The following is the story of how Alana Summer came to be – my pregnancy journey and birth story. If it’s too long winded, you can skip to the end to see some pics of the aftermath taken by Vanessa.
Firstly, I am so excited to finally be able to officially announce the birth of my sweet baby girl Alana Summer on here and share her birth story with you. She is an unbelievably content and relaxed little bub and both Tyson and myself feel so privileged to call her our daughter. She feeds very well and only wakes once or twice a night for a feed, she is starting to sleep through the night, in fact I actually sleep better now and wake less in the night with her here than I did when I was pregnant as I, like most I assume, had small bladder syndrome and insomnia during pregnancy. To say we are lucky to have her is an understatement.
Before I begin the details of Alanas birth I’d like to give you a bit about the background of how she came to be (so you don’t just think I’m bragging about what a good baby she is). Falling pregnant with her was not something that came easy (although neither was the pregnancy or the birth if I am honest)…
Chapter 1 – “Trying”
After 11 months of “trying” (which may seem short to some or long to others) I found out I was pregnant, in fact I had actually made an appointment with a fertility specialist for the following month which I then was able to cancel once we found out we were expecting. I can’t even put into words how happy we were when we found out we were pregnant, not only because it is something I have wanted for so long (I mean I had her name picked out since I was 19 – I’m now 26) but because through the whole process of “trying” I learnt a lot about fertility, health and how it does not come easily for some.
Chapter 2 – Falling pregnant
There are so many deserving people out their who want a baby so much and have to go through the “two week wait” every month with anticipation and often disappointment (as we went through every month for nearly a year). It is heartbreaking to know how long some people have been waiting to become parents and then to fall pregnant and feel like you have “jumped the queue” so to speak, but I do remain hopeful that everything happens for a reason. I know if we had been blessed with Alana 11 months earlier she would not of been the same person so we are so happy everything happened when it did, as much as I know it was hard at the time it is worth it in the end.
Chapter 3 – Pregnancy
I have to say feeling so lucky to even be able to fall pregnant made it alot easier to not complain (that much) once morning sickness (or all day sickness) kicked in. I was VERY sick through most of my pregnancy, it definately didn’t end at 12 weeks for me like it does for some!
I had some bleeding at 16 weeks, which I rushed to hospital for, waited in emergency for a few hours and then was given an Anti-D shot in case the babys blood was different to mine, as my body may have been rejecting the baby. Everything was OK, but it was still a scarey time.
As I entered my third trimester, I thought that it was going to be “my good one” then I got severely sick at 33 weeks and lost 4 kilos from not being able to keep anything down for a week (until I was finally given a shot to stop me from being sick at the doctors).Luckily after this point the sickness started to subside and fast forward just under 6 weeks and it was go time…
Chapter 4 – The labour
The night before I went into labour I had a feeling it was going to happen the next day. For one – I was in a terrible and emotional mood and two – I had a feeling it was going to start on the day before my due date (although at the time I thought it was probably going to go so long that it would last through to my due date).
On the morning of 6 December 2014 at 3.30am I got up to pee (the norm for me pregnant) but this time as I was getting up it was different, I felt a small gush (what an attractive word) of water down there. At that moment I woke Tyson up and told him it was “time”. After that I went to the toilet and then my nesting instinct finally kicked in – I had been wondering when that was going to happen for me (so I decided I had to do the dishes so we wouldn’t be coming home to a messy house with a baby). We then decided since I then started to have period type pains (but nothing too bad) that Tyson should go to sleep in the spare room (so he wouldn’t hear my cleaning) and I would stay awake for awhile or try to sleep if I could after cleaning – since we knew it was best to not contact my midwife in the middle of the night unless things really got going (as that would risk her shift starting to early then her not being able to be with me later in the day). I ended up being able to sleep from about 5-7am then decided it was time to contact my midwife. As she was the only midwife on call that weekend working at the birth centre in Woden I had been a bit worried she might already be with someone else in labour (luckily I was the only one that went into labour who was going to the birth centre that day). Once I spoke to her she asked me to come in for her to check me at 10am and discuss induction for the following day if nothing progressed from there.
When we got to the hospital the midwife hooked me up to a heart rate monitor to check Lana’s heart rate and check my contractions, everything seemed all good and she decided I was ok to go home and wait till things progressed further to come back in. The next thing I am going to talk about is the first thing I will mention that I had not been told would happen to me when going through the birth centre, luckily I had read about it online so I wasn’t caught off guard (but it would of been nice to of been told that this kind of thing is done when planning a natural birth not just a medically assisted birth like I assumed). So the thing I am talking about is a “membrane sweep” that my midwife offered me to get things moving along (which I agreed to – as I decided this would be better than having to come back to be induced the next day if things didn’t get moving) – this involved her moving her hand around my uterus!…not very fun. It worked though, as soon as I left I knew I shouldn’t be going – my contractions started fast and strong. When we got home all I wanted to do was hop in the bath straight away because the back pain had started to become unbearable – introducing dramatic Steph, I recall saying things like “just let me die and cut her out” haha. After an hour of trying to suffer through the pain I told Tyson he needed to call my midwife and tell her I needed to come back to the hospital. My midwife said she thought it was best I stayed at home as long as possible and that she would come to check on me at home instead.
When my midwife arrived I was in so much pain I told her I needed to come in to the hospital now and get an epidural. She checked the baby’s heartbeat again while I was in the bath and also checked how dilated I was (another thing I had also not been told they do when your going through the birth centre and planning a natural birth). Turns out I was only 1cm – I did not believe this as my contractions were so close together and I was in so much pain. After me pleading some more to come into hospital to “get the drugs” as I called it and telling Tyson my pain was a “10” (a number we had agreed we would use if I wanted an epidural on the day because my pain was so bad) my midwife rang the birth suite at the hospital for me to see if I would be able to go in and get any kind of pain relief (as this could only be done in the birth suites (the medical part of the hospital) not the birth centre (the natural birthing area of the hospital)). No such luck, the birth suites were full!.
My midwife then gave me two options, the first was – wait at home longer…um no!. The second was – to go into the birth centre and be checked on every so often by a different midwife (as my midwife was worried my labour would go all night so she needed to go home to sleep so she could come back for the end of my labour) who was still there from the previous night after helping deliver another baby (doing paperwork). This meant I would be able to go hop into the big round bath at the birth centre and feel happier knowing I was in a hospital rather than at home if anything happened. Straight away after being given these options I got out of my small bath at home (that was barely covering my stomach in water) and got dressed to come into hospital. I should also mention at this point I could not stand any noise at all so phones were turned onto silent with vibrate off and we also let ness know (who was going to photograph my birth) that we were going to hospital but did not want anyone there until they were told near the end.
By the time we got to the hospital my contractions were about a minute apart and I could barely walk to get into the hospital, I had to stop and sit in a chair in the foyer for one contraction, stand and lean against the wall in the lift for the next and stop and hold onto tyson when we got out of the lift for the next one – active birth was definitely not going to be happening for me now I could see, I definitely felt better being still (which post birth has now been explained as Lana was positioned posterior through the whole labour – which means her back was against my back – apparently the most painful way to labour…lucky me!).
Once I got to the room I got changed and put my swimmer top on and hopped straight into the big bath, I was instantly happier there – but still in a lot of pain. The new midwife then came in and explained to me that I couldn’t have any gas yet as they would have nothing left for later on to give me for pain relief if I didn’t give birth till later that night, instead I was able to have panadol at that time and that was all haha. She then said she would come check on me at 4pm to see how far along I was (it was about 1.30pm at this point) and that I could buzz her with a button she left me with in the bath if I needed anything.
By 3.30pm I decided I needed to buzz her (after the panadol had done nothing for me (surprising) and get her to check me then instead of waiting till 4pm as I had been pushing with some of my contractions (which she had told me not to do (thinking I was still closer to 1cm dilated and not realizing I was having a posterior baby- which means your more likely to push earlier)). When she came back in I told her I had been pushing and I wanted an epidural now and I couldn’t do it anymore so she put on her gloves and checked me and then told me the bad news… I was 9cm! which meant I was far past having an epidural!. I then asked for the gas so she went to get that set up for me as it was nearly time. She also called my midwife to come in from home to help with the delivery.
Chapter 5 – The birth
By 4.43pm after what felt like many pushes and a huge head coming out of me (another thing I had not been told happens during labour – that you push the same part of the babies head over and over again as it goes back in when contractions stop, then you need to push again with the next one) and with only gas to help me breathe through my contractions (and the useless panadol) Alana Summer was born in the water. I then helped to pull her up to air to have her first breath with Tyson and our midwife as well. Then suddenly the midwives asked me to stop moving….as it turns out the cord was around her neck (which was probably that way due to the fact she did a 180 degree spin as she came out my midwife later told me which is also common with posterior babies). They managed to untie it quickly though and then they handed her to me for skin to skin in the water. I wanted to birth the placenta in the bath (something I was very aware of as part of the birth process and had actually been worrying the most about because of the possibility of bleeding to death) but the midwives thought it was best I get out as I was struggling to hold Lana out of the water to try and feed her.
I then got out of the bath holding Lana (still attached with the cord) then lay on the bed and started to feed her, our midwife and Tyson then cut the cord while Lana fed and I started to birth the placenta. The midwife then pushed really hard on my stomach to make sure it was all out (which was more painful than giving birth I thought and was also not aware that this is something that happens) luckily it didn’t last too long. I then needed to be stitched up as I had second degree tears (ouch!) as Lana had come out with her hand next to her head, this is how she was in all her ultrasound pictures too so I shouldn’t of been surprised she likes her hands near her face. I was given numbing needles down there and stitched up. Meanwhile Tyson took Lana out to meet his family and my sister and her husband. We then decided as it was about 7pm by the time this was all done that we would stay in hospital overnight as I was worried about how much bleeding I was having and we didn’t know yet what Lana’s blood type was (and weren’t going to know till 10pm that night) – if she had a different blood type to me I would of needed an Anti D shot as I have a rare blood type (O negative) that could reject future babies from my body due to having another blood type mixed in me. Luckily we found out later that night that she is just like me which means Tyson must also have some kind of negative blood type in order to produce a baby with negative blood, we should really find out what Tysons blood type is.
Chapter 6 – The announcement and giving thanks
After the excitement of it all died down we were finally able to announce to the world that Alana Summer had arrived into the world on what was a very rainy Summer day and we could not be happier to have a healthy little baby girl to call our own, and the rest they say is history…
I would just like to say the biggest THANK YOU to my wonderful husband Tyson for being so good throughout the whole birth (he even skipped lunch for me which is big for him haha) as I did not want him leaving my side, he helped me breathe through my contractions by telling me to “breathe” – something that you strangely do need to be reminded to do haha and for watching our beautiful girl come into the world and also helping to deliver her – what an amazing man he is.
I would also like to thank my sister for being on call throughout the birth and waiting till I was ready to have visitors and finally some photos (Which you can see on here below from Lana’s first and second day on earth!) as I didn’t end up feeling like being photographed during the labour due to the amount of pain I was feeling and the fact I hated any noise throughout the labour and decided I wouldn’t be able to stand hearing a camera clicking while I was in so much pain.
Also I would like to thank Tyson’s wonderful family who waited patiently for me to birth the placenta (yuck) before being able to meet baby Lana. A big thank you my wonderful mother who had been so much help on her visits to Canberra throughout my pregnancy while I was so sick and for making the trip down so quickly to meet Lana and be there for me after the birth. Finally to the midwives at the Canberra Hospital for helping me to stick to my birth plan of a natural water birth with only gas, I may not of been happy at the time but I am certainly happy now that I was able to have the birth I had originally wanted.
Finally THANK YOU to everyone for reading this and for the many visitors I have had since having Lana, I am sure Lana already knows how loved she is and loves you all right back as we do.