It was my 36th week of my third pregnancy, and I just knew I wasn’t going to finish the week off without a baby in my arms.
I felt done. I couldn’t fathom how I could possibly grow or stretch any further, and that’s how I knew it was coming to a close….or maybe a more appropriate term would be ‘an open’!
While sitting down to finish packing my hospital bag, I felt something bigger than a trickle but much smaller than a gush. I know what waters breaking feels like, and this wasn’t it, but this also wasn’t me wetting myself. I know what that feels like too!
I called my midwife and she suggested I come in. I dropped the kids with one of my besties and said ‘I’m sure it’s nothing, I’ll be back later.’ I even told the kids I would see them later that day, but I wish I had taken the opportunity to give them a ‘just incase’ hug instead.
Donna, my midwife, was meant to be finishing her shift at 2pm, but she stayed on to see what was happening. I tested negative for amniotic fluid, indicating my waters were still intact. But while I was getting monitored, I began having contractions 5 minutes apart. They were very mild, but they were there and they were growing in intensity.
By 7pm, it was clear that these contractions were not going to fizzle out and the OB was called. Before he came, I set up the room. We dimmed the lights, I stuck up my affirmation cards and I got changed into the clothes I wanted to wear. I put my TENS machine on too (this was a GAME CHANGER in managing the contractions!). I also called my birth photographer, Amber May, and she made her way to us.
The OB checked me and I was 4cm dilated. He said my membranes had ruptured and offered to break the rest as there was still a bag of waters between the exit and the baby’s head. I agreed and we were off! It wasn’t until I felt the warm gush that I truly believed I was actually in labour and having this baby!
I know you KEEP leaking after your waters a broken, but I kept leaving puddles all over the floor as I would squat down for contractions. I just turned around to Steve and said ‘DON’T LOOK AT ME!’, as I tried to use my robe to shield the indignity. The floor was covered in little puppy pee pads, like I was naughty dog learning how to be toilet trained!
The next few hours were a blur as I went deep into labour land. I wondered all around the room, contracting quietly and calmly, breathing through it all. I was on the ball, on the bed, on the floor and in the shower. I was well and truly in my zone, with Steve and the midwife trailing behind me.
Eventually it got really tough and I asked to be checked because I thought I must be in transition. In my mind, it had only been 2 hours, but it was closer to 5!
When I was checked, I hadn’t progressed at all. So I asked for an epidural because I was doing everything right (relaxing my hands, my face, my shoulders) and staying calm but it the intensity scared me and I knew it wasn’t at the peak yet. I was really upset with my decision – not because I thought of myself as a failure, but because I just really wanted to feel my baby being born and how the body just takes over to push them out. It was an experience I was going to miss out on (my first two births were epidural ones too), and that is where the heart break sat.
However, the epidural didn’t work at all down my left side and things were REALLY intense. The only way I could get through them was to lay on my left side and rock. After a while, he came back and his second attempt didn’t work either. After the third attempt, I felt some relief.
It was well past 1am and Steve was falling asleep during the third epidural. He was nursing a hangover from a night out at the pub the day before. I did feel like I achieved the ultimate pay back – to have a baby while he was hungover! I told him to lay down on his bed. Little did we know, he would be woken up in an hour to say the baby was about to arrive!
Looking back, the labour was so calm. To me, it only felt like I had 5 really tough contractions over 2-3 hours. Obviously, I would’ve been contracting around 30+ times an hour and it was a lot closer to about 8 hours long in total! That’s the beauty of a calm birth while being deep in labour land. Time really does fly!
Suddenly my blood pressure dropped and the baby’s heart rate also went too low. The yellow button was pressed and 4 or 5 people flooded the room. Snoozing Steve was none the wiser. Baby and I both stabilised and my midwife said it was time because the baby was at the exit! But she said I would need to work hard and fast to get the little one out, as baby was getting very tired.
I had him out in 2 minutes of pushing.
We didn’t know the gender and I had asked Steve to be the one to tell me, but those giant baby balls coming towards me could not be avoided! I yelled ‘IT’S A BOY! IT’S A BOY!’ as I said my first hello to my new Son.
He came out breathing fine for a preterm baby! I was waiting for them to take him from me, but he cried and coughed and breathed like a champion! He was actually the strongest baby of all my children, and they were full term!
We did delayed cord clamping and I opted for a physiological third stage (delivery of the placenta). We waited a little while but I began bleeding more than they liked, so I accepted to have the injection to speed things up.
It took us 5 days to name him, just in time to go home from the hospital with our magical Marlo.