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Labour & Birth

As I kind of hinted at the time we saw the Obstetrician (Dr Malcolm Barnett) on Friday 3rd Jan at 11:40am and he said we should meet him at the hospital at 6:45 that night to begin the induction process, as the baby was no longer really growing due to the pre-eclampsia so it was time for her to be born.

We managed to sneak in a quick trip to the movies with Jase (while Mon looked after the kids [thanks Mon]) so that we could see Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers. It was a great movie and also a great way to take our mind off what was coming up…

We grabbed dinner and arrived at the hospital about 6:30. Malcolm arrived about 8:00 and started the induction process by putting some Prosten gel on the cervix which is designed to start the labour process running. Bern settled in for the night in the Birth Suite and I decided to go home to get some rest and come back about the same time as Malcolm (between 8 & 9).

Due to the fantastic new blockout blinds we have in out bedroom and the fact that I was dog tired, I slept in until 8:15, so I threw myself in the shower and hotfooted it down to the hospital where I knew breakfast was waiting. I was there by 8:45 for a slightly cold breakfast and Bern wondering where on earth I’d got to..

Malcolm put more Prosten gel in at 9:45 and fairly soon Bern was starting to have some contractions. They started @ about 15minutes apart and 30 seconds long, but by 11:30 they were only 9 min apart. We found going for a walk around the hospital really helped to get things going. By noon they were 3 min apart and starting to last up to 45 secs, but they were still fairly mild. Bern managed to catch some sleep from 1:20 to 2pm but fairly soon the contractions were speeding up to 2-3 min and as long as 60-90 secs.

At 3:45pm Bern’s cervix was 2-3cm dilated and Malcolm was able to break her waters (with a long crochet hook) to start the really intense part of labour. The smell of the amniotic fluid was quite musty and rather pervasive, to the point where it started to make me feel almost ill later.

After the waters broke the contractions became more intense and we found it almost impossible to get a trace on the baby’s heart with the ultrasound. Malcolm ended up putting in a direct trace which clamps to the baby’s head and gives a direct reading. This trace showed a disturbing pattern where the baby’s heart rate dropped from 150 beats per minute down to 120 and then later down to 90 bpm each time Bern had a contraction. This was a real concern as there was a possibility that the umbilical cord might be in front of the baby and being clamped by the contractions.

Things actually progressed fairly steadily for the next few hours with Bern having to pant through each contraction to let it do it’s work without her pushing. During this time, she was unusually introverted, and didn’t say much at all, though I did get in trouble once for not being there when a contraction started. About 7:45pm Malcolm decided to go home to grab some dinner. That was obviously the sign that the baby was looking for, and about half an hour later Bern was getting to the point where the contractions were so intense she almost had to push. The Midwife (Debra) checked her out and found that she was fully dilated so she could actually push with the next contraction.

The first push showed the top of the head, the second the whole head popped out and on the third, the baby was born @ 8:23pm. We had a little girl and the midwives quickly clamped and cut the cord to get her to the baby warmer tray.

Bern recovered almost immediately from her introverted state, and we quickly decided on the name Rebecca Anne from a list of about 4-5 girls names we had prepared.

They wrapped her up and we were able to have a quick cuddle before she was weighed and they tried to get her to breast feed. To be honest I’m not really sure what happened over the next couple of hours, but I do remember doing a few things like carrying Rebecca down to the Nursery to put her in the Isolette to keep her warm and ringing lots of family and friends to tell them the good news.Malcolm arrived back at some stage too and checked over everything.

Bern was moved into a normal room about 10:30 – 11:00 and I hung around till midnight when I left Bern to rest and headed home for some much needed sleep.

I can’t finish without thanking Malcolm, The midwives, (Terri, Debra and Sue) and all the staff at Mitcham Private.

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