A year on from the birth of my second daughter I find myself reminiscing about how she came into this world. Much like her sister she came at her own time, not when we wanted her to. My first daughter went 2 weeks over her due date and so we were expecting a similar time for her little sister. My mum was coming from Adelaide and so we had booked her flight 5 days after my due date seeing as last time she spent most of her time waiting for my daughter to arrive rather than spending time with her.
For weeks I’d had Braxton Hicks and felt that she was coming any day. Every night my husband and I would think this is it, but it never eventuated into anything. The night of the 1st of May we both went to bed smiled at each other and said, I don’t think she’s coming any time soon she seems determined to make us wait. With that we turned off the light only to hear a might POP. I felt a mighty push in my belly before the pop and I honestly thought, in my crazy hypochondriac way, that my daughter had kicked me so hard she had burst one of my organs!!! Now I look back I think I must have been insane to jump to that conclusion first. Shortly after the pop I felt warm liquid seeping between my legs and only then did it click that my waters had broken.
We quickly turned the lights back on and rang my mum to let her know (she was arriving the next day), and then messaged and called all who mattered, our birth photographer, my doula and my best friends. We then made the split decision that our 4 year old would attend the birth (we hadn’t decided what to do) and off we went for a long wet ride down the mountain to the hospital. Now this ride was a good hour so I popped on some music, my 4 year old slept and we just cruised on down. I remember going over bumps made the water gush out but other than that all was going smoothly.
I felt so empowered, shaky but empowered. It was so strange I just couldn’t stop shivering but I wasn’t cold. I mean my teeth chattered so loudly my husband could hear them. My waters had t broken last time so this was all very new to me.
I really thought I’d get to hospital be 7cm dilated like last time and it’d be show time! Boy was I wrong.
When we arrived everything was closed up, I liked having a very private entrance seeing as I was leaking water everywhere, so we buzz the buzzer and were let in. I was so embarrassed about the giant puddles I was leaving everywhere I went. It’s not a very natural for me to be what felt like peeing, in such a public place. I couldn’t help but think about the mess I was making and hoping no one was slip and fall due to my puddles.
Not only did I leave a giant mess in the elevator but then no rooms where ready for me as it had been a very busy night so I was asked to sit soaking wet in the corridor. So many things were going through my mind, how cold I was, how awkward it was to be sitting in a corridor having contractions and waters spilling everywhere, how painful would this all get but mainly how soon it would be until I would finally meet this wriggly girl I’d been lovingly carrying for over 9 months.
Finally the room was ready and we made ourselves at home. My daughter was so excited because we’d packed her a bag a yummy treats, an iPod and DVD player all to keep her entertained, so it was a very special occasion for her. Then I saw them wheel in that little plastic bed for baby and it all became so real! It was just so strange and so fearful to think my little girl would be lying in there in….well who knew how long but soon enough. All this waiting was finally over and we could finally meet her and see what she looked like. I was so excited.
I got on the bath and was very on top of it all. I was making all the right deep noises, just going with it! My 4 year d was bouncing around talking to my doula and the nurses, not looking tired even though it was 2am.
It was all feeling so good and natural. Then they checked how dilated I was, 4 cm, I repeat 4cm!!!! What was that??? Only 4?? But how could that be, I’d been in agony (or what I thought was agony at the time) for over 4 hours to only have 4 cm. I was so deflated. I honestly felt so scared, if it had been that hard for the first 4 how much tougher was it going to get?
That hippy, natural earth mumma in me was regretting everything. I kept thinking, this isn’t what it’s all hyped up to be, where’s the bit I feel empowered, when will I feel that warrior in me awaken and why am I not one of those women who orgasm? Although I really don’t know how comfortable I’d be having an orgasm in front of a room of people anyway.
I’d read the books, this was all meant to be natural instinct right. My body would know the best positions to get in, it’d know when to push, what to do. Well let me tell you, my body knows shit all. Maybe I’m too far removed from the nothing women in fields but my body said lie on the bed in the feral position. It actually said that, with legs clamped firmly together. Yep, no walking around and using gravity for me, no deep gutral sounds, nope just high pitch squeals of help me, crying and legs firmly shut. I pushed when I shouldn’t and was just a mess. I even asked for gas in desperation only to try and suck on it and decide it was too hard to do while crying and throw it to the ground.
You might think by this stage my daughter was beside herself hearing mummy in so much pain but no, she actually said to me “can you please stop screaming I can’t hear my iPod” she also mocked me by putting on my voice and screaming “help me, he’ll me”. Clearly her iPod was a lot more important than her noisy mum giving birth. Don’t get me wrong we’d prepped her that I might scream and cry but to see how relaxed she was was quite disconcerting. I even saw my husband and midwife having a good old chat while I was screaming in pain and I remember thinking, doesn’t anyone care I’m in so much pain??
Those last few hours took forever, like a well oiled machine I dilated 1cm per hour, which wasn’t fast enough for me in my state of agony but I was reassured was actual perfect. I just kept asking, how much longer do I have to do this? Begging them to give me a time frame. The planner in me just Cosby handle this unknown time that it would take. I needed numbers and I needed them now.
Eventually my OB came and prized my legs open to find I was dilated enough to push! Sweet sweet pushing, that’s all I can say. Yep it hurt like acid burning my vagina but at least it felt like progress, just sitting in pain didn’t feel like I was going anywhere but pushing made me feel in control.
This is where my body knew what to do, yep it’d gotten me into one of the most unnatural positions to both, one that makes things harder but it sure knew how to push. My daughter, husband and doula all stood there cheering me on and finally with a big push relief, her head was out.
The rest was so quick, suddenly she was in my chest, I was sure she want breathing, can you tell how neurotic I am yet? Of course she was fine, in fact she was born with the cord around her neck but my cord was so long it didn’t affect her in the slightest.
All this waiting and pain had led to this moment, meeting my little girl for the first time and she was perfect. So fair compared to my first but exactly the same size at 3.8kgs and 51cm. She fed so easily with her giant mouth and to be honest once on there never really wanted to get off. I has walked in with a family of 3 but we were now a family of 4.
Natural birth was hard and i’ll be honest it wasn’t exactly what I expected. That rush you get didn’t erase the extreme pain for me but recovery was a lot quicker than with the epidural I had. It was an experience I’ll never forget and even though I’m not a natural norther I’m glad I did it. Those books were wrong about me, I didn’t have a bloody clue but I still ended up with my gorgeous little girl.
I think my team had so much to do with it, having my husband who was literally there for me to lean on throughout, my doula who kept encouraging me and explaining things to me, my amazing OB who let me figure it all out myself and my daughter who asked me why I still had a big belly after the baby had come out but was the loudest at cheering when I was pushing, they all made it so memorable and kept me strong when I was weak.