I woke at about 5am on Saturday 1st May with a slight pain in my tummy. I thought I just needed to go to the toilet, but after a couple more hours lying in bed the pains were still coming and going every few minutes.
As I had never experienced contractions before (not even any Braxton Hicks ones!), and because the pains were really not that bad I was completely unsure if I was going into labour or not! I was not due for another week, and the day before had even pre-booked my induction for two weeks time, as the midwife seemed convinced I would be waiting till well after my due date! (I didn't know how on earth I would last another whole two weeks, when my anticipation and excitement had been sky high for the past month already!!!). My fears/hopes were confirmed though when I got out of bed, as warm liquid started to gush down my legs — and it just kept on coming!!!! Indeed my waters had broken!
I then called the hospital, and when my partner Jackson declared that the fluid smelt like ammonia, they agreed that it must be ruptured membranes and I would have to come in!
Jackson and I then went into panic mode and I suddenly decided that maybe I wasn't ready to have this baby after all, now faced with the reality of the situation!
We arrived at the Royal Brisbane Womens Hospital by about 8am, only to be told that there were no birthing suites available at the moment. But if we thought that was bad, we felt even more sorry for the poor woman in the waiting room with us whom had delivered her baby early that morning and was still waiting for a bed upstairs in the maternity ward. It seemed to be a situation of all the unborn babies in Brisbane making a group decision that today would be the day for them to make their entrance.
Eventually I was taken to a small room and hooked up to monitor my contractions and my baby's heartbeat. At this stage the pains were feeling none too nice, yet after looking at the readout the doctor informed me that I wasn't even having real contractions yet! I would have to be induced though, as now my baby was at risk of infection because of the ruptured membranes. She suggested that I might even have to wait and come back the next morning for induction as all of the birthing suites were in use and there were other women in more advanced labour waiting as well.
On hearing this my mood of great excitement was shattered and replaced with fear, anxiety and uncertainty. Wasn't I having my baby today after all? Was it safe for my baby to be left exposed to possible infection for such a long period?
I guess my tears must have swayed her a bit at this point, as she relented and told us to go home and come back at 2pm, which we promptly did. Three hours later at 5pm we were finally shown our birthing suite.
All they needed to do was hook me up to a drip of Syntocin and I'd be on my way – but not even that could go as planned. After three failed attempts (which equates to 6 holes in my hand, as they have to inject a local anesthetic before inserting the big needle) the doctor went to find her boss — who showed up an hour later, and gave me another four holes/bruises with her two failed attempts. We then played the waiting game for another 2 hours while they changed shifts. We got them to connect the TV up for us during this time (due to poor Jacksons sheer boredom!) while we waited for a more experienced doctor to come and get this drip in! No luck though — another two failed attempts. Exasperated, they informed me I would be in big trouble if I were ever in a car accident or something, as the veins in my hands are impossibly small and hidden – they were now making me feel like this was somehow my fault!!
The anesthetist was then sent for and this was truly my last option, as there is no one in a hospital more skilled with a needle. Luckily, we had success on his second try, then secured it in place with excessive amounts of tape – none of us wanted to go through that again! After enduring those 5 hours of severe stress, I felt like I could cope with anything! I was so relieved for my labour to actually be starting.
After half an hour on the drip, the contractions really started intensifying. Another half hour and the midwife said I was coping really well. Five minutes later I asked for the gas! I inhaled it furiously and those first waves of distortion sent me into gales of laughter – which must explain why some call it -laughing gas' — although the midwife said I was the first one she'd seen to laugh! I lost all sensation of time, yet didn't lose my grip on the gas-hose; even with it permanently in my mouth the pain was ramping up, and so was my blood pressure. The midwife suggested an epidural to help lower my BP, which was fine with me because I was just about to demand one!
I was so happy to see the anesthetist walked in, that I could have kissed him! It didn't work on his first try, but he tried again and finally got the needle in the right place (I found that the pain of the needle in my spine was a welcome distraction from my contraction pains anyway!).
The relief I felt when the epidural started to work, was so immense, that I don't regret having it at all.
After a while, the midwife became concerned that my contractions seemed to be decreasing, and she was very surprised to find that it was because I was already 10cm dilated, and ready to push!
Twenty mins later my beautiful son Aidyn was being placed on my belly for his first ever cuddle from Mum! It was now 3am on Sunday 2nd of May. He was 8pound 7oz (3.8kg) and 53cm long, and scored an excellent 8 and 9 on his Apgar. I managed to push him out easily without any assistance (although with lots of shouted encouragement from Jackson and the midwife) and I didn't even tear!
Reflecting on my birth experience, I'd say that nothing happened as I'd imagined it would. All of the unexpected complications I had to endure before I was even in official labour, I think helped to make the actual labour seem a lot less traumatic for me, as I was so glad to finally get it started – as it turned out it took less time giving birth, than it did to get the drip connected! The pain of the labour doesn't really register in my memory either – thanks to the gas and epidural. I know I took the easy way out, but I am honestly in awe of all the women who give birth without using any pain relief, as I just don't think I could handle it.
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