It’s December 2017, a few months after Pippa’s birth and I’ve been um-ing and aa-ing wether to write her birth story or not but I decided I wanted to do it not only to share the story here but also to make sure I really remember it all. It’s easy for things to become such a blur as time passes (it’s already quite a blur to be honest!) and the birth of our little darling is one I want to really remember. So here we go.
I had had a really good pregnancy. It took a bit of work for us to fall pregnant. I had to have hormone injections and be monitored with endless blood tests and ultrasounds for us to catch the ovulation which was a bit stressful and quite emotional at times. When you so badly want a baby to join your family and for the fourth cycle get a call that all the injections hasn’t worked it’s easy to get disheartened. But our clinic and doctor was terrific and on the fifth go we got it right and the little seed that were to become Philippa had been sown. Funnily enough I found out on a day where I had completely given up the thought that having children without having to go through IVF and so was sitting in the car while Brett spoke to our doctor looking at sausage dogs that I was going to buy to get me though more treatment. Brett came out to the car, told me the doctor needed to speak to us and when I entered the clinic he was standing there with a team of nurses asking if I’d heard the news yet. I felt a bit confused but said no and they all told me the treatment had worked and we were pregnant. It was a moment I will never forget. After finding out we were having a little baby we decided not to get that sausage dog but I still think that we should, Pip needs a little puppy one day!
Anyway. I thought that because falling pregnant had been difficult that my pregnancy would be too but my pregnancy was a really good one. I didn’t have any problems apart from the constant need to eat a loaf of bread (I once ate two) a day with butter and drink copious amounts of hot chocolate and a constant need to pee. I did pregnancy yoga for thirty minutes at least four times a week and tried to go for a lot of walks and I think that helped. I put on a LOT of weight but I never felt truly immobile and could tie my shoe laces until the day before she came which felt like an enormous victory.
Here in Australia when you’ve done any kind of fertility treatment the OB’s won’t let you go over time and so when I was 39 weeks and 5 days I was booked in to be induced. I wasn’t at all unhappy about this as I had been two centimetres dilated for quite a while and the baby’s head had dropped weeks ago. I assumed she was ready and the doctor thought the whole labour might just be started solely by him breaking the waters.
So on the Friday morning we nervously went to the hospital armed with one kilo of jelly beans (it felt very important to me I had them with me to keep my blood sugar levels somehow alright). We had spent the whole pregnancy saying that “if all goes well we’ll have a baby” and we couldn’t quite drop that attitude. If all went well we would have a baby girl by the end of the day but we still didn’t know how labour would go so we didn’t want to jinx it. We wanted everything to go well so badly and the thought of it not doing was overwhelmingly scary.
After we’d settled in a bit in my labour suite the doctor broke my waters. It totally felt like I was doing the biggest wee ever and thank god for maxi pads! I walked around for a couple of hours but nothing happened so I was put on the drip which very quickly made he contractions come on. And holy moly did they come on strong. I had never experienced anything like it and my plan of doing things as “organically” as possibly went out the window. And it went out that window FAST. Brett was as I had expected wonderful throughout the whole labour and him being calm made all the difference. But I at the same time I honestly can’t remember much of him during this day as it’s all a blur.
After four hours of what I felt was unbearable contractions I, in my incredibly blurry state (thank you happy gas- which by the way didn’t make me feel happy, just sick), decided that unless I was over 7 or 8 cm I wanted an epidural. I had told Brett that I “really don’t want an epidural unless it’s absolutely necessary” and so I thought that I would feel like a failure for “opting out” of the pain. But trust me when I say I’m happy I made that decision. When they checked I hadn’t dilated AT ALL and told them I needed to have the epidural and also told them about a million times how happy I was with that decision. And then I told them again after I had it. And a few more times after that. I was probably trying to convince myself that it was fine having an epidural and it worked, I’m still so glad I did! I think it made my body relax and it helped me dilate.
The anaesthetist came, a lovely man with a great moustache, and within half an hour I could finally eat some of my beloved jelly beans and sit there and talk to my husband and the lovely midwives. By this time it was 4pm and I’d been going since 8am with contractions for five hours (which I know is nothing compared to a lot of tough ladies out there!) so a break was lovely. Four hours later I had dilated to 6 cm and I could feel that somehow things were starting to happen.
Another hour after that I started feeling an enormous pressure down there that just kept growing. I wasn’t topping my epidural up so I could still move and feel a lot and this pressure made me feel rather sick. When I started throwing up I think the midwife knew something was up too and when she checked me at 10pm I was 10 cm and ready to push. She called my wonderful doctor in and I got on all four and started pushing. And pushing. And pushing some more. I tried all the different positions I could get into and holding my husbands hand I did my best to get this baby out. But after an hour and a half her head was still just showing and she wasn’t coming out. The mood in the room had started to become a little stressed and the doctor told me we needed to get my baby out. So I had an episiotomy, something I’d be absolutely terrified off but just said yes to in a heartbeat as I was so tied and so scared she wouldn’t come out. I even asked my OB if it was too late for an c-section and felt very disappointed when he say yes. But I got local anaesthetic, didn’t feel the cuts at all and she was out in a minute.
The relief after that was absolutely overwhelming. She was out! She was making noises! She was a real baby! When she was put on my chest I felt emotions so strong I didn’t even know I had them in me. The love for this messy little thing screaming was so enormous and both Brett and I cried. She had a little trouble breathing so she needed oxygen and seeing her little chest move up and down with the help of the air being pushed into her lungs made my heart beat even faster and I kept repeating “is she ok” until she was back on my chest. It made me think of all the poor parents who’s child is not okay afterwards, that need more help, and how incredibly hard that must be.
I got tidied up and off we went to our room with this little bundle that we were to look after. Luckily for us the midwives were absolutely amazing and we stayed in hospital for five nights, until I felt confident my breastfeeding would go alright. I still use the nipple shield as my nipples are too small (never thought that would be a problem!) but it’s all going so well and Pip is such a wonderfully happy little baby.
It took me a good two or three weeks to recover from the labour and delivery. My stitch hurt like crazy and sitting down was impossible. I will have to do a post on the best post labour tips I think one day as I got so many good and helpful ones from friends that really did work. But somehow the pain and the lack of sleep all disappears when you hold your little baby in your arms.
To have her is the best thing that has ever happened to me, and to my husband and I as a couple. I’m not a very maternal person and have probably only held a few babies in my life but with her it all comes so natural. Much more so than I could ever imagine. Carrying her around at home, reading her a book, watching her watch the light reflecting from the window or sitting down for her milk time is all just absolute joy. Sure, she cries and is unsettled a few times a day but all I can do is hold her and show her how loved she is. A good burp also goes a long way.