Baby Michael's marathon birth
At 1am on Thursday 31st August Corissa went to the bathroom and noticed a trickle of amniotic fluid that persisted. By 2pm she was having mild and sporadic contractions. Like many first time mothers, the excitement of meeting her baby soon kept her awake, alert and unable to continue her daily routine. The waves of labour were managable and Riss was calm and felt relaxed in her bath and able to stay at home.
As I was at home, I had time to bake zucchini and strawberry muffins, clean our home, organise to stay in Warrandyte overnight and basically be there whenever needed. Riss was 39+1 and I had an feeling it would be a longer labour.
At 10pm, despite the poor reception at Warrandyte, Anthony managed to let me know that Corissa's contractions were 3mins apart and she needed me to meet them at the hospital.
We met at The Angliss and everyone was in high spirits, the midwife was lovely and on board with the birth plan. Antibiotics were recommended and declined. Corissa was a little tired at this point and we all assumed that the birth was close. Each time she relaxed, the contractions would slow and loose intensity and we knew that her baby boy was LOP (posterior).
We had discussed optimal foetal positioning during pregnancy however there was definitely room to have practiced the principles a little more.
Syntocinon was suggested right from this point, so we agreed to try to get things moving and change bub's position. Corissa was EPIC, she marched and power walked through her contractions for hours, they were consistent and powerful. But she tired again...and when we agreed to do the first VE at 3.30am she was found to be 5cm with bubs in an awkward position. She had been labouring like a boss for more than 24hrs. Her labour was awesome, she was so beautiful to watch, so strong through the whole process. We had to get things moving. So more marching and many position changes, lots of cat/cow, many pep talks, food and drinks were had. At this stage it was requested that we do 20mins of continuous monitoring due to the premature rupture of membranes (PROM). It wasn't much of an issue until Corissa fell asleep again and her contractions again lost power and consistency.
We had a new midwife now who was also really lovely and we tried so many ways to get bub to move into a better position. Corissa was such a goddess warrior. She fought her fatigue and powered through. Another meeting with the OB saw both Riss and Ant stand their ground and refuse antibiotics, though we were definitely considering an IV drip to help perk up her spirits and another VE was consented to at 7.30am. The midwife (not the OB) performed this and also ruptured the rest of Corissa's membranes, but encouraged her to lie supine/on her back to make the little man move to a better position and as Riss relaxed, the power and intensity of her contractions slowed once more.
Unfortunately the OB decided that Riss had not progressed in the four hour period though miraculously we were given more time. The IV drip of fluids was administered at about 9am and this did give Corissa more energy. The problem with VE's every four hours is that the Failure to Progress talk is devastating for a labouring woman, which can in fact actually stall labour.
t was also unfortunate that the OB performed the last VE as she had poor bedside manner and was rather rude to our little labour party. In my opinion, Riss felt like she was failing. She was utterly exhausted and at this point in time unable to cope with the thought of an endless labour.
I had written "Corissa is going to achieve her beautiful, natural birth very shortly. She is amazing, breathing through, calm, beautiful and aware."
We had another midwife change and it was agreed upon that Corissa would use some gas to get her through, as syntocinon was practically forced upon her. In hindsight, I wish they had respected Riss and Ant's wishes to use the synt only until the contractions were established but they kept the synt flowing even after the birth of the placenta! The gas was turned too high to begin with and Riss was in an alternate universe for a short while there :) but it helped her manage one contraction at a time until eventually Michael's head began to crown.
Beautiful baby Michael was delivered earthside at 5.12pm on the first day of Spring, his parents were overjoyed at achieving a natural marathon birth and the family are healing well in the postpartum period. It was an honour to be part of the birthing team.