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Sarah and Liam
Three hour labour with hypnobirthing, TENS (Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation), gas,Nitrous Oxide and Oxygen, and a natural vaginal delivery with episiotomy

Hi, my name is Sarah Ryan and I live in Australia. This is the birth story of my second son, Liam.

On Friday the 13th (a lucky day as it would turn out) of July 2001, I woke about 6:30 a.m. and found my waters had broken, just a slow leak of my hind waters. I had woken repeatedly during the night with a tight belly, but hadn't had any contractions to speak of. My husband Jason went off to work and I had a shower and breakfast. I woke our 16 month-old son, Aiden and got his brekkie going. I called the hospital and was told to come in because of the infection risk with broken waters, even though I wasn't contracting. Next I phoned Jase and asked him to come home. I think he went to work so he could get the phone call to come home since we didn't get to do that when our first son was born. I got Aiden dressed, packed his bag, finished packing mine and called Mum to let her know we'd be over shortly.

We dropped Aiden off and got to the hospital a bit after 9 a.m. I was hooked up to the usual monitors and hooked my obstetric electrodes to the TENS (Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation) unit to maximize the endorphins. Then I relaxed while I waited for my OB who arrived at 11:00. He did an internal exam and found that I was dilated to 2-3 cm. He sent us out for a walk in the gardens behind the hospital to see if that would kick things along. I had some pains, but no real contractions. We went back to the delivery suite and had lunch, a little more monitoring, and then relaxed again. The midwife thought there might have been meconium staining of my waters and suggested they break the forewaters to check. Jase and I discussed it and decided that if I had dilated more, we'd leave it be, but if I hadn't we'd agree to having the membrane broken. Peter, my OB returned at 2:30 p.m. and I hadn't dilated, so we had my membrane broken. Fortunately the liquid was clear indicating that baby was fine.

Shortly afterwards the contractions started properly about five minutes apart lasting 40 seconds and I planted myself on the birth ball, the only comfy place to be. Jase guided me through each contraction with some yoga and Hypnobirthing techniques for breathing, relaxing and releasing. He was brilliant. By 3:30 the contractions were about a minute apart and lasting 45 seconds. At 5 p.m. we asked the midwife to show us how to use the gas (Nitrous Oxide and Oxygen). I'm not sure it did much (except the first time, as the midwife had it a bit high and I nearly fell off the birth ball) but it gave me something to focus on at the start of each contraction. By this stage the contractions were about two minutes apart, and lasting longer than a minute. At this point we kind of gave up timing the contractions.

About 5:30 Pete came back and observed a few contractions. He said they were starting to move along, were a decent length and seemed to be strong and efficient. I was able to talk to him between the contractions. He said he'd go and have a cup of tea and then come back and do an internal to see how I'd progressed. About 5:45 the contractions really picked up and began to get uncomfortable. I found myself groaning through some of the contractions and felt lots of downward pressure. I accidentally unplugged my TENS (Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation) unit and found out exactly how well it had been working.

Peter returned at 6:00 p.m. and asked me to get up on the bed so he could check my progress. There was no way I was able to lie down or even sit on the bed so I knelt over the head of it. He checked and said "you're 8 or 9 cm dilated" at the same time I said, "I have to push!" He checked again and asked me to try to breath through a few more contractions. The midwives weren't ready for me at all, there was nothing set up in the room. The midwife had only looked in on us twice since 3 p.m. I think they may have been misled by how calm and relaxed I was.

They raised the head of the bed, shoved a few pillows under my chest so I was kneeling vertically and wrenched the gas tube out of my hand. After about 10 contractions, pushing through 5 of them, Liam was born at 6:22 p.m. I did end up getting another episiotomy, although Pete assures me it is smaller than last year. The second stage was so quick there was no time for Liam's head to mould, or for my perineum to stretch gradually. The bummer is, that as it was so quick there was also no time for local anaesthetic and I felt the cut. Yes, ouch, but not as bad as one would imagine.

The first thing I heard after Liam was out was "He's a big one" and then they passed him through my legs so I could hold him and he promptly peed all over me! I turned around and sat on the bed while the placenta was delivered. We had a good look at it this time around, we were curious.

Pete and the midwives were trying to guess Liam's weight. They all thought he was 8 or 9 pounds. They were completely shocked when he weighed in at 9 lbs. 12 oz. To think I had the epidural with a 7 lbs. 5 oz. baby and delivered this one without it!

All in all, the birth was amazing, and completely satisfying, especially after our lack of involvement in Aiden's birth which had been complicated by preeclampsia complications, 17 hours, epidural, Ventouse, etc. Jason was a great birth partner, he kept me completely focused and relaxed between contractions. Even with the three hours of labour and 20 minutes second stage, I was only really in intense discomfort for 45 minutes; the rest of it was very easy to manage. I even walked from delivery to my postnatal room. I felt that if I delivered without drugs and with minimal intervention there was no way I was going to be pushed in a wheel chair.

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