22nd April, 2009. 4:00AM
I was woken suddenly to pain, strong cramping across my abdomen.
Oh dear, not these braxton hicks contractions again!
I was heavily pregnant, due on the 27th April, but feeling quite relaxed. I have time, plenty of time.
"It's your first baby" they all said "you'll go over by at least a week!"
I waddled my large frame down to the bathroom for the 5th time that night. I looked for the tell-tale signs that things were beginning to happen. Nope, nothing. Must be a false alarm, so back to bed I went.
I tossed and turned, I could not sleep. The pain was not going away.
I thought to myself, "Well if I can't sleep then I guess I should pack my hospital bag, just in case".
I am glad I did.
Four hours later and the pain was getting stronger. I woke my snoring husband. He wandered down to his computer and I made him a cup of coffee. I wondered when to call the hospital; I had no idea what to do. I thought I'd wait until they were a bit stronger.
My brother was staying with us, and this was the day he was due to catch his train home.
I didn't say a thing. I didn't want to worry him.
Two hours later and my contractions were worse, and regular. Five minutes apart, and getting stronger.
I called the hospital; they said to come straight in.
We packed my bag in the car and explained to my brother, sorry, we won't be able to drive you to the train station; the baby is on its way!
He freaked out.
He was more stressed than my husband and I!
He ran around, panicking, asking if he should stay and help, asking how long I had been having contractions for. When I told him he panicked even more. I can only imagine what images were running through his head.
We jumped (I slowly climbed) into our car and began the 45min drive to the hospital.
Along a very bumpy road.
I felt every bump, and gasped at even the slightest.
My husband apologized profusely, and I told him it was ok, it's just the road, not his fault.
Now I cannot remember where this song first makes an appearance in this story, but I can tell you this: I do not like it. At all.
Not that I have anything against Mr Carr, his music just isn't my style.
After you have this particular song running through your head for hours, while you suffer agonizing pain, it doesn't become one you ever want to listen to again. Music brings memories back every time.
I'll try and cut this story short a little, or we could be here for days...
We arrived at the hospital, I was checked over and told I had plenty of time to go, contractions had slowed, I should go home, have some painkillers and get some rest.
We went home, the contractions got worse on the bumpy drive, so I gulped down the panadeine forte they had given me and attempted to get some rest.
No, it just was not happening.
I felt sick, I was sick. A lot. I felt miserable. The contractions intensified again.
We got back in the car and headed for the hospital again.
And again, the contractions slowed and I was told to come back later.
It was 8pm in the evening by this stage, and I was hungry, but still vomiting.
The midwives told me I had taken too many painkillers (I had followed their instructions) and had accidentally overdosed. I would be fine though, since they, and everything else in my stomach, were coming up. They told us to go out, have a nice dinner, relax, and come back later.
I got angry.
I was in pain and they wanted me to relax and just pop out to a restaurant for dinner!?
We drove to the local Coles and my husband ran in to get me some bread rolls. As classy as I was, I leaned out of the car and threw up all over the car park as a mum in her van full of kids drove past. I looked up and saw a sympathetic smile as she drove off. She had been here, she felt my pain.
I managed to eat a very small amount, then demanded we go back to the hospital. We got there and they reluctantly put me in a bed in a crowded room in the maternity ward. It was full of women who were in for observation, no one but me was in labour.
My husband settled in and began to watch a movie on our laptop. I writhed on and off the bed, trying to get comfortable. Then my mother, my wonderful mother came bursting in. "You look like you are in a lot of pain" she said, sympathetically "have they offered you pain relief?"
No, not any mention of such thing at all!
It was like a light bulb lit up.
I then realized that yes, I was really in labour, the pain was really quite bad, and yes, I should see what my options are to help with it!
My mum made me brave enough to call in a midwife and ask. If it weren't for her, I probably would have stayed so quiet; my girl would have been born in there!
My parents left, their destination was our house, to feed our dogs and get it ready for our arrival with a new family member.
I will forever be grateful for their help.
I was taken to the labour ward and showed into the only room with a bath, but it was not to be used due to some asbestos pipes. That did not fill me with confidence. I was shown a big yoga ball and some ways to help with the pain by sitting or leaning on it. I tried. I yelped. It increased my pain!
I asked about the shower and was assured that it would be fine. I lost all dignity, stripped off and jumped straight in. I was offered the gas, and I began to suck on it while under the warm water. It made me dizzy, sick and did nothing for the pain. I asked if it was working and the midwife told me that it was more of a distraction than actual pain relief. I was worried I would slip over so the gas had to go. I stayed in the shower until the contractions had intensified immensely. My dilation had been checked frequently, and they told me I still had a few hours to go.
I was exhausted, drained. I had little sleep powering me, no food in my tummy, and the pain was almost too much.
I caved in and asked for an epidural.
I had to be moved into another room with bigger surgery lights, and I almost walked down the corridor naked, until a midwife wrapped a gown around me.
I was told to wait; the anesthetist was on call but out at a party, so was on his way. I was slightly worried. He was at a party? This is the man who will jab a huge needle in my spine and he is at a party???
The midwives began to prep me; I had a drip put in, and surprisingly was calm, even though needles, especially those, are one of my biggest fears/phobias.
Then he arrived, the man who would bring me pain relief!
He looked familiar, very familiar. He had come from a hospital 6hrs away, near where we used to live. Very close to a friend of ours' house. We had that moment of "Don't I know you?" but quickly moved on to the matter at hand.
I was asked if I felt the need to push at all, and if I did then it was too late for the epidural.
I felt a small urge, growing, but lied, and said no. I was scared; I had convinced myself that I couldn't do it natural, the way I had always planned.
I struggled through the process, leaning over the bed, over my giant bump, trying to stay still in the worst contractions so far.
I breathed, I vomited. I sucked on gas; I gulped down jugs of water.
Finally it was in, I was lying down and the midwives checked how far dilated I was.
It was nearly go time!
Everything was a rush; I was left with one midwife and my husband assisting her.
Next thing I knew it was time to push, so I pushed hard, and 20mins later, our beautiful baby girl was born.
She was scooped up and placed on my bare chest. I gazed at her, completely and utterly in love. Nothing else mattered; she was the only thing I could look at, to touch, to hold, to feel her fingers curl around my finger. She had my heart.
She breastfed straight away, a good feed, then was taken to be properly cleaned up and to do the agpar test.
She was perfect in my eyes.
The world seemed to rush around me but I was in a haze. All I could do was hold her, amazed at this beautiful little being that we had created, this blessing.
It wasn’t long before my adrenaline ran out and exhaustion began to kick in. I could barely keep my eyes open. I couldn’t hold Eve because I was afraid I would pass out and drop her. So my husband stepped in and held her while I lay there, helpless.
This is where I became frustrated. I was stuck. My epidural was taking a long time to wear off and I couldn’t go anywhere until it had. I waited, I couldn’t sleep, Blake was struggling to keep his eyes open too and Eve was starting to cry. She wanted me to hold her, and I desperately wanted to. The midwives had left us, and occasionally popped their heads in to ask if I could feel my legs yet, and to stop my baby from crying. I was distressed. I didn’t have the strength to even hold Eve in my arms, and she lay there, in her little plastic tub on wheels, crying out for me. I took turns with my husband to hold and soothe her, as soon as we began to drift off we swapped.
Finally I began to feel my legs. They were wobbly, but I was ready to go. I was ushered out for a quick shower and to get dressed. The midwife showed me into my room, pointed to a large folder full of “information for new mothers” and swiftly exited. My husband had to leave; he had to sleep and was not allowed to stay. That night was one of the hardest of my life.
As I said in this post over here, things were not easy with Eve. I don’t know what I was expecting, I knew it would be hard, but I had no idea there could be so many challenges with someone so small.
She relied on me, and I stepped up to the plate.
I gave up the things I once loved, and put others aside for the day I would eventually come back. My sewing machine sat gathering dust, my crafty supplies shut up in our study, untouched for months on end.
I did miss the little things.
Having long showers.
Eating a full meal with no interruptions.
Being able to wear anything without fear of it being vomited or pooped on.
There are so many more…
I remember the first time we managed to watch an entire movie without her waking up. My husband convinced me to watch Fast & the Furious 3. I was tired, bored, and waiting for the familiar newborn cry to pierce the night. But it didn’t come. She slept, and I was disappointed that I had wasted those precious three hours on such a terrible movie.
But it got better, slowly I got the hang of being a mum. I knew what cry meant what. I could change a nappy in the darkness of the night without a worry. I ventured out into the world with my precious bundle.
Then she started to grow.
She turned 1...
She turned 2...
And not too long ago, she turned 3...
She turned 2...
And not too long ago, she turned 3...
She always will be my little baby girl.