Childbirth was hands down the most exhilarating experience of my life. Was it painful? Well of course and yes I had an epidural! Though I found labor to be more mentally challenging than physically. Yet as I look back on this birth, the overwhelming feelings are pride and strength. I feel excited by the prospect of doing it again sometime soon! I’m truly in awe of the female body! So here it is, the story of two births…Mary Clare’s and the birth of a mother.
I felt like I’d been pregnant for so long that I had taken to telling people, “I’ve been pregnant every single day of 2017.” Needless to say, I was ready to get the show on the road and meet our baby. I did all the tricks to bring on labor. I ate 4 dates a day. I drank red raspberry leaf tea. I walked and walked and walked. Nothing.
So there I was, wearily waddling my way into my doctor’s office, four days late and utterly exasperated. I sat down to have my nonstress test after drinking a cloying sweet strawberry kiwi Capri Sun, YUCK! I thought “how am I going to make it through the next four days before my scheduled induction?” My doctor came in and gave me the low down. Nothing had changed down there. Plus he was headed on vacation in a few days, so if I wanted him to be the doctor to deliver the baby, I should consider inducing tomorrow. “SAY WHAT??? Tomorrow? Wait, like as in next time I wake up?” I thought. I was totally caught off guard but wasn’t this what I wanted? I walked out of the office and I headed for home because I knew Rob and I would need to figure out what to do.
We weighed the pros and cons, feeling incredibly unsure. We wondered…what if induction didn’t work and I needed a c-section…what if I waited and the baby got too big to deliver? There were too many what ifs and we felt that the stress of more waiting was not worth it. We also trust my doctor implicitly. So we decided the that if he believed it was a safe route to go, then it would be more than okay.
On Saturday September 16th, we woke up, had breakfast and headed to the hospital. It was not what I had imagined or seen in the movies but is it ever? Around 1pm, the resident on call inserted cervidil to soften my cervix. Rob and I hung out, watching Netflix on my laptop and unsuccessfully trying to nap. Our parents visited that evening and around 10pm we tried to go to sleep for the night. Though, it’s hard to get comfortable with the fetal monitor on your belly….or in Rob’s case, in those hospital “recliners.”
Around 2am the doctor started a very slow dose of pitocin, I didn’t feel a thing. At 7am, my doctor quickly and deftly broke my water. Then the contractions came and oh did they come. I used breathing techniques, changed positions and used pressure points to work through the pain. Rob was the best support – rubbing my shoulders, breathing with me and knowing just what to say. It must be impossibly hard to see someone you love in such pain. Then around noon, it was time, I asked for an epidural. I held off as long as I could, knowing I would not be able to get out of bed once I got it. When I had my epidural Rob left the room as it must be a sterile environment. I was very lucky that the nurse with me when they shoved a massive needle in my spine, was the mom of a childhood friend. I was a coincidence or maybe not, regardless it was comforting to have her with me when I was in some of my most intense pain.
I continued to labor for hours, feeling some pressure but almost no pain. Thank heavens for modern medicine, am I right? Then around 5pm I started feeling pain, big time. So I asked for a bolus. The anesthesiologist came in to give me more medicine and encouraged me to drink a protein drink for strength. Bear in mind, save for the tootsie rolls Rob was sneaking me, I had not eaten anything since 8am the day prior. I agreed and guzzled the metallic cherry flavored stuff and started to feel real nauseous. Almost immediately after, my doctor did an internal exam and it seemed I was stalling out at 5cm, I had been there for few hours. I started to feel even more nauseous as I began to worry. I know several women who did not progress when induced and went through hours of labor only to be cut open. I did a lot of comparing myself to these situations. Suddenly, I shouted, “get a bedpan,” and projectile vomited that cherry drink all over the place. I started crying.
I was at a crossroads. I was at my lowest point. I could continue to worry and probably have that work against me or I could choose to turn my thoughts toward the positive. My nurse, Rose, told me to focus on what my body was doing right, to actively decide that I could do this. It was no longer a matter of if, it was a matter of when. I began reciting a Joan of Arc quote in my head, “I am not afraid, I was born to do this.” Rob turned on the diffuser and calming music. Things picked up and I began to progress again. As I got close to 10cm, around 8pm, I was howling. I could not believe it. I tried to breathe through it but at the top of each contraction, I cried out “I can’t do this anymore.” Rob begged me to get more medicine but I felt I’d had too much already. I worried I would barf again. The pain only worsened, finally, I agreed to a little more medicine to take the edge off. Thank goodness, I did. It helped me when it was time for the big show!
At about 9pm, my doctor came in and said “it’s time to have a baby, Emily!” It certainly was not sudden but it felt like it. Suddenly, the bed rose up, my legs were in the stirrups and there was a light shining on my…well, you know. The room filled with people. Nurses, student doctors and who knows who else. The custodial staff could have joined for all I cared. I just wanted that baby out! The doctor coached me how to push properly. Rob and the nurse held my legs back. And then the real work began. What a relief it is to push, right? I felt like finally I could do something. After 30 minutes of pushing (I know, I am very lucky), out she came.
I’ll never forget the moment I saw my daughter for the first time. We kept the gender a surprise until she was born. So the moment she came out and the doctor held her up, I was searching for any indication of whether it was a boy or girl.
Even now, I can close my eyes and see, hear and feel it. Two seemingly giant hands holding up this tiny screaming body, backlit by that huge spotlight. Suddenly the doctors hand moved and I knew. “It’s a girl, it’s a girl, it’s a girl!” I shouted it over and over again through exhausted, joyful tears as they laid her on my chest.
It all happened so quickly. Yet from the moment she came out, to the moment she was laid on my chest it feels like I can remember each second. This is a memory I call upon often because it was so pure. And because it reminds me that no matter how I’m feeling in the moment, the feelings I had for her when we met earthside are and will always be the truest love I have ever known.
About Emily: I’m the new mama to my beautiful, 6 month old Mary Clare. About 6 weeks after she was born, I was diagnosed with postpartum depression and anxiety. As part of my recovery, I began sharing my journey on Instagram and then through the launch of my blog in January 2018. I am recovering well and finally enjoying motherhood. Come along for the ride @mamacoaster and at www.themamacoaster.com
Ok, so another birth story. Darcy arrived on Australia Day morning much to our delight. As my husband noted.. the kid will get a public holiday on his birthday. Winning!
On the previous Sunday ( 5 days prior) I was contracting a lot. Not the.. “oh I’m having braxtons” it was the.. “do I go in or not?” Type ones. They stopped after 5 hours and I got some rest. I had an appointment at the hospital the next day so I knew I could wait until then.
At that appointment, the midwife happily told me I was 3cm dilated and having some big contractions which she was monitoring on the beepy machine. Excellent. Excellent but bloody uncomfortable.
She advised that I would possibly be back before my booked induction on Thursday evening as it all looked underway. In the meantime I had to go pick the kids up from school and kindy so I left rather excited but also thinking about what to cook for dinner.
The following 4 days sucked. Contractions came and went,came and went. I couldn’t sleep, eat, sit , stand or focus on anything. The pain factor was unsettling to say the least. I was lucky enough for my folks to come over during that week to help out while Jim was at work. I couldn’t do much with the girls. Jim ended up coming home early a few times in case we had to go in to the hospital but eventually the contractions would ease up by the evening ready to restart at 3am the following mornings. Joy.
Thursday evening finally arrived and we bid farewell to the kids and headed in. Quick call to the hospital only to find out they wanted to push back the induction time later that evening. So with a few extra hours up our sleeve we went and saw a movie. Impromptu date night! Won’t say no. Although contracting and throwing up during the film was not ideally what I wanted it was still a welcome distraction.
After the movie it was time to get to hospital to get this show on the road. I was tired, knew it would take a while and was a little worried on how we would handle the Epidural if I had one. With Byron I threw up constantly and it was exhausting.
We waited at hospital for another 2 hours before we actually went in and met our midwife. Apparently babies love being born on public holidays for some reason and they were popping out left right and centre so staff were in short supply.
Our midwife was a dream. A young northern girl called Emily, who had us laughing from the moment we met her. Jim and her were able to discuss all things England and we spent a good time comparing notes on what to watch on Netflix. Everything went pretty bloody smoothly. Only slight issue was it seemed to be hard to break my waters. They used the hook ( as I like to call it… swirly stick… just seems less aggressive) but it didn’t seem to happen. After a few hours with nothing really happening it was confirmed they mustn’t have popped properly as usually once my waters go it’s total show time.
I called for the Epidural. I was way too tired and knew this wouldn’t be like Elizabeths birth. I had spent way too much time comparing all my births and wanting another quick and easy water birth but, it just wasn’t going to happen and I had to embrace that.
Much to our delight the Anithatist was lovely, had a few laughs with us, and managed to do the smoothest injection in the world. Absolutely no issues and the bloody thing worked really well! The relief was a god send and I actually felt relaxed for the first time in a week!
Once we were settled again and basically just playing the waiting game for dilating and contractions our midwife told us what the usual game plan of how this would all go. She got every thing down to the T. She told us we will basically get it all going, it will just be the 3 of us until just before pushing starts a bunch of people will burst into the room, declaring bub needs to be out NOW or a c section will be needed, they will attach this this and this, tell you this, blah blah blah and it may become quite stressful so just focus on baby and what we have been doing. Ok then… eeeekk!
Emily had to go to dinner so another midwife came in during , and Emily noted to her that she was sure waters still hadn’t been broken properly but the Epi was now starting to work.
Challenge Accepted! This midwife was on a mission to have them broken by the time Em got back and since I had the Epi it was the perfect time.
NOTE: potential graphic description
She spent quite a while with the swirly stick until she exclaimed… “oh you are introverted! Right that makes sense! It’s a bloody hard bag you have in here!” After another 10 mins I felt a small pop and a massive gush of water. Jim looked happy. He knew as well as I did that things would really get moving now. Right on cue Emily walked back in and it was happy dances and high fives all round! Thank you dinner midwife!
Pretty much now contractions were coming thick and fast and it wouldn’t be long. Just the only issue for me was not feeling anything gave me no sense of where I was at. With the girls I knew and could feel what was happening every minute and felt a lot more in control. This time… well I was having a tea party really and completely unaware of how it all was down there.
Right up until … a bunch of people burst through the door and the scene that Emily warned us about happened EXACTLY like she described. We were all looking at her like… whoa mind reader.
We had a bunch of people we had never seen before grab my legs and inspect my lady parts. There was a very dazed medical student in the background who had the look of terror in her eyes ( we found out later it was her first day).
Before I knew it I was being told to push. Pushing felt like forever . What the hell was I pushing. A quick spew up on myself ( I like to keep them guessing) and before I knew it, this beautiful little blue and pinky bundle was placed on my chest. The first thing he did was hold my finger which made me burst into tears. I had no idea how happy I would be. Instantly we were in total love with Mr Darcy
I was surprised at my emotions to tell you the absolute truth. When I gave birth to Zu I didn’t cry at all. I was in shock. Complete utter disbelief. Not that I had a baby in my arms ( I had 9 months to comprehend that one) more the easy and calmness of her whole birth.
That’s the thing… I had spent a lot of time comparing everything to her birth. Basically knowing full well this time round would be so much different to the last time, I still compared and I still blamed myself for not being able to recreate the same thing. ( Silly me!)
All births are different and unique. But sometimes that inner annoying voice gets the better of you and wants you to compare, add pressure and talk total BS to you. But this is a whole other post… birth guilt!
Anyway, he is here. Perfect, adorable and is very much the most popular member in the household of late. Apparently he was also housed in a pretty popular placenta. Yep… every god damn Midwife paid us a visit while we were in hospital to talk about the perfect placenta we had. Photos were even taken and word got around the hospital water fountain. It is perhaps the strangest thing I have been know for, but hey… it kept us occupied while we waited to go home!
We are now the parents to 4 epic little souls. As much as babies can make me personally say…”oh I could have another”, we are indeed now done on Baby making. It’s now time to nurture and watch theses little ones grow. Bittersweet, but exciting nonetheless.
Post Script: thank you for all the love on the name. Can you believe it was more a street sign and electrical company that showcases the name rather than a love for Jane Austen ( insert winking emoji and Spanish Dancer)
So this will be short a sweet.
I have had a heap of messages asking about mix feeding and what I use.
Ok, so I’m only writing this because I’m in that kind of mood.
Well I’ll be honest I am usually in this type of mood … the type of mood that’s slightly cynical and sarcastic. I reflect on things sometimes and think…. WTAF! Then I make mental notes and promises to myself that I will not do that or say that to someone else.
Today’s topic is.,. The shit people say when you are pregnant or have just announced, or are about to give birth.
I’m sure even 4th time round I still haven’t heard it all. But when you reflect on it, and yes, so much of it is meant to be nice or well meaning.. even the social norm. When you truly reflect on it, you think… what the actual fuck. Why the hell did you think.. yep.. I’ll open my mouth and say that.
Here goes ( I’m sure you have heard many of these yourself, this is a list of stuff that stuck or makes me shake my head still. I have also sourced a bunch of comments sent in by some friends who have received some baffling and unsolicited comments or statements themselves).
And I will note, of course not all of this is meant to sound bad. It’s just kinda funny now. Also as I said.. I’m on my 4th… people are well over us having babies I’m sure. You are greeted more with a baffled look than an excited one 😂😜
• Are you sure? ( that your pregnant… )
• The results may be wrong
• oh shit..
.• Did you want it?
• Was it an accident?
• Are you going to have more ( literally after you have just announced you are pregnant)
.• Do you want a boy or girl? ( that one always baffles me. I don’t know why it’s just in this day and age I don’t know if it’s really appropriate to Ask anymore)
• How did that happen? ( you are kidding right? RIGHT??)
•Oh you must be close!
•Can I touch it?!
•Sorry is it ok if I touch your belly? (Whilst already rubbing it)
•You shouldn’t be driving
•You shouldn’t be carrying that
•You shouldn’t be drinking that coffee
•You shouldn’t be riding your bike
•You shouldn’t have walked that far
•3rd child – have you worked out how it happens by now
•You need a tv in your room
• Are you sure there’s only one in there?
• You must be having twins! ( yes…scans these days are so basic. So glad you made me see the light!)
• Oooh yeah I can see that fluid ( wow.. super man!)
• Oh you’re really swollen
•Put your feet up
•You shouldn’t be working
•Let the pregnant lady eat first
• Don’t lift your arms… it could make the chord wrap around the baby and choke it. ( WTAF?)
• You need to take all the drugs
• Make sure you do it all natural… that’s a real birth
• A cesarean isn’t really giving birth..
• I hope it’s black this time.! That’s my favourite colour skin! ( this one was announced by Byron in the waiting room at a scan. Everyone in the room were in fits of giggles while I went bright red and immediately vacated the area with him. It was beautiful… it was just very loud.)
• Yep, you have ages to go still. ( literally the day before I gave birth)
• Oh I would love for it to be a boy…
• Oh I hope it’s a girl…
• Are you keeping your placenta? ( interesting question from lady behind you at the supermarket…)
• Oh the other children will help with everything. That’s why you have more than one.
And the absolute NO NO of all time… that seems to happen so often after a couple give birth….
The announcement of the arrival or congratulations on social media BEFORE the actual parents have done it.
This is a go straight to jail move. No going back from this one. Doesn’t matter if your are family or close friends. Biggest dick move of the century no matter how you spin it.
There is nothing wrong with talking to a pregnant woman about her up coming birth and child, so don’t get me wrong. It’s the unsolicited advice, statements and assumptions that can end up freaking her out and more so, making you look like a bit of a…butthead.
If you can help yourself, maybe just stick with some good old conversation about the weather. Even show her the app you have on your phone. Because no one else probably has that to check themselves. 😜😜
This post is dedicated to some of my gal pals who understand these sentiments oh to well. Thanks my loves, you guys are the best
The Ummum xxx