Labour – the word that the build-up of pregnancy comes too. That long nine months, 40 weeks or 280 days you are pregnant for, all comes down too labour. In this blog I’m hoping to be able to help with some of the many questions that come with labour. I won’t miss any of the glory bits either so beware because this blog isn’t for the faint hearted.
Like most first time mums, I was so ready to meet my little girl by the time 36 weeks had rolled around. Obviously I knew she wasn’t ready to come then but my god, I was. My partner and I were both born two weeks early so as you can imagine I had my fingers crossed my bundle of joy would arrive two weeks early too! Although this was not the case.
39 weeks approached us eventually and I was getting so impatient. So, what is the not so logical thing to do? Of course, it would be to go to good old doctor google for advice on hurrying this baby up – Hah! Well turns out that babies come when they are ready not when they are trying to be coaxed out by their mummas! However, if you are wondering what I tried here’s my list-
* Bouncing on a swiss ball – I have no idea if this helped or just gave Harlee a good little shake up in there.
* Hot spa – I don’t think this made any sort of difference at all!
* Hot butter chicken curry – This was actually just horrible and soooooo dam hot! And still no baby after the misery of trying to eat this – Hah!
* Sex – My midwife actually recommended this. I don’t know about the rest of you but this was not on the top of my to do list when I felt like a beached whale! Apparently sperm helps to soften your cervix to make that lil baby come out!
* Walking – Not too sure if this helped bring her on but part of me thinks it slightly did help with labour but who really knows!
* Red raspberry leaf tea – I hate tea but I managed to force a fair few of these down! I started drinking them maybe two or three days before Harlee came and part of me thinks it helped me have a reasonably quick labour but again, who really knows!
That’s my little run down of what probably didn’t make labour come on but hey it was worth a try, right? Remember I am in no way a medical professional, I am strictly google educated so don’t try anything you are uncomfortable with or ask your midwife before trying things if you’re unsure!
It was Sunday the 11th of September and I woke up having a bit of cramping in my stomach. It wasn’t really at all painful so I just assumed it was braxton hicks contractions and started my day! My good friend was back from Australia at the time so we had planned to go out for breakfast where we all joked ‘imagine if you go into labour today!’ little did we know…
After lunch, Mum, my brother and I took our three dogs for a little photoshoot which actually took like two and a half hours longer than we thought. I sort of mentioned to mum that I thought the pains were happening slightly more often and were a bit more intense but again thought nothing of it and continued our afternoon. Ben was at work and I didn’t want to give him any false alarms so just left it.
Around 4pm I said to mum ‘I think I’m having contractions’. It is so bloody hard to know what is real and what is not the first time round! Mum’s advice was to start timing them just in case.
Now I don’t know about you but in my head I thought labour would happen like the movies – My waters would break and that obviously meant it was time to go to the hospital and my baby would finally come! However, this isn’t quite how it went. I had no idea everyone’s labour could be so different so this best thing to do is follow your gut! If you think it’s time, contact your midwife!
Around 5pm I started losing my mucous plug. What’s your mucous plug I hear you say? If you’re very unaware – like I was, you are most likely asking this question! So basically this is the thing that seals your cervix during pregnancy, it is formed by a small amount of cervical mucous and obviously because your baby is planning on making an appearance, you lose it! Now let me tell you, I thought it was f**king disgusting! Seriously, why did no one tell me this gross stuff happens? But hey I suppose it was only going to get worse! I lost my mucous plug gradually over time and about 9.30pm I lost the remainder of it and all I can say is ew.
I decided to text my midwife and let her know around 6.30pm that I had lost my mucous plug (Well so I thought but actually the bulk and gross-ness was actually still to come). She replied saying this is very common but baby can still be a couple of days away yet and to let her know once I am having contractions every 3-5 minutes.
Ben was due to finish work at 4pm but didn’t finish until 7pm! It was dark and cold but we both weren’t too keen on waiting a couple more days for this baby so what do all smart, 40+ weeks pregnant women do? Go for a 2.5km walk! My contractions were about half an hour apart and were starting to be slightly painful – painful enough to stop me in my tracks on our walk.
We arrived home at around 8pm and I cooked nachos for dinner! My contractions were slowly creeping closer together. They were now about 20 minutes apart and they were definitely painful but I could still tolerate them. They were similar to really bad period cramps.
We were in bed by 9pm to try to get some sleep just in case little miss was going to make for a long night. Ben was absolutely buggered and crashed out straight away! Great support for me, I tell you… Hah! About 10.30pm I woke up Ben and all I got from him was ‘Noooooo, I thought I was meant to get one more full night’s sleep’. Contractions were starting to get very painful and were about 5-10 minutes apart. We packed our hospital bags and drove around to mum’s because we were pretty unsure on what to do.
Mum rang my midwife at 11.30pm and explained my situation. We decided it was best to go for a check-up so off we went to Hawera Maternity at 12.15am.
Contractions were super painful and happening about every 5 minutes. All I wanted to do was lay completely straight and stay completely still. I was put on the monitor for a good 30 minutes to check Harlee was still happy. The midwife was concerned that she was a little bit distressed so they were contemplating sending me to Taranaki Base Hospital (an hour away from where we were).
Before anything else, my midwife decided to do an internal. At this point, it was about 1ish and I was freaking out a bit. I was so scared that I would only be 2cm dilated and would still have a long road of pain ahead but to my surprise as much as the midwife I was 8 and a half centimetres! She reassured me and told me I was doing great and handling the pain really well. However, she did start to mention that we might not make it to New Plymouth now so she would start prepping me here.
As I’m sure I’m not the only one – I was positive I did not want to shit while pushing! And I was so adamant that I needed to take a shit. I tried sooooo many times because I was so afraid! I repeated over and over again, I need to take a shit! Everyone just laughed at me and told me it was the pressure of Harlee’s head! Turns out they were right – Thank god for that, Hah!
I was lucky enough to have the same midwife my mum had a good 17 years ago! She knew my mum’s history of being a bleeder and seriously haemorrhaging when having my siblings and I. She wasn’t willing to take any risks with me so inserted an IV. My veins weren’t playing ball so I had to have it in my inner elbow (I don’t even know if that’s what it is called) and as you can imagine this isn’t a great place when pushing and moving your arms.
My contractions were about every 2 minutes but it felt like they were constant and never going away. I demanded gas because the pain was so intense. I tried it but I couldn’t figure out how to breathe and suck on the gas so ended up chucking it away.
I had planned to have Ben and my mum in the room. There was talk of the possibility that I was going to Taranaki Base Hospital. Mum rung her partner Carly to take her up to New Plymouth behind the ambulance. When she arrived at the hospital I was on the bed ready to push. My little 12 year old brother was with her and got shoved out the door with his iPad and told to wait – Poor bloody boy had to listen to me yelling and screaming. Carly, got stuck in the corner with her back to me, looking at the wall as white as a ghost unsure what to do. I got asked if I was okay with her in the room and that was fine – I was clearly far more worried about the baby I was trying to get out, Hah!
At about 1.45am I started pushing. I was pushing so dam hard I thought I was about to pee myself. Turns out that was my waters breaking! What a weird sensation that was! I don’t really know what I was expecting but it just felt like a balloon popping, full with water. It felt like it went everywhere but apparently, it doesn’t.
Then came the pushing. All I remember was my mum saying to me, do not push through your face, push like you are trying to take a big shit. That was the best advice anyone could have given me – Hah! The pain, well that was a completely new level. I don’t even know how to explain it. If it’s not the contractions making you want to curl over it’s the fact a baby’s head is trying to come out of your vag! I feel like it was a massive burning sensation and told everyone I couldn’t do it but they all kept saying ‘it’s too late now’!
By this time I had Ben on one arm, Carly on the other and a midwife on each leg while mum ran back and forth changing cold flannels on my forehead. Massive up’s to them all, because we had a good system going and I could not have done it without their support! I think I shocked Ben and Carly with the strength I had, nearly pulling them over while pushing. After a long 27 minutes of excruciating pain – Harlee-Jae Maree Patterson was born on the 12th of September at 2.12am.
The absolute relief as soon as she was out was amazing. It was like all my pain was gone just like that! My placenta came out super easily which I was amazed by because many people told me this part was really hard! Then, I noticed my mum disappear from the room in a panic and my midwife hit the emergency button. She calmly let me know I was having a little haemorrhage. I didn’t really think anything of it until some doctors and nurses came running in. Luckily, as I said earlier, my midwife was well prepared and because I had the IV in, I was quickly given some drugs and I was okay. Later on my midwife had told me the other midwife on had said she was over exaggerating putting an IV in just because my mum was a bleeder – well look who came out on the better side! So grateful I had a midwife not willing to take any risks!
After all that manic I finally got to focus on the fact I finally had my healthy little girl! She was and still is so perfect! She was 8lb 3oz and couldn’t fit any of her newborn clothes I had packed. So mumma’s make sure you do pack that next size up just in case!
We did however, still have to travel up to Taranaki Base Hospital because I had haemorrhaged and they wanted to monitor me. I was a bit guttered about this because I wanted to stay in Hawera close to my family but it was all about what was safest! I really don’t know where the time went but I think we arrived there around 6am.
So just like that we had our beautiful little girl! It was definitely a hard challenge but it was an amazing experience! A lot of people say it is such a beautiful thing but I’m going to be honest – I don’t think pushing a massive baby out of a tiny hole is beautiful at all. Don’t get me wrong it is absolutely miraculous but in no way is that beautiful. Ben describes it as if you were to imagine your favourite toy is being demolished in front of you! Hah, sorry Ben but in another four months we both are going to experience this again and I am petrified! Second time around makes me so much more nervous because I know what is ahead!
I hope I haven’t terrified any mums to be, or scared anyone with my blog! Sorry that it got a bit long but I didn’t want to miss any details! Thanks for reading and I hope you’re back next week to read some more of what I have to say. Don’t be afraid to flick me a message via email, facebook or Instagram, until next time.