Labour and delivery
It was already so long ago, but it has taken me quite some time to get to my blog again. Little breaks between taking care of our daughter are spent on "me time". Also, i might be sharing details about labour not everyone wants to know. So cringe-worthy stuff you can't stand, just scroll to the next section.
Starting from around 28 weeks of pregnancy i started to have high blood pressure. They (midwife) discovered it at one of my appointments. Due to that, they asked me to monitor my BP (blood pressure) at home. At first, i didn't have blood pressure machine at home, so had to go to the pharmacy to measure twice a day. Then my parents lend me one. So now i could do it at home. The midwife said to come back when it's over 140/90. Which it often was. Since i didn't feel any other symptoms to pre-eclampsia, we often ignored it, because well who wants to hang out at the emergency room.
But we sure did go there, quite a few times. Several times they took my BP there and it was fine. Checked me all sorts of ways and sent back home. Not writing any medicine out. Which annoyed me so much. Spending another 2-3 hours at the emergency room with no solutions, other than come back when it's high again.
So at 25th of may I had another midwife appointment. At that time I was very much struggling with daily life. Knees and back hurt (probably from the weight), plus the BP issues. After some examination and my complaints (Can we please get this baby out), she went to speak to another doctor in the pre-labour ward. When she came back, she told us (Peter was with me), well just send you to the pre-labour ward and induce you. (for those who don't know what that means, it's basically making labour happen with medicines). We were both kind of shocked (oh, wait, like NOW? We are gonna have the baby like now??? ), but also happyish and excited (we are gonna have the baby NOW!).
So midwife made some papers happen. We walked out, and i was supposed to go upstairs to the pre-labour ward. We stood in the hallway and had to discuss logistics. I hadn't got any hospital bag with me. So sent Peter home to pack last things, make and have dinner for him, and come back.
But first, he came upstairs to the pre-labour ward with me to get me checked in. Took a while, but go me checked in. Sadly there are no private rooms there, but a shared room with three beds is what i had. I had never ever been admitted to the hospital before. Like ever. (haven't even broken any bones or anything) So having a shared room with other ladies for the first time was quite taunting. So they checked me in. Told me to get comfy and we hang around for a while with Peter. Had to wait for the doctor and to get baby's CTG done (that's where they monitor baby's movements, heartrate and all that).
Peter went home around dinner time. And i was left all alone. Felt horrible. One of those moments where you are on the verge of doing something really big, and you are sharing a hospital room with strangers. Scary.
So the medicine they gave me to induce is called misoprostol. They gave me one shot of this (it's liquid and tastes like water) to drink quite soon. From there, it was just a waiting game. To see if it does anything.
At the same time, Peter was home, packing things and making dinner for himself. Tidying up, in case we have a longer stay in the hospital. You never know right. I think he even did laundry. Such a lovely man. :)
So at one point, he came and brought me my bags. I for sure over packed looking back.
We chatted for a while, before sending him home again. Because i was admitted and he couldn't stay there (shared room for women only).
Memories are a bit foggy, but at one point they did more CTG and one more dose of that inducing medicine. So that kicked contractions in. I had two other women in my room, but they got to labour rooms before i did.
Couple of CTG-s, having a hot shower on tummy and back, i was screaming through pains ( i suck at dealing with pain). The midwife was really upset with me and tried giving me paracetamol and such to help me. Well, i can tell you they did absolutely nothing. They kept telling me to breathe through the pain and not tense up and i just wanted to punch them in the face (i promise you, i didn't).
Contractions died down at one point, so they told me to rest, and we'll try again tomorrow.
Well, the baby had different ideas. I was resting, A BIT. Because around midnight the contractions kicked in again. Peter was home and sleeping. We had agreed that he would keep the phone on, but i won't message him, or call him unless really need him. To let at least one of us get some rest.
Had diarrhoea and contractions hurting so much. (For those who don't know, labour pains can bring all sorts of side effects). This lasted until around 5-6am, when they did another CTG and made a decision (after checking for dilation - which is super painful check also), that they'll send me upstairs with a 3cm opening. (upstairs are labour rooms).
Sidenote. All this is happening at Keskhaigla. Which is one of the biggest hospitals and has most family rooms for recovery (family room means dad can stay too, they cost a little, but it's well worth it getting to know that new human you made). Which is why we chose that hospital. There are two public hospitals in Tallinn where you can deliver. Birthing rooms are equipped with all sorts of things (exercise ball, stands, some have baths, shower, toilet etc) to help you through labour. Often times family rooms are busy, so whoever gives birth first, gets the rooms.
It was a little before 7 am that i called hubby and told him, come back to meeee!
So he got up, had brekkie and packed last things. I was already in the labour room (again, alone. Super scared, but also excited). At least now i wasn't disturbing others with my moaning and screaming.
I asked for pain relief immediately (remember, i suck at dealing with pain), and they brought me gas. But that made me so dizzy. I asked if that's normal, they told me to breathe a bit less of it in. Which i did during the next contraction. And it did nothing for the pain. Bummer. As i have said several times, i suck at handling pain, so i was like, please get me the epidural.
Peter arrived around that time. The midwife made me sign papers for the epidural (risks, side effects, consent etc). Try reading medical papers when you are having the worst pains you have ever had. It's more like yeah yeah, just give me the pain relief! Of course i signed, not even fully understanding everything. I just wanted the pain to stop! Then had to wait for the anesthesiologist to come and make it happen.
In the meantime pain made me shake and vomit. (The shaking annoyed me so much. The midwife told me to breathe and calm, but i just couldn't stop shaking. I wanted to, but couldn't control it.) And half of it missed the little bowl they gave me. (again side effects of pains, and body preparing for labour) So we called a carer (they are people who apparently clean you up, wipe you down and do all that for you - highly appreciate those people!!!). I hadn't eaten anything since night. Was having a bit of juice and banana when i felt sick. Oops. Banana didn't get finished.
It was really challenging to stand super still, when epidural got placed. WHILE having contractions. So epidural is a numbing thing, but it goes with a needle in your spine. So because of that, while they put the needle in, you have to be super super still. But Peter helped so much. Once that was in and they administered the actual medicine, i was like "Now i can feel like a human again". Apparently epidural doesn't work very long sadly. About 2h or so.
At one point i felt leaking, and i said to the midwife "Not sure if i peed or my waters broke?". Due to epidural, my body was numbish from below the waist. She checked and yes, it was my waters. I'm like, okay.
Little less than two hours later, i asked for another shot of epidural, because pains were returning and i was at moaning again, and just couldn't do it. It didn't help as much as the first one, but still a bit better than without it.
Time kept passing without me noticing, because was busy contracting. I remember wanting to go to the toilet, but couldn't because epidural had removed enough feeling from my legs, that i couldn't hold myself. Peter tried helping and we even had a walking stand thingie with wheels, but nope, couldn't get up.
Then i got told, i am fully dilated. But the baby wasn't fully down in the birth channel yet, so a bit more waiting. And THEN it all started. Real labour kicked in. I was on my side already moaning, and Peter had to hold my leg up (here come the gory details of labour) so that baby would have more room to move downwards. I was half numb, stomach pain had turned into a pain in the vagina.
AND THEN! They decided that oh, let's make her change position. WORST TIME EVER. I was on my side, and they told me to sit up and squat, without leaning on my bottom. Remember, i had knees in pain, i was in labour pains, half numb from below waist from epidural and they want me to move.
"I can't do this. I have no energy left!!!!" By that time i hadn't eaten anything since like midnight and had emptied everything out (diarrhoea and vomiting). And epidural made numbness too. So imagine having no energy and midwives helping you telling you to move. Oh, i was mad and told them. But they somehow managed to convince me and help me change to squatting. Told me not to sit on babies head now. Oh, it was hard to hold myself up. I think i was really impossible to them, but i didn't swear, i just felt helplessly weak.
BUT! About 10-15 minutes of pressing, through the worst pain in my entire life and she POPPED OUT! They had put the bed up for the squatting part, and now let the bed down quickly, and just like that they shoved baby under my hospital gown on my chest, and i had a baby! This gooey, slimy, bloody little human. She did a little squeak, but mostly was a very calm little girl. I was surprised how dirty she came out, hahaa. Nobody had told me that :D
But, not like in the movies, this doesn't mean it's all over. In the movies, you have a baby and are done. Lol. Glad i had done research and knew about placenta and all that. So they gave me some medicine to help the placenta come out. And that felt more painful somehow. They kept pressing on my stomach, pulling from the umbilical cord and such. And me trying not to scare that tiny human on my chest with moaning again. But they got it out.
Then they started pressing on my stomach occasionally to get more blood out. I was asking if that's normal (first timer you know. No idea what's happening and what's normal). "yes, that's normal" they said. Some point the carer was back to come clean me. Several times. Downstairs was rather a big mess now. I am so glad i didn't see that. I was just laying there with my fresh baby. I was so grateful for that woman doing that for me.
And then! They said they needed to sew me up! What? Sew? Me? Oh. I guess i had torn. At that time i had no idea, because during labour nobody said anything about that. So they sprayed some cleaning agent, which stung so bad! And added another epidural shot to numb me for the sewing time. The first stitch was the worst. I wasn't able to look, but it must've been pretty bad, because it took them almost an hour to stitch me up. I kept asking them "how long are you doing this embroidering there?" (lol) and "are you done yet?"
But i am glad they didn't need to cut me to get the baby out. Apparently cutting is worse in terms of healing. When you tear yourself, it heals easier and quicker than when they cut you.
We were in the labour room for quite long. Several hours. They helped me to breastfeed too, i mean i hadn't done that before either. And that was also painful. They measured and weighed her, did vitamin K shot, checked the temperature and all that. Peter took pictures while i was still resting. And midwives made sure i was okay after epidural and stitching and all that. The carer helped me get clean also, because that baby was slimy and gooey. So she cleaned me and helped me get into a new hospital gown.
We also got a very late lunch, which i kept asking for. Because i was sooooo hungry. The thing with hospital is that if you get to check in late, they don't give food to the husband. But we shared what they brought me. And well you know, hospital food sucks, but at least we weren't starving anymore.
Oh forgot to mention, Peter cut the cord! So proud of him! Proud of him that he didn't faint with blood and all that. And that he was able to cut the cord! Love that man!
Our little Sarah Anderson was born on 26th of may, at 11:53. She weighed 3,68kg and was 52cm tall.
A few hours later we packed our things up there, and we got to the family room. We were blessed to get it, because they were so full. God really helped us through everything!
Later after being discharged and such, i got labour/delivery report on paper. There i could read that labour lasted 7 hours, which is very short for first-time mum. Which to me is God's blessing, because we had prayed so much about that. Also, read i had a third-degree tear downstairs.
Through those pains and moanings, i prayed so much. And of course i was scared i couldn't do it, or all the things that can go wrong. But i made it! We made it! Peter was incredibly supportive. And I remember very little of him being there, because the pain and dealing with that took my full focus. But we have a beautiful baby girl now!
So the family room means that dad and baby will stay with you. This hospital also has mum and bubs room, where dad can visit, but can't stay overnight, and then a free option of general ward, where you share a room with three other mums and bubs (four beds). Our prayers to get the family room were answered and i was amazed and blessed! Family room has two single beds pushed together, change table, baby's cot, tv, wifi, little fridge, kettle, mugs, shower with toilet and sink. They provide three meals a day for both mum and dad. And nice view as it was 5th floor. I was sore and tired, but this little daughter needed some attention. We learned how to take care of her. That meant to care for her belly button, cleaning eyes, and all that. Needed to figure out ourselves how to change her, clean her, dress her. But since i had seen babies before, and so had Peter, that was easy. But still we were gentle with her, and at first, you are so so careful, because they look so fragile. We stayed for two days. During that time they spoke to me about breastfeeding, about aftercare for me and stitches i had. They did a hearing test to Sarah (all perfect). And collected some blood from her toe to check genetic diseases or something. Said that if they don't call us within a month, it's all good. They haven't called.
Sarah, as well as many other babies, well actually most babies, lose some weight after being born. So in the family room, we had to keep a schedule of feeding, and weighing her. Weighing her before and after feeding. She wasn't gaining a lot of weight, so they said to give her extra. Which they provided. It was ready-made milk in a bottle, and we fed her with a syringe. At the same time, they told me to express also some colostrum (which is yellowish thicker milk before real milk comes in). So did that into a tiny cup. She also got that. The time we spent there is quite hazy for me still. Maybe because so much was happening at once, we were still learning and were tired also.
After two days, and many times asking can we go home now, we were finally discharged. We paid our bill for the stay and asked my brother-in-law to pick us up. Peter had gone home and brought the car seat for that.
In Estonia, it's also very common that people come to visit you at the hospital. Few family members and few friends came by. I was still in a hospital gown, tired and such, but it was nice that people came. They brought flowers, fruit, juices and some snacks. Which we really appreciated because, again, hospital food isn't that great. (probably why they can keep the prices so low).
We left the hospital and finally got home.
Next time I'll write about parenting, breastfeeding or not, struggles and wins with mum life.