The arrival of James Ball

The Mother Hood birth stories have been lovingly shared by mums.
In their own words, they have told the story and experience of their child's birth. 
Please read and respond with respect and love.

Parents: Ellie and Steve Ball

Baby's name: James Andrew Ball

Baby's date of birth: 7/12/2015

Where do you live? 

Where did you plan to give birth?
Whangarei Hospital

Where did you actually give birth?
Whangarei Hospital

Tell us about your pregnancy
My pregnancy was a struggle. I started vomiting every day from 4 weeks and didn’t stop until my baby boy came out. I was just ok enough to still function and go to work. JUST. I felt like I was hungover for 9 months, and then to top it all off he went 11 days overdue! 

Pregnancy for me was the hardest part of my journey into motherhood. I kept waiting for the ‘glow,’ but it just never came!!! On top of the vomiting, I also hated lots of other things about being pregnant- reflux, heartburn, haemorrhoids, round ligament pain, THRUSH, stretch marks, skin tags, the crazy sense of smell, the brittle teeth, the fact you can’t drink, the fact you can’t eat what you want, the fact you can’t sleep, the fact I couldn’t do the exercise I wanted to. The general loss of control of my own body was a struggle for someone who likes to be in control. 

Even without the incessant vomiting, I think I wouldn’t have enjoyed it. The only bit I liked about it was the baby! Oh, and the amazingly thick hair, that was enjoyable. This all came as a complete surprise to me; my mum had breezed through and loved pregnancy and I’d assumed I’d be the same. People can’t cope with women hating pregnancy, they give you the strangest judging looks if you say you aren’t enjoying it- it’s like we’re all supposed to glow and love it every minute, well this wasn’t the case for me that’s for sure!

What happened when you went into labour?
I was 11 days overdue when I stood up to go to the beach for an afternoon swim. (I’d heard this might help after trying walking the loop, curb walking, raspberry leaf tea, using my breast pump, pineapple, curry and sex, plus 2 stretch and sweeps and just about anything anyone suggested- FYI none of it works!) I heard the most enormous crack and my waters broke all over the floor. Me and my husband just stared at each other- I can’t believe I was 11 days overdue and we both still seemed really surprised. He ran and got some towels and a bucket, and we sat for a bit. I can still see his face, his gorgeous, handsome face filled with excitement. He kept saying ‘It’s happening, it’s really happening! We’re going to meet him soon babe!’ 

Tell us about your labour and how it progressed
Well soon wasn’t exactly right. Contractions didn’t really start for a while and when they did come, they were more like cramps. I rang the midwife but remembered from our antenatal classes that the best thing to do is carry on as normal and stay at home for as long as you can before heading to the hospital. So, I skyped my mum, made some sausage rolls, went to the supermarket- even bumped in to someone we knew who was asking how overdue I was! Then I sat on my swiss ball and watched a movie. 

By 10.30pm (10.5 hours in) it was getting super painful, so my midwife came and checked me over. Devastated is not the word to learn I was only 4cm dilated. I burst into tears. Our midwife left to get some rest and we tried to do the same. I had a long shower then hopped into bed. My wonderfully obliging husband must have rubbed my back for hours at every contraction, tracking them as they came. At some point in the early hours, around 2am I remember him telling me he thought we needed to get to the hospital. We only live 6 minutes from the hospital (he’d timed it) but it was the longest ride of my life! 

When we got to the hospital gas and air was my new best friend- that and water. My midwife had filled the birth pool as I’d requested, and I got in for pain relief. It was glorious, that and a cold flannel on my head, oh and of course that amazing gas! After a while, she checked me and said I was 9cm and if I didn’t want a water birth it was time to get out. For some reason, at that moment I really didn’t want one, so I got out.  

This is where shit hit the fan. The contractions were coming thick and fast and I got the urge to push. But I was so filled with rage that I couldn’t have gas and push at the same time - I got hilariously possessive over it! 

But even with no gas, nothing was happening. I pushed for about an hour and a half and after what felt like about 25 different positions and an internal examination my midwife started to look concerned. She called in the obstetrician. By this point it was 6.30am and I just wanted baby boy out! The OB came and said they could give me the drip to try and make the contractions stronger and then try the ventouse. I believe my words were ‘Fuck the drip if you’re just going to do the ventouse anyway!’ So we skipped the drip and went straight to the vacuum cleaner (that’s what it looked like!!). Then it felt like 50 people came in, but in truth, I think it was 6. The OB, 2 hospital midwives, 2 students and someone else (I’m still not sure who!) They gave me a small local anesthetic down below and then an episiotomy. Then with a couple of contractions, them pulling and me pushing they literally sucked him out of me. He was 9 pound 11 and it turned out he was posterior.
My little stargazer!

By this time, it was 7.50am and it’d been 20 hours since my waters broke. They put him straight on my chest and injected me to make my placenta come out. I don’t even remember it coming out, I was so tired and overwhelmed with love for this little boy that was now lying on me. I do remember that he then weed on me and while I cleaned this up, pooed all over his dad.

I tried to feed him then but had to briefly stop for a horrible amount of stitches and lots of yelling and f bombs from me at the OB. But after some skin to skin with Dad, he had a good feed after that and a big long sleep, which was wonderful and gave us hours of staring at him in wonder time. 

There’s nothing like that moment you meet your child for the first time. It’s the most beautiful thing in the world, still makes me cry thinking about it.

My wonderful midwife said to me the next day and I’ll never forget it: ‘Ellie Ball, you just pushed out an almost 10-pound baby out backwards with no pain relief, you my friend, can do anything!’

Did you go to the hospital or stay at home?
I loved the hospital! I always wanted to go to hospital to have my babies and after doing it twice I’d do it again! I loved the help with feeding, the cups of tea and the not having to do anything at home! We had to stay 3 days anyway to monitor the hematoma on little man’s head from the ventouse 1 

What things would you do the same?
I have had another child since and followed a similar pattern, but this time stayed in the water and he was born in the birthing pool. Recovery was so much better that way!  

I also used prenatal yoga to create a birth mantra- I’m not usually into that kind of stuff but it really helped me in labour. 

‘I am strong, I am made for this, I can do this.’

Would you do anything differently?
I’m not sure there is anything I’d do differently. Except maybe try not to worry about going overdue- they come when they’re ready, just trust in the process.

What advice would you give to other mums?
Stay calm, stay focused and have great support people around you.

And also- birth plans are bullshit- it’ll play out how it’s supposed to, and you just have to trust in that.

But most importantly don’t put pressure on yourself to have the perfect birth, it doesn’t exist! ‘It doesn’t matter how we came into the world, it just matters that we’re here.’

Good luck Mammas, despite the pain and hatred of pregnancy, I’d do it all again in a heartbeat. Worth every second.

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