Introducing Raegan!

It all began on Monday morning, the 6th of May- we woke up and decided to go into work with Greg. We had been home for a week earlier with no sign of baby so I had resided myself to the fact that the baby wasn’t going to come till I was over 42 weeks and needing to be induced..
Once we got into work Ava and I walked to the local cafe to get a coffee then headed to the park to try and waste some time. We spent the day plodding or more like waddling around the office and ended up leaving around 3pm.
I dropped Greg and Ava home and went grocery shopping considering the baby wasn’t coming for a week I actually meal planned and needed to buy groceries. I remember also stopping into Kmart to finish off a baby shower gift for a friend and browse through the aisles a little. Once I got home I noticed that I was bleeding a little- something similar had happened with Ava so I called the birthing unit who recommended I come in to be checked.
We loaded up my bags, called a friend that lives close by because of course my sister decided to work a double shift at her hospital that day and headed into Liverpool hospital. We got to the hospital at 5:42pm- the street parking in front of the hospital is free from 6pm (with 15 minutes free), so we parked and stood outside the car for 3 minutes waiting for the timer to tick over to 5:45pm so we wouldn’t have to pay for parking (that was how non urgent the situation felt!). At this point I had only had one contraction in the car.
We went up to the birthing unit- after about 20 minutes a midwife came in to put me on one of those machines that monitor contractions and heart rate. At this point I was starting to get contractions somewhat consistently but still nothing significant. After about 20 minutes of monitoring they took me off the machine and decided to do an internal examination. After two different midwives checking they confirmed that I was 5cm already! Greg and I were both shocked- I barely had felt any pain and I was already halfway there! Thank you Jesus!
I knew I wanted an epidural but the contractions were manageable at this stage so I didn’t want it yet as the midwife assured me that if I was coping I should keep going because the epidural is known to slow down labour.
Greg and I started walking the hallways as contractions started coming every minute. I could feel them starting to build so I’d stop and lean against the railing until they passed- Greg and I have an understanding that when I’m in pain I don’t want to be touched or rubbed or spoken to so he would literally just stand there until the contraction passed. I can’t remember what we talked about but the contractions were still manageable. I tried counting through them.. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 but after a few contractions It wasn’t helping me to cope- I just breathed through them which seemed to work a lot better.
Mum arrived around 7:30pm with dinner (McDonald’s)! I ate in between contractions. She suggested I get in the shower to see if that would help with the contraction pain.. so I jumped in the shower for about 20minutes.. at this time it was around 8:30pm. The midwife came in to see if I wanted to get an epidural- apparently the anaesthetist was next door doing another ladies one. She said he would be about 20min so I put my order in..

The two original midwives came in again and needed to examine me before the epidural- I had a contraction laying on the bed while the midwife confirmed that I was 10cm and needed to push. We were all in shock.. his words were- do you want the good news or bad news? I said good news first (obviously)- he said- you’re 10cm.. the bad news.. I finished his sentence- it’s too late for an epidural.. I distinctly remember saying “this can’t be happening…” I looked at Greg and started crying and he said to me “Steph.. you can do this.. regroup.. you can do this…”

The head midwife quickly started ordering the student midwife around asking for warm blankets etc. She started ripping the plastic off the tubing for the gas (pain relief) but the head midwife told her it was pointless- I was literally pushing..

I asked him whether I could sit on my knees and hold the top of the bed- with Ava I had had an epidural (which didn’t work) but I had to give birth on my back.. I quickly flipped over and hung off the top of bed- I felt a contraction build and started to push.. I think I pushed twice and suddenly heard Greg say “her head is out..” Followed by a frantic “stop pushing.. stop pushing… ” To be honest the pain was completely bearable.. I think because I knew what has to be done and I knew I was so close.. When I say bearable I mean it was a weird dull ache painful rather than oh my goodness I’m being stabbed or dying pain..

Two or three more pushes later and her body was out..

It was the quickest and easiest labour, especially compared to my first delivery! I have felt amazing since giving birth- barely any pain- I’ve already been out a few times and today we even went for a walk (without Greg)- though it took us a bit longer to get out the door we did it and loved it!

IMG_1016IMG_1450

Introducing Ava!

IMG_1074It 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!

IMG_1037

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!

IMG_1121