Our little girl is 10 days old today. So i want to write her birth story before i forget too many of the details.
I think its pretty safe to say, my labour probably actually began on Friday 17th June at 38 weeks. I woke up feeling fine, and as usual, drove Jira the half an hour one way trip to drop him at tafe. I started having period pain type cramps in the car and by the time we got there, was wondering if maybe today would be the day. Told Jira to keep his phone on him and that I'd call him if anything progressed.
Drove back and dropped Thomas off at Tamara's place because i had a midwife appointment at the hospital. I sat in the antenatal clinic's waiting room for around 45 minutes, feeling a little on the uncomfortable side because of the cramps. A midwife finally called me in, did all the normal blood pressure and heart rate checks and declared i was fine. I asked if the baby's head was engaged because i thought she felt low and with all the cramps, i was sure that was what was happening. She said that yep, baby's head was engaged, but of course that didnt mean labour was iminent. I told her about the cramps and that Thomas had been a 39 weeker and she said i probably wouldnt make my due date, and that she wouldnt be surprised if i had the baby in the next few days. Was very happy to hear this!
Went to pick Thomas up, and hung out with Tamara for a few hours while the kids played. The cramps had stopped at this point so after i took Thomas home, and he'd had his nap, I asked Michela to come for a walk with me to see if it got anything happening. We did a 2.7klm walk, that included a big hill and by the time we were nearly back i was having some pretty painful braxtonhicks contractions, but they stopped once i got home and rested.
By this time, it was time to pick up Jira from Tafe. Again, the car ride there and back set off the crampy feeling. We stopped at Aldi on the way home. I was walking around the shop, when all of a sudden the crampy feeling turned into contractions. These werent braxton hicks, they were real and they hurt! I kept walking around, feeling more and more panicy. As much as i'd thought i wanted to go into labour, my head really wasnt quite ready, and these contractions had taken me by surprise. They were quite close together and bad enough that i was leaning over the trolley for support and whispering to Jira that we needed to hurry the hell up and get out of there.
Back in the car, they dulled down to just painful cramps that couldnt really be timed and by the time we got home and i had a shower they'd stopped. I went to bed that night fully expecting to wake up at 3 am in full on labour.
But it didnt happen. The next morning, i did a bunch of housework and went for a big walk, fully expecting things to start up again. But they didnt. I barely even got braxton hicks contractions. And for the next week it was much the same. Nothing majorly exciting, just me doing a bunch of walking with very little result.
The next Friday (24th June) rolled around and i dropped Jira at tafe again, hoping the car ride would again start something going. It didnt. Thomas and i spent the morning at Lollipops playland with Lauren and Evelyn before spending a quiet afternoon at home. That night, at 7.40pm, i posted a message on facebook that read "come on kid, 39 weeks is long enough! Out now please!!". I went to bed around 11 with zero signs of labour.
At midnight i woke up all hot and sweaty (not unusual for me in pregnancy, even in winter) and realised that Jira wasnt in bed with me. I got up and walked to the loungeroom where he was asleep on the lounge. After waking him, and telling him to go to bed, i got back into bed myself. I'd only just laid down when i felt a big gush of water, that soaked my tracksuit pants. For a split second i thought id peed myself but quickly realised it was my waters breaking. It took me by surprise as the hospital had had to break my waters with Thomas, i truly wasnt expecting them to break naturally.
I sat up and another gush of water went all over our bed, soaking the sheets and ruining our electric blanket (glad it wasnt on, might have been zapped!). I said to Jira, "my waters just broke". He looked at me a little shocked but with a big smile and said "really? awesome!". I laughed cos i knew he was probably more excited by the fact that he was now officially on holidays! lol.
I got up and got changed, then rang the hospital for instructions. I wasnt sure whether i could stay home til contractions started or if i had to go right in. They wanted me in for observation, so we woke Michela (who is living with us at the moment) and told her to listen out for Thomas, remade our bed so she could sleep in there with him if he woke and went off on our way to hospital. On the way there, i rang mum and said i was having some very mild cramps and that she might want to meet us there.
My waters broke at 12.05am on Saturday June 25th. We got to the hospital at 1am. I was having mild period pain type cramps. Barely worth mentioning. They put me on the monitors and it wasnt long before i noticed the cramps were getting worse. And that the monitor was easily picking them up. I was getting very uncomfortable lying down, when a doctor came in to put in my canula and start me on the strep b antibiotics. By this stage is must have been around 1.40am and i was having to breathe thru the contractions. The doctor looked at me, then looked at the monitor and said "your having some pretty decent contractions there". At that point the midwife came in and the doctor repeated her previous statement. The midwife replied "yes, but she isnt feeling them yet (when she'd last checked me half an hour earlier i had only had the mild cramps). At the same time the doctor said "oh yes she is" i yelped "yes i can!".
i begged her to let me off the monitor so i could stand up. I despise labouring laying down! She wasnt too keen on letting me off, but after watching me through another contraction she agreed and said that we could move to a birthing room. I guess this was probably around 1.50am. I had planned on having a water birth, so they started the tub running while i jumped in the shower to help with the pain, which was getting extremely intense by this stage. I was hanging off Jira, moaning and carrying on, crying a little from the adrenaline. Everything was happening so fast and was so painful that i couldnt find a comfortable position or get my head in my "happy place". The midwife watched me again for a little bit and said, "i dont think you have time for the bath. We need to do an internal to see how far you are". So off i shuffled to the bed, and she pronounced me 7cm dialated. This must have been around 2.10-2.15am, because it was only a minute or two later that i started yelling that i needed to push. They said that waterbirth was definitely out as the bath was only a quarter full, and asked which position i wanted to deliver in. I said i didnt care as long as it wasnt on my back.
So i sat on a fit ball, leaning on the raised up bed for a little while i caught my breath, then mum on one side and Jira on the other dragged me up onto my feet, leaning over the bed so i could push. At first my brain was so rattled that i couldnt remember what i was supposed to be doing. The pain was just so intense that i just stood there screaming - and not my normal scream. A deep, from the gut, animal sort of scream. I remember thinking "geese, thats a funny noise!" lol. But the scream cleared my head and i suddenly thought, if i push, this will all be over quicker! I heard mum say in my ear stop screaming and put your energy into pushing.
So i did. Chin down on my chest and pushed hard. And with that one push i felt every cm as her head slid down and began crowning. And it felt good! I understand now why people say that the pushing is the best part of labour! I stopped and panted for what seemed like ages, waiting for another contraction. Tho im told it was only a few seconds. Another big push and her head was out. I heard the midwife say her head was out. Heard my mum repeat it to me. And thought "no shit sherlock!" lol. I seriously remember thinking that! (Tho i understand why they had repeated it a few times, because i hadnt known that Thomas' head was out)
The midwife, who was sitting on the floor waiting to catch the baby, apparently tugged on Jiras shorts and said, "look, her head and her hand are out". Yep, lucky me, she'd stuck her hand out at the same time! Paid for that later in stitches!
Next contraction and another push sent the shoulder and the rest of her body out. Boy was that a relief! i just stood there panting, and then heard the midwives saying "heres your baby" as they passed her up between my legs and laid her on the bed in front of me. Noone, including myself, trusted me to hold her cos my arms and legs were absolute jelly. So i just pulled her close to me, against my chest and cuddled her. They moved me onto the bed and someone helped me get her onto my chest where we just stared at her and had our skin to skin cuddles while they got the placenta out, Jira cut her cord and the doc came and stitched up my 2nd degree tear.
After a few minutes she started searching around for food so i helped her latch on. She was perfect! Big mouth, strong suck, she fed for at least an hour, before giving up and going to sleep.
Felicity Jane, born at 2.26am on Saturday June 25th, after a 1hr11 minute labour from first established contraction. 2 hours 20 minutes from waters breaking. Length 48cm, HC 33cm, Weight 3.4 kilos or 7pd 9oz.