Today you turned 1. Everyone told me before you were born to treasure my time with you ‘cos ‘they grow up so quickly’. Like most well meaning advice, I smiled and nodded and really thought nothing much of it. But wow, it really feels like it’s gone in the blink of an eye. I can barely remember being pregnant. I do remember the week before you were due, I went to watch DB play basketball, you kicked and flipped away in my belly the entire game, I was a bit anxious that I’d go into labour.
You were born 3 days after your EDD. You were due on May 7th. I was more than happy for you to come when you were ready. I was a little bit nervous about what labour would be like, but I trusted my body to do its job. One thing I was really scared about was being induced. I really wanted a natural drug free birth, and knew my chances of that were lessened if I were to be induced. Intervention was definitely not part of my birth plan. When I say birth plan, I didn’t actually have a written one as such. I had spoken to DB about the fact that I did NOT want an epidural under any circumstance. I had no expectations of birth, just wanted to go with the flow and see how I went.
So we went out for dinner and a movie on the 7th. We figured it was probably the last time we’d be alone and be able to do something a bit spontaneous for a while. The 8th came and went, and I hadn’t felt well, but assumed it was normal. We went futon shopping (as you do). Then it was Mother’s Day (the 9th), I was still feeling out of sorts, but didn’t think anything of it. We rocked up at Aunty’s house, and your other Aunty opened the door. She looked at me and when I said I wasn’t feeling great she said ‘Ooooh, maybe you’re in labour,’
‘Don’t be stupid, I’m not in labour, I’m just not feeling great’, I replied.
Later that day I had an appointment at the hospital to have a check up. My doctor (never having an obstetrician again, but that’s a whole other story), wanted me to make sure everything was all good, as oh no, I was a few days over due. So I had one of those things around my tummy so they could check your heartbeat and stuff. We were chatting to the midwife, who was also pregnant. She said she was having her baby at the birth centre (why didn’t I look into that?), and that she was going to use a TENS machine to manage contraction pain. She asked which doctor I had, and said he was pretty old school with his views (which I had noticed), and that he could be quite forceful of his views during labour. I was having a lot of tightenings, and the MW suggested we go home and ‘get things happening’. When we left they joked that we’d see them back that night. So when we got home, DB decided we should start getting things ready. I still hadn’t packed any bags, but I did have a list of everything we needed.
We had dinner with grandma, grandpa, and great grandma. By this stage I was apparently noticeably wincing throughout the meal. I finished, and had to go rest on the couch. Not feeling well, and also not wanting to freak out great grandma, I suggested we go home. We’d barely been in the car 3 minutes when DB said ‘We should have left the dogs at my parents place, hey?’
‘Yeah, probably.’ I replied.
We got home and the feelings continued. Now DB started getting worried. He begged me to ring the hospital. I refused, saying I’d try to sleep it off. I decided I’d have a lay down, but couldn’t get comfortable. It was then I thought maybe I should call the hospital. ‘Hi, I think I’m in labour, but not sure’
‘OK, what kind of pain are you having?’
‘It’s in my back mostly, but they’re becoming more frequent.’
‘Well, it sounds like you are, I think you should come in so we can have a look at you.’
‘Ah, nah, I might just wait a while and see how I go.’
There was a bit of a pause on the line before ‘OK, well how about you ring us back in an hour and let us know how you’re going?’
I used DB’s phone to time the contractions, in between running to the loo for twosies. I don’t think I made half an hour before it really set in that this was happening, and the contractions were now about 3 minutes apart, so I rang back the midwife and told her we were coming in. We also rang your grandpa so he could pick up the dogs.
One of the only times I yelled or used profanities during labour was in the car on the way, when a car took forever to get around the round about, so I got DB to overtake them. Being late at night there was hardly anyone on the road. A cop car pulled up behind us and DB joked that he’d think it would be hilarious if we were pulled over for something, and then how cool would it be if we had a police escort to the hospital. I only found this slightly amusing, as I was so concerned I was in false labour and we’d be sent home
We arrived at the hospital around 11pm. The midwife who I’d spoken to on the phone took us to one of the birthing rooms, she checked me over, and did an internal. I immediately felt at ease with her. I was 4cm, and the baby was posterior. ‘So you’re not going to send us home?’
‘No, you’re in labour, you’re staying here.’ So the contractions continued, I walked around the room, we turned on the TV, I moved around some more. At some stage not long after we had arrived, a new midwife came in to take over. I was upset by this, as I liked the one we already had. But the new one was lovely too. She asked what my plan was, I told her I had no plan, that I’d like no drugs if I can, but I really didn’t want an epidural. She seemed happy with that and suggested I use the fit ball, so I sat on and bopped up and down. Nothing helped, I just could not get comfortable. So I laid on the bed, they put one of those monitor things around my belly (every time they put this on, the MWs kept referring to you as a girl, but I wasn’t really paying attention, apparently they guess by your heart rate), and I watched a show called Embarrassing Bodies (which I love), I think the MW was slightly disturbed. DB decided he’d have a lie down on the couch, needless to say he wasn’t there long. In between going to the loo (only for onesies, after which I’d announce I was losing my mucus plug) and trying to get into a position that made my back feel better the MW suggested I hop into the bath. So she filled it for me, and showed DB to pour the water over my belly during the contractions. This wasn’t at all like anything I’d seen in the movies or on TV, where the expectant mother howls and groans and swears through the horrid pain of contractions. I was quite calm and just shut my eyes and breathed through them. I tried to explain to DB how it felt ‘It’s like I’ve got to pee right now, like a really bad urinary tract infection’. That’s the best way I could describe the feeling. During the bath, the first MW popped in to see how I was doing, she hadn’t gone home at the end of her shift ‘cos she wanted to check on me, how nice. I know during one contraction I motioned for DB not to stop with the water pouring. By this time I was feeling the urge to push.
After the bath was no longer keeping the pain at bay, the MW asked if I wanted to get out. So I got out, I can’t remember if she dried me, or helped me into a gown, but I was now in one of those attractive hospital gowns (I didn’t bring anything to labour in). I laid on the bed and the MW did another internal, which to me were way more painful than contractions, to see what was occurin’. 8cm, and still posterior. It’s now I appreciate my MW even more, as a doctor might be concerned by the whole posterior thing. Anywho, it wasn’t too much longer, or many more contractions before one in particular made me almost cry ‘I just want to push’. After another check I was given the go ahead. ‘OK, now next time you feel a contraction, push from your bottom’. At this stage, I was so tired, closing my eyes and zoning out in between each surge. Another push and we heard a popping noise, I looked up to see my waters splatting, almost hitting the MW. Luckily she got out of the way on time. ‘I’m so sorry.’ I said to her.
‘Don’t worry about it’, she replied. There was another MW in the room now, and things were happening. The other MW asked if I wanted gas, and started getting a tank and mask ready ‘No, she doesn’t want that’, my MW said (yay). A few more contractions, some pushing from my bottom, and by now, a few grunty noises ‘Put your chin down on your chest and don’t make noise, use your energy to push’. Only one or two more, I was still pushing, and suddenly you were in my arms.
DB cut the cord. ‘What is it?’ I asked DB a couple of times, but he was just too overwhelmed to reply ‘It’s a girl’. ‘Are you sure?’ I kept asking. This was partially because I was convinced you were a boy the entire pregnancy, and also because your ‘bits’ looked like balls ‘cos they were all swollen, and possibly a little ‘cos I wasn’t wearing glasses. Anywho, I named you and DB shed a few tears. The on call doctor (my Ob was still on holidays til only 2 hours later. Oh darn that he didn’t make it!) came and stitched me up. They did all the tests they do, and put a nappy on and a mini gown, and bundled you all up for DB to cuddle. You just couldn’t wipe the smile off his face.
The first person I rang was Dad (your grandpa), ‘Dad, it’s a girl, you have a grand daughter’. I could hear the happiness in his voice, and pretty sure he shed a tear or two. We rang everyone else in the immediate family and told them we’d let them know when they could come visit. I had to stay in the room on a drip and be monitored for a while, as I’d lost a bit of blood. We popped you in the crib on wheel thingy, DB had a nap, and I rested.
The next few days in hospital were a bit of a blur, and the things I do remember can be saved for a whole other story. Since you have been in our lives, you haven’t been away from me for more than 6 or 7 hours (that was one Saturday when I was at work and you didn’t notice I was gone, but my boobs sure noticed you weren’t around!) The only thing I have wanted to be my whole life is a mum. The day we found out I was pregnant (Father’s Day 2009) I cried, then Mother’s Day 2010 you started your journey down the birth canal and into our lives on Monday the 10th of May at 5:07am, 3.28kg and 51cm. You teach me something new every day, and watching you change and grow has been an honour and a privilege. You are my lady and I love you more than life itself. Happy Birthday. xoxxox