Having Baby Part 2: Birth

Having Baby Part 1: Pre-Labour

Strap yourself in, this is a long one!


My alarm went off at 6.30 am on the morning of Sunday 23rd July. I hadn’t had a lot of sleep the night before so I remember waking up and thinking I was too tired to have a baby. Unfortunately I didn’t have much choice in the matter.

We live only 5 km from the hospital and the quiet Sunday morning traffic meant that it was a nice quick trip. Before we went inside the hospital I asked AJ to take a photo of us together, our last photo of just the two of us before we become a trio!

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I got to the hospital and my Midwife took me straight into a birth suite. They kindly gave me the same room I had been in the night before because I was quite taken with the lovely view.

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Our Midwife was very dry and sarcastic, which was just what we needed because we aren’t the type to take things too seriously. We had no candles, essential oils, music or birth plan. Our only plan was to give birth to bubs safely and with as little pain as possible!

My Midwife read in my file that I wanted an epidural and so she asked if I wanted one before we started the induction or if I wanted to wait until later. Apparently the Anaesthetist wasn’t at the hospital yet and then he had some surgeries to do, so I probably wouldn’t get my epidural until around 9.30 am if I waited. Otherwise, if I was worried about the pain, they could hold off on the induction until I had my epidural. I was being my normal accommodating self and said “Oh it’ll be fine. Let him sleep in, I’ll just have mine when he can fit me in“. You would be guessing right if you thought I might later regret those words.

The Midwife hooked me up to all of the machines to monitor me and the baby and then started the induction by inserting a drip of pitocin. This is a synthetic version of the drug your body would normally produce to start contractions. I was settled in bed with my kindle and AJ got comfortable in the chair by the window with his ipad and we were both feeling pretty relaxed. I don’t think it had sunk in at all that we were having a baby.

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The contractions started pretty quickly, but they were quite manageable and I was still able to keep reading my book. I only had a few chapters left and I was determined to finish it before baby arrived! The midwife laughed every time she walked in to see me reading my book through my contractions. I’m not sure that reading is a common labour technique! I can’t even remember what the stupid book was about now, it feels like a lifetime ago.

The contractions were bad enough that I needed to use gas to get through them. The gas was a useful relaxation tool, but it really didn’t help with the pain at all. I also don’t think I was taking the gas in properly to begin with, but the midwife showed me how to really suck it down and that made me feel much better.

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Sucking down the gas

At some stage in the morning the Obstetrician came in to assess me. She said I was only 2 cm dilated and to just keep doing what I was doing. Unfortunately my Ob wasn’t on call that day, which was a bit disappointing, but the on-call Ob was fine. It really didn’t make a big difference because the Midwives were really managing the labour process and I barely saw the Ob.

After a couple of hours of contractions the pain had steadily increased and I was really looking forward to the epidural. I enquired with the midwife on ETA of the Anaesthetist and she told me that he had been held up in some emergency surgeries and was running behind. It turned out that the Sunday I gave birth was an unusually busy day for the hospital. What luck! By about 10.30 am the pain had reached an unbearable level and I could only lie on my side and suck on the gas to get through the contractions. I found I was most comfortable in bed, I didn’t get up and walk around or get on the fitball or even consider a shower or bath. I just wanted to be on my side and grip the bed rail for dear life.

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Oh the pain!

At 12.00 pm the Anaesthetist finally arrived. I have never been so happy to see anyone in my entire life. It took him about 15 minutes to prep me and insert the epidural in my back, but I felt the effects within minutes. I don’t recall feeling pain or discomfort getting the epidural, to be honest, you could have hit me over the head with a hammer and I wouldn’t have noticed because the contractions were all consuming.

The next two hours were total and utter bliss. I felt no pain at all and I just rested in bed with my book and napped occasionally. I grew confident that this whole birth thing was going to be a piece of cake. My labour was progressing well and AJ and I were pretty much left to relax in the room in peace. AJ even had a sneaky watch of the footy!

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Caught watching the footy while I am in labour!

At about 2.00 pm I started to feel contraction pain again. I thought this must have been breakthrough pain and that I needed to top up the epidural. The Midwife told me I could press the button to increase my dose every 15 minutes and that would help me keep on top of the pain. For about the next hour and a half I fixated on the 15 minute count down to push the pain relief button. Every minute or so I would ask AJ for a time update and despair at how slow time was passing. It was passing even slower than when you are on the stair machine at the gym!

Even when I pushed the button I felt absolutely no pain relief, in fact it was getting worse, but I lived in hope that it would get better. My Midwife assured me that I just needed to keep pushing the button and I shouldn’t feel any pain. I was back on the gas to get me through my contractions and the pain was now much worse than in the morning pre-epidural. The Midwife finally conceded that this wasn’t normal and that she would need to get the Anaesthetist back in to see what was wrong.

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The Anaesthetist had gone home and had to be called back in so it was going to be a wait. I didn’t ask where he lived because I didn’t want to know. I couldn’t deal with it if I found out he lived on the other side of town. I can’t even describe the pain I was in during that time. I retreated back to my position on my side and just stared at the ground groaning and gripping the bed. I even stopped with the gas because I was in too much pain to suck it in and it wasn’t helping anymore.

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Holding on for dear life

During this time AJ’s dinner was delivered to the birth suite. A curry. Do you know the last thing you want to smell when you are in the midst of horrific contraction pains? Yep you guessed right, curry. He kept going on about how delicious the curry was and I was close to killing him. Even after they took away his food tray all I could smell was curry.

At 6.00 pm the Anaesthetist finally arrived to review my epidural and discovered that it had fallen out. OMFG!!!!!! Why does this sort of thing happen to me?! Apparently this is quite rare and the Anaesthetist was apologetic. So he prepped me to do the epidural again and then I heard the horrible words “I don’t think it’s worked“. He had missed the vein which meant that most likely the epidural wouldn’t work, but we had to give it 15 minutes to make sure. That was a very long 15 minutes to say the least.

Once it was confirmed that the second epidural didn’t work, the Anaesthetist quickly worked to get the third epidural in for me. The main issue with having it now was that I was in so much pain that is was difficult to hold still to have the needle in my spine. It took all of my strength to stay still through my contractions, but I knew it would be worth it.

The third time was the charm! Thanks to the epidural I was back in a blissful and pain-free state. This was the only time during my labour that I cried a little, not because I was upset, but it was out of pure relief that the pain was over. I felt a bit frazzled by the whole ordeal and, despite the fact I wasn’t in pain anymore, I went back to the gas to calm me down.

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Feeling physically destroyed

After the epidural was put in, my Ob came back in to assess me and said that I was fully dilated and ready to push. I hadn’t seen her since the morning and I had been so focussed on the contractions that I had no idea I was close to having the baby now. My Ob and Midwife got busy prepping for me to push, which gave me about half an hour to rest and try and compose myself after all the epidural drama. I couldn’t believe I was about to have a god damned baby!

At 7.00 pm my Ob said she was ready for me to push. I couldn’t feel anything, so I had no urge to push and couldn’t even feel myself pushing. My Midwife had me pushing in time with my contractions, which I also couldn’t feel, but the machine I was hooked up to told her when they were coming. She wanted me to give 3 big pushes for every contraction. I was so exhausted from the past 24 hours of pre-labour and labour that my pushes were a bit weak. I was even falling asleep in-between pushing because I was completely and utterly exhausted by this point.

After about 45 minutes or so of pushing the baby was crowning and my Ob said matter of factly “I’m going to have to cut you“. The dreaded episiotomy. I couldn’t feel anything, but my stomach still turned as I saw her grab the scissors and start cutting. Ewwww.

I kept pushing but I could tell my pushes were disappointing and we just weren’t getting anywhere. The Ob said she thought we needed to get the vacuum because she didn’t think I was going to be able to push bubs out. By this time I had been in labour and hadn’t eaten anything for 24 hours, so I was just beyond exhausted.

The Ob got the vacuum and instructed me to push. After just three cycles of contractions, and with the help of the vacuum, she pulled out my baby! I remember as she was pulling him out she said the cord was wrapped around his neck and it was lucky she had got him out with the vacuum. Apparently the cord wasn’t tight and didn’t cause any issues, but if we kept going the way we were, it could have become dangerous for bubs.

I don’t remember much after bubs came out. I guess I was in a state of shock. I think they handed bubs to me immediately, but they may have done health checks first, I’m really not sure. AJ told me that he cut the cord, which I don’t remember at all either. I remember holding bubs while the Ob was pulling out my placenta and then stitching me up.

At some point, someone in the room asked if it was a boy or girl and we realised that no one had looked! The Midwife had a quick check and announced that we had a baby boy. AJ later told me that he had seen the sex of the baby when he was passed to me and hadn’t said anything because he was nervous about my reaction as I had explicitly requested a girl! In that moment I didn’t really care if it was a boy or girl, I was just freaked out that I had a baby. I think AJ was a bit concerned about how I would feel about having a boy, so he said “Do you know who would have loved a grandson? Your mum.” and he was completely right.

I was encouraged to bond with the baby straight after he was born, but I was so emotionally and physically exhausted that I didn’t feel like I could hold him. Aside from feeling like I would fall asleep and drop him, I was in a state of shock and couldn’t believe that I had a baby. I was suddenly overcome with nausea and vomiting, AJ kindly took photos of this also, but I was nice enough not to share those with you. I wish I was one of those mothers who immediately bonded and did skin to skin and all those other things you are supposed to do, but it didn’t happen like that for me.

Thank god AJ stepped up and took care of bubs while I got my shit together composed myself. I think he enjoyed the time to bond with bubs and he took the opportunity to play him his first album, Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness by The Smashing Pumpkins.

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AJ had also called all of our families to let them know that bubs had arrived. My dad and step mum got in the car immediately and drove the 3 hours to the hospital and my brother and sister in law from Sydney just happened to be staying with us that weekend. They all arrived at the hospital about 11.00 pm for cuddles with bubs. Once again, I don’t remember a lot about their visit. I think I kept falling asleep and I was happy that there were people to help hold bubs when I knew I wasn’t up to giving him the cuddles he needed.

The Midwives were monitoring bubs and were concerned about his temperature. They asked me if I had hats, socks and extra blankets to keep him warm. I hadn’t bought any of that stuff because it wasn’t on the hospital list they gave me. I immediately felt like a horrible mother. Thank god my sister in law was there because she had all that stuff back at my place that were my nieces hand me downs that she thought I might want, so she raced home and got it for me. I was so, so, so grateful.

Everyone left about midnight. They were all going back to my place to toast bubs with wine and I wished I was going with them. Instead I had to drag my catheter to the bathroom and try to stand up and shower. It was the last thing I felt like doing, but it’s all about getting you on your feet and up and about as soon as possible.

Once I showered I just wanted to curl up in bed and get some sleep. Little did I know that I still had a long night ahead of me…


Up next, our first night with bubs…

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Having Baby Part 1: Pre-Labour

I really want to write down my birth story so I remember how it all happened because it is already becoming a blur. Skip over if this stuff bores the hell out of you, I don’t blame you! It’ll be in a few parts because the little guy is not cooperating with giving me any time in front of my computer right now. Who knew babies were so bloody needy…


The Wednesday before I gave birth I saw my obstetrician for a check up. I was just two days off my due date so she did a stretch and sweep which is a simple procedure that can help initiate labour. She said she only sort of did one because my cervix was still pretty closed up but that I was 1 cm dilated, which is a bit of a start.

Next we discussed plans to get bubs out of me. She didn’t want me to go too far over my due date as it carries an increased risk of stillbirth so she looked in her diary and found when she was next in the labour ward and booked me in for an induction. This way I would guarantee that she would be there for my full delivery. So I was scheduled for an induction on Thursday 27th July… if bubs didn’t arrive before that time.

I left my appointment feeling pretty normal and like bubs wasn’t anywhere near arriving. Now I had an induction date, I kind of just assumed that would be when I would meet bubs. Over the next few days life continued as normal. I was busy running around unpacking the house, doing copious trips to Kmart and setting up for baby. I didn’t tell anyone (except AJ of course) about the planned induction because it was still a week away and a lot can happen in a week!

On Saturday 22nd we had a lazy morning at home with my brother, sister in law and niece, Penelope, who had arrived from Sydney to stay with us for the weekend. We spent the day chasing around after Penelope who is 9 months old and a crazy little bundle of energy. By that evening I was seriously wondering what I had got myself into, no matter how cute Penelope is, this baby stuff was starting to look way too exhausting. I guess it was too late to turn back now…

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AJ with Penelope and my sister in law

My house guests went out for dinner with friends and so AJ and I enjoyed a quiet night in with Uber Eats and Netflix. Then, at 9.15 pm, half way through the final episode of Master of None and after eating a mac and cheese burger and a Halal snack pack (big mistake!) I felt a weird pop between my legs. My sister in law had told me that when her waters broke she felt a pop, so I suspected what had happened right away. I froze and just held my legs together tightly while I quietly panicked. I seriously wondered if I could hold it in if I stayed really still. Then I decided I better make a dash for the bathroom upstairs before I ruined the couch.

I really wasn’t expecting my waters to break because in all my classes and research it seemed that most women had contractions as their first symptom of labour and the big waters breaking moment you see in movies is less likely. I had also been told that when your waters break it is normally a slow trickle. Well mine was more like a waterfall. A massive waterfall! We called the hospital and they asked me to come in for assessment. I asked if I could have a shower first to clean up, but it was pointless because my waters just kept flowing… it was messy to say the least. Even as I was walking from the hospital carpark to the admissions desk I was trying to mop up with paper towel as I leaked everywhere. I was so glad this was happening late on Saturday night and no one was around to witness me wetting myself in public.

We got to the hospital and they set me up in a birth suite for monitoring. I felt fairly certain that I wouldn’t be having a baby that night as I had no contractions yet. The hospital monitored me and bubs for about 90 minutes and they confirmed that I was not in labour. But, because my waters had broken, the hospital decided to induce me the next morning. We made a plan for me to come back at 7.30 am on Sunday to have a god damn baby!

When we got home my sister in law was waiting up for us because she had heard us go out earlier. I knew she would have heard us leave, so I had text her to say we were just getting a check up. I was trying to downplay things, but obviously she knew something was happening. I didn’t tell her that my waters had broken or that I was being induced, I just wanted to keep things to myself to lessen the pressure that I was already feeling. I am surprised she didn’t cotton on when AJ went knocking on her door for extra towels (as we keep our spare towels in the guest room) after I had soaked through every towel in our bathroom!

We didn’t get home until around midnight and I was starting to have pretty regular and painful cramps. My main concern was having another shower to wash and dry my hair in readiness for the next day. My hair was super greasy and I was terrified that I wouldn’t have time to get myself together before baby arrived. So I showered, but by the time I finished washing my hair my cramps had escalated and I was in quite a bit of pain. I had to get AJ to blow dry my hair because I really wasn’t up to it. I thought this was the start of contractions, but little did I know that these cramps were just niggles in comparison to real contractions!

The hospital had sent me home with sleeping tablets and Panadeine Forte so that I could try and get some sleep before the big day. Between the cramps, the leaking waters and the fact I was about to have a baby, I didn’t get much sleep that night.

To be continued…

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Being monitored at the hospital

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The view from the hospital room