Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Layla's birth story

First mummy and me pic - excuse the lack of clothes: she was so quick I didn't get to wear my bright pink labour nighty!

This might delve into the "too much information" category and also the "all about me" one, but I thought I'd share Layla's birth story with you. Partly because I know people like hearing the gory details (or is that just me?), but mainly because I find it so bloody hilarious and have been telling anyone who'll listen anyway! I thought I might make it a regular feature so if you want to share your own - and your baby pics - fire me an email at and I'll post. It never ceases to amaze me how completely different births and pregnancies can be. And how, no matter HOW the baby gets here, everyone pretty much feels the exact same way as soon as it's out into the world: exhausted, relieved and euphorically happy. So, here goes...

Six LONG days after my due date came and went, I woke up at 5.30am on June 11 to some low tummy pains. They weren't across my stomach like a normal contraction or Braxton Hicks, but "down there" so I wasn't sure if it was labour or some other weird crampy thing. They were relatively mild so I went back to sleep. Zak woke me up at 8am and I got up and did the normal nappy, play, breakfast routine at which point they started up again - about 15 minutes apart. A bit stronger, I now assumed it to be the real thing, but still worried about the fact it was so low down (and SHOOTING into my back pain which I'd had for the final few weeks of preg). I started banging my heel on the floor each time I got one and called my midwife who suggested I come in if I wanted to. At 1pm, I was being monitored in the same delivery room I'd had Zak in, eating a very yummy rice pudding and raving very George-Costanza-in-Seinfield-like about the brilliant parking space we got right outside the hospital. At around 2pm, my midwife, Terry, did the internal and told me I was 4cm and gave us the option of going home if we wanted. Not looking forward to another drive later on with more painful contractions (they are somehow worse in the car!) and a little reluctant to give up our parking spot, we decided to stay.

Steve prepared for another long night on the couch (last time I was 4cm, it still took another 10 hours before Zak arrived) and had his mobile phone seconds clock at the ready, timing contractions which had been about five minutes apart since we left home. I felt I was managing the contractions really well with my little stress balls and banging heel and was completely normal and relaxed in-between them. They were getting a little stronger each time, but were nothing compared to how I remembered them towards the end of my labour with Zak. I tried not to think about how much worse they'd get and added a new birth skill to the mix: ahh-ing on each exhale which seemed to make the pain magically disappear altogether.

Suddenly, they were two and a half minutes apart. And a bit stronger. I hopped in the shower with my h0t water bottle held to my pelvic area and the hot water running on my back (which was more painful than the contractions!) I was in there a few minutes and my waters broke. Next contraction I lost my mucus plug. I was feeling it a bit more now and so Terry ran a bath for me. Next contraction I yelled out "I'm pushing" expecting her to tell me to stop cause surely there was no way this was it? They weren't strong enough, close together enough and I wasn't exhausted enough for this to be time to push, surely? Terry asked if I could feel the head. I thought so. Next contraction she basically pushed me out of the shower and towards the bed. Steve ran around turning taps off everywhere, a second midwife appeared from nowhere and I just managed to crawl onto the bed on all fours when I took a deep breath and pushed out Layla's head. JUST her head. A screaming, hairy head. Contraction over. I was completely normal again, just with a little crying head hanging out of what felt like my bottom!!!!! A two-headed freak. I started laughing - as you would. It was the weirdest thing ever. And I can't imagine how it must have looked. You don't get that view! For about two minutes poor Layla was half in, half out crying and I started to wonder if I was ever going to get another contraction to push the rest of her out. But sure enough, it did and she slid out rather painlessly and I was back to being a one-headed freak.

It took several minutes to figure out what she was (sex-wise, we knew she was human) as the umbilical cord made it difficult to get her to me. I was still on all fours so she had to be passed through my legs, under my body and then I managed to turn her over to see she was a girl! It was nice being the first one to know this - Steve saw first with Zak and told me and I got to do it this time. And it was all over - quick, rather painless, drug-free and surprisingly highly amusing! I hadn't heard of that happening before although I'm sure it's pretty common. But it was a great birth - the sucky part was getting the local for the stitches I needed but even then, I put my birth skills to good use again while this time focusing on my new baby girl which is the best kind of distraction ever!

I know second babies are meant to be easier, but I still thought it'd be a lot harder work. I kind of feel like I cheated or something!


Steph Bond said...

Yay what a great story!! And bloody hilarious!!!! I always get a bit teary with birth stories; they are so beautiful... but seriously - how funny was that! I'm so glad you had such a great birth; gives me hope as I was in labour for 4 days! And Layla is so beautiful. Good on you Belinda.

belinda graham said...

eek! four days?? I thought I was a hero doing 29 hours with Zak. You deserve a medal! Thanks too for your advice on Tiny Prints - your card was gorg.

Steph Bond said...

Thank you re: card! I spent a ridiculous amount of time researching to find something cool enough in my price range.

Yeah I think I need some therapy after that labour - 10 months down the track!

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