My due date wasn't until the 29th of May according to the scan technician. According to me my due date was the 19th of May. My wonderful doctor said to allow them to use the ultra sound dating but have my own dating in my head because that would allow for less chance of early intervention.
Two days past my due date the most interesting week I've had in a long time began.
On Monday the 21st of May 2012 I went to the hospital because I thought my waters had broken. An Amnio test and heart monitor later said they hadn't but bub was fine. I was sent home.
On Tuesday I felt pretty decent so thought I'd go shopping. I showered, got dressed, had breakfast and started taking notes of all the things I wanted to buy. That was when I started feeling queasy. Morning sickness? Really? I decided to just stay home an extra half an hour to see how it panned out. This turned it a very wise decision as with a short while I was lying on the couch clutching at my enormous belly. A bit of pacing around ended with me on the floor in the kitchen losing the entire contents of my stomach in a bucket. Not my most glamorous pregnant moment. Ad not at all usual for me. I loath vomiting with a passion and have developed a very strong gag reflex to stop myself. This was only the second incident all pregnancy and the first had been at 6 weeks on a boat in the middle of the ocean with half the other passengers hurling as well.
Joel was out for the day so I sadly had to sort myself out. I knew what he was doing was important too so didn't want to bother him unnecessarily. But by 4 in the afternoon I was praying fervently that he would arrive and rescue me from my misery. By this point I was nauseous, shaking, unable to keep water down, freezing cold, aching all over and getting quite concerned for our baby.
He finally arrived home about 5:30 to discover me in a hot bath nearly delirious and barely able to stand when he helped me out. We called the midwifes and they said to come straight in. I managed to make it all the way to the hospital and onto a bed in a delivery room somehow. Bubba was checked again with a heart moister and I was hooked up to a saline drip for an hour or so. I managed to doze sporadically and was sent home a few hours later with strict instructions to come back if I at all felt I needed to. A stop on the freeway was my last vomit for the evening and I managed to sleep as soon as we got home until the morning when I felt significantly better.
Better enough to happily head back to the hospital for our prenatal check up with the midwife. Aside from what seemed to be an awful 2 hour virus everything was fine so I was sent back home again to do any last minute errands.
Thursday the 24th I was full of energy and spent most of the day wandering around town shopping, delivering birthday gifts, buying baby things I didn't need (and still haven't needed!) and enjoying some freedom.
Friday the 25th was more of the same plus some house cleaning. Right up until I was about to empty the kitchen bin and I felt a pop and a gush of warm liquid running down my legs. My first thought was to check the clock - 3:30pm. My second thought was 'I'm glad that happened on the kitchen floor'. I grabbed the phone and rang Joel. I asked him how his sermon for Sunday was going and if he was finished it yet. When he said not quite I replied with 'you probably should finish it or initiate the back up plan because we're about to have a baby.' He asked me what had happened and if I was ok. I told him I was fine, the water was clear, I felt good and I'd call the midwife in a bit so go back to work.
I had barely put the phone down when it rang again. It was my mum. After all the stress we'd put everyone through during the week I didn't think I'd let her know just yet. So I stood in the kitchen chatting for half an hour with water pooling around my feet, grinning about my secret and entirely paying attention to my mum's questions. Finally though I chimed in with 'ah, mum, I think I'd better go. I'm standing in a puddle of amniotic fluid and I'm starting to feel kind of gross.' Of course there were the 'how long?! Are you ok? Shouldn't you be going to the hospital? Oh, one more question before you go...!' before I hung and went to grab a towel.
Barely was I back in the kitchen to clean up when the phone rang again. It turned out to be a good friend I'd wanted to talk to in ages (she actually shares a birthday with my little one) so I grabbed my towel, headed to the bathroom and set up camp in the bath for an hour to chat. I felt a few little twinges but other than feeling very damp I felt great. Excited, nervous, so much anticipation. The time had finally come to meet our little person.
We had some dinner and then headed to the hospital to get checked out. The midwife listened to my story, checked me out and confirmed that my waters had indeed broken but nothing was really happening so come back in the morning or before if I needed to.
At home Joel kindly set up our bed so I wouldn't ruin our mattresses. It was a comfortable if crunchy sleep!
Saturday morning the 26th of May 2012 we headed to the hospital full of excitement, telling each other that next time we come home home together we'd have our baby with us! Today was the day!
I still wasn't really feeling much more than twinges at that stage so I wasn't sure what would happen but was excited to find out. We were put into a delivery room to wait for a doctor to come and see us. When he did he heard our story and said it was the most convincing story he'd ever heard. I don't care if it wasn't. I felt like I'd been given a gold star.
But since I wasn't contracting much at all he requested an Amnio test to be doubly sure. When the test came back negative, no, this wasn't amniotic fluid, we were all a bit stunned. Well what the heck is going on then? I didn't just pee my pants. A quick psychical confirmed that my body was getting ready to go into labour so what was going on?
He went away for a bit to review my paper work or something then came back for A Chat. You know the ones? Where they sit closely to you and try to look as casual as they can? That one. He was there to discuss options. Because I was still early according to the dates that were on my charts they didn't want to rush anything but because something was going on we might have to consider induction. I felt the hard lump in my throat grow as I watched my 'dream birth' go out the window but gathered myself enough to know that my baby's safety was most important and if that's what they thought was best then I would take that seriously.
Before that was to happen though they wanted to check Bub out and really get a picture of what was going on in there. Out came the heart monitor. Again. And off went the doctor to speak to another doctor about what it could all be about. Bubba was doing fine. No stress at all. Next came the ultra sound machine. I was thrilled to get a glimpse our little one again. What the doctor discovered that the amniotic sac was still fully intact.
So what was all that business on my kitchen floor?!
Apparently there's this thing called Hind Waters. As in the fluid between the walls of the uterus and the amniotic sac. That is what had broken. Who knew?!
There I was. In hospital with nothing really happening. Again. They suggested we head out for a walk to see if that would get things going and if it didn't they would reassess from there. Off we toddled in the drizzling rain, 1.6k's into the centre of town to get some lunch. By the time we sat down for lunch I was getting some good 'twinges' about every 10-15 minutes. Incredibly the wonderful midwife we had done our Active Birth classes with walked right by our window and waved. Joel raced outside to tell her what was going on. This 'chance' meeting was such a blessing because she said that with hind waters there is no risk of infection and no real reason for us to be induced for at least 48 hours. Armed with this knowledge and her encouragement I waddled back to the hospital.
Just to brag a moment: that's a 3k walk while having mild contractions. Yeah.
Back at the hospital they were starting to get worried about us since they didn't think we'd be gone for so long. One of them thought we'd gone into labour in a park somewhere and couldn't get back. There I was though. Ready to get on with it. Another check up by the doctor and I heard the news that was bitter sweet: I didn't need to be induced yet because Bubba wasn't on the way. Go home and come back later.
For the fifth time in a week I was being sent home from the hospital. Pregnancy was completely smooth and uneventful but this week? It was not.
We arrived home around 3. I was feeling uncomfortable, frustrated and trying desperately to relax and let my body do whatever it needed to do. Joel started cooking dinner. I wandered around distracting myself from the 10 minute twinges that were slowly becoming stronger. Around 6pm I had to stop what I was doing and concentrate on each contraction and by dinner time I had to get up from the table every 7 minutes or so, lean against it and focus. I knew it had finally started for real.
The next few hours were a blur of pacing around the house, stopping for contractions, bracing myself against the wall, Joel, the bed, whatever was at a good height. I could not sit or lie through a single contraction. I had to be on the move. Taking Active Birth classes turned out to be perfect for me. In between contractions I managed to get a little bit of rest on the bed. Morgan lay next to me very still and was a lovely little comfort for me between the pain. Our midwifes had said to stay home as long as possible and after the events of the week there was no way I was go to be sent home from that hospital with out a baby again. Labouring at home was perfect for me. It is familiar, I was as comfortable as I could be, I felt safe and seeing Bubba's room would remind me what I was working for.
Around 11pm my contractions were pretty intense and coming pretty fast. I was bracing myself in the door to our bedroom when, at the height of a contract I screamed 'Take me to the hospital!!'. Calmly Joel replied with 'ok. you can go now. Your contractions are three minutes apart.' We took a few moments to gather last things. I was standing in the door way to our garage when I felt a familiar pop and my actual waters broke. After having so much of the hind waters I think there wasn't much room for any actual amniotic fluid so it was nearly as dramatic this time.
Somehow I made the 20 minute car ride to the hospital with contractions every 3 minutes. They were expecting us because we had called ahead so had a room already to go. The receptionist made the smart comment of 'well you're definitely having a baby this time because you're not smiling as much as you usually do.' I may have grimaced in her direction. The midwife I had been assigned was one I had seen for precious appointments and who had been with me on Friday. On the way down to the delivery room she asked if I would like to get under the shower. I'm not entirely sure the door was shut behind me before I was naked and under the water.
Joel sprayed hot water onto my back for a few minutes when my midwife asked if I'd like any pain relief. I asked for gas knowing it would help with my breathing. Being prone to panic attacks I felt that keeping calm was more important than pain relief. She bought the gas into the shower for me and reassuring rattle that it made as I breathed through a contraction kept me grounded. It must've taken some of the pain but it didn't seem like much.
We stood there for a little while. Joel getting drenched as he kept the hot water on my back and me doing my best to ride through each wave of pain. Our midwife popped in from time to time but was great in letting us just go with it. She asked at one stage if I'd like to try something else. I may have snapped at her and said that I'd only been there for 5 minutes. Apparently I'd been in there an hour. As they tried to move to the bed it turned out the gas had me me a bit wobbly and drunk like. They managed to get me there without collapsing. The next two hours are a blur of moving between the bed and the floor, eating ice, sucking back some gas, telling everyone I couldn't do it and screaming like a banshee. To which the midwife suggested I put that energy into pushing when the time came instead of howling.
Towards the end my legs were so exhausted from holding me up for hours that they had to lay me on my back. I just could hold myself up any longer. Not long after that the pushing began. They called another midwife in to help at this stage. Joel was on my left holding my leg and my midwife was on the other side doing the same. She was coaching me to not push with every contraction to minimise tearing. But in the end I just had to go with my body and let it happen. Joel stepped away from me for a few moments to get gloves on. We'd talked before hand about him being the one to catch our baby. It was really important for me that he be the first one to hold her.
I remember the midwife saying she could see the head and asking if I wanted to see. Nope. Not even a bit. Joel did thought. Brave man. Although he said it looked like brains... It was only a few moments after that that Joel was holding our baby. Our daughter. She had dark hair and the chubbiest cheeks. And instead of crying like I thought I would I cracked the biggest smile and thought I would explode for joy.
I held her to me and don't remember anything much after that except her face. I remember being shocked at hearing she was 4.25 kg's. I remember being delivering the placenta and being stitched up by the same doctor who saw me on the Saturday morning and called me 'the woman whose waters broke twice'. I remember disagreeing about the spelling of her name. I remember Joel crying with pride when he looked at me. I remember the feeling of my organs dropping back into place when I stood up for a shower. I remember seeing Joel holding her all wrapped up with one arm like he was born to fatherhood. I remember feeling overwhelmed with love, exhaustion, blessing and pride.
At 3:27am on the 27th of May 2012 I had become a mum.
And my life will forever be more wonderful.
Eleanora Naomi, I love forever my baby. Happy First of many birthdays. I will always let you eat cake for lunch on your birthday. Your mama always. xxx