Story started on Wednesday 21st November, my son's 2nd birthday and I was 39weeks pregnant exactly and anxious. I wanted the baby out, mostly because I really needed to know everything was okay and I was making up crazy ideas in my head that there was going to be something wrong with him, or the birth, or me etc. I was also terrified of being induced even though no one was even going to bring it up with me until I was 40w6d.
My son's birth had been a 3 day ordeal with a posterior baby that ended in augmentation with oxytocin, meconium stained waters, and an an episotomy after 2 hours of pushing, so I was nervous about the impending labour too.
I had plans to bake a cake with my son for his birthday, when I went outside and fell off my deck and sprained my ankle. OH THE AGONY. I couldn't move, I couldn't put weight on it, I couldn't hop around because I was massively fat and imbalanced and I HAD A TWO YEAR OLD TO LOOK AFTER. And what if I went into labour?!
Fast forward to Friday 23rd November, I had a check up with the doctor, who said that my ankle would heal (it still hurt a bit) and the baby was fine, but very high still, and I had no real signs of going into labour.
Oh man, I was so over it :(
That night, I convinced my husband that yes, I did want to have sex, no, not just for induction purposes, yes, it would make me cramp a lot afterwards but give it to me anyway!!!!
Saturday 24th November I wake up and I'm cramping. Woo! GO SEX. I'm cramping maybe a couple of times every hour for a couple of seconds, but they were contractions for sure. Looking at last time, who knew how long it would take before they became actual onset labour? I sent my husband off to work that morning, and asked pregnant — if perhaps I was in proper labour. I'm 39w4d!
I'm still feeling pretty great, so I do two loads of laundry and take a shower and wash my hair, and hang out with my son who is dancing around the house. It's probably about 10am. I get dressed and take a photo of me and my bump.
My mum calls and asks how I am. I tell her that I'm fine and that the baby will probably come sometime in the next few days. I have a complicated relationship with my mother, and she simultaneously stresses me out and looks after me, so while I want her at the birth, I don't want her there until near the end. She tells me she has a party to go to tonight, and I tell her to definitely go, because even if I went into labour, it would take hours and she could come by then.
I'm tweeting as I go, and my contractions are getting a little closer together, and a little longer. I sit down and time them on my app, and they're going for 20-30 seconds now. Maybe it's time my husband came home.
My husband comes home and finds me hanging up laundry and is all jokingly, "YOU'RE NOT IN LABOUR!" but he didn't see how many times I had to pause and hold onto the line and breathe out the contractions!
For my last birth, I had read Ina May Gaskin's "Guide to Childbirth" and while it was much more hippy than I would like, I got a lot out of it, one of the things being visualisation. I visualised a large wave swelling and breaking with every contraction, and also me blowing a white feather up and up. Sometimes it got too much and I visualised them both together and my white feather got soaked in the waves haha. So I was trying to do that again for this time but my contractions were just not long enough.
My contractions are all in my back and in my butt, which confuses me because I'm sure that this one isn't posterior.
I come inside and my son is all 'MUMMY SAD'. Which I wasn't. I had showed him this chart:
and told him to tell me when I looked like the third picture. And at at point at 11am, I'm still that very first one, definitely. (I love that chart so much)
Contractions are coming in every 5 min at this point but are still only 30seconds long. I figure I'm in labour and I figure maybe I should call the hospital to tell them so, even if I wasn't going to come in yet. The hospital is only 3 minutes away, so I'm not worried.
The midwife tells me that the hospital is fairly busy, but if I call 15 minutes before I come in, they'll definitely make room for me.
Then comes the dilemma of what we're going to do with my son while I go to the hospital. I want to call my mother. That way she'd come with my father and he could look after my son and it would all be fine. My husband shuts me down. He tells me that I'm being irrational and idealistic and that I've already forgotten that my mother is going to stress me out and it is not going to help.
ME: But I want my muuuuuuummmmmmyyyyyyyyyyyy
HUSBAND: Your mummy is not like other mummies.
I trust my husband because he is good at being reasonable while I am in labour. He calls his best mate to come over. My son loves him so this makes me feel better.
I go take a bath. I promised myself that I wouldn't take a bath this time around because I really felt that while relaxing, I was so relaxed my labour stalled every time I took a bath last time. But dammit, I want a bath, so I'm having a bath.
I also wanted to tweet the experience but the contractions were coming so often now, that I was barely managing to type out 'OWWWWWWWWW' every 25 minutes.
The bath lasts an hour or so; I come out and sit on the fit ball.
Contractions still every 4-5 minutes, still only lasting 30 seconds. I hope against hope that they're still at least doing something and I am DILATING LIKE A BOSS.
My husband's friend comes over and I manage to keep up conversation with him about how we didn't have a name yet, and they all joke about how their day was so hard but me, all I have to do is stay at home and watch Pixar movies with my son. I still find this funny and I do not look at all like the third picture on the chart!
My husband makes me a meal of rice congee and boiled salted duck egg, even though he has never eaten it before. It's what I eat when I feel sick and it is pretty much the best meal I've had for ages. I also inhale a muesli bar.
I'm getting a bit over it and decide that I want to go to the hospital so I can have an internal exam and at least I'll know if something is happening even if they send me home.
We decide to wait until my husband puts my son down for a nap, then head out. It's almost 2pm now.
Once inside the hospital and finally inside the examination room, the midwife asks me why I've come in and I tell her I want the pain relief of gas and air, and I want an internal. She looks at me and feels my stomach and tells me I'm contracting, (NO DUH) and takes other vitals. Sitting on the bed is NO FUN after being on the soft fit ball this whole time. I have to hold onto my husband through every contraction. Midwife tells me my contractions aren't lasting very long. (NO DUH)
Midwife then tells me that it's handover time, so she might as well get the next midwife on shift to come in and see me, so I can have her for my entire labour. Fair enough. I JUST WANT GAS AND AIR. New midwife, Mel, comes in and RETAKES ALL MY VITALS and asks if I want an internal. My husband has to answer for me at this point.
Now, I don't know about anyone else, but I really struggle with the position where you lie down, knees up and let your knees fall down to the sides so that someone can access your vagina. I can't hold that position and it makes me all shaky. I hate it when I go get waxing done but dammit it's so much worse in labour! Midwife does the internal examination, I think about the joke my husband makes about how the one time he gets to watch another woman put her fingers inside me and it's the unsexiest thing in the world.
After what seems like an EON, the midwife cleans up and gets me to sit up etc and takes her time saying 'Well, we're definitely going to keep you. You're at 6cm, so I'll just go get a room ready.' OH THANK GOD. I'm so pleased I'm at 6, I was optimistic and was hoping I would be at 4!
My husband goes off to get my bags and the midwife goes sets up the room and I'm left in the room by myself with my contractions. And Twitter. Good old Twitter.
Oh, and my wheat filled heat pack. I heartily recommend these for labour. Could not have done without it.
Mel comes to get me and we walk (slowly, with stops) towards the labour room. I ask her for a fit ball and she tells me there's one ready.
Once in the labour room, I sit on the fitball and hold onto the sheets on the bed. HOSPITAL CORNERS ARE TIGHT, YO. I pulled that sheet so much during the labour and I barely messed up the bed!
Mel asks me lots of questions but I can only manage to nod sometimes. My husband comes back and I ask for gas and air. At this point I think it's about 3pm?
I had forgotten how HIGH I get on gas and air. I take a small puff and my husband asks if it's working and all I can do is grin at him dopily. I also like the gas and air as it regulates my breathing and forces me to take deep breaths which is good in contractions. My husband sits on a ball behind me, and I just sort of loll about leaning on him and holding onto the bedsheet through the contractions. The contractions still aren't lasting very long though. They are still in my back and my butt but if I'm not breathing through the mouthpiece of the gas, I have to be letting out great big involuntary moans.
My husband had finally called my mother when he was getting my bag, and she was coming. My husband told the midwife to be firm with my mother, as my mother will have a lot of opinions but that I still wanted her there.
Then my water breaks. SPLASH. All over the fit ball.
They get me to stand up, but I don't want to. I want to push! I fall to my knees, but the midwife tells me that if I push there my baby will be born on the ground. Get on the bed!
My husband is all, "OH, CAN SHE PUSH NOW?" and the answer is YES. I am momentarily alarmed because how does she know that I'm fully dilated? What if there's still a lip of cervix left? What if I hurt the baby pushing when I'm not ready? My husband bodily lifts me onto the bed and I sit on my knees, leaning over the back of the bed. Mel asks me if I want to take off my wet dress so that they can put the baby straight on my skin afterwards. I don't want to move I don't want to do anything but PUSH. My husband, ever reasonable, is all 'YES. SHE WOULD LIKE THAT.' and takes off my dress for me.
THEN I FEEL THE ALMIGHTLY URGE TO PUSH. It is like the greatest biggest poo in the world, and at this point I think it *is* a poo. But I don't care. I push with a great big AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAUUUUUUUUUURRRRRRRRRRRRGGG
MIDWIFE: "Oh honey, wait til you're out completely before you start crying!"
Holy shit my baby's head is out already?!
I wait patiently for the next contraction. I'm still freaking out because the latest episode of the UK 'One Born Every Minute' had a baby whose arm was broken on the way out because it was stuck and I didn't want a baby with a splint in the NICU and what kind of pain relief can you give a newborn? Midwife tells me to push the rest of the baby out with the next contraction. I do. Or at least I think I do. But then I hear that I still need to push out his legs so I keep pushing and then BOOM!
My husband flips me over, I lie down in a pool of my blood and a baby gets plonked on me :D :D :D :D He breastfeeds straight away and omg it's 3:31pm and I pushed a baby out in TWO PUSHES WTF.
My husband rings my mother to tell her I already had the baby (I brace myself that she would get upset that she missed it) but I hear a lot of squealing and excitement and that she is still on the way and so she is so relieved that it is easy and everyone's healthy.
Afterwards, when my mum got there (my dad didn't bother because last time he paced the hallways for 12 hours for no reason) she helped me bathe and had a great meal cooked for me etc etc, so I got to get all the great mummy aftercare without any of the labour stress. GOOD TIMING, BABY.
My son at home wakes up from nap at 4:00pm, so he gets brought in straight after nap, so he didn't miss his parents at all. GOOD TIMING, BABY.
My ankle had not hurt all day. GOOD TIMING, BABY.
Turns out I had a 2nd degree tear, and having my legs up in stirrups and being sewn up was so much worse than anything else that happened that day.
The original midwife I saw, came back, and we had a laugh that she didn't have to hand me over to the new midwife at all because I had given birth while she was still on shift!
Here are all my boys:
We didn't have a name still, when we left the hospital, but we thought of one eventually. I had a hard time in my 2 nights at the hospital because Toby was the hungriest baby that had ever hungered before - so much so that the draconian midwife who did her best to dissuade me from asking for 20mL of formula so I could get some sleep ended up setting up my bed so I could co sleep with him. CO SLEEPING. IN A HOSPITAL.
He's an amazing baby now, sleeps and breastfeeds like a champ, made his birth weight back in 5 days. OH YEAH.
Oh, and because I'm vain, I was quite alarmed again at how distended, flabby and ugly my belly still looked after the birth, but here is a photo of me 2 days after, still in the hospital:
it's not so bad. No one told me about the uterine cramps I would get while breastfeeding would hurt so much with a second child also! It was almost like labour cramps!
Here is Toby getting his hearing screening done at the hospital.
and here he is at 6 days old.
Thank you to everyone at pregnant — for giving me answers to questions and assuaging my fears and quelling my anxieties!
eta: the midwife confessed to me later that I actually *did* do a poo when I pushed out my baby, but not to worry none of it got on him. How embarrassing. And how awesome are nurses for cleaning up our shit, literally. Also awesome: The Australian healthcare industry for allowing me all my prenatal checkups, my ultrasounds, my labour with the midwives, my ongoing postnatal care in my home and outside, my single private room at the hospital, all for no cost to me at all.