It all began on Monday, the 22nd of August. We were at my grandma’s celebrating her 77th birthday.. I think it was mid cronut that I experienced, what I now know to be a contraction. I complained that my stomach hurt really bad- my mum quickly started arranging pillows on the couch so I could lay down, but just as fast as the pain came it went away.. It didn’t cross my mind that what I had experienced was a contraction. We all had a good laugh and kept eating dessert.
Fast forward a few minutes- I went to the bathroom where I had a bloody show however there was a lot of red fresh blood. We freaked out.. It’s one thing to see pale pink blood but another thing to see fresh red blood at 39/40 weeks pregnant.
We called the hospital who advised us to come in within the hour. If you know my husband, you know that he mentally began keeping track of the time. We quickly packed up our things and headed home- we needed to drop off the groceries I had bought just that morning and grab our toiletries in case we were having a baby that night!
About 10min out from the hospital we started feeling the car pulling to the right and a sound which resembled the beginnings of a flat tyre! We couldn’t believe it! We quickly pulled over (my mum had been following in her car) and began checking the tyre’s- It was slightly raining and I remember telling Greg that he should reverse and drive a little so I could look at the tyre’s.. I was having mild contractions. We couldn’t see any flat so we figured that there was a nail in one of the tyres. The stress level of my husband was beginning to sky rocket- remember his mental countdown of an hour? We were now at about 50 of the 60 minutes..
Praying we would be able to make it to the hospital without getting a flat tyre we quickly pulled back out onto the highway – after parking I had another contraction but it wasn’t long or super hard however I do remember having to breath through it.
We made our way in to the hospital- they gave me a gown and began the process of checking me. I was 3.5cm. Generally, they would send you home until you were dilated 4cm but because I was bleeding and had gestational diabetes they kept me at hospital.
They check you every 4 hours, but from 9:30pm Monday night till approx. 5:30am on Tuesday morning I had only progressed to 4cm and my waters hadn’t broken. At 7:45am (my next check) I was at 6cm and they decided to break my waters. Up until this stage the pain had been manageable- Greg was laying in the bed beside me, and as a coping mechanism I would grab his shirt and breath into it while shaking my leg. It sounds kind of ridiculous but it was helping me get through the pain quite effectively!
Around 10am the pain was becoming unbearable so I asked for the gas- I was bouncing on an exercise ball and sucking gas every time a contraction came around. The gas made me super queasy, and made the room spin, but it was taking the edge off of the contractions.
When I hit 7cm I decided to get into the bath- I wanted a water birth so I figured this would help progress things- big mistake. As soon as I got into the water and had my first contraction the pain was unbearable- there was nothing for me to push against or bounce up and down on- I think I had 3 contractions in the tub and decided that there was no way I could have the baby in the bath. I hit the wall of pain. I was desperate for an epidural.
Thank God the anaesthetist was on the floor- It felt like he appeared within minutes of me asking for the epidural. After telling me all the side effects that could happen as a result of getting an epidural we started getting situated to get the needle. All I kept telling myself was not to move. I had 3 contractions while he was trying to get the epidural in- I believe God helped me to barely feel them because I knew they were coming but I was able to block out the pain and sit like a rock. After hitting additional cartilage the first time, he found the right area the second time.
I was given a low block which took the pain but still allowed me to move my legs. Almost as soon as I got the epidural I started shaking- the shakes continued right up until I was pushing. This was probably one of the most traumatic parts for my mum. She coped really well (from what I remember) except seeing me shake and in so much pain.
Another thing I experienced was intense pressure every contraction. The epidural was fantastic but the pressure from her head was almost as painful as contractions so I was sucking the gas even though I had an epidural.
Fast forward to around 4:30pm and I was finally 10cm so I could begin pushing.
I can’t even describe the intense pain and pressure I felt.
The hour and a half of pushing was the most traumatic part of my labour. Between intense contractions I don’t remember much- my mum tells me that she would call my name because it was as if I lost consciousness between contractions. Once I felt a contraction coming I would “wake up” to a spinning room and push.
I can’t remember most of the pushing experience- I do remember lying to the midwife though when she asked me if a contraction was still there for a 4th push (we were doing sets of 3 pushes) and I lied saying no.. Of course she knew it was there- her hand was on my tummy..haha..You can’t just change the rules like that!
After Ava was born and we checked if she was indeed a girl- we did skin to skin and started the recovery process.
Due to the intense pushing I broke blood vessels in my eyes and face. My eyes, 8 days on, have started clearing up but my face has pretty much gone back to normal.
Physically- I feel great considering I gave birth a week ago and I’m back in my pre-pregnancy clothes with only a little baby bump.
Birthing Ava was the most traumatic and difficult thing I have ever experienced but it was worth it!