Because everyone always wants to know the gory ins and outs of the whole deal, don’t they? (Funnily enough, I never gave two hoots about birth stories… then I had a child and suddenly they are intriguing! Mainly because they provide you the opportunity to either hate on those damn bitches who had things easy, or to feel sorry for those poor women who had it more difficult than you did).
Jaxon was ‘due’ on the 4th of May. Of course, babies very rarely listen to dates arbitrarily assigned to them by doctors, and so I started feeling (incredibly mild) contractions at about 10.30pm on the 28th of April. I pretty much ignored them and went to sleep (that’s how mild they were – also, anyone who tells you it ‘can’t be a contraction if you can sleep through it’ just hasn’t had mild ones, or never noticed them). I woke up at 2.30, and realised that a) I could still feel them, and b) they were just painful enough to distract me from sleep. Probably about as annoying as a bad period pain.
Well, I looked at the time, and thought I’d wait a bit longer just to make sure. My long suffering partner was meant to drive out to my parent’s house in a couple of days to be with me (he still had to work, and it’s a rather long trip), and I didn’t want to ring him for no reason. By 7.30, I was fairly confident that they were not going to go away, and I figured it was light enough for him to drive without the risk of taking out a kangaroo or emu (since I knew, regardless of what I said, he’d drive like a maniac).
The day progressed pretty uneventfully. I tried to sleep, and couldn’t. I had no car, so I couldn’t really go anywhere, so I just walked around the house in circles. I didn’t tell my parents what was going on before they went to work, since I didn’t really want them sitting around the house all day worrying. I never realised just how damn boring being in labour would be. I tidied up. I repacked my bag about 10 times (which was utterly pointless, because most of my stuff was in my car, which was still a long way away from where I was). Eventually my Dad came home, since my partner basically told me I was a moron for not telling anyone who was actually in town what was happening, so I told my parents (seriously… they worked 15 minutes away from home. I think if anything urgent happened they’d be able to get there reasonably quickly). Not that Dad was much good – he had a nap, then when he figured my partner would be arriving within the next couple of hours, he went to the pub.
By 6pm, I was (finally!!) in active labour. I called the hospital, and they told me to not come in until contractions were 3 minutes apart. I was a bit frustrated, since at this point they were really painful (I’d finally hit the point where I’d stop what I was doing because of the pain… thank goodness I didn’t know what was to come!). By 8pm they were 3 minutes apart, and stupidly painful (curl up into a ball on the bed pain). So, we jumped in the car and drove to the hospital…
By the time we got there I was begging for medicated pain relief. Unfortunately, my idealistic self had booked into the birth centre rather than the delivery suite, which meant a midwife led delivery with limited pain relief options. My mutterings of ‘Give me the damn epi’ were basically ignored, as per my earlier instructions (argh, what the hell was I thinking??)
Instead, I sat in the bathtub for a while (which was not hot enough to be calming at all, since babies don’t like hot baths), and tried the gas (which was the most useless shit ever created. Take the edge off the pain my arse. All that happened was I felt sick and my hands and feet went to sleep). At 10pm I had a morphine shot, which helped a little bit, but mainly just made me drowsy.
Of course, my mother and partner were pretty tired as well, and they managed to sneak a nap. In the meantime, it got to midnight, I was sitting at 9 and a half centimetres dilated, and there was no sign of improvement from there. I was exhausted, because my body kept telling me to push, but the midwife kept telling me not to, because I’d cause problems thanks to that stubborn last half centimetre that just didn’t want to budge. That continued for another 7 hours, before they broke my water for me to try and get things moving along a bit better.
Finally, just before 8am, things decided to progress. I was able to start pushing. Unfortunately, I was completely exhausted, and things moved probably a little too slowly. It only took a little over an hour, but it felt like an eternity of pushing. I don’t think I was at all prepared for the level of pain that was coming – almost everyone I knew had an epidural well and truly before this point, so I went in with a few misapprehensions (my favourite? I had been told ‘If you tear, you won’t feel it with everything else that’s going on’. What a crock! I don’t think I have ever felt anything so horrible in my life).
Jaxon was finally born on the 30th April, at 9.11 am, weighing 3550 grams and measuring 54cm long. Two hours later, I was finally all stitched up (which was not a fun ordeal in itself – I had a lot of stitches, and the local anaesthetic wore off before the end… it’s awesome having that part of your anatomy stitched without painkillers!) Jaxon had some trouble feeding at first, but was finally able to take enough expressed milk that he was able to have a sleep. The midwives said that I could also sleep during that time, but it never happened, since I had a post partum haemorrhage, which meant I was put on a drip, had a catheter put in, and was poked and prodded and checked constantly. However, all the crap afterwards is really not that bad, since, y’know, new baby to distract you.