I really wished I’d written notes about my birth earlier as 10 weeks on is not the most ideal time to recollect it, whilst the labor itself feels like a blur now I will do my best to remember the details.
To put things into perspective, my due date was the 28th of August. I was so desperate to get this baby out earlier, if not on my due date. I drunk copious amounts of raspberry leaf tea (which tastes like radiator water), I bounced on the swiss ball till I couldn’t bounce anymore, I curb-walked and I had lots of sex (upon instructions from my midwife) although feeling like a beached whale and having sex was the LAST thing I wanted to do. Ladies, you know exactly what I mean.
As a first time mum, being overdue was like the end of the world, seriously. I was in the mindset that this baby was never coming and that he’d be in there forever.
The 30th of August rolls around and I wake at 5.30am. I felt/heard something weird, I reluctantly put my hands ‘down there’ and felt warm liquid. For a moment there I thought I’d pissed the bed. I couldn’t have been more wrong. My waters had broken, it was not what I’d expected from seeing way to many unrealistic american movies. I managed to save the mess in my bed and made it to the bathroom somehow. I sat on the toilet thinking ‘holy fuck, this is happening’. I woke up my partner and was like ‘um, I think my waters just broke’, we’re both in a panic running around the house yelling ‘he’s coming, he’s coming’. He told me to try get some sleep, um, yeah right. That was not happening. I think I may have drifted off for a very small period of time but my mind simply wouldn’t let me. The day I’d been waiting for was finally here and I was shitting bricks (not literally, but may as well have). As it was so early int he morning we decided to hold off calling the midwife until later that morning (9am). Contractions were quite far apart at that stage and I was still questioning myself as to whether this was the real deal or not. My midwife was off for the weekend (typical, I KNEW it was going to happened on her scheduled weekend off!). Backup midwife told us to come in and get checked out, generally once your waters have gone they check on everything and you are put on IV antibiotics after 12 hours if things are progressing due to the risk of infection. We went in about 3.30pm I think. She questioned whether or not it was actually my waters, I told her I definitely didn’t piss myself so it had to be. I jokingly told her it smelt like semen and not urine (have heard this is strangely normal). She done an internal and confirmed I was 1-2cm dilated and done a stretch and sweep while she was done there which was not the most pleasant of experiences but knew it’d be nothing compared to what was ahead. After we left things felt different, I knew that whatever she’d done had really moved things along. She’d told us to come back at 10pm that night, with all our stuff and expect to be in for the night (and that we wouldn’t be leaving without a baby). If things weren’t to progress, the plan was I’d be hooked up to an IV for antibiotics until things got going.
Not necessary, at 8pm I screamed at my partner from the bathroom to call the midwife and ask if we could come in earlier to which she said yes yes, come in. My contractions were getting closer (don’t even ask how far apart as I can’t remember now) but they were getting more intense. I think contractions really stepped up for me around 6pm (from memory) and just got worse from then on. Having contractions in a moving vehicle is one of the most hideous experiences, sitting at the lights trying my best to slump into my seat so the people next to us couldn’t see me while I was gripping the door panel in the car so hard I was making an indent in the rubber. We were traveling from Lower Hutt into Wellington Hospital as this is where I had chosen to give birth (we lived in the city when we found out I was pregnant). We finally pull into the hospital carpark and sure enough, the fucking lifts lock off at 8pm. I was adamant I was going to give birth in the carpark gripping the pay & display machine. We buzzed L&D and what felt like an hour later (was actually less that 5min) a security guard with a wheelchair arrives in the lift. I’ve never been so happy to see a complete stranger.
We get settled into our room and they do another internal and I was only 4-5cm I think? I was disappointed, with the pain I was feeling I was expecting 10cm! Hah! Sadly no. I remember struggling to find a comfortable position to ride out the contractions. I was on the floor at one stage, on the bed, walking around and spent a majority of my time on the toilet as I constantly felt like I needed to pee (more that I ever did throughout the whole pregnancy). On what was to be my final toilet visit I sat down and ‘WHOOSH’ the most unreal noise and hollywood gush of water, so much so, my partner, the midwife student and midwife all heard it even with the bathroom door closed. I look behind me in the toilet (as you do), it was brown. For a split second I thought holy shit, I just did the most ruthless shit. No, meconium in the waters and I knew that was bad so I went into panic mode instantly. I yelled something along the lines of ‘holllyyyyy fucccckkk I need to push, he’s coming’ and the midwife ran in and helped me off the toilet and onto the bed. I started off labouring on all fours on the bed, I found it so uncomfortable and constantly felt like I was going to shit. This is very normal by the way and was one of my biggest fears. I didn’t, thank god. My partner was AH-MAZING, putting ice cold flannels on my forehead and shoulder blades, within seconds they felt piping hot and I’d yell at him for more cold ones! I finally got my way and was able to swap positions and labour on my back, instantly I felt like all this pushing was actually getting me somewhere! I went into the birth wanting to have no drugs whats so ever and I am so pleased I was able to fulfil my birth plan. How? I have no idea. Sheer determination and the right mindset I think. I recall people telling you about the ring of fire, by god. The feeling/pain down there would resemble somebody holding a blowtorch to your lady bits at close range, on that final push when I actually felt him coming out was the biggest relief I have ever felt in my entire life, I instantly felt a pressure release (duh, a human just came out of my VAGINA!). Don’t get me wrong, the pain was out of this world but the moment they’re out and you hear that first cry, it actually is so worth it (I thought people were crazy when they said this to me). He was straight up onto my chest for skin on skin and was so alert! My partner cut the cord which was amazing as we didn’t think he’d be able too (hates blood etc, and there was plenty of it). Once I thought it was all over I forgot I still had to push the placenta out, thank god its squishy and barely compares to a HUMAN! My poor partner, the midwife said soft push, which I swear I did and the placenta literally shot out, along with a fuck tonne of blood. Apparently there was a small pocket of blood behind the placenta which helped with it’s exit, haha. I thought my other half was going to pass out. It looked a lot worse that it actually was. Upon inspection, it turns out my sac ruptured in two places, hence the two lots of waters I lost. It was definitely reassuring to know I hadn’t pissed myself earlier than morning but a bulk of the waters were lost on the epic toilet visit. To be honest, the hours after this were a blur. I remember my parents coming up to the delivery room to meet the little fella and this was such an awesome moment to watch.
Looking at my pregnancy and delivery records/discharge papers I was in established labour at 8.10pm, admitted at 9.05pm (30th of August), was fully dilated at 11.45pm and gave birth at 12.49am (31st of August). Looking at it that way, it seems so short, but it really didn’t feel that way!
Labour deets (for those who care):
1st stage: 03.35
2nd stage: 01.04
3rd stage: 00.12
He was born happy and healthy weighing 7lb5oz.
I suffered two labial lacerations which required stitches, thank god I received anesthetic as I don’t know how much more I could have taken down there.
Would I do it again? I don’t know, haha. Not anytime soon, but if I was stupid enough to I think I would definitely try for an unmedicated, natural birth again, I felt so empowered afterwards and it was such a good feeling.
Women are amazing, regardless of how they birth – what an experience. Hats off to all your mums out there. The human body is an amazing thing.