We had a baby boy 1 week and 4 days ago! Baby AJ… a bouncing baby boy born 2.42pm on Thursday 18th June 2015, 7lb 7 ounces. We were expecting a girl so this really was a surprise. For those of you asking for the grisly details, see below. For those of you who have given birth before, enjoy reliving the memories. And for those about to give birth you can skip the contractions bit at the end :) This is actually the 4th time I’m writing this post… maybe I should take it as a sign. But I’m doing this for posterity as much as everything else, so.
The order of events:
9.30am contractions start. When I had Lolo these started 3 days before hand so I was totally sceptical. I drive hubby to work as he’s nearby that morning. Contractions continue but get a little more frequent. Me: ‘I’ve had these pre labour contractions post coitus before so I take them with a pinch of salt.’ I have a contraction whilst going through a width restriction, hahahaha, you try concentrating on doing something whilst you’re in pain. I drop hubby off and on my journey back have to pull over during a particularly fun contraction.
10.30am I am home. I have a sudden pang of hunger and stuff all the carbs I can into my stomach, literally handfuls of bagel. I have a feeling I know what’s coming and I know I have totally no appetite during labour. I pace around our living room. Gravity helps. Not to ease the pain, but with the labour. I start taking note of how frequent the contractions are. I start noting them down on my little yellow note pad that looks like a gold bar. This is what I’m focusing on as the pain of the contractions start to ramp up. Hubby has an important meeting at 11.30am so I’m trying not to call him back unless I’m sure.
11am I call the birth centre. I have tried to hold out as long as I can and although I know these are not THEE contractions, I know they’re pretty strong and that most likely these are the ones I’ve been waiting for. Midwives at the birthing centre talk to me, ask questions to find out a bit more about me and ultimately to assess if it sounds like my contractions are strong enough. As it’s baby number 2, contractions are very regular (every 2 mins) and because I was 3 cm dilated already on Monday (3 days previously) they ask me to come in.
11.15am I text hubby. I can’t wait any longer unfortunately. I send hubby a text to ask him to come home so we can drive to the hospital together. He has to grab the bus as there are no taxis but it only takes him 20mins so we’re good. In the mean time I continue to pace. I also pack some food and drink for the hospital and get hubby some shorts, flip flop and t-shirt as it was a particularly hot day. Great for me as I’m still the coldest person I know but not great for the rest of the population. I also pack my Mexican Pink Fleecy Poncho which made an appearance at Lolo’s birth as I went into uncontrollable shivers and shaking. 11.35am Hubby arrives, gets changed and off we go. Thankfully the birthing centre is only a 5 mins drive down the road.
11.45am we arrive at the birthing centre. We park up and I start making the walk to the centre. I have to pause during contractions. Up the stairs we go. We wait for about 20mins to be seen, I continue to pace. I focus on my breathing. The poor older lass that let us in keeps looking at me and eventually brings in a wheel chair… just in case. The midwife comes in to see me and gives me an examination. My heart sinks, apparently I am STILL only 3cms dilated. WHAAAAT!!!!??? However I am fully effaced which is a very important factor in getting ready to give birth. She gives me another sweep for good measure. ‘Is she always this calm.’ Well thank you Madam midwife, how very complimentary. I’m just focusing on breathing and not screaming like a mofo. She suggests I might go for a walk along the corridors, but I’m at that point where fine yes I’ll do some walking but I want to keep in close proximity to my room.
12.30 noon get to the room. I start pacing my room. I start getting cold again. Poncho on… poncho off, poncho on, poncho off. The pain is starting to get quite intense.
1.45pm I get into the birthing pool. I’m in the water but contractions slow down a little although still strong. I stand up to help keep the contractions ramp up, then sit down for pain management. Then up again. Eventually I stay sit down with my tummy fully emersed and enjoy the pain relief from the warm water.
2.42pm baby was born. Its crazy it took something like 12 pushes in total for baby to pop out: about 6 for the head to come down and come out and then just the one for the body! It was quite funny, the head came out and started bobbing – who knows what for. But out he came and he was passed to the front and ‘It’s a boy!’, next sentence, ‘thank God I don’t have to do this again!’
Contractions. I can’t lie. They hurt (the handles on those tubs are really secure) and the worst bit is you really have no idea how long it will all last. Having said that, from the 2 experiences I have had, the pre-labour (where you’re contracting hard and the midwife’s looking at you saying you’re close but you’re not quite there yet… you can still talk!) seems to be the longest part (for Lolo this was 3 days but for AJ this seems to have taken only about 4 hours). The actual labour (ah yes you’re breathless, speechless and you’re wondering if it’s even fathomable that these can get stronger? Surely not!!! Is the c-section and epidural still an option?) wasn’t that long in either case (Lolo 4 hours, 80mins for AJ). So if you are reading this about to give birth – remember that, I found it gave me hope whilst managing the pain. Speaking of which, how to describe the pain. Contractions come in waves, you feel the start of one and then the pain magnifies and magnifies until it peaks, it’s like a white heat at its strongest. Mine started in my lower back, knowing that they’re opening the womb the pain makes sense as gut’s a wrenching pain. I try to manage the pain by breathing through each one. As they get more intense, I’m still pacing the room. I have to stop at their height and rise up on my tip toes looking for any other sensation that can distract me. I start counting to give me something to focus on and to give me hope frankly, that each one starts and ends in a given time frame. I count slowly to 10 and Elliott counts the actual seconds (about 25). Contractions do not last forever. But they are exhausting. It takes all my energy to work through each one. I try to sit on the bed for a couple but my contractions seem to spread out yet feel more intense- maybe because I have nothing else to focus on. I keep walking because I know gravity is helping. It’s the only situation where I know the greater the pain the better it is for me because it helps me get closer to the end. But the downward pressure on my cervix is a real bugger and maaan does it hurt. They get so strong that you genuinely have no idea how you’re going to carry on. At their peak, I decide to give pushing a go because to be honest, these contractions have got to be leading somewhere! So I push during a contraction once I’m in the pool and at the end I get that odd sensation to push, to bear down. These are the worst contractions now and the worst pain but you know fairly soon you’re about to see your baby. This is what you have been waiting for. So you keep pushing. You think that everything down below is shot and that you’re going to have problems for the rest of your life but you keep pushing. You push with the pain. You can feel something moving inside and then go back in again. Yep it’s the head. You have to push the baby beyond what feels natural and then the head stays, half out, no more disappearing. The midwife tells me to breathe to allow stuff to stretch. The next push we have the head, after that the body.
It’s an unbelievable experience because it is so totally raw. I can’t say I’ve forgotten it or am under any illusion about the pain. But at the end you do have a totally wonderful little human being.
All mine. Welcome AJ. Watch out – here comes the huggin’ and kissin’!