see if anything started. 2am rolled around and I got a second lot of gel, which thankfully kicked off some mild contractions for me 2 hours later. By the time 6 hours had lapsed since the 2nd lot of gel, at 8am, they decided I was far enough dilated to break my waters.
At this point I was moved to my birthing suite room and I took up residence in the shower. I lasted about an hour in the shower before I needed some pain relief....gas! They also now hooked me up to the Syntocinon drip to get my labour moving along.
I found the gas to really take the edge off my contractions and found that laying on my back with the bed back raised to be the most comfortable position. I used the gas for around about 4-5 hours but I got to a point where the pain became too much and I was feeling too dizzy and groggy from the gas. I was only 2cm dilated and moving along really slowly because they couldn't up my doses of Syntocinon due to it making Ava's heart rate spike. This is when I opted for an epidural.
The epidural was great! I went numb from the waist down (could move and use legs but couldnt feel pain or temperature) and whilst you receive a constant dose of the drug at a average level, I was able to top up my dose with an extra bit every 15 minutes if I felt the need. By now it was 4pm and I hadn't slept properly since 2 nights before and I took the time to get rest. I also kept topping up my epidural and funnily enough rendered by legs useless...so had to ease off the button a little haha.
By 9pm (17hours since I first got contractions) I was only at 3.5cm dilated and they were unable to up my dosage any higher for fear of distressing Ava. So they decided they needed to do a Cesarean Section. So I got prepped and my husband put on his scrubs and met me in the operating theater. I was given local anesthetic, so was awake for the procedure. You can still feel pressure and pulling but no pain or temperature. However, it is not a comfortable experience. The tugging is so cringe worthy that I spent the whole time with a scrunched look on my face as they dug and pulled Ava out of me.
I cried as soon as they showed her to me. It is the most surreal feeling meeting your baby for the first time. You cannot prepare for the emotions of it. They tried to put her on my chest for skin-to-skin bonding and whilst i was able to calm her down immediately with my voice, I very quickly got nauseous and had to have her taken off me. Jeremy took over and held and calmed her down while they tended to me.
At this point they were manually contracting my uterus back down before stitching me back up and unfortunately they were working in an upper area of my torso which wasn't numbed and I could feel it all. They noticed I was crying and when they knew, they stepped away and upped my anesthetic before continuing on. This was a little scary to experience but thankfully was rectified pretty quickly.
I was then wheeled to recovery and planned to hold and feed Ava but developed a pretty severe case of shivering/clenching as the drugs wore off. I couldn't hold her as my whole upper body would convulse with shaking and clenching (jaw and hands) every minute for about an hour post theater. They managed to get her latched on me for her first feed and by the time she finished feeding I was passed the shaking, and able to cuddle her.
My labour and delivery was long, but bearable due to the drugs and I would certainly do it all again. The cesaean section was completely unexpected and the procedure and recovery was not something I had researched. I ended up in hospital for a total of 4 nights and very thoroughly enjoyed the experience and care of the hospital.
Right now, I am 3 weeks postpartum and that day feels like a lifetime ago. I will do a post on on the first month postpartum and the cesarean recovery process in the next couple of weeks and plan to do monthly updated over the next 12 months of her life.