Maddie’s Birth Story – Katie
It’s taken me nearly the exact same amount of time Maddie’s been earth side as she was in my womb to start writing this.
It’s not that I think it was particularly traumatic, but I have found it more difficult to collate my thoughts on it all, and I don’t think I have, in all honesty, wanted to revisit and immerse myself in it all until now.
If you’ve read my Finn Birth story, viewable here, you’ll know I imagined I’d be Earth mother but life intervened and I ended up having an Emergency (although not really emergency) C-Section, no dramas and no regrets there.
When I was 4 weeks pregnant with Maddie I got in touch with our incredible midwife Nadia, who was also the midwife we had for Finn and was there when Finn was born. I can’t overstate how incredible she was, or how absolutely privileged I feel to have access to the medical care we do.
I thought I would like to try a VBAC if I could. According to my midwife I ‘laboured beautifully last time’ and it was a shame we couldn’t have brought Finn earthside that way, (OP, hyperextended neck and never fully descended into my pelvis) but again, no regrets. Even before 20 weeks I had appointments at Green Lane clinic to discuss elective vs natural for our second pregnancy.
A 36 week growth scan showed that Maddie was already full term size(!) (Head and stomach-not length!)
Eventually in one of our sessions towards the end of my pregnancy I saw a consultant who said ultimately it was completely in my hands. (I digress, but did you know 25% of caucasian women have hips that will never be able to birth a baby naturally?) After talking it through with Mike, our midwife Nadia and the consultant, as Maddie was tracking bigger than Finn and was in the same/similar position and Finn had never been fully engaged we decided on an elective.
My Midwife had an inkling that Maddie would arrive before 40 weeks and now that we had made the decision to have an elective her advice was to stick to that even should I go into labour earlier. So my bag, baby’s bag, Finn’s bag were all packed and at the Grandparents’ house ready for a quick pick up.
Obviously we had also decided to move house-into our first home and 45 minutes away from the hospital-26 days before Maddie’s due date, 2 weeks before she actually arrived… Of course..
…So of course Maddie arrived early! The previous Friday I’d had very strong, what felt like Braxton hicks-so strong we’d messaged my mother in law to be prepared-but then nothing all weekend. I was woken up at 3am on Monday 15th April with a very familiar feeling. Got myself out of bed and to the toilet and my mucus plug had gone, took another 20 mins to double check if I really wanted to wake the whole family up to get on the road, but I got Mike up, we did some last minute bag packing and I called the midwife before getting Finn up.
I told Mike I thought it was happening and he took that to mean a false alarm and, unbeknownst to me had actually packed his work bag (he was supposed to be on a day shift that day!) and ended up leaving HIS hospital bag (the only one I wasn’t in charge of!) behind our front door.
When we woke Finn up to get him in the car, bless him, he screamed. It was cold, dark and unfamiliar. I do remember carrying him and cuddling him thinking how things were about to change. He was crying so loudly when we were putting him in the car that our new neighbours came out to check on us! What an impression. We headed to the motorway which was completely closed, and so got diverted off which took even longer. At no point during this journey did Finn go back to sleep..
Our Midwife’s first suggestion was to just get to Mike’s parents’ place, but as I had been fully dilated last time once we had left she asked us to go straight to the hospital. With a quick phone call to the in laws they were on the way to meet us at the hospital, take Finn back home in our car and drop off the bags I had packed.
It was very different from the first time. I had left Mike with Finn waiting for the middle of the night in-law transfer so trying to find my way solo and not heading to the birthing suite was pretty odd. Luckily Nadia found me and we went to the Women’s Assessment unit. Changed, and assessed I was in labour and they fitted a cannula for me, and Mike arrived not long after.
I had two surgeons come and chat to me, ask if I wanted any Paracetamol (I declined, I felt like if I was going to have a C-section shortly, a Pamol probably wouldn’t do too much long term!) but apparently they offer it also to see how much pain you’re in, so if they need to be prepped earlier. Their suggestion was to wait until the day shift started, it is safer and everyone would be fresher so I said I thought I could hang on.. I mean, there wasn’t much else to do! I messaged a few friends and my Mum and Dad too and we had great yarns with our midwife while we waited.
Nadia, our midwife was quite insistent that me refusing Paracetamol was no indication, as I have a high pain threshold! I’m gonna take that one, as when a medical professional tells you that you have a high pain threshold, that’s not to be sniffed at! I’m probably going to be recalling that for the next 50 years (and every time I stub my toe)
The contractions did get more intense, but nothing on the previous labour. At about 8/8.30am the orderly came to take me in, and it was all go. (Side note: He was the spitting image of our friend who happens to work in a different hospital, and walked me SO FAST to theatre, that both Mike and Nadia had to run to keep up with him!)
I was approx 7 cms dilated by the time I got there. The team were so friendly and ready to put me at ease, two anesthetists were fantastic and very calm, and the surgeon was talking to us about which TV shows her 2 year old liked to watch (Roary the Racing Car, if you’re interested!)
Being wheeled in to the operating room was very differently from the last time, and actually being able to take in the room, which I hadn’t been able to do previously. I’d been horizontal, mostly paralysed and definitely terrified. Apparently there are two theatres at Auckland Hospital, one for electives and one for emergencies. As I was in established labour it was still technically an emergency, so I was in the same room as I was with Finn, a nice thing, I thought, to be able to have them both in the same place.
Last time I’d had an epidural, but this time it was to be a spinal tap. They had asked me if I had any problems with morphine, I assumed that was what I had last time. I said No. However, I had forgotten about the time when I was 11 and had broken my leg for the second time in 6 months… (Different story, what a dream child I was!) and they had given me oral morphine which I had been violently sick on and they had told me that I was allergic to Morphine… More on this later.
Surgery was so calm and chatty, the surgeon told me I had wonderful tissue(!) and asked me what I ate, and remarked that it was like performing a C-Section on someone who had never had a C-Section! I didn’t look, so can’t confirm, but I will take the compliment when 38 wks pregnant, flat on my back, numb from the boobs down and internal organs visible on an operating table you take what you can! I’ll also say ‘Pilates’ can take the credit, as I’m sure that helps.
Maddie screamed straight away (Yay!) was a 10 on the APGAR immediately as well as at 10 minutes and was placed onto my chest for some skin to skin. I first noticed the most beautiful and elegant tiny but long fingers, how absolutely pink she was, (and how fat as she was 99th percentile at birth!) and of course how beautiful.
We knew she was going to be a girl but had no idea about names, driving to the hospital we had narrowed it down to three, but once we met her, we knew two of them just wouldn’t work and so sat with Madeline Daisy, (Maddie) for a few hours. I still think it’s the perfect name for her (Well it would be awkward now if I didn’t, hey?)
Off to the recovery ward, my colostrum was in, Maddie latched herself straight away (to the opposite side to Finn) and everyone dispersed.
We had a room on the ward and were moved on. I think it was then that I started to miss Finn, but I was also all over the place and knew he was safe with my in-laws.
Phil and Janice, my in laws brought Finn to the ward later that day and it was so special. He was so cute and shy and had a crocheted Cat which my MIL had given him to give Maddie and a toy rabbit from my Mum also to give her.
So one of the hardest things was the fact that I (like many people apparently!) Am allergic to morphine. So I was sick. Lots. Every time there was pain I would click my little button, which in about 15 minutes would make me vomit. And repeat. Thank God for my nurse who spotted pretty early on that this could be the case. I couldn’t focus my eyes, was dizzy and not completely out of it but definitely not compos mentis!
Thankfully she was able to contact the theatre and I had two separate visits from two lovely doctors explaining about switching my Meds over within a few hours. One of the anaesthetists came down and apologised, as surgery had gone so well he was sorry I had such a struggle. Unnecessary apology-how were they to know if I didn’t know and there were no medical notes about it! So amazing that the people who care for us care so much.
I was in for one night before transferring on to Birthcare.
The midwife we had overnight was incredible. She swaddled Maddie, she checked my latch (it was completely different from Finn’s and she kept burying her nose and so I had to check her breathing) and went out of her way to ensure we were all okay.
One of my favourite memories is the morning after Maddie arrived and she was asleep in her bassinet and Mike went to get us coffees. We sat together drinking coffee (mine a decaf-don’t worry) and chatting in the sunlight, waiting for our discharge paperwork and just being there. It’s not often we drink a hot drink interrupted these days!
Not that it was a walk in the park, I did wonder how on earth I would manage to be a Mum to two children, and how I could possibly love another child as I Love Finn so much (spoiler-there is no limit to how much you love your kids, and it’s weird but it’s true for me, at least and I love them both so much I think my heart could burst sometimes!) We are still working it all out and often making it up as we go along. There are some days that I think I’m nailing it and others… well not so much. Through it all I adore my two littlies and my partner more than anything and I’m so proud of them both, myself and Mike for just keeping going.