Monday, 19 January 2009

Our tiny daughter.

Yesterday, on the 18th of January, 2009 (the date that I have had a 'feeling' about for the last few months, even though I liked to think it would have been earlier), at 10:19am, our precious daughter, Mayana Joy Shanae Friend was placed in my arms. She is so incredible I can't even begin to describe it!

Okay. My birth story [disclaimer: This story is for people who like details!]

On Saturday night, we had a late night because they showed 4 episodes of McLeods Daughters and we just couldn't miss them, lol. We then went to bed and did our Bible reading for the night, had a chat about how we couldn't wait for our baby to arrive and didn't get to sleep until after midnight. At 1.40am, I awoke with a 'pop'. I didn't hear or feel a pop exactly, it's just how I felt in that moment. I guess it was a pop of pain - the climax of my first proper contraction. Even though we hadn't been asleep that long, both of us said later that we somehow felt very well rested. Anyway, I rolled over to Pete and said, "I just had a contraction. I'm pretty sure it's a real one, it's different to anything I've ever felt (braxton hicks) and really intense and I think our baby is coming. I'm going to see how long till the next one, you go back to sleep." So I lay awake concentrating and feeling every twinge, wondering if I imagined it when I was hit with another one. It was half an hour since the first one. I told Pete, and said that they'd probably stay far apart for a while and we should try and get some more sleep. I don't think we did though.
I had two more at half an hour apart (with lots of little waves of pain in between), and then one 15 minutes after that. Two more 15 minutes apart then we were down to 10! I think it was about that stage that I decided to hop into the bath. Pete came with me and kept timing them and helping me to remember to breath deeply through them. By this time it was about 4:10am. By 5am, they were 3-5 minutes apart and very intense and I knew it was time to head to the hopsital.

Mama and Papa (who were staying with us) were awake by this time, and got dressed, and we grabbed all the things we needed to take - we had packed the hosptial bag, but not the labour bag. I had quite a few contractions in that time and on the way to hospital - they were definitely less that 5 minutes apart by then, and getting a bit harder to deal with. We got to emergency and told them I was in labour. They wanted me to get into a wheelchair, but I snapped "No way I need to walk!!" I was very stubborn and um, cross while in labour!

When they got up to birth suite, they took all my obs and tried to track Mayana's heartbeat. It was all over the place, I think she was in a funny position and they couldn't get the monitor to keep it up, so they had to hold it with their hands which meant that it wasn't a very good trace, and what they did have wasn't fantastic. They did an internal and found that I was 4cm dilated. My BP was fantastic, and remained that way for the entire labour. I also had my cannula inserted into my wrist at this point, and my first dose of antibiotics for my Group B Strep was administered.

They took me around to the room I was to give birth in, and I got straight in the shower. I would have loved to have been in the bath but there aren't any at our hospital :( I knelt on the floor over a fitball while Pete ran the shower directly onto my back. Because Mayana was prosterier at that point, most of the pain was in my back. I also had the gas in the shower with me. I didn't really find that it eased the pain at all, but it helped me to focus my breathing, and Pete said I was slightly kinder with gas in my system. All I remember is barking one word commands as to where he was to aim the shower head and opening my mouth when I wanted the gas in there. I got the most relief I think from biting the mouthpiece (and believe me my jaw is paying for it now!). I started to really feel the need to lie down, I was so tired and my knees were really hurting. I remember asking Pete if we could put the bed in the shower, but for some reason he wouldn't let me so I made myself go to the bed and demanded the hot wheat pillow for my back instead.

I lay that way for quite a while (I have no sense of time for any of this), and the midwife kept trying to get a good trace on Mayana's heartrate to figure out what was going on with her. At some point she told me she wanted to put a 'cap' on Mayana's head to trace her that way - it is much more reliable than outside monitors. She asked if I wanted her to talk me through it or explain it or something and I yelled at her that I didn't care! I just kept asking, "Is my baby okay???" I remember that on random contractions I would be really angry and say I hated it and didn't want to do it anymore, than on others I would be mushy and look at Pete and say, "we're having our baby!" and on others I would just yell. I got really annoyed at everyone telling me to breath, because I felt like I coped better when I moaned, but I didn't say anything about that I just ignored them (and hyperventilated)!

I was trying to doze between contractions and was feeling really woozy. I think I stopped the gas for a while around here because it was making me feel a bit ill. Next time the midwife came to check on us, I told her I wanted an epidural. She asked if it was part of the plan and I said, "I don't know, I just can't to it anymore. I'm sorry, please don't be disappointed in me... (blah blah)". She said I could have whatever I wanted and went to organise it for me. I remember I kept apologising to Pete and mum and asking them not to be disappointed in me. I think I was actually convincing myself not to be disspointed in myself! The midwife came back and said it would be about an hour before it would be all organised - which would make it 8am. That hour went really fast because I was pinning everything on it, but it was more than an hour and I started to get cranky and yelling (apparently whining says my mother) at the midwife, "Can they come now! Why aren't they here?" They had to keep telling me what the time was. When the anethetist finally arrived she fluffed around for ages before telling me to sit up on the edge of the bed and arch my back like a cat or some such. That is seriously not a comfortable way to sit during labour, but anyway.

The anethetist tried to get the cannula into my spine for over an hour. It was horrendous. My contractions were between 1.5-3 minutes apart, or rolling, very intense and I wasn't allowed to move. I am so sore because of that hour - the weird position and the intensity of it. Poor Pete was half squatting on a chair infront of me supporting half my weight. His feet were totally white, and he started majorly shaking, but pretended he was okay for ages.

I was so exhausted by then, I was just hoping with every contraction that this would be the last one that I feel. After an hour, the anethetist said she couldn't get it in and told me she was going to get her boss to try instead. Some time during that hour I felt my waters break and could feel it gushing with each contraction. When the anethetist left, I told Jane (our midwife) that I needed to go to the toilet for a poo. She asked if she could check me out, and I asked if I could lie down which I think I did without waiting for an answer. Jane did an internal and told me she could feel the baby's head and we were going to abort the epidural. I was 10cm dilated and Mayana was nearly ready to come out! I went from 4cm to 10cm in about 3.5 hours and in that time Mayana had also manouvered herself from prosterier to the more optimal anterier position!

Pete and I got really emotional at that point - he started to get a little teary, and I remember kind of wooping, "Pete our baby, we're going to have our baby" in some rather inarticulate manner. Jane got me to lie at the proper end of the bed (I had put my head at the feet end) and as I turned around a great big gush of my waters came out, and Jane realised that there was meconium in it- bubby was distressed and had done a poo. She called the Special Care Nursery, and arranged for one of their nurses to come in, and for a place to be made for the nursery just in case. It can be very bad for babies if they swallow any of the meconium - it can get into their lungs, and also cause things like deafness and many other problems. I felt a little nervous at that, and kept asking if my baby was okay, but the elated part of me that was excited that we were meeting our baby soon took over my fear.

I asked Jane if I could push because I was getting the urge - and had been for the last couple of contractions with the epidural experience - and she asked me to try and hold out for a few minutes. She gave me the gas tube and told me to use it to help with my breathing. I did a few half hearted pushes that mostly revolved around me yelling, and was told that wasn't real pushing and was fairly pointless. So I decided to do what I was told instead ;) Jane told me how to push if I really needed to, and I did a couple when I really couldn't help it. Jane then told me that she could see the head and asked if I'd like to look with the mirror. Months ago, Pete and I had talked about it and I thought that if I was offered I didn't want to look because I didn't want to know! When it came to it though, I couldn't imagine having said no! Jane held up the mirror, and seeing that tiny bit of my daughter's head was enough to make me WANT the next contraction to come. I think I did maybe two more pushes after that, and then Jane told me it was getting close. I asked her how many more pushes, and she said at least 2 or 3. With my next push, I watched in the mirror. I felt her crown, and pushed with all my might. Next thing I knew, our gorgeous girl was on my chest! I think without the mirror, that crowning feeling would have scared me out of that push, but because I could see what I was accomplishing I was spurred on to try harder. All in all, I only pushed for five minutes, and our daughter was born at 10.19am, 8 hours and 39 minutes after my first contraction.

Peter was able to cut the chord (which they weren't sure he was going to able to because of the meconium) and they whisked her off me to the special care nurse so she could be checked. I asked what it was, and mum told me it was a girl. I said, "I told you it was a girl... and I knew she'd be born today!" I watched while she was being cleaned and wiped, I was crying and telling her that I love her and that she's amazing and that she did such an awesome job. Mayana scored 9 and 9 on her APGAR tests, and the meconium proved to be no issue whatsoever. I birthed the placenta in one teensy little push, and like that, my labour was over!

Aside from my incredible little girl, I also scored a 2nd degree gutter tear (up inside me) and a stack of stitches. I asked how many, and was told just to think of it as one long stitch (eeek!). That was quite painful, but thankfully by then I had our little girl on my chest and my husband by my side and we were to busy being absolutely smitten to pay too much attention to it!

After stitching, my mum (who'd gone to tell my dad and ring my brother and sisters) and dad come back into the room to meet our little girl. She was just so tiny, and I asked Jane how much she guessed she weighed, and she said less than 6lbs. Later on, when she was weighed, we found that she was a tiny 5lbs, 20z (2330g), 49cm long and with a head circumference of 33cm. She is amazing, and I really can't get over how little she is (especially compared to how huge I was!). Everyone was firing off text messages and phones were beeping left right and centre. I was just lying there in the middle of it all trying to take it in, feeling so overwhelmed and in love with this tiny little creature that I had just birthed. Pete helped me shower while the new grandparents doted, and then I think I ate some lunch. I can't remember the exact timeline of what happened around there to be honest, and mum has stopped reading over my shoulder so she can't correct me.

Peter and I went up to the maternity ward to spend some time catching some zzzz's and falling in love with our daughter. Since then it's been a whirlwind. She's so amazing. Everyone is completely in love with her. She's a champion breastfeeder - latched on straight out of the womb, which all the midwives are very impressed with considering her tiny size. It's her Mama that needs to toughen up!!! Peter is a complete natural with her, and can settle her instantly. I think my favourite thing to do is watch the two of them gazing into each others eyes; makes me melt every time.

We had a slightly turmultuous time at the hospital last night - she wouldn't settle no matter what I did and would only sleep if I held her. I think the whole thing was just too overwhelming for her, and it was so bright and noisy in there. We ended up with her in bed with me, meaning that I only really half slept because I was scared of hurting her. By the time I had decided to do that, it was almost 2am, and I had been awake for almost 24 hours straight. We slept until 5.30 when we were woken up for monitoring (they monitored her temps and heartrate every 3-4 hours because of the whole meconium/tiny weight thing). Mayana went back to sleep after that, but I couldn't, and as soon as it hit 7am I was on the phone to Pete asking him to come as soon as he was allowed. I needed him so much, and it felt so wrong to there with our daughter, without him!

By that point I had well and truly decided to come home today. Being in stream 3, that is perfectly reasonable, as I have a midwife who will come and visit me at home every day for the first week! After Mayana and I were both checked by our doctors, and given the all clear, we were ready to go.

The three of us came home at about 3pm this afternoon, and it has been so much better here. I am more relaxed, which means Mayana is more relaxed - the feeding is easier, she's sleeping better and has hardly cried at all. Peter is so in love with her and just can't stop looking at her - neither of us can believe that she's finally here and that she's really ours. She is so tiny, all her little 0000 clothes that looked so unbelieveable small are massive on her. Here we were thinking that she wouldn't get a chance to wear all of them before she grew out of them! Mum got her some special 00000 outfits today, which will hopefully look a lil less baggy on her!

Anyway, that's long winded enough for one night, I'm sure you'll all be sick of Mayana posts from now on - and you though the bump posts were overkill :P

I leave you with my favourite (so far) pic of my daughter and I. I actually have only seen the photos that Pete and Papa have put on facebook (and aren't I oh-so-attractive post-labour!?), I have thousands to trawl through! She is the most photographed 2.5 day old baby in the history of the world.

Here we are, the new mummy and her gorgeous daughter, Mayana Joy Shanae Friend, taken this afternoon a few hours before we came home:

Now go buy yourself a chocolate or something, cos seriously if you made it through that saga you deserve one!


  1. Thanks for your beautiful birth story. It brought back so many good memories from both my births. Enjoy your little one, she is just gorgeous! Jess xo

  2. Congrats Zoey and Pete on the arrival of your beautiful daughter Mayana. Your birth story is just beautiful, make sure you print it out and put in Mayana's baby book.
    Enjoy the many precious memories on the road ahead

    Ali (from VP)

  3. Congrats Zoey & Pete.
    She is beautiful - a little piece of heaven.

    Much love xxx

  4. How thoughtful Zoey-I will have some chocolate!

    Thanks for sharing all the gory details-I think it's good to hear...just to get my head around it all. I am very inspired now!

    Mayana is so gorgeous-congratulations again you two.

    Louise XX

  5. Well done Zoey (and Pete)!! Welcome to the world Mayana!!
    This is an amazing story and thanks so much for taking the time to post it. It is always inspiring to hear about the miraculous birthing process, but when it is your grandchild, so much more special.
    I love you all, see you soon
    xx MumAnn

  6. wow Zoey your story is amazing
    thank you for taking the time to write it
    i must say it has inspired me now to try for a natural birth with my twins doubtful it will happen but you never no

    Congratulations to both you and Pete your daughter Mayana is just beautiful

  7. Zoey, I'm so proud of you! So glad to hear that feeding is going well, and you will toughen up pretty quickly. You did well to make it through on just gas, and your tear will heal quickly. I agree that you just have to watch in the mirror, its such a motivation. Hope you all get really good rest and enjoy this blessed time with your beautiful baby.

    Sami xx

    Note to Bev: Aim for having your twins naturally - you can do it! I did!

  8. Wow Zoey, what an amazing baby story!! I want to have a baby now!! You had my full attention the whole time!


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