Our second pregnancy was a pregnancy that was quite different to my first. I found that with my first I really breezed through, with not many worries and more excitement, of course some anxiousness before scans, but pretty cruisey in the whole. With Dani it was a whole different ball game, and it was due to the fact that she was our Rainbow Baby. We had experienced a miscarriage in April 2015 that was absolutely devastating for our family. We had seen the heartbeat of the baby on our 6 week scan and then I had a miscarriage just before 11 weeks. So much hope and excitement all lost so quickly, it was shattering. We then conceived Dani very shortly afterwards in May. After the devastation of the miscarriage, it took me a long time to want to relax in to my pregnancy. It took me until I was around 15 weeks to even tell people (apart from my close family and friends) that I was pregnant, and I was nervous the entire way though, I was absolutely terrified of losing another baby. I thought the minute I became attached, something awful would happen. I really enjoy being pregnant, so this heightened level of worry was not pleasant at all.
However our beautiful little girl stuck around, and we delivered her in the morning of Saturday 13th February 2016.
Everything started with Dani when I woke up at around 1.30am experiencing some lower back pains. I was so excited as we were due on the 11th February and she was now 2 days over. Neve came 5 days early so I was convinced that my second baby would be early as well, so the last week or so of my pregnancy was interminable! After the anxiety of losing another baby, I just desperately wanted our baby safely here and in our arms. So the first twinges of labour were incredibly exciting!
I went to the bathroom and realised that I had my ‘show’. I went back to bed as after my long early labour with Neve I thought it best to try and rest while I could. However the pains with Dani definitely came on quicker and harder then first time around so I was back up and down from bed. I decided to start timing the contractions on an app on my phone at around 2.45am. Toby had woken up and helped me to put the TENS machine on again as it had helped me in the early stages of labour with Neve (but I really didn’t like it when I was in the throes of intense contractions)! I had the TENS on for a little while but then decided to take it off as it was making me more uncomfortable. I am sure that TENS helps some people, but for me I didn’t like it at all! At one point I went into the shower and that gave me some relief with the hot water on my back and tummy. The contractions were coming on much harder and faster by 5am. My Mum had come over to stay from Melbourne so that she could be there when labour started and stay with Neve. She had woken up as had heard me moving around and was very excited that the baby was on the way! Neve woke up at some point and Mum was looking after her as I didn’t want her seeing me in pain (she wasn’t yet two and I didn’t want her being scared or worried). Toby called our midwife (the same one we had used with Neve) at around 6.15am to let her know labour had started and the contractions were coming pretty hard and were quite close together, she asked us to time some and let her know when they were regular. We had been timing them already and let her know that I was having 4 within 10 minutes and they were coming closer. So we got ready and Toby put our stuff in the car. I gave Neve a cuddle good bye and was quite emotional/sad when I said good bye to her. She didn’t know or understand quite how much her life was going to change, and that the next time she saw me her Mummy wouldn’t just be hers anymore and she would have to share me with someone else. So as well as being happy that our baby was about to be here, I was also emotional for our other baby not being the only baby any more if that makes any sense!
The car ride was much more uncomfortable then I remembered from the first time around. I was definitely much further in to labour then I was first time around. When we arrived Toby parked outside the entrance to the hospital (we had parked in the car park over the road and I had walked over last time) and I had a huge contraction outside, he went to get me a wheelchair but I ended up not wanting it and walked up. I remember having another one in the foyer just before the elevator, and then when we arrived into the labour and delivery ward the hospital midwife was walking us around to our labour room and I had to stop and grip on to the handrails as I had another intense contraction. The midwife and Toby hadn’t even realised that I had stopped, they had gone on in to the room so she had to come back and find me!
We were admitted in to the hospital by 7am and I was in established labour. Toby had to go back outside to quickly park the car and I was on my own for a little while having some intense contractions which was a bit scary, our midwife arrived shortly after. I remember trying the gas again and the first time I breathed it in it immediately made me feel like I was going to projectile vomit which gave me a surprise as I hadn’t felt like that at all when I used it with Neve. I desperately wanted to get in to the pool straight away. By 7.30am I was in the pool and laboring away. By 8.10am I was starting to feel pressure with my contractions and by 8.30am I was I think at the transitional stage, and in my notes it says “Sophie is doubting her ability to cope”… I think the real words coming out of my mouth were “I can’t **** do it”…. or something more along those lines!!
I remember feeling that things were feeling quite different then they had with Neve, and when I had the urge to push I wasn’t feeling the baby move down. I said to my midwife that something didn’t feel quite right, so she did an internal exam while I was still in the pool and realised that the lip of the cervix was in the way, so I was encouraged not to push if possible and to just try and breathe. That was really hard as my body was trying to push on its own, and I was trying to stop from doing that! It was at that point my midwife asked me to hop out of the pool and see if I could empty my bladder which might help things. My midwife also gave me another internal exam while I was sitting on the toilet (dignity goes out the window) and as she did that my waters broke. I hopped back in to the pool by 9.05am and I could finally feel that the baby’s head was moving lower. I was at the final pushing stage by 9.15am and I remember that it was absolutely awful! Instead of feeling like somewhat of a relief like it had with Neve, I literally felt like I was splitting in half (which I wasn’t, but that was the difference between a 7.9 pound baby and a 9.1 pound baby)! By 9.34am my midwife could see the top of the baby’s head when I pushed and they called for a second midwife to come in and assist (I think they need that with water births). At 9.39am our baby’s head was born, but I could tell that something was wrong as our midwife seemed a little bit concerned (she is normally totally cool, calm and collected). I was also pushing with everything I had and I could feel that the baby wasn’t coming down anymore. The baby wasn’t turning her head which is what will normally happen once it has come out, and wasn’t moving out when I was pushing. So all of a sudden it just seemed chaos erupted in our room that had previously been peaceful and calm (apart from some bad language from me). The two midwives asked me to get up and stand with my leg on the side of the pool (not an easy task with a head sticking out of you) with Toby and the hospital midwife supporting me, they also pushed the emergency bell for further assistance, it seemed the room was full of people all of a sudden and I felt incredibly panicky. I think because of the panic, my contractions stopped or slowed right down, I had also heard my midwife say that the cord was around the baby’s neck and the hand was up by the face, so I was terrified that I was going to lose the baby, or that something dreadful had already happened, so I ended up pushing without a contraction and the baby finally came out at 9.44am, she had the cord around her neck and her hand was also up by her head which was making it very difficult to get an already bigger baby out with all that going on, she was pale and floppy and they immediately clamped her cord and my midwife tried for Toby to cut it, but it was all such a rush that she had to cut it in the end and my baby was rushed away from me before I even had a chance to touch her or look at her properly. It was awful. The SCBU (Special Care Baby Unit) were called to attend and I was left standing in the pool about to pass out from absolute blind terror!! It truly was one of the scariest moments of my life, and I felt utterly helpless standing there, half naked in a bath and not knowing what had happened to my baby. I started to almost hyperventilate at that point and my midwife gave me a hug and tried to reassure me that everything would be alright. Toby went out to go and see what was happening. They had Dani outside in the hallway giving her oxygen and treatment. He came back to say that she had started breathing thank god.
They quickly got me out of the pool and on to the bed. 10 minutes later my midwife was again looking worried as I had a postpartum haemorrhage, so all things were on the go again with someone shoving an injection in my thigh, people kneading at my tummy like it was a huge ball of dough, and then the placenta came out. I had a further bleed after that and was given another injection. I was starting to feel quite faint then, and was just lying there thinking WTF is happening and where the hell is my baby!!! Toby went out and took some photos of her for me and by then I had heard her cry a little bit. The SCBU doctor had also been in to tell me that she was doing OK, they just had to keep giving her some oxygen and monitoring her for a little bit. By 10.05am she was finally given to me and I could cuddle her and have skin to skin, and my god it was the biggest relief I have ever had in my life. She was OK, she was breathing, she was alive! She was still really pale but was slowly starting to come around and was getting some colour back.
I remember after a while my midwife asking me to go and try to pee as that would help with the bleeding that was continuing, so I did that then had to get straight back to bed as I was very pale and shaky. Things finally started to settle down and the Doctor said that Dani was responding well and that she would be fine but they wanted us to stay so that they could monitor her breathing and check her glucose and also monitor me with my bleeding.
After a while of skin to skin we started to try and get her on to nurse. She was very sleepy but eventually came around and tried to nuzzle away. After a while of chatting we confirmed her name and she was called Dani Tui Ballard. She was weighed and was a very healthy 9.1pounds (4140 grams / 4.14kgs) !! 53cm and 36cm head. Beautiful thick dark hair. She looked so similar to Neve and we thought she had Neve’s mouth. I ended up having a shower and my lovely midwife helped to clean me up – I was still very shaky and lightheaded. Then I remember one of the orderlies brought around a sandwich and some soup, which was one of the yummiest sandwiches I have ever eaten (it was probably revolting being hospital food) but I remember dunking it in the soup and it was the yummiest thing ever! Once again, my post birth appetite was back with a vengeance!
Just after 12noon we finally got to leave the delivery room and walk around to the maternity suite. I got settled in my room and finally everyone left and it was just Toby, Dani and I. We were all quite shell shocked!!! It had been a very intense morning! As scary as it all was, I was just so incredibly relieved that we had this beautiful, healthy, robust baby in our arms.
My Mum came up a little while later with Neve to meet her new baby sister. It was all a bit overwhelming for Neve and she wasn’t quite sure what to make of this little creature with a mop of dark hair that was attached to Mummy’s boob! We had a little gift to give Neve from the baby which she opened and after a while she started to warm up to things, but remained a little uncertain the whole time that I was in the hospital (I stayed for 2 nights) as soon as we got home it was a different story and she was obsessed with her baby sister.
Dani’s birth was similar to Neve’s in the fact that they were both born in to water, but it stopped there. It was much quicker (8 hours compared to 44.5), however her actual delivery was much more chaotic then the peaceful quiet one we had with Neve. If I could have combined the two I think it would have been a perfect birth!! Our amazing little girl, our precious little rainbow baby, entered the world as she has continued to be, our little whirlwind that is Dani.