We are just days away from our little boy’s first birthday and we can’t quite believe it. No longer a ‘baby’ and becoming more toddler-like with each day.
This special milestone has me reminiscing about his arrival into the world and those first few days as a first time mum.
So I thought I might commemorate the occasion by telling Jesse’s birth story. Partly because all mum’s love to share their labour stories and partly because all kids love to hear about their entrance into the world. But also because I don’t want the details to get fuzzy. I want to document it so I will always remember.
Those last few weeks of pregnancy
I was loving pregnancy but I was also starting to get very excited about meeting our new family member. And if I’m honest, a little anxious about the pain I was about to endure. I had heard lots of birth stories and was even blessed to witness a few bubs coming into the world, but I had no idea what my birth experience would be like.
I knew what I wanted; a calm yet active labour. To labour at home for as long as possible. To do it as naturally and unassisted as possible. But I also knew that a birth plan doesn’t always go to plan and should be flexible.
Kaine would ask me every day towards the end if there was “any movement at the station” before leaving for work and each time I would smile and assure him no, not yet.
On the 25th of May, Kaine decided to start his leave from work. Even if bub didn’t come for another week or more, we would have some special time together before bub did come.
We went for a walk with the dog that day (well I waddled) and I distinctly remember on our way back the man across the road asked how long we had to go. Ten days I answered excitedly. And two days later we were parents.
Tuesday 26th May, 2015
7am – I’m lying in bed enjoying one of the last few sleep ins I’ll have for probably a very long while and feel myself drifting in and out of sleep. I start to realise that it’s mild period-like pain waking me from my slumber. Without opening my eyes I sleepily wonder to myself if it’s the early stages of contractions. I ignore it for a while longer and continue to snooze.
Later that morning we are both awake as we had plans to go the shops. It’s not until after we are there for about an hour that I mention to Kaine that I think I’m getting mild contractions. Nothing to freak out about, but perhaps we should go home. By this stage they were feeling a bit stronger and all I could think about was not wanting my waters to break in public (clean up in isle 5!).
As the day got later, the contractions got stronger and more painful, but still very irregular. Some were 20 minutes apart while others were 4 or 5 minutes apart.
11 pm – Kaine asked (yet again) if we should tell anyone. I told him no because I knew these things could stop and start. The midwives had told us to stay at home until the contractions were 3 minutes apart so that’s what I was going to do. I instructed Kaine to go and get some sleep. But there was no way I could with the waves of pain I was getting.
So, with the lights dimmed I had my contraction timer app and a game on my phone for in between and every time a contraction came I would get up and squat whilst bracing against the kitchen bench.
Sometime during the early hours of Wednesday I migrated to the spare room to get some rest in between contractions. The gap was getting longer and the pain was getting milder. By 6am the next morning, they were all but gone! I had a midwife appointment at 10.30am, so I knew that I could fill her in with the nights activity and see what she says.
Wednesday 27th May, 2015
After barely any sleep I was feeling particularly spritely – must have been adrenaline kicking in.
10am – We head off to my midwife appointment. I explain the last 24 hours and she says that’s all great signs and this could go on for a week. What now? A week?? Hell no. I have a couple of little pains in her office but nothing to really worry about.
Afterwards we drop by mum’s for a visit as she is right around the corner. Now she knows nothing of what’s been going on until I rush to the kitchen bench to resume my squat position. Conversation stops and breathing gets heavier. I see the look of glee on mum’s face which at the time, seems kind of cruel. After two more I say to Kaine for the second day in a row, “I think we need to go home now”.
12.30pm – We arrive home and while Kaine goes to get lunch I hop into bed with the lap top to continue watching Glee on Netflix which has been my guilty pleasure since starting my maternity leave.
I soon find myself hovering by the bed in a world of pain. I recommence timing contractions and they’re getting closer. It’s time to call the hospital.
The midwife answers and I can hardly talk I’m in so much pain. I manage to form enough words to tell her what’s happening and she tells us to come in.
Holy sh*t! This is happening! We grab our bags, I warm my heat pack one more time and we head out the door.
That car trip is not one I’ll forget anytime soon. I can’t squat my way through contractions in the car and instead have to sit up right. I clench the seat beside me. I start to cry. Partly from the pain and partly because I’m scared.
I have a contraction in the car park and two more getting up to the maternity ward.
2 pm – They hook me up to a machine to listen to bubby’s heartbeat and to monitor contractions. For the next 30 minutes, they just stand around and watch me ryth pain with each one. After deciding that I am indeed in labour they check to see how dilated I am and whether or not they can break my waters.
I was so happy to hear I was 4cm dilated (all that work last night paid off!) and breaking my waters was surprisingly easy and pain free.
Well, from that moment, it was game on! We put the call in to my parents as we had agreed that my mum and sister would join us in the birth suite. They were both unbelievable support as was Kaine.
And I was lucky enough to be able to stick to my birth plan entirely. I remained mobile throughout the whole labour and stayed off the bed pretty much the whole time. It was definitely leg day as I continued to squat with each contraction. Boy did I feel that the next day!
But it was part of my routine. I coped by doing the same thing every time. At one point the midwife suggested I count or get Kaine to count during each one. I remember thinking “if you start to count out loud and I will slap you!”
When it came time to push I thought nature would just take over. But I found that I really had to deliberately switch gears from riding through the wave of contractions to using it to bear down. I was getting to the stage where I didn’t know how much more I could do or how much longer I could go for.
When I said that the midwife replied that they wouldn’t let me push for much longer. Immediately I wondered what that meant. Assisted delivery? Caesarean? Okay, time to get this baby out!
I realised what was holding me back was my fear of tearing after hearing one particular horror story. I just had to put that aside and breath this baby out. And that’s exactly what I did.
7.50 pm – It’s finally over. The sweet relief of no more pain washes over me as does the love for the tiny baby I hold in my arms. “Well what is it?” I hear everyone say and I realise I haven’t yet looked to see whether I’m holding my son or my daughter. And nobody else in the room knows either.
It’s a boy I say as I look up at Kaine. We both smile as we look back down at our beautiful baby boy.
My dad, who was not-so-patiently waiting in the waiting room this whole time, joins us while we all marvel at our beautiful baby boy. Around that time, we all put in our final guesses for baby’s weight. He was a delicate parcel of 6 pound 2 ounces. I think Kaine might have guessed his weight exactly.
I was just completely in new mum bliss mode now. Thrilled to have had such an amazing birth experience but also thrilled it was over. Just in time for my next challenge. Motherhood.
I’ll never forget the moment my life changed forever. The moment I fell even more madly in love with my husband and the moment my heart started to live outside my body.
Jesse, my darling boy, happy birthday.