Waiting and waiting for baby

Last updated 05:00 09/11/2012
baby belly
BELLY AND BEYOND: Waiheke Island resident Jenifer Silva's seven and a half-month belly.

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A labour of love

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My baby's due date was Saturday, March 17 and I had my fingers crossed he wouldn't come on that day; please, not another reason for him to drink too much on his birthday! Anyway, that day came and went, and the days dragged on...

Then on the night of Wednesday, March 21 I started feeling pain and was checked out in the morning by my midwife. I was 1cm dilated. Things eased off during the day but late Thursday night the contractions were coming fast and strong, and at 3am my midwife said it was time to head into town. I was all booked into the midwifery centre Birthcare, so an ambulance was called and the police boat hailed. I live on Waiheke and the normal ferry only runs until 1am.

At 4.30am we arrived in town and got another ambulance up to Birthcare in Parnell. As the sun rose my contractions slowed down (again!) and things stopped. My midwife tried a stretch and sweep, which did nothing, then she tried to break my waters, and couldn't. So, by 3pm I had to be sent home, as I wasn't in active labour.

I had planned to stay at a friends in town. The midwife said I could come back to Birthcare if I went into labour, whether she was in town or not (midwives cannot get the police boat or helicopter over from the island when the main boats aren't running without the patient).

At 11pm contractions started happening again and this time they were for real. The midwife was stuck on the island and she then said we had to go to hospital not Birthcare. It was slightly stressful as we had no idea where to go and Auckland Hospital is a very confusing place.

Mum was with me, as were the old family friends I was staying with and my birthing partner and best friend, Olivia.  I got wheel-chaired up to the maternity ward, contractions coming thick and fast during all of this. I was a bit worried about having a midwife I didn't know, but it turned out Olivia knew her from netball, so that was all cosy.

At this stage I was still only 4cm dilated though. We did expect things to start happening fast, but by 6am I hadn't dilated any more, but my contractions were 2 - 3 seconds apart. And oh so very, very painful. Not a lot makes me cry, and I'm no stranger to pain, but crying I was. I was so upset at myself for thinking I could handle a natural birth (something I had be saying all pregnancy) and that I hadn't given my friends the respect they deserved for doing so. Olivia did it three times, with no pain relief!

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I begged for an epidural and got one as the sun rose (great views from the hospital by the way). I really didn't understand what it meant to have an epidural, I went from a woman in labour to a slab of meat! All hooked up to machines, unable to move. Unfortunately this slowed things down even more. By this stage my Waiheke midwife had arrived and we all spent the day waiting ... waiting ...

That (Saturday) afternoon things started to go quite wrong, my midwife let the epidural wear off, the pain nearly killed me, and my poor little baby got very distressed. So, at 5pm I was wheeled in for an emergency caesarean section, and at 5.40pm Leo was born, very healthy and normal, much to my huge relief. I had overwhelming feelings of love and protectiveness.

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