Well here I sit, in my hospital room, with my beautiful daughter sleeping in her crib. We had the immense joy of welcoming her into our family yesterday morning! I think I’m still a little shell shocked and really can’t believe it!
She came FAST! Ever since my firstborn’s arrival I had been warned time and time again that this time around it would be fast, but until I was in the midst of it I didn’t realise how fast!
At 38 weeks I was working my last shift teaching in our local TAFE restaurant. Around 7pm I started feeling a bit ‘off’. Just not right. I mentioned it to my colleague (who immediately expressed “baby”) and sat in my office for the majority of the evening to finalise paperwork and record results. I threw up but then felt much better afterwards so hoped that was the end of that. At one point I walked back up to the restaurant but quickly started feeling nauseous again. I got complete that I needed to and sat with the class to debrief and farewell them and to apologise for my absence during the night. We joked that I might have a baby tomorrow! I still wasn’t feeling great so rang my parents to come and get me as I didn’t want to drive. Just as I was finishing up with my students all of a sudden I was again overcome and had to quickly make my way outside and get as far away as I possibly could before throwing up again. How embarrassing!
Mum and Dad arrived then and took me home, Mum in a flurry as only a mother could/would be! She suggested that perhaps I call the birthing unit. “What am I going to say?” I questioned. “Hi, I’m 38 weeks pregnant with no contractions but I’ve thrown up twice…” Well, that’s just what I did (as all good daughters do, of course!) The hospital were happy for me to come in for a check if I wanted to but my waters hadn’t broken (they did the first time) and I hadn’t noticed any unusual contractions. I’d had braxton hicks for weeks but they never concerned me or really took my breath away. To me it was all just part and parcel of pregnancy and I didn’t even realise that’s what they were until my obstetrician pointed one out! I decided just to try to go to bed and get a good night’s sleep, particularly if it could be a sign that something was going to happen. I honestly thought I may have just been coming down with a virus and was pretty ticked off about that truth be told thinking “Great, this is just what I need!”. Well, a good night’s sleep it wasn’t for hubby or I! I vomited twice more through the night and had a bout of diarrhoea. Come the morning and my wise hubby says: “Isn’t that a way of your body clearing itself out in preparation for labour?” Well, what do you know, Dr Google confirmed this could be the case! The more I thought about it I remembered our Calmbirth® facilitator (prior to my son’s birth) saying it had happened to her. Mind you, I still didn’t think I was in labour, just that there was possibly something going on.
I emailed my obstetrician to let her know about my night (I’d been reprimanded by her earlier on in my pregnancy when I hadn’t promptly let her know of a possible UTI) and she said that if the symptoms had settled down then everything should be fine and just to rest.
I rang Mum and Dad to check their movements for the day and told them to keep their mobiles on them! Hubby had a tele-conference for work but chose to stay local… I didn’t want him to go too far. Well, things changed quickly! All of a sudden I became aware that I was in fact having contractions quite regularly. You see, the thing is, I tend not to notice them. They were like the braxton hicks I’d been having for weeks, my stomach tightening hard as a rock, but I realised they were coming quite regularly! I couldn’t even remember at what stage you were meant to call/go in to hospital (I was already in at that stage the first time around and even then hadn’t been very aware of them until the late stages).
I went and had a shower then rang my main man and told him I wanted to go to the hospital just to get checked out and see what was happening (i.e. if I had begun dilating and was in fact in labour). He claims he’d only been at work about 45 minutes! I dilated very quickly with my son and only the morning prior at my obstetrician’s appointment we’d had a lengthy conversation about spontaneous labour and I didn’t want to be caught out! (She was kicking herself afterwards wishing she’d done an internal examination on me that morning!).
I called my Dad to come to ours to be with our son. I gathered a few things but by this time realised it was really happening and at one point, not long after hubby had gotten back in the door, I dropped to the floor in our hallway feeling the need to push and said: “I think we need an ambulance!” It was hard not to panic then realising how imminent this was – my body seems not to notice the labour phase until it’s time to push!!! Phone in hand he was ready to make the call but as I got through that contraction I quickly did the math on how long it would take them to get to me and decided to risk it and head to hospital ourselves. That was probably my first-ever real experience of what a full-blown contraction felt like and I realised that I just needed to ride the wave (i.e. breathe) and that all was OK on the other side. I of course wasn’t thinking of peak hour traffic, but hubby was! (Seriously, it was the worst possible time of day to do that drive!) I was in the zone and feeling quite stressed because I didn’t know how much time we had – I don’t think I even farewelled my beautiful boy who was about to become a big brother! My first birthing experience was incredible largely thanks to Calmbirth® but this was already shaping up to be a very different experience! I wasn’t afraid – certainly second time around there is not the ‘fear’ of the unknown and you can have confidence because you and your body have done this before… for me it was the speed with which this was progressing and I wasn’t really keen on a roadside delivery (I did throw a couple of towels in the car just in case!) It was the most intense car ride of my life!!! I managed to email my Dr to say: “This is happening. On my way in but not sure if I’ll make it.” And I called the hospital to have a wheelchair waiting on arrival (hubby’s recommendation, I didn’t think I needed it!!!) After that the contractions kept on coming and I had to dig deep to breathe through them and pushed my feet hard against the floor to try to stall the urge to push and keep baby girl in! So everything I’d learnt in Calmbirth® about going with the flow with your body, staying relaxed, visualising yourself opening up… and here I was purposely tensing up my body to try to slow down the process and keep the shop shut!!! Hubby pulled a particularly highly illegal high speed overtaking manoeuvre up the outside which I’m sure elicited some sour looks and harsh words… but once we hit the stand-still of peak hour traffic I had to close my eyes to maintain focus and not panic even more due to the volume of cars moving at a snail’s pace! How hilarious that everyone around us was going about their normal daily routine and I’m wanting to shout “You’ve got no idea, get out of the way, I’m having a baby!!!”
Hubby was my hero. How he held it together on that drive… supporting and encouraging me the whole way, holding my hand even whilst driving and navigating with his phone in the other hand the back streets as best he could to get us there ASAP (who says guys can’t multi-task!)
I tell you what, I could feel her crowning the last couple of contractions before we arrived, talk about a S-T-R-E-T-C-H!!!! (“Two more minutes, we’ll be there in two minutes” hubby tries to reassure me… that roadside delivery was so ridiculously close!)
Our arrival was classic. We pulled up right at the front door (I’m surprised the tyres didn’t screech!), leapt out and I started straight for the wheelchair. Then he’s off and racing with me to the elevator as the receptionist calls out: “Do you know where you’re going?” To which I replied “I hope so!” Into the lift and hubby asks “Level 2 or 3?” (we had done this before!) but my response was “I have no idea!” so he hit both buttons! Level 2 it was and there’s Nurse Di waiting (thank you Miss Receptionist whom we went screeching past for obviously placing the alert!) all bright and cheerful: “Right, so, how are we feeling?” she says. Me: “Oh I’m ready to push!” Instantly I felt relief though – we’d made it! And that’s all I could say as I was wheeled to the delivery suite: “I’m so glad we made it. I’m so glad we made it!” I knew bub and I were safe now no matter what happened next!
Trying to get me on the bed mid-contraction and the midwives are like: “We just need to do a quick check of the baby” as they try to place I monitor on me. “I’m pretty sure you can see something there right now!” was my response to them at which time my doctor walks in, pulling on her gloves. (I’m later told by a nurse that many women think they’re crowning when they’re totally not, but I was telling the truth ha ha!) I told them my waters hadn’t broken and she said she could see my membranes bulging so broke them (I wonder later, in hindsight, whether I could have perhaps had one of those incredible experiences of having a baby born inside it’s amniotic sac… alas we’ll never know!) Then she lets me turn over onto all fours because that’s what I wanted (I had to talk her into it though, she kept saying being baby number two it was going to be fast but because my first labour was so amazing I wanted to do everything exactly the same as much as possible!) My next contraction came and I pushed my bubba girl’s head out. Then with the following contraction out came her body. Done. Here she was. Just like that! Everyone was stunned, myself included! Later they told me they got in all of about 3 minutes of foetal monitoring!
So there I am holding our baby girl in total disbelief! I’d just birthed our baby!
Take a look at these photos, I just laughed and laughed. Incredulous is probably the best word to describe it, “what on earth just happened?!” were the feelings. Absolutely incredible!
This precious baby girl was ready and I have no doubt that she’d have come sooner if we’d been in hospital already. I had no tearing, no complications and obviously no drugs or interventions as quite simply there wasn’t the time (nor the need). All I experienced was a burning sensation as I pushed her out but it wasn’t painful. Yes it was fast and intense but nothing that her and I couldn’t handle together.
Quite some time later hubby realised he’d better move the car from the hospital’s front entry and discovered he’d left the keys in the ignition and I’d left my door wide open!!!
During my entire hospital stay, every time a nurse visited she would ask me if I wanted any painkillers. They seemed to think I was trying to be some sort of hero, a bit prideful that I didn’t want to take any. Folks, I didn’t need any! Not even remotely! Not during labour, not after.
After the fact I was told that, whilst I didn’t realise I was in labour and wasn’t aware of any contractions, every time I’d vomited it had most likely helped move bub into position, similar to the role of a contraction.
Reading back through my firstborn’s birth story well after this arrival and I discovered that I probably should have re-read it prior: “If I’d have laboured at home at all, which I was planning on doing for as long as possible, I don’t know if I would’ve made it to the hospital in time or I would have been fighting the urge to push as hubby was driving because I really don’t think either of us would have realised how far in labour I was as I never met the ‘technical requirements’ of contractions being 3 – 5 minutes apart lasting for at least one minute for at least one hour etc etc like they tell you in the antenatal classes…” Oops!
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