Kelly wrote to thank us for using one of our ObStar obstetric TENS machines for labour. Here’s how Kelly used the TENS machine, some teamwork and encouragement to help bring her beautiful baby Quinn into this world.
I felt really good all through the pregnancy of my first child, just a bit hungover at the start and had blocked sinuses in the evenings. I kept going to the gym several times a week and even continued riding a push bike to work up until the 36 week mark. Much to my partners dismay, I think having a Dutch obstetrician really helped that argument!
I planned for two weeks off before my due date. It was the last weekend before our due date and we spent Saturday racing around doing all those last minute jobs getting the car seat fitted etc. I had been feeling a bit niggly all day and after chilling out watching a movie after lunch I suggested going for a walk around the park to stretch out a bit. We got back at about 5pm and I was starting to get light period like cramps. We had dinner and headed to bed early by 9pm. My partner fell straight asleep and I spent an hour laying there waiting for the next cramp to arrive in roughly 15 minute intervals. By 10pm I was pretty sure it was the real thing and nudged Wills awake to let him know I thought this was it.
We live less than ten minutes from the hospital and my plan was to stay at home for as long as possible.
I tried to stay in bed and rest but that only lasted a couple of hours, and I wasn’t getting much rest! We had been told the TENS machine is most effective if used early on so at midnight attached the pads and ended up in the lounge watching rugby… I struggled to eat peanut butter and jam toast to keep my strength up.
I tried to last to the end of the second game but the Wallabies were playing terribly and by 3.30am we decided to get ready to go. At this stage contractions were 4-5 minutes apart.
We had green lights all the way to the hospital (and yes, the TENS machine was used in the car!). After being admitted at 4am the midwife monitored myself and bub for half an hour then did an internal exam and I was 6.5cms dialated! Yay!!! I think the midwife was actually quite surprised how far along I was and I believe this was largely due to the TENS machine keeping me comfortable at home.
The next centimetre was tough going, I tried the bath but had to take the tens machine off and couldn’t get into a comfortable position. I ended up on the bed on my knees leaning over the raised head end with the tens machine back on. At 7am there was a shift change and the new midwife checked my progress, I had finally made it to 7.5cms but my waters hadn’t broken. I was pretty gutted after all that work and only 1cm. She asked if I wanted my waters manually broken as it would speed up the process. I agreed and just after my obstetrician arrived. She was not only on call that weekend but also happened to be in the hospital for another birth and came to check on my progress.
I used some gas to get through the last couple of centimetres then when it came time to push had my partner and midwife holding a leg each as I was on my back on the bed. After some very primal grunting and pushing our son Quinn was born at 8.44am weighing 3.63kgs. I felt very privileged to pull him out and when I turned him round to put him on my chest saw he was a boy! We delayed the cord clamping and my partner cut the cord apparently it’s quite tough and similar to calamari!
The placenta came out without too much trouble even though the last thing you feel like doing is more pushing! I asked to see it and our obstetrician explained what all the bits were and said it was still looking healthy. I had a small tear which required stitching they gave me gas but it had stopped bleeding so they didn’t bother stitching after all.
I feel very lucky to have had such a positive birth experience. Although we wanted a natural birth with as little medical intervention as possible, we had very realistic expectations and ultimately just wanted what was best for baby and myself. Putting our trust in our obstetrician as that was what we were paying her for after all.
It felt like a real team effort using the TENS machine I would give my partner a thumbs up when a contraction was coming and he would crank it up. That worked really well for us as personally I don’t think I could multi task that well!
The TENS machine was great, definitely took the edge off what was going on and enabled us to have the natural birth we planned for.