· By Tiny Hearts Education
My wonderful man, Michael, and I were expecting our firstborn in early October 2020. I came from a background of trying for 5 years with my ex, being diagnosed with PCOS and was told I would unlikely ever conceive without IVF. To my surprise, 5 months into my new wonderful relationship, I fell pregnant, and we started our journey of parenthood in one of the craziest years. I expected complications because of my history, but it was perfect - Gestational Diabetes was the only slight bump we hit, but I managed to control that by diet alone.
I wanted as little intervention as possible during labour, but we educated ourselves about all the options and steps that could eventuate in birth. I have a very minimal pain threshold, but I was adamant I wanted to experience birth as naturally as possible, so I could learn what my body was capable of. I have a massive fear of epidurals - that and an episiotomy were scenarios I wanted to avoid, but I decided I would take it all in stages.
At my 39 week check, they measured my uterus and said that I hadn't grown, and I had lost a kilo since the week prior. My doctor suggested booking an induction earlier to ensure bubs was safe. I was a little in shock, but knowing that I wanted bub here safe above all else, I agreed, and we were booked for our induction on Wednesday the 14th. Safe to say, we tried everything to try to encourage natural labour. I wanted so badly to see my mucus plug; I didn't stop moving all week. We became impatient as the weekend rolled around before my induction was booked, and nothing had happened.
Monday morning, at 7 am, I woke to the feeling of wetting the bed. I jumped up and ran to the shower where my waters began to break. I was calm, mesmerised and excited - it had begun! I called the Day Assessment Ward and explained what had happened; we were encouraged to come in for an assessment. I was told I had a PROM [premature rupture of membranes] as I didn't recall any contractions before my waters broke.
After being hooked up to the monitors, bub's heart rate was perfect - I was well, and he had perfect head down engagement. Grabbing the chart, the nurse asked if my contractions were painful. I looked puzzled and told her I wasn't aware they were contractions. I had no idea that the tensing of my stomach were small contractions and I had, in fact, experienced them the night prior, but put it down to Bub stretching. I was offered an induction, but we laughed it off and opted to go home and wait to see if I would begin to labour actively in the next 24-48 hours.
We were stoked - I went home and cleaned the house top to bottom. I was able to check and recheck my hospital bags while working through contractions that steadily increased over the day. By 4 pm, I started having contractions that actually caused me to stop and breathe through them. Although some of my contractions ranged from 1.5 minutes apart and some lasted around 6 minutes long, they didn't get down to 3 contractions in 10 minutes, so we continued at home.
The next morning we were asked to come in for an assessment again - we were monitored everything was going well. Bub's heart rate was perfect, and I was given the option to start the induction again. I was tired, I hadn't slept and had spent all day and night actively encouraging my body to speed up labour but being stubborn about wanting to labour naturally I decided to go home and keep at it for another day.
Tuesday was hard, I was exhausted, and my contractions were fluctuating. I can't count the number of showers I had during those 2 days, getting through the contractions. I was leaning over the lounge, rocking and grunting through most of the day and night.
Wednesday came; it was time to be induced. We went to the hospital excited, but feeling a bit defeated that it hadn't happened earlier. We were the first into the birthing suite around 8:30 am Wednesday. We discussed our birthing plan with our team, and they set me up for induction. By 10 am, I was receiving the synthetic Oxytocin to increase my contractions, and at that point, I was 2cm dilated and 100% effaced.
The next 7 hours was the most incredibly challenging experience I've ever endured. Michael was my rock. We laboured in the shower for most of the day. He held the water on my back, and I laid on him on the shower floor for hours on end - he was numb, to say the least. I eventually asked for pain relief, and gas was my first step. At first, I couldn't focus on breathing it in whilst getting through contractions - it just annoyed me. A lovely midwife came in and coached me through breathing it in properly and focusing on the waves. It was my saving grace, after that, I had something to zone into, and it got me through my whole labour.
Around 4 pm I asked for another internal and found I was 6cm dilated. I was fighting the urge to push, knowing it was too soon. The birthing team recognised my stage and asked if I wanted to move to a better position for dilation and birth, to which I ended up standing over the bed gripping Michael's hands where he stood on the opposite side. The time it took from 6 cm to transition felt like a flash compared to the last 2.5 days. We lost his heart rate at one point, I tried moving to let the monitors work, but we ended up placing the internal monitor on his scalp to keep his heart rate in check. I don't even recall that part taking place.
The last hour happened so fast. I was pushing instinctively before being fully dilated, I remember making the midwives laugh by apologising for being belligerent, but I couldn't fight it anymore. I was actively pushing at 9cm dilation. I felt like a raw, animalistic need took over me. Pushing felt good, and I couldn't help but push with every contraction. Suddenly they asked me to let go of the gas and bear down to push. I couldn't believe it was time.
The next few minutes were insane; there's no other way to describe it. It was a beautifully raw, painful experience that blows my mind. I pushed a few times and was taken back by the feeling of the ring of fire; it scared me. I was hit with the realisation that I had to get through that pain to meet my little boy. Determined to meet him, I pushed hard, probably around 4 times. I remember screaming in pain when his head was showing.
Using everything I had, muscles I didn't know existed inside of me; I pushed - bubs head was halfway out! That was the most challenging part, pausing halfway and feeling the stretch was insane. Big breath in and pushing again, I moved his whole head earthside. The relief swept over me, and they encouraged me to feel him. I can still feel the wet squishy softness of his scalp on my fingertips. 5 pm - Michael describes that moment as the time where I became something else. I cried out "oh my baby!" then started to shake uncontrollably. I focused in, bore down and pushed his body out with my crazy, animal like noises.
Once I heard him cry, I was encouraged to reach down and grab him. My umbilical cord was short, so it was a little awkward, but it was the greatest moment of my life. Crying happy tears, and clutching my new babe to my chest, I scrambled onto the bed where we stayed bonding, skin to skin, for hours while they stabilised me. Michael was eager to cut the cord, and there was minimal blood flow by the time it was cut. My little boy was content chest to chest for sometime before he began searching for the nipple and started to crawl down to find it. The bliss and pride overtook everything else that was going on.
It took several hours to stabilise me. I had a severe haemorrhage, and I lost around 1.5 litres of blood. They pushed on my belly, and I sprayed the doctor covering her in blood, she literally had to change halfway through. I remember feeling the panic in the room as they measured the blood I was losing. They were waiting to take me to surgery if I didn't stabilise soon. Michael did his best to keep me distracted, but we all could feel the quiet tension. Thankfully My bloodloss slowed down eventually, and the team became relieved surgery wasn't necessary. I also had a 2nd-degree labia tear that required stitches.
I had the syntocinon injection to assist the delivery of my placenta. Which initially we didn't want, however, the midwives discussed with us earlier that because I had laboured so long it was recommended to have it. I am grateful for that injection now! A midwife and 3rd-year trainee helped birth my placenta, the relief when the placenta was birthed was like nothing else. Feeling empty felt good!
I kept it to the side to view later on. It was something that fascinated me. I was always grateful when my placenta formed, recalling how exhausted I felt in the first trimester, and it amazed me what our bodies are capable of creating.
Time slowed down after that. They checked over Conan, Michael dressed him and learnt how to swaddle him picking it up straight away like a pro.
I was eventually wheeled into the Maternity Ward around 930pm. I was a little terrified of having to get through that first night without Michael, I assumed he would be able to stay with me, but once I was in the room he had to leave. We said our goodbyes; safe to say I got no sleep that night. I was too enchanted with the Gorgeous Little Boy that slept in my arms. Time flew by in Hospital, Conan passed all his tests perfectly, they kept us until Friday to ensure my bloodwork was rising and I didn't need a transfusion.
Leaving hospital felt scary but exciting. Once we were home, it felt right, and we settled in quickly. I was on the couch feeding Conan, and I became overwhelmed with everything. I broke into happy OMFG shocked tears about it all. I've never felt more proud of myself. I seriously doubted my pain threshold before labour, and I had no idea how I would cope through it all. I did it all as naturally as I could, and I experienced a positive labour for what I wanted. I am left feeling like a Boss Bitch and rewarded with the cutest little boy, along with the support of a proud amazing Baby Daddy.
Labour was the most overwhelming painful, scary experience of my life; however, without it, I wouldn't know how absolutely capable and fucking awesome I am.
I did walk out saying I might be one and done—the whole experience challenging my original desire to have four children. The morning of Day 4, I cradled Conan in my arms while Michael cooked us brekky and I said I couldn't believe it, but I'd do it again. Poor Michael looked terrified at my words and called me crazy. He is still having flashbacks. I honour him so much for supporting me through it all and for witnessing an unreal event. I would struggle to be the support person for such an insane moment. I am truly grateful to have him through it all. He is smashing out being a first time Dad, I am so proud.
Conan is so perfect and makes us so happy. We are cruising by on this new journey. I would 100% do it again, knowing that I get to hold a perfect creation again. I'd 100% do it again because I now know I can.