The birth of our first child has been the most awesome experience of our lives and new life together.
It was the beginning of July when my partner and I looked at the positive home pregnancy test; after the initial joy, I couldn't help but dread the 9 months of a mixture of morning sickness, back pain, tiredness and the stages of labour. I heard and read enough horror stories of giving birth and the pain involved.
I was hoping for the active birth and was booked in to the Hospital's birthing centre, where they encourage you to greet the contractions without drugs, using calming techniques to deal with the pain, squatting and hot baths.
I had suffered morning sickness from 4 weeks to about 12 weeks. However as the days went on I learnt to deal with it better and throwing up became my daily ritual. After the morning sickness went the second trimester came and went without a hitch and even in the third trimester I didn't have too much to complain about. The worst was my indigestion and heart-burn, and needing to go to the toilet every 2 hours wasn't too nice either. But you could say I had an easy pregnancy with everything happening like text book.
The remaining few weeks of pregnancy were made of anticipation and lessons of patience. I was inundated with questions and comments "when are you due?". It was very difficult to be greeted at wort with "You're still here?" People were amazed at the fact I was still working, I worked right up until Friday 11th March.
However, my due date (Thursday 10th March) came and went. My last appointment showed no change to my cervix and the midwife said that it would be unlikely for me to go into labour by myself. This disappointed me as it meant I would not be able to have my baby in the birthing centre and have an active labour but I would be stuck in the labour ward. So I was booked in for an induction on the Thursday 17th (St. Patrick's Day).
On Monday 14th at 1:00 in the morning I woke up to slight period type pain, thinking 'finally' I am having Braxton hicks' contractions, I'm normal after all, as I had not experienced them at all. Falling back to sleep only to stir again with the same kind of niggly feeling.
In the morning at about 9:00am my now 'husband' and I got up and decided to go for a drive and look at some light fittings (as we had been renovating and this was the next thing to be done), and we even had Hungry Jacks for lunch. Throughout the whole day I had suffered those niggly feelings with them getting slightly more intense, so much that I had to stop and concentrate when having one, but not so much that I called them 'painful'.
Just after lunch the mother in-law rang in distress. Her car had broken down and she wanted us to come and have a look and then follow her home to make sure she made it, as she was at the shops. I was a little tired and decided to say at home whilst hubby went to her aid. I felt a little emotional and wanted him with me, but quickly putting it to the back of my mind told myself not to be selfish.
He got home about 3:30pm and decided to load up the trailer with the rubbish we had lying about the back yard. (Old stove, roller door, green waste, old shade cloth etc). I was sitting inside watching TV and thinking to myself when do Braxton hicks stop. It was about 4:00 that I noticed they were more about 2 and 3 minutes apart lasting about 50 seconds. I got a hot water bottle to ease the pain. They were becoming more intense and I told my husband. He advised me to ring the birthing centre and ask, I rang asking how long Braxton hicks usually last for. They advised me to take some Panadol and have a hot bath. I did this, and while I was in the bath my husband had a shower. After that he said "let's just go down and get you checked out". I didn't want to as I knew they would just look and me and tell me to go home as nothing was happening. He said "shall I put the bag in the car", my answer being "nah, they'll only send us home anyway". I couldn't possible be in labour, I hadn't even lost the 'mucus plug'.
We made our way to the Hospital and got there at about 7pm; I was still writing notes as to how often the 'contractions' were coming. We got there and we were put in one of the birthing centre's rooms. They checked me and said I was 2cm dilated but still long. Oh my God!!! I was in labour. We decided to stay at the hospital, so Hubby went back home to get our bags and rang my friend Samantha on the way, who we planned to have at the birth to video tape and take photos.
I decided to hop into a hot bath. The bath was very soothing, but it needed to be very hot to help. I was in and out like a yoyo as my face would burn up. Hubby and Samantha came back and it was about 10:13pm when I was checked again. I had progressed a centimetre, so was then 3cm dilated but still long. At this point I needed something stronger than hot water to help. I was given pethidine, but this only made me vomit and very spaced out. As time went on things were getting more painful, either that or just harder for me to handle, Hubby was rubbing my back when I was having a contraction, which helped a little.
At 2:30am Tuesday 15th, I was checked again. This time I was still 3cm dilated but had thinned out. At this time I thought things were going to take ages and I couldn't handle this intense pain for too much longer so I demanded an epidural. I was taken out of the birthing centre and into the labour ward. They began to put the epidural in and I had to stay very still; this was hard and all of a sudden nausea came over me and they were just too slow at getting me a bag. I vomited all over the floor and chair. Once the epidural was in and started taking effect it was amazing. They then hooked me up to Pitocin (the drip) to speed the process up and have me dilating quicker. They also broke my waters with a crochet like hook. For the next couple of hours I drifted off to sleep and was even cracking jokes, it was like nothing was happening, no pain whatsoever.
At about 5:00am baby's heart rate was dropping and the doctor was called in to check. He put my legs in stirrups so that he could have a look and put a monitor on baby's head to check he was not in distress. When he was down there he announced that I was fully dilated (3cm to 10cm in three and a half hours). This meant that it was time to push and baby to be born.
The midwives had to tell me when a contraction was coming and when to push as I still had no feeling. I was pushing for an hour, I had been watching the clock, and the baby's head was crowning. It was amazing to reach down and feel this; I could finally feel his head (and mass of hair) with my hand. The midwives decided I had been pushing for a while and we were not progressing any further so they performed an episiotomy. Then within a few minutes and the next couple of contractions 'Jacob Cooper Alby Willsdon' was born at 6:33am and placed on my chest and Hubby cut the cord. Jacob weighed a healthy 8lbs 14 1/2 oz (4.035kg) and at 54cm long.
Our little man had a beautiful head of dark hair and we both fell instantly in love with him. Would I do it again? Yes, in a heart beat...