My first foray into the life changing event of childbirth for our son Liam involved being medically induced at 10 days past EDD (expected due date), being fully juiced up with epidural for the 17 hours of a slow contracting cervix – the pushing part was just 15-20 minutes.
So when it came time to start trying for number two ( 7 months later) we got lucky the first attempt (whoops!). We both were hoping it was a girl cause at 39, I wasn’t keen on trying again. No ultrasound reveals with either pregnancies – we prefer Kinder Surprise.
Not keen on another 42 week pregnancy (especially suffering an immobilizing sciatic nerve issue from 36 weeks – with a non walking 17 month old toddler) I started acupuncture from 37 weeks and taking evening primrose oil capsules (not orally) to soften my cervix.
At my 39 week check up my midwife seeing me hobble in to the office told me she was going to give me a stretch and sweep straight away. Jane didn’t make any promises and in fact informed me she had very short fingers and probably wouldn’t be able to reach that far up my Va-jj. As she removed her lube laced latex hand with a grin on her face she announced she found one of my evening primrose capsules but more importantly she felt the babies head and had stretched me from already being 2cm to 3cm.
3:30am Two days later, I woke (for the 7th time that night) around 3:30am feeling uncomfortable . I made my slow waddle to kitchen to get Panadol and by the time I reached the cupboard the pain stopped, so I turned around to head back to bedroom before it appeared again… hmmm that’s strange I thought. Plonked myself on the sofa in the loungeroom and opened the contractions app I had downloaded months ago and proceeded to time the cramps, by the 4th contraction arriving every 3 minutes I realized this must be it. Killian woke for work at 6am – promptly called the birthing unit to advise of our impending arrival. We woke my mum (who had just arrived 4 days earlier) and Liam and got ready for 10 minute car ride to hospital, as my husband doesn’t have his Drivers License we ALL made the trip in. Mum driving that stop/start way taxi drivers do when you are holding back ten pints after a session, my 6”2 husband in the back seat jammed between the two baby seats. Breaking the tension was our toddler mimicking my escalating moans as I ohhed and ahhed through contractions that were breathtaking now (and I don’t mean in a Cillian Murphys eyes way).
815am – Arrive at the birthing suite
Placed into the observation room while administrative pandemonium ensued about having two separate patient IDs from my maiden name from my sons birth to my Mrs. moniker.
After 25 minutes no staff had come in to introduce themselves and by then contractions were crashing on top of each other, I was pressing that red call button like it was hopefully going to administer epidural relief.
9am – Finally arrival of Lillian the Teaching Midwife (that was her name badge) – she gave me an internal, waters gushed and she calmly announced that I was already 8cm and this baby will be arriving in the next half an hour. I responded with one word “EPIDURAL”. Only to be told there was no time, in fact there were no birthing suites free and I would be giving birth in the observation room where there was in fact not even any gas an air installed- so I guess no point getting that typed birth plan out my midwife forced us to prepare!
Lillian quickly ran off to gather a tray of sterilized goodies and the baby warmer station, and returned with another midwife (in training).
A second internal check and midwife pushed the last 1/2 cm of cervix over babies head and told me to crack on with pushing. To make it all more vivid (sans drugs) Lillian was giving running commentary on what was taking place downstairs so the training midwife would understand the stages of labour….
It was like a verbal mirror for my husband who has been given a ban on looking at the business end. To say it was different after an epidural birth was an understatement, actually feeling this mass opening up the lower end of your body was almost an out of body experience. Certainly wasn’t prepared for that sting of the 36cm diameter head forcing its way out, there was no ladylike heehooheehoo from me, more like “ that’s effing stinging, I am splitting, it feels like you are effing cutting me – can I push that’s killing me.
That final overwhelming release of pressure and gush as a new life emerges from inside you is indescribable. Amongst the rush of arrival and setting up the makeshift birthing suite we managed to instruct the two assisting us with the birth that we wanted Killian to announce the sex of our baby, and as the screaming slippery new person was placed on my chest all warm and musky smelling I turned to Killian and said what did we have? He joyfully replied “ A girl, we have a girl”
An hour and 45 minutes after walking through the automatic doors of the hospital we were holding our new daughter and Liams new sister, Matilda Alice.
Checked and cleared to leave the ward at 4pm that same day. My Mum to nervous driving car with newborn so I drove us home just 6 hours after giving birth – and we stopped via fish n chip shop on the trip home, it was Friday!
Suzette and the beautiful Matilda