It was a few days after the due date for my first child and I was more than ready for this little overdue bundle to evacuate the building. I was 28 and impatient and ready do this thing. I vividly remember feeling off after dinner the night before and went to bed feeling exhausted and full. Cue the requisite 3am wake up to a strange twinge and a slight breaking of my waters (although it took me a little while to establish that it was actually amniotic fluid and not wee…)
So we rang the hospital and were told to come up when we were ready, which sounded nice and relaxed and comforting. I took my time (first time babies always take THEIR time) and enjoyed a warm shower, completed the packing of my bag and even munched on a hot cross bun to sustain me for the labour ahead of me.
I started feeling a period pain-like ache at regular intervals so we went up to the hospital just before 5am. The nurses actually asked us where we had been! We were ushered into a room where I spent the next hour getting more regular and intense, yet manageable contractions, and I congratulated myself on not resorting to pain relief (as per my completely unrealistic birth plan!)
While my husband escaped for a little while (obstensibly to get my stuff from the car and ring the parents to let them know that it was the real thing…) I found relief in having a shower and nearly crapped myself in shock when my waters fully broke. That’s when the labour really started to get going and before I knew it the nurse finishing her shift at 7am told me that I was ready to push and I would have my little bundle before I knew it!
How exciting, to know there was going to be an end to the waves of pain washing over me (at this stage I was still congratulating myself on only resorting to occasional puffs of gas – which did nothing except make my mouth dry and make me feel sick).
Can I say at this point that there is nothing at all natural about pushing something the size of a watermelon out of an opening that is nowhere near that in size? I gave it my all, I really did. I tried and tried for 2 hours to deliver my baby – to no avail. In the end, an ultrasound revealed my baby was posterior and was starting to get distressed (no surprise there as he had been futilely trying to barge his way out for some time).
Next thing I know, there are seemingly countless nurses in the room, assessing me, checking on the baby and prepping me to go to theatre. I was asked to sign a consent form for surgery, which took me a few contractions to do as it’s hard to sign something when you are in unending pain.
Besides, at that point was I going to say no because of the 1 in 1000 risk of complications? I think not.
I remember being relieved that I had reminded my husband to wear enclosed shoes before we left home, as per advice from the midwife at our birthing classes…we were good students after all!
I was wheeled into theatre and all I wanted was that epidural to stop the pain and to get it done quickly before my baby got even more distressed. I somehow kept myself still while they inserted the biggest needle I had ever seen into my spine, despite my fear and the continued waves of pain crashing through me. Once the epidural took effect it was like I entered another dimension, one where I saw what was going on but was high on not being in pain anymore so I felt I was somewhere else.
The nursing staff kept me talking and my husband squeezed my hand (I think as much to comfort himself than just to comfort me!) and then my son was placed in my arms. He was beautiful – white hair, blue eyes, cone shaped head (from all that effort to barge his way out) and wailing at the top of his lungs. One of the sweetest sounds I have ever heard…
I hated the separation when I had to go into the recovery ward and await the return of feeling (and pain) to my abdomen and legs but then I finally got to have lots of cuddles with my little man. Sure, I nearly threw up on him with the effects of the morphine (remember I did have a hot cross bun earlier that morning…) but I was proud that one of the first responsible mum things I did was to move him out of the way before I hurled.
I was clearly destined to be a great mother!