It’s been a crazy, wonderful, life-changing couple of days. At around 8.30pm on Wednesday I was cleaning the sink and felt a trickle – my waters had broken and Poppy’s birth story had begun. I’d never experienced this with Penny before. We phoned the maternity unit and were adviced to pop in at around 11pm. There were no contractions so Ross continued to play Fortnight and I finished watching The Mummy on Netflix. It was surreal. We made sure the car was packed and then carefully woke Penny up, much to her disgust, and dropped her off at my mum’s. She clung to my neck and didn’t want me to leave, bless. We were a little early so we popped to McDonald’s, last time I was in the hospital I couldn’t eat anything for over 24 hours – I was not making that mistake again!
Off to a Not-So-Great-Start…
I went into a room where they attempted to examine my cervix but I began to panic so badly the midwives didn’t feel comfortable continuing. I was shaking uncontrollably and sobbing. It was going to be a long night. Instead, they gave me a swab to insert myself. After that, they did a trace for over an hour, which is basically where you’re strapped to a machine that monitors the baby’s heartbeat and you press a button whenever you feel her move. This is when the contractions started. We were sent home where the contractions continued into the night. While Ross slept, I had the longest bath of my life. I watched The Mummy, I played Plants Vs. Zombies and scrolled through Instagram all the while stopping to write down the time between contractions and how long they lasted. It wasn’t until they were 5 minutes apart that I began to realise I had been so preoccupied with the contractions that I couldn’t remember the last time I actually felt her move. At 11am, a full 12 hours later, we returned to the hospital.
Once again, I was put on a trace and then moved to my own little room. I desperately wanted an epidural but I sat sobbing listening to the consultant outside my room telling my midwife that there were already three women waiting and that my chances were incredibly low. Cue breakdown number two. How the hell was I supposed to do this without an epidural? I had been up for over 24 hours at this point, the contractions were growing in intensity and I could barely endure an examination without gas and air. I had zero confidence in my ability to do this. I remember thinking; yes, normal women do this every day but I’m not normal, I’m weak, I can’t handle the pain, I can’t do this…
“NO! YOU’RE NOT LISTENING! GET ME A F**KING EPIDURAL!”
I remember literally begging with my midwife to get me an epidural and, at one point, I admit to screaming directly in her face. I had lost all self-restraint. I felt awful afterwards and apologised each time she popped into my room to check on me. She just laughed. I guess it comes with the job but I felt awful regardless. As she went to get the morphine, I inhaled my gas and air continuously. I didn’t want to be in that room anymore and I didn’t want to deal with the pain. I let the woozy sensation wash over me and allowed myself to become hazy and block out the noise. The pain was still searing but it was like having an outer body experience. It wasn’t until the pain increased and I realised that I was practically mooing like a cow (seriously) into my mouthpiece that I knew something had kicked up a notch. I felt like I desperately needed to pee and intense pressure down there. That’s when my midwife literally yanked the gas and air pipe out of the wall to get my attention. Apparently, my midwives had been trying to prise my legs apart to examine me but I was oblivious as I refused to open my eyes and was screaming so loudly passers-by probably thought there was an exorcism going on. Seriously, I cringe looking back on how loud I was. I’ve never felt pain like it. If this had been my first experience of labour, I doubt there would have been a second. However, at 1.58pm, less than two hours later, she came shooting out. At 11.52pm I was home in my own bed, rocking my beautiful baby to sleep, madly in love and exhausted.
On cloud nine…
My two experiences of labour couldn’t have been more different if they tried. I felt everything with Poppy. I felt her head between my legs, the placenta coming out and the stitches afterwards. It was a surreal experience, to say the least. With Penny, I was induced so I was in the hospital for over four days. I didn’t even experience my waters breaking naturally. I had an episiotomy which meant there was a longer recovery time afterwards and the labour lasted over 20 hours with an emergency trip to theatre thrown in. I’m still debating whether or not I prefer this to the mind-numbing pain I endured with Poppy. However, already, the trauma of the labour is becoming hazy. The pain is rapidly becoming a distant memory and her little pout, soft cheeks and funny little toes are a constant reminder of how unbelievably lucky I am.
And now there are four…0