A long time ago, I had my palm read for a bit of fun. I don’t remember most of what she told me – but something she said came back to me a few years ago. She pointed out the divergence in my life line and said I would have a major change midway through that would lead to a completely different path. She also said I’d have four children …
If you haven’t read this blog before (which I neither expect or necessarily encourage), you may not realise how unlikely the fourth child seemed to be for me. Here’s a recap. But it would seem Little Miss was destined to be here.
Even though the pregnancy had been textbook perfect, the Ob/Gyn specialist advised at my last visit that not only would I have to deliver at the hospital rather than the birthing centre, I would also be induced on or before my due date because of my maturity. I could bitch ad nauseum about that but I think I’ve covered it in previous posts,
So just before 11am on the Saturday morning we took the short walk (or in my case waddle) up to the hospital less than 200 metres from our front door to be admitted and get the party started with chemicals.
And thus began the long and frustratingly slow process of presenting the eviction notice to Little Miss followed by her fast and furious evacuation of the premises.
Writing this so close after the birth means it is quite vivid and healing is still underway. This makes it a little too soon to be particularly funny about it but I’ll have a go.
Nothing much happened for the first 11 hours, which annoyed me no end. I am not a particularly patient person at the best of times, and being stuck in a hospital room facing an unknown timeframe before the action (i.e. pain)to begin was definitely not me at my best. There was moaning and complaining that had nothing to do with contractions and everything to do with boredom. NIH took it all in his stride, imparting his calm and somewhat soothing support, despite the fact he was just as anxious as me.
I stayed on my feet as much as possible to encourage things to hurry the hell up and eventually the contractions started building in intensity. By the time I was attached to the monitor again at 2 am, the midwife suggested we could either just keep going the way we were and check again at the next six hour mark or she could examine me and see if I was suitably dilated enough to go down to the birthing suite and try breaking my waters to finish the process of establishing full-blown labour.
I was a tad keen for it all to be over so the war cry was “Bring it on!”.
Nothing happens fast in hospitals so we didn’t get downstairs until 4am. Then there was some question of a fibroid that had mysteriously appeared and disappeared on and off through all my scans so they hauled in the ultrasound to double-check.
“JUST GET ON WITH IT!” I wanted to yell. Instead I mentally reminded myself of the bigger picture – as in a straight-forward delivery of a healthy baby.
Finally, at around 5am they broke my waters, which was as delightful as always, but worked in really cranking things up very quickly. After the obligatory monitoring for 30 minutes to make sure Little Miss was travelling ok, I was free to move about again.
Heat packs and back rubs worked to distract and take some of the pain but I really missed the hot bath I’d used to control pain in previous labours. I very quickly advanced to the stage of labour where you wish to the good Lord above you could just climb out of your body and take a break for a moment. Or, hell, just go home with the promise of coming back and trying again the next day. I’d caught a bit of sleep between 10 pm and midnight but had more or less been awake for almost 24 hours.
Every contraction was hitting sooner and harder and seemed to last forever. At one stage I did get a bit sailor-mouthy, calling a contraction a ‘mofo’ – only I didn’t say mofo. Funnily enough, it never occurred to me to ask for pain relief. Perhaps subconsciously I didn’t want to ruin my perfect record of no drugs in childbirth … or am secretly a masochist. I suspect the latter.
Just when I thought I couldn’t take it anymore and how a c-section sounded like such an appealing idea and why the BLOODY HELL was I doing this again anyway, a wave of nausea hit like a hallelujah chorus. Transition stage! Woohoo! Sounds crazy but I knew I’d reached the end of stage one. It was around 6.30 am.
A few more contractions then that switch in gears that signals second stage hit. You go from feeling as if you’re drowning in a sea of pain with each contraction and wanting to sleep in between the waves to a sudden surge of adrenaline like a revving of the engines with that need to push that will not be denied.
Unfortunately you also make weird grunty noises to accompany that need to push but at this point, you just don’t give two hoots. You leave your dignity at the door when you walk into hospital to have a baby and you pick it up on the way out … only to shove it in a cupboard at home until your kids are teenagers.
Between pushing, I’d look at NIH holding my hand with worry etched all over his face and give him a grin or crack a joke, trying to assure him that this was good and we were nearly there.
I haven’t been game to ask if I pooped while pushing and to be honest I don’t want to know … but I did accidentally let out a few loud farts – something I rarely do in front of anyone. For the first two, I just hoped they didn’t notice but the last one was a ripper.
“Whoopsie!” I muttered, trying to laugh it off.
With each push I felt like Sisyphus pushing that blasted boulder up the hill. I remember thinking that there was no possible way I was going to get this baby out – she was going to be stuck in there forever.
We experimented with a few different positions and eventually found the magic one – me with one foot braced on my midwifes’ right hip and the other on NIH’s left hip. I lent forward with the next contraction, grasped the handgrips on each side of the bed, gave it my best grunty push and felt movement. And – oh gosh – that burn.
Ouch. I can still feel that burning pain. It is just … there are no words. But I was determined she wasn’t slipping back. I panted like a hyperactive puppy, holding that bloody watermelon right where it was. The memory I have (and it’s vivid) is just blackness (I had my eyes closed); excruciating pain in my nethers; short panty breaths and words of encouragement and direction from my midwife.
Slowly baby inched forward then there was a kind of give and I shouted “There she is!” as she was slipped out.
Unbeknown to me, NIH was the one to skillfully catch Little Miss and place her perfect warm little body on my chest. We finally met our little miracle at 7.09 am on Sunday 26th March 2017. She weighed 8lb 2oz and had a perfect Apgar score.
She’s a delightful baby and so far has been quite placid and easy-going. However, today has been a rare grumbly day so I’ve pecked out this post with one hand while Little Miss snuggles on my chest – the only place (apart from at my boob) she seems to be content at the moment.
When I look back down the path filled with heartache and money and time and longing and labour that led to sitting here with this warm, burpy, poopy, whingey baby in my arms wanting nothing but me to comfort her all day, I only feel overwhelming love, a profound gratefulness … and awe that once again I survived childbirth.