The best-laid schemes o' mice an men

Birth. Not as I imagined.

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The excitement felt when I realised that pain was contractions, regular contractions, I’ll never forget. Excitement, fear of what lay in store, it was my time to experience childbirth like the billions of women gone before me. I felt the contractions early in the morning and by 9am they started to happen fairly regularly. But I still wasn’t sure, I timed them on one of my pregnancy apps and remember telling H, “I think these are contractions, they’re every four minutes, that’s regular right? I don’t know.”

H phoned the hospital, who reassured us this was indeed labor and we could come in when the pain became too much. I had pictured the birth so many times, there I would be using the shower to soothe the pain, bouncing away on the big blow up ball and finally giving birth in a squat position (which they say is the easiest). I sat on our exercise ball in the lounge room trying to watch ‘The Help’, pausing every four/five minutes for contractions to pass. By lunchtime I decided it was time to head for the hospital, the car ride was awful, and when the hospital gave me the choice to stay or go home I couldn’t bear the thought of another ride. We stayed, I was 4cm dilated at this point anyway.

Gas and morphine helped me get through the hours as they ticked by, H and mum by my side. I still hadn’t eaten anything and picked away at the dinner given to my support. My memory is a bit blurry, but from what I can tell by 8/9pm the labour really kicked into gear, the midwives kept asking if I felt the ‘urge to push’, I didn’t, I wasn’t even sure what that would feel like, why did they keep asking! The morphine wore off and I begged for something else, it was too late (apparently). I couldn’t focus on getting the gas in properly anymore and the midwives told me start pushing. I tried a few different positions but each time a contraction finished there would be searing pain in my back, so I laid down. It really was as painful as they say. Every fibre of my being had to go into each push, the lady screaming from the birth suite near by had long since stopped and I was still going. By the end my obstetrician decided to use a suction cap, my pelvic floor muscles were so strong each time the head came out it would go back up the canal again. With the suction cap and burning pain it took two more pushes for our little girl to come out and say hello.

I lost 1.5L of blood. My precious skin on skin time with our new baby girl was disrupted with my doctor trying to stop the haemorrhaging and get my uterus to contract, I still had the energy to turn to H and exclaim, “She’s cute!”. I was so weak for the first couple of day I could barely get out of bed, but having this tiny little cutie in my arms made everything okay.

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