03 October 2011

MissyMoo3's Ambulance Arrival

Here is the long awaited story about how MissyMoo3 came into the world.

WARNING: This is a BIRTH STORY. There will be references to blood, medical procedures and parts of the female anatomy which would not normally be discussed in polite company. If you get squeamish, don't blame me - I warned you!

On a Spring Monday in September 2011 at 9:56pm, MissyMoo3 made her dramatic arrival to the world in the back of an ambulance, just up the road from where we live. This is how the day unfolded:

I got up to my alarm and went for a shower. We were booked in for induction that day and had to ring the hospital at 6am to find out what time we should go in. I had had a little trouble sleeping in the previous hour because I was so excited that this would be the day we would meet our new baby!

I rang the hospital delivery suite. They told me to have breakfast and come straight in. So I promptly ate my Weet-Bix and got the MissyMoos dressed while Hubby packed the car with all our bags. We drove around to my parents' house about half an hour's drive away to drop off the MissyMoos and then Hubby and I made our way to hospital.

We arrived at the hospital and made our way to the delivery suite. A midwife took us to one of the rooms there and started taking my blood pressure and filling in forms for which I had to just about relate my entire obstetric history (as I had had to do in almost every ante-natal clinic when I had seen a different midwife). I changed into a hospital gown, excited and a little anxious. A monitoring device was strapped to my belly and I was monitored for a while to check MissyMoo3's heart beat, which was all great.

Then a doctor came in to examine me. He looked quite young (Hubby reckons he took one look at my history - see MissyMoo1's birth story at Missy Moo 1's First Journey - and decided he didn't want to deal with me on his shift). He told me that he wanted to go and speak with someone more senior before deciding whether it would be appropriate to induce me that day. Ironically, he also said that if I was induced that day, they would give me syntocin straight away to ensure I delivered the baby earlier in the day when there were a lot of specialists around in case of complications.

Aaaaages later a different young doctor came in to speak with me. She said that although my cervix was already 3cm dilated, it was not soft enough and the baby wasn't low enough. She said that inducing that morning might risk cord prolapse and that with the harder cervix, baby might have difficulty getting through and get tired and distressed.

Cervidil, a prostaglandin strip, was inserted near my cervix with the intention to make my cervix softer. The plan was to keep it in for 24 hours and return at 10:30 the next morning to have it taken out and reassess. I was re-booked in for induction for Wednesday morning. The midwife told me not to take the strip out myself, that they would take it out the next morning. She also said that a side effect, which was very rare, might be regular contractions and that I could take Panadol if they got painful. I was told that if I had bleeding I should come back to hospital. I was then monitored again for half an hour and everything looked fine.

We were told to go home and return at 10:30 the next morning. We were feeling so deflated and disappointed. We thought we were having our baby only to be told now to wait two more days. Also, there would have to be so much more running around and disruption for the Missy Moos, getting my parents to look after them over the next two days while the interventions continued. And if I was to give birth on Wednesday, just how would we be able to get MissyMoo1 to her friend's 5th birthday party on Thursday morning? She would be so disappointed at not being able to go...

We left hospital.

Had KFC for lunch on the way to picking up the MissyMoos from their non-sleepover at their Nonna and Par's house. Stuff the diabetes.

Picked up the MissyMoos. Hubby had to drag MissyMoo1 kicking, screaming and crying to the car, as she wanted to stay at Nonna Par's house for her sleepover. We told her she'd have her sleepover in a couple of days.

Pains start in the car on the way home, morphing into contractions 2 - 3 minutes apart. Not painful though.

I rang the hospital delivery suite as I was still having regular contractions. The midwife I spoke to said not to worry and that it was just a side-effect of the Cervidil and that it was the Cervidil having the effect on my body it was supposed to - doing its job. She said that if they got too painful to manage or if my waters broke, that I could come back to hospital.

I didn't really feel like eating dinner but Hubby made me some toast which I ate, because we both knew how tired I would be if I kept being woken up by contractions through the night (as that had been the experience of my early labour with MissyMoo1 after my waters had broken).

The contractions were starting to become a little painful so I took one Panadol and went to bed. I managed to distract myself by singing hymns in my head and wriggling around during them. Hubby put the Missy Moos to bed and went downstairs to watch the Brownlow Medal count on TV.

I called out to hubby to get me another Panadol, as the pain was getting bad and I didn't feel up to getting it myself.

I called the hospital delivery suite again and was on hold for 12 minutes. During that time my contractions were very painful and only 2 minutes apart. I was also quite worried and upset because I hadn't felt MissyMoo3 move for at least half an hour and that was usually her most active time of day.

While I was on hold to the hospital on the iPhone, Hubby called my parents from the home phone and asked them to come over straight away.

Hubby called our friend Gina who lives down the road and asked her to come over to mind the girls in the meantime, as it would take my parents at least half an hour to arrive.

At that time I also finally got to talk to a midwife. I explained that it was my third pregnancy, I'd had Cervidil, described the contractions. Her response: "So you think it's time to come in then." "Yes!" I screamed. I was on hold for 12 minutes for that? I wanted her to tell me that it was labour, or if it was still Cervidil "doing its job", what I should do etc. I just hung up.

Saw blood in my pad. Lay on the bed. Hubby got some towels.

Hubby called the ambulance. Lots of blood. Lucky we had the towels. Contractions were now only about 1 minute apart.

Gina arrived directly from the shower in her pjs and dressing gown, God bless her. Rather than be there in case the kids woke up, Gina went straight into good friend and nurse mode, and took over the duties of holding my hand and helping me breathe through contractions while Hubby was on the phone to the ambulance.

Ambulance arrived (Ken and Gary).

Ambulance officers arrived upstairs in my bedroom. They didn't seem to be in a hurry to move me, so I screamed out in frustration (and pain) "Take me to hospital!"

After the ambos got the stretcher ready at our front door and we waited for the small window of opportunity between contractions, I got down the stairs and onto the stretcher ... just in time before the next contraction hit. At this stage I was feeling a really strong urge to push but was being told just to keep breathing. My waters still hadn't broken yet.

I was wheeled into the back of the ambulance. I immediately felt more at ease in a "medical" setting. If I'd wanted a home birth I would have planned it that way.

Made it up the road and onto the main street. Gary pulled over as the ambos realised the birth was imminent. Turns out my parents drove past in the other direction on the way to our place and saw the ambulance.

Waters broke ("exploded" as Hubby says).

At the next contraction I felt a huge urge to push which I just couldn't fight. Ken encouraged me to push (not that I needed it). MissyMoo3 was born then and there, pushed out in one contraction and caught by Ken.

Hubby cut the cord. I asked Ken whether I would deliver the placenta or if it would be taken out by the hospital. He said that it could take 20 to 30 minutes to come so we might make it to hospital before it came out.

Placenta came out.
The rest of the ride to hospital was quite calm as Hubby, Ken and I chatted in the back while I cuddled MissyMoo3 on my chest and kept her warm.

I am quite annoyed and upset by the poor advice and lack of attention I received by the hospital, from delaying induction and advising that Cervidil would not put me into labour to the responses I received to my calls that afternoon and night (a midwife who visited me at home the other day said that in giving me Cervidil with my third baby, I should not have been sent home).

But, we had the right people with us at the right time and things turned out for the best. Hubby was just amazing, as were Gina, Ken and Gary. All our prayers and the prayers of family and friends were answered. Thankfully, despite the panic and the drama, our beautiful baby girl was born safe and healthy.



  1. Wow, what a story! I just love a good birth story. I could not imagine birthing in an ambulance, well done!

    1. Thanks, it is a great story, but only to re-tell, not to re-live!

  2. Gosh, what a story! I can imagine it's now one of those funny-anecdote-at-a-party deliveries but it must have been terrifying at the time. Thank God, as you say, you had the right people there on the day. There are so many stories - in a thousand different contexts - of contradictory advice given my midwives/hospitals. Such a shame your story includes that down side. Never mind. All that matters is Happy Birthday to Missy Moo 3!

    1. Thanks Lara. It is an amazing story, but a year on I still get so emotional thinking about it. I'm proud of myself for managing but also traumatised by the panic. All I need to do is look at our gorgeous girl, though, and all is right with the world :-)

  3. What an event! You definitely have a good story to tell her in years to come. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Thanks Kylie, yes, we often point out the spot on the side of the road where the ambulance stopped. She's to little to know, but her sisters know all about it (minus the gory bits)!

  4. That's all very dramatic! Boo to the poor advice. Glad you had a beautiful outcome :-)

    1. Thanks Bree, couldn't have turned out better in the end.

  5. This midwife is glad you had a good outcome Francesca. Absolutely frightening! x

    1. It was! But Miss A was well worth it :-)


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