After spending the morning of the 6th having breaky with Ryan at a cafe, I noticed some pain and what I had thought to be some contractions - but not regular. I had actually been woken by them the night before but wasn't sure what I was experiencing.
I had minimal Braxton Hicks throughout the pregnancy, so all of this was foreign. After coming home, I headed to a regular checkup with my doctor to see if I was dilated at all. He had performed an internal and found I was 1cm dilated. He also completed a stretch and sweep at the same time.
After some CTG monitoring at his rooms to check our little man, I went home to rest. On the drive home, I continued to have pains and discomfort. I really thought I was in pre-labour now.
I tried to lie down on the bed and rest next to Ryan from about 1.30pm, and I felt the urge for the toilet. I sat down and when I looked down my mucous plug had come out. I called my mum to ask her, and I actually took a photo because I wasn't sure what it was. After that, I knew we were on, and labour was happening today. Our little man decided to make an appearance on his own terms, which made me so happy!
We stayed at home, and the contractions became more and more intense. By about 5.30pm they were between 3-5 minutes and going for 45-60sec intervals! I walked around, up and down the stairs and swayed side to side.
It was quite intense labouring at home. I used a tens machine which Ryan helped put on, and I told him to go get a few hours sleep because I knew it's going to be a long night ahead. I stayed In the lounge room, walking and leaning over the couch, rocking and moving with each contraction.
By 8 pm they were getting more and more intense, and some were 2 mins apart.
I had a fear of giving birth at home or on the side of the road, so I called the maternity ward and spoke to a lovely midwife who heard one of the contractions, she said: "well love, you sound like you're ready to come in".
I let her know I'd have a shower and try to stay home a little longer and not rush in. I wanted Ryan to rest, and I felt under control.
By 10.30pm I said to Ryan "I think we need to head in".
So we got into the car and headed for the Epworth. We arrived and got into a birthing suite by 11 pm. The room was so lovely and big and had windows to see all of Victoria Parade. I was hooked up to CTG for a while, and the nurses were able to monitor me.
I then got up and was moving around with each contraction. I laboured well using the Tens and Ryan was able to try and rest in the room alongside me.
At about 2 am, I asked for the nurses to perform an exam to see how I was progressing. By this stage, I was 2-3cm with intense regular contractions. I continued and felt in control with my breath and with each contraction, I would send it down and breathe through it.
I decided to get in the shower and see how that felt. I ended up in there for an hour and a half swaying, breathing and feeling the warm water on my belly. By this time, I had started to get some back pain, which felt different from the earlier contractions.
I got out of the shower around 6 am and asked for another internal to check my progress. I was 5-6cm dilated, and everything was getting very intense.
My OB was due in at 8 am to break my waters, so I knew I had a timeline.
Between 6-8am I had another bloody show/mucous plug come out and my waters broke, I was leaking a bloody fluid which was dripping out as I stood over the bed, by this stage I was almost naked standing over a bluey.
My midwife student arrived around 7 am, and she was such a legend! The nurse staff overnight were so special and helped guide me through the entire night. The AM nurse arrived, and they handed everything over about the night.
By 7.45 am, I was in incredible pain, and I felt as though I wasn't able to breathe through the contractions anymore. After discussing it with the midwife, Ryan and I decided to have an Epidural.
Once I did that the midwives gowned me up and prepped all the equipment.
I had laboured for such a long time without any intervention, it was amazing, primal, and I'm incredibly proud of how I laboured through.
The nurse left to call the on call anaesthetist. By 8 am my OB came as planned to break my waters. He came into the room and was surprised I wasn't more dilated as I'd been labouring so long.
He explained there could be another 6-8 hours to go to get to 10cm. My OB knew I wanted a vaginal delivery, and he said he was optimistic we would make it happen. But he acknowledged that due to bubs size and length of labour we might need to intervene, but at this stage baby was calm, and everything was going ahead. This reassured me that the epidural was the best decision.
I was so exhausted. So my OB examined me and said I was 6cm. He then used a needle-like hook to break my waters. Instantly I felt warm water under me. He said it was clear, as in bubs hadn't passed meconium. During this time, contractions were continuing to intensify as we waited for the anaesthetist to arrive.
The on-call anaesthetist arrived at around 8.15 am, and it was straight to business. She popped in a cannula and started to get all the equipment ready. I was scared, and I looked at Ryan with what I think he could see was fear as well. He came to me and made eye contact with me the whole time.
He helped me be strong and to control the contractions and movement while she was inserting the epidural. It was scary, intense and also very quick. Once we were done, the nurses lowered the bed and explained I could rest now. It took about 15 minutes for the pain to subside and the sensation I then felt was pressure and tightening. I could still move my body and my legs and was able to manoeuvre around the bed. The nurses inserted a catheter for my urine because I wasn't able to walk.
My OB said he'd be back around 12 pm to see my progress. He also wanted some syntocinon hooked up in my IV. This is what forces the uterus to contract and work hard to help me dilate further to progress to 10cm.
We closed the curtains in the room, and I closed my eyes to rest. I wasn't able to sleep, but I was so thankful to be able to let my body do what it needed to do. Without the pain and stress, my body was working hard, and baby was doing so well. The syntocinon kept the contractions regular and strong, and my midwife was happy with how it all looked.
I couldn't sleep, but Ryan was able to get some rest after an incredibly long night. I was able to rest my eyes and mind, rehydrate and get into a calm place mentally.
My OB came back in at about 11.45am after his morning of c-sections and consulting. He wanted to check how I was progressing. He did an internal and said "Carly, how far do we want to be dilated to push? I said "umm 10cm". He said, "we're 10cms".
He asked the midwife what's the ideal position of babies head, and they answered: "below the spine".
I was so elated and relieved. My body did what it needed to do; our beautiful son worked hard to start his adventure on the outside.
My OB said let's start pushing at 12.30 pm, and I'll come back around 1.30 pm to see how we're moving.
So for half an hour, we prepped, and I got mentally ready. I discussed with my midwife student and midwife how I will push, and what I should focus on, what positions we can try and how to breathe. I talked to Ryan, and we got prepared together.
12.30 pm came around, and my midwife had got me ready. We started to work into pushing and feeling what the sensation feels like, and it took me a while to get the breath right. I also had trouble knowing if what I was doing was even helping because of the epidural.
I could feel pressure and continued to try and push into my bottom (which is what the nurses guide you to do).
We tried lots of positions, side lying, legs up, using the nurses and Ryan to hold my legs to resist against. I pushed with each contraction and worked hard to get our little man down and even closer to making his appearance.
After an hour, my OB came back into the room and checked our progress, with the next contraction. My OB said, "if he's not coming now on his own, I need to help you, Carly".
So just like that everyone got the room ready, the stirrups came out and the nurses knew what he meant. He asked for them to prepare forceps and vacuum for delivery and they had him gowned up and ready straight away.
I was scared and wasn't really sure what I had to do and what was next.
Everyone was moving around the room and had a job to do. But my OB was so reassuring and said: "Carly, listen to my voice and I will help you meet your little man".
I looked around the room, and there was my husband, my midwife student, a med student working with my OB, my OB, the midwife who had been with for the day and a second midwife had come in to assist. We had a full room.
And like that, we started. My legs were up in the stirrups, and I was still having contractions while they were getting the equipment ready. I asked my OB, "do you still want me to push through these?'. He said yes, so I continued to until he was ready to get involved.
While this was happening, he asked Ryan, "would you like to see your baby?". Ryan walked around and stood by him, as a contraction came, and I pushed, my OB was able to show Ryan the top of our baby boys head.
Ryan came around to me and said: "Carly, I saw his hair, you're doing so good!". He was so so close.
In between contractions, my OB had now placed the vacuum in position and was being assisted by the midwife. She was to apply the suction so he could help our bubba out.
The next wave of contractions came, and my OB told me to push. I ground down and started pushing, he stood up and started to manoeuvre the vacuum at different angels. I looked at him, and he looked like he was working so hard to help our baby move down and crown.
We continued this for another three big contractions.
On the last one I was pushing, our baby was almost out, the suction came loose, and our baby literally sucked back inside me.
My OB remained calm and was positive he could do this. He reapplied the vacuum again and asked me not to push, and he told me he needed to perform an episiotomy. He said my perineum looked incredibly stretched and I was at risk of tearing.
I trust him wholly, and I said, "do whatever you need to do".
I looked down to him and could see him using scissors. I couldn't feel anything but was watching it all happening - it felt surreal and like I was watching this all happening from another me corner of the room.
My OB asked if I was ready and he said "Carly, now listen to me, we're going to push gently and short bursts. Listen to my voice and do what I tell you to do". There was a lot of noise, and my brain was so loud. I looked at him, prepared to push with the next contraction.
My OB reattached the vacuum, and the next contractions started to come, as it did, my OB told me to push gently. He stood up and was really manoeuvring our baby. I couldn't feel much other than pressure, but I was so present at the time.
After some gentle pushes and a lot of work from my OB, I looked down and could see a head between my legs. I was in shock, I wasn't sure what Ryan could see or what he was doing, but I knew he probably saw this as well.
I couldn't believe it; my baby's head was out. My OB continued to give me directions, he continued to tell me, and when to push more, when to stop and go again. I couldn't see much of what was happening, but Ryan was able to fill me in.
I could really only see my OB and his body and how hard he was working.
As I made my last few pushes, my OB used his fingers under our babies chin to assist him out. I was gently pushing with my OB, and he then reached in and placed two fingers under our babies shoulders.
I could see him turning and rotating our baby out of me. My OB told me to stop pushing as he continued to rotate our baby so his shoulders would come out. I could see what looked like a purple, bloody thing between my legs. Within a few seconds, he was out.
Our baby was placed into my arms. The midwives removed the top half of my gown, and he was placed on my bare chest.
He wasn't crying yet, and the nurses were rubbing him with towels. He was making noises, and I could hear him gurgling and trying to cry. I hadn't seen him or his face, it happened so quickly.
Without even knowing the nurses had given me an injection in my thigh as bubs came out, it was syntocinon, to help deliver the placenta and prevent postpartum haemorrhage.
The nurse told me to rub him up and down to get his lungs going. I did, and within seconds, he started to cry. He was on his side, and I then turned him to be flat on my chest.
I couldn't make out his features, but his eyes were wide open. I was talking to him, and it's almost like he could recognise my voice. I looked up at Ryan, who was smiling at me, he took a picture, and the first thing I said was "we had a baby".
Instantly I cried and had an overwhelming feeling of relief.
The nurses asked for our babies name. I completely forgot we had to do that! I looked at Ryan and said, "go on". He announced that our beautiful boy's name is Hudson Christopher Underwood.
Ryan was so great, he leant down and was talking to Huddy, they were making eye contact.
Hudson was so alert. I had no idea that newborns could be so awake to their surroundings. He was listening to our voices and looking straight at us.
While we were being all loved up, our OB and his med student were working on me. They asked me to push gently and were trying to deliver my placenta. I could feel them and pressure as I pushed and they pushed hard on the outside of my belly.
My OB then began stitching me up. I could feel it as he was stitching he said the epidural block might be wearing off, so he used a local anaesthetic.
Ryan walked around behind our OB to get a photo with Huddy and myself, and as he did, he took a picture of my placenta because I wanted to see it.
He told me later it looked like a war zone between my legs, blood, poo & medical equipment. I'm proud that he looked and kept it together.
Once my OB had finished, he took off his gown and gloves and came up towards us. He shook Ryan's hand and said congratulations to us both. He made sure we were comfortable and then said he'd leave us to meet our boy and he will be back.
The midwife was then trying to help bubs latch on to my breast. Huddy was so awake and alert that he wasn't interested. He was distracted by our voices, and his eyes were wide open. He wasn't able to get onto my breast straight away after a few nurses tried. They said not to worry; we can try again a bit later. I didn't realise it was all meant to happen straight away, so I wasn't phased by it at all.
The nurses took Huddy to clean him, do his vaccines, weigh him and measure him. He was a whopping 4.02kg and 52cm long - a beautiful, healthy baby boy.
The nurses asked Ryan to go over and help them dress him. Then Ryan bought him back over, and we sat and stared at him. I didn't realise, but I looked around at the room, and it was empty, with no machines going. I was disconnected from the epidural and syntocinon.
No nurses, no doctors, no one but us three left to stare, talk and meet each other.
After about half an hour to an hour, the nurse came in and asked if I'd like to shower. I said yes, and Ryan took Huddy and sat down with him wrapped tight in his arms. I got up after the Epidural and felt heavy on my feet. I had my catheter bag with me and hobbled with support from the nurse to the shower. Standing up, I realised how much I was bleeding, the bluey between my legs was full, and as I hobbled to the shower, I tried to hold it all In place. I sat in the shower and was speechless about the whirlwind of what had just happened around me, to me and for me.
I remember crying in the shower and realising we had done it. The baby I had been waiting for was here and ready for me to be his mother. I was desperate to meet him, and the day was finally here.
I sat in the shower for what felt like a moment but was an hour. The nurse came and got me out and helped me back to the room and to get dressed. I couldn't even put on pants because I was bleeding so much, I thought it was pointless.
I looked at Ryan as he sat on the armchair cuddling our son, and my heart was so full.
Our new adventure started here.