Summary – no drugs, no intervention, lots of screaming, a healthy baby girl at the end.
***Sorry about all the words that don't have spaces between them, I copied an pasted from a Word document and something when wrong in the process. Sorry I don't have the patience to go through and fix***At 7am on Tuesday, 39 weeks + 1 day, my waters broke. I had gotten up, went to the toilet, sat back down on the bed and felt a warm liquid ooze out, like I had wet myself. But I thought I couldn’t have wet myself insuch a big obvious way because I had just been to the toilet! So I waddled backto the bathroom, with each step more liquid was coming out and I couldn’t hold it in. I was pretty sure it was my waters, but there was just a tiny doubt inmy mind, so I just cleaned myself up, put a pad on, and tried to get some more sleep (I knew if it really was the first sign of labour I’d need all the sleepI could get).
Of course I couldn’t sleep! How silly! At 9am I rang thehospital to see what I should do. I wasn’t too concerned as I was yet to feelany contractions. They told me to come up at 2pm to check me out.
At 10am I thought I should tell my husband what washappening! He is in the defence force and living on base 1 hour away from whereI was living with friends in the small town I was to give birth in. He was atwork so I sent him a text saying my waters had broken, but don’t panic and I’lllet you know when you need to come. Then I paced outside my friend’s bedroomwaiting for her to wake up, all the while this slimy liquid was oozing outevery time I sat down or stood up, still not feeling any contractions. Myfriend finally woke up, we went for a lovely walk, I shaved my legs, we playeda board game and had pork buns for lunch before making the 30min drive to thehospital.
I have to say at this point that the hospital I went to isin a small country town with minimal facilities. An epidural was simply not anoption, as was giving birth in water or any of that other fancy stuff!
When my friend and I got to the hospital at 2pm the midwife was a bit busy andcouldn’t see me for about 20mins. I had a facial booked in for 2:30pm in town,and I didn’t really see the point in missing out on that when I couldn’t feelany contractions yet so it wasn’t like I was going to give birth in thebeauticians. So I offered to come back to the hospital afterwards. Whilegetting the facial I really tuned in with my body and my baby, and startedfeeling some periods of sickness that came and went regularly, which I figuredmust be contractions. Highly recommend getting a facial in early stages oflabour if you can!
Back at the hospital at 3:30pm and hooked up to the monitor,I was registering good contractions regularly every 10mins. The contractionswere a sort of uncomfortable sickness, like I had wind, and I only reallynoticed them if I saw the monitor go up and I was like “Oh yeah, I guess I dofeel a bit different”. The midwife was happy with how everything was looking,but as we lived 30mins from the hospital she set us up in my room to just waittil I had a baby, rather than sending me home. I called DH and let him know Iwas going to have a baby sometime soon and that he probably should make the 1.5hour trip to the hospital soon.
7pm, 12 hours since waters broke. DH arrived, along with thedoctor to put in the canula for the antibiotics as I was GBS positive. He didan internal and I was 4cm. Still oozing liquid and contractions becoming quiteuncomfortable.
9am DH and I had a snooze (DH in the spare bed next tomine). 10pm I woke up and had to start actively dealing with the pain from thecontractions. I was timing them on an app on DH’s phone, they were coming aboutevery 4-5 mins.
11pm I could no longer keep quiet and had to wake DH up.When a contraction came I had to stand and sway my hips, make a humming sound,and bang my head/hands on the bed.
12pm contractions were 2-3mins apart and very strong butmanageable. It’s so funny but you never hear about how the contractions arejust awful, but in between contractions you feel completely normal! DH and Iwould be having a conversation, I’d say “Hold on, contraction”, then do mything during the contraction, then when it finished just went right back intothe conversation again. I hopped into the shower which felt nice for somecontractions and not very nice for others. It was funny in the shower, like Iwas an athlete in training. A contraction would hit, I would tell DH so hecould start timing, I’d moan or aaahhh my way through, then I’d sit down, tellhim to stop timing, he’d give me a drink of water and I would ask him what mystats were (how long did it last, how long since last one etc). Very funnylooking back.
I was in the shower from 12 til 1, sitting and resting onthe chair in the shower between contractions, then leaping up when acontraction hit to sway, ‘aaahhh’ and run the nozzle of the hose across mybelly. 1pm contractions were seriously hard to get through. Lots of ‘ow’s andswearing. Having very interesting conversations with DH about how stupid the firstguy was to ever go through labour with their wives, because now it’s anexpected thing and it’s an awful experience! He was really having troubledealing with seeing me in pain and not being able to do anything, as during acontraction I would just completely go into a trance and didn’t really want anyoutside help.
I suddenly got very tired and all I wanted to do was liedown and go to sleep. I quickly hopped out of the shower, dried myself off andlay back on the bed before the next contraction hit. And the next contractionwas a doozy, looking back I think I was in transition! It was so incredibly painfuland uncomfortable lying on my back on the bed that I actually needed to vomit.Just as the contraction ended I raced to the bathroom and stuck my head in thetoilet, barfing away. All of a sudden I felt another contraction coming...vomiting+ contracting = extremely painful. I could feel the contraction wearing off andwas looking forward to some relief, when another contraction came along righton top of it! I remember yelling at my body “What the hell was that??”. I felt a tap on my shoulder, it was themidwife asking me if I maybe wanted to move into the labour room now. YES!
1am in the labour ward was when things really kicked off. Ithought I was in pain before...pfft! The midwife gave me an internal exam and Iwas 7cm dilated. From 1am-4am was just a blur. Contractions were extremelypainful, felt like someone was stabbing me in the lower abdomen. All my copingtechniques were out the window, abandoned for just pure primal screaming. Isent DH into the room next door to watch TV and try and rest, there was nothingI wanted him to do and it was visibly stressing him out to just sit there andwatch me scream in pain. To this day the sound of my screams are burnt in hisbrain, and he says in all seriousness that when we have another one he doesn’tthink he could be there if I don’t take some sort of pain relief. It reallyaffected him.
I was standing up thewhole time. Between contractions I leant over the bed, resting on a pillow,just completely zoned out. I was actually laughing/crying going “this can’t beright, this can’t be natural, how do people have more than one child, this isridiculous”. When the contraction came I just didn’t know what to do withmyself, I grabbed my dress, held my belly and just doubled over in pain, halfsquatting, and just yelled in pain at the top of my lungs. I tried to employthe different pain management techniques I read about, but it had gotten waybeyond that point I felt. I said at various points that I couldn’t do thisanymore, but DH, the midwife and even I knew deep down that of course I coulddo this, I was doing it!
I think it was about 3am when it finally dawned on me that Icould ask for some pain relief! But alasit was too late. Epidural not an option as no anaesthetist at the hospital, Iknew gas would do nothing at that point, and the midwife said I was too closeto giving birth to have any morphine. Devastated. It was so ridiculouslypainful, I was just beside myself. But the midwife said I was doing reallywell!! Couldn’t believe it! She checked bub’s heartrate after every fewcontractions and bub was coping very well with it all.
At around 4am I was over it, I wanted to start pushing! Fora couple of contractions I started pushing a bit, just to try it on for size,see how it felt! I didn’t feel the overwhelming urge to push but I felt readyto. The midwife got me up onto the bed for an internal, she said I was about9.5cms and she could push that last lip of cervix out of the way if I was readyto start pushing. It was extremely painful having the midwife’s hand up there,pushing cervix out of the way while a contraction was happening. I lost mymind! It was the only time that the midwife actually told me to calm down andstop being silly, which I thought was a fair point, I was chucking a tantrum.
So, 4am, I’m on my back legs in air, pushing away. Nothinghappening. Bub’s heartrate was fantastic, but we weren’t really gettinganywhere. I don’t know how long I pushed for on my back, DH reckons it was45mins but I find that hard to believe. Then the midwife suggested getting intoa squatting position, let gravity do it’s thing. It certainly did the trick!When I felt a contraction coming on I would throw my arms out to the side, DHwould get under one arm, a midwife under another and they’ll pull me up to asquat on the end of the bed.
20 mins of pushing in the squat position, at 5:08am on the 5thOctober, Eleira entered the world! I laid back on the bed, just exhausted, whensuddenly I felt this slimy thing on my chest. Oh yeah, my baby!! I hadforgotten what I had done all that for, I was just happy it was over! Myperfect little blossom just laid there on my chest, not crying, just slowlytrying to process this new world in her own time. I couldn’t stop looking ather. After a good while she was taken off to be weighed and measured. 3760g(8lb 1 oz) and 51cms. She was just perfect and healthy in every way.
We tried to have abreastfeed while the doctor (who arrived in the room just as Eleira’s body cameout) stitched up my 2nd degree tears. I had a shower, got dressed,shared a lovely breakfast together with DH (probably my favourite moment,snuggled up to DH, enjoying the food as I was starving, and watching ourbeautiful daughter sleeping beside us). Then we all slept. Breastfeeding tookabout 3 days to establish as Eleira just slept the whole time, never becomingalert enough to latch on. Took a while to get used to caring for her, butluckily I was in a great hospital with the most amazing staff of midwives whoalways took the time to help me. Because of them I can now reflect back withjoy and realise what a wonderful experience having Eleira was.
Hope you enjoyed reading my all natural, fairly textbookbirth!