(Part I here and part II here)
The gentle contractions from the start increased very quickly and soon I was pacing the room to seek my comfort. I sough the help of the nurses: the bouncing ball...not comfortable. Leaning on the bed while Jan massaged my back...nope despite his best efforts really not comfortable. I had difficulty to find a position that could catch my contractions well. The pain with Kabouter (who was in a posterior position and still had to turn) was back pain but this time I had more belly pain and that confused me.
Much to my surprise I was allowed to go in the bathtub, even though my water had been broken already. I had good memories from the bath when in labour with Kabouter, so I gave it a try. But it hurt...It really really hurt and the water didn't sooth very much.
By 4 PM I realised I was moaning in high pitch and I was not applying the belly breathing I knew was better. I didn't relax anymore in between contractions. I was tense, completely tense and I feared I couldn't cope with this quickly increasing pain anymore. My info sessions and pregnancy yoga had taught me the importance to relax your muscles and I felt I couldn't. I was doing it all wrong!! It hurt! It had to stop. I started to panic. I asked for an epidural but at that point it couldn't come fast enough. Why did it take so long?? I squeaked and cried while I was helped out of the bath tub. Hurry up, I cannot cope with this!
A too long 15 min later, a needle calmed the storm. As heavy as it first overwhelmed me, it was followed by
I kept having a vague sentiment of the contractions: no pain but I could tell my body was doing something which wasn't the case with the epidural for Kabouter.
Now the waiting restarted. The disadvantage of an epidural is becoming immobile: you are stuck on your bed and even if you want to go to the toilet (which I could still notice), you need help and you need to do it at the bed. We were resting and talking a bit. And I was still irritated by the error message on the windows screen on the computer in the room that had been there since the evening before.
The staff let us alone for a long time so I had no real idea how I was progressing. I could track the contractions on a graph but lost quickly interest in doing so. The evening approached and the nurses came to tell me my gynecologist's shift would soon be over and that he'd hand-over to his colleague but probably wouldn't be there anymore when our baby was born. They confirmed that it all had been slower than anticipated (no kidding) but that all was going well so that I shouldn't worry when he went home. Frankly I couldn't care less who was helping me to deliver the baby. The disadvantage of having the follow-up of pregnancy in one of the biggest hospitals of Belgium is the fact that there's so many dozens of doctors professors and their assistants running around that you get to see new people all the time...I had found most of them evenly unworldly in their way of communicating. Only after my diabetes diagnosis, I was assigned a dedicated professor who specialized in pregnant diabetes patients. But I didn't care if he or someone else would assist the birth.
The nurses promised to come and check on me in another hour or so. But after 7 PM I noticed a changing feeling. The slight awareness of contracting muscles seemed to lower and move from the front towards the back.
"I think I'm ready", I said to Jan and we ran the bell button.
"I feel things are changing, can you please check how much I'm dilated now?" I asked when 2 nurses opened the door at 7.15 PM. They glanced from one meter away.
"We don't need to examine you at all. You are ready, we can see the baby's head from here. We'll call the doctors."
5 - 10 minutes later, 2 nurses and 2 specialists were at my feet. Because I was diabetic, apparently the protocol considered this a birth at risk and demanded a gynecologist + a supervisor to be present. Glad I had not known this beforehand. What a party.
They inquired once again about my bad experiences with the episiotomy executed during Kabouter's birth, which I had listed on my birth plan. I was glad that the pieces of paper I had filled in from the hospital's booklet and handed in this morning, had not remained idle. I had not expected them to look at it and take it into account, but they did. But they couldn't promise not to get a new episiotomy.
I pushed once...
I pushed once again...
I pushed another time...and I was asked to pauze as I needed another episiotomy (boooh)
and then I pushed once more....
and they handed Beertje to me. And all the rest didn't matter anymore (7.42 PM)
I didn't attempt to donate cord blood as I had read a lot this time about the importance to only cut the umbilical cord until after it stopped pulsating to provide Beertje with a head start full of his own oxigin, iron and antibodies filled blood. I had asked to at least wait the 2 minutes that the WHO recommended but then you might as well wait until the umbilical cord has completely stopped pulsating as there won't be enough left to donate anymore.