It was 4.30am on a Thursday morning when Marc’s alarm went off for work. As I rolled over in bed I felt a click in my bladder and a really urgent need for the toilet. This urgency was not out of the ordinary at over 37 weeks gestation, so I stood up ready to go. As I stood up I felt that trickle feeling down my leg. “I’ve either wet myself or my waters broke,” was all I could get out to Marc. I knew pretty quickly that it was the latter as it continued to trickle the whole way to the toilet. I was super lucky to not get that gush because I was on carpet!
I knew once I sat down that this wasn’t going to stop. I was in complete shock as I had only just started my mat leave and still was two and a bit weeks off my due date. I’m not sure how, but we managed to remain calm. I guess the fact that I didn’t have any pain (just some dull period pain) and no contractions at this point. We made the phone call to the hospital and were advised to call the hospital again at 5.30am. They told me to keep an eye on the fluid. Perfect, we thought to ourselves. Marc still needed to make arrangements at work so we decided he could head in and organise himself and then return home to pick me up. This seemed like such a great idea at the time as nothing felt out of the ordinary for me. I thought I’d make myself some breakfast and just chill in front of the TV until Marc returned.
At this point it’s important to note that Marc’s work is over 45 minutes away from home. We were bursting with excitement and all good to go. Marc reassured me that he would be back soon and we would go to the hospital. “Yeah, I’m fine, don’t worry. I’ll just sit down and relax until you get back.” That was my last calm sentence for a while. I sat down with a piece of toast and a cup of tea, ready to just try and relax for these last few moments but I was so nervous and excited that I couldn’t even manage to eat that.
By the time Marc was driving back home from work, the pain hit. And boy did it hit hard. It actually felt like someone was ripping my lower back into a thousand pieces. I actually couldn’t really feel the contraction pain in my stomach at all, it was all in the lower back. And this lasted one minute and came every five minutes from the get go.
I called Marc as he was driving back and we timed and counted every contraction and poor Marc would’ve probably been so concerned by the sounds I was making. The pain was so intense, every time I knew that it was coming, I would begin to worry and stress. What happened to the early labour pains I learnt about in prenatal classes? What happened to that slow build up? What is happening to my back? I was not prepared for this kind of labour.
The minute Marc walked through the door, we needed to go. My whole pregnancy I had hoped that we would not be driving to the hospital in peak school traffic, but sure enough that was exactly the situation. Just sitting in the car felt hard enough. Every contraction came, and I am truly not sure how I didn’t break a window because I was pushing and punching anything I could. The drive felt like it took forever. In the meantime, we called our closest family to tell them I was in labour. I didn’t really get a word out because I was concentrating on each contraction.
As we pulled up to the emergency department, there was no chance I could walk through those doors. I sent Marc to get a wheelchair and a nurse. Yes, I was one of those people. I am a complete sook when it comes to pain so for me this was next level. A nurse approached the car with Marc and the wheelchair. Of course, I got a contraction just as I was trying to get out of the car. But I eventually made it into the wheelchair and we started making our way into the hospital. It was such a surreal feeling, how was I already at this point? I couldn’t believe this was it.
As soon as we entered the birth suite I was asking for my obstetrician and asking for pain relief. I was open to an epidural during my whole pregnancy and at this point I needed the pain to stop; I was not coping at all in that moment. The lovely midwife went on to tell me that I could not have the epidural until the obstetrician arrived and that he was on his way. I’m pretty sure this broke me, the thought of any more contractions in such pain was horrifying to me. At this point they offered me the gas and a fit ball to sit on. The midwife also alluded to the fact that the baby was most likely posterior and that was the reason for the pain being so strong in the back.
Marc slowly helped me move to the fit ball and they handed me the gas. This was not helpful at all. If anything, I felt like this made everything worse. I got dizzy and faint and felt as if I was going to fall off the ball. Lucky Marc was behind me so he helped me stay stable. There was no way I was going to keep going with the gas. I needed the epidural and I wanted it straight away. Just as a I felt I was reaching breaking point, my obstetrician walked into the birth suite. I swear I cried out of sheer relief and my first words were “I need an epidural”. Now with a clear mind, I understand why they need to take certain steps before giving an epidural, but in that moment, I couldn’t understand why there was such a delay. Luckily, he did say that the epidural was ordered and on its way before performing an internal exam. I don’t even remember feeling the internal at all. My mind was a fog because of the pain.
At 10.00 am he went on to say, “You’re about 4 cm dilated already. I’ll be back in around four hours to reassess. Things are going well.” These words were so encouraging and a felt a wave of relief wash over me. Well that was until the next contraction started. What felt like an eternity later, but was probably only a short time, the anaesthetist came in for the epidural. At this point I wasn’t worried about the needle to the spine or any possible complications, I just wanted the contraction pain to stop. As they sat me up and curled me over the pillow the nerves kicked in. “We need you to be very still while we do this.” What? How am I supposed to stay still when the pain is so intense? A contraction came and passed, and that was the perfect moment for the epidural.
I vaguely remember a slight amount of pain as they put in the local anaesthetic but in that moment, as I compared the pain to the contractions, it felt like nothing. I was then placed on a monitor for the contractions and baby’s heartbeat and a catheter and then was to lay on my back for the rest of the labour. Things were so much calmer at this point. Marc was able to move the car out of emergency, we talked, we laughed and just chilled out.
My doctor arrived at around 1.30pm to check my dilation. We were all surprised when he told me I was still only around 4 or 5 cm dilated. At this point I was so grateful for the epidural because he informed me that they would be putting oxytocin in the drip to increase the intensity of the contractions in order to speed up the labour. We could see how intense they were on the monitor but all I could feel was a tightening of the stomach. Some may call this weak but this is what I needed at this time and what was best for me.
At 5.00pm the doctor returned. I was sure that we would be getting closer to meeting our baby. I had been in labour since 4.30am that morning and with the drugs all should be moving along nicely. Well I was completely wrong! After all those hours and all the oxytocin, I was still only 5 cm dilated. The baby was happy and in no distress, but obviously this could become a concern the longer we waited. This was the time to discuss options and the option we were looking at was a caesarean section. I don’t know why, but as he said that I cried. I never had a birth plan but I think at this point I was tired and I was scared of the unknown. My doctor was reassuring and I really trusted his opinion throughout my pregnancy and therefore I knew he was telling me what I needed to hear. It was decided that I would have two more hours of labour and then the final decision would be made.
Our families had arrived at the hospital and were in the waiting room. Marc went out to see them all and give them updates. I loved that our families respected our decision to not have anyone else in the birth suite but I also loved knowing that they were there. Before we knew it, it was 7.00pm and my obstetrician walked in. I didn’t have much hope left that a natural birth would happen and I could tell he thought the same. After yet another internal it was decided it would be best to opt for the C-section and get baby out while still happy and healthy.
Things moved so quickly from this point. Paperwork was filled out, Marc was put into scrubs and I was moved onto a different bed. Things felt so surreal at this stage, I knew I would meet this baby so very soon now. I was wheeled into a room adjoining the theatre whilst Marc waited outside. This is where I got to put on a lovely hairnet and was given a full spinal block. As I was brought into the operating theatre I noticed there were so many people in there. I think I was introduced to many of them but I’m not sure I was taking anything in at this stage. Once the sheet was up, Marc was brought in and he sat right by my side. This was it. This was the moment we had been waiting (almost) nine months for.
As they began to cut, I could feel some pressure on my stomach. It
was quite unnerving to feel pressure but no pain. It was like my body was in anticipation of pain. The pressure built up very quickly but by the time I started saying it was too much, “It’s a boy!” He was lifted up on top of the sheet and all I could do was cry. It was 7.56pm and I was a mum to a beautiful, healthy boy who was screaming nice and loudly.
He was taken over to be weighed and dressed by Marc. The nurses and others in the room were congratulating me but I still couldn’t believe it happened. Once dressed and wrapped, he was brought to me to hold. I just starred at his gorgeous little face, he was just perfection. At his stage I began to feel shaky and rather weak. Then came the moment to name him. We had been prepared with three names in the lead up to the birth. Marc and I both looked at each other and said the first name we thought. I said Luca and Marc said Cristian. Hearing the name out loud I knew I needed to look at him a little longer. As I stared at that squishy face and perfect button nose, I knew it had to be Cristian.
Once I was all stitched up and back together, I was taken to recovery.
However, Marc and Cristian were taken to another holding area because I was too weak and shaking quite violently at this point. My eyes were basically closed and the noises around me sounded slurred and distant. I was given a few doses of a medication to calm my body, it definitely worked but I was unable to open my eyes. I later discovered I had been in recover for two hours. During this time our families were still waiting on the news and Marc and Cristian were having their own bonding time together. I still say that this is where their football-loving bond began.
Once my body had settled, I was brought to my room and quickly joined by Marc and Cristian. I really couldn’t open my eyes at all. Marc brought Cristian over to me but all I could manage was a kiss. At this stage Marc went out and shared the amazing news with our families. Cristian was already two hours old by this time so I’m sure they were relieved to hear that all was well. The nurses at the hospital were so kind and allowed two family members at a time to come into the room and take their first little peak at Cristian. I could hear them coming in but I wasn’t even able to open my eyes or say anything.
Once everyone left, I started to feel a little more alert. Marc was then able to go home and I just sat there and starred at my baby. That was my baby, there in the bassinet and no longer in my body. I was now awake and used the opportunity to send out a message to our loved ones and share Cristian with the world. This was the day I became a mum.