Who doesn’t like a good birth story?
Once upon a time…ah, I wish giving birth was like a dainty fairy story full of magical unicorns pooping rainbows and candy. Truth is, it’s completely and utterly NUTS. It is impossible to box, to categorize or to prepare for. Birth is one of the most unique experiences on the planet. I’ve experienced a natural birth twice now and both were entirely different.
With Rosie, it required me to have my waters broken because we were at 41 weeks, my skin was eating me alive and I needed to get this baby out. My waters were broken at 5:30pm and within 30 minutes I was having full blown, extremely painful contractions. At 9pm I begged for an epidural and by 10:35pm she was born. However, because the epidural was done at 8cm, I still felt the ring of fire and the pulling of the placenta. There was no tearing though and recovery was super quick.
With Cece, I was 40 weeks and contemplating an induction because again, my skin was burning like a million fire ants had chosen me as their buffet.
On Friday 7th September, there was the “bloody show” which sounds like the sequel to the Red Wedding – it’s basically when the mucus plug comes out and you can bet baby is getting ready…even though it can take a further week.
Come Saturday I had some mild cramps, some which kept me awake at night.
On Sunday the cramps got more intense but they were so irregular that I just thought they were merely Braxton Hicks. And why did I think that? Because every web article said so. Real labour is supposed to get more regular and more intense. Which is precisely why you cannot believe everything you read when it comes to pregnancy, birth and beyond.
At 6pm I sat down to sew a dog bed for an urgent client order and I downloaded a contraction app for kicks. At 7pm the app told me to go to hospital. I ignored the app because then the contractions went away for 30 minutes. At around 10pm, I was sitting on the couch, having finished packing my hopsital bag (just in case) when I felt a strong contraction and I literally heard and felt a *POP*. My waters broke. I sunk to the floor as luckily I had a towel there because my feet had just been in a bucket of ice. I called for Mr H and we moved like freakin’ Navy Seals.
Guys, you will never see a more well-oiled machine than a couple who need to get to the hospital urgently. I hobbled to the bathroom to get a pad and to put on some dry clothes. Mr H phoned our nearby friends to tell them we were bringing Rosie to them. Mr H packed the car, put Rosie in her seat (her little sleepy/bemused face was so cute) and we drove off on our adventure.
Houston, we have a problem
I knew, from the first birth, that once my waters had broken, I was going to move along labor very quickly so yes, I did push Mr H to drive quite quickly to the hospital once we had dropped off Rosie.
It was around 11pm when we got to the hospital and we were rushed into a labor room. I was 4cm dilated and still able to crack a joke. By 11:30pm I was unable to crack a coherent sentence and lay on the hospital bed asking God how women did this in the bible.
The pain was intense. Less in my stomach like it was with Rosie and more across my back and my upper thighs. My vagina felt like it was throwing a concert and everyone was headbanging to some heavy metal song. I was practically swearing for my gynae to arrive so I could get some drugs…and when he did arrive, around 12, I was 8 1/2 cm dilated and too far gone. I made myself sit up to take in this awful news. The fact of the matter was that if I took the drugs, the risk of an emergency C-section was huge. As a contraction hit me, I really considered it.
It was in this moment that Mr H did what he does best, he calmed me down and gently asked if I could think about this, despite the pain, because this was serious. We both didn’t want to go to theater. I clung to his arms trying not to rip off his skin out of sheer anger at “his doing” and then I felt some heavy burning and the urge to get off the bed, get on all fours and push. This was it.
With much help, I lay down on the bed, knees up and felt my heart fall into my arse. I was going to have to push out a baby with NO pain relief. The thought now is impossible to comprehend. People keep telling me that the memory of the pain will fade. These people are smoking something. Your gynae’s hands are all inside your privates, pushing and widening to try and “help” you get this baby out – show me someone who can forget that!
When each contraction hit, I had to hunker down like I was trying to push out the world’s biggest turd. For the first 10 minutes it felt like I was doing nothing and I felt like I was failing, like I was going to be pushing forever. Eventually, the head reached a point where it couldn’t sink back and it was then that I had to go for it. I had to push and push, no breaks, because the head came out and then some shoulder, and then the umbilical chord had to be unwrapped from her neck (Thank you Lord that she is perfectly fine) and then a last tremendous heave and BAM.
Good morning starshine, the earth says hello!
At 12:32am on Monday the 10th, out sploshed a beautiful, red and waxy baby and I cried hysterically. Mostly because of the pain, because of what I just had to do, and because the birth was over, and she was here, lying on my chest, super chilled.
Everything ached. The beauty of an Epidural is that you don’t feel that pain of the afterbirth, the burning, the cramps from breastfeeding. I was now feeling all of it. When the gynae pulled the placenta out I was ready to just punch something….except I had zero energy.
Amazingly, everything was intact. No tearing. No complications. Once I was checked over, everyone left the room and it was just Daddy, Mummy and Cece. And it was perfect. 15 + minutes of peace. Then, whilst she got weighed and measured and Daddy had skin-to-skin time, I hobbled to the shower to clean myself. Something I wouldn’t have been able to do with an Epidural.
Three’s a charm…
So the big question is, would I do this again?
Oh dear. Here’s the thing, I HATE being pregnant. God knows I find it to be the most trying time of my life (no control, massive aches, itchy skin, weight issues) but as painful as the birth is, nothing beats the final push and having your baby placed on your chest. NOTHING. Knowing you did that, you went through hellish agony to meet your precious child is unbeatable.
Mr H wants another one. But like all men, he has no end say in this unless he can carry it in his balls. Secretly though, maybe I do too.
But for now, let me just wallow in the beauty of having two fantastic daughters.