Happy Easter bread n’ fishes,
This is an usually long post from me. but. hey, it’s an unusually long weekend, it’s a bit quiet, so here’s a good chunky read for you. Exciting, too. I promise.
It’s the birth story of my Bump, which happened roughly six and a half months ago. Apologies. Firstly for all the Net acronyms, which I do claim fluency in but try not to use on my blog. Apart from the title, of course. Secondly, apologies to those who have already read this one on the BellyBelly forums. Nothing new in this version. It’s pretty much copied and pasted. Hence the acronyms.
The piccies are from when we came home from hospital- about six hours post-birth. And don’t they just make you go awwwww….?
OK, so… at 37 weeks and 6 days pregnant, I’d been having Braxton Hicks contractions for days , but I was more than happy to wait another week or two for this baby- The Chop, who was 21 months old at the time, had a shocking case of tonsillitis and had been running a fever for 4 days straight. It was a Thursday, and I’d just gotten home from dinner with friends, when the contractions started. but this time they came with a pain in my lower back. I was lying in bed hoping they’d stop, because Chop still wasn’t very well and I didn’t want to run out and leave him without his mummy when he was so sick.
Amazingly, the pain held off long enough fro us all to get a good’s night sleep. We woke at 6am on a Friday morning and the first thing I did was check the Chop for a fever. He was looking better for the first time in days, and my body seemed to know that it was OK to start laboring again- the first contraction came just seconds after I hopped out of bed.
I knew I was definitely in labor, but I thought I had hours to go. The pain wasn’t as regular as I thought they’d be- 3 minutes, then 8 minutes, then 2 minutes. I took that as sign that I had plenty of time (huh!) and told the Man he was right to go off to work, and I’d probably call him in an hour or two. I rang my midwife who asked if I was OK at home for a bit longer and told me to take a bath. (Such effective freaking pain relief, a bath. Not.)
I was trying to get on with my normal morning thing, stopping every few minutes to breath through the pain. After half an hour, I was starting to feel faint and break out in a cold sweat at the end of every contraction, and I thought I’d better get myself together and get to the hospital. ‘Bout time. I rang the Man and told him to turn around and come back home, and rang my (dum de dum)
dragon lady scary woman nutter mother-in-law to come and mind the Chop while I hightailed it hospital. (Again- huh.)
My mother in law was here within ten minutes- the chop was totally unfazed by this point, comfortably munching on toast and enjoying his good fortune at being allowed to watch TV in the morning. I was just trying to walk and breathe my way through the pain, and ignore my bloody mother-in-law telling me to “Breathe” and raving she never went through this because she had epidural (What the f*ck?? Leave me alone, woman, that is the last thing I need to hear right now!! Do you even see any needles here? DO YOU??).
So contractions every two minutes, lasting up to a minute, and the Man is still nowhere in sight. He was actually stuck in traffic on the carpark that is the M5. Thank you, Labor government. I was by that time doing laps of the backyard, reminding myself that this was pain with a purpose, that each contraction was one closer to having my baby, that it wouldn’t last forever, that I’d have a baby by midday. Very zen of me, I know.
And here’s where things get all blurry-like. The Man finally got home at about 7:45, grabbed my bags and tried to get me into the car. I remember standing, looking at the car, and feeling tears come to my eyes. I just couldn’t sit down. It wasn’t happening. Uh uh. No way. I told The Man as much and started to walk back inside. Being the cranky panicker he is, he started yelling at me that I had to go to hospital. Quite logical, really, but it didn’t seem so at the time. As I walked through our back gate, another contraction bought me to my knees and I felt something ‘pop’ and a bit of fluid. I started screaming at the Man that I wasn’t going to make it to the hospital, this was it, I was having the baby now.
Dragon lady My mother-in-law rang an ambulance, the Man went inside for something, and I was pacing the yard and garage. I remember at one point crying for drugs, for my mum, for the Man, for anything to make it stop. The pressure in my back was incredible and I could feel the baby slipping lower and lower. The Man came and found me as another pain bought me to the ground, and seemed to realise that this was, well, it. And what did he do…?
He called out for his bloody mother. And left me, while he took the Chop and waited out the front for the ambulance (And yep, he admits he acted like a big girl. But told me it was ‘secret woman’s business’. You’ll be pleased to know I still bag him out about what a pussy he is.)
So. There I am. Half naked, on my hands and knees in the backyard, contractions coming thick and fast, with this amazing urge to push. I remember my mother-in-law trying to get me to crawl back inside, but there was no way that was happening. All through this labor, the pain had been pushing me to go outside; there was no going in now. And I think subconsciously I didn’t want to totally freak the Chop out, seeing his mummy in pain.
My mother-in-law had called 000, and I remember yelling her to hang up the damn phone, we didn’t need an ambulance, don’t be silly. I think I was
actually in transition at that point. remember talking to the 000 operator, her asking my name, telling me to tell her when the next contraction started. I replied “now” and threw the phone on the ground. The 000 lady via the mother-in-law were trying to get me lay on my back (I think to slow the labor down) but there was no freaking way I was getting on my back, and I’m so glad there was no one there to force me to like the first time round.
The last part happened so quickly. I told me MIL to kill me at one point, and she tried to rub my back and I said
“Don’t f***ing touch me!” (Ahhhhh, the satisfaction!!) I told her I couldn’t do this and she, after a second, repeated what the 000 woman told her to say- “You can do this, you’ve done it before, you can do it again. At the end of this you will have another baby”. And I, of course, screamed at her that I didn’t want another f***ing baby. As you do.
Then, in between contractions, I had one of those rare moments of perfect clarity. I remember my vision going perfectly clear, and I said to myself “If you can do this, you will be so proud of yourself. You can do this. And besides, when it’s all over you can finally have a guilt free cigarette” (yep, again, irrational, but whatever gets you through).
I said out loud “I can do this” and pushed. With that push the baby crowned, the next one was almost immediate and the head was out. There was another second of calm and then another push and I felt the enormous satisfaction and relief of having just birthed a baby. The Bump cruised into the world at 8:09am, just under two hours after labor started.
My mother-in-law caught her (good thing too, or she would have gone head first into the concrete) and I turned over and she passed her to me. The cord was so short I could only get her as far as my bellybutton, but that was OK. She was a little blue, but started to pink up almost straight away. The Man and the Chop came running in. I can’t remember what else happened there, I was so transfixed by this baby and in awe of what I’d just done.
The ambulance turned up five minutes later, and they were lovely blokes. They clamped and cut the cord, which was OK with me because I wouldn’t have been able to attach bubs to the breast with it intact anyway. I spent the ambulance ride to the hospital- no lights and sirens- unable to take my eyes off my baby or the smile off my face.
We met our lovely midwife at the hospital, delivered the placenta naturally (which I could have done in the ambulance, but the ambos weren’t too keen on the idea) and had a few beautiful hours with my brand new Bump, nude and unwrapped, on my chest, with the Man and I admiring her and riding the high. Eventually she was weighed- so tiny, only 2520 grams. We were discharged 5 hours later and came home still on top of the world.
What I wanted from this birth was to be in control, and that is exactly what I got. I was in control; I knew exactly what my body was doing. I was so confident in myself through most of the labor, and the thought that something might go wrong never even occurred to me. I wasn’t scared of the birthing part; I was looking forward to it. I never thought I’d be able to birth naturally, and if I’d had the option, the gas would have been mine, all mine- but I am so glad I did- that moment of clarity I experienced was breath taking and I’m not sure I would have got that had I been off my face.
It was such an incredible experience and the best bit is its mine- I did this, I own it. And goddamn it, I deserve this baby, I earnt her, I did all the hard work to get her here, all by myself. I have never been prouder of anything. And she was so worth every second of pain.
Just call me amazon woman, goddess of the garden, queen of the backyard birth… (and if you’ve made it this far, thanks for reading. I owe you a coffee. Or a milkshake. Cigarette, if you’re a dirty smoker like me. Or something).