It was Tuesday the 20th Dec. I was 4 days overdue and sooooo ready for things to get started. Baby was head down and engaged and I had hit the pregnancy wall! I had an appointment at the hospital, where I was offered a stretch and sweep, of which I gladly accepted. The Dr said that things may get started but she wasn’t very hopeful that they would, as my cervix was still really high up and unfavourable. Damn you cervix! A follow up appointment was made for the 27th Dec for another stretch and sweep and to discuss induction. We left a bit disappointed and resigned to the fact that our baby wasn’t going to come anytime soon, and were pretty sure that he would either come on Christmas day or after. We really wanted him to arrive before Christmas. I was sad and bigger than a house.
After the appointment I offered to take K and J to do some last minute Christmas shopping, simply so I would have to walk around the shops. As painful as it was, I was willing to do anything to get things moving along! The boys had KFC for lunch and I had a hot curry. I had heaps of Braxton Hicks contractions (I called them Darrel Braxtons, those of you who also love Home and Away will get it) all day long, but that was not unusual as I had been having them constantly for weeks and weeks. They did seem to be a bit stronger than normal, but not at all regular.
That night I was completely shocked and happy to lose my plug. I told D but we both knew that it didn’t really mean anything and labour could still be days away, so I didn’t want to get too excited. Before bed, I felt a couple of little trickles (in my pants), but after going to the toilet nothing else seemed to happen so I thought it was probably just something from the sweep and went to bed, but I did put in a pad just in case to see if anything else happened during the night.
It was a really hot night and I was restless, so after a trip to the toilet to check that my pad was still dry I went to camp out on the couch. I managed to get some sleep but around 3am, I was half woken up by the feeling of some little gushes. Yay, it was my waters or I wet my pants. Either option was entirely possible. I laid there for awhile wondering, but ultimately decided that I hadn’t pissed myself. I went to check and was surprised to find that my pad was soaked! I knew then that my waters had gone and that I was going to meet my baby finally!
I went back out to the couch so my husband could get some more sleep. I thought there was no use waking him as things may not get started for a while anyway and I said to myself I would wait until the boys woke up to see if contractions started and I would call the hospital at this time. I would also let D know.
Contractions began about 4am. They started about 10 mins apart, then 8, the 7, then 6. The boys woke up so I went and told D that we were on. He was like ‘oh yeah’ and went to lay out on the couch. I told him I was going to call the hospital and he didn’t seem all that excited. He told me later that he didn’t really think that when I said things were happening, that things were ACTUALLY happening! What the hell did he think I meant? I was going to bake a chocolate cake? Der!
The hospital said to have a shower and make your way in. When I told D I was having a shower and that I wanted to leave after that, he jumped off the couch and said, ‘you mean NOW? Like, you are actually in LABOUR?’ He then knew that things were serious!
By the time I got out of the shower and dressed contractions were 4/5 mins apart and getting much stronger. Strong enough to stop me in my tracks and have to work through them. We dropped the boys off at my parents and headed to the hospital. Contractions were getting more and more painful and by the time we arrived at the labour ward they were about 3 mins apart. On arrival they strapped me up to the monitors and I was contracting about 3 times per 10 mins. I was managing on my own at this point. They didn’t check my cervix yet because they didn’t think I was in active labour (what the hell?) so wanted to avoid unnecessary exams and instead I went and sat on the ball in the shower for about an hour as the contractions continued to get stronger. They decided to keep me in delivery because contractions were so close together and strong but after the shower they examined me ( *#@$&&*$#@ this hurt) and I was still only 1cm! I think I had been there around 4 hours by this point. I was by then doing 4x every 10 mins and was clinging onto the gas for dear life!!!
So hours later, on the gas, after another shower, and another stretch and sweep (farrrk), and another examination I was only 2cm!!!! I kept on saying ‘I’m not faking it!’, and I was not coping at all. I was having about 40 seconds to recover before the next contraction started. I said I wanted more pain relief so was given pethidine, which was great. It didn’t take the pain away but took the edge off and made them bearable, and with the gas as well I was absolutely smashed. I kept on saying how wasted I was.
We could hear the other ladies on the ward moaning and screaming and were joking about them and saying that I didn’t sound like them, but while I was working through the contractions and being so high on the drugs I could hear the noises I was making and had the funniest internal dialogue with myself about sounding exactly like the other ladies and wondering if the midwifes were all taking about how delusional I was behind my back.
Anyway, Pethidine is great but doesn’t last long enough and they won’t let you have anymore until a certain amount of hours. It still has residual effects for a few more hours but the ‘good’ feeling wears off after 1-2 hours. So hours later – 6pm, still 4x per 10 mins extreme intense contractions, maximum gas, so much pain, not coping at all with the pain, I requested an epidural. I tried to hold off on an epi because the Dr said that often epis can lead to babies turning sunny side up and back to back labour, which I didn’t want because I thought that was why my labour didn’t progress with K, and this baby was in a good position. But I just couldn’t handle it any longer.
The anesthesiologist came in to give the epidural, she had to have a few goes (biaaatch) as she couldn’t get the right spot, but finally got it in. The pain eased off but wasn’t gone completely. I found that I still needed the gas to work through the contractions and had a weird rectangle on my left side where I still felt the pain. They explained to me that this was called a ‘pocket’ where the epidural had missed. She was called back to patch the pocket and up the epi but the patch failed. The dosage was uped so I felt better but still needed the gas for the pocket.
I was examined again and was still, after 16 hours only 4cm! I was so devastated because it felt like my body was doing so much work, but for so little progress. The Dr who had been looking after me all day said they would wait another 4 hours for the next examination and then start the drip. I felt that she really wanted me to have a natural birth, even though I had told her I was just going to give the VBAC a go, but if it didn’t work out I was OK with that. I discussed it with my husband and we decided that if I hadn’t made any progress by the next examination I wanted to opt for a section.
My Dr finished her shift and the next one came in. I told her what we had decided and she actually agreed with me (I love you new Dr) that she would also like to deliver this baby sooner rather than later if I wasn’t making progress, but we decided to just wait until 10pm for the examination as sometimes it can take a while for the body to catch up to the contractions and hopefully I would have dilated heaps by then.
At 9pm the anesthesiologist was called back to patch the pocket again. The lady anesthesiologist had finished her shift and a male one came, he was able to patch the pocket right away (I love you male anesthesiologist) and I finally had some relief.
So 10pm comes and they do the examination. Still only 4cm! We confirmed one more time that I wanted a section. 20 hours of super intense, painful back to back contractions was enough, I wanted to have my baby NOW!
By 10:30 we were all ready to head down to the theatre. My epi had been uped again and I was wheeled away. We got down to surgery and my husband had to put on his little cap and gown. He looked so cute. He had to wait outside while I was prepped. My epi was uped again and they made sure it was working properly. I was pretty scared at this point because I had a spinal with my first c-section and you cannot feel anything with a spinal block, but with an epi block you can still feel all the pushing and pulling but not the pain. I was a little freaked out and was trying to remain calm.
Once I was ready and on the table, they brought my husband in and began. They had 2 Drs working on getting him out and he was firmly stuck in my pelvis. I could feel all the pushing and pulling and was surprised at how forceful it was. The bed was actually moving back and forth with their pulling. You could hear all the suction, and getting his head out sounded like pulling your stuck boot out of mud! I don’t think I would have ever dilated further than 4cm, my baby was firmly stuck and he was not moving!
Finally at 11:27 he was born. He needed a little attention but after a few minutes he made some healthy noises. His apgar scores were 4 and 8. His weight was 3635g or 8lb.
I was so happy when we were able to finally see him. They brought him over all wrapped up and laid him next to my head while they stitched me up. He was so beautiful; I couldn’t believe he was finally here! My husband had tears in his eyes. I don’t think I had ever been happier. Apart from me shaking violently from the epi, it was a perfect moment. The nurses took lots of photos for us and then wheeled us into recovery.
Once in recovery, I was able to have skin on skin and feed him. He took to the breast right away and I cannot express in words the love that I felt for this little person. I just cried and said to D, ‘Can you believe he is here? We made him. He is part of you and part of me. I love him so much.’