When I look back at my pregnancy and my birth, I feel so grateful, it was such an amazing time. I have never felt more beautiful or special than when my baby was growing within me. And then when I was giving birth, I have never felt stronger or more powerful. Although at times I thought that I couldn’t do it, my team kept reminding me that in fact, I WAS doing it.
I never do this, but the night that I went into labour, I decided to have a shower before going to bed, I had a long warm one, I was in bed by 10pm. At 11.30 pm I was woken up by a surge. It was not particularly painful, but I remember that the sensation was so different. I can nearly see it, it was like a flower opening (I’m not trying to be poetic! Haha it was how it felt).
I went to the bathroom and tried to go back to sleep but then another surge came. I tried to wake up Josh (my husband) but he said that I should go back to sleep, “that’s what Moran said”, I was so annoyed! I tried to go back to sleep though, but I don’t know how anyone can sleep through surges?!
About 1.30 am, when I was sure that I was in labour and that I wasn’t going to sleep, I called Moran my doula, I knew that I wasn’t in active labour but I wanted her to know that it had started. Also, I wanted to know when to start using the tens machine - yep, I hadn’t thought about asking that before ... - Moran told me to go back to sleep...
When Josh heard me on the phone he asked me why I hadn’t told him that I was in labour - seriously - then he got up and started to set up the tens machine, yep, we had not even opened the box...
By 3 am I was having surges every 2 minutes or less and sometimes they were going a bit over a minute. I was so grateful for the exercises that Moran had me doing to build that brain muscle to prepare me to manage the pain!
Around that time I woke up my sister, the app that Josh was using to time my surges was telling us to get ready to go to hospital. The surges were more intense and I was feeling scared, I kept wondering how long would I be able to sustain the pain, it was exhausting!
We put on a TV show and called my family in Colombia, although I couldn’t talk, the surges were already that strong. At some point I remember losing it, thinking that I was not going to be able to do it, I was trembling and I collapsed on the floor sobbing. Neither Josh or my sister could calm me down, but then my puppy came and started to lick me and suddenly I was calm.
The rest of the story is a bit of what I remember and a bit of what they have told me that happened, I was in and out of it, I had a slight idea of what time it was.
By 6.30am Moran was with us, at some point Josh had called her because I was in active labour. Moran guided me through different positions, massaged my back, caressed my hair. I vividly remember her hands on my hair and how calming it was.
I remember that the first position that we tried was me lying down on my side with a pillow in between my legs, very quickly I realised that i couldn’t take it, the pain was unbearable!
At some point Moran got me and Josh in the shower, at every surge I had to squat and move my hips around. Oh the pain!
My sister is a doctor, so Moran asked her to check me and see how was I progressing. They sent Josh for some gloves. She had to examine me whilst sitting on the toilet because I refused to lie on my back. She said that she could feel his hair! And that I was 6cms. I remember thinking, half way only?!? But they were both very excited so I decided that it was a good thing.
We had changed places again, I don’t know if it just happened or I asked to go there, but that room (TV room) is my favourite place in the house. We were on the couch, when I was having surges I had to do a lunge against the back of the couch and when I was resting I was leaning on my side on the back of the couch. I remember getting in position when I felt every surge coming and just doing so mechanically. Later I was told that I was falling asleep (and snoring!!) in between surges, apparently you CAN sleep in labour ha!
A surge had just passed and I asked Moran when were we going to the hospital and she said “whenever you want”, so I said that it was time. You’d think that by that time everything was ready, but no, the car had all the chairs down from our latest trip to IKEA and I don’t know what else had to be done but half an hour later we were in the car. I had two surges between the couch and the car. It was 9.30am.
The car ride was the worst! I could only be in one position, leaning on my side and it was awful. The pain was getting more intense and I kept saying (more like screaming), the pain doesn’t stop!!! I remember seeing other people in their cars, and thinking resentfully that they were having such an ordinary day and I was in so much pain! I think that at some point I was losing it because Moran told me that I needed to calm down, that the baby needed me calm, and I did.
We got to the Mater at about 10am and I was offered a wheelchair, pfff, as if I could sit! I walked to the reception, everything was so quiet. Moran asked them to let me move to a private area. I remember I was moaning.
They said that they needed to examine me and I kept saying that I needed to go got the bathroom. They wouldn’t let me. Someone examine me and said “she has no cervix” and I was like “what?!?! What am I missing now?!!”, so in all my training, reading, etc., I never came accross that expression (just in case, I was fully dilated).
Now they were in a hurry, when I got there they were quite cool and made me feel like if I was putting on a show, after all, I was first timer and “we had a long time to go”...
They had to move me on the bed, an all fours to the birthing suit. They just put a sheet over me. They kept saying “I’m sorry”, I think that it was a bumpy ride. Ah! One of the midwifes said that I should stop pushing, I asked why, and she said “your obstetrician may not make it on time!”. I don’t know if I said so, but I didn’t care, not the slightest.
We got to the birth room, I was still on the bed that they brought me in and I felt Thomas coming, I yelled so, but they wouldn’t listen! I put my hands between my legs and I felt his head, so I yelled again “he’s coming, he’s here” and they sent my husband to my face and he was trying to calm me “Amor, it’s fine, we have time” I was yelling “he’s here! I can feel his head!”, so finally they lifted the sheet and yes, there he was. There was just enough time for Josh to go the back and receive him. And that was it. Thomas was born at 10.16 am.
I was in shock. I was excited but beside myself, I just couldn’t believe it, he was there....
We did delayed clamping and I had a bit of tearing so I had to get stitches, whilst they did that I got to see the placenta and the midwife showed and explained it all to me. It was unbelievably beautiful. I also ate, I don’t think that I had been that hungry in my life! I had two sandwiches and fruit juice that Moran got for me. I felt high. I didn’t feel myself. It was the strangest feeling.
Moran was with us from active labour and did not leave my side until I was comfortable after birth, she fed me, even bathed me!
Thomas was born on the 16th of the 10 month, at 10.16 am. By midday we were in our room and Josh and I couldn’t believe that we now had a little human all to ourselves!
Ana, Josh and Thomas, Brisbane - first time parents