Thursday, May 18, 2006

And i thought i had it bad.....

Today i wanted to relate my birth story to you, of my son Ethan. Don't worry there is a point to this post other then that ;)

When i was pregnant with him i looked forward to labour. Other then the fact that i wanted my body back and by the time i was 7 mths pregnant i was sick of being pregnant, I was interested in how i would handle it. Other woman can tell you about birth and the pain etc but until you actually experience it you don't really get it. And i don't care how many books you read, nothing will prepare you for giving birth for the first time.
My sister had relatively easy births of her first 2 babies - short labours(5 and 3 hours) and since she is half the size of me i figured with my 'child bearing hips' maybe i would have a similar experience. She was pregnant at the same time as me with baby #3 but had to have a c/s and her dd was born 6 wks before Ethan. Fun times!

My first indication that something was going to happen was on the 8th of February 2004, when i was 38wks 3ds. I started having contractions at church and had them for 4 hours before they disappeared. I was pretty disappointed but at my next checkup my dr assured me that that was a good sign that i might go soon. On the 13th i had more contractions that continued through the night but they didn't hurt as much as the ones previously. On the 14th(39wks2ds) i had a 'show' but my contractions stopped. I had my usual checkup on Monday the 16th and was really really hoping i wouldn't have to see him again the next week. We did some shopping and lots of walking around that day and while we were out i started feeling very heavy and sore 'down there', probably the most uncomfortable i had ever been. At 10.30 pm that night the contractions started again but i was able to go to sleep because they weren't hurting, just there. At 1.30am i woke up to contractions that weren't going away. I started timing them for the next 2 hours and they were becoming more regular. My dh finally woke up and we started timing them together. By 4am they were coming every 5 minutes and we called the hospital and the midwife said to come in when i felt ready too. We drove up at about 5am when my contractions were 2 1/2 minutes apart. I was 4cm when we got there and by 10.30am i was 6cm. We decided to break my waters to see if that would hurry things up a little. It did....but only in the pain department!
My contractions were now 2 minutes apart and i was screaming so much i'm sure they would have heard me in China. Somewhere around 12.30 i got an epidural...ahhhh blessed relief! It was sometime between now and when i got to 10cm(i can't quite remember) that they discovered that Ethan was not in the right postion. He was on the wrong side and well...yeah he wasn't about to come out anytime soon without some help. I was started on a drip of sytonison to make my contractions as strong as possible in the hope that he would turn. He didn't. I pushed and pushed. He moved down but he didn't change his overall position. So they called in a Dr and he assessed me, gave me an ultrasound and decided that if there was no improvement in like the next hour he would have to be delivered by ventouse. Fine with me! So the Dr went off and did a c/s and came back to find me and the baby in the exact same postion. In the next minutes there were like a million people in the room all ready for the delivery. Ethan was finally delivered with a lot of struggle at 6.33pm after 17 hours of labour. He was 9lbs by the way.
Because he had to go in the special care nursery, was on oxygen for a few hours and i was downright stuffed, i didn't get to hold him or feed him til the next day.

So my first experience with birth was tough and i was thinking i had a pretty hard time with it all...that was until i found a book called "Eve - Sex, Childbirth and Motherhood Through the Ages" by Petrina Brown. I just got this book out of the library on Monday so i haven't read it all. But i am in utter astonishment at what went on back in the days before medicine. Of course i knew that these poor woman had to go without pain relief but holy cow some of the stuff talked about in the book is downright horrible. It's a wonder anyone survived childbirth at all.

The book starts off in the time BC and i'm currently reading about the Middle Ages. A straight forward birth was hard enough and was always feared but one with complications you can pretty well be assured that either you, your baby or both wouldn't survive. If a baby was stuck they would try physical violence to the mother such as throwing her around the room or hanging her upsidedown to try and move the baby. Sometimes the dr would resort to dismembering the baby to get it out. In one story a babys arm was cut off and then the dr swaddled it tightly(as they did in those days) with the arm in the proper position so noone would know what happened.

What i found funny though was some of the popular pain relievers in the days BC. Here's just a sample:

A drink sprinkled with powdered sow's dung
Drinking goose semen with water or liquids that flow from a weasel's uterus through its genitals.
Placing the placenta of a dogs on the thighs
A vultures feather under the womans feet
Earthworms in raisin wine.

And to relieve the new mothers sore breasts:

Drink mouse dung diluted with rainwater and ass's milk
Rub breasts with sow's blood, goose grease, rose oil and a spiders web
Lay earthwooms dipped in honey wine on the breast to draw out pus

Makes you appreciate the time in which we live doesn't it?? I would probably be dead if i was born back then.

There are many weird, yucky and downright scary things in this book. Not just about birth but about how woman were treated and thought of while they were menstrating, pregnant and after the birth.
I highly recommend you read it!!


Meemer said...

YIKES! I'll take my 21st century kind of stuff! Holy cow, I've got to read that book. Thanks, now I'm really intrigued!

Amy said...

EWWW!!! And really women were treated so horribly a long time ago....maybe I'll read that, or maybe not :)

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