READER REPORT:

Share you labour tales: My labour of love

ANDREA LAMBELL
Last updated 14:30 19/10/2012
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A JOY: Andrea Lambell's little girl.

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We've asked readers to share their labour stories. To join in hit the green button below.

Our first baby was due on June 29, 2011.

I had a good pregnancy (apart from gaining what now feels like an extra half tonne), but had reduced amniotic fluid from 32 weeks and required scans each week from that point.

The problem resolved when I stopped work at 37 weeks and from then on we were all good. On the afternoon of the 28 June, my waters broke - just a trickle so felt just a bit damp and uncomfortable. I phoned my midwife who said, "see what happens, but if nothing happens overnight, come into the hospital at 9am tomorrow and we will probably have to induce you".

Nothing happened that night, although it was a relatively sleepless night as my husband and I were both waiting for the contractions to start and, of course, I was still trickling waters which was a real nuisance.

So at 9am the next day we turned up at Hutt Hospital and the midwife confirmed that my waters had broken and put some gel in to encourage my cervix to soften to bring on labour.

All that day I went up and down stairs, walked around the hospital having the odd rest to try and encourage my contractions to start. But nothing happened. By this time my husband was Facebooking about how boring this labour business was - you could do it with one hand tied behind your back, what was all the fuss about?

At 4.30pm the midwife talked with the registrar and they decided to start me on a drug that brings on contractions. But still nothing happened so they kept increasing the dosage.

At 8.30pm they increased the dose to the maximum amount and all of a sudden the contractions hit - really hard and fast. No time for endorphins to build up so I was really feeling them.

I had decided to try and do without pain relief if I could as I sometimes react to pain medication and did not want to be feeling sick with a newborn. But I had hired a TENS machine which helped me to deal with the pain a little.

I also counted through each contraction, slowly sounding out each number and I found that helped me more than anything else as it kept me very calm and focused. I also knew that when I got to 12 or 15 then the contraction would end and I would have a little break. At around midnight I was about 5cm dilated and was having trouble saying the numbers, but I still made a sound for each number as it helped me focus and deal with the pain.

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At 3am I was exhausted and still only at 6cm dilated so I asked for an epidural as I was not sure how much longer I could go on without a break. The midwife rang the request through and said they would be there shortly. I went to the bathroom (a major undertaking as I was hooked up to the baby monitor, TENS machine, and an intravenous line). When I came out, the midwife said I was sounding a little "pushy" so she examined me and woo hoo, I was 9.5cm. Baby was coming!

At 4am the anaesthetist arrived for the eipdural but was promptly sent away - too late for that now.

Everyone says it is easier when you get to push. I cannot agree,  as I found it just added another layer of pain to the contraction - a kind of severe burning feeling as baby pushes against your cervix. All you can do is try and push through the burn - not easy but it is doable.

At about 4.40am they said that baby's head was crowning - we were almost there.  I asked the midwife, "how many more contractions?"

She said, "Oh I really can't tell you that, it could be anything", I urged "How many more contractions?!" and she said "Well, you could do it in five if you really tried - but don't quote me on that".

Contractions one to four came and went - and still the head was just crowning. As contraction number five came I remember thinking, "this is it - no more, I have to get the baby out."

I gave it all I had and got baby's head out. The midwife made the mistake of saying "That is great - on the next contraction we will get the rest of baby." I panicked and thought "No - no more contractions!" and kept pushing on contraction number five and at 4.45am on 30 June our beautiful wee girl was born.

Nothing can prepare you for the amazing feeling of love when you first hold your baby, it is such a joy.

We had a few issues - our beautiful wee girl was born with a heart defect so those few cuddles in the hours after she was born were all we got for a while as four hours later she went blue and we were immediately raced by ambulance and Lifeflight plane up to Starship Hospital where she underwent open heart surgery a few days later.

But that is another story and needless to say has a happy ending - our girl is now 15 months old and is walking, dancing, singing and even saying a few words. She is just a complete joy.


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